How to write awful marketing content

: : messaging : :

BY GARRETT CURRY


When helping clients craft a more effective brand message, I first have to review their current messaging. They usually apologize for how awful and incoherent it is. No shame. Communication isn't easy. Most clients suffer from similar tendencies that derail their web content, marketing copy and even how they talk about their business. 

No matter how many marketing dollars they may throw into their efforts, the content of their communication will doom them from the start. I've noticed the same bad habits from client to client. Here are the 5 best ways to get your messaging wrong.


1 // Use A lot of Buzz Words

Words like disruptive technology, cloud-based, user experience, client-centric and innovative are so common that they’ve lost their meaning. Using buzz words may give you relevance in the mind of Inc. Magazine readers, but in the real world, it may be saying absolutely nothing about who you truly are, what you do, and why you matter to others.


2 // Include Every Detail

Admittedly, I have a very short attention span. If I don’t get what you do within moments, my eyes will begin to glaze over, and I’ll starting wondering if I left the iron on at home. People don’t need every detail, just the gist. That gist needs to be carefully crafted, so that it immediately has meaning in the mind of the client. Do that well, and they will asking questions they're genuinely curious about.


3 // Just Keep Talking

I think we’ve all had that moment when we’ve forgotten what we were talking about, and our best solution is to just keep talking in hopes that we will eventually circle around to our point. It normally ends in an awkward silence with self-deprecating monologues on the drive home.


4 // Talk About Yourself

It’s really tempting to describe what makes you so awesome. And although you may very well be awesome, no one really cares. People respond much better when talk about them, instead. Take interests in the lives of others, first, and the sentiment may become reciprocal.


5 // Sound Like Your Parents

Have you noticed the weird shift in our speech when we start talking about business? We use words we normally don’t use in our real lives, and we suddenly take on a persona that sounds like our parents. Think back to how our parents sounded when they talked about their work at the end of a long day. Lame.

There's a lot more that goes into crafting an effective brand message with clarity, brevity and meaningfulness. But, bad habits like these could be really easy for any organization to purge.

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