Writing Tips From Experienced Marketers and Copywriters

Image of Seth Godin, with yellow glasses, staring up. To the right of that image is text that says, "Seth Godin. Author, Entrepreneur."
Seth Godin wants you to focus. (Video still via: LE Miami)

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a short story, a blog post, or an advertisement—writing is challenging.

When people want writing advice, they typically turn to novelists, journalists, and teachers. All of those are great choices, but let’s not forget about marketers and copywriters. After all, they know a lot about writing persuasively, connecting with readers, and getting results.

Here are some tips and quotes that will improve almost anybody’s writing:

Focus on Your Target Audience

“I made a decision to write for my readers, not to try to find more readers for my writing.”

—Seth Godin

One of the most important questions before writing anything is: Who are you writing for?

Once you know whom you’re focusing on, it becomes easier to determine what to write about, how to structure it, and what style to use. Also, the better you understand your target audience, the easier it is to write for it.

Establish Trust

“People share, read, and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends and people they know and trust.”

—Malorie Lucich

This is similar to the last point. When you focus on your audience members, they’ll be more likely to share your content with other like-minded people.

However, you can also establish trust with the reader directly. How? By being honest and credible in your writing.

Another great way to establish trust is to make your writing relevant and useful. In other words, don’t waste the reader’s time.

Writing Is Thinking on Paper

“Writing is thinking on paper. To do it well, you must be able to think things over before you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.”

—Gary Bencivenga

If you want your writing to be clear, logical, and consistent, then your thinking must be clear, logical, and consistent as well.

This is also why editing is crucial. The first draft is often the first attempt at thinking through a topic. With each revision, you’re forcing yourself to refine your ideas and make them stronger.

Another element of this is that research is incredibly important. In fact, Bencivenga also said that his best strategy for overcoming writer’s block is to do more research. Doing research forces you to think more deeply about a topic, consider opposing views, and come to your own conclusions—all of which makes the writing process easier.

If You Want Your Readers to Do Something, Tell Them

“You can’t expect to just write and have visitors come to you. That’s too passive.”

—Anita Campbell

This tip is primarily about writing that’s intended to persuade people to take action. With that said, this definitely does not only apply to marketers and copywriters. A lot of writers want to persuade people—whether that’s to buy something or to support an important cause.

So don’t just hope readers will enjoy your content and then do what you want—instead, let them know what the next step is if they’re interested in learning more or getting involved. In marketing, this is referred to as a call to action, but it’s a useful tip outside of marketing as well.

Don’t Underestimate Headlines and Titles

“On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money.”

—David Ogilvy

Ogilvy was talking about headlines for advertisements, but the same principle applies to blog posts, magazine articles, books, and more.

Headlines and titles are your chance to let readers know how they’ll benefit from reading your work. The benefit could be an interesting story, an opportunity to learn something, or a solution to a problem.

If you’re looking to improve your writing, these marketers and copywriters have some great suggestions. Their advice isn’t limited to writing advertisements or sales letters—it applies to all writing. Contact Super Copy Editors if you need an experienced business copy editor or proofreader for your next writing project.

Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Hi, I'm Dave Baker, founder and copy chief of Super Copy Editors. I have more than two decades of professional proofreading and copy editing experience, including work for The Nation magazine, The New York Times, and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, where I shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes after Hurricane Katrina. Today, I have put together a hand-picked team of copy editors, and we especially love working with ad agencies, marketing departments, and education companies to make their text as polished as possible. Learn more here.

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