In or out that is the question

Courtesy of mjdesign.co.uk
Courtesy of mjdesign.co.uk

Businesses often don’t feel that using an experienced copywriter is necessary for their PR. It is something their marketing department can do or perhaps a secretary. How difficult can it be to put a few paragraphs together for a press release, write content for the company website or draft a copy of the new marketing brochure? You’d do it yourself if you had the time.

Let me tell you that the number of businesses that have come to me after finally realising that it is their website or brochure content that has prevented an increase in sales has grown so much more since the boom in social media. People now feel they know a lot about PR as they are ‘self promoting’ on their facebook pages, sharing amusing anecdotes on Twitter and perhaps have even started a blog. So now they aim to transfer those skills to their business without realising that PR writing for business is very different.

How many times have you come across a website that has spelling mistakes or appears to be written by someone whose first language isn’t English? Customers may be taken in by a glitzy all singing and dancing website but if the content makes no sense then they will move on trust me. People take only a few seconds to assess whether the information they require is on your site and will regularly return to read blogs that engage them.

Brochures written by in-house staff aren’t always the best solution either. What may be understood by ‘those in the industry’ could end up being gibberish to Joe public and unless it is for an industry periodical, textbook or article targeted to industry professionals surely having it written by a well briefed experienced copywriter is preferable?

If content is required for a variety of media as part of your long term strategy then you may be considering hiring someone solely for copywriting… I wouldn’t! Those that ‘write’ for a living are creative types, no we are not all bead wearing barefoot hippies (well maybe in the summer), nor are we crazy, shy or pretentious people. However, to be good at it I believe you have to be looking at a business from the outside and not tied to one particular type of industry.

Many businesses have told me how wonderful they are, how a particular product or service would benefit people and why their town is worth a visit. What they are failing to see is how potential customers perceive them and what they are ‘selling’. Does this website answer all my questions? How will this company’s product benefit me? Are they the type of people I’d be happy to do business with? These are just some of the questions potential customers are asking themselves when reading your brochure, webpage, blog or article.

Of course copywriting is only part of a PR strategy but can be the hardest part to get right. You may very well have a talented PR writer in your business and if you do consider yourself very lucky. If not do yourself a favour and get in touch with a freelancer or agency, it is worth a try right?

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