When in Doubt: Write What You Say

Here’s a Q&A that’s been getting some attention.

Spring Design Partners: For many Brand professionals, writing doesn’t come naturally or easily. What’s the best way to produce content that gets results?

MarketSmiths: Personally, I’m glad that the marketplace insists on strong ideas, opinions, personality, and presence from Brands today: not only does it raise the bar, it puts copywriters with talent in terrific demand. But I agree: even for the most prolific Brand professionals, it’s tough to keep up. So here’s one trick that gets results: write what you say.

Every day, we interview at least one client who professes not to know what to write—yet knows exactly what to say. Our clients’ voices are nearly always lucid and intelligent and ripe and intact. Yet—nearly without exception—they demur when it comes to written content. The presumption is that writing—even copywriting—should be formal, neutral, and structured. The counter-presumption is that it needs to accomplish miracles.

Whatever leftover hangups anyone might have about term papers or dissertations, it’s time to let them go, and let your brain show its stuff on the page. If you need to, you can always hire a copywriter to turbo-charge your naked thoughts—after the fact. But what you believe is important—and your audience deserves to know about it.

And when you’re thinking in terms of miracles, remember that less is more.

Of course, if you’re using stale jargon and tired business clichés to describe what your brand is about, then there’s work to be done. Look within—and find out what differentiates your brand. And then: talk it out.

A champion of high-end content, Jean is a living tribute to copywriting for humans. In 2012, at a TEDx talk, she declared her now widely viewed “War Against Bland.” The visionary founder of MarketSmiths, Jean leads her growing team to captivate, inspire, and motivate readers. She has helped thousands of global clients generate revenue from words (up to 12,000% ROI), and transformed the writing of hundreds of seminar attendees at the SXSW Interactive Festival (2014 and 2015), SXSW V2V (2014), the Small Business Summit (2014, NYC), and other venues.

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