Our guest writer Isabel Wahono explores why a little research goes a long way when it comes to separating your business’s copy and content from the crowd.
There’s a common misconception that successful copywriting speaks only to the heart. That facts and figures are boring.
While it’s true that hard data can be dull when used excessively or poorly, people aren’t just a jumble of unruly emotions incapable of rationally thinking through their buying decisions. People buy with their heart and their gut—but they justify those decisions with logic.
Feelings, meet facts. Here are three solid researching tips to help you strike the perfect balance in your business’s copy and content.
1. Dig deeper than surface-level search results
Remember when you had to go to the library to research a topic? Yeah, me neither. Google has changed the face of researching—but just as you wouldn’t confine your research to the first page of the first book plucked from the library’s shelves, don’t limit your reading to the first page of the search results.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t start by casting a wide net. This can give you a feel for what’s already out there, ensuring your content won’t be just more of the same.
From there, gradually narrow your search until you hit the lesser-seen layers of wisdom that lie beneath. Google’s advanced search settings can help, allowing you to specify key phrases you want to see and weed out unhelpful results. Doing your due diligence can result in the discovery of hidden gems, such as the technical detail copywriter David Ogilvy famously unearthed and incorporated into his ad copy for Rolls-Royce: “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”
2. Tap subject matter experts for interesting tidbits
Whether you’re the CEO or you work on the marketing team, chances are, you don’t know every single thing about your company’s products or services. From the nitty-gritty technical specifications to the results of user testing, no one person can know everything—which is why it’s useful to connect with subject matter experts (SMEs) from different teams before writing your copy.
While SMEs are often busy people, putting 15 minutes on their calendar to talk can take your copy to the next level. The key is to keep probing, because what they consider to be a mundane detail could be a complete revelation to your and your target audience. Often, when an SME begins with the phrase “I don’t know if this will be helpful to you…” you’re about to be gifted with an interesting fact or story you couldn’t get any other way.
One thing to keep in mind when interviewing SMEs: they may use a lot of jargon. Repeating that jargon is a surefire way to lose readers’ interests, so be sure to ask clarifying questions and seek examples so you can translate industry-specific terms into reader-friendly insights.
3. Source and sprinkle statistics strategically
We’re all inundated with content these days. It’s made us skeptical, and rightfully so. Advertising has a reputation for exaggerating or twisting the truth—but you can avoid this association by backing up your claims with meaningful evidence.
If your company has conducted internal research or leveraged an independent research body, this is a great place to start. Make sure you’re highlighting the statistics that will matter most to your target audience and connecting the dots between the numbers and the real business impact. Avoid a data dump, as this will only turn readers away. One truly compelling stat will do more than a dozen vaguely interesting ones ever could.
What if you don’t have company-specific research to rely on? That’s okay—there are other options available to you to give your copy and content a little extra credibility. Look for relevant statistics from reliable, non-competitive sources, such as consulting firms. Pay attention to dates, as the research may have been conducted much earlier than the article in which it’s cited. While some research is evergreen, a great deal—like data around public sentiment and purchasing habits—can become outdated and irrelevant fast.
A little research goes a long way. So hit the books (or the search engines) and give your target audience the evidence they need to justify their decision—to themselves and their stakeholders.
At MarketSmiths, our copywriters are master researchers, harnessing every tool at their disposal to write copy that speaks to the heart and the mind. Need proof? Contact us today.