As a PR pro, one of the most important tools in getting your message across is your copy. You’re in business to provide value and build a relationship with your target audience–and copywriting errors can make this challenging. So, we’re diving into copywriting mistakes that could potentially hurt your PR campaigns and providing some tips on how to avoid them.
Long before content marketing became an important tool for PR pros, Bill Gates famously declared, “Content is king.” The rise of social media and internet marketing has proven him right. Today, most businesses recognize content marketing as an effective tool in building their brand and increasing company profits. But it’s easy for PR pros to make mistakes when they are churning out copy at such an astounding pace. Making the wrong choices in messaging can be detrimental to your brand and can negatively impact your bottom line. Below are some common mistakes PR pros make when writing copy and our solutions:
Not getting to the point
It’s common knowledge that a recruiter takes about six seconds to look at your resume and then either decide to call you or toss it. Same goes for attracting your target audience. In this day and age, many of us have very short attention spans. Whatever the type of content, we spend a couple of seconds on the introduction, and if we don’t get the takeaway in the first couple of sentences, we go back to Facebook and keep on scrolling for the next article. So, if you’re not getting a lot of engagement at the moment, you need to get a second pair of eyes. Most likely, you’re spending too much space setting up your premise and using filler words, rather than making your point.
Using negative words
Writers can accidentally cast a dark cloud over their work while attempting to convey a positive message by creating a negative tone. Even if you’re using words like “rainbows” and “unicorns” if you write “it’s important to never pet a unicorn,” you can push your audience away with subtle negativity. By making a slight change to, “It’s important to always remember to pet a unicorn,” you have a better chance of creating positive engagement with your audience rather than leaving a bad taste in their mouths. Remember, the more positive associations your audience has with your brand, the more conversions to customers.
Having an inconsistent brand voice
One of the biggest mistakes a PR pro can make is having an inconsistent brand voice. Your company’s brand voice is its secret weapon. Everything counts down to the last letter. If your voice is all over the place, you’re going to confuse your audience, and they’re not going to want to buy your products or services. The reality is, what ultimately determines if your target audience buys into something is how your brand makes them feel. A classic example is Coca Cola. You don’t see Coca Cola directly selling its sodas. You see the company selling the experience of having a Coke. Most of the time its commercials have actors experiencing daily life together. Its tagline even says, “Taste the feeling.” So, learning the intricacies of your brand is the first step and maintaining a consistent voice is the second. You already know your company is awesome, now it’s time for your audience to get on board.
Writing from your company’s perspective, not your audience’s
Having a consistent brand voice doesn’t translate into writing from your company’s perspective. In most cases, writing from your audience’s perspective is more effective. The audience varies depending on the company, but the underlying message is always the same: what would your audience like to know? Think about your benefit statements. What can you offer them? Putting yourself in your audience’s shoes will enable you to target them more effectively. You can gather intel through online surveys, focus groups and monitoring your company’s social media pages. A less obvious way is to dig into your customer service records to see how customers have interacted with your sales and support departments in the past. The better handle you have on your audience’s wants and needs, the easier it’ll be to target them.
Using too much industry jargon
Using insider language, acronyms and jargon that your audience doesn’t understand won’t push your PR initiatives forward and make you look like you’re in the know. In fact, it’ll hinder your team from making a connection to your audience. If your audience doesn’t know what you’re talking about, you’ve failed at communicating, which is the hallmark of PR. The best way to prevent this is to have someone in a different department read your material to ensure your message is clear. If they don’t understand it, neither will your audience. You want to make sure you establish your company as an expert in your field, but you want to make sure you don’t lose your readers in the process!
Until next time!
Passionate about all things communications, Jolie found her dream job as a copywriter with Critical Mention, where she’s continuing her passion for writing and editing. With a background working for high-profile clients in the financial, hospitality and technology industries, she’s excited to bring her experience to Critical Mention. When she’s not writing you can find her at music festivals, hiking or snowboarding.