Before You Start Writing Copy… Start here.

If you want to sell anything to anyone use what Eric Whitman calls “The Lifeforce 8.”

The Life Force 8 are the eight basic human instincts hardwired into every person:

  1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension
  2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
  3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger
  4. Sexual companionship
  5. Comfortable living conditions
  6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses
  7. Care and protection of loved ones
  8. Social approval

These are the eight things that people really want…more than anything else. We’re  biologically programmed to follow these eight desires.

Before you start scribbling your mind bending headline ideas (PS here’s my favorite exercise for doing just that), keep these eight basic human desires in mind.

These tips are from the book Cashvertising.

JOSIAHCOLT

Read This If You Want To Be a Marketer

If you can’t write as a marketing major, you should probably pick another major. Being a marketing major offers many opportunities after college. The land of opportunity is bright for marketing majors. Writing in the marketing field requires many different styles of writing to be proficient. Through interviewing industry experts, onsite observation, and in-depth literature study, I have discovered that the marketing field highly values sales copywriting and educated blogging. Therefore, I need to improve the quality and frequency of my industry blog posts as well as master the art of copywriting.

Graduating with a marketing degree opens a lot of doors. Today’s marketing career landscape has many job titles that have a range of different responsibilities. With the rise of digital advertising, a marketing major student needs to have a diverse range of writing skills to be competitive. The range of salary goes from $37,860 all the way up to over $127,130 with different marketing positions. Some of the most common marketing positions available are marketing manager, sales manager, and marketing specialist (Pfeffer). Every product in the world needs marketing, so if you make yourself valuable enough there will be plenty of opportunity. Behind a great ad was a team of marketers trying to create a message that will resonate with you and the product being sold. According to Monster.com, the top three highest paid titles in marketing are International Marketing Executive, Top Channel Development Executive, and Top Marketing Executive. All of these positions are executive level roles that pay well over $200,000 (DeZube). According to Nancy Davis, a practice director for sales and marketing at The Mergis Group, companies “will pay chief marketing officers top dollar to plan and direct international marketing strategies that capture audience attention in many cultures, markets and channels. To land this job at a Fortune 500 firm, you’ll need an MBA from a top-tier program” (DeZube).

The marketing major values many different types of writing depending on the circumstances. The modern day marketing major must be versatile with styles of writing to match the relationship with which one is engaged. The types of writing required as a marketing professional are analytical writing, blogging, copywriting, client corporate communications, published industry research articles, technical writing, casual SMS/chat and target market jargon.

The marketing field requires a good understanding of analytical writing. Many businesses will want a written marketing plan that requires an in-depth analysis of target demographics, proposed angles of advertising, and many other key performance indicators. A typical marketing plan includes the following sections; Executive Summary, Target Customers, Unique Selling Proposition, Pricing and Position Strategy, Unique Offers, Marketing Materials, Promotional Strategy, Online Marketing Strategy, Conversion Strategy, Joint Venture Strategy, Referral Strategy, Retention Strategy, and Financial Projections (Lavinsky). You will essentially be “marketing” your marketing plan to corporate executives. It’s important to persuade them of your planned strategy. The written marketing plan and data analysis needs to tell a clear and concise story that shows the client how you will help them.

As a marketing major, you need to establish your credibility with other marketers, businesses, and clients as an educated professional. The most common and essential tool to do this among marketers is blogging. Blogging about your industry can be casual in nature or take a more academic tone. Not only does blogging increase traffic to a website, it also increases your SEO/SERP (Search Engine Optimization/Search Engine Results Page) visibility, positions you as a “thought leader,” and can help you develop better industry relationships (Wishpond). Blogging is essential to creating relationships within the marketing industry. Typically, you can’t approach your blog like you would an essay. Most people will find it boring and will quickly tune you out. Blog writing requires you to be interesting. Some writing tips that make a blog more interesting to read include being funny, giving portable quick tips, adding memes, adding images, interacting with your audience, and learning to make fun of yourself. (Neidlinger).

Copywriting is argued as “the most essential” skill in marketing. It is very different from traditional passive voice writing. Copywriting is loud, in your face, short, and punchy. This type of writing exists to make an immediate impact on your customers. If you can’t sell your product then you have no use being in marketing. How do you write for sales? Copywriting. According to Neville Medhora, a well know copywriter, copywriting is “essentially moving words around to sell better” (Medora). The core of marketing is creating a message that sells products. Copywriting is the skill of writing to sell. According to the top 11 essential marketing skills of highly successful marketers, every single one of them can be tied back to copywriting in some form. It cannot be understated that copywriting is the meat and potatoes of marketing. A timeless copywriting tip is to use lots of action verbs in your copywriting to engage with your audience. This was validated by a recent analysis by a Harvard MBA admissions director. He found that “the most effective admission letters were those that used the most verbs over adjectives” (Korn). Copywriting touches every aspect of marketing. It’s found in all advertisements, brochures, websites, emails, and social media. Modern marketers need to understand how to use words to rouse people to action through the use of copywriting.

Branded Holdings is a marketing company whose primary focus is in the financial industry. The building is in the nice suburban area of Tampa. There is a Whole Foods right next door. The building where they operate is mostly glass on the outside and has a very modern feel to it. As you walk in the building there is a large garden in the center of the building with palm trees and tropical plants with a small pond. The ceiling is glass tile so you can see the sky when you walk in. Most of the other offices are doctors, lawyers, and insurance arbitration companies. They are on the second floor. You walk in and the first thing that catches your eye is a giant pool table with their logo printed in the middle. There is a great common area in a large rectangle shape with square offices around the parameter of the common area. In the common area, there are four giant beanbag chairs of different colors. There are two couches and two lounge chairs. There are lots of standing lamps from IKEA, which creates a nice lounge feeling when you walk in. There are Nerf darts all over the ground from what seemed to be a huge battle. There are notes scribbled all over the walls. Some of it is code, some of it is marketing strategy. There are lots of papers taped to the wall as examples that are referenced by the notes written on the wall. It resembles the office of the main actor in The Beautiful Mind. On the bookshelf, there are over 40 different marketing books. Most of them are about copywriting and technical books about different ad networks. There are also some motivational books like Good To Great by Jim Collins, and Zero To One by Peter Thiel.

The people were wearing very casual clothes. The age range was from 25 to 32 for all 13 employees. There was a large painting of Einstein in the main conference room off to the side of the common area. The building was very much a reflection of the website. The website reads “Work hard, play hard.” The office was generally quiet with people listening to their headphones and typing away furiously at their computers. The owner mentioned they can have a relaxed environment because it’s a “results first” company. As long as you are pulling your weight and getting your stuff done the attitude was generally very chill. You wouldn’t know from looking around that this company spends almost 2 million a month in advertising dollars across various brands. They market several different products across various verticals. The office has several marketers, coders, and designers. There is a lot of brainstorming that happens through out the day. This explains all of the dry erase markers laying around the office. There is a lot of outside email communication with clients and internal employee to move new initiatives along. Most of the writing done at this marketing office is copywriting. They spend hours poring over their ads. They are constantly tweaking ad copy to help craft the perfect message for customers. After the team launches a new set of copy they are constantly testing it with variations. Even the slightest change in wording can make a dramatic difference in sales.

A recent PPC ad that they are competing against reads, “$19 Auto Insurance – Save on Auto Insurance. Get A Free Direct Quote Now! Fast & Easy Quotes.” Although this may seem like a small chunk of ad copy, the slightest changes can affect massive amounts of revenue gained or lost.

Larry Kim is a leading influencer in a massive sub-niche of marketing called Pay Per Click (PPC). PPC is an online marketing strategy that has seen explosive growth over the past decade. Most established businesses use PPC as a foundational marketing strategy. I chose one of his blog posts because his writing style is informative yet entertaining. His blog is widely recognized across the world as a staple source of cutting edge new marketing strategy. Larry is a “frequent blogger for the Wordstream Blog, Search Engine Land, Moz, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Watch, Inc. Magazine, Marketing Profs, Small Biz Trends and dozens of other business, technology, and internet marketing publications. (Kim)”

The other source of I chose is Search Engine Land. They are a “leading daily publication that covers all aspects of the search marketing industry” (Sullivan).

While the two writing samples I have chosen are different in the tone and angle the information being presented is similar in nature. Both sources are reporting and analyzing news in the search industry, while Larry gives more in-depth how-to style writing. Search Engine Land reports on major events in the SEM world.

We can learn that people in our field want short actionable content that’s very informative and to the point. There is not a lot of flowery language in the marketing field among peers. Search Engine Land is very succinct and matter-of-fact reporting. Larry offers an interpretation of new features that will best serve the reader.

These writings are very similar to other academic writing and professors of marketing. Many sources of academia look to these sources from which to base their research. Many scholars place heavy emphasis on conversion rate optimization. Many psychologists and marketers alike are always testing different language, design, color, of a website to increase the numbers of users who engage with their brand. What I am finding is that the tone of writing in the marketing field is very congruent from researchers have said about it. Copywriting is very important in marketing and all of my research has affirmed this.

Dan Pawlowski is in the BYU masters program for marketing. He did his internship at Ancestry.com and has helped many marketing students with their major. His has an outgoing personality. He prefers communicating in person rather than talking via text or email when possible.

Dan said, “I don’t like writing. That’s why I got into marketing,” he laughed. The primary writing Dan has done for his major is creating executive summaries, and writing creative briefs. A creative brief is what you give designers before they begin their project. Most of the writing he does on a daily basis though is informal with emails.

Patrick is an online marketing manager at a tech company called Branded Holdings. Patrick. Patrick said the biggest draw to the marketing major to him was freedom. He said “For example when you are a finance major, you rely so heavily on companies looking to hire you. What I love about marketing is it’s self-driven. You can do freelance. The opportunity you have is self-made. You are not limited to an organization. You can take your career as far as you want to go.” (Ryan) He said being in marketing has given him insights into how businesses acquire new clients and get revenue. He gets to see the behind the scenes of how successful businesses operate. He likes the marketing field because he feels he has more control over his career path than other industries. The main theme of most of his comments was based around freedom. Patrick said, “your success is determined by how much you want to put into it.” He said after you understand marketing it makes it easier to branch into other areas of business and study. It’s a lot more cutthroat in other industries because they are all fighting for the same jobs. In marketing, there is so much opportunity that can be created of your own free will. Patrick’s main goal is to see the world and digital marketing will be able to afford him that opportunity.

Patrick talked a lot about how communicating and writing in the marketing field is short and concise. You have to be able to make a point and do it quick. In the PPC field where he is working most ads are limited to 80 characters. You have to learn how to get to the point in less than 80 characters. You have to make your points short and impactful. You can’t mince words. Whether it’s in email or in ads you have to say just enough to get the point across and nothing more. Complex marketing problems have to be broken down into bits of information the average business owner can understand. With business-to-business advertising, it’s not different. You have to write to busy business owners who don’t have time for fluff in messages. Patrick said you have to be versatile in your different types of communication. There are not many careers that have an 80-character limit. Patrick says the ad copy mentality has made him a better communicator in all aspects of life because it makes him reconsider what he writes, always striving for the most simple. Having strong copywriting help you get noticed in an already saturated market.

When I asked him “What type of work actually takes place?” He jokingly said “Nerf battles.” He said the two biggest writing activities he does on a daily basis are writing ad copy and communicating with coworkers. A lot of digital marketing businesses use Hipchat, Slack, and other chat platforms. They are all textual. Since you can’t meet face to face. You have to be able to communicate ideas clearly through text conversation. You have to learn how to word your sentences carefully. Writing ad copy is most of the writing that is done by Patrick on a daily basis.

Most communication is with coworkers moving projects along. The other time is spent communicating with clients and managers of other businesses about marketing goals. “You have to be able to disseminate information in an easily digestible way. If I need something from a web developer, it has to be worded exactly right. Accuracy is very important. You have to communicate without going on a tangent.

Marketing is an exciting field to be a part of. If you are clear with your writing you can earn a great income. Over the course of this English class, I have become a better writer and communicator. I have improved my skills of writing a persuasive essay as well as a research paper. Through interviewing industry experts, onsite observation, and a study of how the marketing field writes, I have discovered that I need to improve my sales copywriting, and educated blogging.

Josiah Colt
Meagan Ronk
Eng. 102
11/19/16

Works Cited

DeZube, Dona. “Check out These Seven High-paying Marketing Jobs.” Monster Career Advice. N.p., 1 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.

Lavinsky, Dave. “Marketing Plan Template: Exactly What To Include.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 30 Sept. 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Wishpond. “4 Reasons Why Blogging Is Important for Your Business.” Wishpond. N.p., 07 Nov. 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Korn, Melissa. “Harvard Business School? You’ll Go Through Her First.” WSJ. Wsj.com, 29 Feb. 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Kim, Larry. “WordStream.” WordStream. N.p., 12 May 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2016..

Lavinsky, Dave. “Marketing Plan Template: Exactly What To Include.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 30 Sept. 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Medora, Neville. “How To Become A Copywriter (with No Experience).” Kopywriting Kourse. N.p., 23 June 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.

Neidlinger, Julie. “14 Ways To Make Your Blog Content More Fun To Read.” CoSchedule Blog. N.p., 14 Mar. 2016. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

Sullivan, Danny. “About Search Engine Land.” Search Engine Land. N.p., 3 Nov. 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Wishpond. “4 Reasons Why Blogging Is Important for Your Business.” Wishpond. N.p., 07 Nov. 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Pfeffer, Jennifer. “Rasmussen College.” Rasmussen College – Regionally Accredited College Online and on Campus. N.p., 29 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

 

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