Why Words Matter [and How to Use Them Effectively in Your Marketing Copy]


Words have been getting a bit of a bad rap lately. We live in a world obsessed with neologisms – where random words are incessantly co-opted to denote zeitgeist-y lifestyle movements. And where trend forecasters harp on about a digital age – where SEO, CPL, ROI and KPI might as well be creatures from Stranger Thing's Upside Down world. Today it's as hard to tell your storyscaping from your advertainment, as it is to write effective copy to support your marketing objectives.

As Business Casual Copywriting's Joel Klettke so aptly told the crowd at the Cayman Islands Marketing Professionals Association's 'Storytelling. Content and Authenticity' 2017 Conference, "copy is writing that sells." So, hit pause on your Netflix and chill session, dust the avocado toast crumbs off your wireless keyboard, make yourself a matcha latte and read our musings on why good copy matters. #Buzzwords fully intended.

1. Words Remind You to #TalkBeforeYouWalk

Many people put too much of their marketing focus on tools, like email, a website or social media. The misconception is that once you have the tools, your business will automatically start to grow. Of course, successful marketing is about having good tools – and using good tactics like catchy subject lines, keywords and hashtags to make your marketing on these platforms very effective – but what is often overlooked is that the tools and tactics should, in fact, be the last steps in the marketing process. Instead start with the stuff that matters most – the foundational strategy and planning. Before implementing your campaign, think about who you are talking to and how to connect with them. Your content, your words, has to be done first, before any of the tactical work begins, because strategy drives everything else. Get the messages wrong and every other campaign element will crash and burn. Get the messaging right and your campaign will flourish.

2. Words Help You to Tell Great #Stories

Marketing today is about good storytelling. And good storytelling is about painting a picture with words. Modern consumers want to know the 'why' behind your business; they’re much less interested in the 'what' and 'how.' Why did you start your business? What is your mission? And vision? Plant the purchasing seed from the get-go by telling a story that speaks to your readers' inquisitive nature and makes your content more memorable. Take BB&P's recent advertising campaign for Jamaica Broilers Group's Best Dressed Chicken, for example, which played on the brand's name to tell its story and position it as a fresher, local option to competitor products shipped in from the US. The campaign's cute narrative of a chicken dressing up in his best suit for a roast dinner, is, of course, a strong juxtaposition but still makes sense and paints a heart-warming picture in customers' minds.

3. Words Spark #Emotions

As self-confessed #shopaholics, the proof is in our pudding that purchases aren't always driven by logic. Rather they hinge on emotion, which explains why our closets are bursting at the seams, and why the best commercials make us want to laugh, cry or pick up the phone to call home. Good copywriting is about more than just stringing together catchy words, hooks and compelling calls-to-action. Today people need to know, like and trust you before they are going to do business with you. And all things being equal, buyers will make decisions based on how they feel about you and your company. It's important to explain what your product or service does, but it's even more important to explain what it does for your audience. 

4. It's About the #ImmersiveExperience

We know all too well the inevitable conversation between writer and designer: "that headline is too long," "can we cut that copy in half?" "if we can’t cut the copy in half, we'll just use a smaller font. Nobody reads the copy anyway." Despite this ongoing battle across marketing departments globally, words and visuals work as a team to paint the full picture of a brand story. No matter if a brand's packaging, website or brochure is drop-dead gorgeous, if the words in it aren't compelling, no one will keep reading. When the design is good, your words only create a more powerful experience. On the flipside, when the design is bad, your words will go unread and your story untold.

5. #SnackableContent Makes the Online World Go Around

We live in a time when people instantly search online before making a decision – often multiple times until they have a good idea about what they want and who they want it from. Despite this, we're also cited as having less time and a more limited attention span. As such, if you've only got 30-60 seconds to grab someone's attention, try using words to create a sense of urgency, like 'this offer ends tomorrow,' and 'last chance,' and make readers or listeners feel it's imperative to act now. Headlines that include words like 'top' and 'best' or are written in a 'how to' format are also usually highly effective, as these tend to reflect common search terms as well as indicate that your content will help to accomplish something your audience is looking for.