We Have the Writer. Now What?

This post was written by John White on Thu, 26 Mar 2009 21:24:25 +0000
Posted Under: Hiring writers,ideal reader,marketing manager,messaging,process of writing,tell your story,unique value proposition

“We want some marketing materials. How do we do this?”

Let’s assume that you’ve hired the writer, or that he has hired you. What next?

Target Reader

The first thing we need to discuss with the writer is your target reader: Whose attention do you want to get, and what floats that person’s boat? Some knives with which to cut this include:

  • Point in the sales cycle – Do you want material for early in the cycle, when you’re acquainting the prospect with your product, or later, when it’s time to open the hood and describe what’s inside?
  • Sophistication – Some prospects don’t need or want much information before they buy, but it might take you a dozen of those easy sales to make up one hard but enduringly lucrative. You can’t use the same piece on both audiences.
  • Messaging – Is your internal message fully baked yet? I’ve seen marketing teams walk away from a willing and able writer because the thought-leadership paper they wanted required a solid, unambiguous message and a soul-search upon which they had not yet embarked. The writer’s line of questions, while tactfully posed, made everybody realize the company still had too much homework to do on its intended market.

Once you’ve worked out the target reader, you can decide which materials – white paper, case study, Web content, technical article, blog – are the best fit.

Unique Value Proposition

Next, you need to describe your service or product in terms that will make it appear unique to that target reader. It needn’t be unique in the entire universe, but it will need to make you stand out from your competitors in the eyes of target readers, given their level of knowledge about your industry.

So, if you’re selling language translation services, don’t waste time and money writing something indistinguishable from what your competitors write. If you’ve armed the writer with enough information about you, she’ll write a document that could only be true about you.

Tell a Story About Solving the Customer’s Problem

Finally, here’s Big Surprise #1 for the 21st century:

Nobody cares about you, your company or your products. People care about whether you can solve their problem.

Big Surprise #2 is:

People love a good story.

Can your writer marry these two and tell a story about how you can solve the reader’s problem?

Now that’s writing.

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