Sell your business with the write copy

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Good publications, both print and online, can help your business succeed or fail. However, developing them can be costly and time consuming. Here are some simple tips to help you develop an effective website or brochure to promote your small business.

1. Clear objectives: what are you trying to achieve?

The most important thing is to always keep in mind why you are undertaking the project in the first place. For example if you are developing a website, is the primary objective to sell a product or to inform people about your business? You will include different information for different purposes. For example, if your want to sell a product, you will want to tell people why it is value for money. If it is an informational website, you may just wish to include items such as business location, contact details and company profile.

2. Speak directly to the person

It sounds obvious, but write with your market in mind. For example, if you are writing a website selling children's toys, your audience is probably parents. You might decide to adopt an informal and friendly tone, and highlight the educational benefits of your toys. However, if you are writing a brochure with the aim of trying to raise funds for a charitly, your audience might be local business. Your tone would be more formal and emphasize the benefits your project would bring to the local community and business.

3. Finish copy prior to the design process

It’s best to ensure your wording is finalised before you undertake the design process. People often get into trouble when they start making substantial changes to the text halfway through designing their publication. It’s time-consuming and costly to make major changes and additions to wording halfway through the design process.

4. Less is more

If you want people to actually read your publication, then definitely use less rather than more words. Particularly for websites, short sentences, short paragraphs and simple language work best. So avoid fancy words and make your points succinctly. in doing so, you will find that your writing becomes more readable.

5. Use principles of SEO

Keep in mind that websites can be written in a way that increases their search engine ranking. You can find out more information about Search Engine Optimisation below.

6. Professional help

A professional copywriter can also help ensure that you use the words that will have the most impact on your audience. Many marketing or graphic design companies can recommend a writer.

If you choose to write the publication yourself ask at least one other person to look over it for you. They should check for understanding, factual correctness, grammar and spelling.

You can choose to design your publication yourself or use a professional. Many people have designed simple fliers and brochures on their computers. However, paying for a good graphic designer should be viewed as an investment. Afterall, you are paying them to represent you and your business in the best possible light. If a publication is badly designed it may not be read at all. So please don't design it yourself unless you are confident of a good outcome.

These days there is also a range of free software on the web that can help you design your own web page. This is too complex to cover here. Learn more at:

Design briefs

7. Brief

It is wise to provide a designer with a written brief. This allows everyone to be clear about the aims of the project. The brief should be comprehensive and clearly state what you wish to achieve. As a professional, the designer is charging you for their time. It follows that the clearer you are about your needs, the less time there will be making changes to the design later. This will help to keep your project costs down with the added benefit that stress levels go down too.

Your brief does not have to be long, it may just be a few bullet points stating how you wish to use the publication, what sort of style and look you want it to have, what sort of format (size) and your publication wording.

You may find it useful to show the designer publications that you like. Think about why you like them and what elements appeal to your target audience. Do the words impact on you? Does the colour scheme appeal? Do you like the use of space or the images? Is it user friendly?

Sometimes it is also useful to identify the things that you really do not like in a publication, so you can specify what you definitely do not want.

You should not simply ask someone to copy the wording or design that you like. Apart from being unethical and breaching copyright, it also makes for bad marketing. A publication should reflect your individual business. Collecting samples is about developing a better understanding of what appeals to you and your audience.

An advantage of developing a written brief is that you will also find it easier to obtain accurate design quotes. If you only have a limited budget you can always explain to a designer what you are after and ask how much they can deliver for a set budget. When you receive the quote, check if it allows for changes to be made to the design. Most materials undergo at least three sets of changes before they are finalised.

Be prepared to accept feedback from your designer about your brief. A good designer should be able to provide expert feedback on a range of areas such as the size of your publication and printing considerations. If it is a large project the designer may first produce a design “concept” for you to approve, prior to completing the project for you.

8. Proofread

Before you send a publication to the printer or post it live on the web, ensure that a third party has checked it. Classic things to double-check are headings, dates, phone numbers, addresses, prices, names and details of company policies.

9. Good luck

Lastly, do not be afraid to be different. As long as you believe your wording and design is relevant to your audience, difference can help you impact on people in a positive way. Good luck.


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