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What Award-Winning Authors Can Teach Us About Marketing Copy

Reading Time: 3 minutes
stack of colorful old books by famous authors

Marketing copy lives on your website, your social media and in your email. It’s found on your landing pages, your direct mail materials and in search engines. Your copy stands among the millions of pieces of copy written for businesses just like yours. So how can you ensure your copy stands out?

“Write what should not be forgotten.”
– Isabel Allende

Creating unforgettable marketing copy is the first step in connecting with your audience. So how do you take award-winning author Allende’s advice in your copy? Start by mastering these tips from other award-winning authors.

Always Write a First Draft

Terry Pratchett was an award-winning author and storyteller, focused on the fantasy world with a comical spin. According to him,

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”

To tell your potential customers a compelling story, you must tell it to yourself first. A first draft is important for any type of copy, as it allows you to spill all your thoughts out onto the page. After you’ve completed your first pass, edit to keep what truly matters.

Practice Makes Perfect

Even the world’s best authors started out as amateurs. Octavia E. Butler, a science-fiction phenom, said it this way:

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.”

The more you write for your customers, the better you’ll get at it. The beauty of content is this: there’s always room for growth and you can always test new methods. Even when you feel like what you’re creating isn’t good enough, keep going, just like Butler:

“That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”

Readability Scores Matter

Created in the late forties, the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test helps determine what education level an individual needs to easily read a piece of text. The average adult reads at a grade level of 8, so your marketing copy should follow suit. Complicated copy isn’t a requirement to make an impact. Here’s proof:

  • Ernest Hemingway’s works score in the 4th grade reading level.
  • Jane Austen’s books such as Pride & Prejudice score in the 5th grade reading level.
  • And JK Rowling? Her works score between 5th and 6th grade.

The easier your copy is to read, the greater the number of potential customers who can enjoy it. Use tools such as the Hemingway app and your computer’s word-processing software to test your readability scores.

Tell a Story

If you want to grow your business, connection matters. After all, a connection between you and your potential customer drives conversion. Connection begins when your customers can relate to you and your story.

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Anton Chekhov’s words show us the importance of storytelling. In your marketing copy, meet your customers where they are, gently pulling them in. Don’t just tell your customers what you offer. Instead, show them how it can change their situation or their life. Be the glint of light.

Drop the Jargon

Sure, you’re an expert in your field. But you don’t have to add in a ton of jargon and industry-specific language to prove that point.

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words, like ‘what about lunch?”

The author of Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne, wasn’t just excited about grabbing a bite. Instead, he’s talking about what it’s like to talk to a friend. Talking to your potential customer like you would a friend will always build more connection than jargon ever will.

You Don’t Have to Be an Award-Winning Author to Get Content Right

With a little practice and a lot of great advice from those who have come before you, you can write marketing copy that truly connects and converts. To learn more about writing captivating website copy, send us a message.

Erin Larson