A good marketing advertisement pays attention to both content and layout. But always, always, always, write the copy first. The design must reemphasize the strongest points in the copy, and never be created independently of it.
Otherwise, your ad look great but have too little substance, or have a visual message at odds with the text, or force your most important points into some hard-to-read corner.
Copywriters often have a sense of good design, and prepare a rough layout for the layout artist to work from (or, if the design is simple, actually create both elements together). But trying to fit copy to suit artwork and design is a definite no-no.
The only exception is in a very small piece. In some instances, like a business card with a strong graphic, you may have a very clear idea of the layout before you write the copy. If the whole idea is to dominate the page with a graphic, such as your company logo, and fit in contact information around it, obviously the words come second.
But always ask yourself if this card is doing the strongest selling job it can. Maybe you need a sales sentence and should shrink the logo down a bit unless your product, too, is graphically oriented. Make sure the artwork is appropriate to your message%u2014and if it isn’t, throw out the concept.
Effective Copywriting and Great copywriting:
1. Grabs the reader’s attention with something relevant;
2. Addresses the reader’s fears, anxieties, or aspirations;
3. Stresses benefits to the end user, not the features that lead to those benefits;
4. Offers to solve the reader’s problem, in the most concrete terms possible;
5. Provides the reader with a chance to acquire something of clear benefit, but only for a limited time;
6. Pulls the reader toward an immediate action step;
7. Shows the consequences of a failure to act;
8. Backs up claims with comparisons to the competition;
9. Includes solid, substantial proof of your claim by someone else (a customer, an expert); and
10. This should be obvious%u2014provides the necessary order form, address, telephone number and e-mail to allow the reader to move forward.
You may not get all ten in every marketing creation, but aim to include as many as you can. These group together into several bunches.
Writing promotional material is both a science and an art. Doing your own press release or flier copy is pretty straightforward. But if you’re going to spend a wad of money doing a brochure or newsletter, make sure the copy is up to snuff.
Certainly you can try to do your own, following the principles outlined above. But before you print the final, try out the piece on people who will give you accurate and detailed feedback. Writers who sell are writers who revise, so be prepared to do several drafts. Then leave it for a few days and come back to it with a fresh mind.
Or call in outside help. Either outline the project to a writer and wait for a draft, or write the first draft yourself and then let an editor put the magic in it. Whether you or the outside consultant prepare the first draft, expect to play with it. Make sure each section uses strong sales language. Examine the different sections together, to see if they fit well and are in the right order.
Where do you find writers and editors? Get recommendations from other business owners whose marketing materials you respect. Look in the Yellow Pages under Editorial Services, Marketing Consultants, Public Relations, or Publicity. Or, of course, have a look on web sites like elance.com or getacoder.com