Shazam! You're a marketing writer!

Subject: Shazam! You're a marketing writer!
From: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 05 May 2009 10:21:05 -0500 (CDT)

I have been asked to put on a marketing writer's hat and write some stuff for the web site.

I am a tech writer in my bones and want nothing more than to give people the information they need as concisely (not to say *tersely*) as possible. I'm all about figuring out doc structure, page structure, topic structure, sentence structure, with associated headings and keywords and formatting so people can find what they need and recognize when they've found it.

Marketing is a related but definitely foreign language.

I've been down this path once before and crashed into the prickerbushes much too soon.

"It's too list-y,' grumbled my manager. "You've got a header, then a sentence-and-a-list, then a new header, then a sentence-and-a-list . . . that's not marketing writing."

I kinda got what he meant. I used bulleted lists because, for busy users who are trying to get their work done, that's what makes info pop out. (Yes, I know, tables, too. You get my drift: Terse and pared to the bone and organized to make key topics obvious.)

But marketing pieces, on the company web site, are trying to lure someone into a relationship with the product, right? They're more in seduction mode. Correct?

Please don't get hung up on the listy bit -- I have some marketing pieces in front of me and I do see bulleted lists hither and yon, but they do also have more of a conversational feel. I think that's the difference.

What advice would you give a tech writer who wants to do better this time? What's the difference, after all? When you put on your Marketing writer hat, how do you write differently?

Any suggestions gratefully received.
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