Re: Shazam! You're a marketing writer!

Subject: Re: Shazam! You're a marketing writer!
From: quills -at- airmail -dot- net
To: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
Date: Tue, 05 May 2009 10:52:56 -0500

I try not to do this.

That said, and my wife being in marketing, try approaching it in the
following manner.

What are the products features, what makes the product helpful to the
customer. What points are the big sellers.

(You should talk to your marketing department to make sure you are in
line with them. If you don't have a marketing department, you have more
problems than can be answered here.)

When you sit down to write, with all of the information you have about
your customers and your product, write a story. A marketing writer is
more of a creative writer than a tech writer. This is where you are
going off track. You have to write to capture interest. If you have
journalism training you will understand that you have to capture them in
the first sentence. Everything else is presented after you have their
attention.

Write with entertainment more in your mind than pure infomation transfer.

And good luck.

Scott

Nancy Allison wrote:
> 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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