Re: I have to write some Marketing Literature . . .

Subject: Re: I have to write some Marketing Literature . . .
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 21:13:53 PDT

Penny Staples writes:

>I'm a technical writer for a small engineering company. In addition
>to doing end-user manuals, product specs and requirements, I'm going
>to be responsible for writing and producing some marketing literature.

>This kind of thing interests me, but I know nothing about Marketing
>(and we don't have a Marketing department, so I have no one to ask).
>Any suggestions on books or web resources to get me started? Thanks!

Marketing writing is like any other kind of technical writing: figure
out what the people in your audience need to learn in order to do what
they have to do, and tell them that.

Since people read marketing literature before they commit themselves to
a product, they're not reading under the same level of duress as, say,
a technician whose assembly line is shut down until he can fix a broken
machine. So marketing literature is supposed to be more interesting
than ordinary technical writing, though it usually isn't.

Marketers have a tendency to approach the problem backwards. They worry
about the information they're trying to beam into the brains of their
readers. Good writers worry about what their readers want instead. A
person picking up a piece of literature does so with the -- well,
EXPECTATION is too strong a word -- with the HOPE that he will learn
some fairly specific things from it. Your job as a writer is to give
those things to him.

Thus, I contend that writing marketing literature starts with the exercise
of, "Suppose there's a brochure with our product name on it. What
will the people who read it up want to learn from it?" Then tell them that.

That's all there is to marketing copywriting. Grabby headlines, fancy
layouts, and slick paper are neither here nor there (and are not part
of copywriting proper). Those items serve at least one of three purposes:

1. They get the attention of a potential reader, thus increasing the
odds that the work will be read, or at least scanned.

2. They make an impression on the potential reader even if he doesn't
go beyond the headline and initial graphic.

3. They make people inside the company feel good.

All these things have their place, but they should have little or no
effect on the actual writing.

(Marketing writing needs to present concepts in a memorable way -- preferably
in an intriguing way that makes your product uniquely attractive -- but
then all writing should present concepts in a memorable way.)

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon, President/Managing Editor, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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