Re: Marketing writing

Subject: Re: Marketing writing
From: Carol Atack <carol -at- ANT -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 09:30:41 +0000

At 1:13 pm -0500 10/9/96, geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA wrote:
> Penny Staples asked for resources on marketing writing.
> Penny, here's one recent book that's received good reviews:

> King, Janice. 1995. Writing high-tech copy that sells. John
> Wiley and Sons, New York, 275 p.

> I haven't read the book, but Janice has been skillfully
> writing about marketing for several years now in _Technical
> Communication_ and elsewhere. If she's as good with books
> as she is with shorter pieces, this would be a great place
> to start.

I have read this book and would definitely recommend it as an introduction
to marketing writing of many forms. It is very helpful that the book is
oriented towards high-tech products, in my view. Selling technical widgets
is very different to selling toothpaste or nappies and general books on
copywriting don't help much when you need to communicate a very precise
message about highly technical product benefits. I don't think you could go
wrong with this book.

However I would also recommend doing your own research. Look at marketing
literature from other companies in the same or similar markets and work out
the techniques they use. Read the magazines in which adverts or advertorial
features will be placed. Check out trade shows and see what the benefits
your company and its competitors are promoting - what are the important
issues in this market? Ask sales and customer service colleagues what
customers like about your products.

Once you have analysed the points you will need to get across in your
literature, you will usually find that your product is sold on its ease of
installation/use, speed and power/whizzy features, and affordability. As
everyone else's products are sold on this basis too, you need to think up
something extra. (This is the hard bit).

If inspiration totally fails to strike, you can always fall back on cloning
the style of the competitive literature you like best, or writing a gentle
pastiche of last year's brochure.

Tech writers are usually in a good position to write marketing literature,
I think. After the long slog of the manual, the advert and brochure come as
light relief. Think of it as the champagne sorbet appetisers served between
courses at a stodgy banquet.

Marketing work also provides nice, compact, glossy samples of writing which
you can add to your portfolio. If I were selling marketing writing to tech
writers, I would probably put this quite high on the list of benefits

Carol Atack

Carol Atack Tel: +44 1223 518221
Email: mailto:carol -at- ant -dot- co -dot- uk WWW:

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