Improve your Writing, Improve your business

Discover the 10 principles of effective business writing

 

Do you want to get better results from your business writing?

The majority of businesspeople, and almost all of those just starting their careers,  have never had writing training. In its absence, you’re in at the deep end: sink or swim. Sometimes, this approach works and you survive. At other times…

This Copywriting Fundamentals training course throws you a lifeline – and does more than save you from drowning under a torrent of writing projects. By attending, you can learn the skills you need to create effective business communications.

It’ll also help you to avoid developing bad habits, plug some gaps in your knowledge, and give you more confidence in your writing (whether it’s for your own company, or someone else’s).

However, if you’re still not convinced about the need for a solid grounding in these fundamentals, take a glance at the following table. Do you recognise the situations on the left? Now look at the right-hand column: isn’t that where you want to be?

The writing problems you face

You keep losing track

It’s a curse for many writers. When you’re full of ideas, have loads of information to share, and a deadline to hit, it can be a struggle to stay focused.

It’s as if the scope of the project is overwhelming, and creativity is blocking the path to progress. With the due date looming, you scramble around and get something written that just does the job – but which could be so much better.

You’re not grabbing attention

Your words aren’t just competing with those of your industry rivals; they’re up against every other communication that’s tempting your audience too.

The result is that people don’t even notice the majority of websites, videos, brochures, tweets, posts, ads, white papers, and so on – let alone read them and act. So your work’s going to waste.

Your copy’s not sparkling

If your writing fails to maintain the interest of the majority of readers, they’ll stop paying attention and wander off.

That’s because they’re just like you and me – busy, and suffering from information overload. So find a way to make your content sparkle while remaining relevant.

Your first draft’s also your last

When you’re writing for business, it’s easy to start feeling the pressure of the clock. This can lead to rushed writing, and not enough time to edit properly.

Even when writing a short email, you’ll improve its effectiveness if you do more than one draft. And the longer – and more important – the communication, the more drafts you’ll need.

The writing solutions you want

You want to stay on course

Life would be much easier if you could capture your ideas, funnel the information you have, and meet the deadline with time to spare.

Although this sounds like a dream, there are ways to make it happen. By following proven processes, your writing will stay on track and you’ll start achieving the results you want.

You want to cut through

To pull people in and get them reading, you need high-impact headlines and sub-heads – plus evocative and persuasive body text across multiple platforms.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a selection of headline styles that work in many different media – including social?

You want to sustain interest

The best way to maintain the interest of your reader is to explain what benefit your product or service delivers.

Listing features isn’t enough. You must understand the needs and aspirations of your readers, and then write about the benefits – how your product or service solves their issues.

You want an editing process

With a plan in place, you should be able to write a first draft and then start the editing process quite easily – and all within the agreed deadline for publication.

Your timeline must also allow for proofing, re-drafting, and feedback from colleagues too. Then you can produce the final version.

Get what you want – with Copywriting Fundamentals from RichWords

This one-day training course covers the 10 key principles of effective business writing, taking you from planning and then creating the text through to editing and proofing. You’ll practise techniques that solve your everyday problems, and put you on the road to becoming a more accomplished and successful business writer.

The 10 principles cover the three broad stages of copywriting – before you write, while you write, and after you’ve written:

BEFORE YOU WRITE

1. Purpose – why are you writing?

2. Person – who are you writing for?

3. Planning – what structures can you use?

WHILE YOU WRITE

4. Headline styles – including for social

5. & 6. Write clearly… and concisely

7. Focus on benefits

AFTER YOU’VE WRITTEN

8. The 3-stage edit

9. Fool-proof proofing

10. The feedback loop

1. Purpose – why are you writing?

The Copywriting Fundamentals training course begins with a discussion: which three questions need answering before you’re ready to start writing?

The answers help you to create a plan of action, and to determine whether your goals are clear. Without a plan, you’re far more likely to lose all sense of direction – and then waste time and energy stumbling around in search of the right route.

What’s more, the writing that results from this kind of unstructured approach is bound to be confusing, annoying, or alienating for your readers – sometimes all three. This is not a recommended path if you want to achieve copywriting success.

Whatever your purpose, keep it in mind throughout the writing process.

2. Person – who are you writing for?

The most effective communications are highly relevant to the intended audience. We’re all more likely to pay attention (and act) if a message relates directly to our situation, state of mind, or feelings.

To make a connection in this way, you must first identify your reader. It’s useful to think about just one reader, or type of reader (sometimes called a ‘persona’), since writing to an individual makes the message more personal and engaging.

Identifying your reader in this way encourages you to write messages that resonate.

Being reader-centric brings empathy and relevance to your writing, keeping your words focused on what interests him or her – rather than whatever’s on the top of your agenda.

This idea underpins the first exercise of the day, in which you create a persona for your communications. This is something that will prove useful for the exercises later in the session and, even more importantly, once you’re back at your own desk and writing.

3. Planning – what structures can you use?

The structure underpinning any communication should guide your reader towards action – more specifically, whatever it is you’d like him or her to do.

To move your reader in the right direction, the structure should help you to build your message in stages so that rational arguments combine with writing that engages the reader’s emotions.

There are three types of structure that work, and you’ll learn about them all on this day.

However, the evidence suggests that one is far more likely than the others to encourage action (including generating sales). Not surprisingly, this third approach is the one we focus on – and which you’ll implement – on the Copywriting Fundamentals course.

4. Headline styles – including for social

Your headline is the first signpost that the reader will see, so it needs to grab his or her attention and give a sense of the general direction of travel.

If your headline is compelling enough for your reader to take notice, and suggests what’s in store, you’re already over the first hurdle: the reader is a step closer to completing the action that fulfils your objective.

Copywriting Fundamentals covers three of the most effective headline styles.

This means that by the end of this single day’s training, you’ll have a trio of tricks (from the dozen or more techniques available) to draw upon when tackling what’s sometimes the hardest task: creating an impactful headline.

You’ll also discover some tips for creating social media headers, including the ideal length of titles on Facebook and LinkedIn, and the things to remember when creating paid-for link headlines.

5. & 6. Write clearly and concisely

While clarity out-trumps brevity, effective copy tends to be both clear and concise.

Being clear in your writing involves making your content unambiguous and easy to read – ensuring there are no discrepancies between your intentions and the perceptions of your reader.

Our emphasis on brevity is about getting to the point, avoiding repetition and eliminating waffle.

You’ll learn the techniques for achieving both clarity and brevity in your business writing.

Incidentally, when talking about the need to be brief, we’re not suggesting you avoid writing long copy. Research into direct mail response rates reveals that longer texts tend to out-sell shorter ones (when the quality of the writing is comparable).

By adopting our recommended approaches, you’ll save the reader time and effort – simply because your communications will avoid being long-winded and hard to read. What’s more, these techniques also expand the size of your potential audience by helping you to omit jargon and corporate-speak.

On the one-day Copywriting Fundamentals training course, you’ll discover how long your sentences need to be (on average) to maximise the reader’s level of understanding on first reading.

7. Focus on benefits

Your writing should constitute a convincing response to the question on every reader’s mind: “What’s in it for me?”

To do this, the emphasis must always be upon the reader and solving his or her problem. Looking at it from your point view: the benefits that your products or services deliver are the solution(s) to the reader’s most burning issue.

Writing with benefits to the fore helps to keep your communication both interesting and relevant to the reader. Done in the right way, stressing the advantages also counters a reader’s typical objections – helping to strengthen your case and drive the reader towards the action you want him or her to take.

This course lets you discover how to write about the benefits that matter to your reader.

In just one day, you’ll understand why product or service features alone aren’t enough – and yet discover how to use them as the basis for your benefits-laden text.

8. The 3-stage edit

Editing helps us to put our communications back on track when we’ve wandered off our intended route – usually when exploring an interesting avenue of discussion and/or forgotten our purpose.

Your best chance of spotting a diversion in your writing is at the editing stage.

This stage should only start several hours – if not a day or more – after you’ve finished the first draft. The break between writing and editing will help you absorb the words with your reader in mind. And this will increase your chances of spotting and eliminating any irrelevant content.

RichWords recommends a three-stage editing process that makes sure your copywriting doesn’t lead you along non-commercial blind alleys.

9. Fool-proof proofing

Just like editing, proof reading (or proofing) is a separate activity from writing. Both should be done using a printed piece of paper, since this is both easier and more effective than trying to do either on screen.

This one-day RichWords training course teaches you an infallible proof reading method.

Although time-consuming, it eliminates mistakes. If you’re not sure whether it’s worth the effort, consider this: is it better to attract the attention of your reader for the right reasons – compelling and emotionally-engaging content – or the wrong ones, such as typos, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and other distracting inconsistencies, omissions, and inclusions?

To be clear, Copywriting Fundamentals does not teach you the skills of a professional proofreader, or provide a run-down of the universally accepted proofing marks. Instead, you learn a proven method for proofing used by professional business writers.

10. The feedback loop

You’ve planned, written, edited and proofed your communication, but it’s still not time to publish. That’s because there’s always someone else who could, or should, take a look at it first.

You have to factor this into your planning, allowing time for others (or another) to read and comment. Gaining this feedback is useful, since it will demonstrate how your copy comes across to other people.

Is your message as clear as it could be? Could a reader misunderstand, or be confused by, what you’ve written? Do you grab attention with your headline and maintain interest? Do you lead the reader towards your call to action?

The Copywriting Fundamentals training course allows time to discuss the feedback loop.

And, although you won’t have time to re-write any exercises on the day itself, coming on the course entitles you to something else:

Three hours of FREE ADVICE from RichWords.

Simply submit three pieces of work to richard@richwords.co.uk in the three months following your completion of the course, along with some information about your target reader and communication objective(s).

Richard will get back to you as soon as possible with expert feedback on your business writing – at absolutely no charge.

Copywriting Fundamentals: Training structure

Here’s the basic schedule for this one-day Copywriting Fundamentals training course:

TIMINGS CONTENT DELEGATE ACTIVITY
09.30 – 09.45 Introductions
Agenda for the day
Interactive Group Session
09.45 – 10.15 Purpose; Person; Planning Interactive Group Session

Group Exercise (Creating a Persona)

10.15 – 10.20 Break
10.20 – 11.20 Headline styles: 3 approaches

Headlines for social media

Interactive Group Session

Individual Exercise (Writing a paid-for link header)

11.20 – 11.30 Break
11.30 – 13.00 Clarity and brevity
Conversational copy
Interactive Group Session
Pairs Exercise (Sparkling Copy)
13.00 – 13.45 Lunch Break
13.45 – 14.30 Focus on benefits Interactive Group Session
Group Exercise (Benefits)
14.30 – 14.35 Break
14.35 – 15.00 Editing; Readability; Proofing Interactive Group Session
Pairs Exercise (Proofing Practice)
15.00 – 15.10 Break
15.10 – 16.00 Final Exercise Individuals (Copywriting Fundamentals in action)
16.00 – 16.25 Final Exercise Review
Conclusions
Interactive Group Session
16.25 – 16.30 Feedback Sheets Individuals

Is this Copywriting Fundamentals training course for you?
If you want to learn the 10 principles of copywriting and improve your business communications, this one-day training workshop is for you.

Your area of business shouldn’t be a barrier to attending this course; you can apply the principles to written communications originating from any industry sector, and aimed at any audience.

In fact, RichWords has helped companies from sectors as diverse as construction, consumer electronics, energy, information technology, manufacturing, professional services, retail, telecommunications, and transportation.

“This training session was informative, fun and made total sense. I will certainly be cascading this down to as many people as possible. Fantastic!”

One of 84 delegates who attended a series of web-based training sessions.

What to do next

To reserve your place on our next Copywriting Fundamentals course (details below), please email richard@richwords.co.uk

 

Where’s it happening?

The Board Room – University of Suffolk Waterfront Campus, 19 Neptune Quay Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1QJ

When?

Friday, May 19th: 9.30am – 4.30pm

What’s the cost (incl. VAT)?

Early bird: £140 for payments before 21/04/17
Full price: £175 for later payments
Extra delegates: £125 each. First delegate pays the early bird/full price; other attendees must book at the same time.

Cost includes all course materials, plus refreshments throughout the day (excluding lunch). The waterfront area has plenty of cafes and restaurants to explore.

Remember: you can save at least 20% if you book before the deadline by emailing richard@richwords.co.uk

TOP