Tips for Preparing Copy

Too often we see a marketing presentation or magazine ad and find ourselves saying “What were they thinking?” Too many times, people find themselves jumping straight to preparing their material without taking the time to plan. So how do you rein yourself in and rescue your final product from overwhelming your audience with details?

Here are a few things to think about that we find really keep your message en pointe.

Reader Focus
Stop and take a moment to remind yourself why you are creating this product. What are you offering your audience? Use this information to guide your core messages and your assessment of the strength of your piece. If you can’t answer this question, it may be time to re-evaluate completely.

Once you’ve reminded yourself of your objective, take a step back and imagine looking at your work from the perspective of your core audience – do you clearly see the message or is it getting lost in all the details?

Trim the Excess
Can you say the same information with fewer words? Be concise and direct to provide clarity and to let your message stand out. This can take time, but deliberately choosing your words ensures you’re saying exactly what you need  — and no more.

Avoid Jargon
Carefully review your content and keep an eye out for the use of jargon. Simple, direct language will come across as sincere and authentic while unnecessary jargon can be confusing or pompous. Use short concise words to communicate – a sesquipedalian* will only complicate your message further.

Skim-Able
When was the last time you stopped to read something word for word? We often only have a few seconds of our audience’s attention in which to draw them in, particularly with digital content.  If you really want to keep your audience’s attention, keep material well organized with bullets, or headings and keep your paragraph lengths short.

Trust Your Designers
When your final product is something like an ad, logo, brand etc., remember how important the visual impact is. The design can communicate as much, or even more, as the copy. Find a design firm that you trust and rely on their expertise to help guide you. An accomplished designer will help you make sure that your core messages stand out and that you present that professional look that you desire.  A good designer will help you find that perfect balance between saying too much and saying nothing at all.

Final Thoughts
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “Be sincere. Be brief. Be seated.”

The advice may have been given in regards to public speaking, but has real value in advertising as well.  Be sincere and credible to your audience, get to the point and respect your audience’s time. Follow these guidelines and you will be well on your way.

You can contact thornley to learn how we can help you and your company with their design and communication needs.

*sesquipedalian: having many syllables; given to or characterized by the use of long words. Who knew?