5 Deadly Sins of B2B Copywriting

No, these “sins” aren’t new. However, they’re very easy to commit when lost in the vast fog of media choices and marketing tactics. Be forewarned.

Deadly Sin #1: Not attracting attention.

If you don’t attract attention with a compelling headline or opening of some kind, it doesn’t matter what follows. As David Ogilvy famously said, “If you haven’t done some selling in your headline, you have wasted 80 percent of your client’s money.” Work diligently on headlines and don’t try too hard to be clever.

Deadly Sin #2: Not identifying an audience need, concern, or problem.
In journalism parlance, this is called the hook. This is what tells your audience you understand them and sets up how you can help them.

Deadly Sin #3: Trying to impress the audience.
This can be a trap, even for experienced communicators. Deep down, most of us want to impress others. But the goal of B2B marketing communications is to say something clearly and persuasively. This usually requires simple, direct and conversational language. In other words, avoid jargon and a superior or stilted tone.

Deadly Sin #4: Not backing up claims.
Let’s face it, people are distrustful of marketers and PR types, with good reason. When you make a claim, back it up with testimonials, expert opinions, statistics, or other proof elements. Offer a guarantee. Do everything you reasonably can to be credible and trustworthy.

Deadly Sin #5: Lacking a clear call to action.
Whether an ad, Web page, or direct mailer, the call to action tells readers what to do next. If it’s missing or unclear, response suffers. In fact, it’s a good idea to know exactly what you want your audience to do before you develop concepts, write headlines, or select images.


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