Simple writing tips that work even when you think you're rubbish at writing
How do you feel when you have to write something? Perhaps an introduction for your website or a few words for your blog or a promotional mailing?
If you don’t feel very confident about the power of the words you use, you’re not alone. Most people sit for ages staring at a blank page, or put off the writing to some mysterious time when inspiration might strike.
Following a few simple rules can make anyone a better promotional writer.
Visitors will read (and visit/book) if you write the words they want to read. Simple! You just need to look inside their mind…
Easier said than done?
Let’s start with what you’re promoting. A tourism or hospitality business? Perhaps a holiday cottage or visitor attraction? Maybe a pub, café or B&B?
Whatever you offer, it’s likely you usually describe the features – the physical attributes and basic details such as ‘three bedrooms’, ‘great food’ or ‘fantastic location’.
Successful marketers look at things from a slightly different angle.
First of all, remember the one word that makes everyone pay attention: YOU
If you read ‘we offer a lovely place to stay…’ you might just tune out.
What happens when you read ‘you deserve a holiday’ or ‘imagine sinking into a squishy sofa and being able to just relax for a while’? These phrases don’t work every time but they stand a much better chance of triggering some positive thoughts.
Either using the word ‘you’ or addressing the reader more directly is more engaging than ‘we offer…’ It’s more likely to get results.
Painting a picture or imagining how someone might feel is powerful.
Is there a way you can make your business more appealing by writing more about the benefits of what you offer?
We tend to list features such as three bedrooms or a south-facing garden, instead of talking about the benefits.
Visitors spend money to gain benefits, to feel some kind of improvement in their life.
They might be simply swapping their own three-bedroomed house for your three-bedroomed cottage so you need to show the benefits of what you offer.
Benefits can be physical, social, health, spiritual or financial. They can be anything you choose, so long as they will appeal to your customers.
It’s easier to think about benefits by asking a simple question: ‘so what?’
Here are a couple of examples:
Feature: a south-facing garden
Ask - 'so what?'
Benefit: what does the south-facing garden mean for the visitor? Why is it good for them?
Benefit: ‘a lovely south-facing garden so you can relax and enjoy the sun’
Feature: great location
Benefit: you’ll be able to enjoy xxx (specific activities) with your friends and family.
Once you've thought about the benefits of what you offer, think about how you can perhaps change the way you describe them to use (or imply) the word ‘you’ instead of ‘we’.
There’s one easy extra way you can really convince your potential visitors.
Add some kind of ‘evidence’ or proof that the benefits are special. This could be a photo (e.g. someone enjoying the benefit), a brief quote from a happy guest or a little more detail.
Be as specific as you can – giving a few details will help visitors feel more ready to book or visit.