For PR professionals, writing copy with audiences in mind is second nature. It is an everyday task and is a tactic that we use to work towards meeting with client objectives. However, when this becomes the responsibility of a business owner it can be a challenge too far.
When you launch a company, it is up to you to create a brand, develop a product and test a service. This level of control can make it difficult to change your mindset back to thinking about others and their needs first.
Understanding the audience
Writing copy isn’t just about updating a website or creating a newsletter. There needs to be a purpose and call to action. Knowing your audience will give helpful insight that can be used to shape content.
Prospective customers may want to better understand how to use a product. There are often hacks which share multiple uses of an item. This is common in the household cleaning market. For example, it may be a disinfectant which can be rubbed over radiators to become a subtle air freshener.
Thinking slightly differently about content and how useful it will be for the reader will provide focus. Mapping what you want to write and what you hope the audience will get out of it will also help. Consider three things that you want them to take away and set out sub-headings. This will provide structure and purpose.
Effective use of resource
The importance of writing copy with an audience in mind is important, particularly when you consider the lack of resource that most businesses have. Rather than doing something quickly, and therefore badly, time should be allocated to better communicating with audiences.
PR and marketing content should be a priority for every organisation, but this isn’t the case. Communications is mistakenly considered a ‘nice to have’.
Allocating the resource needed to write effective copy will mean the content shared is of a quality representative to the brand. No director would tell someone to put 50 per cent effort into anything and creating content is no different.
Giving people the right amount of time and the opportunity to produce work that they can be proud of will have a far more positive impact on a business.
Using the tools available
Some companies have an impressive website with well curated copy that is uploaded to a blog. They may also have white papers or resources available to download too. Although this content has real value to that business, they fail to share it beyond the site.
What this organisation could do is to share links across relevant social media channels. The copy could also be repurposed as an article for LinkedIn or as small snippets for Twitter and Instagram. Leaving it exclusively on the blog simply reduces the results that could be achieved.
Again, allocating time is essential if a business wants to use social media tools effectively. It is no good to post a link and consider that job done. It is important that these are then monitored and that any comments are captured and responded to.
What this additional effort will do is further showcase what can be achieved when PR becomes a priority.
Accepting things may need to change
Being flexible when it comes to PR is a must. Communications is often about test and measure and that may mean moving the goal posts or going back to the drawing board. It may be that the medium isn’t right or that the social media platform chosen isn’t working as well as expected.
The beauty with PR is that this can be done quickly and easily. Changing direction is not uncommon and can lead to far stronger results. In order for this to happen, those responsible need to accept that things change.
The best return on investment will come from a PR plan and content strategy that evolves over time.
Again, considering the needs of the audience at every stage is key. People mature and so too do brands. Amending the way that you communicate with audiences, and adapting to fit their needs, will encourage greater loyalty over a longer timeframe.
Sharing the results
As a forgotten relative, the results that are achieved through PR should be shared at the highest level. Including figures, audience reach, feedback and measures of success in board papers is just the start.
The metrics to any content strategy will develop over time. This will become apparent from what impact communications have on audiences. Being specific about objectives and campaign KPIs will help with this.
Going back to a call to action, it will become apparent whether people have changed behaviours or purchasing decisions as a result of the way a brand communicates. The results will allow that company to continue with the campaign or adapt to better meet with the objectives set.
Creating communities with purpose
Ultimately, the main reason we write copy for an audience is to encourage an action. We want those reading the content to do something with it. This may be changing opinion, educating them about a company or encouraging someone to purchase.
There are many reasons that directors can use PR to benefit their business. It all depends on the company, its strategy and what it hopes to achieve.
Those brands that get most from PR will be those that focus on creating communities with purpose. This delivers audiences that are far more than figures on a page. They become brand advocates, loyal purchasers and trusted shoppers.
Once a brand has a community in place, this can be used to collate feedback, measure success, trial new products and bolster the bottom line. I don’t know any business that would turn their back on that.