A few words on marketing copy

I often visit Copyblogger to learn more about strategies for writing marketing copy.

The most important lesson I’ve learned: Marketing folks don’t know anything about language that journalists and other good writers don’t already know. All young writers struggle with some basic writing problems. But if a blog like this one is any indication, you’ll find that the people who contribute to the industry conversation about marketing content aren’t great writers.

The key differences between the marketing and nonmarketing content professional?

* Marketing copywriters use a different vocabulary. Content is a commodity. It’s largely weighed and measured in time and space rather than in ideas and elegance of expression.

And, as a result:

* Marketing pros measure content quality quantitatively. How quickly can a writer produce a 800-word page of Web content? How many clicks and phone calls will it generate? How many conversions will result?

For nerds like me, the content-analysis angle is fascinating. I like to study rhetorical devices in headlines, punchy calls to action, and the connotations of particular word choices for clarity, appropriateness and, yes, even poetry.

Practically speaking, this kind of word-crunching just can’t take place every day. It’s too subjective and doesn’t offer bursts of insight regarding the ROI. We have deadlines, and we produce a lot of content.

I am lucky to have the latitude to champion excellent content. Not all postapocalyptic editors are so lucky. As a result, I feel my main responsibility is to cultivate a broader understanding of what makes marketing and SEO types hum, so in sharing my expertise I can show them how good writing and editing add value (there’s one of those buzzwords!) to the organization.

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