Advertising in 2021 is a long ways removed from the “golden age of advertising” both in time and quality. As we churn out copy for every conceivable channel and audience, what used to be art is now a commodity. We chase clicks and engagements rather than hearts and minds. I have a lot of trouble picturing Don Draper, Old Fashioned in hand, analyzing which combinations of Facebook ad copy received the most Likes. But you can be sure he would be berating Peggy for the latest numbers.

Because the advertising mediums of today are perceived as being lesser than those of 1965 does not mean that your copy can be crap. Sure the volume is higher, and you might have outsourced some of the social media stuff to interns. Even in 2020, your brand’s Tweets should be 🔥!

(And for those 1965 defenders: the top ten TV shows in the US included Gomer Pyle, Batman, and The Beverly Hillbillies, so maybe step off your high horse. Those shows make TikTok look like Shakespeare by comparison.)

There are three things to keep in mind when writing your marketing copy.

1. What is the goal of this ad/post/piece/campaign?

Your goal will determine your creative direction. Raising awareness of a product requires a different messaging strategy than if you’re trying to retain customer loyalty. It may even require an entirely different media mix. Set your goal at the very beginning of your creative process and everything else will fall into place. You can’t write one ad and expect it to accomplish all of your marketing goals across all mediums.

2. Who is the audience?

The audience is the overall group of people you want to sell to or reach. You need to decide who the primary customer is for your product, which is instrumental in measuring success. When you understand who your audience is, you’ll be equipped to craft messages which appeal specifically to them, grabbing their attention, and moving them down the marketing funnel.

3. Don’t try too hard.

There’s a fine line between copy that is cheesy or shameless and copy that sells. Your audience is smart enough to know the difference.

Keep your copy simple and use an economy of words. Take the thing you’re writing about and distill it down to the most essential aspect, and put that in a single sentence. Then, expand as necessary. Here’s an example of what I mean.

Here at Evergreen Media, we employ Captivate as our podcast hosting service. When I was evaluating different hosting providers, I did actually take notice of their marketing copy.

If you visit their homepage, you see they avoid cliched marketing phrases like “We’re a holistic system for facilitating podcast production.” While that’s alliterative, it doesn’t describe the service in a way that’s useful for a prospective customer. Instead, they outline the strengths of their service in six, easy to understand points.

  • Created for independent podcasters
  • Clean, simple and easy-to-use
  • Flexible podcasting with no contracts
  • Build your perfect podcasting team
  • Industry leading, personal support
  • Move your podcast to Captivate, for free!

Their copy could have gone completely off the rails with phrases like “changing the future of podcasting!” Or “made for podcasters by podcasters.” They kept it simple while highlighting their strengths and market differentiators.

Others to avoid:

  • In today’s world
  • Think outside the box
  • Paradigm shift
  • Groundbreaking
  • Award-winning
  • Real time
  • Breaking down silos
  • Big Data
  • “For just $19.99!” (What are you, an infomercial?)
  • Buy now!
  • 360-degree campaign

Your customers have already seen these in a thousand other pieces of advertising, and understand that it’s all bullshit filler. Instead, catch their eye with honesty and originality. Don’t strain for it!