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Writing marketing content

This section is specifically about writing web content that has a sales angle to it.

This can include writing promotions/invitations for ECU events, writing social media posts, writing internal newsletters for staff or students, or writing news-style articles.

Everything we’ve said in the other 'Writing for the web' pages still applies here.

But marketing communication is created with the purpose of either enhancing ECU’s reputation (or brand), or trying to increase student enrolments. So it requires some extra effort in what and how you write.

Your headline is crucial

If you can’t grab your reader with a compelling headline you’ve wasted your time on the rest of your piece.

Spend time developing a number of headlines and test them with colleagues or even clients (using features like ‘AB Testing’ in MailChimp, for example).

Ensure headers and sub-headers are specific. Remember, the reader may be scanning a long list of stories/Google search results.

Write like this: Learn how Sally turned her industry placement into a job offer

Not like this: Celebrating student success

It’s not unreasonable to spend at least 20% of your overall time to produce the communication on nailing a good headline. It’s that important.

Writing compelling headlines

When you’re trying to compose a headline, remember the 4 U’s.

Urgency – your content should be topical, relevant and vital, making the reader feel like they don’t want to skip it.

Usefulness – because people want answers to problems, your headline should promise a solution, strategy or some kind of useful information to your reader.

Uniqueness – your headline needs to showcase what makes your brand unique. And don’t be afraid to be funny or unique in your writing style too.

Ultra-specific – people respond better to specifics. Try to add a little detail to your headline, but without making it overly long. The shorter you can make a headline, the better, but 5-8 words is regarded as optimal.

Social media headlines

Compelling content is no guarantee for higher click-through rates on your social media updates. People decide whether your content is worth their time in a split second.

You need a catchy headline (and an image) for a Facebook post, for example, because it may be the only interaction you’ll get with your audience.

A great headline will also help you get your content shared with others.

One other thing to be mindful of is the length of your headlines. There are character limits for different social media channels, such as Twitter (70) and Facebook (25).

Email and eDM subject lines

Similar to the advice about headlines above, if you want someone to open your email or direct mail piece, give a lot of thought to the subject line.

If possible, make it personal and make it relevant to your target audience.

Your audience

Always put your audience first. They’ll be exposed to thousands of marketing messages in a day, so why should they care about what you have to say? What problem does your writing help solve? What value does it create, i.e. what’s in it for them?

In short, get to the point…

Write like this: This sponsorship will provide Exercise Science students with valuable industry placement and research opportunities…

Not like this: ECU is proud to celebrate our new sponsorship. Help us mark the beginning of this partnership…blah, blah

The call-to-action

One thing that sets marketing communications apart from others is a call-to-action.

It’s really important that you’re clear on what you want the reader to do after reading your communication.

Calls-to-action usually compel someone to:

  • make an enquiry (via email or phone)
  • apply for a course or a scholarship
  • respond to an event invitation
  • visit a web page that contains more information

Write like this: To kick-start your next career, check out our postgraduate study page to learn more about our courses and flexible study options.

Not like this: There is more information about postgraduate study here.

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