The #1 Way to Win More Corporate Writing Clients

July 26, 2010  |   Posted by :   |   Corporate Messaging,Corporate Writing,Slideshow   |   4 Comments»

Not one in 100 corporate writers knows this secret. But those who do will beat other corporate writers for more work every time. So what’s the secret? It’s so simple, it shouldn’t be a secret at all.

If you’re going to be a top corporate writer, you have to forget about writing. Because writing is the second step, not the first. Far too many corporate writers start at the end, without even knowing there’s a ‘beginning.’ And that beginning is so critical that, if you don’t recognize it, your copywriting skills might actually do more harm than good.

So what’s the mystery beginning that I’m talking about?  In a word, the message. It is the strategic foundation of your client’s story. Stripped of the tricks of good copywriting. Standing there naked and raw, for all to see. A strong message is so simple, so powerful, that it stands on its own. Your good copywriting skills will only make it stronger.

If you don’t have a strong message, then your copy will add only obscurity, instead of clarity.  (For more on this, please see my article, “The Einstein 9: The Secret to Better Corporate Writing?”.)”

There’s only one way I know to find the right message. And that’s to do the hard work, start at the beginning–and don’t stop asking ‘why’ until you’ve run out of questions (which may be long after your client runs out of patience; but, that’s okay; the reward will be better corporate writing).

Owning the message puts you in control.

Ever have a corporate client hand you someone else’s messaging strategy and say, “Here, say this.” Starting there commoditizes your corporate writing work and creates the proverbial ‘level playing field.’ Everyone’s a viable competitor, if the job is solely about the writing.

Far better to start at the beginning, before the writing ever starts. And develop the messaging strategy beneath the writing.

So what do you do if the messaging strategy is already built? (In my business, that happens about 50% of the time.) No worries; start by auditing the existing message strategy. Ask the tough, strategic questions that showcase how your value far exceeds that of a typical writer. Find the simple answer that will be the core of your message and springboard for your copy. (For a list of these strategic questions, please see my article, “21 Steps to Becoming Your CEO’s Best Friend.”)

If you’re uncomfortable questioning a corporate client’s messaging strategy, don’t be. As often as not, they’re questioning it themselves. And you can be the corporate writer who has the process that will guide you both to the simple answer. The stronger message. And the better corporate writing result.

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4 Comments for this entry

  • pharmacy technician

    July 27th, 2010 on 5:14 pm

    nice post. thanks.

  • Andy Bartling

    July 27th, 2010 on 6:05 pm

    Corporate Writer Insider note: Here’s a comment from the Copywriter’s Guild group on Linked In:

    “Excellent! Understanding and communicating the ‘why’ of the message is also key because it sets the stage as to how it will be received — and interpreted — by the intended target-audience. This is especially true if the message to be communicated needs to meet recipients of multiple demographics.”

  • Andy Bartling

    July 27th, 2010 on 11:30 pm

    Corporate Writer Insider note: Here’s another comment from the Copywriter’s Guild group on Linked In:

    “Hi Andy —

    I’m not surprised that this has worked for you. Most writers tend to focus on the mechanics of writing as opposed to breaking it down and understanding the ‘why’ of the message and making it palatable to the intended target audience. Believe it or not, I learned this as an in-house writer for Social Expression copy from the 2nd largest Greeting Card Company on the planet :). I’ve yet to understand why Social Expression copywriters are so dissed — we absolutely get it!”

  • Tracey Dooley

    September 30th, 2010 on 2:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Andy. Great advice, as always. And you’re totally spot on — the core message is central to the success of ANY marketing campaign.