Copywriting For Hard Copy

copywriting-for-hard-copy

Copywriting For Hard Copy

Hello, this is Craig again.

Copywriting for Websites was working on an unusual client project recently. It falls somewhere between ghost writing (where the writer creates a document to be published under the client’s name) and translation from “foreign English” to standard English. All of this comes under the category of copywriting for hardcopy clients.

A little more information is required, without naming the client, so that you understand the circumstances a little better.

The client is a technical company, working in both engineering and hardware construction. The company is located in a non-English-speaking European country. Their personnel are predominantly from the home country and from other areas where English is not a native language. To make things easier to understand, lets just call the country “Nirvana.” The Nirvanians speak their own language, Nirvanan. They are not really familiar with English except as a second (or maybe third) language on a job site.

The Nirvanian client has an older English brochure they use in their marketing and public relations activities. They used this in both Nirvana and for their activities in international areas. They feel that English is the most widely used language in their marketing area and their technical arena. Therefore, they desire a presentable brochure that the majority of their potential customers can read and understand. That’s why they came to Copywriting for Websites.

Because of the “Websites” part of our name, they were a little hesitant to approach C4W. However, our expertise in their technical area convinced them that we would be a good selection. Luckily, Craig has a little exposure to Nirvanan. That made communications with them easier. We negotiated a deal, and C4W started working on the project.

Because they were in the middle of a marketing personnel change, the project was strained in terms of coordination, but we got the job done. Also, there were changes in some of their existing client areas. That meant we were aiming at a target that was sometimes moving politically as we wrote. But we did get the job done.

What was involved? Basically, C4W went through the existing brochure as a first draft. In doing this, we cleaned up the English so there was a firm basis for understanding the work. We also clarified some inconsistencies and rectified some misstatements. Next, we discussed some modifications to the brochure. These made it more of a selling device than a simple recital of their work experience. We also agreed on some fundamental ideas. After that, we adapted the existing text to the new ideas. Then fit things together with some new information. Finally, we dropped some policitally inappropriate text.

All that is left now is a final read over the finished product. This will assure that we catch all the typos and logical mistakes. It will also make sure we are consistent with numbers and names and formats before it goes to the printer. We also had to coordinate the text with the visual images they want to use in the brochure.

Think you could do that? Of course you can, otherwise you wouldn’t have read this far down the page! 🙂 The catch is to have your own expertise niche, where you can provide a useful service. Then sell, sell, sell, based on your advantages.

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Copywriting For Hard Copy

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Copy Writing Logic

Copy Writing Logic – Why You Need To Use Logical Reasoning In Your Copy

The Logical Process

Logical reasoning needs to be an important part of your copywriting product. The reason is simple to understand for a technical reader: when you write logically, then the content is simpler to understand for your reader. Example: 1 leads to 2, 2 leads to 3, 3 leads to 4, so – in a compact form – 1 ultimately leads to 4.

How can you organise your content logically? Well, I have to assume that if you are writing technical copy, you have to have a technical understanding of your subject matter, and that you have a goal in the content you are creating. Most technical articles have a common theme that is

  1. Describe the problem or goal
  2. Discuss the alternative solutions
  3. Sum up the plusses and minuses of each potential solution, and select the optium solution

Don’t forget to use actual (and current) technical information to support your discussions; this is a critical mistake that some authors make. Think of it this way – you are proposing a solution to a problem that must function, and it must be based on realisable premises. It is senseless to propose building a factory to produce copper on Mars if you can not provide a reasonable method to transport the copper to the potential users.

This is – in theory – child’s play, but there are usually complications that make the whole exercise more interesting. For example, what otherwise would be an optimum solution may not be feasible for non-technical reasons (community opinion or acceptance, cost, availability of resources – material and human, etc.). The clue here is to go about your “business” in a logical manner, discuss the constraints and restraints as well as the benefits, and make a logical selection that your logic train can support.

Another Direction

There are other types of content to consider, such as discussions of current results in research and development. Here, it is more logical to make your copy rich in actual results from the “owner” of the idea, as much as possible. Sometimes this is relatively easy, if the owner has published information in, for example, technical writings or patent applications. But you need to be careful here, there are some limits in what the idea’s owner will publish, and the limits often fall somewhere between incomplete and misleading. This is a natural urge to cover the critical parts of the owner’s work so that others can not steal the idea, and possibly come to market faster and with improvements on the original idea. On the other hand, the owner may also be willing to dicuss the concepts involved with you in exchange for certain inclusions in your content. This can be a positive development for both parties – the owner gets more publicity, and the copywriter gets better information.

Writing Style

Even articles that are based on strong content and logic are more widely read if they are entertaining as well as technically correct. That makes it important to use a writing style that is both clear enough to be technically understandable, and at the same time friendly and open. You need to remember this: on the websites where your work may be published, if the readers get bored or confused, they will leave. Once they are gone, it is very unlikely you will get them back again. One thing that helps retain readers is images. If there are accurate and applicable images, use them liberally in your content.

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to write a comment to this article. I welcome your input!

Jimmy Craig Hesser
for
Copywriting for Websites dot NET or COM

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