One time I received a book, of all things, to print for a customer and the copy on the book cover was, frankly, embarrassing. One would think that of all folks who print, one seeking book printing, yes an “author”, would have mastery of their words. Unfortunately the copy on the cover was so pitifully bad, in all respects that I just could not commit, as a book printer and as an educated person, to print a book in this fashion. My pity for this person led me to rewrite his copy on the cover for him as a favor. Needless to say, I was not going to venture into the text part of his book for fear of what I might find.
Now here is the issue: If an author can ignore quality copy writing for his own book printing, can you imagine what we get to see with copy quality or lack thereof for poster printing, magazine printing, catalog printing and the rest of the commercial printing gamut?
Let’s take a look at what can offer the commercial printing buyer an advantage when producing magazines, catalogs brochures and other items for their businesses.
1-Grammar- This should be obvious, but not to all unfortunately. Bad Grammar will dilute your message and lessen the chance of you making a sale. If your structure is muddy your message is thus muddy, unclear and you want your message to get across. Don’t use elongated sentences or paragraphs that run on forever. If you break up your thoughts with appropriate form and punctuation you create an easier read. An easier read, is a clearer message and closer to closing your sale.
2-Spelling- As above, misspellings not only dilute your message but they make your message sound less credible. Why would anyone want to buy something from an illiterate who as a result of that does not sound credible? Use spell check! Most people have Word or similar office programs, so use the spell check part BEFORE you turn in your magazine article, book printing or catalog printing project to the printing company. One note of caution here: Do not rely on it without checking the results, as if there is a choice between two words that sound the same but spell differently and with two different meanings (Shone/Shown) it will not be caught by spell check. It will also save you catching it a proofing time and thus save you tons of money that you would unnecessarily spend at your press re-doing new output.
3-Compelling Style- The biggest question you need to pose while posturing as your own customer is WHY YOU? Why should any stranger buy your product or buy from you at all? What distinguishes you from any other person selling the same or similar products? The answer is that you are potentially using compelling language. If you want folks to request your catalog or magazine, than you need copy that will compel them to want it and/or your products. How many times have you seen on TV an advert that essentially promises you what is “industry standard” and that you would wind up with anyway? An example would be a “money back guarantee”. Hey, if you were unhappy, you would be sending it back anyway, right? This is one example of the USP, the Universal Sales Proposition, which is the modern language of sales. Folks do not care about “what you have to offer”, or “what your capabilities and/or equipment list is, they want to know one thing: If you are printing their books or magazines, “HOW DOES IT BENEFIT ME TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOU”? The bottom line is that you need to be selling benefits and not “mission statements”!
4-Descriptive of Item- When you are describing your widget are you being clear and concise so that anyone can understand what it is? Unless your price is the lowest in your niche, or you are printing catalogs for a wholesaler of your products, if you can avoid adding prices, do so. It is better for the potential customer to contact you directly so that you can negotiate and close a sale.
5-Who Is Your Audience- If what you are about to do is catalog printing, are the items in your catalog appropriate to a certain niche or customer type. If they are you would best write copy that is most in tune with that audience. With magazine printing it would be more important as almost every magazine has an intended audience or niche topic. You would not reference rap musicians in a financial magazine, would you?
6-Add Urgency – Add a “Call to Action” with a simple CALL NOW for your free widget statement/button on your web. Don’t be afraid to ask your potential customer to commit to you, as if you do not, the odds are likely they will not. Consider including trends that people may want to keep up with. Add any items from the news that may relate to the importance of utilizing your product or service
7-K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple Stupid and make it an easy read. Make your points and make sure you leave the reader with a clear understanding of what you are selling and why it benefits them.
8-Keep It Interesting – Have fun with what you write. Take chances in order to get attention. Humor always works. If you are selling a product or a service, what you write does not need to by dry. See if your words can stand up on their own, without your images, and with the utmost clarity, simplicity and be compelling to the reader as well.
We look forward to working with you on your next project at our printing company, where you will not only find quality at the right price, but a bit of humor along the way, as that is what makes life interesting.
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