This is from my Periscope series #Obsidiscope, which went live back in October 2015. Here’s the first episode about writing for the end user – enjoy!
Who are you really writing for?
This is arguably the most important topic when you are writing any kind of copy or content. Now I’ll be coming at this particular episode as a freelancer who has different clients, rather than an in-house copywriter for a single employer, but the lesson still stands: write for your end user. You have to be fundamentally aware of the things that make your reader tick. It is important to get to the core of the message that’s required, but frame it from the end customer’s perspective at all times.
Empathy – or Failing That – Research!
Getting into the end users’ heads can be a problem if you’ve not written for a particular industry or type of audience before, but remember that the readers are human like all of us. They have a problem or a desire that the product or service in question will solve – and we’ve all been there! If you are really having problems, take a look online, preferably at forums that the end users of such products frequent. This might help you get into their mindset, as well as making you aware of how savvy the average customer is; what jargon you can include, what jargon you should explain, and anything you need to avoid totally.
That Old Chestnut: “Features, Not Benefits”
In all aspects, you need to use empathy and touch on the problems that the customer is looking to solve by purchasing the product or service in question. This is what copywriters mean when they say “sell on benefits, not features.”
Just so we are on the same page:
Features are the facts and figures of the product; size, specs, type, colour, speed, etc.
Benefits are things like peace of mind, saved time, reliability, entertainment, and so on.
You need to sell to the benefits that your reader will receive by purchasing, and the emotional and practical upshots that will come from that purchase. Focus in on the reader’s worries, wants and fears, and how a purchase from you will solve those issues.