You can apply the Pareto Principle (80/20) to just about everything in marketing. This includes the wording on your websites, your social media and your physical marketing materials.
When I’m writing words for clients, I focus on two distinct factors:
The Theme – what topic should we cover?
The Detail – the exact wording to use
To my mind, choice of topic accounts for 80% of the impact and the detailed words just 20%. That’s not to say words are unimportant. They will make a huge difference. But not as much of a difference as hitting on the right topic (or picking an irrelevant topic).
Here’s an example. Say that an organisation struggles with staff retention. They employ a workforce of 20 but find that it’s difficult to hold onto their best people. The boss is on the internet, searching for a solution.
The boss taps some words into the search engine, something like ‘staff retention advice near me’. The top three results on google have the following headlines:
1 – HR & Employment Law Advice
2 – The Importance of Staff Retention
3 – Improving Staff Retention
Clearly, it’s the third one that resonates. Better staff retention is the boss’s big challenge – and the third headline promises to speak about that topic.
The webpage on HR & Employment law might be written more clearly. But the message is off topic – for this organisation in this moment.
So, when I tackle a copywriting project, I first focus on the target audience, what challenges they face, and what solution my client can offer. Then we can brainstorm the topic to cover. The detailed words are the final step.
And bear in mind that those words could appear as text on a webpage, or they might be in video or some other format. Written words are just one channel to get the right message in front of the right target audience.