The Key To Writing Marketing Copy That Gets Results

Jul 7, 2021

Successful marketers are persuasive. Whatever their medium – print, audio, video – the content and messages they create consistently prompt their target audience to take action.

There are multiple schools of thought about effective marketing, not to mention plenty of marketing and copywriting “experts” (legit or self-proclaimed) willing to offer you their insights through books, online courses, subscription newsletters, and other revenue-generating vehicles. Many of them offer excellent advice.

But there also is a seemingly unlimited amount of free online advice offering sound tips and strategies for writing deeply persuasive marketing copy. The advice ranges from the theoretical to the practical. I’ve pulled together five that jumped out at me for one reason or another. They are in no particular order. Let’s get going.

Know your audience

OK, right off the bat I lied, which admittedly isn’t a great long-term marketing strategy. The truth is, this first item – know your audience – actually is the most important piece of advice on the list, which now (so far at least) has a semblance of order!

You simply can’t hone an effective marketing message if you don’t know who it’s intended to persuade. One copywriting advice guy I read says “the key to great copywriting is to like your audience.” I understand where he’s coming from, but I would instead suggest it’s better to understand your target audience, particularly their needs and pain points that could be addressed by your company’s products or services.

While liking them might help get you there, doing some research would be even more illuminating and productive. Another way to help sharpen your understanding of the target audience is to create a profile or persona based on demographic data.

Know your message (and tighten it)

You can’t market effectively if you 1) don’t know what you’re marketing and 2) how to explain it in various levels of detail. The latter can be particularly challenging for healthcare technology companies that have complex platforms or services. There’s a lot to explain! One cofounder I know told me he knows the exact moment when he loses potential customers as he tries to explain his startup’s technology: “I can see their eyes glaze over.”

Eye glazing is never a good sign. Make sure you can explain your technology – and, more importantly, what problems it can solve – clearly and concisely. That’s a struggle for some technologist entrepreneurs, which is why many of them hire marketing and PR professionals to help them shape and deliver their message.

Write about your audience (not about what you’re selling)

Your content needs to read as if you’re personally addressing your target audience, as if you can read their minds and are on their side. The best copywriting puts the focus on the needs of the audience, not the merits of a product or service. Yes, those eventually will have to be discussed, but only in the context of solving a problem for the potential buyer. At all times, it is about the customer. A lot of “you” in your marketing content goes a long way.

Write for your medium

How you write content for a 2,000-word white paper will be dramatically different than how you would write 150 words of web copy for a home page. People who sit down to read a white paper they downloaded have different expectations than those who are surfing around looking for something to interest them – or a solution to their problems.

For the former, you have room to delve into how your technology works, how it applies to various use cases, etc. You can geek out. In the latter case, your mission is to capture readers’ attention and keep them on your site. That requires the equivalent of emotionally hard-hitting ad copy that leads to data capture, lead generation, and potential customers.

Invite a conversation

Granted, you can’t do this with every marketing asset. But a steady social media presence can enable you to have an ongoing dialog with members of your target market. There may not be an immediate revenue payoff, but social media is about the long game. It’s for building relationships, encouraging engagement, learning about your customers, and establishing a consistent voice for your brand. Writing for social media should be relatively informal and conversational.


Marketers have more tools and channels than ever for connecting with existing and potential customers. To get the most out of your marketing strategy and efforts, you must understand your target audience, know how to talk to them (depending on the medium), know what to say to them, and be eager to listen and learn.

Chris Nerney

Chris is a veteran healthcare and technology writer with more than 10 years of experience in content marketing following two decades in news and technology journalism. He has written healthcare and technology content for HIMSS, IBM, IDG, Unisys, DXC, Abbott, and many other clients as a freelancer, specializing in thought-leadership articles, white papers, blog posts, website copy, and pre- and post-conference material. He also is a podcast producer, writer, and cohost. Chris served as executive editor at, overseeing websites such as Datamation, eSecurityPlanet, Intranet Journal, and several others. He covered Internet startups and venture capital for in the late ‘90s, producing a weekly and a monthly newsletter. He began his technology writing career at Network World, launching the popular ‘Net Buzz column. He migrated to technology from news journalism, working as a news editor and entertainment section editor at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. Chris began his newspaper career in Massachusetts and was named the 1995 Editorial Writer of the Year by the New England Press Association. He has a B.S. in marketing and communications from Babson College. Chris also did standup comedy in the Boston area for five years, for reasons that elude him.