2018 Book Guide

The Difference Between Academic Writing And Business Writing

By Shirley Taylor

Academic writing is formal, often using the third person and passive voice. Business writing is less formal, more direct and concise, using active voice.

Long sentences are fine in academic writing, but they are very cumbersome in business writing.

Students need to show a wide vocabulary so they use complex words and long sentences. Business writers must get their ideas across quickly, so they use simple words and short sentences.

Let's look at these differences in more detail:

Students write to demonstrate learning!

Schools, colleges and universities exist to share knowledge and to help students do the same. The writing that students produce in academic settings can best be described as "writing to demonstrate what you have learned."

Students write to discuss and explore different topics, to argue a case, to demonstrate what they have learned to teachers and professors. They need to prove they can think about and apply what they learned. Students need to persuade readers of a particular theory or develop information gained from research.

The writing that students hand to instructors or professors indicates how their mind works, how much they know, and what they think and feel about particular topics.

In academic writing, students write to demonstrate learning, to impress!

Business writers write to get things done!

In the business world, we write to share information, to solve problems, to propose new strategies, to negotiate contracts, to report progress to stakeholders, etc.

When we write in business - to managers, employees, customers, vendors, stakeholders, etc - we need to give clear information and explain what we want or what we want others to do. Business writers often recommend specific courses of action to their readers. Therefore, writing in business contexts can best be described as "writing to do."

In business, we need to get things done quickly, so we need to express ourselves clearly! Clarity is key and this should be the main focus in all business writing.

In business writing, we write to get things done - to express!

6 Steps to Write Persuasive Copy

By Juan Israel Ortiz 

One of the most dreaded tasks for entrepreneurs is to come up with words to promote their offers. Especially when they know little-to-nothing about marketing and advertising.

Copywriting can be intimidating and confusing in the beginning. But it doesn't have to be. In fact, learning about copywriting is perhaps one of the best things you can do for your business.

But you have to understand right off the bat - being a successful copywriter requires a lot of discipline when writing, and a set of principles that you need to apply.

Step 1: Research

The first thing you need to do is dig up as much information about your offer as you can. Look through old marketing pieces to find data that can be useful for writing new campaigns.

If yours is a new offer with no marketing attached, don't worry - that's not an issue. Because new products and services are usually preceded by a lot of paperwork: employee memos, blueprints, and the likes. Just make sure to collect as much information as you can about the offer.

Also, if possible, make an effort to find out as much as you can about the competition - what their strategy is, how they design their marketing, and what approach they take when presenting content and copy to the market.

Step 2: Analyze

Once you have collected all the information possible about the offer, you're going to dissect that information to get what you need for your copywriting assignment.

Essentially, you are going to focus on three things: 1) the offer itself, 2) the market, and 3) the marketing campaign.

Getting Info for the Offer

For the offer, you are looking for what makes you different than your competitors. Make a list of all of your offer's features, and come up with at least a benefit and a promise you can make for each. Then find which of the benefits or promises stand out over your competition - and that's going to be the focus of your copywriting pieces.

If there's nothing about the offer that is different from your competitors', then find what benefits has not been stressed out by the competition, and make them the focus of your advertising efforts. It can be anything from product reliability, an economical offer, customer support, or the guarantee.

Getting Info on the Market

When you look at your market, try to create the ideal customer in your head.

Are they male or female? How old are they? Do they know about your offer? Have they bought any of your other offers before? What do they love about your offer? How will they pay? What's their concern and what can you do to eliminate it?

All of those questions will help you create your ideal client - the person you will address in your marketing and advertising campaigns. This will make your copy more conversational, and more appealing than a generic letter trying to appeal everyone.

Getting Info for the Campaign

And finally, when analyzing your data for your campaign, you will be looking for what has worked, what hasn't, and what has not been give the light of day. This information will help you decide what you will include on your campaign, how to present it to the market, and which channels will best for you to do so.

Once you have collected and dissected all the data, then it is time to sit down and start writing.

Step 3: Grab Attention

The first thing you need to do with your marketing and advertising campaigns is to immediately grab the attention of your target market. This will be the job of your headline.

The headline is that very first sentence your audience reads or hears when you they meet your advertisement. And with attention spans narrowing more and more as time goes on, your headlines need to be most effective and drawing the audience into your offer.

Here's where you can separate the good copywriters from the bad ones. Because bad copywriters tend to open their advertisements with comedy - something cute or funny. Maybe because they don't believe in the product. Or perhaps they don't know what they doing.

Efficient copywriters, on the other hand, know of the importance of the headline, and work hard to present the audience something they can sink their teeth into. They either make an appealing promise, draw a picture, state a fact, or asks the audience a question.

The effective copywriter's approach to headlines not only grabs the attention of the people. It grabs the attention of the people you want - those willing to buy your offer.

Step 4: Hook Them Up

Once you get the audience's attention, you got to keep the ball rolling. To do so, you need to have the first few paragraphs (also known as lead paragraphs), to build a relationship between the audience and your offer. And you do so by delivering immediately on what you stated in the headline, while introducing them to your big idea (aka your offer).

You can approach your audience with your lead directly or indirectly. Your approach would depend on the type of offer, your market, and the perceived value of the offer.

Direct Leads

Copywriters use a direct approach for offers which value is commonly known by the market.

In the direct approach, the copywriter pulls no punches - they straight to the point with the offer. And they do it by presenting a promise and the offer right away, inviting the audience to accept the offer, or presenting a problem with the offer as its solution.

Copywriters use direct leads for free offers, gifts, subscriptions, and trial offers.

Indirect Leads

The indirect approach works well when you need to create a value for your offer. And you do so by leading your audience into the offer in a roundabout way.

Copywriters can make industry predictions, tell stories, or reveal secrets and systems to hook the audience with the offer. You can find this approach used in advertising for newsletters, information products, and advising services.

If you use the correct approach to your first paragraphs you will have captured the interest of your audience. And that means the stage is set for you to pitch your offer to the market.

Step 5: Persuade

Ready to step your selling skills up a notch?

Because you have reached the body of your advertisement. The body copy is the steak, so to speak. And this is where you will either gain a sale, or have the audience turn the page and look for something else.

To prevent the market to walk away from your offer, you need to make them feel like your offer is worth their investment. You have already engaged them on an emotional level, so let's not throw that away. Instead, let's give some rationale to that emotional connection by giving the audience reasons to get your offer.

Here are five ways to do so:

Make and prove claims. If your offer allows you to take a scientific approach to your advertising, go for it. Consumers want to know if there is previous evidence that they can get what you are offering. If you can give them proof, the better chances are that can close this sale.

Restate the promise. If you feel like your headline did not present the promise clearly or convincingly enough, you might want to take the body copy to elaborate on the importance of what you are offering.

Show benefits. Another way to make the best use of your body copy is to outline all - or at least the most important - benefits that the buyer will get from the offer. As a side strategy, you might want to take your two most important benefits and bookend your body copy with them. Just to keep the audience interested from beginning to end.

Present your USP. USP stands from Unique Selling Proposition. And if you have a compelling USP, then break it down on your body copy. That way, you will truly set yourself apart from the competition.

State or restate your offer. If you haven't presented your offer yet, or you haven't elaborated enough on it, then take it to the body copy and let the audience know exactly what you have in store for them.

Step 6: Close the Sale

Finally, after all the presenting and explaining - it's time to go after the sale.

This doesn't have to be as hard as many make it to be. Simply instruct the audience on what they need to do to buy the offer. And that's that.

Let them know which phone number they have to call. Or what website they must visit. Or to fill out the form you sent with the letter.

Whatever steps they need to take to buy your offer, let them know

And that's how you can create persuasive copy for your advertising pieces.

Is there a step that I missed or something you want to add to this article? Please let me know by sending an email to juanisraelortiz@brandanddeal.com

Juan Israel Ortiz is a direct response copywriter and digital marketing specialist. He is the founder of Brand and Deal Communications and an alumnus of the University of Illinois' Cousera program. Follow him on Twitter (@juanisraelortiz) for more information.

The 4 Components to Building an Author Platform

By Sandra N. Peoples

What is an author platform?

An author platform focuses on who you are as the author, and how many people you influence. It is what you represent. It is what comes to mind when people hear your name.

There are four components to building a platform as an author.

Authors should think of themselves in the same way as celebrities do. Becoming famous does not happen overnight. In fact, you don't become famous without having a following.

And you can't have a following without first having a presence. People have to come to know you as an author. They must encounter your brand in order to get to you.

Many new authors tend to believe that the only thing they need to focus on is writing the book; when that is so far from the truth. As an author, yes, you must write books; but, you also have to think about how you are going to get in front of the people who matter the most to your career: your readers.

What are the four components to building your platform as an author?

1. Presence. How will people find you if they don't even know that you exist in the first place? You must spend time doing the things that will get you in front of the people who will be reading and promoting both you and your work. Having a presence opens doors for opportunities you may have never imagined in your life. Social media has made it easy to build your presence online.

2. Relationships. This has to do with the people who can help further your reach and exposure as an author. It is the bloggers, the radio show hosts, the newspapers, magazines, and other forms of media. What connections are you building with the people that can help you get in front of the people who will one day become your fans and supporters? The relationships you build determine how big you can play in the world.

3. Tribe. You have to become the person your reader wants and needs to meet. The person your reader wants to connect with. Take time to get to know your readers. Authors become their readers BFIMH (Best Friend In My Head). But you can't become that, if they don't know you, and you don't know them. Once your readers have to come to know you, and love you, they will become a member of your tribe. They will be your biggest supporters, and will help spread the news of your works, appearances, and more. Tribe members don't ask to be compensated; they support you because they love you.

4. Brand. What do you stand for in the eyes of your readers? Are you a hot male romance author? Do you write Christian erotica? Whatever it is that makes you unique, is a part of your brand.

Focus on building your platform as an author. It will determine the success or failure of your career. Though it may take time, effort, energy, and even finances, having a solid foundation is well worth the sacrifice.

Sandra N. Peoples is an author and publisher with a business brain. Over the years, her amassed skill set has allowed her to be able to train countless authors & entrepreneurs on how to use books as a business tool to get clients. An award winning blogger and author, Sandra has been featured in Publishing World Magazine, brass Magazine, BlogTalk Radio, AAMBC, The Flint Journal & NBC25 News. She is also a Platinum Expert Author with Ezine Articles and was a Shorty Award nominee for her content. You can read more about Sandra at http://sandranpeoples.com.

JULY 2018