One of the most popular sessions at last week's Direct Marketing Day @ Your Desk 2012 virtual show (free to register for on-demand viewing for the next 90 days) was copywriter Pat Friesen's "Using Words to Generate Response ... Direct Mail, Email, Online and More."
In 40 rapid minutes, she discussed the keys to getting more calls, clicks and visits from your copy. Here are some questions that Friesen wasn't able to answer during the session, but subsequently answered in friendly, frank Friesen-like fashion! They may be the same kinds of creative challenges you're wrestling with, so take a look.
1. Use of font type ... can this effect copy in any way?
Friesen: If we had had more time, I would have talked about readability studies related to the use of serif and sans serif type. Serif type is still considered to be more readable when used for long copy. Studies confirm this. Sans serif type is better for shorter copy such as headlines, subheads, callouts. EXCEPT online, where you regularly see more sans serif. Typefaces can make a HUGE difference in whether or not copy/content even gets read! Great question.
2. Are there guidelines to writing for women rather than men?
Friesen: I'm sure there are guidelines someone has written ... but I've not read or used them. My philosophy is to write to the targeted audience ... as an audience of one. I try to visualize an individual I now who fits the audience description, then write to him/her. Naturally, part of that includes male/female. But not in a stereotypical way.
3. Many of your examples are consumer-driven, how does the tone change for B-to-B?
Friesen: Much of the work I do is for B-to-B. Tone/voice has to do with the brand, the audience, the offer and so much more. The most important thing to remember is that whether you are writing to someone at home or at the office ... we are all PEOPLE. Motivated by Ed Mayer's list of motivating factors (see media player for full list).