Five Don’ts of Technology Copywriting

I thought I’d focus today on mistakes writers make when they create tech marketing content. I chose an Adobe piece at random: they were the first site I looked at and I found something I could use. Not meaning to pick on them specifically at all. These are mistakes I find everywhere–including in my own stuff.  The piece I’m talking about can be found here.

So, here’s my list of Don’ts.

1. Don’t Compare.

Unless you’ve got some real hard numbers to drive the comparison, don’t talk about how much better your product is than the others.

Here’s an example:

Gain the deepest insights and most concise visitor segmentation available.

When you make comparisons, you start a conversation you can’t win. If the marketplace wants to compare depth of insight, let it start the discussion.

2. Don’t teach.

Your markteplace knows its business. You don’t have to teach them about it.

You cannot effectively optimize your marketing efforts unless you are analyzing and reporting on those efforts to make the right data-driven decisions. Guesswork doesn’t cut it anymore in marketing— marketers must be able to determine what the business impact of their marketing efforts is.

This isn’t such a gross violation, but it makes my point. There’s a certain “Analytics 101” feel to it. Better to get straight to the point.

3. Don’t make big statements.

Adobe Analytics is the industry-leading solution that delivers the analytics and reporting capabilities to enable data-driven decision-making.

That’s such a sweeping statement. I looked it up for a minute or so. There are a lot of companies that make the same claim. Usually this is something that little companies do to puff themselves up. There can be only one leader, and that’s the only one who should make that claim. It might be Adobe, in which case: go for it.

4. Don’t leave in the fluff

Edit your content for the phrases that just don’t contribute to the message. It’s OK to say just what you need to say–the market appreciates it.

Here’s the original:

Quickly analyze large volumes of rapidly evolving big data from multiple channels and data sources in real time. Powerful visualizations make it easy for users to immediately infer meaning to make timely, customer-focused decisions that improve overall business performance.

Here’s an edit

Analyze big data from multiple channels and data sources in real time. Clear visualizations let you instantly make timely, customer-focused decisions that improve business performance.

5. Don’t be afraid of Features.

My final impression is: the piece is Feature shy. The precept that you sell holes not drill bits isn’t true when you’re selling technology. Carpenters know all about holes—they buy drill bits. Marketers know all about marketing: they buy marketing tools.

Features are your differentiating point—“how” you do something is a lot more interesting to your market than “what” or “why.”


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