Writing for Print Marketing vs. Writing for Digital Marketing


You might not realize this, but not all writing is created equal. The type of copywriting and content that you use on your website is different to the writing required for long form printed marketing materials, and they both differ from short form printed marketing materials. Here is a basic cheat sheet for the various types of writing you are likely to require for your business.

Writing for Long Form Print Marketing

If your direct mail campaign plan includes some form of addressed mail, then there is a good chance you might require writing for sales letters or other types of long form print marketing materials. In that case, the following golden rules apply:

  • Make the headline all about them. Getting someone to read a sales letter can be tough. Make sure that you promise to solve a problem right in the headline.
  • Keep it formal, but avoid jargon and overly technical terms. Avoid buzzwords and business speak too. They can make you sound pompous and egotistical.
  • Remember the beginning, middle and end formula for writing. It always applies to long form printed materials. You want to introduce the idea or pain point, set out how you can solve the problem and then invite contact.
  • Consider using bullet points to make your writing easier to follow.
  • Remember that serif fonts, like Times New Roman, are easier to read in print.
  • Avoid all caps (which is harder to read) and make sure you check spelling and grammar and proof read carefully.
  • If you are sending out a sales letter as a direct mail campaign, make sure it is signed – even if it is a signature that is scanned and printed onto the page. Dealing with actual people adds credibility and makes it easier for customers to trust you.

Short Form Print Media Marketing Materials

If your direct mail campaign strategy includes short form printed marketing materials like flyers or post cards, then a different set of writing rules apply:

  • Grab them with the headline. Your customers get plenty of junk mail. Do not let your marketing materials join that pile! Make sure that your headline is big, bold and impossible to ignore!
  • Keep it brief. Flyers and post cards rely more heavily on graphics to convey their message than long form sales letters, so your written content needs to support and reinforce, without overwhelming. Remember – if it is cramped, it is difficult to read.
  • Include a clear, bold and easily actionable call to action. You want your prospect to take a particular action. Make it easy for them to do that.

Email and Web Marketing

Writing for email and web marketing is very different to writing for print. Internet users tend to scan rather than read, and you need to get their attention quickly, and hold it, if you want to succeed. Here are tips on how to do that:

  • Use short sentences and paragraphs.
  • Break up blocks of text using sub heads and lists.
  • Use simple language and avoid jargon. Research suggests that the average internet user reads at a high school level.
  • Keep it intimate and conversational. Use personal pronouns like ‘you’ and ‘your.’ You are talking directly to your customer on the web.

There are many other rules, tips and tricks that can help to improve your writing, but these should get you started. Keep it simple, and stay on message.

Direct Mail Best Practices