There are many types of marketing communications. Each one is an opportunity to engage your target audience with laser-guided precision. But how does a copywriter tailor their content to make the most of each method?

Here is a beginner’s field guide to different types of marketing communications and how to approach each one to maximise your chance of success.

  1. Advertorials

An advertorial is a piece of editorial that is paid for. Generally, it discreetly incorporates relevant sales information within engaging editorial, with the theory being that it will be read by far more people and generate far more reaction than a standard advertisement.

The best advertorials blend promotional content with editorial in a relevant, newsworthy story that is totally aligned with the publication’s house style so the reader barely acknowledges the difference.

  1. Blogs

If a website is a business’ shop window, the blog is an audacious child that has sneaked into the display to have some fun. The best business blogs are unrefined, unpredictable and unmissable with an emphasis on useful insight, engaging opinion and practical advice.

They give readers a reason to return to your site and provide you with the means to build up an enduring relationship with your customers.

Perhaps more than any of the other types of marketing communications mentioned here, blogs are – when used correctly – the hardest working. They can contribute to the success of your SEO, social media, customer retention, sales, customer service and practically every other element of your online marketing. together with BuzzSumo recently analysed the links and shares of over 1m articles and compiled their findings here. We’ve distilled everything down to the following points:

  • If you want more links and shares you should be writing around 1500 to 2000 words per post.
  • List posts perform best – way better than Infographics.
  • Research backed content and opinion forming journalism gets higher shares and more links.
  • You should post at least 2 times a week.
  1. Brochures

Does anyone print brochures anymore? Of course. In fact, with the constant information overload presented by working and socialising online, it can feel more “real” to receive a printed brochure.

For a corporate brochure to actually make an impact, rather than gather dust on the reception coffee table or be filed directly in the bin, it must be written for the reader, not the business.

Prospective customers do not want to read about how great a company is, they want to know what the company can do for them.

Brochures are a great showcase for your brand and a way to express your “intrinsics”. Think carefully about your brand story and how you convey that in the most effective way.

  1. Business Cards

The intense power of a business card belies its meagre proportions. It continues to trump other, more modern, methods of saying ‘Hello’ to potential clients. Like a mini flyer that sticks with the recipient long after they receive it, the business card offers a prime space on which to showcase everything a business can do for them.

Want to know how to make an impact with your business card? This guy nails it.

  1. Email

Email is still the number 1 online communication tool. According to Radicati Group “there are over 4.1 billion email accounts accounts. This figure is predicted to reach 5.2 billion by 2018 which is a growth of more than 26%.”

And yet email marketing can be difficult to get right, largely due to the high volume of spam emails that seem to be a horrible and annoying part of everyday life in 2015.

So how do you do it right?

First off, get people to opt-in to your list. Offer something of value to your email prospect. This is called your “lead magnet”. It could be an offer, a giveaway, a free report. Make it super-specific and super-targeted. You need to make a fair exchange as an email address is an incredible asset and most people understand that.

When people are on your list then they are at your mercy – so make sure you continue to honour that principle of fair exchange. Sure, you want to sell your goods or services but do so in a way that shows you clearly understand the recipient’s needs.

Even when someone is not actively buying, you need to offer value that respects the relationship you’ve built with them. Your emails should continually offer something worthwhile in an honest and spam-free way.

  1. Facebook

With nearly 1.2 billion active users, Facebook is one of the most important platforms – perhaps even the most important platform – to be engaged with as a business. That’s any business – B2B or B2C.

Sure, it is a public playground in which to make friends and share amusing gifs. But if you provide creative, stimulating content people will engage with your brand, explore and have fun – and they’ll invite their friends along too.

With over 2 million advertisers now using Facebook regularly it’s not just a place to share cat videos. There are now a number of ways to engage with the planet’s biggest social media platform including business pages, paid advertising, promoted posts and remarketing. 

Facebook’s personal nature means that corporate-style formality is generally out of place. Instead, most businesses favour a more informal tone of voice and content that strikes a chord with users’ personal interests, hobbies or aspirations.

  1. Flyers

Unlike the familiar kind of flyer that says little more than ‘we exist’ or ‘come here’, a flyer that makes a single, clearly defined offer to a tightly focused target audience can pack a real promotional punch.

  1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn may be a social media platform, but it is strictly for business. Attracting new clients involves propelling attractive, relevant content outwards and demonstrating your expertise and how you can help their business.

As with many elements of content marketing, the best approach is to avoid direct sales messages and concentrate instead on providing useful content (see the section on blogs above) for a highly targeted customer. You can also share this content in relevant LinkedIn groups.

Like Facebook, LinkedIn has its own paid options, including sponsored updates and text ads.

  1. Press Releases

Online PR is becoming increasingly important – not just in the traditional sense of promoting your brand in the media but also as a powerful strategy for securing external links to your site from authority domains and in turn improving your search results.

The principle is simple: take a newsworthy story (without a good meaty story, a press release has all the appeal of a sausage roll without the sausage) and present it using the time-honoured press release format.

Straying from the confines of this time-honoured structure is a way to guarantee failure. So, just this once, keep your bohemian urges in check and play by the rules.

Once you’ve written your press release what do you do with it? There are a number of online news distribution platforms including PRWeb and Sourcewire. However, if you’re serious about PR then start building your own list of publications (online and offline) relevant to your sector and start hammering the phones. 

Good PR is all about building long-term mutually beneficial relationships with other human beings that happen to work in the media – don’t sell that principle short by overselling a story, being too pushy or exploiting trust. Don’t be too focused on the immediate story – think of your long-term objectives and the bigger picture for your brand.

  1. Product Descriptions

You may have the right product and the right consumer, but unless there is the right chemistry between the two, they will pass each other by like ships in the night. The product description is the bond that brings them together, and you need to be well acquainted with both parties before you can begin to engineer a successful union.

If you want more information on writing successful product descriptions, why not sign up to our free eBook?

  1. Sales Letters

Direct mail – the actual envelope and paper kind – is still alive and well. Modern day catalogue companies like Boden are particularly good examples of successful direct mail but it can also work for B2B organisations.

There are two types of sales letter: appealing ones, that make a genuine personal connection to the reader; and appalling ones, that make an unprovoked assault on the reader. To craft correspondence that catches the eye and compels readers to react it has to address the needs of the customer, not the prowess of the business.

When writing a sales letter always put yourself in the mind of the customer and think “what’s in it for me?”. More than any of the other types of marketing communications here, good sales letters look to elicit an emotional response in the reader. Spend time understanding what drives your customer and make a direct appeal to that.

  1. Twitter

With 320 million active users every month, Twitter is impossible to ignore and most businesses now have some presence on the micro-blogging behemoth. Whether they actually make any money out of Twitter is a different story – as is whether you should even be thinking of Twitter as a way of making direct sales.

Keeping Twitter followers interested involves sending out a steady supply of fresh, engaging tweets that they will want to retweet across the Twittersphere and beyond. The key to success with Twitter marketing is to attract influential followers whose retweets will hit your target audience in large volumes and with added authority.

  1. Websites

Many companies’ websites shout out corporate hype, branding buzzwords, product features and benefits at the top of their voice like they are trying to attract the attention of oblivious passers-by.

The truth is, visitors want solutions, not sales. Arguably, by the time they visit your website, they are already fairly sure it has got what they want: they’ve seen your blog, engaged with you on social media, seen your reviews or received a recommendation from another online user. The job of the site is to make the necessary information instantly and effortlessly available.

The topic of websites is too big to discuss in a segment of a single post but here are two nuggets to consider when thinking about your website:

First, earlier this year Google announced that there are now more searches on mobile than on desktop. The mobile tipping point has been reached (and surpassed). Around 60% of all web use now takes place on mobile devices – a percentage that will continue to increase. The current thinking in UX is: design your site for mobile first.

Second, do you even need a website anymore? Social media is increasingly powerful and increasingly sophisticated. You can create content and promote that content without having to have your own domain. Just a thought…

In Conclusion

This article provides just a brief introduction to different types of marketing communications that you could be using in your business. Should you be using them? How do you use them successfully? Those are bigger questions that you need to address within your marketing strategy.

And sure… we haven’t even touched on Pinterest, Instagram, eBooks, White Papers, landing pages, brand story, style guidelines, slide shows, presentations…

I'm Here! - Book CoverFor the ultimate guide, check out: I’m Here! How To Write Brilliant Marketing Material That Gets Your Business Noticed (CGW Publishing, 2015).

Or talk to a nice human at Big Star Copywriting now.