Is Your Copy Less Than Fresh?


Being flexible in today’s business climate is imperative. Your target market’s needs change all the time, every day. What was hot for them yesterday might not be so important today, and what was only of mild interest last week might be tomorrow’s blazing success.

You can influence those needs. You can give a boost to a service or product people have seemingly lost interest in, and you can create that success seller. All you need to do is revisit your message.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

When you began your business, you probably did some target market research. You knew there was a demand, you figured out who would buy what you sell, and you decided on marketing tactics that worked with potential customers.

Two years down the road, though, your target market has changed. They’re a little older, a little wiser, technology is different… the world changes and people change with it. The sales strategies you began your business with might no longer be as effective.

Your marketing message persuades prospects that your business is the correct choice. But an outdated message or an overdone tactic you’ve been using for a year or two might not be working anymore to convince potential customers to buy.

That’s normal, and it doesn’t mean people no longer want what you sell. It just means their needs have changed, and your message no longer resonates with them. Your business didn’t evolve as they did. It became frozen in time.

Freshen Up Your Copy to Meet Current Needs and Desires

So thaw it out. Fire it up with a new marketing message and get people paying attention again.
Take a look at your content and the copy you use on your website and brochures. Does your message truly relate to what people want today? Or is it passé? Do the benefits you pushed back then still work with what people seek for solutions now? Are you tuned in to what turns your customers on?

People don’t get turned on when businesses convey self-important messages. There’s a new generation of buyers out there, younger people entering consumer markets, and they have different generational values. They’re becoming your potential customers, and you need to be ready to meet their needs.

Then there are other potential customers, the baby boomers who are living their own life changes as they leave careers and retire. Their interests are shifting, their needs as well and the result is that their desires adapt to their new lifestyle. A flexible business taps into their changing needs.

So how do you make sure your business is flexible and adapting to your customers’ needs?

Lose the Tired Fake Benefits

Take a look at some messages that need to get with the times:

“We offer full-service convenience…” Well, that’s nice, but a buyer looking for a specific result might not really care about convenience. How about revamping that message with a great benefit? – “Our full-service convenience lets you get results without wasting time chasing them.”

“Our standards of quality go beyond the competition…” Great. So what? Everyone says they’re the best. That statement just doesn’t resonate with many people anymore. So why not convey a message that says why your quality counts? “Our high quality makes sure that your readers are impressed with your business – and become your clients.”

“We’re your premier source…” Most people could care less whether the source is fantastic, marvelous or premier, as long as it works. Overhaul that message to relate to buyers more personally. “We make sure your business stays ahead of the competition and leads the pack.”

How often should you revisit your marketing messages or overhaul your copy? As often as it takes to stay with the times, keep sales alive and respond to what people want today, not what they wanted last year.

About the Author: For more tips and tricks to keep your business soaring, check out The Ultimate Freelancer, James Chartrand’s latest hot-item book on making more money while working less.

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  1. How does writing ‘fresh’ copy compare with ‘evergreen’ content? Are they the same thing or does one have a longer sell-by date than the other? :-)

  2. So true, with passage of time statistics, features and services change and so does the need to update old content.

  3. @ Mark – Even evergreens need a trim now and then to look nice all the time 😉

  4. I’m not even sure the updated versions are that fresh. I think the way forward now is to pull on some of the Joe Vitale ideas and turn all of the “We” statements into “You” statements.

  5. Excellent article! It seems I am always having this conversation with my clients lately. The web and the people using it have evolved and our marketing needs to reflect that.

  6. I love this. Freshen it up. I have worked with stylists that talk about the same thing all day/all week. Get on the internet and get something new in your life. And I recomend all stylist to build a client email list. I send out monthly/bi monthly specials. Especially in the slower months. Add more value, give them something special besides blah blah blah.
    Patti Harmon

  7. You are hit it on the head with “sell the benefit”. What will the customer get?

    The key is to be exact in your benefits.
    My local grocery tells me I get all natural meat.
    My local tire store tells me I can get in and serviced in 10 minutes.


  8. Marketing 101 — What’s in it for me?

    Answer that question and people will buy from you.

  9. Another rockin’ post by the Men with… check that- by the man with pen.
    You’re exactly right, especially when it’s an Internet business.
    Keep the copy specific and relevant.
    The best way to keep your message fresh is to build a lasting relationship with your customers. If you’re constantly engaged then you’re always going to be on top of your clients needs.

  10. Yes! Those “benefits” you listed at the end, are so true! I’ve seen it a hundred times….just regurgitated content!

    Some businesses simply don’t understand that creativeness is key when it comes to content. No one wants to hear/read the same old stuff they’ve been hearing for years!

    Thanks for the article.

  11. This reminds me of the business classic “Who Moved My Cheese?” We sometimes keep going back, stubbornly, to the place where the cheese used to be and wait for it to return. Things are changing and the cheese will keep moving.

  12. You gotta look up and look around once in a while. You don’t want to be sleeping in Dreamland while the world passes you by. Good stuff, James.

  13. Great picture! Always enjoy seeing the pictures you choose for your articles.

    Well done.

  14. A lot of great comments, look around, freshen up, but most of all, reflect the future! The hard part is figuring out what the future is!

  15. Your post is one of the few that has reinforced the lack of strength that “fake benefits” have. Although some “emotional” advertising has a place for superfluous and promo-type writing, most do not. From my experience, younger writers tend to want to add that fluff to even the most newsy of writing (as I was trying to train future journalists). As writers, in whatever discipline, the importance of using pointed, well-placed words is increasing as search engine optimizing algorithms continue to place higher rankings on specific, news-like documents. We can do each other a favor by working to dismantle promo fluff and emotionally nonspecific words in our writing.

  16. James:

    Thanks for keeping us on our toes. Along with updating our message I believe business owners/managers should consider changing the way we listen to our audience.

    The old tools (surveys/focus groups) are okay but have intrinsic flaws. I believe a good follow up blog post would be some tips/techniques for using social media, and other tools as listening opportunities.

    Just my input for whatever it’s worth.

    Follow me on Twitter

  17. That’s a good point, John, there are lots of new tools for listening to the conversation and figuring out what’s actually bugging people.

    Great idea to go back and try to look with fresh eyes every so often. The world changes fast these days. And freshening up your content lets you tweak it to better match/attract your perfect customers, as well.

  18. Good points there.

    We just upgraded our site with a new look and feel. This caused me to review some of the old pages and I found myself rewriting them.

    It was useful exercise for two very important reasons.

    1) I write better copy these days so it was good to refresh the old copy with my new skills!

    2) Some of the stuff I had written was out of date and now wrong! Very embarrassing as people visitiing your site tend to think all the copy is current!

  19. Keeping content fresh is about variety. Revisiting old blog posts or articles makes you realise the mistakes you may have made or give another perspective about what to write about. Great advice.

  20. Even evergreens need a trim now and then to look nice all the time