by Victoria Greene
It’s easy to assume that copywriting is just for web content and has no value in the presentation world. However, the truth is that copywriting principles can be applied to strengthen your proposal, pitch, or whatever presentation you’re giving.
After all, at its heart, a presentation is just another form of advertising, and the same marketing rules apply.
Whether you are promoting a product or pitching an idea to a team of investors, the ultimate goal is essentially the same – you need to grab the attention of your audience, tell them why they should care about your idea, and show them what they can do about it.
Great copywriting can act as the foundation for your presentation, and set you up for future demonstrations, discussions, and even subsequent content creation.
Here are some essential tips on how to write an engaging presentation.
Honing Your Headlines
Step one is to break your presentation down into clearly-defined segments and come up with a title for each section. If you are using slides or posters to illustrate your discourse, these headings also make it easier for your audience to follow what you are saying.
The wording of these headlines is extremely important, as they enable your audience to get a sense of what’s to come. This means you need to grab their attention and hold it.
- Create a clear, concise description of the content to follow.
- Wherever appropriate and natural, include a keyword or phrase relevant to your overarching objective. This helps to signpost your presentation to individuals hoping to learn specific information.
- Keep headings simple, and easy to understand. Misleading headings can confuse listeners, or deter them altogether.
- Focus on offering answers to the questions and problems faced by your audience.
A good rule of thumb is that your audience should be able to glean a reasonable idea of the general content of your presentation, just by reading through the headings and subheadings.
Another essential point to bear in mind is that the title of your presentation may be the first point of contact for the majority of your audience, and can in itself be the difference between an individual taking an interest in what you have to say, or forgoing it altogether.
The Value Proposition
Once you have their attention, it’s important to get to the point quickly. The average reader will scan the first couple of paragraphs of a text to determine whether it is of any use to them. Similarly, your audience will decide within the first few minutes of your presentation whether they are interested in what you have to say.
State your idea clearly and concisely, and set out the major points that you intend to elaborate upon during the remainder of your presentation. Providing a clear value proposition early on lets your listeners know exactly what you are offering to them, and simultaneously helps to portray you as a forthright and honest individual.
As with your carefully-crafted headings, this part of your presentation provides a clear structure for the information that follows. This increases engagement and adds a sense of cohesion to your presentation as a whole.
Inspire Your Audience
All of this may sound fairly elementary, and the truth is, it is. You already know how to write compelling copy, and craft a sales pitch perfectly tailored to your audience. All you need to do now is put them together.
No one wants to read a dry, prosaic article, so why would they ever want to listen to a similarly bland presentation? Take the time to list everything that excites you about your topic, and work those points into your slide copy. The key here is to make your words soar, and shift your audience up a gear, from interested to inspired.
Naturally, if you build this section around the points that you are most passionate about, this will shine through, not only in your words but in your tone and body language. It’s important too that you supplement these three qualities with some compelling images that augment your arguments because people like to learn visually, as well as verbally.
If you are also a gifted graphic designer then this will be easy – simply create your own images. However, even if you are not skilled at creating images, you still need to make sure your pictorial tools are as strong as the other weapons in your armory.
Spending some time looking through a stock photo resource site will allow you to find the images you need to back up the points you make in your copy and leave your audience gripped.
Inspiration is the turning point in your copy; the make or break for many members of your audience. However, it is also the point at which you can go for the big sell, showcase your expertise, and really drive home your message.
The Call To Action
With all this in place, there’s one more feature to consider. As with any piece of marketing or advertisement, it’s critical not to forget your call to action. What is the objective of your presentation, and what do you want your audience to take away from it? This can be anything from investing in your product to seeking your consultation, or even launching a new project within your firm.
You’ve already devoted the entire presentation to engaging your audience and convincing them that you can offer something they want. Now you need to tell them how they can act upon this information.
Of course, a good CTA isn’t simply tacked onto the end of your presentation but should be woven throughout. This means your audience is already becoming accustomed to the idea by the time they are presented with a more direct instruction.
Whether your audience is in a digital or physical space, the rules are the same. You need to speak to their needs and interests, in an open and accessible manner. Let them know who you are, what you hope to achieve, and how they can become part of that journey.
In addition, by composing your presentation carefully, considering your keywords, and creating a clear structure, you will simultaneously prepare yourself for the questions and considerations that may follow. This means you will be able to back up your words with coherent, well-founded justifications, making your audience far more likely to trust in your brand’s authority.
Using the right words in the right way can be the difference between the success and failure of your business, and this is the case in every aspect of promoting and sharing your ideas. So don’t overlook copywriting when it comes to putting together your presentation. By putting in the work now, you can give your business a head-start that can impact the success of all its future endeavors.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she covers a range of topics from the digital world, including: marketing, social media, and web design. She is passionate about using her experience to help people get the most from their digital strategy.