Research for Professional Small Business Copywriting

Research for Professional Small Business CopywritingEveryone knows that small business copywriting must be developed with a specific audience and objective in mind. However, it is easy to sometimes forget that this entails not only customizing the text itself through the use of keywords, tone, and other such literary tools, but also adjusting research methods at the most basic levels.

Different industries will require different kinds of information in order to develop appropriate content. In essence, this means assessing your industry before any work is done on the content to determine what kind of research will be required.

Sales Copy vs. Professional Copy: Is there a difference?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is that the differences depend on the kind of sales copy or the kind of professional copy you are hoping to create. Besides the obvious differences in tone – sales copy typically has a far more aggressive advertising aspect, while professional copy will be more informative in tone, though may still include a soft sales pitch at some point – there is also an inherent difference in the kind of information required of each variety.

While sales copy should certainly be factually accurate, the information is not the ultimate goal of the content. It is therefore possible in such cases to use internal material, or in other words, data that has not been scholarly assessed or tested.

On the other hand, as professional copy is inherently informative, it must include a significantly higher level of factual accuracy. Depending on the kind of copy, this could include statistical analysis, scientific reports, or scholarly opinion. It is therefore important to keep this in mind when developing a research methodology.

Sourcing Professional Content Material

Data for professional content must meet the highest levels of scholastic reliability. This means, ensuring that all source material is up-to-date, authored, and located from well-known, legitimate sources.

While the Internet can be a viable means of finding such sources, it is not the only possible means. Academic journals can also be an important source for the latest research in your particular field. Many journals do keep online databases, but others must be located in hard copy.

If you do use the Internet, search carefully. Google Scholar can be a useful resource for finding academic materials. Otherwise, ensure that your keywords are highly specific, and that anything you end up using comes from a legitimate industry source.

In Summary

Research methodologies are highly specific to the article you are writing. Small businesses in particular should exercise caution when developing small business copywriting, as muddling sales and professional copy can result in a diminished reputation.

While sales copy is intended to draw in your audience, it is the professional copy that must maintain factual accuracy, as it is the outlet with which your business informs the public. It is thus at this first, most basic level, with research, that your business may define itself, through the inclusion of appropriate, interesting source material.

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Kate Boehme is the lead researcher for Content Equals Money. She has a MA in Imperial and Commonwealth History and is currently a PhD candidate in History at Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Her ability to find quality statistics and key sources make the most of any project.

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