Entries Tagged 'copywriter' ↓

Your Landing Page is No Joke

There appears to be a trend at the moment for landing pages that are “funny”.

I’ve used inverted commas there because they are funny only in the eyes of the writer.

The humour is being used to try and get you to sign up for something or buy a product. Is that really the best way to go about it?

In my view, no.

When someone lands on your web page it’s because they’ve been searching the internet for a solution to solve a problem they’re facing.

The reason why they clicked your link was because your META description persuaded them that the content of your page would give them the answer they were looking for.

The last thing  they want to see is a lame pun trying to extract money or their contact details from them.

All they want is results.

Your product or service should be able to stand on its own two feet without the need for shameless gags.

So what will get your visitors buying?

Here are 4 things that will grab their attention.

1. Unite against the bad guy

Emotive language is a very powerful tool. Use it to show how your product or service will get rid of common niggles such as boring meetings, late paying clients, poorly performing websites etc.

2. Belong together

We like to be part of a gang; no one wants to be the outsider.

Showing you reader they are “one of the 500 smart people…” will make them feel special and part of an elite group; it gives them a sense of belonging.

3. Quick fix

If your product is “…the quickest way to…” they’ll want it. People want instant fixes, they don’t want to wait around. If you can convince them you’ll help them achieve their goals quickly, they’ll be all over you like a rash.

4. Story time

Stories are great sales tools. They are part of our heritage and as such, people are predisposed to listening to them. Weave a story around your products and services, highlighting the benefits they bring and you’ll draw your audience in.

Each of these methods will help push people towards a buying decision. The best way to find out which one(s) work for you is to test them. Once you hit the right recipe your landing pages will work like a dream.

Using Stories in Your Marketing

Stories are powerful.

They help you communicate emotions, concepts and the benefits in a depth that traditional sales writing can never achieve.

I could write for pages now desiccating why stories are so powerful, but I think the best way to show you their power is by showing you an example from one of the masters of storytelling.

John Lewis never fail to hit the spot. Every Christmas the marketing world is on their edge of its seat waiting for the retail giant’s latest advert. Their 2014 effort didn’t disappoint. I’m sure you were sat there with a tear in your eye as you watched the little boy and his penguin:


Why are stories so powerful?

Their power comes from the fact that we’ve grown up with them.

We are predisposed to listen to them, so they are a great way to get your personal brand out there.

If you’re not sure where to start, how about at the beginning?

Think about how you started in business. What’s your story?

This is mine:

After leaving school with a fist full of O and A levels, I didn’t have the belief in myself to go to University so I joined a high street bank on their Management Development Programme. I was there for 7 years before leaving to start a family.

Two children later I began to feel as though I needed more from life than just changing nappies and doing pre-school runs, but I still wanted to be a full time mum. Finally, after a lot of searching I found a home-based job for a charity that I could do during term time. For a couple of years it was great, but part of me still felt unfulfilled. The fact that I’d passed up university nagged me and, at the age of 31, I embarked on a 6 year BA(Hons) degree course in English Language and Literature with the Open University.

After a couple of years trying to study, work and care for my family I realised I couldn’t do it all so I gave up my job. I loved the study (although it was incredibly tough) and began to feel as though I was finally achieving something for myself. Then, one evening we went to a friend’s dinner party. I was sat next to a chap who turned to me and asked what I did. When I told him I was a full time mum and studying for a degree, he looked at me and said, “Oh, you don’t work?” and then turned to talk to the person the other side of him.

It was at that point that I vowed I would do something with my degree when I completed it. A couple of years later I graduated with First Class Honours. Still at a loss as to what I wanted to do, my husband suggested I start something up on my own. It wasn’t something I’d contemplated before, but when a local businessman asked me to do some writing for a web project he was working on, I realised that was what I wanted to do. I set up my first website, taught myself internet marketing and began Briar Copywriting.

That was 7 years ago and I haven’t looked back.


Marketing stories

Stories in your marketing great a buzz. They go further than just showing benefits and adding a call to action; a story helps you make a real connection with your customers, generating awareness of your product or service in a context that they can relate to.

An article in The Guardian looks at the scientific side of story telling. Jennifer Aaker (a marketing professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business) got her students to give a 1-minute pitch. Only 1 in 10 used a story with the others sticking to a more traditional approach with facts and figures. Afterwards, they were asked to write down what they remembered from the pitches:

  • 5% cited a statistic
  • 63% remembered the story

“Research shows our brains are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long. Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories,” Aaker says. “A story is a journey that moves the listener, and when the listener goes on that journey they feel different and the result is persuasion and sometimes action.”

How to use story telling

Here are 5 tips to help you incorporate story telling into your marketing:

  1. Understand your audience – Ask them why they bought from you? What made them look for a solution? How they found your brand? What was their experience of working with you like?
  2. What are their emotional drivers? – Find out what they really care about
  3. Be authentic – Use real life stories from employees, customers and people from your industry
  4. Credibility – Data (facts and figures) combined with stories is very powerful
  5. User-generated content – A great way to explore different perspectives. Run a competition, create a hashtag or interview someone

When you come to create your next marketing piece try story telling and see what difference it makes.

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

How to Develop Your Brand Voice

brand voice

What is a brand voice?

Basically, it’s the way your brand sounds to your readers.

That’s as clear as mud.

OK, look at it this way. When it comes to branding, the look, feel and words that you use have to work together to create an overall impression.

You probably have a pretty good idea of how you want your audience to see you. It could be as a high end brand, one that is innovative (Apple springs to mind) etc.

So where do words come into it?

Well, they have to paint a picture that is in line with your imagery, but there is one very important thing to remember.

What is it?

Your customer.

Even though you know how you want to be perceived, it’s just as important to understand how you want your customer to feel.

You may have lofty ideas of the type of language you want to use, but is it going to be right for your audience?

Think about who they are, why they would be interested in what you’re offering and what’s important to them. When you know that, you can tailor your writing to show them how you’re going to help them live the life they want to live.

It’s also important, especially when branding for a high end product, to show them why it’s so good. That doesn’t mean justifying the price tag, but rather highlighting the benefits it will bring:

  • A sign of discernment
  • Professional image
  • Improve performance

It is the words that you use that will evoke an emotional connection to your brand. They will show your audience that your values are the same as their values and that by supporting your brand they are showing the world they are aligned with what you stand for.

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd


Change The World if You Want Your New Business to Succeed

Change the world

It’s the age of the entrepreneur. Businesses are springing up everywhere, so how do you get yours noticed?

As a start-up you have no track record, no testimonials, no social proof. That might sound like a brick wall, but if you can prove to the media that you can change the world you will get your story heard.

Your pitch: I can change the world

The usual course of action for a new business trying to get noticed is to write umpteen press releases, but journalists are inundated with them so how about trying a different approach?

Writing a pitch, tailored to the journalist you’re targeting, will help you stand out, but only if you write it from a benefits point of view rather than as a sales document. Give them everything they need, from your logo and contact details to ideas for your story. Remember though, as I said earlier, this isn’t a sales document. You must prove you can change the world.

What do I mean by that?

Your business, whatever it does, will solve a problem, create wealth, make someone smile or take their pain away.


Because if it doesn’t have a tangible benefit it’s not a business.

Your job is to understand that and show the reader (in this case the journalist you’re pitching to) how you change people’s lives. The “people” are their readers, so if they can smell a great story you’ll have their attention.

Who do you contact?

It’s all well and good creating a great pitch, but who do you send it to?

Every newspaper, magazine, TV and radio channel has it’s own audience. Your job is to do your research to find the journalists who write about the problems your company solves.


Because their audience will be the people who will buy your product or service.

If you want to maximise your coverage you have to match the journalist with your message.

Once you have your list, don’t just send cold pitches because they are likely to be ignored.

It’s all about who you know. Look at your contacts, is there anyone who can help you? Perhaps there is someone who can make an introduction for you?

Get in touch with journalists and build a relationship with them. See if you can help them out before pitching to them. Try to meet them in person. The stronger the relationships you forge, the more likely they are to run with your ideas.

Did they say yes?

If they say yes and run with your story, fantastic, well done. Keep in touch with them and let them know your areas of expertise and that you’re interested in being interviewed or happy to contribute to future stories.

If your idea doesn’t get picked up don’t hound them. Chase after about a week, sending your story again just in case they didn’t receive the first one. If they’re still not interested, don’t just give up. Try sending it to a different contact, even one within the same outlet – just because one person wasn’t interested doesn’t mean no one will be.

If you want people to talk about your business you have to show how you can change people’s lives.

There are too many press releases out there that try to sell. The trick to getting noticed is to show yourself as a company that puts its customers first by highlighting the benefits they receive.

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd


Finding A Copywriter – Cost vs Value

When you scout round for a copywriter, how do you make a buying decision?

I’m betting you look at cost over and above everything else.

Yes, I understand you have budget constraints, but just looking at the cost of a service can be very short-sighted.

How much?

As a copywriter I hate getting those emails that say, sorry you’re too expensive.


What are you comparing that to?

Nine times out of ten, a potential client will gather a load of emails from Google search, perhaps throw in a few that have been recommended and then blast out an email along the lines of “I need 10 pages of copy, what do you charge?”

The problem with that is that you’re immediately telling the recipient of the email “I need some writing done, I don’t care how good it is, I just want it.”

What’s that? You do care how good it is? Oh, right, well that’s not what you’re saying.

The deciding factor shouldn’t be about cost (although I appreciate you don’t have a bottomless budget), it should be their experience (not just in your industry), reputation and quality of their work.


Because the reputation of your business is at stake.

Think about it, if you have ‘OK’ copy on your website (and other promotional materials), but your competitor has high quality, persuasive content who will people chose? Yup, not you.

If you were building a house you wouldn’t just instruct the cheapest builder, you’d want to find one that’s got a good reputation. If you wanted a lawyer, you wouldn’t just hire the cheapest, you’d ask for recommendations to find the best on in their field. So, when you’re looking for a copywriter to create compelling marketing copy don’t make your decision on price alone.

How to find a great writer

The first thing to do is look at their website.

Read their testimonials and case studies. Look at their portfolio and at the clients they have worked with.

Then, rather than sending out an email, pick up the phone and call them. Have a chat about what you’re looking for, ask for their advice. A good writer will be enthusiastic and knowledgeable – this is also a good way to see if you gel, after all, you’ll be working closely together so it’s important you find someone you can work with.

The budget for your copy should be in line with that of your website, brochure etc.

Experienced writers aren’t going to be cheap, but do you want cheap as chips or someone that actually knows what they’re doing?

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd