Entries Tagged 'copywriting' ↓
September 30th, 2015 — copywriter, copywriting
Yes, your copywriter writes – no prizes for saying that, but she also does a whole lot more.
Once you found the perfect writer for you and agreed to their quote (yes, it will be quite expenses – of you pay peanuts you get rubbish) the hard work begins.
Sally Ormond, one of the UK’s leading copywriters, explains the process.
Have you ever wondered what a copywriter actually does?
Obviously she writes, but there’s a bit more to it than that.
1. The interview
Before any words can be written the copywriter must meet with the client. Face to face is ideal, but geography can sometimes throw a spanner in the works there, so telephone, Skype or email is the next best thing.
Although she will have plenty of questions to ask, the main thing that will happen at this stage is listening.
One of the most important qualities your copywriter will have is to be a good listener. Not only will she be listening out for details about your business, produces/services, customers and aims, but she’ll also be listening to how you speak. This will give valuable clues as to what the right tone of voice will be (how the writing sounds when it’s read) right for the project.
2. Back at the office
Unless further meetings are needed for progress updates (which can usually be done over the phone, email or Skype), the rest of the project is completed back at her office.
After the meeting your copywriter now has a stack of notes to review.
The next stage is to think.
Not only will she be thinking about what you discussed, she’ll be thinking about your audience and what they want to know and how to convey that to them in the most engaging and powerful way.
Thinking also helps her plan her strategy. After all, if you try to write without planning it out first you’ll just end up with a rather limp and wishy-washy result.
This thinking will also flag up any areas that need further research, so that will be the next stage of the process.
Research can be either on the internet (competitor analysis, topic research etc.) or with good old-fashioned books. It could even be taking a trip to a shopping mall or something like that (where your product is sold) to see how customers react to it.
Once that’s done it’s back to thinking and planning.
Now comes the bit you’ve been waiting for. She starts to write.
Following her plan, she’ll begin to create a first draft. That won’t be the one you get to see; this one is more like a brain dump that will be constantly altered and refined to make it as powerful as possible.
This can take several days, in fact it’s best that it does because it means she can go away, leave it for a day or so and then come back to it with fresh eyes to further refine it.
3. First draft
Finally, the initial draft is ready for you to see.
Sometimes this will be emailed to you for your feedback, other times a further meeting will be held so you can go through it together.
It’s really important at this stage that you look at it thoroughly and think about what it’s saying. Remember though, the copy has been written for your reader and will therefore be telling them what they need to know. It won’t be about you and your business.
There is no room for your ego in your marketing materials (or your copywriter’s for that matter). Every word has to resonate with the reader – it should be all about them.
Once you’ve gone through it it’s time to let your copywriter have your feedback. Suggest changes by all means, but remember you hired your copywriter because she’s an expert in her field, so she knows what she’s talking about.
Once your feedback has been given your copywriter goes back to the thinking, planning and writing stage again.
She’ll amend the document as you have both agreed and re-submit it to your for your approval.
As you can see, there are a lot of stages to copywriting, but not only that it’s also a very collaborative process. You have to be willing to give lots of information and time to the project, but you also have to be willing to listen to advice and take it.
A copywriter should never bully you, but they will offer advice. They will leave their ego at the door and write with a voice that’s suited to your company and the audience the content is to address. Above all, your copywriter will bring a wealth of experience and guide you to a successful outcome.
September 16th, 2015 — copywriter, copywriting, copywriting tips, effective copy
This blog first appeared on our sister blog, Briar Copywriting Ltd, but we wanted to share it with you here also.
If you knew what made people buy, writing your marketing content would be a doddle, right?
I’m not talking about features versus benefits or anything like that; I’m talking about the processes that go on inside their heads when they make a buying decision.
Most people’s decisions to buy are made subconsciously so there are certain things you can do as a copywriter or marketer to nudge them in the right direction.
Prey on their self-centeredness
It’s a sad fact, but your customers really don’t give two hoots about your company (other than you’ll provide them with great service).
The only thing they care about is how you’re going to make their lives easier. They want you to make a difference to them, to take away their pain and bring them more pleasure.
If you can show them how your product or service will do that, you’re on to a winner.
You, just like your customers, are exposed to thousands of marketing messages every day.
Which ones do you take notice of?
Probably the ones that stand out, right?
It’s the same for your customers. If you can create something that’s different to everyone else’s message you stand a chance of breaking through the noise.
Use their laziness
There are a lot of adverts out there than use loads of words and some fairly abstract ideas, forcing the buying public to try and make sense of them.
The problem is customers are generally lazy and just want simple messages with relevant and eye-catching visuals.
Give them what they want and they’re more likely to buy.
Our brains have a tendency to pay attention at the beginning and end of things. Therefore, if your marketing is to have the right impact start strongly and recap your strongest selling points (i.e. your benefits) at the end.
Captivating videos and graphics will do the selling for you because people process and make decisions visually.
How many times have you made a snap buying decision based on an emotional response to something?
Emotion is a powerful marketing tool – make someone think they’re going to miss out and they’ll buy. Whether it’s using adorable animal images to get donations for your dog charity or showing that only fashionable people wear your jewellery, emotion will make people buy.
Successful marketing comes down to giving your customers what they want – not only in terms of your product or service, but also in the way you tailor your messaging.
August 19th, 2015 — copywriter, copywriting
This post first appeared on Briar Copywriting, but I also wanted to share it with you here.
Everyone makes them, even you.
Those who claim to never have made a mistake in their lives are, well liars quite frankly.
How can I be so sure?
You’re human. I’m human. To be human means we make mistakes, but how we deal with them defines the type of people we are.
What type of person are you?
Sweaty palms, the sudden sinking of your heart, that sick feeling in your stomach – are all signs of the realisation that something’s gone wrong.
What do you do?
a) Pass the buck and claim it was down to someone else?
b) Hide and hope it blows over?
c) Go to pieces, change your name and emigrate?
d) Put your hands up and do what you can to resolve the problem?
If you picked either a, b, or c, you need to rethink your attitude.
I’ve made mistakes and I’ve worked with companies that have made mistakes. The most annoying thing is when someone either denies it’s their problem, or they claim it was someone else’s fault.
Yes, the initial discovery of a mistake is maddening; you want to scream at someone (depending on its magnitude), you may even want heads to roll, but once you’ve had time to digest the situation you would rather have someone say:
“I’m so sorry. It’s completely my fault. What can I do to resolve it?”
Learn and grow from your mistakes
The worst thing you can do after making an error is to forget about it.
Sure, you need to move on otherwise it will eat you up and zap your confidence, but you should always learn from the experience.
- What you can do in the future to safeguard against such mistakes happening
- Reviewing your processes and training provision and improve where necessary
If you care about your work and your customers an error can seem like the end of the world.
It doesn’t have to be.
As a copywriter I’m expected to be a world-class expert on spelling. I’m not. My expertise is in using the right words to create the emotions and responses you want from your customers.
I do make typos. I always do my best to find them before they reach the client. Sometimes those slippery little suckers get through, but if that happens I am there by my client’s side correcting the mistake.
Do I feel bad? You bet I do.
Do I want to curl up and hide under the nearest bush? Most definitely.
Is that what I do?
No. I face my mistakes. I do all I can to put them right. I learn from them.
Yes, I’m a copywriter, but I am also human.
Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd
July 22nd, 2015 — copywriter, copywriting, copywriting tips
You’ve settled down for a coffee break.
Being the diligent, dedicated worker that you are, you’ve decided to spend your 15 minutes reading up on a subject that you’re working on at the moment.
After a quick Google search you’ve found an article that looks as though it will tell you everything you need to know.
As you settle down the writing engages you and you lose yourself in it completely, soaking up the knowledge from the screen.
Just as you reach the final paragraph you notice a typo. It’s nothing catastrophic, there’s just a letter missing. It doesn’t detract from the information, but it stands out to you.
What do you do?
a) Skip over it, after all it’s not hurting anyone
b) Slam your mug down in disgust and state you’ll never read any of their work again
c) Send a DM tweet to bring their attention to the mistake
d) Leave a caustic/sarcastic comment at the end of their blog post
We are all human
Granted, mistakes shouldn’t happen, but they do.
At times it doesn’t matter how often you read through something errors will slip through.
Because you’re human.
Can you really imagine a world where no one makes mistakes?
So, getting back to the quandary, what should you do?
As a writer I make mistakes (shock horror!). I try not to, but every now and then one will slip through.
Personally, I welcome a DM tweet to let me know so I can go back and correct it. I see it as something positive. After all, it means that someone has liked my writing enough to read the entire article and that they care enough to let me know there’s a typo – that’s pretty special.
I’ve also had smart arses who have left curt comments on my blog when they’ve found an error. Right, like they’ve never made a mistake in their life. My response is generally a sweet “why thank you so much for pointing that out to me”, but they don’t put themselves in a good light.
You see there are various ways of doing things.
Some decisions will show you as caring and thoughtful, others as someone who loves to revel in the mistakes of others like some God that never gets anything wrong.
Next time you come across a typo stop and think. How would you like to be treated? Everyone makes mistakes – EVERYONE – just remember that.
Why have I written this post?
I’ve already admitted to making the odd mistake now and then. This post is in response to a lovely lady (and friend) who spotted a missing ‘t’ in a recent post of mine. She was kind enough to DM me so I could correct it.
If I’m feeling particularly mischievous I’ll slip in a deliberate typo just to see if anyone notices.
Keep your eyes peeled.
July 1st, 2015 — Branding, copywriting, copywriting tips, Copywriting tone, marketing
Does this sound familiar?
“Through our organisational changes we’ll strategically transition towards a more customer centric approach. Going forward, by leveraging KPIs this paradigm shift will cultivate a results orientated environment cultivating workable growth strategies.”
This is the kind of wording corporates love. Their marketers think it makes them sound impressive and worth every penny of their excessive fees.
All they’re doing is using a lot of words to say absolutely nothing.
It doesn’t tell their reader anything about them, how they are going to help them or what benefits they will bring.
They will even go to far as to say their clients expect them to write that way.
Do you think anyone wants to read that stuff?
Presenting your marketing in that style makes me (the reader) think that actually you have no idea what you’re talking about. Especially when I ask for clarification and your response is a barrage of alternative marketing terms that also mean nothing.
The problem is that because it’s become so ingrained in the corporate world if you don’t speak it you’re seen as an outsider.
So what happens if you run a small business and have to sell to corporates?
Dare to be different
Most companies try to emulate this incomprehensible style of writing because they think it’s the only way they’ll be taken seriously by their target audience.
Well, I think it’s down to the smaller business to show these behemoths how it should be done.
- Don’t tell them permanent recruitment is your core competency; tell them you know a lot about permanent recruitment.
- Don’t start a dialogue with them; talk to them.
- Don’t tell them how you utilise your resources; show them how you use them.
- Don’t tell them you have multiple strengths you can leverage; tell them you have lots of great resources that will help them.
Keep it simple
Yes, your marketing must be targeted to your audience, but in relation to the benefits you offer them.
When it comes to language, keeping it simple and conversational will win every time.
By showing empathy and how you’re going to make their life better will be understood no matter how educated your reader is or how high up the ladder they are in their organisation.
They just want to know you understand their problem and have the solution to make it go away.
Just tell them how it is in plain English.