Entries from July 2009 ↓

Less is Most Definitely More

sweet shopI guess we’ve all seen websites that just go on, and on, and on, and on….

They are full of information we don’t need to know and certainly don’t want to know. Things like Our company was formed in 1890….We have 35 members of staff….Our MD drives a Smartcar…

What were they thinking of when they wrote it?

It’s rather like a kid in a sweet shop. Do you remember that feeling? You are stood in the shop, peeking over the counter at the rows of jars containing delicious sweets in all shapes and sizes. You can’t decide what you want so you buy everything you possibly can. When your mum sees you she tells you not to eat them all at once because you’ll be sick.

OK mum,’ you shout as you disappear up to your room.

What’s the first thing you do? Scoff all the sweets as fast as possible. You don’t known when to stop. The result? One very sick child.

It’s the same scenario with the website. The sweets in this case is the information. When you write your own website copy you just want to include everything because you believe it is important. You’re proud of your company’s achievments, and quite rightly so. But your reader only wants to know what you will do for them. They couldn’t care less about anything else.

If you overload your website with material it won’t take long for your reader to get rather sick of it, hit the back browser and look elsewhere.

So, the moral of the story is to be economical with your information. As the title of this post says, less is most definitely more. Tell your reader simply what you’ll do for them i.e. the benefits of your service (you’ll save them time, money etc.). Take a step back and resist the urge to fill your website with information that only you want to read.

Be ruthless – your readers will love you for it.

Copywriting Success

As a copywriter I am asked to undertake a huge variety of projects for my clients. They can range from website copywriting to providing copy freightfor brochures or writing features/articles to interviewing people to write case studies and just about everything else in between.

A recent project I was involved with was to not only write a clients web copy but to also produce an awards entry for their company. They are a freight forwarding company and were looking to enter the IFW Freight Forwarder of the Year Award for the first time.

Working closely with the company, I produced an entry for them and guess what?

The Managing Director phoned earlier this week to tell me they had been shortlisted as finalists!

Superb! Now it’s fingers crossed time that come September there’ll be even better news – a win?

Should Your Headline Be the Chicken Or the Egg?

chickxc4It is a debate that has been raging for centuries – so does anyone out there really know which came first?

Well, a slightly easier question to answer is when should you write your headline? Before the body of your article or after?

Think of your headline as a promise. Through it, you signal to your reader what you are going to tell them. It will identify what the benefit to them will be for reading your article.

If you think about life in general, you always make your promise first. The same therefore goes for your headline. If you write your content first you’ll end up with a rather dull and uninspiring headline that simply won’t work.

Writing a fantastic headline isn’t always easy – it has to convey the essence of your article, it has to be catchy and have ‘read me’ written all over it. Formulating the perfect headline isn’t easy but there are ways you can get a bit of a leg-up from the experts.

You Don’t Have to Be Shakespeare To Write Great Headlines

shakespeareOk, perhaps Shakespeare wasn’t exactly renowned for catchy headlines – but he did write some fantastic plays and sonnets.

Headlines can be a real killer sometimes. I bet you’ve sweated for hours staring at a blank screen waiting for inspiration to hit. No matter how hard you screw your face up, that illusive super-sales-generating-headline just won’t pop into your mind.

Shall I let you into a secret?

Most copywriters have a headline creating tool.

It works 100% of the time and helps them produce killer headlines everytime.

Want to get your hands on it? What to know what it is?

It is a swipe file. I hate that name as it sounds rather underhand, but basically that is what it is.

It is a collection of winning headlines, sales letters, adverts, magazine cuttings – in fact anything that uses a headline, phrase or sentence that is a real attention grabber.

But shouldn’t your headline be completely original?

Is there really any piece of writing out there that is 100% original?

Every writer in the world gets their inspiration from somewhere so, consciously or subconsciously, their work is influenced by an outside source.

Tried and tested formula

Headlines that work have been constructed in certain was to be effective. They have followed the same structure for years generating thousands or even millions of pounds. The same formula is adapted and put into different contexts and is used over and over again. So why change it?

Is a swipe file cheating?

No. All it means is that you write great headlines in a way you know will work. As your confidence and experience grows you can try an original approach – although as I said above, whatever you try will never be 100% original (I’m happy to be proven wrong there if anyone has any examples of something totally original).

Starting with these tried and tested templates you can immediately improve your blog post titles which should gain more readership and traffic.

Give it a go – start compiling your own swipe file today and start generating more traffic.

Continuity Copywriting

One of the most important aspects of your company’s marketing is its continuity.

Brand identity is key to gaining your customers’ confidence. If your marketing materials are the same across the board, your clients will be able to instantly recognise you.

  • Take a look at your website – do your brochures and flyers share the same colour scheme?
  • Is your logo consistent throughout your marketing materials?
  • Are the fonts the same?
  • Do you use the same tone of voice?

If you get your brand identity right and consistently provide an excellent service, your brand will be immediately associated with trust and credibility.

Review everything

Every now and then it pays to take stock of your marketing materials to ensure the message they are giving is still relevant and consistent with your company’s goals. When you update your website content check your other materials against it – are they still the same style?

Frequently when one item is updated it makes your other materials look staid and out of date. Therefore to keep your image constant update everything together.