Entries from September 2015 ↓

What Your Copywriter Does

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.

4. Refine

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.


How to Create a Tone of Voice Guide

Tone of voice


The tone of voice you use in your marking communications is important.

It gives your reader a sense of what your company is like, how you operate, your approachability, in fact it is something that will help your reader make up there mind as to whether you are a company they want to do business with.

So how do you find the right voice for you?

That is a question answered by Sally Ormond of Briar Copywriting Ltd – this is what she had to say:


You’ve read it numerous times. Every marketer on the planet is telling you that your company needs a tone of voice guide. You get it, but convincing your management to fork out for one is proving tricky.

How to get your management team on board

If you’re going to do this properly you need your whole team to be on board, including those in their corner offices with the to-die-for city views.

How do you do that?

Simple, just talk brand consistency.

Your company wants to deliver the best experience possible to its customers to build loyalty. Part of that comes from consistency across all forms of interaction – website, email communications, YouTube, social media, brochures, in-store and mobile.

If you have multiple writers producing your content (rather than using a well-trained copywriter, ahem) you won’t get that unified voice without a tone of voice guide. Your brand becomes confused, your customers can’t connect with it and it slides from their memory faster than a fast thing.

The guide will present a set of rules for what can and can’t be said and the language that should be used. It will clearly define a:

  • Voice – described in adjectives (i.e. friendly, lively, professional, approachable etc.)
  • Tone – adaptations of the voice to suit different audiences and content type

How to find your voice

Now the hard work begins.

Finding your voice requires input from your management team, so ask them if the brand was a person what kind of personality would it have?

Then you have to tighten it further, for example, if the response was “upbeat” find out exactly what that means – vibrant, modern, colloquial?

Also ask what it’s not – this is often easier to answer.

Finally, think about your relationships with your customers, what would that be like – friend, guide, confidante?

Slowly a picture should start to emerge.

What about your tone?

I mentioned earlier about how your voice would have to be adapted to suit different content types and audiences.

So your writing will differ from blogs to social media, website content to white papers because they are addressing different audiences.

Think about:

  • The type of content you’re writing
  • Who will be reading it
  • How they are feeling/why they are reading it
  • Tone that should be used (i.e. professional, empathetic, friendly, authoritative etc.)

It’s also a good idea to then offer an example to show the tone and type of vocabulary that would be suitable in that situation.

You did it!

Creating a tone of voice guide isn’t a quick process and can, at times, be rather frustrating, but hang in there.

Once it’s in place, the consistency of your marketing approach will create a coherent and memorable brand.




Write Your Content to Match The Way People Buy

This blog first appeared on our sister blog, Briar Copywriting Ltd, but we wanted to share it with you here also.

make people buy



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.

Be different

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.

Story time

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.


Generating Ideas For Your Newsletters

inspiration for blog topics


It’s important to keep in touch with your customers, old and new.

One of the best ways to do that is to send out a monthly newsletter.

Yes, newsletter, not sales letter.

Keeping in touch, sending them useful information and news and not making a direct pitch will help keep your name in their minds. Then, when they’re ready to buy again, they’ll think of your first.

Just remember your newsletter isn’t a regular sales pitch. Sure, if you are launching a new product or service you can add a piece about that, but your newsletter shouldn’t be all about offers and why they should buy from you.

The idea is to use it as a relationship building tool.

So where do your ideas come from?

After a while, you’ll probably find that your stream of brilliant ideas is beginning to dry up.

What was once a simple task once a month is now turning into a chore.

Every newsletter is beginning to look the same, so much so that your open and click through rates are plummeting.

What do you do?

Give up?

No. You just have to get your thinking cap on.

Generating new ideas

I write a regular newsletter for one of my clients.

It’s done on a bi-monthly basis and I usually contact him with an idea for the lead story and then we work together to add in the rest of the information, such as offers etc.

So where do I get my ideas from?

My first stop is his website and blog. What have they been talking about? Once I find a suitable topic I do a bit more research to expand it and make it directly relevant to his audience.

What if there are no ideas?

Then I get on the phone and we have a chat about what’s been happening in the business over the past month. You’d be amazed how many content ideas that can generate.

You see, your newsletter themes don’t have to be about what’s happening right now in your business, they can be about wider issues. Perhaps a customer asked you a question? If they were interested in that topic perhaps other customers are too.

Look at what’s happening in your industry – new technologies that can be commented on, news stories that you can elaborate on, or events.

There are ideas everywhere; you just have to know where to look.

Read around. Listen to your customers. Talk to other staff members. All of these will generate ideas for future newsletters.

How to Beat the Summer Slump

Marketing slump




A time for holidays and relaxing.

It’s also the time when a lot of businesses experience a slow down.

Leads drop off, the phone stops ringing and no matter how may times you refresh your email client, no enquiries are coming through.

You have 2 options:

  • Put your feet up and mope
  • Put in some groundwork for future leads

Old enquiries

Every business has a pile of leads that didn’t go anywhere.

Despite sending out competitive quotes, for one reason or another they didn’t get taken up. You were going to give them a call, but you were so busy you forgot.

So how about doing that now?

Give them a call for a chat, you never know their position may have changed and could now be in the market for your product or service.

What have you got to lose?

Review your sales process

Are you really being effective?

You probably think you are, but if that were the case you wouldn’t have that pile of warm leads to work through, would you?

Now’s a great time to review your marketing strategy from top to bottom.

Set yourself some targets to focus your efforts to make sure you minimise your ‘slow’ periods.


That doesn’t mean start phoning clients and asking them out right to refer you to someone – you don’t want to look desperate.

Offer them an incentive in the way of a generous referral scheme – you know the sort of thing “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”

It’s a great way of extending your sales team without taking on new staff – and a whole lot cheaper.

Every business has slow periods, but how you deal with them when they come is what makes the difference.

Use them to your advantage and start planning for a stronger future.