Holidays, time away, staff off… summer stretches ahead of us! At first glance, the season of breaks and uncertain sunshine may not seem like the right time to review your marketing content or copywriting strategy. But there are actually some great reasons why now is the perfect time of year to do just that!
1. Clients away?
Clients gone quiet? No wonder, with work holidays, school holidays and people taking time off pursue their passion for llama racing. Make the most of it and look at what’s working (and what’s not) for your communications! This is also a great opportunity to set new approaches in action. While your clients are off, you can start putting your new improved communications plan into place!
2. Left behind by Mobilegeddon?
Were you too busy to prepare for Mobilegeddon? Now that the rumblings of worry about Google’s algorithm changes are dying away, this is a great time to look at what you’re planning to do with your website. As this post wisely points out, Mobilegeddon is a sign of things to come rather than just being a one-off phenomenon. So there’s all the more reason to use this summer as a valuable time for updating your content.
3. Ready for a break?
This may well be holiday season for a lot of people, but the next season is only just around the corner. Now is the ideal stage to get ahead with a review of your marketing content so that everything’s set up once the “new term” starts. Can you believe that we’re already halfway through the year? Content-wise, what has really worked for your business so far? How can you make the most of successful approaches and adapt the ones that just aren’t winning the response you want?
4. Quiet news season?
Is this a quiet news month for you? Why not take this time to look at your content strategy rather than at the detail and identify new ways to reach your customers? One example of this is spending a little less time on your regular blog and considering how to make more of all of your blog content through email marketing and social media. A quiet time for news can be a great time to look at your long-term plans. So sit back, relax and start seeing even more potential in your marketing content!
Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, August 2016
20 ways to squeeze more value from your content 52 days ago
Like to squeeze even more value from your content, whether it’s your website, emails or direct mail? Read on.
1. Speak louder
Want to be heard by your potential clients? Look again at your content to see whether the tone of voice is doing your business justice. Could it be time to take your company’s voice from generic to memorable or from robot-speak to personality-packed? This will add value by giving your content more character and making it more memorable!
2. Share stories, not sales pitches
How’s your content been working for you up to now? Not hard enough? This could be the ideal stage to assess whether you’re really telling an inspiring story about your business or just pushing a sales script. Our brains are programmed to respond to stories, so why miss out on the opportunity to bring the power of an interesting tale to your business?
3. It’s not you. It’s them
It really isn’t all about you. Why not review your marketing content to really understand whether or not your content is all about your client, rather your business? This will instantly add value to it in the eyes of your prospect. How can you help them? What’s in it for them? Look at ways to replace the list of your company’s many achievements with content which compellingly demonstrates what you can do for your customer.
4. Show, don’t tell
Why just talk around your company’s benefits, when you can highlight how you benefit your clients? Don’t just tell them, show them how great you are with case studies that detail the amazing stuff you do. This will bring your business to life like nothing else.
5. Ask more questions
Never underestimate the power of a good question or two. If you want to get more from your marketing content, make sure you’re asking all the right questions first! How do you actually resolve your customers’ problems? What do you do differently to others in your market? Great questions can generate all kinds of insights that you can apply to make your content more active and engaging.
6. Stay present
Staying present matters. Are you really relishing those opportunities to make your marketing content topical? Spend some time exploring how you can connect your blog, enewsletters and other marketing content with current events like festivals, special days and perhaps even quirky happenings. It’s a relatively simple way to keep your content relevant.
7. Get closer to your audience
With copywriting, business-owners often feel tempted to stick with one particular approach. But if you’d like to see more of a result from your content, you’ll do well to look at the power of the marketing persona. This is all about getting closer to your dream customer. You can do this by asking the right kinds of questions: what is important to this customer right now? What are their priorities and how can I match that in my copywriting approach? What kinds of goals and interests motivate my clients? What bothers them? Create content around these issues and you’ll instantly make your content more valuable.
8. Give your client a voice
Here’s something you may find surprising. Valuable content doesn’t always have to be about what you write. Are you overlooking the power of what your clients have to say? Client testimonials can be a very beneficial part of an effective copywriting strategy. I appreciate that many business-owners often feel too busy to follow up for testimonials, but they are worth the effort! It’s a simple and enduring way to enhance everything you’re saying in your content with an added stamp of credibility. With the right approach, you can re-use client testimonials in a range of ways to add even more value to your content!
9. Jack in the jargon
Could technical-speak be getting between you and new business? Does your website sound as if it’s swallowed a work manual? Jargon overload is an easy way to reduce the value of your content. If you’d like more effective content, a great way to start is by weeding out the jargon and replacing it with a more human, approachable tone of voice.
10. Search for special
Copywriting is not just about stating what you do. Replace the factual statements with content which specifically pinpoints what is special about your business. Facts are important, but so is carefully selecting and sharing the right ones. This could be facts like the surprising thing that inspired you to start your business, the incredible new sector you’ve just moved into, the number of people you’ve helped…
11. Look for a new angle
Have you noticed a drop in response to content that’s perhaps a few years past its best? Now could be a great opportunity to take a step back and refresh how you convey your message. Changing your angle can give you a great deal more scope for how to look at and write about your business.
12. Swap serious for funny
Making your audience smile is a powerful way to create content with more value. Work in a little humour and you’ll create a more inviting statement about your products or services!
13. Put your creative hat on
Could this be the time to reinvent how you and your audience see your business? It could be, if you dare to get a little more creative. Taking a fresh view on your business topic can really help to share what’s uniquely special about that product or service.
14. Make a great offer
One quick way to add value to your content is to make a clear unambiguous offer. It could be a free consultation, a chance to win something great or a little of your time for free. This will instantly draw attention to your business and show that you mean business too!
15. Prune it
It may sound like contradiction, but if you want more value from your content, you could benefit from cutting it down. Is your current content packed with lots of words and unclear messages? Pare it right back to create more of a response!
16. Be generous
Value in content also means value for your potential clients, like informing them about the things you know will be of interest to them instead of just what’s of interest to you. This could be a blog which features helpful tips and updates, rather than simply sharing the latest news about your most recent business triumph, for example.
17. End it well
Is every aspect of your content designed to create a lasting impression? Consider the ending as well as that fascinating first paragraph. Don’t overlook the opportunity at the end of your content (your web pages, for example) to remind people of your core message and benefits. Add value by making sure people leave your website with a clear sense of what you can do to help them.
Adding value doesn’t necessarily mean doing more. Consider the ways in which you’re currently sharing your content. Are they working for you? What could you do to simplify your marketing approaches and reach the right people with less effort?
19. Bring out the benefits
Does your content clearly explain why your business is the best choice? Look at converting the facts about what you do into the many important reasons to buy into your business and you’ll instantly add more value to your content.
20. Request a response
A classic and commonly committed content error is to overlook calls to action. So if you want to see more action-packed content, don’t ignore the power of a great call to action! Ask yourself how you’d like your potential customer to respond after they’ve read your content: call, click or what? Then make it as easy as possible for them to do that!
Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, Nottingham, July 2016
The 100-word blog post: Copywriting's first job 75 days ago
The thing we all look for when we meet someone for the first time? I heard recently that it’s whether or not we can trust that person.
It’s the same with copywriting. That initial contact, whether it’s a blog post or brochure, is a company’s first (and often only) chance to win the trust of the reader.
Yes, copywriting is about selling and making a company memorable. But its first job should be to create and build trust. Because, without trust, all those other great things can’t happen. And your reader may never make the leap towards becoming your customer.
Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, June 2016
It’s an obsession. Pretty much the first thing I do when I visit a company’s website is scoot right over to their blog or news section. Yes, I want to find out more about them and their content, but I’m also looking to gain a few insights – insights that perhaps they don’t know they’re even revealing about their business. After all, there’s what a company thinks its blog says and what a company blog actually says! Watch out for these clues…
1. Canned content
I’m always fascinated by the number of companies that put so much work into blogging yet still have blog posts that don’t reflect their personality at all. That’s sad because people love personality in content. The canned content blogs are the ones where you realise that you could be on anybody’s website. The blog is indistinguishable from many others out there in terms of tone of voice, approach and messages. To me this always sounds like a clue that a business doesn’t truly value what it has to offer. The other possibility is that there is a disconnect between the company’s brand and its content and this gap is still being overlooked. Whatever the cause, it’s a lost opportunity to connect with people in a more authentic way.
2. Facts only
There’s a big difference between informing people and doling out information. I’m always interested to find a company blog in which facts and data are served up alone without an interesting angle. This is content that’s more preoccupied with the intricacies of the business rather than the audience. I find it interesting to see how many businesses have good, engaging content on the rest of the website. Then I get to their blog and it feels like I’m lost in the middle of a technical manual from the 1950s. Being factual, these blog posts lack any sense of energy or excitement. To me, this is a clue that the company is fantastic on the technical side, but is still seeking an effective way to communicate this expertise to its customers.
Now, this might be a controversial one. For some businesses, their entire blog is dedicated to updating the world on their achievements, from the newest client to the latest addition to the company’s novelty mug collection. But I think this is a little old fashioned in the light of changing online and mobile habits. Why? Because people increasingly search for content to answer their problems. This means that having blog content that’s about their interests than about your business is actually going to work better in the long run. For me, a blog with “spotlight-itis” suggests a company that is overlooking changing tastes in content. Not that I don’t think company updates are great, but they’re even better balanced with blog content which is devoted to answering client questions informatively and engagingly. And yes, there is still scope to tell them about the latest novelty mug to grace the meeting room.
We’ve all seen it. The blog that was last updated two years ago or six months ago. Whatever it is, it screams “out of date” at the reader. Sorry to get all heavy here, but by having a blog, a company is making a promise to keep it updated with lovely fresh content. That’s the big issue with a blog. It’s those loaded words: latest, upcoming, new, fresh. A mismatch between your promise and your main message undermines the credibility of your whole website. So what does this reveal about a company? Well, the practical issue may be lack of time or a shortage ideas, but I also think that it suggests a company which isn’t incorporating its marketing strategy into the whole business. Because when your blog is an integral part of what you do, it really is possible to keep generating new and relevant ideas.
5. No angle
Visiting this kind of business blog can be bewildering. It feels as if a magazine, a Twitter feed and a collection of emails got together and decided to have a party. This somewhat exhausting collection of different approaches and themes can reveal a couple of things about a business. One: that they have a number of people writing and adding blog posts. This can be an effective strategy – when it’s managed properly. Two: that the person blogging has a shortage of ideas and isn’t sure what is appropriate or they are trying to reach too many different audiences. Inconsistency is always revealing. The nature of a blog is to build consistency: a continuous and effective connection between a business and the outside world. With no angle to anchor it, your business is shown to be unsure of its identity and of what’s important to its customers.
Agree or not? Let me know in the comments below!
Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, May 2016
In the time I’ve been providing copywriting services to business, I’ve encountered some interesting myths. It seems that copywriting is still open to misinterpretation. Here are three of the most common myths going round:
Myth 1. “Copywriting is just about writing well”
This is a myth I regularly hear repeated. Despite the increasing value of marketing content, many companies still view copywriting as just the delivery of grammatically correct, pleasant sounding paragraphs. It isn’t unusual for people to see copywriting as the process of rewriting existing copy to sound better. Not so. Of course copywriting is about creating well written content – but with a much bigger purpose. Its ultimate aim is to convey a message that engages and persuades your audience. It’s also about highlighting what is unique about a particular product or service. That’s a great deal more than a cosmetic overhaul.
How to bust the myth: Make sure that you create content designed to persuade your reader about the value of the business to them.
Myth 2. “Copywriting doesn’t have a real place in strategy”
In a world where content (marketing) is king and the internet demands high quality content that is continually refreshed, it’s surprising how often copywriting is seen as something separate from a company’s overall strategy. In this all too common myth, business goals and copywriting are kept in completely separate boxes, instead of supporting each other. That’s why you still see company blogs that convey an out of date message and project bids that focus only on stating the facts, rather than selling the business. New opportunities offered by inbound marketing make this myth even more of a loser for businesses.
How to bust the myth: Plan for your content alongside your main business and sales and marketing plans to ensure that they support each other.
Myth 3. “Copywriting can be left till last”
This myth can have a serious backlash on business progress. A company is keen to get started with their new venture. They haven’t got the time to spend working on their copy or on finding a copywriter. So the business starts out with copy that fails to sell it or that misses out what makes it distinctive. The plan is to get the copywriting done once they find the time. Meanwhile, they are saying one thing to new prospects while their website copy or new brochure is saying quite another (or nothing at all).
How to bust the myth: Before you launch that website or start emailing your contacts, make the time to clarify exactly what you want to say and how you’ll make it stand out from others offering a similar product or service.
Want to chat copywriting, business or unicorns? Let me know!
Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, May 2016
Image by Yosuke Muroya