Which comes first: the idea or the content?
Well, the idea should. But when you’re inside your business, it’s not always easy to uncover what it is that makes it unique.
Or what your potential customers will want to know about.
Or the interesting angle that will get your copywriting approach moving ahead with far less effort.
But a copywriting approach that includes developing ideas for your blog or social media or overall content plan is valuable.
If you put your ideas first, you’ll find that creating your content and copywriting becomes easier, more effective and (whisper it) more enjoyable!
Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, October 2016
5 ways to put the fun into copywriting 11 days ago
“Fun? Having fun while creating content?” I can hear the protests now. I love being a copywriter for many reasons. But while my role makes me happy, I find that many business-owners dread the prospect of creating content. In their eyes, it is a huge, never-ending job. Not fun. I hear so many people sigh at the thought of looking at their content. They recognise the value of content and the fact that a great copywriting strategy can make the difference between getting noticed and being ignored. Yet they see the whole process of copywriting and planning content as a chore, a bore and a task. One big part of the problem is that it isn’t their day job as it has been mine for 13-plus years, But it’s more than that. I think it’s easy for business-owners to get into a state where they view content just as something to fill the spaces and complete the gaps and that makes them feel stressed.
One of my golden rules
One of my golden rules for when I’m writing content is that I have to find it interesting to write or people won’t find it interesting to read. Actually, I think if I’m not enjoying the writing process, there’s something very wrong. It doesn’t matter whether I’m copywriting for a manufacturing company, a firm of solicitors or a boutique hotel. If the writing process isn’t rewarding, it’s time to stop and take a fresh look at what I’m doing.
So yes, I think fun has a big part to play in copywriting. Enjoying your content process can make you more creative and your content more effective.Here are a few ways to help bring back the fun when you’re creating your content:
1. Try something different
One of the biggest blocks to having fun? Trying too hard, of course. Now, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t put your best into your content and copywriting approach. But why not try lightening up a little? It could prove surprisingly powerful. So many companies try writing with the straitjacket of professionalism on, even when their particular industry or audience is open to something a bit bolder. So, have fun trying out a more unusual tone of voice, instead of bland and neutral. Just one example of this is the client of mine who asked me to create a sarcastic tone of voice for their website and brochures. This had such a great impact that it ended up being imitated by one of their competitors. So, go on, relax and try something a little different. You may be surprised at what happens.
2. Bring in your team
Team building? What’s that got to do with creating content and planning your copywriting approach? Well, quite a lot. Great content should bring together messages from across a business. Asking your team about how they want to communicate about the business can be very revealing. Why not use your need for content as an opportunity to uncover what your team sees as your company’s strengths and skills? You might be surprised at what you find out. You could do this as group activity or simply by asking a series of questions. These could be around how your employees see the company, the kind of feedback they receive from customers and the value they think the business provides. You could gain all kinds of valuable perspectives, depending on different staff roles and how long they’ve been in the business.
3. Take it personally
In life, amazing things can happen when you share something of yourself. It’s the same in copywriting. Seeing content creation as a chore will keep it limited to a job to be got through as quickly as possible. But viewing it as a chance to share something about your story and what makes you tick will bring the process and the content itself to life. We all have different “sharing thresholds”. So experiment. Try writing from a more personal perspective and see how you feel. Does the process of copywriting for your business become easier or harder? Bringing in a more personal angle can help to reveal the story behind your business.
4. Don’t forget to smile
Yes, smiles are permitted in the copywriting process! A little humour can be a very serious advantage in business content. Think about the funny things that have affected your business and the interesting ways you’ve helped your clients. These stories can turn your content into something your audience wants to read like nothing else. Bring in the powerful art of humour and you’ll really start to enjoy the art of copywriting for your business.
5. Keep note of the daft
Don’t delete so fast! I know you want to create your content and move on to the next project, but deleting those more unusual ideas could work against you. Take your time and allow the daft ideas to remain on the page or screen for now. Then revisit them. They may hold the seeds of something useful. That’s certainly been the case when I’m copywriting for businesses. I won’t let an idea go until I’m sure that’s nothing I can do with it. So, relax, let the ideas flow, turn off your critical inner voice and trust the process. Then, when you’ve let the power of fun shape your copywriting approach, you can refine the content to its very best.
So there we are: fun and copywriting go together better than many business-owners seem to think. Business content is seriously valuable, but for the best results, fun isn’t an optional extra. Used in the right way, it can be a force for good in creating content that gains your business the right kind of attention.
Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, October 2016
What’s the most certain thing about business? That it is uncertain. In the 13-plus years I’ve been working as a copywriter, I’ve seen all kinds of changes. I’ve watched as apparently solid companies shape-shift. I’ve observed long-established businesses hit by sudden changes in their clients’ priorities. A lot has happened. Just as new opportunities have arisen, other ones have fallen away. So how can good content help sole traders and businesses to stay ahead in an uncertain world?
Strengthen your identity
In an ever-changing business climate, a clear, unmistakable identity is an undeniable strength. Who are you? What does your business stand for? How do you stand out from your competitors? And is this all immediately clear to your potential customers? One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed in copywriting and marketing is how much more marketing noise there is out there. Good content can help you cut through the babble. The other great thing about a clear identity is that it is very reassuring – a highly attractive quality in a fast-changing world. Be clear about what you stand for rather than relying on fluffy, waffle-laden marketing content to get you through.
Grow your prospects
Things going well? That’s great, but as anyone who has been in business for more than five minutes knows, life can change very quickly. Relying on the status quo is not an option any more. And who would want it to be? Change keeps life interesting. Good marketing content can be of great value in good times and a crucial advantage in more challenging times. By creating high quality content that tells a unique story about your business, you can continuously generate and nurture potential new customers. Think about how you can make the most of your blog, newsletter or social media to continually remind the world why your business matters. Doing this consistently is a much healthier way to prepare yourself for the inevitable changes that take place in business, instead of as a reaction to new circumstances.
Be ready for the next big thing
What’s around the corner? Well, however hard you plan, you can’t always know which new opportunity might present itself at the last minute. So you go to that meeting with the exciting new prospect. Great, but then they want a brochure or a breakdown of your business offering. Or you get the chance to have a stand at an amazing new business exhibition, but your brochure is hopelessly out of date … Having good content ready and waiting will help you be ready to respond to that new possibility as soon as it appears. Why waste time running to keep up when you can be prepared before that opportunity even appears?
Show the difference
In a more challenging business climate, everyone is clamouring to tell the world how great they are. But why tell when you can show? With highly targeted marketing content, you can actively highlight your expertise. You can also develop your professional profile through publishing on LinkedIn, use great content to get yourself noticed in industry publications and build your reputation by having a clear message to share in response to the latest issues affecting your industry. That’s the difference which could help see you thrive during more challenging times.
What’s next? Well, that’s up to you. It’s impossible to predict how events are going to go, however well you plan. But with high quality targeted content and a consistent strategy on your side, you’ll be more prepared to take advantage of whatever’s around the corner.
Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, September 2016
Green Light Copywriting is 13! 59 days ago
It’s been 13 years since Green Light Copywriting was first created! A lot has happened in that time. Not just in copywriting, content and marketing but in the business itself. I’ve written about everything from logistics to biscuits. I’ve had clients buy me laptops, I’ve had business meetings in IKEA (not my idea) and late Sunday night texts from business-owners in urgent need of words. It’s still an adventure after all this time. So, thank you to my clients and friends for continuing to make it interesting and for all your loyalty and support! Couldn’t have got to 13 without you!
Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, August 2016
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