in other words

Ten Reasons to Hire a Copywriter

Coralie Fernando - Saturday, January 13, 2018
Finding the best copywriter for your precise copywriting needs can be tough, particularly if you haven’t worked with one before. How do you know that they’re going to do the best possible job? That they’ll ‘get’ you and won’t waste your time and money?

Before you hire a copywriter for your next job, bear the following in mind when asking about their approach.

1. They study their subject before making a start

Of course, there are many copywriters who specialise in certain subjects and may not necessarily need to do this. The majority of generalists, however, will take the time to research the subject about which they are writing before making a start.

2. But they know when to stop

A strong copywriter knows that they don’t need to be an expert in the field; they only need to know enough. This will include the important messages that need to be conveyed, what that means for the end consumer, and the benefits - if applicable. Once they’ve got what they need, they will stop, so you’re not wasting money on unnecessary time spent.

3. They study their audience

At the briefing stage, your copywriter should ask probing and in-depth questions about who your target audience is. I sometimes ask clients to literally describe the ideal person they are looking to engage with. This might include where their ideal customer lives, what they like to wear, what they watch on TV, their job, how much money they earn, and so on. All this helps me to understand the target audience’s motivations, which is essential to being able to craft key messages.

4. They get under the skin of the audience

Once a copywriter has understood the target demographic, they will then employ basic psychological techniques to better grasp what that audience will respond well to. Given most buying decisions are based on emotion, a strong copywriter will employ language that triggers reactions. Regardless of whether those are negative or positive, they will be pushing them to engage with your product or service.

5. They spend time on the headline

90% of content that I write nowadays is published online, rather than in print. We all consume so much online content now, more so than ever before. It’s unusual for us to really take the time to read our emails or online articles. More often than not, it’s a quick skim read. To stand out then, you’ll need a great headline to grab their attention.

6. They repeat themselves

Because these skim readers will be unlikely to pick up your key message the first time, second time or even the third time around. While it might seem incredibly dull to you, if you want to drum home the message, repetition is necessary.

7. They define the USP

Once a copywriter has completed their research into the subject and target audience, and met with you for their briefing, they’ll consider the unique selling propositions that are most likely to engage. Once the USP is agreed, all the copy will be centred around it - reinforcing the message again and again.

8. They tell the audience what to do

Nine times out of ten, a good copywriter will tell your readers what you want them to do by ending with a call to action at the bottom of your web page, advert, social media post or blog.

9. They’re thick-skinned

An effective copywriter should be stand by their principles, however they will also realise that they might not always be right.

10. They continue to improve themselves

Good copywriters will stay on top of market trends, keep themselves in the loop with emerging technologies, and enjoy partnering with other creative experts. This is all to ensure that their content achieves the cut-through and engagement.

Looking for a freelance copywriter in London or further afield? Get in touch with me today.

Six ways small businesses can maximise their social media marketing

Coralie Fernando - Friday, September 29, 2017

While most of us probably log in to our social media accounts on a daily basis, how many really understand the breadth of influence social media can have on sales and the bottom line? Small business owners, as part of a holistic marketing campaign, strategic use of social media can have a huge impact! At a basic level, promoting your content and services on social media can:

  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Improve your organic google rankings
  • Promote your brand
  • Help to position yourself as a market-leader

As a starting point, these are my tips on getting started:

1. Choose the right channel… and stick to it

A number of businesses assume that they should take on all of the channels because it will mean access to a wider audience. While that is technically true, it is highly unlikely that you’ll have relevant audiences across all major social media channels. Nor is it likely you’ll be able to maintain all of them, since each will require different posts, and different tones of voice. Do your research to find out where your target audience spends time before committing to a channel. You can always register the handles on other channels, just in case you decide to use them later.

2. Always update your posts regularly

Social media requires ongoing commitment, just like a dog or a relationship! For each channel, there are varying expectations on how frequently you should post. As a guideline to getting started, I’d recommend the following frequencies for each channel:

  • Twitter: Daily – twice daily
  • Facebook: Every other day – daily
  • Linkedin: Twice a week
  • Snapchat: Twice a week
  • Instagram: Twice a week

3. Use a scheduling tool

I like Hootsuite. It’s what I’ve always used and it’s easy to navigate. The benefit of using a scheduling tool is that you can connect all your social media channels to one dashboard view, and schedule them all in one go. It gives you a sense of the volume of your activity and emails you weekly reports so you can keep track of your performance. Tidy.

4. Promote your own content as far as possible

Simply promoting your website, one page at a time, is not going to cut it on social. To boost your brand, encourage traffic and contribute to your overall content marketing strategy, you’ll need to promote a healthy mix of both your own and external content. Promoting your own content will mean people your audience will become more aware of your brand, but importantly, they’ll also click through to your website. The more traffic that Google sees coming to your site from various sources, the more they’ll recognise you as an authority in what you do.

5. Engage with your communities

Social media is genuinely supposed to be social. You only get out what you put in, as they say. If you’re on Twitter, for example, make sure you like, retweet, comment and reply to comments that are relevant to you. This will help you to grow your social media following and enhance your position online. Equally, when people approach you on social, whether it be positive or negative, you have a duty to respond. Ignoring negative reviews or comments will not make them go away. I recommend responding with a request to take the conversation offline so you can deal with the situation away from prying eyes. No one likes to air their dirty laundry in public, after all.

6. Measurement

Before you start, have a think about some of your objectives. Do you want to focus on brand awareness? Increasing the volume of followers? Click-throughs to your website? Whatever it is, note it down and consider how you’ll achieve those objectives. Measurement along the way will help you to refine what works and what doesn’t. From there, you can refine and hone your techniques to ensure you achieve maximum impact and engagement.

If you’d like to speak to a friendly copywriter about crafting the right social media posts for your audiences, get in touch.

These simple email marketing techniques will win you customers

Coralie Fernando - Sunday, April 10, 2016

We’ve all received EDMs from companies that we either do or don’t buy from. Sometimes we open the emails and sometimes we don’t. But what is it exactly that gets us to click through and open them? And more importantly, what is it that drives us to buy?

First things first, no amount of screamy capital letters, exclamation marks and neon signposting is going to do it for me. If anything, it has the opposite effect. Sure there are a few tips, tricks and key words you can use in your subject header to entice your reader to open the email, but when all is said and done, what will get them to want to open it consistently, time and again? What will see them look forward to receiving them?!

Simply good content. Good old fashioned quality content.

So what is it exactly that makes good content good? The truth about successful content that works is: it varies from one audience to the next. And once you’ve figured out what exactly your audience want to know about:

    Be yourself

This is a pretty simple concept, but it covers a whole host of more significant details. For example, being yourself means you’re communicating authentically. It means speaking with your unique tone of voice and a personal touch. As you start to build rapport with your audience, you’ll start earning trust. In a world where we’re so frequently bombarded with superfluous advertising, a genuine voice rings true and stands out from the crowd.

    Be consistent

Consistency isn’t a new concept, and it’s just as important in email marketing as any other channel. Not just in terms of tone of voice and copy style. Your emails should be going out as regularly as clockwork too, so think about how frequently your resources allow you to send emails vs. how regularly your audience are likely to want to hear from you. Daily, weekly, monthly? It will depend from once audience to another: consider testing between email lists to gauge how engagement and opt-outs compare.

Design-wise, maintain consistency as well. Keep it recognisable, on-brand and simple. In essence, don’t make it hard for people to work out what you want them to do.

    Offer quality

Write high quality content in your emails that actually delivers on what your audience will want to know or hear about. Simple concept yes – but it can be harder to execute! Go back to the good old ‘what’s in it for me’ theory and review your content with this in mind. The email should contain links to your own content, not others’ external links if you can avoid it. And don’t forget to tell them what you want them to do, otherwise known as the call-to-action!

Email marketing doesn’t need to be intrusive, spammy or difficult. It can actually create some incredibly effective leads, win you sales and increase your brand awareness significantly. Similarly, email marketing mistakes might cost you customer loyalty too, so it’s well worth investing in how your email marketing campaign might contribute positively to your overarching marketing strategy.

Need some help? Get in touch today.

Tone of voice: why consistency is key to better copywriting

Coralie Fernando - Thursday, March 24, 2016

Consistency… Yawn.

Yes, marketeers, comms specialists and brand managers have harped on about it for years, dashing the dreams of creatives everywhere in the wake of corporate synonymity.

So why does it matter? What’s the big deal, specifically when it comes to language? Do clients really notice if you’ve happened to use a comma in the place of a hyphen? Will they care if you use the word ‘use’ rather than ‘employ’? Possibly not, but here’s why it still matters.

Brand-building is a serious and long-term business investment. While a clumsy semicolon might not be so obvious a mistake as, say, a stretched logo, over time as your business matures and your brand becomes more sophisticated, these details will become increasingly significant. Modern marketing has nurtured brands to a point where marketeers are now fiercely protective of branding usage. The details matter, essentially because they matter to our customers (though they mightn’t realise why).

Establishing a consistent tone of voice from the outset matters because it sets the foundations for a strong brand. The details, once established, will naturally lend themselves to a sophisticated brand, and ultimately a powerful and recognisable one. An identifiable and effective brand is one that will not only see your customers returning to you time and again, but referring you on as well.

Getting it right

The process of developing a tone of voice to suit your business can take time. For the most part, it’s barely a consideration when new businesses are set up. Understandably, it falls down the list of priorities. But when communication plays an integral role in each of our encounters with customers, staff and suppliers, wouldn’t you want to consider the language they’re likely to respond to?

Your tone of voice will represent the personality of your business and will contribute to the relationship with your existing and prospective customers. It should speak a language they understand, empathise with and, ultimately, motivates them to action.

Who is your target demographic? Where do they live? Why will they be interested in what you have to offer? Once you have some of the answers to these questions, you’ll start to paint a picture of how they might like to communicate, and accordingly the traits of your tone and brand personality start to take form.

This tone, once established, should be reflected across all your communications. This means your website content, your direct marketing communications, and even the language with which you verbally use with your customers.

Every advert, blog post, tweet, infographic and video should pay homage to your established tone of voice.

Being a trusted brand

Brand and style guardianship cease to exist if their application become selective, even if ‘in the real world’ we treat the details as irrelevant. But ultimately, poorly crafted copy that gracelessly ignores a consistent style is not what you want to be putting out in the public forum. Don’t confuse your audience with conflicting styles and personalities. Imagine meeting someone several times, and on each occasion they assume different character traits. Would you trust them? Would you give them your hard-earned cash?

Me, neither.

Can I help you define your tone of voice? Get in touch today.

 

Ten habits to make you a better copywriter

Coralie Fernando - Saturday, March 12, 2016

Creating copy that engages with your audience and inspires can take time. I’ve written a post about spring cleaning copy, but as a lover of lists, I wanted to share my own checklist that I look to if I’m having a bad pen day. Motivating your audience into action is the ultimate goal, but if, at minimum, you generate a positive branding experience and entertain, so much the better.

1. Could you read your copy out to a good friend without them feeling like you’re preaching a sermon?

This is up at number one for good reason. Think about how your target audience normally communicates and craft your copy accordingly. Engaging copy shouldn’t be hard to understand, condescending, or self-interested. Ask questions, entertain, and make it clear what’s in it for them. Avoid jargon or acronyms if you can, as you’ll likely lose attention extremely quickly.

2. Check your sentence lengths.

Sometimes there’s a temptation to include all the information in one sentence because you have so much to say and you don’t want to have to cut and slice, but in doing so you’ll lose your readers’ attention and interest so it’s not really worth it, especially as by the time you get to the end of your sentence they’ll have completely lost interest so you could be describing the most exciting facts about puppy dogs tails, snails, whales or curly kale but they won’t even know.

3. Does your copy have an impactful ending? If not it’s.

What do you want to leave your audience with as a lasting impression? What’s your call to action? What do you want them to think, or do?

4. Plan properly, and be true to your intended format.

Don’t start your piece of writing as a listicle and deviate idly halfway through towards a written article. The laziness will permeate.

5. Are, you? Prone. To punc:Tuation?

This was my biggest failing in English. Don’t ask me why, but I loves me a comma. Try to resist over indulging on the punctuation marks if you can - you’ll lose your audience and dilute your sentence structure.

6. Grammatically, do you know what is going on?

Get it right. Your audience might not forgive you if you don’t.

7. Know when it’s time for something glorious and when it’s time for something that gets the job done.

I’m all for bells and whistles, but a 94 page website can’t be ringing and whistling all the way to the contact page. If your audience is looking for information, make your copy functional.

8. Get a proof reader

Also known as fresh eyes, an objective point of view or critical eye. Frustrating and unfathomable though it continues to be, but I still can’t pick up on each and every last inconsistency and typo. Get a good proof reader who will relieve you of the stress.

9. Have you brought ‘it’ to life without relying on clichés like ‘brought it to life’?

This is a tough one, particularly when the creative juices are running thin. Go to bed and attack again on the morrow.

10. The final test: if your copy was out on show for all to see, would you point and smile, your heart bursting with pride and contentedly proclaim ‘I wrote that’?

Whilst I sincerely hope your copywriting improves as a result of these few pointers, I nonetheless unashamedly offer my services if you’d like a bit more help.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Image courtesy of Jonathan Kim