Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Girls and boys – what really makes us tick? II

You may remember in one of our earlier blogs Gemma discussed her love for the Boots adverts.  Well I’m going to hold up my end of the deal from our gender specific advert debate and write about what works for me as a man.

The Boots adverts are full of girls and for Gemma (being a girl) this was one of the highest selling points.  Well as it turns out us men are after the same thing!  It may sound clichéd but an advert full of women will generally sell a product to me.

I refrain from using Lynx products in the same way I refrain from doing most sweat inducing sports – and that works for me.  However, if I had a BO problem then I’m sure I’d use Lynx because of their powerful advertising.  And if I did use Lynx then no matter what I looked like or how I acted, women... not women – angels would fall at my feet.

As far as copywriting goes my point here is slightly controversial.  And that is sometimes it’s not innovation you need, sometimes the old gems work.  Lynx aren’t doing anything new (I’m pretty sure marketers have thought of using sex to sell products before…) and yet their adverts work.

That’s not to say don’t try anything new.  But beware formulas can become clichéd for a reason.  Personally I like playing with tested principals to create something new…  Which is why I keep pushing to use my hairy body in a bikini to sell girls deodorant.  But so far no takers.

Monday, 20 June 2011

SEO Copywriter or Content Strategist?

We read a thread on LinkedIn about the role of Copywriter vs Content Strategist which was sparked by this article.  For many people a Copywriter is someone who simply writes engaging copy rather than someone who is involved at a strategic level.

The majority agree that a content strategist is something different…  What that is exactly remains a bit blurry. 

Firstly, lets try to distinguish the role of an online Copywriter?

Based on the comments we’ve been reading it can be anything.  From someone who is given a brief and writes engaging, grammatically correct copy to someone who writes grammatically correct, engaging copy to a brief... Hang on... That’s the same thing.

So are we content strategists then?

We don’t think so.  From The Copywriting People’s point of view an online copywriter is more than just someone who writes copy.  A Copywriter identifies and incorporates key words for SEO purposes.  A Copywriter recognises business goals and marketing objectives. 

Ok.  So what is a Content Strategist in our opinion?  Well… we’re not entirely sure.  But we’re fairly certain it involves numerous space age tools (like the kind we see on CSI) and months spent at the client’s site – all chargeable time of course.

If a Content Strategist does in fact use incomprehensible tools then we’re right and it is the job of the online Copywriter to analyse, strategise and lure the reader.  But CSI and its many tools are fictional.  So if a Content Strategist is only human where does that leave us?  What are we and has our job title changed? 
When working on digital media we work in two ways.  Our clients either give us a list of key words and we incorporate them into the text – traditional copywriter duties.  Or we can go ahead and define which key words should be on each page, incorporate them into the headings, links and text; and ensure a consistent tone of voice across the full marketing suite – which are typical content strategist duties right?  But I think we’ll just call it copywriting…

If anyone can answer our many questions please let us know.  We’re quite clearly going round in circles on this one!

And if we are doing content strategist duties, where are our space age tools?!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Girls and boys – what really makes us tick?

We’ve been discussing adverts that have really grabbed our attention – a topic that provoked much debate.  For example, I thought that the Boots adverts were cleverly put together.  I now wear the most uncomfortably elaborate false eyelashes due to the selling power of these adverts!  Tim on the other hand thought they were terrible – the adverts and the eyelashes. 

A few strong words (and a smashed mug!) later, we realised why we felt so strongly.  The adverts were all gender specific.  Duh!

Sooooo we’ve decided to write a blog series looking at gender specific adverts and why they work.

Here come the girls!

The first advert on my hit list is the afore mentioned Boots advert.  I think it’s great.  From the moment it first graced our screens back in 2007 it has inspired us to tweeze, preen and put on our faces.  Whether we head straight for Boots or we go via a whole range of shops, one thing is for sure – it’s made us girlier!

Never again will we think staining ourselves with Gravy or Tea is an acceptable way to fake tan.  We’ve changed.  The series of ‘here come the girls’ adverts have taken everything we’ve wanted to be and made it possible – ultimate glam!

Why does it appeal?  Our bubbly natures and penchant for singing and dancing of course.  It depicts glamorous looking ‘regular’ girls ready for a good night out.  And that song – such independence.  What’s not to love?

So how does a company use this information to create better brochures, web content etc…

I guess the main thing to remember is your audience.  If you are selling to girls – recognise this in your marketing.

Boots know their main audience.  It’s here come the girls – not here come the girls, their dad and his dog.  Sell to your demographic.  Ignore the boys.  Ignore the kids.  Focus your all on the people who buy from you… the girls!

Gemma x

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Top five tips for copywriting to an audience that doesn’t want to listen…

I said…

Top five tips for copywriting to an audience that doesn’t want to listen!!!

The grammar is technically correct, the language flows and structurally it’s sound.  So why aren’t the calls flooding in? 

No one is reading.

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t want to read about utility pipe manufacture.  Or why one fire alarm is better than another – even when we really do need one!  So it’s important to spend some time making sure your material attracts and keeps the right audience.

Here are our top five ways to reel them in

  1. Before you start writing do your market research.  How old is your target audience?  What are they interested in?  Will they necessarily understand the technical terms of your business?  Once you can answer all the questions, you can start to write effective targeted copy.

  1. Know your competition.  What are you offering that they can’t?   Whether you’ve got a special offer on or you have the biggest sales force in the UK – make sure your audience knows why you’re different. 

  1. State the benefits.  This is the key to keeping an audience interested.  It’s not what you’re doing or how you’re doing it that encourages a reader to pick up the phone.  It’s whether they can get the highest quality or best deal that counts.

  1. Use ‘you’ and ‘your’.  Make it personal.  Let your audience know you’re talking directly to them.  Customers buy from you because they believe your products or services can make a real difference to them.

  1. Always write short and snappy sentences.  Keep it focused. 

Monday, 18 April 2011

Twacebook and Fwitter – the marketers dream?

I was reading a blog from a fellow Copywriter… that I found via Twitter…. That I discovered because….. oh it doesn’t matter.  This was the moment I realised my life and business have been engulfed in a world of social networking.
I wondered, as many people do, just what is the point?  I am pretty sure there was a time when businesses managed without social networking websites.  Is Twitter pointless profitless work people feel has to be done to save risk of appearing out of touch?  And what of Facebook – is it not just a vehicle for teenagers to advertise their desired personality and hide their adolescent insecurities? 

In a word… no

There’s a reason why my life has become wrapped up in the joys of social networking.  It’s because I can see the benefits of Twitter for businesses.  With the power of re-tweeting and trending it‘s possible to reach thousands of people, providing I can turn each set of 140 characters into an interesting enough tweet.  And as more people follow @copywritingppl I can literally watch our business grow... and that is addictive. 

Twitter also helps to keep in touch with my competition, hear about new theories and find interesting articles on the latest marketing trends.  Twitter is made for businesses, and is not to be frowned at.

Unlike Twitter though, Facebook isn’t primarily made for the business world.  But it does have over 600 million active users all stating their likes and dislikes.  This makes it the perfect place for targeting a particular audience and reaching more people besides.  Facebook is a marketers dream and perfect for shameless promotion – you can like us here.

As for LinkedIn… well that deserves a whole other blog!

At The Copywriting People we’ve been tweeting and facebooking for a while now, for both clients and ourselves.  We’ve seen the benefits.  Today’s social media can bring added efforts and pressures to a business but it’s not a burden, it’s a blessing.

One thing is for sure though it takes more than a quick tweet to get your name out there.  When you’re busy tweeting and ‘liking’ industry moguls, remember to get some sales letter out there too - and if you need a hand writing them, you know where to find us… in social cyberspace of course!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Doing our bit…. For Riverkids Project

The Copywriting People love to help.  Whether that’s helping an elderly person carry shopping bags up the stairs or giving up our seats on the tube.  And what better way to make a difference than to use our writing skills for a good cause? (yes, we are those people).

This month we’ve been helping Cambodian based charity Riverkids Project.  Gemma first worked with Riverkids Project back in 2007 when she volunteered as an English Teacher.  So it’s really amazing to help them out again.

Riverkids Project was set up in Singapore to help children and families at risk of trafficking in Cambodia.  As well as providing lessons for the children who can’t afford mainstream school, Riverkids also sponsors children through education, supports families seeking work and helps children with their daily hygiene.

We’ve been predominantly helping with their Tweets and, between us, we’re hoping to double @rkproject’s followers in the next 6 months – so if you’re on Twitter, you know what to do… Follow them!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

A "blog"

At TheCopywritingPeople we are especially finicky when it comes to using the correct grammar and punctuation.  However we love it when other people get it wrong!

We found this example of incorrectly used quotation marks on this hilarious blog.

The author here clearly has a point to make – unfortunately it is a boring one.  So quotation marks have been used to emphasise the “important” bits. 

Unfortunately though, it just seems sarcastic.  What exactly is this “Student Lab”?

Ah the fun we have over lunch!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

And it’s one: nil to the written word - long copy is back!

Lately I’ve noticed a lot of consumer brands using long copy to sell products.  Whilst B2B companies have being doing this for many years, consumer brands tended to use bold imagery and simple slogans.  Not any more.

As we discussed in our previous blog we mentioned that a post recession consumer is looking for facts.  They want a company and products they can trust.  Well it seems that even huge brands like Easy Jet are using long copy to entertain and inform their customers now. 

A recent advert, which won a national competition with CBS, cleverly disguised place names in a staggering ten lines of monologue.  Underneath each place name was a price.  It grabbed my attention for a number of reasons.

  1. Firstly because it took me back to a play I devised at University.  I’d decided I’d had enough of being ‘serious’ so I cleverly disguised band names into a scene we were writing.  I stuck it to the man (our very nice but solemn director, Dan). 
  2. Secondly because from a distance you can only read the main body of Easy Jet’s advert – and it isn’t until you get closer that the strange squiggles become prices. 
  3. Finally, most holiday adverts feature desirable imagery.  Easy Jet has opted to use long copy to display clear facts.  No image.  No slogan. 

I wanted to take a closer look...

Upon closer scrutiny, I discovered that the advert both entertained and informed me.  Who’d have thought you could get to Sofia for only £35.99?

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The fine line between fact and fiction

Last night I was browsing through the trends on the Marketing Week website when I came across this article.  Research shows companies are failing to live up to their brands image.

The automotive industry fared especially badly.  Once buyers realised that most UK roads weren’t deserted and that they couldn’t actually drive up and down buildings they felt that owning a vehicle didn’t quite live up to their expectations.  Desirable imagery just isn’t cutting it – unless it’s backed up by content that really builds up trust.

A post recession (well you’ve gotta be optimistic right?!) Britain wants honest marketing.  Consumers want to know they’re buying from a reliable company.  How do they decide who’s trustworthy?  Clear facts.

Companies looking to market their products need to start thinking about putting their small print in bold.

Take for example Ryanair.  They don’t promise anything.  Literally.  According to Marketing Week, Ryanair purposefully avoid promising anything other than low prices.  So if they, by some miracle, manage to deliver any ‘service’, the customer is pleasantly surprised.

Now I am not suggesting that you all go out and destroy your business reputation just to surprise your customers.  But there is a lot to be said for the power of words. 

Copywriting Agency vs Freelance Copywriter

A round of coffee later and the office was filled with conversation.  We were discussing whether we are ‘Freelance Copywriters’ or a ‘Copywriting Agency’.  The connotations of the words were so different, yet we couldn’t easily say which bracket we fell into.

The connotations
  • A Freelance Copywriter is usually cheaper and, for a one off, you can probably get something back quicker. 
  • An Agency might be fully booked for the next three weeks but their results are often better.  And once you’re ‘in’ they have the capacity for regular projects.

The research
Google is jam packed with results for freelance copywriters.  Look more closely though and you’ll find many have limited writing skills.  A business professional could be forgiven for overlooking freelancers.

But would they be right?  Spend some time scrolling through their websites and you’ll find Freelancers who can write – and well too! 

It wasn’t just freelancers that were hit and miss.  A quick look at websites for Copywriting Agencies also showed varying degrees of quality.  Additionally, there were a number of ‘Agencies’ that seemed to be single writers operating under the guise of an agency – so no different to a freelancer at all then. 

At The Copywriting People, we’re freelancers with an agency twist.  Deciding where we should market ourselves was never going to be easy.  We chose to just stick with ‘Copywriters’ and I think that is how we’ll keep it.   After all what does it really matter as long as we get the job done… well.