Writing Great Content
Copywriting not to be confused with Copyright. Copywritng is associated with the media, it describes the role of the person who prepares the articles for publication. Copyright is the exclusive legal right given to the originator for a fixed number of years.
Copywriting however is relevant to everyone in business, because having to write content for your marketing is part of everyday life.
So how do you come up with content for your fliers, websites, brochures, blogs? I guess you sit for hours staring at a blank screen slowly thinning your hair-line.
I know that there is also a dark underworld of those who like the copy, paste and tweak function. Apart from being illegal, there is no point in doing this. Yes you solve a short-term time and creativity problem, but in the process create other barriers.
Think about it for a minute, what exactly does this gain?
Does it tell the world about your business, what you do, how you do it. Does your personality shine through, is your USP immediately clear? Well if you have copied it then NO.
Writing copy is a skill. You have to be concise yet still get the message across. You have to use the correct tone of voice i.e. formal, informal, friendly, professional. It has to represent your brand and what it means. It has to scream out what your USP is.
Most of my work is writing content for other businesses. I spend time getting to know them and ask lots of questions, so that I understand what they want to achieve, who their target audiences are and what is different about their business compared to their competitors.
Getting someone to do this for you is not going to bust your budgets. I have two ways of working. Either I can carry out an audit across the business and suggest strategies and quick wins and write copy off the back of this. Or with a specific project in mind, you can write your thoughts and ideas of what you roughly want to say. I can then polish it up so that it flows and has the right tone of voice and your customers can understand it.
This last point is quite salient, because when you work within the company, it is difficult to take a step back and think about what your customers need to know and what information they want to come away with. A good copywriter is able to write from the customer’s perspective yet still know what you are trying to do. On the face of it, you can look the same as your competitors, but there is always something unusual that can be teased out.
Another tripping point is jargon. Using endless techno speak and acronyms alienates you straight away, but because this is how you talk all the time, you forget that to the layperson, it is a foreign language. The worst culprits are holistic therapists, IT companies, accountants, solicitors and education.
Writing for the Web is even harder, because as well as communicating with your clients, you have to bear in mind indexing – so that the site registers with the search engines, also known as Search Engine Optimisation. There are many schools of thought on this, but in summary, write naturally with the customer in mind and then build in the optimisation organically.
Luckily I work with a range of associates that can provide web design and search engine optimisation techniques. The latter is best described as getting known locally, which after all is more important than being No 1 on Google. SEO is a mysterious dark art to the masses, but boiled down, packing your copy with keywords is not the way to go. So when I am advising my own clients, I will offer to write their copy and incorporate the keywords and phrases naturally. So next time you find yourself stressing about what to write. Think about your audience, what problems are you solving and what information will they be looking for?
Or outsource it to a good, local Copywriter.