The extra apostrophes 30 days ago

Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, March 2014

How to turn client testimonials into better copywriting 62 days ago

I really enjoy the first time I get to sit down and talk with a new client. It’s the moment I find out exactly what they want to say in their copywriting strategy.

But when you’re closely wrapped up in your own business, it’s not always easy to unpick what it is that makes it special, even though this is exactly what will help make your copywriting approach unique rather than generic.

However, there is one particular resource I’ve noticed business-owners often overlook at this crucial stage – the words that their clients use about them.

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That’s right. Your client testimonials can prove invaluable when you’re planning your copywriting strategy. This is because a body of client comment gives you many good things, including:

1. An inside-out view on the value you provide
Take a closer look at your client testimonials and you may be surprised. You could discover that people find a value not just in the service that you provide, but the way in which you provide that service. That’s great material for your copywriting approach.

2. Why clients choose to keep on working with you
Is it your effortless way with people, your ability to resolve queries faster than others or it is just that you’re really reassuring in a crisis? These kind of insights can help you pick out what really matters to your customer-base and how best to communicate it to them.

3. Warm, cool or cosy?
Take a closer look at the kinds of adjectives your clients use to describe your service. These can be very revealing and an extremely useful thinking point for your content. Do these words relate to you specifically or to the way in which you work? It’s all great material for your copywriting approach.

4. Find the difference
Look out for hints on why your clients choose to use your services and not someone else’s. This is a great basis for creating content which defines you more clearly in your marketplace.

5. The clue is in the repetition
Watch out for any recurring patterns within your client testimonials. Do certain themes keep coming up? Check whether your existing content is actually ignoring something that your clients particularly value about you.

People power

Final thought? Don’t ignore your testimonials when you’re planning your copywriting process. If you do, you could be overlooking the very qualities that make your business special for the people who matter – your clients.

Want to chat more about this or other copywriting ideas? Let me know!

Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, February 2014

How to capture the copywriting value of relevance 71 days ago

You came here to read about copywriting – not the best way to race ferrets.

We all like to feel that what we’re reading is relevant to our interests, don’t we? Relevance matters. It’s what makes the difference between an online click towards your business and a swift move towards your competitors. Yet it’s still all too easy to find examples where businesses apply a copywriting approach that overlooks the huge value of relevance.

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It is possible for content to be well written yet completely lacking in focus. But with so much content out there, it’s the copywriting strategies built around relevance which will be successful.

Here are three essential aspects of relevance to cover in your copywriting approach:

1. Everything but the name of their cat

Talking direct to your customer’s love for Tiddles is perhaps taking the personalisation of your copywriting approach a little too far. But you do need to find ways to adapt your overall messages to match the interests of your audience (feline or otherwise) as much as you can. What is it that entertains your customers? Would they respond to quirkier formats and messages? Find these things and focus your content around them. As I always say, less is more. Of course, relevance doesn’t only cover what entertains or engages your target audience. It’s also the thing that bothers them. What matters to them? Is it saving money or saving time? Is it dealing with a problem that keeps coming up? What are your customers’ biggest concerns right now? Because relevance doesn’t only work for everyday issues. You can apply it to immediate, time-sensitive problems which you may be able to address with your product or service.

2. Say it the way they see it

Are you saying ‘crafted’ when you need to be saying ‘made’? Without a truly relevant approach to tone of voice, your copywriting strategy could be pushing away the very people you want to invite in. To be really relevant, your copywriting approach will identify and stick to a consistent style which matches the aims and aspirations of your audience. Are they looking for a product to make them feel good about themselves or do they simply want a fast answer to a practical problem? This will make the difference between more relaxed, enticing language and content which is short, snappy and to the point.

3. Make them an offer they won’t want to refuse

What do you have to offer your potential customers? Is it an appointment, a free consultation or the opportunity to win something? Whatever it is, be sure that it matches what your audience wants. You’ve created content shaped around their goals, interests and concerns. You’ve communicated it in a tone of voice that speaks to them directly. Now be sure that the completion of your copywriting process is an offer which encourages them to respond. Then you’ll be closer to your potential customers. Not talking ferret racing with the wrong people.

Want to chat more about this or other copywriting ideas? Let me know!

Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, February 2014

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5 common copywriting cop-outs (and my responses) 84 days ago

Having earned my crust as a copywriter for more than a decade, I’ve spent nearly as much time talking to business-owners about their content as I have actually writing it. During this time I’ve encountered some common reasons as to why copywriting is not a concern for particular businesses. I thought I’d share 5 of my favourites – and my responses – here:

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1. “We don’t really get leads from our website so it doesn’t matter what our web content is like.”

Yes, even now that the world is online, this is something I still hear every once in a while when chatting about copywriting…It’s all too easy to forget that while those lovely leads may be coming in another way, other potential prospects might be put off by less than engaging website copy. Aside from typos or grammar gaffes, there’s also the small matter of defining your business above others. It’s great that those leads are coming in, but does out of date or dodgy web content mean that your business credibility is gradually being undermined at the same time? It could be, without an appropriate copywriting strategy.

2. “We haven’t really got anything new to say for our industry so why do we need to have a blog?”

By definition, every company should have something new to say. This message is exactly what a great copywriting plan and blog can bring to life. Does your product have an environmental edge over similar products? Is your service based around niche industry experience? Have you discovered an innovative way to help people save money? These are all of potential interest to your market and extremely blog-worthy topics. With the right plan and approach, you can generate all kinds of valuable blog content. Yes, it usually takes a little time before you enjoy the benefits of blogging and copywriting, but if your company doesn’t have anything new to say, how is it going to stand out from everyone else? This particular cop-out overlooks the many advantages of blogging, whether that’s better SEO, more profile or gaining the edge over your competitors!

3. “I didn’t get a response to my new content as quickly as I wanted so I stopped.”

Reviewing what you’re doing – good. Suddenly stopping a long-term copywriting strategy – not so good. While there’s no point in continuing with an approach which has stopped working, this particular statement always makes me want to ask about that person’s expectations. Were they hoping to go viral right from their inaugural blog post or aiming for hoards of comments after just one week? The reality is that effective copywriting strategies take a little longer to have an impact. It’s all in the planning.

4. “We can’t all agree on the core message/tone of voice/format so we’re leaving it for now.”

Consensus can be a challenge. I know. I’ve heard first hand from clients how tough they can find it to reach a final copywriting decision. From issues around the right tone of voice to the appropriate way to present a business, copywriting choices can be tricky – if they’re not managed effectively. But it’s not a good idea to let decision-by-committee get in the way of applying the power of content. Creating a clear process and having one or two named people who oversee it and make the final decision is a good way to avoid this particular problem.

5. “Our business isn’t really about marketing so it would be inappropriate to use content to communicate with our clients.”

I occasionally hear this one from people who make things – hard working business-owners in the manufacturing or industrial sectors who (understandably) haven’t used content or copywriting strategies to communicate with their current or potential clients. But it’s a viewpoint which excludes all kinds of possibilities. Like that mailing list which is gathering dust (or the digital equivalent) or the upcoming industry conference for which there is nothing but some very ‘vintage’ (and not in the upcycling, fun way) brochures. Just because your core product or service isn’t about marketing doesn’t mean that your business should miss out on the opportunities offered by an effective copywriting strategy!

Want to chat more about this or other copywriting ideas for 2014? Let me know!

Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, January 2014

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3 ways to do more with less copywriting in 2014 98 days ago

Cut down on the copywriting? I know. It’s a shocking thing to hear a copywriter to say. This probably isn’t the kind of message you would expect to hear from me, especially with content marketing anticipated to be on the rise in the months ahead. But keep reading. Simplicity is powerful and I think that this quiet, detoxing time of year is perfect for clarifying what’s really important, in copywriting and in other areas…

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Want more from your copywriting strategy in 2014? Here are 3 ways to do more with less in the year ahead:

1. Get Zen with your content

Becoming a little more Zen with your content means paring it right back to what matters. For example, instead of sending out lots of newsletters to everyone on your entire mailing list, look at segmenting your contacts and clarifying which message will fit which audience? When you qualify your content for your different markets, you add more quality to your entire copywriting approach. Just think of it as a marketing detox.

2. Write less, create more

The advantages of copywriting for your business go on and on (and on). For example, blogging regularly has been proven to increase business leads. But you may have noticed that creating content on a regular basis can be a big job. So this year, why not consider enjoying more results with less effort? Take a good look at the content you’ve produced in the past and see how you can reinvent it for different audiences and channels.

You know that Frequently Asked Questions page you developed for your website? Could you turn it into a blog post that explains your how business supports a specific sector? Or how about taking an article you wrote about your industry a year or two ago and using it as the basis for commenting on recent market changes? There are all kinds of ways to review your copywriting strategy to making your existing content work harder. But be careful to reinvent your old content effectively so that it’s fresh enough to be recognised as new by the search engines.

3. Open up your world

Content and Social are the best of friends these days. Rather than a copywriting strategy that focuses on your content and your message alone, apply the power of sharing! Highlight what other people have to say on your subject – and don’t forget to get social with what your clients are talking about, too! Done right, this can help strengthen your position as a leader in your industry.

Like to do more with less in 2014?

What do you notice more – the overloaded web page which tells the entire history of a company or the focused story which brings a business alive in a few carefully worded paragraphs? That’s just one example of how cutting out the padding can speed up the connection you make with your audience.
Keeping your copywriting strategy simple keeps it more strategic – and that’s what will help make it successful in 2014. Happy New Year, everyone!

Want to chat more about this or other copywriting ideas for 2014? Let me know!

Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, January 2014

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