September 12, 2014 8:22 am
There is nothing more likely to put off your customers than badly written copy, whether it’s on your website, in an email, or as part of an advertisement. Badly written copy gives the impression that the business simply isn’t interested in the finer details.
Unfortunately, as important as well written copy is, many businesses don’t feel that it warrants investment. Many write their copy themselves and don’t consider hiring a professional copywriter to do the job. This is a mistake we see made by businesses of all sizes, from freelancers to multi-million pound corporations. Everyone thinks that writing copy is easy, we all like to think of ourselves as writers and to a certain extent we are, but when it comes to writing copy for your business there are a few fundamental points that you should take into account before you attempt to produce copy yourself:
It’s not all about the words – producing copy and content that people will respond to is a skill, some may even say it’s an art. When we say it’s not all about the words, we are talking about the need to take into account the structure of your copy, the tone of voice used, and the ability to craft a persuasive call to action to ensure that you get your audience to respond in the right way.
The structure dictates how the reader progresses through the information you are providing them with. Starting the copy on your website page, in your brochure, or email the wrong way can mean that the reader never even gets beyond the first line, let alone clicks on the Buy Now button. If they do read on, you have to present the information you want them to see in the right way and order, leading them gently through and increasing the chances of engagement with your company, purchase of your product, etc…
Similarly, the tone of voice that you use has to be right for the audience you are speaking to. Use slang, acronyms, or language in the wrong way and you could lose your reader.
You need a plan – it’s not uncommon to think that to write effective copy you simply sit down and start bashing away at the keyboard. However, the best content is planned content, in the same way that Graphic Designers have to spend time thinking about and planning what they are going to design, you need to know what you are going to write about and how. Even sitting down and listing the key points you want to make, and the most effective order you can make them in, will put the finished piece ahead of much of the copy out there.
Proofreading is vital – we often see copy on websites, in adverts and emails, even in glossy brochures and annual reports, which obviously hasn’t been proofread. Even the smallest spelling mistake can damage the acceptance of the information you are trying to present. This can be easily changed on a website, but it becomes more of a costly mistake if you have invested in a print run before noticing the error.
Make sure that the copy is run by an effective proofreader before you publish it – never proofread copy you’ve written yourself. You often read what you think is on the page rather than what’s actually there.
Whether you are designing a new brochure, having a new website built, or compiling your next newsletter, the quality of the copy is key. At Ketchup marketing we’ve helped many of our clients through our professional copywriting services and it’s true to say that they have often seen results far beyond their wildest expectations.
If you would like to discuss your copywriting requirements, please contact Michelle on 0330 088 9277 for an informal discussion or use the contact form here.
May 16, 2013 10:07 am
Will you ask our brand consultants and copywriting team to create new product names, or devise a new proposition and strap line for your business?
Will you have our designers re-lay a page of your website to demonstrate how it could gain added sales appeal and more standout from your competitors?
Or will you ask our experts to review your SEO to make attract the right customers – in greater volume – to your site? Or make sure it’s ‘cookie clean’ and complies with the latest regulatory requirements?
Take advantage of our offer of a FREE HOUR of creative/expert insight. Call us now to discuss your project.
We’ll even include our initial consultation, into the bargain.
For more info, click here or phone Michelle Jones, Marketing Director on 0330 088 9277 or 07747 604020.
April 2, 2013 9:00 am
At Ketchup we’re rather proud of the fact that our most successful new business initiatives are the ones our clients run on our behalf. In other words, most of our business comes from positive word-of-mouth from satisfied customers.
Second to client recommendations comes our website, which pulls strongly. As you’d hope, since we’re in the business.
Amongst the recent leads generated by our site was the invitation to tender for the copywriting and design of a new website for a large firm of accountants; Acme Bean Counters or ABC Ltd. You may have heard of them.
(We think that years ago they cunningly contrived their name to give them lead position in the Yellow Pages but, as often happens when firms do their own marketing, their plans didn’t add up. Aaron Aardvark Accountants (AAA) beat them to it.)
Anyway, that’s another story and we could spend all day inventing names for companies. In fact, our copywriting team often does.
50 pages of carefully crafted copy before lunch
ABC wanted a quote for design and copywriting for a comprehensive, 50+ page site. Our lead copywriter did two separate estimates; one for a full site, the other for just creating copy for the 15 or so key pages.
ABC baulked at both prices. Which is odd, because our rates for copywriting are about a tenth of their rates for tax accounting.
‘We thought it would only take a couple of hours’ they said. Why? As accountants surely they could have figured out that writing fifty pages in – say – four hours meant we’d be spending just over 4 minutes on each page. We’re fast, but…
Even if it were physically possible, would you want your website – your primary point of contact with new business prospects – chucked together in under five minutes a page?
Then the Bean Counters came up with another plan. Could a copywriter spend a day with them showing them how it’s done? Because, of course, you can learn everything you need to know about marketing in a day, can’t you?
Astoundingly, we heard ourselves saying OK. Well, we try to be helpful. We also wanted to see how employing one of their £600-an-hour accountants to write 50 pages of web copy was going to save them money.
And we also thought we might pick up some tips on doing our books ourselves.
For more information regarding our copywriting or web design service please give Michelle a call on 0330 088 9277 or use our contact form here.
January 7, 2013 12:25 pm
It’s like reverse Tourette’s
If you read the first part of the Blogger’s Blog you’ll know we posed the question “Should agency copywriters be employed to write ‘personal’ blogs?” You’ll also know that – hardly surprisingly since we’re an agency that writes blogs for our clients – we were in favour. If you didn’t read that blog you’ll have to take our word for it.
This blog is about why. This is why
Blogs aren’t supposed to be polished pieces of marketing speak. They’re supposed to be personal views. They supposed to be valuable insights delivered as conversations. They’re supposed to be witty, informative and – above all – entertaining. That’s why people bother reading the blighters. Yes, people are interested in what you have to say, but they’re even more interested in enjoying themselves. Selfish beggars.
And that is why a huge proportion of company blogs fail to deliver readership. They’re like chewing a legal document. Or straining wet muesli to find the almonds. In short, they’re boring.
Colourful language, you blue-nosed radish
At last; the reason for the reverse Tourette’s reference in the headline. Too many blogs randomly abuse readers, by wasting their time and boring their pants off. Instead of using colourful language that interests and exhilarates, they trot out the same old clichés and pre-chewed, officially approved corporate guff. How many times have you seen these pieces of bad language popped unthinkingly into blogs?
‘Quality of service that is second to none…on time and on budget…leveraging core competencies…tailored to suit your specific needs…dedicated, specialised teams with the expertise and experience…our commitment is caring for you…’
Do they mean anything? Difficult to tell; we stopped reading after the first ten seconds. Actually they mean nothing because they slip over the reader’s consciousness like a wet squid over warm blancmange. Without ever engaging their audience.
So we’re still of the opinion that, unless you’re a natural, you should use a trained person to write your blogs. Or at least read the Blogger’s Blog part III, which will give you a few BIY tips of the trade.
To be continued. Look out for the Blogger’s Blog part III – And Another Blogging Thing.
For more information regarding our copy writing service or blogging workshops in 2013 contact Michelle on 0330 088 9277 or use the contact form here.
Bloggers Part 3 can be found here.
Bloggers part 1 can be found here.
August 19, 2011 7:03 am
You can sit down in the office with a limitless supply of paper and spend hours flogging your brain into a walnut. But, and this is a copywriter’s top tip, you’re better off having an idea before you start work. Get up early and run a hot bath. Climb in and forget about everything. Let the brief chatter away in the background. Ignore it. Treat yourself to a few bath time puns (ideas on tap, product plug, soft soaping the client and so on). Then suddenly – ping – there it is. A proper idea.
Think before you ink
So, before you even pick up a pen, have a think. Decide on your brand stance, your persona and your communication strategy. Do some research into competitive activity. Define their strategies and devise one that is divergent but devastatingly attractive to your target market. Develop a copy platform and a tone of voice that’ll prove irresistible to your audience. Then you can start fooling about with words.
Headlines. And no, this isn’t one
Bold type on its own does not make a headline. Proper headlines usually encapsulate the proposition and communicate the reason why a consumer should buy your product, rather than your competitor’s. Headlines should be snappy, memorable, informative, endearing…all in half a dozen words. 12 max.
Or. Headlines can inspire curiosity. They lead you to the selling message in the copy below. They should work with the picture to present an inescapable product truth. Of course, you’ll need across-the-desk access to an art director or a designer to achieve this. So, unless one of your colleagues is handy with crayons…
Next time we’ll talk about writing copy. Finally.
Coming soon… Copy as she am writ.
To avoid doing-it-yourself, call Michelle at Ketchup Marketing and ask her for a copy quote or use the contact form here.
May 23, 2011 10:45 am
If you drive a car of the order of – say – a Fiat Punto, you can afford a copywriter. How does that work? A Fiat main dealer will charge you labour at around £65 an hour for a good service. Ketchup won’t.
So, if it’s not the money, why would any frantically busy, BMW-driving Marketing Exec want to spend valuable hours fumbling about with a thesaurus and balls-ing up his customer communications? It must be the glamour.
A choir of heavenly blondes chanting “We Want Words!”
They’re there now. Looking out of the office window, I can see a throng of blonde nubiles chanting and waving placards. I daren’t show myself to them in case they start throwing themselves in front of the traffic. Can’t go out the front door in case the camera flashing brings on epilepsy.
So copywriting is better than being JLS. Easier too. All you need is a sharp pencil – although real pros use a Mac nowadays – and a basic grasp of the mother tongue. Even the language is on your side; being a mixture of Anglo-Saxon and French, it’s the slipperiest of tongues. Try, for example, to think of an English word that doesn’t have more than one meaning. An absolute gift for headline writers and punsters.
So come on you Execs, forget about running the company, this is important work….next time I’ll be telling you how to get started.
Coming soon…. Health warning for starlets
To avoid doing-it-yourself, call Michelle on 07747 604020 and ask her for a copy quote