Brochure Copywriters – Are They A Lost Tribe?

Brochure Copywriters – Are They A Lost Tribe?

COPYWRITING SHORTS #106 You won’t find many copywriters up the Orinoco. Then again, the locals’ need for printed brochures probably isn’t what it was. (That’s assuming of course that online marketing has permeated rain forests far and wide.)   You’ll certainly see many examples of online brochures here in the UK. Their offline cousins are still in play, but they’ve been relegated to a more supportive role in the marketing mix. It wasn’t always thus. Right up to the 1990s, B2B companies used suites of brochures to flag-up their product ranges. Holiday companies churned out door-stopping editions to cater for every season, whilst estate agents could always be relied upon to excel in the brochure department. Nowadays, you’re more likely to see brochures as PDF attachments. Many of the same offline copywriting skills are used – not to mention the stock photography and graphics which have always been the minimal mainstay of a half-way decent brochure. What were once regarded as ‘sales aids’ in their printed format are now very much an adjunct to a company’s website. Having a capacity to go into great detail on any particular topic has always been a great strength of brochures. For example, you can always get a feel for an attractive property for sale on the Rightmove website. For a full-cream version, however, there’s no substitute for a well-produced printed brochure. Plenty of marketing people overlook the power of brochures, hence the latter-day put down of purely informative websites as being merely ‘brochure sites’. And yet, they’ve always been a tangible treasure you could whip out – anytime, anywhere (to paraphrase Martini!).... Read more...
Copywriting – The Champion of Change

Copywriting – The Champion of Change

‘Change’ is the word on everyone’s lips at the moment. You’ll probably hear it whispered in the same breath as Brexit. The good news is: business will always adapt to economic change – and, as the handmaiden of marketing, copywriting will never be far behind. For copywriters, ‘change’ is a way of life. First came the Internet; then Google; then SEO. All of these changes, and more, transformed the world of copywriting in little more than a decade. In this context, Brexit is little more than a blip. Dare it be said: the word ‘opportunity’ has even been heard in some quarters!   ‘Opportunity’ Is The Brexit Keyword The enforced changes we all have to face in the post-Brexit era will bring new and unexpected opportunities for those who are ready to exploit them. In the world of business, that means new and improved marketing. In the world of marketing, it means persuasive copywriting, inviting content and innovative channels that will best bring piggy to market. Bear in mind that this is a new scenario where consumers’ pockets could well be raided by a depleted pound, rising inflation and a receding economy. With a little judicious aforethought, however, copywriting will stand out as the most flexible tool for achieving marketing success. New opportunities exist in new markets. For existing customers, fresh approaches can be devised to out-strip the competition. Anyone who runs or manages a business will be on the lookout for OPPORTUNITY. And although the dust has far from settled on the UK’s rapidly evolving political and economic landscape, those who are prepared to take measured risks will... Read more...
SEO Copywriting and the Alchemy of Linking Inking

SEO Copywriting and the Alchemy of Linking Inking

SEO Copywriting is corporate gold dust whose off-page incarnation relies for its efficacy on various shades of link building – planned or opportunistic. Either way, it’s been given greater impetus and recognition by the rise of Content Marketing.  SEO Copywriting of the off-page variety can be seen as part of the Content Marketing phenomenon. Of course, Content Marketing is about much more than SEO. It is, in fact, an end in itself that goes way beyond the narrow (albeit valuable) confines of aspiring to be top dog on Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Some would say that Content Marketing has given SEO a certain respectability it had lacked hitherto. By association, SEO Copywriting has benefited from the broad strategic scope of Content Marketing with its emphasis on the twin pillars of quality and authority.    Exploring the Interface   In exploring the interface between Content Marketing and SEO, the obvious questions are about how far they’re complementary, or whether they operate largely independently of each other? Without ‘content’, off-page SEO would not exist. Likewise, any editorial planning must always have an element of SEO at the heart of its strategic plan (notwithstanding other significant non-SEO benefits). ‘Content’ at its best should be part of a coherent SEO strategy. Call it old-fashioned integrated marketing if you will, but even Google acknowledges the validity of having a consistent theme running through all pieces of content. Without substance, ‘content’ can never amount to anything. And without a theme to the substance, the search engine has nothing to evaluate on behalf of its content-hungry searchers. Where ‘content’ has its own standalone validity is... Read more...
Notable Copywriters – Elmer Wheeler

Notable Copywriters – Elmer Wheeler

Whilst he may not fit the conventional ‘copywriter’ mould, Elmer Wheeler was nevertheless a hugely influential figure – a pioneer of persuasive writing. Wheeler’s great innovation was to establish the ‘Testing Institute’ in New York City. This was where he tested many thousands of words and sentences used by American advertisers in the Great Depression era. From this mine of information, he synthesized his five great principles of selling, the most famous of which is ‘Don’t sell the steak – sell the sizzle.’ His powerful insights (‘Wheelerpoints’ as they became known) found their way into his landmark book on selling, ‘Tested Sentences That Sell’, first published in 1937. Wheeler’s book remains the key reference point for advertisers and copywriters who want to tap into his tried and tested techniques that identified how language – and especially the written word – can be used to commercial... Read more...
Online Marketing: The Reality of Endless Change

Online Marketing: The Reality of Endless Change

 Using creative copywriting resources to  maximise online marketing opportunities     Have you ever wanted to halt ‘change’ in its tracks? If you’re in any way involved in marketing – as a copywriter, designer, account handler or marketing executive in a client-side organisation – the reality of today’s never-ending change will need no introduction. Online marketing is a powerful force driven by the conventions of Capitalism overlaid by the imperatives of online powerhouses such as search engines and social media giants. The acceleration of change is super-charged by the need to know more – the better to get ahead of the competition. This is a hunger that feeds off itself. The techniques available to satisfy those everyday pangs grow ever-more time consuming and competitive. Marketing has come to be fed by technology, in many cases to the exclusion of people and their preferences as customers. What is the solution to holding back the choking embrace of this information overload? How does an organisation, large or small, rise to the challenge of at once cutting a swathe in its own sector whilst at the same time fighting off the unwelcome distractions that the online world throws across everyone’s path? To state that copywriting skills could provide the answer may seem to be stretching a point. And yet, when you consider for a moment that most of the information on the web has in fact been created by copywriters, it may not seem so ridiculous after all.   The Origin of This Marketing Species If you’re blinded by the light of rapid change; and if you’re suffering from a failure to understand... Read more...
Content Marketing Needs ‘Once Upon A Time…’

Content Marketing Needs ‘Once Upon A Time…’

Remember that little minx, Ms Red Riding Hood? She who hopped into bed with Mr Wolf despite the size of his eyes/ears/teeth – and without so much as a by-your-leave. It was a helluva story – even when you were six. Temptation, horror, betrayal, gluttony… the fairy tales of that guy Grimm spared us nothing. Without stretching a point, even now we’re older – suited and booted, and masters of our respective universes – we all love a good story. Especially if there’s a crock of gold at the end of it. So, despite all the rubbish that’s spouted about Content Marketing, we all love to be in thrall to the prospect of a future-with-benefits. As Samuel Johnson said – and keeping it in the marketing way: ‘Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement.’ The most effective Content Marketing, reputedly, tells a story. It wasn’t for nothing that legendary comedian and Cockney raconteur, Max Bygraves, coined his own catch-phrase, “I wanna tell you a story.” So we don’t need research or split-testing, or even focus groups, to let us in on our very own dirty little secret. In the case of Content Marketing, we should be telling more than one story – so long as it’s ‘on-message’ and follows the corporate hymn-sheet. Consistency shouldn’t preclude originality of course. Persuasive content needs credibility too. That means you’ll need to find a copywriter with enough walk-on-water attributes to meet your needs. Continuing the biblical metaphor – experience begets insight begets originality. You will of course need to support this with useful and/or meaningful information. And as with all the... Read more...