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...

Integrated Marketing and The Endless Echoes of Mad Men

In case you hadn’t noticed, ‘integrated marketing’ has come full circle. Back in the day, when Mad Men roamed Madison Avenue and TV advertising was the new kid on the block, everyone wanted a slice of the marketing action. In late-1950s Britain, television sets in everyone’s living room marked the end of post-war austerity and, with it, the beginnings of an affluent consumerist society that continued throughout the 1960s and on into the present day. TV advertising was a powerful tool of mass communication that eclipsed print media, direct marketing and PR almost overnight, particularly among those with bigger budgets. It’s often said that history repeats itself. That would certainly seem to be the case with integrated marketing. To get a handle on the historical perspective of it all, you need to compare the Mad Men era and the arrival of TV advertising with the emergence in our own era of Internet marketing and Google. Both of these phenomena transformed marketing as it was known hitherto – and both ended with an aftermath of integrated marketing that sought to make sense of a new and dominant marketing force. The underlying driver on both occasions was the realisation that we shouldn’t risk throwing the baby out with the bath water.   In The 1960s… TV advertising in the 50s and 60s was a potent and entertaining medium with the power to engage and persuade like nothing that had gone before. Or was it? Apart from being incredibly expensive, TV advertising in 1960s Britain had a limited platform of only one commercial TV station. Even if your company could afford it,... Read more...
How To Create Effective Press Ads

How To Create Effective Press Ads

‘COPYWRITING SHORTS’  #103 As a copywriter, I’ve noticed an increasing prevalence of press ads that show no creative skills whatsoever.  Typical of this is where a photo of the product/service is placed above a large headline, with maybe a few lines of body copy, plus one or two contact points. No effort has been made to devise a creative concept that unifies both the image and the sales message.  It’s as though whoever created the ad has no understanding of how a decent ad should work in pursuit of maximising its impact on the page. This may be down to several factors – time constraints perhaps; no experience of preparing an ad that goes beyond basic design practices; or even a disregard among certain online specialists for anything that is ‘offline’ and therefore off-limits as far as their creative focus is concerned. There’s no doubt that time must be invested in preparing an ad that will be both creative and effective.  Having a complete awareness of the selling points of a product or service is essential before a single word is written and before images are sourced. This involves a certain amount of research – in technical USPs and features for B2B ads, and in emotional triggers for consumer press advertising.  In all cases, a full appreciation of the target media and its readership should be a given. For more information about Buzzwords’ approach to creating effective press advertising, visit:... Read more...

Don't Forget Your Offline Copywriting

In the rush to optimise everything that goes under the heading of online copywriting, so many companies make the mistake of overlooking their offline marketing activities.  What should be happening of course is that all their eggs shouldn’t be in the online basket.  It’s vital to keep a handle on so many of the other offline marketing tools that can still pack a punch.  By that, I mean things like well-written and persuasive sales letters, together with mailers whose originality cannot be ignored.  I’m talking about eyeball-grabbing ads in both the print and broadcast media.  And editorial pieces in well-chosen publications that will enhance the stature of your company and its products and services in ways that ‘online’ can never hope to emulate.  In the real world, you should be doing all the offline stuff in parallel with online activity.  It’s our old friend ‘integrated marketing’ rearing its head again – not that it ever went away.  In the days before everything was shunted online, integrated marketing usually meant supporting your TV ads with a press campaign, direct mail and maybe even radio or posters!   Now, we’re probably talking about a co-ordinated content marketing effort that combines website landing pages aligned with a Pay-Per-Click campaign; articles and blog posts optimised for carefully-chosen keywords and directed at specific web pages.  Today’s canny marketer will be looking to run parallel offline campaigns, not just to generate enquiries and boost brand awareness, but also to drive traffic to chosen websites and pages through direct and indirect linking, and longer-term link building and SEO.  This all costs money, so it’s up to smaller... Read more...