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...
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...
Does Content Marketing Take Too Much Time?

Does Content Marketing Take Too Much Time?

The Internet is drowning in a sea of content – and the main culprit has to be so-called ‘content marketing’… The first-fruits of this come-lately type of marketing are supposed to be enhanced SEO/SERPs results; establishing yourself as an ‘expert’ in your field; and providing visitors to your website with the type of useful information that will encourage them to re-visit the site and/or share the content on social media. No-one could argue that these are laudable aims with tangible benefits. Everyone gains and this kind of activity earns valuable SEO brownie points from the search engines, whilst also validating their raison d’etre. One of the major problems with content marketing, however, is that an ‘average’ company will run out of the content that meets Google’s criteria for original, useful material in a relatively short space of time. Creating quality content – regularly! To produce content on a regular basis, so many companies are forced into dredging up sub-standard material from within their own industry or re-cycling material that’s already in the public domain. The net effect of this is the deluge of ‘me-too’ stuff that no-one really wants to read. It helps of course if you have a copywriter or marketing agency to come up with new and useful content, but you may well be left wondering about how many ways there are to skin a cat. For companies who may not want to invest in professional content creators, and for those who are sceptical about the ROI for these activities, there is always the DIY route. As everyone knows, ‘content’ is all around us – potentially… and... 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...

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...

After Website Copywriting – Think ‘Content’… and Think ‘SEO’

As a highly experienced website copywriter who’s written hundreds of websites for clients, it may come as a surprise when I say that very few want to follow-on with supporting content to boost their link building and SEO.  “We just want a brochure website,” is a typical cry.  “Our industry is too competitive to bother with SEO – it would be a waste of time and money,” is another common line. Oh dear!  These are wasted opportunities to dramatically improve the returns on what are often substantial investments in design and copywriting.  I do point out to them that a completed website is just the beginning of making a real impact with a business’ online marketing. In some cases, of course, the client has obviously pushed the boat out financially, so the last thing they want to talk about is spending more money – especially if it’s a regular monthly retainer fee. What many people don’t realise is that supporting content in the shape of articles, regular blog posts and online news releases (to name just a few!) are all skill-sets that fall within a website copywriter’s domain. Regular, well-written blog posts, for instance – on your own website or as a guest post on another site – will not only build up a regular following of readers who will keep returning to your website. The original and industry-relevant content will also provide Google with exactly the kind of quality content it needs for its search strategy.  This content will, in turn, be rewarded with higher rankings for the web pages and key phrases concerned. Surely, this is what investing in... Read more...