Every day we are exposed to thousands of brands and marketing messages. Texts, emails, social media, television, radio, billboards, cars and buses all tell us what we need to be, do, have and buy. As a result, our customers have never been more savvy, or more immune to marketing messages as they are today.
For those of us who play in overcrowded market places or are busy creating new ones, the need to be different and memorable in our marketing has never been more important. Here are three copywriting tricks to help.
Never underestimate the power of a good metaphor. Metaphors compare two items that are seemingly unrelated, yet are similar in a way. Think Coco Pops’ ‘Just like a chocolate milkshake only crunchy’, or Butter Menthol’s ‘Like a comforting hug from Mum’.
Metaphors give you the opportunity to simplify complicated concepts or introduce new ideas and products in a simple, relatable way, allowing your potential customers and investors to understand the value in what you do.
Metaphors can also help you evoke emotion, quite quickly in fact. Get the right comparison and you can often transport your customers back to a time or situation that creates the right emotional response for them to see the need to buy your product or service.
I know rhyming has a bad rap in some circles (forgive the pun), but there is still benefit in using it. Not only does it make messages easier to remember, but research has also suggested that rhyming phrases are perceived to be more accurate and truthful.
I’m certainly not saying you need to go and make lyrical magic with every piece of marketing material you put out, but don’t be afraid to get a little creative. Give rhyming a go on one of your calls to actions and test your results.
3. Play the role
As you develop your brand personality, it is important to identify the role you want to play with your customers. Your role or relationship to them can dramatically change the tone of voice and content you use in everything from a social media update to an ad campaign.
Do you want to be the older authoritative figure they listen to and admire? The quirky aunt they love? The best friend they can’t live without? The older brother or sister who is looking out for them?
Find the role your customer needs that best matches your mission and why. Not only will it make you more relatable and your tone and purpose clearer, but it can also help you build rapid rapport and loyalty simply by reminding them of someone who is important to them.
Having the confidence to establish yourself as an expert doesn’t always come easy, particularly for the more humble among us. But to build your profile, and make the difference that most entrepreneurs want to in business, you need to.
To give you a little more confidence that what you have to say is of value, here are four truths to accept when positioning yourself as an expert.
#1 – It’s a matter of opinion
Becoming an expert isn’t just about what you do or how you do it – it’s about what you know, and what you think. Put forward your opinions, derive conclusions based on your experiences and share your passion.
Your opinion and experiences will help you bring a different perspective to the information you share.
#2 – What you know is NOT common sense
This is one of the biggest hurdles you need to overcome in your own mind. We each have skills, strengths and specialties. While something may be easy, or seem like common sense to you, it doesn’t mean it will be the same for others.
Chances are you have studied, researched, serviced customers, learnt lessons, overcome challenges, had wins, sought council and grown in experience to know what you know now. For this reason, most people will never have the distinct skills, knowledge and perspective you do.
#3 – You don’t need to know everything
You don’t need to know as much as others in your industry – you only need to know how to package it better. There will always be someone who knows more than you, but that doesn’t mean what you have to say is of any less value!
You might be able to package up your knowledge in a way that is more relatable, easier to understand, or more profitable to a customer. Your explanation might just be what they need to take action, get the breakthrough they need or achieve the result they want.
#4 – Everything has NOT been said
There is a lot of information out there – and a lot of experts, but that doesn’t mean everything that needs to be said, has been said yet. Times, needs and challenges change and consumers will always want the latest tips, hacks and facts.
There can be something quite intimidating about a blank page. The pressure to fill it with words can be overwhelming. Even the most experienced writers can, at some point, feel as though their ideas have dried up, and they don’t know where to start. But it can be overcome.
Whether you need to write a presentation or proposal, a book or a blog, an advertisement or an anecdote, a newsletter or news release, here are five ways to help you overcome blank page paralysis.
1. Work backwards
When you are stuck, it can help to look at the end goal. What do you want to happen as a result of this? What is the next action step? What do you want customers, readers, journalists, staff members or other stakeholders to take away from it or do as a result of it?
Once you know the end goal, it is easier to determine what you need to write to achieve it, giving you a place to start.
2. Be inspired by the work of others
Need to give a presentation? Watch some TED Talks and other great speeches in history. Have a blog to write? Read other blogs and publishing websites. Need to develop an advertisement? Look over the most successful advertisements developed over the years.
Sometimes we need a touch of inspiration to get us on our way. To see an example of how it is done right or to see it achieving results for us to know it is possible and make a start.
Inspiration should not be confused with plagiarism though. You don’t want to copy what you have read, listened to or watched. Instead, look at the subtle details that appealed to you like their tone of voice, presentation of facts, how they formulated their argument, captured attention or used imagery.
3. Reconnect with your creativity
Sometimes sitting behind a computer can stifle our creativity. We can get too caught in the humdrum of routine and are too easily distracted by the noises of new emails and social media updates coming through.
Think back over the times when you have been the most creative. Chances are it wasn’t in front of your computer screen; it was with a pen and paper, over a whiteboard, away from your desk or talking with others. Also, take into consideration the time of day it was. Identify any patterns and do what you can to recreate these moments of creativity.
4. Write your way
You don’t need to write from start to finish. If you are more inspired to start at the end or halfway through then follow your inspiration. Pressure will only fuel procrastination and overwhelm.
Make notes under different sections or headings and come back to them when you feel you have more clarity. There is no right or wrong way to fill a page. You need to find the process that most suits you.
5. Delegate it
If you are experiencing severe writers block and can’t find a way around it personally, then delegate it. Give yourself something to work with by asking a staff member, ghostwriter or copywriter to do the first draft for you.
It might just take someone else’s interpretation of your business, product, service or topic to help you gain more clarity around your positioning and what you do and don’t want to say.
There is no questioning the benefit of content marketing. But while attracting and converting customers with valuable, relevant and consistent content can yield a significant return on investment, not everyone gets it right.
To ensure you do, here are four of the biggest content marketing mistakes businesses frequently make so you can make sure you avoid them.
Mistake #1 – Thinking like a marketer not a publisher
When it comes to content marketing you need to think like a publisher not a marketer. A marketer’s focus is on selling, where a publisher’s focus is on producing interesting content that engages readers and keeps them coming back.
Your content should build your credibility and expertise and showcase your value in such a way that readers see the benefit in working with you without you having to push for the sale. Sales naturally come when you add value.
Mistake #2 – Being inauthentic
When customers and potential customers sense inauthenticity they lose faith and you lose followers. To build credibility in your content marketing you need to be authentic.
To ensure you are being true to yourself and your brand you need to know what you stand for, why you do what you do, who you are targeting, what they want and why you are using social media. When you know this you can then establish your tone of voice, personality and the content that aligns with both you and your target market.
Mistake #3 – Unoriginal content
There is nothing worse than reading blog posts, books and resources that are a regurgitation or blatant copy of someone else’s content.
While it is only natural that some content will be similar when you have a similar viewpoint or process to someone else, you can always find a way to make it your own. It could be through using a personal anecdote, a case study of a client, your professional experience or approaching the topic from a different angle.
Mistake #4 – Publishing for the sake of publishing
We’re all told about the importance of regular content. In fact it’s drummed into us so much that often regularity gets prioritised over quality.
The result? We publish content we know isn’t our best, prescribing to the theory that something is better than nothing. But it’s not.
You can lose credibility and followers if your content isn’t valuable to your readers. Missing a blog because you can’t think of anything to write is far better than publishing something that is irrelevant or of a lower standard.
Could you be marketing to the wrong person or leaving off a key influencer and costing your business sales? While we spend most of our marketing budgets targeting the end user of our product or service, the truth is in many situations that one person rarely makes the purchase decision alone.
They consult with someone else, present their findings and in some cases even ask for approval or make a joint decision to proceed. In other cases someone else (think of the child in the supermarket) can have far greater influence over the buying decision, convincing your potential customer to buy your products or services in a more persuasive way than you doing it direct.
So how do you influence the influencer? Here are three tips to get you started.
1. Identify who your potential customers’ influencers are
There can be different influencers of a purchase decision depending on the product or service you provide. From business partners, colleagues, employers and different departments within their organisation, to husbands, wives, kids, mothers, fathers, extended family and friends.
Not too mention the trend setters, ‘in crowd’, celebrities and even the ‘enemies’ or competitors of your potential customer can influence the way they buy and determine if they’ll do business with you over someone else.
In order to influence the influencer you need to identify who else you are marketing to in addition to your potential customer. Ask yourself who will be in their ear? Who else will need to sign off on the purchase? Who else will have a vested interest in the purchase? Is my customer aware of this influencer and trying to convince them too?
2. Get in the mind of the influencer
Marketing to an influencer often requires completely different messaging than marketing to your potential customer. They have different needs, frustrations and motivations and tend to be less engaged with your product or service.
Normally only having the incomplete, second-hand information to go on, the influencer may even be wary and skeptical of how you can help, planting seeds of doubt in the mind of your potential customer. For this reason, you need to ensure you give them the information they need to get on board with the purchase.
To do this ask yourself, what will your target markets influencer be saying in their ear? What concerns and objections will they have? What benefits will they want to see? What information do you need to share (either directly or give to your potential customer) to help the influencer to fall in love with your product too?
3. Target the influencer in your marketing
Once you know the influencers you are targeting and what concerns and motivations they have, address them in your marketing messages.
It could be as subtle as working in benefits and features that will appeal to them and address key objections, or it could be as obvious as a ‘how to convince your husband/wife/business partner’ guide.
How can you influence the influencer in your own business?
With limited time and shortened attention spans, it is becoming increasingly important to get to your point across quickly and concisely to make an impact with your audience.
From the home page on your website and the first email you send to a lead, to the tweet you post, the infomercial you recite or the quote you give a journalist, you need to be able to get your message across quickly, powerfully and succinctly.
So to help you make more impact in less words and time, here are three steps to follow when creating your message.
Step 1 – Think it through
Whether you are preparing for a media interview, planning your website copy or writing a social media post, think about the most impactful message you have to share.
Do you have compelling statistics, interesting information, key industry insight, knowledge of upcoming trends, impressive results, powerful testimonials, or a great emotional pull?
When you have identified your message, write it down without worrying about how long it is or how many characters you are using. It is more important to get the message right before making it concise.
Step 2 – Revise and Refine
Once you have brainstormed your message, take a break. Come back with a fresh perspective and evaluate as objectively as possible.
Is this really the best message to us? Does it address a problem or frustration? Does it give value? Does it solve or start to solve a problem? Does it make your audience smile, laugh or become engaged? Does it appeal to emotions making your audience scared, uncomfortable or motivated? Does it intrigue your audience? Does it leave them wanting more?
While your message objectives will depend on the channel you are using, it should have some purpose and lead towards the goal you want to achieve by undertaking this specific marketing activity.
Step 3 – Sharpen and shorten
Only once you have refined your message should you be concerned with sharpening and shortening it. This time when you read over your message look to eliminate words that over emphasise your point or don’t need to be there like ‘very’ or ‘actually’. Even words like ‘that’ can be used when not needed.
Also look for different words that can simplify or shorten your message. Let’s use “it is becoming increasingly important”, part of my opening statement as an example. Before I chose the word ‘increasingly’ I had the words ‘even more’, while it says the same thing increasingly was more concise and one less word.
If my focus was on the amount of characters though, and I had the choice of these words I would use ‘even more’, which has one less character despite being two words.
However, if I was really concerned with word count, amount of characters or time I could shorten it further to “it’s crucial” turning five words into two.
Give it a go next time you need to create an infomercial, post or marketing message. You will find by following these three steps you will cut the waffle and create more strategic, sharper and shorter messages that will carry more impact with your audience.
Sometimes in business we are presented with opportunities that require us to produce a lot of content quickly. It could be for an editorial, a guest contribution to a blog or e-book, an awards submission, a presentation or pitch or even our own book or e-course.
While you can know your topic inside out, putting it down on paper can trigger all sorts of procrastinating behaviour and overwhelm, slowing down or stopping the writing process altogether resulting in lost opportunity or revenue.
To help you overcome distractions and package up your knowledge easily here are seven tips for writing a lot of content quickly.
1. Decide on your topic and audience
The first step in producing content quickly is to work out the audience you are writing for and the topic you will be writing about. In order for your writing to be successful, from a sales and public relations perspective, you want to have the two well aligned and write about a relevant issue that is of interest to your target audience and the media.
2. Map out chapters, pages or sub-headlines
Depending on what you are writing, do up a quick mind map of your chapters, pages or sub-headlines and then break it down further again to include the main points under each. Structuring your writing like this will give you more clarity around your topic, ensure you stay on target to achieve the outcome you want and help you avoid overwhelm.
3. Start anywhere
Once you have your content mapped out you can make a start in the area you feel most inspired. You don’t need to start at the beginning and work through in order. In fact as a copywriter I can tell you that 99% of the time I start in the middle. I prefer to do the introduction last so I can make sure the beginning sums up and leads into the rest of the writing project.
4. Use anecdotes
Stories, examples and case studies not only create an emotional connection with your readers, they also make your points more memorable, easy to understand and your content more inspired and fun to write.
5. Use a voice recorder
While sitting down and writing can work for some of us, for others it can stifle creativity. If you recognise that you are more creative standing up, walking around, speaking or being in front of the white board jot down brief notes and speak into a voice recorder. Leverage your creativity by finding the process that works best for you.
6. Record all ideas
Once you start the writing process you can find yourself being inspired at all different times throughout the day and night when you least expect or want it. For this reason make sure you have a way to record your ideas keeping a notepad and pen or your phone near you at all times.
7. Edit upon completion
The biggest productivity killer in writing isn’t procrastination it’s perfectionism. Give yourself the freedom to write the entire first draft before you start editing and critiquing. Editing as you go can slow the process down (or bring it to a halt) and waste periods of inspiration.
Have you had to produce a lot of content quickly? How did you go about it?
Creating a name for a new business, product or service can be an overwhelming task, particularly when it can determine the identity, personality and the perception of your brand.
With this in mind you need more than a trusty thesaurus and clever word play, you need to think about the end result, the ultimate brand you want to create and then work backwards.
So here a five considerations to take into account when naming your new business, product or service.
1. Know your target markets and what they want
The first step in creating a great name is to know who you are targeting. While it won’t impact the name in every case, it can be a way of appealing and positioning your business, product or service in a way that easily identifies through name or slogan who it will benefit.
2. Research keywords
Research what words and terms your target market is searching for when trying to find your industry, products or services, and see if there is way you can use these keywords into your name.
By incorporating keywords into your business, product or service name, slogan and domain names you have a slight edge when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as it is an easy and natural way to incorporate them into your copy.
3. Be mindful of spelling and phrasing
While it can be fun, and advantageous for trademarking to invent new words and phrases, or change the spelling of existing words, be mindful of how your potential customers may spell it or search for it if they were to only hear your name.
Potential customers won’t always see your logo or the spelling of your name the first time they are introduced to you. They may hear it mentioned in an infomercial, be referred to you while talking to a friend or colleague, or perhaps even hear it on the radio or a podcast interview.
With this in mind, it is wise to make the spelling clear while it becomes established and also take precautionary methods (if possible) with domain names for instance in order to pick up potential searches and enquiries that may spell it incorrectly.
Also think about your name in terms of a hashtag. If you have multiple words in your name could they be interpreted as something else if you were to run them all together as a #hashtag on social media?
4. Use or create a verb
Using a verb or creating a word that could be used as a verb can be a great way to make your business, product or service stick in the mind of your customer and make it appear to be the best or ‘in’ thing to do. For example how many times have you said or heard someone say “Google it”.
5. Incorporate the problem you solve or benefit you provide
This can be a powerful positioning strategy that can set you apart from the very beginning.
Be mindful though that when you incorporate the problem you solve or benefit you provide in your business, product or service name you are making a promise to your customers. So whatever you say, you need to make sure that you can (while thinking of all ‘what if’ scenarios) live up to it and maintain it over the course of your business.
Do you have a process behind choosing names for your businesses, products or services?
When it comes to building your blog audience and expanding your social media reach, one of the best strategies to implement is to invite guest bloggers to write on your blog.
But to do it right you want to be strategic with who you choose to ensure you don’t just reach ‘anyone’ or ‘everyone’ but targeted readers and followers who are interested in your business, products and services.
So who and what should you ask when looking for a guest blogger for your blog? Here are six tips to help.
1. Invite influencers
The best guest bloggers are those who have influence in your industry or a large social following. Influencers will not only build your credibility by association with the “wow they know them?” factor, it also helps you to leverage their contacts.
The right influencer can rapidly increase your following and website hits. By sharing their blog post they expand your reach not only to their following, but their followings following when their loyal readers who enjoy their content share it on. Get this process right and you can find your blog going viral.
2. Find influencers who share your target market
To really maximise the guest blogging opportunity for your business also make sure that they have the same target audience as you. While a boost in ‘likes’ is great for your ego, at the end of the day you want to make sure you are reaching people who want to buy your products or services.
3. Ask for original content
Original content not only guards against penalties from Google, it also ensures your guest blogger will be more inclined to share the post.
Just think about it, if you spent time writing an article that you weren’t going to post again wouldn’t you share it on social media so your ‘tribe’ could still read it?
4. Ask them to share
Sometimes it is not enough to assume a guest blogger will share the post, people are busy and they may not even be handling their own social media accounts.
This is why it pays to ask if they could share the post across their social media, blog and newsletter when you are organising the guest blogging opportunity.
5. Mix up your format
Keep in mind that not everyone will be able to, or want to, sit down and write a blog post, so give them options.
You could do an interview (a great way to also maintain control of your content), feature a case study on what they have done, a checklist they use, a list of resources they draw on, or questions they ask themselves/professionals/before they buy.
There are many different ways to get content out of people while making the process easy for them and interesting for your audience.
6. Give suggestions
At the end of the day you know your audience best so don’t be afraid to offer suggestions around content. In fact, most people as busy as they are will appreciate the prompts.
Something as simple as “we are currently looking for someone to write on [x] covering [point 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]” will suffice. This also gives you control on the content going up on your blog.
While you are offering suggestions, you may also like to include the audience they are writing for, your ideal word count and any terms and conditions around promotion so your guest blogger can deliver what you are after.
Do you invite guest bloggers to write on your blog?