It’s amazing how many folks building new websites, or printing brochures, don’t think to invest as much in written content as design.
A professional web designer is a no-brainer, while copy is something that can be cobbled together in-house. Or bought at rock-bottom prices from content writers that charge so little, it’s clear that even they think their work is not worthy.
While there are many business owners and brands that believe quality copy is one of the cornerstones of marketing and turning over profit, it is often undervalued or overlooked.
I’ve had business owners ask me: “What is copywriting anyway?” Or people on Twitter ask me to help with a copyright issue. Because of this befuddlement, I thought I’d go back to basics and explain what copywriting is… and why extraordinary words matter.
Copywriting for businesses is an art, in my opinion. It’s the copywriter’s job to take the client’s brief, which is probably underpinned by a commercial motive, and keep it firmly in mind. The copywriter then puts the audience the client wants to reach onto the analyst’s couch. Understanding their mindset and motivation is crucial to writing copy that grips them and moves them to take action. Writing for business and brands is like treading a tightrope between commercial and compelling. The client’s messages are packaged in an appetising way for the desired audience.
A good copywriter has objectivity that’s hard to find when you’re immersed in your own enterprise. Look to them to say what you want to say, only better and more concisely. It’s hard to keep brevity as a rule when you’re passionate about every minute detail of your offering. A trusted copywriter can help you structure your communications and pick out the points that have the strongest news value.
Quality copy is effortless to read. It makes you nod and smile, it stirs thoughts, it draws out empathy — and it makes you want to share it. In this age of social media, isn’t that something worth shooting for? Your blog, your articles, your social content, taken by your readers to a new audience. They won’t do that if your copy bores them and stops their reading in its tracks.
Copy written with skill, charm and humour gives your business a personality. Where would Boden and Innocent be without their instantly recognisable “Voice”? It’s all down to the affable and witty copy of skilled writers who have built a persona and story for these brands.
Investing in well-written words for communications, online and offline, gives you the professional edge. People take you seriously. You have an identity. You don’t blend into the cut-and-paste background. You have standout from the competition. You look like a player.
You have so little time to make a good impression. You can’t do it when your power of speech, or writing, lets you down. That’s why you need a copywriter that you can trust.
I’ve been working on a new website for a while and I am almost ready to launch it into cyberspace. It’s called The Ten Best and I am billing it as “The Essential Guide to The Best of Everything”.
I’m just building content right now — and working on some of the features of the layout. It’s very much a work in progress at present, but I couldn’t keep my baby a secret any longer.
If you’ve got a Ten Best list you’d like me to cover, give me a shout.
For background, Cosmopolitan launched a Blog Awards this year: to search for the cream of British blogging talent. It’s been less than two months since its glittering launch party, attended by bloggers that lapped up the attention for their “art” — and tottered off back to their laptops to throw themselves into their campaigns for blog superstardom.
Sevilla suggests that all the fanfare about the launch of this blogging competition by a mainstream magazine, the hoopla about nominations, the shortlist — and now the shameless touting for votes by shortlisted bloggers (like me) — has become a bit of a circus. And an example of bloggers allowing themselves “to be be used and manipulated in exchange for some pampering, wooing and ego-stroking.”
While I agree that the influx of begging missives — PLEASE VOTE FOR ME — that has assaulted Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and email inboxes has a whiff of the desperate about it… I ask, can you really blame bloggers for piggy-backing this opportunity for self-promotion, or even for wanting a bit of glory?
I disagree with the feeling that the shortlisted bloggers’ pleas for votes make them nothing more than “puppets” that have been suckered into driving traffic to the Cosmopolitan website.
I for one accept that blogging is about give and take. While I know that Cosmo’s game is not just about glorifying bloggers — it’s about enhancing its own profile — I’m happy to scratch their back, if they scratch mine.
And I’ve had plenty of currency from the Awards to date. When my (other) blog — Small bust, Big heart was shortlisted — its visitor levels took a sizeable hike. And shamelessly whoring the link to the shortlist has earned me kudos in the small-busted lingerie industry, building relationships I can nurture in the future.
It’s been a reason to big myself up on LinkedIn and draw myself to the attention of clients I’ve worked with before — underlining my blogging skills. So I can’t complain.
Where I wholeheartedly support Sevilla’s views is concerning her critique of Cosmo’s true committment to this Awards process. Firstly, the shortlist was not announced on time… and, when it was, the voting page was Glitch Central.
I’ve lost track of the number of my would-be voters who’ve said: the voting page doesn’t work; or, there’s no submit button. As I write, the page still doesn’t seem to be functional – over a week after the shortlist was announced.
Then, the deadline for voting was extended… having shot my load early, this gave me a three week void until the end of the process with no more people to beg a vote from.
I also agree with Sevilla that the prize is woeful and misguided: an opportunity to write for Cosmo. It is unclear whether this is a paid role.
One blogger who did not know the prize tweeted her hopes for a wad of cash and a bunk-up with Idris Elba. This seems more appropriate.
I feel Cosmo has misunderstood its blogging audience. Bloggers don’t feel that their medium plays second fiddle to mainstream magazines. They don’t all dream of working as a journalist. If they do, they are probably doing it already.
Perhaps Cosmo should offer to write for the winning bloggers instead? And help drive traffic to their guest blog posts? Just an idea.
My final grievance is the lack of thought that seems to have gone into the process that sees bloggers crowned as “winners”. Blogs with the most votes win, simple.
The shortlists contain some great blogs — but they are so incredibly unevenly pitched (think David and Goliath) that the results in some cases are foregone conclusions.
For instance, niche blogs like Small bust, Big heart had no category more appropriate to be nominated into than the very broad umbrella of the “lifestyle” category.
Now, as a shortlisted blog, it is competing against much bigger, more widely appealing blogs. The task to get the most number of votes is completely impossible. (Mind you, the word “impossible” is like a red rag to a bull with me, so I’ll keep trying til the fat lady sings, no doubt.)
In the celebrity section, the shortlist includes Holy Moly. Goodness knows how other blogs are supposed to compete against these guys, who claim to have 1.2 million unique users per month. Not exactly fair is it?
So I very much doubt that Cosmo will achieve its supposed goal of finding the cream of Britain’s blogging talent. And they will not be genuinely rewarding the bloggers out there who, as Sevilla says, produce fantastic work that takes up a lot of time and effort.
In most cases, unlike that of Holy Moly, there isn’t a big ad department to help stump-up rewards: bloggers’ drive comes from passion and a weakness for hard graft. And if we make a few bob along the way, so much the better.
Still, an award on the mantlepiece would be nice.
Go on then: VOTE FOR ME — cast a vote for Small bust, Big heart in the Lifestyle section of the Cosmo Blog Awards
A quick note to say thank you to anyone that nominated my “other blog” — Small bust, Big heart for a Cosmo Blog Award… and to share the awesome news that your kind nominations paid off: Small bust, Big heart has been shortlisted in the Lifestyle section and now goes to the public vote.
I have a favour to ask: if you like my blog, please visit the Cosmo Blog Awards shortlist and register your vote for Small bust, Big heart in the Lifestyle section. Voting closes on August 31st and the winners will be announced shortly after.
Also, if you can: find a way to spread the word… on Twitter, on Facebook, among your buddies and associates — if you know anyone that would appreciate what the SBBH blog is about.
Small bust, big heart is a place to celebrate the natural beauty of the small bust. Gush about the lingerie and clothes that scream, ‘Can you handle me?’ not ‘Am I enough?’ Find advice on trends and styles that fit & flatter a small-busted figure. Be entertained by topical boob-related stories. Launched in November 2009, Small bust, big heart is a must-read for small-busted women with big hearts and open minds. Written by a blogger with a cup half-full.
Thanks so much for your help and support.