THE ART OF COPYWRITING

In the digital age, content is king. Businesses want to communicate with customers and targets on a regular basis. Firms are now producing more content than ever before for websites, blogs, newsletters, social media and press releases but the quality of that content can vary dramatically. 

Many businesses create their content internally. It is usually produced by subject matter experts or enthusiastic amateurs. Others employ external experts to do the hard work. There is no right or wrong way of producing your content but it is important that there is a degree of consistency across all of your firm’s copy so that the brand values and “feel” of the messaging is consistent.  For example, if your brand majors on providing simple but effective solutions which are “to the point”, then allowing some of your people to produce long-winded content would go against your brand and could effectively undermine it.

Most businesses will have some sort of internal review process which content must go through before being approved for distribution. It is important to have an appropriate number of stakeholders involved in your approval process. Too many and they could drag the approval process out and make the copy very “watered down” compared to the original version. Too few and there is an increased risk of some inappropriate or incorrect content making it through and being published.

How many individuals are involved in the approval process depends on the type of business that you operate. For example, if your firm is a regulated entity, in say, financial services or the legal sector, then you may need to have compliance people involved in your approval process. However in a less regulated industry like fashion, perhaps the approval process should involve a subject matter expert and a product manager.

Regardless of the type of industry that you are in, creating engaging content is key. Whatever you produce must be on-message and should be of interest to your readers. You should aim to tell a story, draw your reader in and show how your product, service or knowledge adds value for your customers or potential customers. Your copy should be well crafted, balanced and should flow. If you are inserting key words for search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes, you should intersperse them throughout your text in a way that seems natural to your reader.

Finally, it is good to have a 4-eyes approach – i.e. 2 people read the content before it is finally published. This helps with sense checking and typo spotting.

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Brand consistency

Your firm’s brand isn’t what you say it is. Your brand is what your customers say about your firm when they speak to others about your business.

The brand is the personality your business has developed through your leadership and the systems you and your management team have put in place. Customers will be treated consistently and see the same products or be able to buy the same services.

Lack of brand consistency stands out like a sore thumb. When your customers experience your products or services, look at the website, visit your premises, receive business cards or visit your social networks you want the experience to be consistent. Take a look at a Big 4 accounting firm, their offices around the world will have a consistent look and feel. Their reports will have a similar look, feel and quality regardless of whether they were produced in Bristol or Glasgow. That is brand consistency. Regardless of what you see, feel or experience, you will know it’s their brand and brand consistency isn’t the expensive concept you might think.

Messaging

Your products and / or services should also carry some of the same messaging. If your brand is, for example, “high quality service delivered to all of our clients”, then your messaging should refer to this. Equally, in this example, the product or service itself must be of a very high quality.

Service level

You need to agree, as part of your firm’s strategy, what the service level is that your firm wants to offer to its customers. Whether you want to offer the best service with a premium price or a low price product/service with a budget level of service, this needs to be consistent across your business. You need to set the expectations of your customer and deliver to those expectations. A customer who is attracted to a budget offering will not necessarily expect premium service, for example.

Look and feel

The look of your business should be consistent across products, marketing materials, websites, business cards, signage, offices, etc. Your firm should agree standard colours, fonts, logos and even staff should project a consistent image for your business.