tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/copywriting Latest Copywriting content from Econsultancy 2016-06-16T09:39:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67952 2016-06-16T09:39:00+01:00 2016-06-16T09:39:00+01:00 Five tourism websites guaranteed to give you wanderlust Nikki Gilliland <p>Number one: That New York would invest so heavily into promoting an already highly-desirable travel destination.</p> <p>Number two: Do people even use tourism websites anymore?</p> <p>With most hotel and travel companies providing all the information you need, from transport links to ‘things to do’, it’s easy to assume tourism websites might be overshadowed or left a little forgotten.</p> <p>But as <a href="http://www.nycgo.com/" target="_blank">NYCGo</a> demonstrates, it appears they're having somewhat of a resurgence. </p> <p>Here are five more examples of sites that have been quietly producing some of the most slick and engaging content around.</p> <p>(Don’t blame me if you end up booking a flight somewhere after.)</p> <h3><strong>Visit Finland</strong></h3> <p>Never mind the country, visiting ‘<a href="http://www.visitfinland.com/">The Official Travel Guide of Finland</a>’ is a damn fine experience in itself.</p> <p>Chock full of stunning imagery and easy-to-digest copy, it’s one of those websites that you can easily get lost in for a while.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6052/Visit_Finland.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="421"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6068/Visit_Finland_2.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="554"></p> <p>One feature I particularly enjoyed was the Finngenerator – a name generator designed to reflect the mythological culture of the country. </p> <p>Sure, it’s pretty pointless, yet it’s little touches like this that elevate an otherwise stagnant website into something unique. </p> <p>Instead of simply offering information, it succeeds in getting the user involved, and consequently, much more engaged.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6053/Finngenerator.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="470"></p> <h3><strong>The Swedish Number</strong></h3> <p>Another Scandinavian country that's producing exciting content, Sweden is even more bold when it comes to executing campaigns. </p> <p>Introduced to mark 250 years since the abolishment of censorship, it recently launched ‘<a href="http://theswedishnumber.com/">The Swedish Number</a>’ – the country's very own telephone number.</p> <p>Whether it’s to enquire about the Northern Lights or what they had for breakfast, the idea is that you can call up and speak to a random Swede about whatever you fancy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6054/The_Swedish_Number.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="441"></p> <p>The website itself is brilliantly designed, using lots of informative copy and cool stats to back up what is undoubtedly a pretty risky idea.</p> <p>While the campaign could be seen as more of a gimmick than a valuable source of information, it’s still a brilliantly original way of increasing awareness about a particular place.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6055/Swede_Number.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="363"></p> <h3><strong>You Might Like Oregon</strong></h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67268-how-to-achieve-the-right-tone-of-voice-for-your-brand/">Tone of voice</a> is always a tricky thing to determine, but when it comes to tourism, it’s all the more difficult.</p> <p>How is it possible to decide what an entire country should sound like? For smaller locations like cities or states at least, it’s a little easier.</p> <p>Oregon is a great example of how to do it well. The <a href="http://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/oregon-stories/you-might-like-oregon/">website itself</a> is full of top-notch content, yet the aspect that stands out the most is its consistent and distinct tone. </p> <p>Deliberately self-effacing, it comes off as both personal and humorous.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6071/Oregon.PNG" alt="" width="594" height="512"></p> <p>Using the tagline “We like it here. You might too”, its series of short and tongue-in-cheek videos further reflects the site’s distinct style. </p> <p>Alongside its beautiful design, Travel Oregon is a great example of how a consistent and confident tone of voice can be an excellent groundwork from which to build content.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PRnJLgzpN5I?wmode=transparent" width="960" height="540"></iframe></p> <h3><strong>Discover Northern Ireland</strong></h3> <p>Forget stunning architecture or ancient tradition. Tourism Ireland knows that the mere mention of Game of Thrones is enough to spark a <em>lot</em> of interest.</p> <p>Using the fact that the TV series has been filmed in multiple locations across Northern Ireland, it has created its very own ‘<a href="http://www.ireland.com/en-gb/what-is-available/ireland-on-screen/game-of-thrones/destinations/northern-ireland/county-antrim/">Explore Game of Thrones</a>’ hub.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6061/Northern_Ireland_1.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="399"></p> <p>Including quizzes and fun trivia about the filming locations as well as lots of in-depth information, it is a clever example of how popular culture can capture the imagination.</p> <p>By encouraging users to get involved in a host of GOT-inspired activities, it also shows a side of the country that many people might not have discovered otherwise.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6062/Northern_Ireland.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="534"></p> <h3><strong>Explore Australia</strong></h3> <p>Looking at beautiful photos is usually enough to inspire a bit of wanderlust, but <a href="http://www.australia.com/en-gb">Australia.com’s</a> series of immersive videos guarantees it.</p> <p>From swimming in the Great Barrier Reef to watching a sunset over Sydney Harbour Bridge, each video gives a complete 360-degree view of an experience, offering the viewer insight into what it's actually like to be there.</p> <p>Even better, the videos are also compatible with Google Cardboard to further emphasise the immersive experience.</p> <p>While the rest of Australia’s tourism site is full of similarly jaw-dropping content, these videos show how <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66614-will-virtual-reality-revolutionise-the-travel-industry/">travel and VR</a> truly are a match made in heaven. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8GmOFCzMeQ0?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p><em><strong>Have you worked on an award-worthy marketing project in the Travel &amp; Leisure sector this year?</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>If so, make sure to enter Econsultancy’s <a href="http://www.festivalofmarketing.com/awards/categories?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_medium=blog&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog">Masters of Marketing Awards</a> before June 17.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67953 2016-06-15T11:36:40+01:00 2016-06-15T11:36:40+01:00 How Lush Cosmetics uses word-of-mouth marketing Nikki Gilliland <p>After all, it is a retailer that does not advertise on traditional media, nor is it totally mainstream like its rival the Body Shop.</p> <p>But now with a three-storey flagship slap-bang in the middle of Oxford Street, Lush certainly appears to be making the most of its cult following.</p> <p>On the back of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67158-why-lush-is-the-undisputed-master-of-b-commerce/">last year’s website comparison</a>, and in the run up to the <a href="http://www.festivalofmarketing.com/awards/categories?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_medium=blog&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog">Masters of Marketing</a> (deadline for entry this Friday, June 17th), we thought we’d take a look at how Lush has gone from a small ethical cosmetics company to a high street behemoth.</p> <p>Here are four ways Lush has executed a winning <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/digital-content-strategy/">content strategy</a> through non-traditional methods.</p> <h3>Brand values and identity</h3> <p>Since it first began in 1995, Lush has always prided itself on its ethical principles.</p> <p>From minimal packaging to protests against animal testing – it has become just as well-known for its charitable endeavours as its use of organic ingredients.</p> <p>Undoubtedly, these core values of honesty and positivity have enabled the brand to build a large and loyal fan base. </p> <p>As well as promoting good causes, Lush also practices what it preaches, with 100% of the earnings from its ‘charity pot’ body cream going to environmental, animal protection and human rights organisations.</p> <p>Similarly, by focusing on grassroots charities, it further emphasises its position as being a friend to the little guy.</p> <p>Ultimately, any purchase from Lush comes along with the reassurance that it’s from a brand that truly cares. And there’s no denying that this is an incredibly powerful (and persuasive) notion for consumers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6090/Lush_Charity_Pot.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="305"></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/it2ADEr_rEo?wmode=transparent" width="700" height="424"></iframe></p> <h3>Unique copywriting</h3> <p>Alongside its core values, Lush is famous for its unique and quirky <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting/">copywriting</a>. </p> <p>In recent years, the brand has ramped up its efforts in this area even more, with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62713-six-things-to-consider-when-writing-product-descriptions/">product descriptions</a> becoming a huge focus of its online shop.</p> <p>Using an unashamedly flowery and funny tone of voice, Lush’s copy combines both puns and rhymes with practical information. </p> <p>From ‘You’ve Been Mangoed’ to ‘Granny Takes a Dip’, the names of the products also range from the predictable to the rather ridiculous. Yet somehow, it still works.  </p> <p>The style is nothing if not consistent, with similarly punny headlines being found throughout the website and blog, as well as a similar style on social media. </p> <p>It is not everyone’s cup of tea of course, but it is certainly distinctive.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6091/Lush_Copy_2.PNG" alt="" width="700" height="417"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6092/Lush_Copy.PNG" alt="" width="665" height="469"></p> <h3>Influencer marketing</h3> <p>In recent years, YouTube has turned out to be one of Lush’s most effective marketing channels. </p> <p>Despite uploads on the brand’s own account being surprisingly rare, mentions from a number of influential internet personalities has meant that it has still enjoyed valuable exposure.</p> <p>With the likes of Zoella and Tanya Burr declaring their undying love for the brand in endless ‘Lush hauls’, the store has garnered millions of new customers as a result.</p> <p>There’s no denying the power of this word-of-mouth marketing. Despite the world of influential advertising becoming <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67923-influencer-marketing-is-becoming-a-joke-what-can-brands-do-about-it/">increasingly murky</a>, most of Lush's endorsements do appear to be organic (with many videos appearing during the early days of YouTube).</p> <p>With millions of subscribers, personalities like Zoella are able to influence buyer behaviour far more than most other forms of advertising - a fact that has certainly gone in Lush's favour.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lJDOtzCHXKo?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>User-generated content</h3> <p>Lush doesn’t only put effort into growing its customer base. A big reason behind its success is its focus on building a relationship with its audience.</p> <p>By talking to customers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, Lush maintains a continual cycle of conversation and engagement. </p> <p>Using hashtags such as the popular #lushtime, it encourages customers to share their own personal Lush experiences, in turn building the brand's community.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6094/Lush_Instagram.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="634"></p> <p>A further example of how the brand uses content to elevate the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics/">customer experience</a> is the 'Lush Kitchen'.</p> <p>By creating a limited number of online-only products, it aims to offer a personalised and exclusive service.</p> <p>Far more appealing than a standard shopping experience, it automatically encourages shoppers to recommend it to their friends or post about it online.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6095/Lush_Kitchen.PNG" alt="" width="730" height="461"></p> <p>Lush is a brand that promises far more than just a good bubble bath.</p> <p>With its passionate values, distinct style and positive community, it ensures customers are more than happy to spead the word.</p> <p><em><strong>Don't forget to get your <a href="http://www.festivalofmarketing.com/awards/categories?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_medium=blog&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog">entries in for the Masters of Marketing</a> awards before the deadline on 17th June. </strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67941 2016-06-13T10:15:00+01:00 2016-06-13T10:15:00+01:00 10 nudge-tastic examples of persuasive copywriting from charities Dan Brotzel <h3>1. Cognitive ease</h3> <p><a title="Easy does it: six ways content can reduce effort for your online users" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66684-easy-does-it-six-ways-content-can-reduce-effort-for-your-online-users/" target="_blank">Simply reducing the perceived effort of interacting with your content</a> can be a powerful nudge to engagement in itself.</p> <p>Here Donor Tools emphasises the speed of getting up and running in its call-to-action button:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4733/smart_donor_image.png" alt="Donor Tools" width="605" height="372"></p> <p>Here the BBC's Children in Need shop does all the hard work for you by simplifying postage &amp; packaging costs:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5891/BBC_Children_in_Need.png" alt="BBC Children in Need" width="592" height="716"></p> <p>(And if the charity ended up quids in taking this one-size-fits-all approach, who’s going to begrudge Pudsy?)</p> <p>And here the RSPB makes it clear that helping to support its goal of habitat preservation needn’t be a massive slog either – in fact, you don’t even need a garden:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5974/rspb.png" alt="" width="587" height="230"></p> <h3>2. Social proof</h3> <p>We are social animals, hard-wired to follow the crowd.</p> <p>As Robert Cialdini puts it in <em>Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion</em>: ‘People see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it.’</p> <p>With its slogan ‘Join the movement’, sustainable transport charity Sustrans is all about communal action.</p> <p>Its ‘Sponsor a mile’ campaign makes good use of personal stories and emotional hooks to encourage more people to support the 14,000 miles of the National Cycle Network:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5893/National_Cycle_Network.png" alt="National Cycle Network" width="674" height="655"></p> <p>Over in the online shop of the National Museum Wales, meanwhile, there’s a handy ‘Most viewed’ category for present-buyers short of inspiration:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5975/wales_shop.png" alt="" width="700"></p> <p>In the Shelter shop, course descriptions are supported by testimonials which, even if anonymous, remain effective because of the well-chosen quotes and job titles:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5895/shelter.png" alt="Shelter" width="632" height="473"></p> <h3>3. Objection-handling</h3> <p>Online, we have more need of trust and confidence in the organisations we’re dealing with than in face-to-face interactions.</p> <p>So we’re always checking sites for signs of credibility and answers to any objections or anxieties we may have, for instance about data security or financial probity.</p> <p>The Energy Saving Trust’s email newsletter sign-up, for instance, makes a big (and reassuring) point about how easy it is to unsubscribe before you’ve even signed up: </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5977/energy_saving_trust.png" alt="" width="800" height="300"></p> <p>The National Theatre of Scotland, meanwhile, uses a nice <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67268-how-to-achieve-the-right-tone-of-voice-for-your-brand/">tone of voice</a> and a bit of transparency to explain to users why it needs all the data it’s asking for:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5978/National_theatre.png" alt="" width="947" height="638"></p> <p>Another common objection in the non-profit space is: How much of my money actually goes to the good cause?</p> <p>Here’s a couple of answers, from the RNLI and the RSPB:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5898/rnli.png" alt="RNLI" width="317" height="246"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5979/rspb_2.png" alt="" width="784" height="572"></p> <h3>4. Scarcity, loss aversion &amp; time-limited offers</h3> <p>The fear of missing out has been known about as a powerful trigger to consumer conversion in advertising for a century or more.</p> <p>People's desire to avoid loss turns out to be much more powerful than the desire to seek gain, and we are capable of behaving quite irrationally to sate that urge.</p> <p>The YHA’s email sign-up uses a nice tone to imply that only email subscribers get to hear about the best deals and discounts:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5900/yha.png" alt="YHA" width="368" height="281"> </p> <p>And its availability calendar is a powerful incentive to make your booking while there's still time:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5901/yha_2.png" alt="YHA" width="576" height="310"></p> <p>And over at the Shelter Shop, a little message in urgent red advises you of places running out on that training course you’re considering:</p> <p><br><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5902/Shelter_2.png" alt="Shelter" width="651" height="412"></p> <h3>5. Anchoring</h3> <p>The phenomenon of anchoring rests on the fact that our perceptions are often defined by context.</p> <p>£500 sounds pretty pricey for a handbag if you’re in Primark... until you walk into Gucci, and it suddenly seems like a snip. The context sets the norm.</p> <p>A classic technique to encourage higher spend or donation is by playing with the range of options available – one very expensive option can make others look like good value.</p> <p>The classic example is the wine menu: adding a single highly-priced bottle at the end of the list has been found to increase revenue overall, as diners often order the second most expensive (and typically the most profitable) bottle, which now looks like a good buy in comparison.</p> <p>Setting a minimum suggested donation amount can similarly drive up average donations.</p> <p>In this example, the values start at £20. If I want to give less than that, I have to manually enter my measly amount in the free box.  </p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5903/Cancer_research.png" alt="Cancer Research UK" width="604" height="263"></p> <p>In this example, from Care Link, the design makes it pretty clear which level of service is right for me:  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5980/Care_Link.png" alt="" width="800" height="452"></p> <p>And back at the YHA, anchoring makes direct debit look like a real no-brainer:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5905/YHA_3.png" alt="YHA" width="619" height="410"></p> <h3>6. Reciprocity</h3> <p>We all like to get something in return for our efforts. Free gifts, samples, discounts, content etc are all common ways to do this.</p> <p>In the non-profit context, showing what your donation will tangibly buy is another:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5906/nfp.png" alt="nfp" width="613" height="449"> </p> <p>In exchange for your donation, the British Red Cross offers lots of useful content informed by its obvious expertise in the areas of first aid and emergency care:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5907/BRC.png" alt="British Red Cross" width="615" height="602"></p> <p>But perhaps the best exponent of the reciprocity nudge is the RNLI, which reinforces the message that your donations are helping to support its work on almost every page:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5981/RNLI_2.png" alt="" width="800" height="321"></p> <p>The focus is admirably persistent. Even eating and drinking in the RNLI College restaurant, for instance, is helping to save lives at sea:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5982/rnLI_3.png" alt="" width="800" height="458"> </p> <h3>7. Internal consistency (foot in the door)</h3> <p>Once we make a choice or take a stand, we tend to behave consistently with that commitment.</p> <p>This is what door-to-door salespeople rely on: they ask a series of subtly qualified questions, (starting with, for instance, ‘Do you agree that double-glazing would add to the value and comfort of your property?’) and once you’ve said yes to one, it becomes harder to say no to the next.</p> <p>Petitions are another example – agreeing to take part sets us up to make a bigger commitment further down the line.</p> <p>In this series of screenshots, Shelter piques our interest with a local angle (‘What does the housing crisis look like where you live?’), and leads us through a carefully reasoned argument and into an invitation to add your signature on the issue: </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5912/shelter_4.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5913/shelter_5.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5914/shelter_6.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5915/shelter_7.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5916/shelter_8.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5917/shelter_9.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5918/shelter_10.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <h3>8. Guilt</h3> <p>These examples speak for themselves:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5919/shelter_guilt.png" alt="Shelter" width="608" height="403"> </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5921/dogs_trust.png" alt="Dogs Trust" width="479" height="360"></p> <h3>9. Affinity</h3> <p>When we like an organisation, we’re more likely to respond to it.</p> <p>We like ones that make us laugh, that do things that align with our values, and that we feel personally connected to.</p> <p>The more familiar we are with a brand, the more we like it too.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5922/RHS.png" alt="RHS" width="384" height="214"> </p> <h3>10. Authority</h3> <p>We trust people with perceived knowledge, so making the most of your experts can be a powerful nudge.</p> <p>Well-chosen stats – which we perceive as indices of expertise – convey authority too.</p> <p>So, too, can content from relevant experts, and recommendations from trusted sources and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">influencers</a>.</p> <p>Expertise and authority are very evident on the Cancer Research UK site:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5923/Cancer_research_2.png" alt="Cancer Research UK" width="736" height="757"></p> <p>And here are some impressive numbers from the Dog’s Trust:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5924/Final.png" alt="Dogs Trust" width="622" height="113"></p> <p><em><strong>Have you worked on an award-worthy charity marketing campaign this year? </strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>If so, make sure to enter Econsultancy’s <a href="http://www.festivalofmarketing.com/awards/categories?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_medium=blog&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog">Masters of Marketing Awards</a> before June 17.<br></strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67886 2016-05-31T14:54:53+01:00 2016-05-31T14:54:53+01:00 Word on the street: Four tips for using slang in marketing Nikki Gilliland <p>For companies, words are a really useful weapon, and many have cottoned on to the fact that talking like a real person is far more engaging than using dry, corporate and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66631-20-banned-words-from-the-econsultancy-blog-and-their-alternatives/">jargon-filled language</a>.</p> <p>But when does conversational language go too far?</p> <p>Can brands use colloquialisms and abbreviations? What about text-speak and swear words?</p> <p>It’s a huge topic, so with just a few examples of brands getting it right and well and truly wrong, here are a few ways to ensure modern-day slang stays cool and definitely <em>not</em> cringe. </p> <h3>Know your audience</h3> <p>Speaking like a 15-year-old might seem like a killer <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/digital-content-strategy/">content marketing strategy</a>, but it only works if the people you’re talking to are 15-years-old too. </p> <p>It’s surprising just how many brands use slang even if it means alienating a large percentage of their existing audience.</p> <p>Similarly, some companies seem to disregard the notion of audience at all, jumping on the bandwagon of a particular phrase or word – regardless of whether or not it makes much sense.</p> <p>American delivery service Postmates – a company that enables people to get anything delivered within an hour – recently unleashed a billboard using the phrase “Postmates and chill”. </p> <p>Though it might resonate with a select few, it’s easy to feel a little short-changed about this rather lazy attempt at reaching everyone’s favourite target market... ‘millennials’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5364/Postmates.PNG" alt="" width="750" height="746"></p> <p>On the other hand, a company like IHOP has proven far more successful in its use of slang.</p> <p>By using Twitter – a platform much more aligned to young people – as well as ensuring a consistent and slightly tongue-in-cheek tone, it manages to stay on the right side of amusing. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Is it worth it, let me work it. I put my fork down, flip it and reverse it. <a href="http://t.co/5IoqsqoqUA">pic.twitter.com/5IoqsqoqUA</a></p> — IHOP (@IHOP) <a href="https://twitter.com/IHOP/status/519919463681228800">October 8, 2014</a> </blockquote> <h3>Keep it current</h3> <p>The danger of slang is that it can become outdated within a very short period of time.</p> <p>Fifteen years ago we were all obsessed with LOL-ing at chavs. Today, we can’t stop taking selfies with swag. </p> <p>It’s difficult to know how long a word will be popular for, but one thing brands can gauge is whether or not an audience will be receptive to it.</p> <p>If a slang word is too good to resist, and the audience is sure to lap it up, there’s no reason brands shouldn't experiment.</p> <h3>Consider the platform</h3> <p>Language can sound very different depending on where it is used. </p> <p>Including slang in a slogan or headline can sometimes feel too in-your-face, and for product or promotional purposes might appear shoehorned in.</p> <p>One of the most popular places to use it is on Twitter. Of course, brands get it wrong far more than you might think.</p> <p>Take Mountain Dew for example. Not only did it use ‘bae’ (*shudders*) – but it also happened to use it in the wrong context, including a poorly-judged ‘the’ before the acronym.</p> <p>In case you didn’t know bae actually stands for ‘before anyone else’.</p> <p>So essentially, Mountain Dew’s tweet made no sense whatsoever.  </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Mountain Dew is the bae.</p> — Mountain Dew® (@MountainDew) <a href="https://twitter.com/MountainDew/status/454719403150802944">April 11, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p>On the other hand, brands like O2 have demonstrated that Twitter is the one platform where slang can be a real success.</p> <p>Back in 2012, one particularly savvy social media upstart decided to reply to a complaint using the same style of street speak as the customer.</p> <p>Eventually going viral, this example just goes to show that, if used in the correct context, slang can be a useful way to really connect with an audience.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/O2">@o2</a> jheeze so u man speak slang and dat r u a girl what ends u from. And naa ii didn't what router</p> — Genos (@Tunde24_7) <a href="https://twitter.com/Tunde24_7/status/255767451722207232">October 9, 2012</a> </blockquote> <h3>Publish with caution</h3> <p>We’re used to hearing about brands inadvertently posting offensive content, but when it comes to social media, the odds of causing offense are even higher.</p> <p>Not an example of slang per se, but hashtags demonstrate how terms from popular culture can often filter into our everyday vernacular.</p> <p>DiGiorno Pizza recently landed itself in hot water when it jumped on the hashtag #whyistayed.</p> <p>Originally created by victims of domestic violence, DiGiorno was clearly oblivious about the context when it posted this ill-advised tweet.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Example of a brand using a trending topic without understanding the context <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Advertising?src=hash">#Advertising</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SocialMedia?src=hash">#SocialMedia</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WhyIStayed?src=hash">#WhyIStayed</a> <a href="http://t.co/iTSmfaT6Xv">pic.twitter.com/iTSmfaT6Xv</a></p> — Scott Paul (@scottfpaul) <a href="https://twitter.com/scottfpaul/status/509180196290039808">September 9, 2014</a> </blockquote> <p>As these examples show, slang is always going to be a tough tool to master.</p> <p>For brands, the trick is knowing when it's worth trying, and when it's worth steering clear.</p> <p><em><strong>To learn more about this topic, check out our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting/">Online Copywriting</a> course.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67874 2016-05-26T15:15:19+01:00 2016-05-26T15:15:19+01:00 The rise of the artisanal tone of voice among brand marketers Nikki Gilliland <p>With an increasing desire from consumers to know <em>how</em> and <em>where</em> products are made, small and artisan brands are growing in popularity.</p> <p>As a result, reassuringly authentic copywriting is popping up all over the place.</p> <p>So why do we want to buy beer from micro-breweries, get our caffeine fix from pop-up coffee shops, and source sourdough from independent bakeries?</p> <p>Perhaps it’s the reassuring nature of the old butcher, baker and candlestick maker – a place where you can go for a chat as well as a quick shop.</p> <p>Or, maybe we just believe that it’s worth spending a little extra on something premium or independently produced.</p> <p>Either way, copy that was once quirky and witty is now thoughtful and earnest.</p> <p>Look at Teapigs for example - a company that has six pages of its website dedicated to telling you how high quality its product is.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5262/Teapigs.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="473"></p> <p>With its slightly unconventional packaging, Orchard Pigs is also still slightly 'Innocent-esque' - but by detailing its 'expertly crafted' cider that's rooted in 'fine Somerset tradition', it can't help but big up its humble beginnings. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5234/Orchard_s_Pig.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="472"></p> <p>Likewise, Primrose's Kitchen has a name that directly reflects the artisanal nature of the product.</p> <p>Its muesli, made in the heart of Dorset, is a world away from the mass-produced, sugar-saturated world of Nestle. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5235/Primrose_Kitchen.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="620"></p> <p>Of course, it’s not only lesser-known brands that are capitalising on this image.</p> <p>Larger corporate companies are now deliberately trying to appear smaller in order to get a slice of the action. </p> <p>Have you popped into <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/feb/10/tesco-takes-full-ownership-of-harris-hoole-coffee-chain">Harris + Hoole</a> lately?</p> <p>With its dedicated baristas and laid-back atmosphere, it markets itself as the ultimate independent coffee shop.</p> <p>A company that literally ‘pours hours of training’ into bringing you the ultimate cup of coffee. You’d never guess it was owned by Tesco. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5236/Harris___Hoole.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="463"></p> <p>Costa Coffee is also well-known for using these tactics.</p> <p>With 1,500 stores in the UK alone, it is one of the biggest and most recognisable brands on the high street. Yet, it still tries to convince us that every single one of its employees was born to serve skinny lattes.</p> <blockquote> <p>Coffee is an art, and our baristas are artisans – learn about the passion and precision that goes into each cup.</p> </blockquote> <p>Nice to hear, but if you’ve ever queued for a coffee at 8:50am on a Monday morning you’ll know that staying calm and not spilling anything is the main priority for staff.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5237/Costa_Coffee.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="473"></p> <p>A brand that has mass-market appeal, Walkers Crisps is another culprit.</p> <p>Usually synonymous with famous footballers and big advertising campaigns, it's been trying a different tack of late.</p> <p>With a focus on real ingredients (as opposed to fake ones, I suppose), Market Deli crisps is an attempt to target a more discerning consumer.</p> <p>Promoting itself as “inspired by authentic produce found in delicatessens across the UK”, it is a somewhat strange concept.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5238/Walkers.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="291"></p> <p>Could the fact that the product is <em>inspired</em> by authentic produce mean just that?</p> <p>Inspired, but not actually authentic in itself?</p> <p>The danger of the artisanal tone of voice trend is that it will result in false advertising. And sadly, there have already been examples.</p> <p>Tesco was recently <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2016/mar/22/tescos-fictional-farms-a-marketing-strategy-past-its-sell-by-date">called-out</a> for using fictional farm names on the packaging of fresh produce. </p> <p>Though the supermarket chain has since explained that the likes of ‘Boswell Farm’ are simply brand names, and in no way meant to suggest the place where the meat was actually sourced, it certainly doesn't instil confidence in the consumer.</p> <p>Rather, it just goes to show how the lines between artisan brands and artisanal <em>branding</em> are becoming well and truly blurred. </p> <p>When it comes to trust, at least you know what you're getting with a classic bag of cheese and onion Walkers.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, book yourself onto Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting-advanced">Online Copywriting Course</a> or check out these posts<strong>:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65198-a-simple-tip-for-improving-your-brand-tone-of-voice-guidelines/"><em>A simple tip for improving your brand tone of voice guidelines</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67149-how-to-create-simple-brand-tone-of-voice-guidelines-for-twitter/"><em>How to create simple brand tone-of-voice guidelines for Twitter</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67846 2016-05-13T10:14:25+01:00 2016-05-13T10:14:25+01:00 Logic & magic: How to harness the power of language Nikki Gilliland <p>I digress. The point is that lexicographer Susie certainly knows her stuff when it comes to words and how they work.</p> <p>Yesterday, I heard her speak at the <a href="http://summit.adobe.com/emea/">Adobe Summit</a> where she provided unique insight into how language can be utilised for business on all levels.</p> <p>Before I summarise her wisdom in a handy little list, here are the results of a poll taken by the audience during the talk. </p> <p>(This might give you an idea of just how strongly people feel about language)</p> <ul> <li>52% ‘literally’ blow up at the over-use of literally.</li> <li>65% are annoyed by the habit of using ‘so’ at the beginning of every sentence.</li> <li>87% have talked about ‘solutions’ and ‘paradigm shifts’ at work.</li> <li>92% want to face-palm when they spot a misspelling.</li> <li>60% aren’t bothered by new words like ‘face-palm’.</li> <li>87% say their company does NOT communicate effectively.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4906/dictionary.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="496"></p> <p>Now, on with that list...</p> <h3>Don’t be scared to stutter</h3> <p>According to research, ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ is not always a bad thing.</p> <p>One experiment demonstrated how a speech including conversational fillers was more readily understood by the same audience than one that was word-perfect.</p> <p>This is due to natural rhythms of conversation aiding comprehension, with regular pauses in speech allowing the listener to absorb what is being said.</p> <h3>A large vocabulary doesn’t mean a complicated one</h3> <p>Expanding your vocabulary is one of the most overlooked ways to improve your prospects (and sharpen communication). But it doesn’t mean the words have to be complex – quite the opposite in fact. </p> <p>Shakespeare had just 20,000 words at his disposal. Today, we have around 50,000.</p> <p>Learning new words doesn't mean you have to use all of them, or indeed speak like Shakespeare, but it'll certainly help you think in a more agile fashion.</p> <h3>Use words with precision</h3> <p>The more words we know, the more we have to choose from, but often the most basic sentence can be the most powerful.</p> <p>Let’s take Apple for example. With just one phrase, “Think different”, they managed to encapsulate everything the brand stands for. </p> <p>And not a single mention of the product.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nmwXdGm89Tk?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Know your audience</h3> <p>Just because more slang words are appearing, it doesn’t mean the overall language is shrinking. You just have to use them sparingly and appropriately as well as aim them at the right people.</p> <p>A great example of slang is Susie’s favourite word of the moment: 'Procaffeinating'. Which means the art of putting everything off until you’ve had another cup of tea. </p> <p>Similarly, you should always be aware of cultural norms and how words will be translated. </p> <h3>Ditch the gobbledygook</h3> <p>The definition of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66631-20-banned-words-from-the-econsultancy-blog-and-their-alternatives/">jargon</a> is ‘unintelligible or meaningless talk’, and in this sense, it is definitely something worth discarding.</p> <p>Revenue streams, joined up best practice, digital natives... if the person you're talking to is forced to decipher or un-pick the meaning, it’s not worth saying. </p> <h3>Not all jargon is bad!</h3> <p>According to Susie, although jargon is often annoying, it's also helpful.</p> <p>This is because jargon can be seen as a tribal language – i.e. a language that is used to bond or unite a specific group.</p> <p>With marketers dealing with brand-new concepts on a continuous basis, it's unsuprising that we're coming up with new words to describe them.</p> <p>That being said, whether this is a good enough excuse for ever saying the word ‘leverage’ is debateable. </p> <p><em>For more on this topic book yourself onto our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting/">Online Copywriting Training Course</a>, or check out these other posts:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67752-three-online-copywriting-tips-supported-by-research/"><em>Three online copywriting tips supported by research</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67256-should-writers-be-worried-about-automated-copywriting/"><em>Should writers be worried about automated copywriting?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65642-nine-writing-rules-you-can-safely-ignore/"><em>Nine writing ‘rules’ you can safely ignore</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67798 2016-05-10T01:22:00+01:00 2016-05-10T01:22:00+01:00 A collection of useful tips for online copywriting that works Jeff Rajeck <ol> <li>Use short words, short sentences, and signpost your writing. (<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67752-three-online-copywriting-tips-supported-by-research/">link</a>)</li> <li>Outline for your audience, write for yourself. (<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67770-the-online-copywriter-s-paradox-how-to-write-for-your-audience-yourself/">link</a>)</li> </ol> <p>If you follow these rules, your writing will be easy-to-read, clear, and coherent. </p> <p>Your writing will also be well-structured yet capture some of your unique, personal voice which keeps readers interested. Additionally, you won't lose your easily-distracted online audience.</p> <p>If you're just blogging as a hobby, you can probably stop here. Following these two rules will help you write in a way which is far more readable and interesting than most.</p> <p>But if you are writing professionally, one more step is needed.</p> <h3>Before we start...</h3> <p>Econsultancy is offering an Online Copywriting Workshop in Singapore on Wednesday, May 25th for those in the region who would like to improve their writing.</p> <p>You can find more details about the workshop and register here: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting-workshop-singapore/dates/2780/">Online Copywriting Workshop (Singapore)</a>.</p> <h3>Writing that works</h3> <p>According to Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson in <em>Writing That Works:</em></p> <blockquote> <p>Clarity, desirable as it is, is not the goal. The goal is effective communication — writing that works.</p> </blockquote> <p>Business writers Roman and Raphaelson focus on a single point throughout their famous book.  That is, professional writers have to write in a way which distinguishes their writing from an amateur's.</p> <p>Specifically, <strong>professional writers have to write with the intention to have an effect in the real world.</strong></p> <p>As a professional writer, you goal is to motivate a reader to do something or think differently. They may buy something from your company, try something new, or change their perspective on a familiar topic.</p> <p>Whatever it is, the end result of professional writing should be an action.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4489/writing.png" alt="" width="800" height="600"></p> <h3>But how can a writer achieve this?</h3> <p>It's difficult and it's also not something you can necessarily improve through trial-and-error.  </p> <p>If you're writing to sell then, yes, you can track readers to sales or conversions. More effective writing will produce better results.</p> <p>If you're writing to change an opinion, however, it is not quite so easy to know which pieces are working. Readers simply don't comment like they used to and so it can be hard to know whether you have made an impression.</p> <p>One source of advice about how to be more effective is other professional writers. Reading about writing is a great way to move from good amateur writing to effective professional writing.</p> <p>Start with the classics: </p> <ul> <li>Stunk &amp; White, <em>The Elements of Style</em> </li> <li>Zinsser, <em>On Writing Well</em> </li> <li>Raphaelson &amp; Roman, <em>Writing that Works</em> </li> </ul> <p> Then try reading modern writing books which also cover online copywriting: </p> <ul> <li>Felder,<em> Writing for the Web</em> </li> <li>Handley, <em>Everybody Writes</em> </li> <li>Redish, <em>Letting Go of the Words</em> </li> </ul> <p>And for organizing ideas, I've found <em>Beyond Bullet Points</em> (Atkinson) indispensable.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4492/Capture.PNG" alt="" width="784" height="451"></p> <h3>Key points from the professionals</h3> <p>Here are a few key points I've collected from these which help make writing more effective.</p> <h4>1. Drive the action point home</h4> <p>The most important thing you can do to encourage action is to make it absolutely clear what you want your reader to do.</p> <p>Have a clear call-to-action in your writing and make sure it is front-and-center, not buried at the bottom of your post.</p> <p>Also, check your structure and ensure that the outline supports the intended action. Irrelevant or conflicting points distract from your goal and should be removed.</p> <h4>2. Add spark</h4> <p>Spark is what makes writing exciting to read, and adding it is much more enjoyable than fiddling with structure. </p> <p>Spark comes as much from removing words as from adding them. Most adjectives, the passive voice, and cliches should all disappear.  </p> <p>There are many more best practices in the books listed above. Apply them mercilessly and review. You will, almost certainly, have clearer writing and more effective results.</p> <p>Besides the books mentioned above, here are a few more tips to review:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2010/07/12-timeless-writing-tips-from-mark-twain/">Timeless writing tips from Mark Twain</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/george-orwells-5-rules-for-effective-writing/">5 Rules for effective writing from George Orwell</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/02/07/david-ogilvy-on-writing/">Ogilvy: How to write</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.economist.com/styleguide/introduction">The Economist Style Guide</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/01/14/how-to-write-with-style-kurt-vonnegut/">Vonnegut: How to write with style</a></li> </ul> <p>And Econsultancy offers all sorts of tips and tricks to help digital marketers avoid commonly-made mistakes and add spark to their writing. </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66633-12-elements-of-a-user-friendly-blog-page/">12 elements of a user-friendly blog page</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67380-14-safety-precautions-for-inexperienced-content-writers/">14 safety precautions for inexperienced content writers</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67708-10-common-online-copywriting-mistakes/">10 common online copywriting mistakes</a></li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4491/8208261208_b63ee32616_o.jpg" alt="" width="450" height="300"></p> <h3>3) Swap places with your readers</h3> <p>Ann Handley, in her book <em>Everybody Writes</em>, makes this additional suggestion. </p> <p>Swap places with your reader. Read what you have written and ask yourself a few simple questions: </p> <ul> <li>Is the point of the piece absolutely clear, from start to finish?</li> <li>Has it been written with a real, honest tone? </li> <li>Have I been drawn into the subject, even if it doesn't interest me?</li> <li>Did I enjoy reading it?</li> </ul> <p>If you answer 'no' to any of the questions, then you need to revise.  </p> <p>Writing which is memorable, enjoyable, and real is much more likely to make a lasting impression than that which is written in business-speak.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4490/everybody-writes.png" alt="" width="428" height="606"></p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>Writing quality, amateur online copy is fairly straightforward. You can simply follow a few basic rules and write a post which is clear and pleasant to read. </p> <p>But moving from amateur to professional writing is not easy at all. You not only have to capture your audience's attention, but you need to convince them to take action.</p> <p>Additionally, it is difficult to improve in this way by trial and error. Instead, it takes research, practice, and a lot of self-critique.</p> <p>There is, however, a simple indicator that you have crossed over, though. Your writing will have an impact in the real world.  You will have more feedback, more confidence, and perhaps even measurable results.</p> <p>That is, your writing will start to 'work'.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67770 2016-04-28T00:05:00+01:00 2016-04-28T00:05:00+01:00 The online copywriter's paradox: How to write for your audience & yourself Jeff Rajeck <p>For very short passages, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67752-three-online-copywriting-tips-supported-by-research/">technical writing tips</a> are great. Keep words simple, sentences short, and use signposts in your writing.</p> <p>But for longer copy, you have to do more than that.  </p> <p>Your writing has to make an impression, convince someone of something, and then, ideally, get the reader to do what they might not otherwise do.</p> <p><strong>So how can you do that? </strong></p> <p>There are many books and countless blog posts written on this topic. Sorting the useful tips from the noise is not easy.  </p> <p>At a very high level, though, writing online copy requires two approaches which may seem contradictory, but can actually help you deliver lively, yet relevant, online copy.</p> <h3>Before we start...</h3> <p>Econsultancy is offering an Online Copywriting Workshop in Singapore on Wednesday, May 25th for those in the region who would like to improve their writing.</p> <p>You can find more details about the workshop and register here: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting-workshop-singapore/dates/2780/">Online Copywriting Workshop (Singapore)</a>.</p> <h3>First, write for an audience</h3> <p>To write persuasive and compelling copy, it helps first to think about the people you are writing for.</p> <ul> <li>What do they care about?</li> <li>What is on their mind?</li> <li>What problem are they trying to solve right now?</li> <li>What can they accomplish by reading your writing? </li> </ul> <p>Notice that doing this is not the same thing as keeping your words simple and your sentences short.</p> <p>Writing for an audience means stepping back from your writing tools, assembling a logical structure, and checking, constantly, that you are writing something which your intended audience values.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4159/photo1.png" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <p>Focusing on your audience offers three main benefits.</p> <h4>1. It will help you de-clutter your copy</h4> <p>When you have a clear idea of what you are writing and who you are writing for, you will feel confident to remove the 'business speak' which clutters writing and confuses readers.</p> <p>Econsultancy has a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66631-20-banned-words-from-the-econsultancy-blog-and-their-alternatives/">list of banned words</a> including 'leverage', 'synergies', and 'learnings'.  </p> <p>Using these during a corporate meeting might seem normal nowadays, but you would never use them elsewhere, so they shouldn't clutter your writing either.</p> <h4>2. You will grab your reader's attention</h4> <p>When you prioritize your writing by featuring items which people are already interested in rather than what you want to say, readers will naturally be attracted to it. </p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.lsac.org/docs/default-source/research-(lsac-resources)/rr-11-02.pdf">numerous research papers</a>, individuals pay close attention to and focus on things which they deem to be interesting.</p> <h4>3. You will keep your reader's attention</h4> <p>Your readers are faced with the same distractions we all face: emails, messaging apps, notifications, even phone calls.</p> <p>The competition to keep ahold of your reader's attention is almost overwhelming to consider.</p> <p>But if you write about something which the reader thinks and cares about, your writing can transcend these distractions and capture the reader in a virtual bubble, of sorts.</p> <p>This really does happen. NPR, a radio network in the USA, has even come up with a term for when this happens, '<a href="http://www.npr.org/series/700000/driveway-moments">driveway moments</a>.'  </p> <p>These are times when a programme is so compelling that listeners stay in their car even after they have reached home to hear the end.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4158/NPR-driveway-momemts.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="300"></p> <h3>But...</h3> <p>But you're not done yet. Writing which only considers its audience can end up sounding like a essay written for a school assignment.  </p> <p>Yes, it will cover all the right points, but it will be lifeless. And lifeless writing loses readers.</p> <p><strong>This is where the paradox lies.</strong> In order to make your writing interesting, you have to forget pleasing your readers and write for yourself.</p> <h3>...then write for yourself</h3> <p>Writing for yourself means putting words down as they come into your head. Writing as you speak and think.</p> <p>Somehow, this seems wrong. We are meant to write in order to attract and keep the audience's attention. How will writing in our own voice accomplish that?</p> <p>I will address this apparent contradiction at the end, but first have a look at the benefits you get from just writing for yourself.</p> <h4>1. Your writing will flow more naturally</h4> <p>If you bind yourself to writing only for someone else, then you will simply find it harder to write.</p> <p>Writing is much easier when the only filter you use when deciding what to say is your own preference, not what you imagine someone else's to be.</p> <h4>2. Your writing will sound more human</h4> <p>Back to the point about removing clutter. If you write in a way that makes sense to you, then you will naturally remove the words which make you sound like a corporate-speak robot.</p> <p>Words and phrases such as <em>mission-critical</em>, <em>touch base</em>, and <em>going forward</em> (yes, all <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66631-20-banned-words-from-the-econsultancy-blog-and-their-alternatives/">banned from this blog </a>as well) never appear naturally when speaking with someone.</p> <p>Writing for yourself will keep them out of your copy as well.</p> <h4>3. You will break rules and catch people off guard</h4> <p>The most important reason to write for yourself is that it makes your writing more interesting.</p> <p>Letting your own <em>cray-cray</em> self into your writing captures attention because you, naturally, do not think or speak like anyone else.</p> <p>So if you can deliver your own personal quirks through your writing, you will stand out from the crowd and be interesting.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4160/photo2.png" alt="" width="800" height="577"></p> <h3>Resolving the paradox</h3> <p>William Zinsser, in his influential work <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/On-Writing-Well-Classic-Nonfiction/dp/0060891548">On Writing Well</a></em>, discusses these two opposing approaches to writing.  </p> <p>He says that trying to do both seems like a paradox but explains that writing for an audience and writing for yourself are two separate tasks which you can do on the same passage.</p> <p>One, writing for the audience, he calls 'craft' and the other, writing for yourself, he calls 'attitude.' </p> <p>When you are thinking of what you are going to say, you are practicing the 'craft' of writing and you should think of your audience. </p> <p>When you thinking of how you are going to say it, you need to inject your own personality, your own 'attitude', and you need to think of yourself.</p> <p>It's easier said than done. Most, if not all, writers struggle with these opposing constraints.</p> <p>Yet in order to capture and keep an audience, we must use both approaches when writing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4161/writing.png" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>So how can a writer manage the paradox?</p> <p>Every writer does it in their own way, but I've found it useful to:</p> <ol> <li>Think what you want to say and who you want to say it to.</li> <li>Put together an outline which covers your main points.</li> <li>With your outline in view, write a draft in your personal voice.</li> </ol> <p>It takes practice, but allowing yourself to write in your own voice is liberating and will produce more interesting copy.</p> <p>And managing this apparent paradox also makes writing online copy much easier, even enjoyable at times!</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67775 2016-04-22T15:15:00+01:00 2016-04-22T15:15:00+01:00 Six common reasons content marketing campaigns don't perform Patricio Robles <h3>1. You didn't do the research</h3> <p>Content marketers should remember that even though content is ultimately expected to deliver a return on investment, it won't do that if it doesn't deliver value to the target audience.</p> <p>While some content marketers might assume they know what's of value to the target audience, the best way to identify the best opportunities is to do market research before any content is created.</p> <p>Market research can take many forms, and marketers should remember that analytics data and data from CRM systems can be a valuable source of worthwhile ideas.</p> <p>For more on this, read: </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66976-are-your-audience-personas-really-helping-to-inform-your-content-strategy/">Are your audience personas really helping to inform your content strategy?</a></li> </ul> <h3>2. The content doesn't align to the objectives</h3> <p>Even great content can fall short when it's not aligned well enough to a campaign's objectives.</p> <p>For example, if a company is aiming to generate leads for a new service but its snazzy infographic is only modestly relevant to the target audience, it might not see the desired results because it won't capture attention from the right people.</p> <p>For more on this, read:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64044-the-content-cycle-how-to-improve-your-campaign-strategy/">The Content Cycle: how to improve your campaign strategy</a></li> </ul> <h3>3. The content isn't compelling</h3> <p>The web is awash in content, and more and more companies have adopted content marketing, so it can be difficult for brands to stand out.</p> <p>If content isn't interesting, informative or insightful, a campaign isn't likely to deliver on its objectives. It's that simple.</p> <p>For some inspiration on your content marketing efforts, check out these other posts:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66247-14-examples-of-evergreen-content-formats-that-work-wonders/">14 examples of evergreen content formats that work wonders</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65518-six-examples-of-interesting-content-from-boring-businesses/">Six examples of interesting content from ‘boring’ businesses</a></li> </ul> <h3>4. The presentation is lacking</h3> <p>Content experience matters.</p> <p>Making the right presentation decisions – delivery format (eg. web page versus infographic versus whitepaper PDF), typography, use of graphics and video, etc. – is critical, as is ensuring that the final product is professional if not highly-polished.</p> <p>Econsultancy's own <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64539-introducing-the-periodic-table-of-content-marketing/">Periodic Table of Content Marketing</a> will help choose which content format to use.</p> <p>It's also a good example of how presentation can bring a potentially dry topic to life (even if we do say so ourselves).</p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0004/5832/The_Periodic_Table_of_Content_Marketing.png"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/5829/the_perdiodic_table_of_content_marketing-blog-full.png" alt="" width="615" height="387"></a></p> <h3>5. The distribution strategy is wrong</h3> <p>Even the best content doesn't distribute itself.</p> <p>Having <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/maximising-the-reach-of-your-content-assets-digital-marketing-template-files/">the right content distribution strategy</a> can mean the difference between content reaching the right people or not.</p> <p>While social media is often a potent distribution channel for content marketers, successful campaigns, particularly in B2B markets, frequently rely on other channels.</p> <p>This can include owned channels like company websites and mailing lists.</p> <h3>6. Quantity is prioritized over quality</h3> <p>While content marketing teams may feel good about their ability to produce content in large volumes, quantity doesn't guarantee results.</p> <p>This is something Chris Sheen, Head of Marketing at SaleCycle, explained in a post about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67475-why-80-of-our-b2b-content-marketing-failed">why 80% of his company's content failed</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TotoIZdle3c?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67752 2016-04-20T01:00:00+01:00 2016-04-20T01:00:00+01:00 Three online copywriting tips supported by research Jeff Rajeck <p>These include:</p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67708-10-common-online-copywriting-mistakes">10 common online copywriting mistakes</a>.</li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66120-12-handy-tips-for-writing-better-web-copy">12 handy tips for writing better web copy</a>.</li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65642-nine-writing-rules-you-can-safely-ignore">Nine writing ‘rules’ you can safely ignore</a>.</li> </ul> <p>But where do these tips come from? Are they just general 'rules of thumb' or is there some scientific substance behind them?</p> <p>Though most writing tips come from writers sharing their personal approach, research does exist which supports some of the best practices.</p> <p>Three such tips are listed below along with links to the original research, for the curious.</p> <h4>Before we start...</h4> <p>Econsultancy is offering an Online Copywriting Workshop in Singapore on Wednesday, May 25th.</p> <p>You can find more details about the workshop and register here: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting-workshop-singapore/dates/2780/">Online Copywriting Workshop (Singapore)</a>.</p> <h3>Tip 1: Use simple vocabulary</h3> <p>Using simple words makes sense. Doing so forces the writer to think clearly and makes it easier for the reader to understand what is being said.</p> <p>But there is another reason why writing simple words is a good idea. In short, literacy in English-speaking countries is not as high as you may think.</p> <h4>The research</h4> <p><a href="https://www.ets.org/research/report/reading-skills/contents">A recent study by ETS</a>, a non-profit dedicated to advancing education, measured three aspects of reading comprehension across print vocabulary, sentence processing, and passage comprehension.</p> <p>After testing a variety of people in a number of countries, the researchers organized the participants by the level of reading proficiency.</p> <p>The first chart, Table 2, shows the distribution of subjects by levels of reading proficiency. Notice that, for all countries, around half of participants are below level three.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3993/Picture1.jpg" alt="" width="748" height="435"></p> <p>And the second, Table 10, shows the relative time it takes for people with proficiency below level four to complete a passage comprehension task.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3994/Capture.PNG" alt="" width="762" height="383"></p> <p>The paper notes that level three is a reference point for 'a typical, skilled adult reader.'</p> <p>So, <strong>more than half of participants in the study take much more time to comprehend writing than a 'typical' adult reader.</strong></p> <p>The study has more details about the methods used and the differences between the levels, but the overall point is that people read at very different levels.</p> <p>When you are writing for the web you typically cannot choose your audience, so your readers may require more time than you think to understand your writing.  </p> <p>And in our age of short attention spans, difficult reading could mean that many people will not read what you have written.</p> <p>There are no quick solutions for this issue. Using focus groups to review your brand copy would be ideal, but it would be a lot of work to manage the testing and implement the recommendations.</p> <p>One easier way to help <strong>keep your vocabulary simple is to check what you write against a basic English dictionary.</strong></p> <p>Ogden's Basic English publishes a <a href="http://ogden.basic-english.org/wordalph.html">2,000 word index</a> which can help you identify words that should be easier for all audiences to understand.</p> <p>Once having reviewed the vocabulary, be mindful of the words that you write. If you find yourself reaching for a thesaurus or dictionary when writing, then be aware that you may end up losing readers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3996/image.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="400"></p> <h3>Tip 2: Use short sentences</h3> <p>Another way to ensure you don't lose readers is to use simple sentences.</p> <h4>The research</h4> <p>In a frequently-referenced (yet sadly not available online) research paper, the American Press Institute measured reader comprehension against sentences with a varying number of words.</p> <p>The study found that: </p> <ul> <li>For sentences with less than eight words, readers understood 100% of the information.</li> <li>For sentences with nine to 14 words, average comprehension was 90% of the information.</li> <li>But for long sentences (up to 43 words), average comprehension dropped to as low as 10%.</li> </ul> <p>The results make sense and the recommendation is clear. <strong>Use shorter sentences.</strong></p> <p>(Source: “Readers’ Degree of Understanding,” American Press Institute)</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3995/pic.jpg" alt="" width="945" height="454"></p> <h3>Tip 3: Help readers navigate your writing</h3> <p>Simple words and concise sentences are a good way to ensure readers will understand your writing, but they still have to read it.</p> <h4>The research</h4> <p>According to <a href="https://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-users-read-on-the-web/">research</a> by the Nielsen Norman Group (NN Group), people do not read sentences in sequential order when browsing the web.</p> <p>Instead, they 'scan the pages' and choose sentence fragments to get the information that they are looking for.</p> <p>Because of this behavior, tests indicate that text which is 'concise, scannable, and objective' enjoys a comprehension boost of 124% among readers.</p> <p>The link offers more details of the research, but the NN Group offers suggestions on a few simple things writers can do to achieve this boost in comprehension: </p> <ul> <li>Use highlighted words</li> <li>Include meaningful sub-headings throughout an article</li> <li>Use bulleted lists</li> <li>Keep paragraphs to one idea</li> <li>And remove at least half of the words used in offline writing.</li> </ul> <p>Following these guidelines are a good way to ensure that readers will, at the very least, skim your writing correctly and understand the point you are making.  </p> <p>What more can you ask for?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3997/image2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="400"></p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>For experienced online copywriters, these tips are obvious.</p> <p>Most successful writers online use simple words and sentences and employ headlines, bullet points, and emphasis to help readers navigate long blocks of text. </p> <p>It's good to know, though, why we should do so.  </p> <p>Research shows that people are simply more likely to read and understand what you have written if you follow these guidelines.</p>