Extend your arms, legs and life expectancy. #RespectTheWater
Every area of human life follows various trends at some point. This can result from one of several reasons, including changes in people's collective tastes and perception, advancements in technology, and even world events. Copywriting, like everything else, has its trends – we’re going to cover the top 5 copywriting trends to look out for.
It’s sensible that you understand and follow these trends so you can stay ahead of the competition. Many writers still employ strategies that may have worked years ago, but not any more. Incorporating these trends into your writing means you are naturally ahead of them all. Also, following these trends means your clients will find your copywriting service valuable, and your intended audience will use the content you’ve written. Because if they cannot, you’ve just wasted precious time and creative energy writing.
Here are the top 5 trends to look out for in 2020 and beyond.
For a long time, copywriters thrived on targeting keywords or search terms that looked like they were shoehorned into the write-ups. Examples include search phrases such as ‘make money online 2020’, ‘fashion trends UK’, and many more. This is no longer acceptable, and copywriters who choose to stick to using them will be left behind.
Why is this? More people now favour voice search over typing into search bars in search engines. It is estimated that about 30% of searches are now voice searches, and this trend will only increase in the coming years.
Essentially, this means more people will use services such as Siri, Alexa and Google. So, instead of search terms like those listed above, there will be a shift to more natural terms. Such as ‘How do I make money online in 2020?’, ‘What are the fashion trends in the UK?’, and ‘Which is the best dentist in London?’
It will help if you start incorporating these natural search terms in your copy to take advantage of the trend.
If you're writing a marketing piece, you should consider the use of storytelling. Beyond being a trend, storytelling engages people more than other content types. Many people skip to the conclusion in most content types, but they connect with and read stories. This is, partly, because stories engage and activate different parts of the brain.
And what is one of the best ways to use storytelling? Testimonials. These are among the best-performing content types. The reason they are very effective is simple: people identify with stories that affect them on a deeply emotional level. When we read stories, it stirs up memories.
Stories also help gain and increase customers’ trust. Unique stories incorporate your personality and help to distinguish you from the crowd. Agencies that offer the best content writing service have already begun incorporating storytelling into their marketing content.
It's not unusual for one channel to be in vogue one minute and obsolete the next – that is the way of the world. So it's not wrong to feel sceptical about the longevity of social media. But you cannot deny that, so far, social media has stood the test of time, and it’s not going anywhere soon. Besides, social media remains one of the best places for brands to reach customers.
With this in mind, writing for social media still holds a great place in copywriting trends. The only thing you have to pay close attention to, which isn’t new, is that one type of copy does not sell on all social media platforms. This means you have to master the kind of content that does well on any platform for which you are writing.
It also goes back to a fundamental copywriting principle: focus on your audience.
To succeed at writing copy for the different social media platforms, you should understand the type of audience that each of these platforms attracts. For starters, LinkedIn is mostly for professionals and B2B audiences. Twitter, on the other hand, is best for starting up conversations.
As a copywriter, proper understanding, strategising and mastery of these platforms and their audience types will ensure that your content writing services remain valuable to your clients.
Blogging, like social media, is here to stay, too. But, whether for purposes of ranking higher on search engine result pages or relevance to a seeking audience, longer blog posts are the new trend. Logically, a 2,500-word blog post on ‘How to write a great copy’ will be of more value to a reader than a 500-word article on the same topic.
Of course, the long-form article on the topic has to contain more relevant information and not ‘filler words’ used to make up a specific word count.
Done right, blogging can be a great way to assert your expertise and authority in your industry while adding value to your audience. It's also an excellent way to generate traffic and leads.
For a long-form article to be relevant and contain valuable information, it cannot be 'just another' afterthought. Proper planning has to go into it. A good copywriter or copywriting agency should know the basics of content planning. You’d find great copywriting examples if you run a simple search. But for clarity’s sake, once you have zeroed in on the audience you plan to write for (properly defining the customer persona), consider the following:
Of course, your write-up must also follow appropriate writing rules: proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar.
These copywriting trends will stand you in good stead for your content marketing in 2020 and beyond. No matter what your business goals are, strong copywriting is essential if you are to stand out from the competition. If you need some help with your copywriting, please get in touch with us today.
If you’ve so much as dabbled in the digital marketing world, you’ll inevitably have encountered the term SEO content writing. But what does it actually mean?
Here at Woo, we’re an SEO copywriting agency, so if anyone can answer that question, it’s us! Basically, SEO content writing aims to attract more visitors to your website. There are a few elements at play here, so let’s break things down.
Search engine optimisation, or SEO, involves optimising your website to help you rank as high on search engines as possible. The higher you rank, the more visitors to your site, and that means more potential leads or customers.
Unlike methods such as PPC, which involve paying for traffic, SEO attracts organic traffic.
So, how can you rank high on search engines? That’s the golden question. Google is famously opaque about its algorithm, and the rules are always changing. What worked well in 2015 isn’t going to work well now, so it’s essential for content writers to stay on top of the latest developments.
Traditionally, keywords have been essential for SEO – the idea is that including keywords people search for in your content will improve your ranking. But you need to beware of keyword stuffing. Ultimately, you’re writing for humans, and search engines are becoming better at reading the intent of an article.
Having said that, long-tail keywords (longer, specific phrases) are a great way to bring in the right kinds of visitors.
Another aspect to consider is links. Including facts and statistics with links to high-authority sites (such as Forbes or the BBC) will increase the credibility of your article. Also, including internal links to your own website is helpful.
However, good content writing shouldn’t be formulaic. Instead, keep your copy engaging and interesting to readers, otherwise they will click away. Your goal should be to convert website visitors into customers or subscribers, and that isn’t going to happen if your article is boring.
Although nobody knows exactly what data search engines collect, they may use measures like social shares, clickthrough rates, and time spent on the page to decide which content is the best quality, as well as the number of backlinks on other sites.
We all know what content is, right? I mean, you’re reading an example of it right now. Any company with a marketing team worth its salt has a blog. It’s the perfect way to establish your business or website as a thought leader and an authority. The more credible you seem, the more backlinks you’re likely to get.
You can even include infographics, videos, or other videos to help your visitors and keep them on the page for longer.
Blogs are a prime example of content writing, but they’re not the only example. Here are a few more.
If you have a company that operates locally, creating local SEO content is a must. But there’s more to it than simply setting up your Google My Business account and leaving.
Why not consider landing pages for your region, writing about events in the local area, or answering questions? This will generate trust and authority for you.
Landing pages are the perfect way to present content about certain topics. Keep the content relevant and you can bring in visitors looking for specific information and guide them to your products, services, or the rest of your pages.
By optimising landing pages for SEO, you can bring more conversions. This can also increase your Page Quality Rating, an important benefit that can lead to cheaper AdWords campaigns.
Not all businesses and websites sell products, but the vast majority sell some kind of product or service. Optimising a page of content specifically around what you’re selling is a powerful way to attract customers.
Unfortunately, it’s not an easy task. To be successful, you must ensure your content is unique and high quality, as well as obeying basic SEO copywriting principles.
Getting everything right with SEO and content writing is only half the battle. To tie it all together, it’s essential to have a coherent strategy and to plan ahead.
Some readers enjoy a humorous tone with plenty of media; others prefer a more formal style. Rushing into the writing process without a clear idea of your buyer persona is a recipe for disaster.
If you’re not sure exactly who your typical reader or buyer is, do some research by figuring out where your customers hang out on the web and analysing their preferences. Forums and social media are great places to start.
Don’t leave content creation to whenever you happen to feel inspired, motivated or have some free time. All good content strategists have an editorial calendar to remind them to post on a regular basis.
It can help to divide your content into themes or subtopics and write about each of them on a regular basis. Some people prefer to plan their content a few months ahead.
They say that madness is trying the same thing multiple times and expecting different results. So, it’s a good idea to check how each piece of content performs. What went well, what went not-so-well, and how can you improve?
Metrics like backlinks, comments, social shares, or views are obvious ways to measure how the content performed.
If you do figure out where you went wrong, you can always go back and make a few tweaks. Maybe that call-to-action was in the wrong place or you forgot to add a picture.
Convinced yet? Maybe you should be – just think about how often you use Google or another search engine to find the solutions to your problems. SEO content writing is here to stay, and ignoring it means losing out on potential leads.
In the world of e-commerce, attention spans are small. You have very little opportunity to grab a customer’s attention, so when they do decide to read up about your brand or service, you have to make it count.
The quality of your product description copywriting will have a huge bearing on its success. Write great product descriptions and people will be drawn to your products, wanting to find out more. Write bad ones, and they’ll look elsewhere, and be left with a negative impression of your brand – a potentially disastrous move.
When you’re writing your product descriptions, you need to give your customers all the essential info they need, covering all the key features and benefits to allow them to make an informed decision.
But you need to go further than that. You need to write your product descriptions in such a way that they make an emotional connection between the product and the customer. Making that connection will go a long way to convincing an individual that they want – even need – a particular product.
Remember, don’t just describe your products. There’s nothing less engaging than a tech-spec list or boring list of information. No, you need to give your products purpose and context, and explain to people how it fits into their lifestyle, giving it a real purpose.
Here are some excellent examples of product descriptions that nail the art of writing a great product description. And if your website copy could do with a little sparkle and freshening up, take advantage of our product description writing service.
The male grooming market has never been so strong, and Dollar Shave Club has made its mark in this incredibly crowded area. Not just that, but it has taken the bold step of encouraging customers to sign up for regular deliveries, so it has the doubly difficult task of convincing people to buy their products, but also to persuade them to sign up for repeat purchases. Here’s a sample product description:
Designed for the shaver who longs for an easier glide, Dr. Carver's Shave Butter is a transparent shaving cream alternative that softens whiskers and enables precise navigation.
Interest in new, innovative drinks has never been higher. Take the gin market, for instance – barely a week goes by without a new gin with weird and wonderful botanicals being launched. The Whisky Exchange is one of the leaders in online spirits retailing, and one reason why is the way it talks about its products. It knows that rattling off technical information is a turn-off, so instead it talks about drinking occasions and suggested serves – which is much more appealing. Here is the enticing description of a luxurious ginger liqueur:
A stunning French liqueur made with top-quality VSOP and XO Cognacs and flavoured with Vietnamese ginger alongside ginseng and vanilla. Domaine de Canton brings a deliciously intense gingery edge to all manner of cocktails and fusion cuisine.
ASOS was originally launched so that trendsetters could buy all the favourite outfits that their idols from TV and film wore (the brand stands for ‘As Seen On Screen’). ASOS has moved beyond that initial premise, but it’s still the go-to brand for the under-35 market, and it has serious style and attitude. Its product descriptions have all the essential info, but also how to keep their clothes looking in fantastic condition.
Innocent has long been praised for its quirky, funky marketing and branding for one simple reason: it works. Its products (‘things we make’) are described in a very enticing way, with a really human feel: ‘No added sugar. No concentrates. No funny business.’ Not only that, but there’s a confidence there that is very reassuring, but it never tips over into arrogance. The result is a brand that draws people in, and one with a very clear identity. Here’s a sample description:
Mangoes and passion fruits is one of our top three selling recipes ever. You'd probably think it was OK, and that we should leave it alone. But the good stuff needs improving too, or else it'll end up being a bit ordinary. So we've made this recipe better by adding a little bit of peach to the recipe too. We hope you enjoy the renovations.
Minirig is a truly British success story. Based in Bristol, the company began making professional sound equipment, and then moved into the consumer market with a range of portable speakers that have proved incredibly popular. And while most people love listening to music, they don’t necessarily want a load of technical stuff, so Minirig wisely decided to keep things simple when talking about the products it makes. Short-and-sweet descriptions work when you have confidence in your product and understand your target market. Here’s an example:
The only speaker you will ever need with an unbelievable 100hrs of battery life! Using the latest technology and high quality design we bring to you the all-new Minirig 3 Bluetooth rechargeable speaker. Minirig 3 Bluetooth speakers come with an audio cable, charger cable, case, and a whole lot of bass. All delivered in recycled and recyclable packaging!
The companies and brands above have all perfected the art of writing great product descriptions, and in crowded markets, too. Remember, it’s not just about describing the product – it’s about telling people why they should buy it, and that’s a key difference. If you need help with your product description content, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Have you been looking for a clear and concise way to outline your consumer journey? Let us introduce the content marketing funnel.
Studies show that 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content. With so many brands producing content regularly, the way to stand out lies in planning and organisation.
Content marketing funnels are the perfect way to plan which content is best to distribute at different stages in the buyer journey. By understanding your demographic’s micro-moments you are able to develop a clear strategy in how best to reach the buyer at different stages.
Here’s how to make your forward planning hassle-free…
AIDA is a marketing formula that outlines the consumer journey and inspires action – it stands for Attention Interest Desire Action.
With 84% of people expecting brands to create content, gone are the days of a quick sale and in comes the need for more information. People are now looking to be educated when they head to specific pages which is why AIDA proves useful.
To meet this demand, it is vital for business to have a content marketing funnel in order to know which types of content is best. The AIDA formula is the perfect guideline for brands wanting to achieve higher profit.
With more than 4 billion people online, brands are using content to achieve the top spot – the key is knowing how to grab your audience’s attention.
Initial planning and research is vital to make sure your brand creates content types that are of interest. This is the time to discover who your audience is, what their interests are and which terms or phrases they are more likely to search for online. Creating a buying persona is a great way to have a clear understanding of your targeted demographic.
Once you have created the perfect consumer profile, it is now time to think about the kind of things they will be interested in searching for. If you’re reaching out to food lovers, it’s key to know the words or languages they will use; terms such as ‘foodies’ and ‘new recipes’ in your food copywriting to catch their attention. Make sure that your content also discusses topics that are useful to them.
Types of content:
The average visitor only reads 25% of an article, which means that your headline and intro paragraph must contain key phrases to convince audiences to read on.
A key step to keeping page visitors interested is by showing that your brand not only understands their need but provides a solution. The goal of this step is so that brands can position themselves as industry experts and become a go-to source of information for their audience.
Always use and reference credible sources when writing these pieces. 78% of people now place emphasis on the trustworthiness of a source, so by linking to well-known industry influencers, consumers will also trust your brand and be more likely to use it.
Types of content:
Did you know that content marketing generates more than three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less? Going hand-in-hand with interest, this phase is about converting those all-important leads into sales.
Now that you’ve managed to keep the consumer’s attention, it’s time to show off what makes your brand irresistible. Some key questions that should be answered is why should consumers use your brand, why they need the product or service being provided, and how they can receive it.
Make sure the final stages of the buying process are as clear as possible. At this stage, consumers are interested in the product, so use this to your advantage – all content should be aimed at turning their desire into a positive decision.
Types of content:
Never underestimate the power of a call to action.
In the final stages of the content marketing funnel, it is now about closing the deal and getting the sale. By using a simple but bold message, such as ‘book now’ or ‘buy your item’, it guides users as to what to do next.
Every piece of content should have a clear call to action. A top tip is to revisit early research on the terms or phrases used by your demographic. By using these, you can further build the relationship between your brand and the individual. Another way to create the perfect call to action is by personalising them to each consumer. Based on their online habits, personalised buttons can be shown to them.
Finally, think about anything that would deter a user from choosing your brand. If you think they will have issues with spending – add a guarantee, and if they have questions about privacy, have a clear policy in place that they can read.
Types of content:
Content marketing funnels are a great way of helping brands grow, and ensuring your brand is thinking ahead when it comes to boosting sales. By pre-planning why specific content is being distributed, brands are able to lead consumers through the funnel to the final purchase.
If you’ve been looking for a way to add structure to your content marketing, AIDA is key to getting your funnel started.
Developing this formula for your brand isn’t always easy. If you need guidance, choose a copywriting agency that can contribute the right strategies. Once that’s done, you’ll be well on your way to targeting buyers and making them more likely to choose you.
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Content marketing is here to stay – it’s a proven strategy used by the world’s most successful marketing teams. Despite this, proving the value of your content to your bosses and peers is another task entirely. In theory, measuring the return of your content strategy sounds straightforward. You probably already have an idea whether it’s working or not. But how do you measure return on investment (ROI) in practice? Here are some of the best way of doing so.
In plain terms, to calculate ROI, subtract the spend from the return, then divide the return by the amount spent – in this example, our return is £20,000 and our spend is £10,000:
(£20,000 – £10,000) / £10,000 = 1.00
ROI = current value of investment minus cost of investment divided by cost of investment.
This will give you a decimal that can be expressed as a percentage (in this case, 100%). You’ll already know this but if it’s a positive number, well done, your activity drove more money than you spent. If it’s negative, it probably wasn’t worth the effort.
The actual formula for ROI is relatively straightforward. Adding up how much you spend should also be simple, providing you have kept accurate records. Add up everything from time spent, salaries paid, agency fees, media spend, design costs and anything else you can think of for the most accurate reflection.
The most difficult part with content marketing is putting a figure on the return.
Identifying the return is easier for some types of content over others. If your content is behind a lead-generation form that requires users to enter their details before accessing the file, you’re in luck. Evaluating the amount of business it drove is as simple as matching the lead value to the downloads. It may be worth doing this with potential lead value (whether it was won or lost) and actual sales value. This way, you can prove the worth of your content – it’s up to the sales team to close the lead.
You can see this method in action with Hubspot’s Complete Collection of Content Creation Templates. If you want to download them, you have to tell Hubspot who you are, and you can bet they’ll get in contact afterwards. If your lead-generation form is connected to your customer database – like Hubspot’s will be – then this process is even more simple.
For other types of content, it’s less straightforward. Blogs, videos, articles, guest posts, infographics, case studies and other pieces of content will all contribute to sales in various ways without getting that final conversion. To find the ROI for these, you’ll have to be more creative as there are many methods:
There are many ways of attributing the value of sales you have made to the marketing efforts that drove them. It’s a complex journey, because users move between channels over a significant period of time before they make their purchase.
Google Analytics is a great free tool that is helpful when evaluating the return of content. Its Page Value metric puts a financial figure against each page based on the contribution it makes to sales. The higher the number, the higher the value.
The tool also allows you to look at your marketing performance using different attribution models, providing you have e-commerce tracking set up. There are the standard models: first click, last click, time decay and linear. There is also the option to create a custom model. It’s worth looking at your content using different models to see how and where it contributes, so you can optimise it.
Evaluating the return from content marketing can be as complicated or simple as you like. Our advice is to start off small and grow from there. It’s better to have a baseline figure that everyone understands and gives you a starting point rather than spending time and energy on a more accurate figure that probably isn’t worth the effort. Once you’re confident, you can move towards an ROI value that is accurate and actionable.
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In order to successfully optimise your website for search engines, you need to pinpoint exactly which keywords are the best fit for your particular non-profit organisation.
You might be covering a whole range of bases, from volunteering opportunities to fundraising events and donations, as well as the core services you aim to provide. If you're unsure of where to begin, the following advice should help to get you on your way.
While it's useful to optimise your content for low competition keywords, it's important to put yourself in the mindset of the person searching when deciding which keywords you're going to target. For example, if you're an animal charity, it may be more likely that people are searching for services you offer, such as "animal rescue', 'animal shelter' or 'animal welfare' as opposed to searching directly for a charity.
With this in mind we've identified some keywords using the Moz Keyword Explorer tool. As well as monthly search volumes, we've also detailed the difficulty score to give you an indication of how you could make some potential quick wins.
For the purpose of this article, let's say we are an animal shelter in London looking to bring in new traffic to our site:
Keyword: Animal shelter London
Monthly search volume: 201-500
Keyword difficulty: 50%
Keyword: Cat rescue London
Monthly search volume: 201-500
Keyword difficulty: 35%
Targeting users by location can be one of the best ways to gain new targeted traffic to your site. In this instance someone looking to re-home a cat is probably going to consider location as a major factor for their search, so in order to get picked up by local search make sure that your site is optimised for location-based keywords.
If you operate in a specific area then make sure that your meta descriptions, headings and location keywords are utilised accordingly so that searchers in that specific area can find you, and search engines rank you for that location.
Keyword: How to look after a dog
Monthly search volume: 501-850
Keyword difficulty: 33%
If you're an expert in a particular field, don't just sell your services, but also offer browsers access to a knowledge bank. 'How to look after a dog' may not initially come to mind when searching for an animal shelter, but if you're looking to adopt a dog for the first time, it's information you'll want to know.
By creating a content hub of information or simple targeted blog posts covering a range of relevant topics, your charity will stand out as an authority on the subject and the one to return to in future. In addition, you will also benefit by capturing a wider range of online searches from potential customers who are looking for services you offer.
Keyword: Volunteering at animal shelters
Monthly search volume: 201-500
Keyword difficulty: 33%
Considering the purpose of a search can be essential when it comes to matching your content to your users intent. A person searching to re-home a cat has very different intent to someone looking for voluntary work. You should approach your keyword strategy through the lens of your website goals.
In this instance a good content opportunity would be to create a separate landing page which details information about how to sign up and what your volunteer program involves.
Keyword: Sponsor a dog
Monthly search volume: 851-1.7k
Keyword difficulty: 33%
Creating content that focuses on transactional keywords can be one of the best ways to increase your conversion rate. That's because people conducting these kind of searches are likely to be closer to the point of purchase.
This happens when a person has already searched for the information and has made the decision to make a purchase or engage with your services. Creating an attractive donation landing page for this particular keyword would be a good approach.
Make sure that when you do so you're informing your audience where their money will be spent. You might like to share case studies of your recipients who have benefited from the sponsorship, helping to tap into the emotional element. The power of storytelling can be hugely beneficial for charity organisations, as a compelling story is far more memorable and gives your brand authenticity.
Adding content for specific terms gives you a better chance of ranking in the search engines. Broad keyword choices such as 'UK Charities' are highly competitive, which means it's going to be hard to rank well for a term that generic. Choosing a more niche term like 'animal shelter volunteering London' is simultaneously less competitive and more likely to draw in browsers who are specifically looking for what you offer.
To learn how a well-maintained keyword strategy can help improve your own SEO efforts, get in touch today.
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We’ve all experienced how some of the big household names in charity use hard-hitting subject matters and psychology to grab our attention.
In fact, as of September 2017 there were over 167,000 charities in the UK, each wanting to get their voices heard.
We explore charity copywriting methods including active voice, building connections and powerful call to actions (CTAs) in order to convert readers to donators. And, how excellent copywriting can inform and even save lives, while at the same time nudging readers towards allegiance with the charity and raising money.
In 2013, the Swedish branch of UNICEF used a somewhat controversial message to encourage its large social media following to take action and donate. Its ‘Likes don’t save lives’ campaign highlighted the rise of ‘slacktivism’, saying ‘Like us on Facebook, and we will vaccinate zero children against polio.’
As well as these adverts, four video ads were also distributed through social media. One of the most powerful was a direct address to the camera from a 10-year-old orphan. The clever copywriting in the script used a sarcastic tone to get people thinking, with the boy saying:
The result of UNICEF’s application of impactful psychological wording was a huge increase in donations. In fact the money raised was enough to vaccinate 637,324 people against polio. Likes alone can’t fund UNICEF’s work, but leveraging those likes with smart copywriting can.
The tagline of Oxfam’s ‘Even it up’ advert portrays an injustice that the everyday person can relate to, brought in the form of a heavyweight statistic:
This statistic draws on the readers’ knowledge of the wealth disparity in the UK – much touted in the press – while also putting it into perspective. That’s because the image portrays a child in a third world country wearing whatever clothes he can find, who is far worse off than the average Brit.
Readers are encouraged to visit Oxfam’s website through use of the inclusive wording ‘together, we can end extreme equality’ and ‘join us at www.oxfam.org.uk/even’. Once there, you’re asked to sign a petition that’ll be sent to world leaders, through the use of further astute copywriting.
After explaining Oxfam’s belief ‘that everyone should have a fair say, pay their fair share of tax, have equal access to good healthcare and education, and decent wages.’ The final CTA is a question that again signifies working together and implies that everyone else will be signing the petition: ‘The world is ready to act, are you? It’s time to Even it up!’
For the fourth year of the RNLI’s ‘Respect the Water’ national drowning prevention campaign, the charity has launched cinema and radio ads, as well as cleverly worded and laid-out social ads that engage on a number of levels.
One of the slogans used in RNLI’s social media ads is:
This succinctly and directly explains what to do if you fall in cold water. The wording shows how a simple action has a profound effect.
Another tweet uses the acronym F.L.O.A.T. to give full instruction on what to do, in an easy to remember way.
Using the overarching message ‘Float to live’, the copywriting primarily has the aim of informing and saving lives, rather than actively encouraging donations. However the ads promote understanding of the good work that the RNLI does, encourage social engagement through the hashtag #RespectTheWater and direct people to their website, where they can learn more and potentially donate.
The Respect The Water webpages contain videos, challenges and expert opinion, ending in the CTA ‘hear about our lifesaving work, keep in touch’. And when people hit keep in touch the orange donate button is looming in the top right.
In 2013 The Guardian released data on the top 1,000 charities in the UK ranked by donations received; and there were some surprising rankings. In fact, the Donkey Sanctuary received more donations than The Samaritans, which was due in large part to legacies.
So we took a look at the legacy pages on their website to see how they were encouraging people to leave money to the charity in their wills. Leaving a legacy is one of the four main ways of giving to The Donkey Sanctuary provided on their ‘ways to help’ page, in addition to various forms of donation. Incidentally, we also liked the way that the section was called ‘ways to help’, which is a far less pushy title than simply ‘donate’.
Headed with the words ‘Leave a lasting gift’, the main legacy page encourages action in a traditionally effective way – by flattering readers. It says:
The CTA on this page is a very direct ‘email us’, which works due to the effectiveness of the other pages in the legacy section, such as a ‘How to leave a legacy’ information page and a testimonial from a benefactor. The content on these pages allows the reader to make a firm decision about leaving a legacy while on the website.
As well as showing that others are leaving legacies to the Donkey Sanctuary, and thus encouraging donation through a feeling of inclusion, the wording on this testimonial page highlights that legacies of any amount are gratefully received:
It’s clear that charities can use a number of tactics such as using a financial copywriter to encourage people to donate. Knowing the way your potential supporters feel and how to persuade them to get involved is key in creating effective copywriting for charities.
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When it comes to B2B marketing it can feel like there’s an unwritten code of ethics preventing companies from really trying to express who they are.
Content often takes the simple form of: we’re good at what we do, so use us. Industry jargon is assumed to be impressive. Personality is left at the door in order to make a smooth, logical business transaction and to avoid any potential awkwardness. Pros and cons are weighed up, and it’s not necessary to complicate things. We have or do this – buy it, maybe?
In reality, the content you produce to market your business should always be the communication of a personality. This is possible even if your business provides services that don’t seem to add much joy to the universe (later on we’ll be looking at the marketing efforts of a solder paste manufacturer. Exciting!). It should also be noted that a personality is distinct from a persona – one is real and has depth, the other isn’t and hasn’t.
In the B2C content marketing world we’re at the point now where anything goes. You can point out your product is unsophisticated or unethical and, if done right, enjoy a marvellous ROI. In order to prove that B2B content can be just as fun and interesting as B2C, we’re going to run through some examples and see how they’ve pulled it off.
Okay, IBM is huge and has resources that most companies can only dream of. However, they do B2B content extremely well and it’s their attitude to the content they produce that we can all learn from. Their Ninjas vs Superbugs campaign feels like B2C content, but IBM is primarily B2B focused, and this campaign is designed to draw attention to their research division. It’s light-hearted, easily understood, fun and very well executed, and somehow communicates the personality of one of the largest and most complex brands in the world – a thinking company with a philanthropic streak, who, as a little side project when not selling technology, are trying to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems.
Indium Corp is a fantastic example of where a good sense of humour can get you in B2B marketing. The company develops and manufactures materials used in the electronics industry, so you’d be forgiven for assuming their marketing content would take the usual form of – you need this, we make it and do a good job, so perhaps let’s work together. Not so. Since 2007 Indium Corp have been making content like this:
Subsequently they have become well known for being a company doing fun and innovative marketing in an industry without much… pizzazz. Not only is Indium’s marketing strategy infused with a sense of humour, it’s also smart. Instead of spending huge amounts on sales, Indium, led by Director of Marketing Communications Rick Short, targets potential customers through social media, blogs and videos like the one above, cutting costs and adding a more personal element to their B2B content resulting in more customers – as well as some impressive awards for the marketing itself.
Sometimes what’s happening in the world of film and television can create opportunities for interesting and effective B2B marketing. SunGard, a provider of IT services including disaster recovery, saw the popularity of The Walking Dead and the upcoming film World War Z and turned them into a way of producing content. The messaging was kicked off by an email campaign featuring a digital manual on their disaster recovery and cloud products, both of which were explained through their similarity to surviving a zombie apocalypse. The content was original, memorable and played into pop culture enjoyed by huge portions of the population. SunGard’s email campaign was reinforced by a direct mail campaign with ‘zombie survival pack’ giveaways, and the viral quality of their content was utilised in a social media campaign resulting in more than 2,000 shares. Their efforts resulted in exceeding download rates by 300%, a 5.7% email open rate and more than 20 leads.
According to many people the golden age of television is upon us. Kinaxis, a Canadian supplier of supply chain and sales and opportunities planning (S&OP) services, have made their offering with a six-part comedy series, with genuinely funny short films illustrating the links between human connections and the connections offered by their products. The beauty of the films is that they don’t feel like advertising. They feel more like an earnest attempt to make their audience laugh, something that is always valued and will always garner attention. The films benefit from shareability, make for excellent social media content and demonstrate what can be done when your marketing department is really ambitious when it comes to producing content.
Last and certainly not least, this rather charming piece of video content from Australian energy company Epuron. Funny, clever and authentic content like this creates intrigue around the company behind it, as well as scope for viral and social media trends. It’s no coincidence that it feels more like B2C content than B2B – marketers are realising that the same risks can be taken with B2B content, and these risks can generate similar rewards. Not everyone is going to enjoy videos like this – some people just want a no nonsense approach when it comes to B2B relationships. Content like this results in like-minded companies and individuals working together, with obvious long-term benefits.
The success of these campaigns tells us that B2B content doesn’t have to be boring. Thinking like a B2C marketer and communicating a personality as well as information makes for memorable campaigns that get people talking about your company – which, at the end of day, results in more sales. So next time you’re creating B2B content, think creatively, think in terms of individual personalities, and, above all – don’t be boring.
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See if you can get through the next four sentences without a touch of discomfort:
“We strive to adhere to the latest industry standards for each piece of expert content it produces for its clients. We’re always chuffed to chat about concocting content that will go the whole nine yards. From multilingual to complex industry copy, we are ideally equipped to meet your requirements. Because if content is king, you could say we’re its white horse – delivering the goods at the right time, and always in style.”
What you’ve just witnessed is different tones of voice overlapping in the same space.
Without a consistent tone of voice, not only is this copy cringe-worthy, it’s almost completely ineffective. In this article, we’ll cover how you can define and craft a tone of voice for your brand to avoid the same fate.
Tone of voice is, quite simply, how you say something. In real-life, we give peoples’ tones of voice descriptions like ‘condescending’, ‘sarcastic’, or ‘serious’ and our perception of their tone sets the stall for our relationship with them.
This principle transfers to the business world, but instead of saying words aloud, you’re writing them down. All of your written communication – from your website and emails to your packaging and social media messages – should reflect it.
No brand is toneless, though some may mesh several tones and confuse everyone (as we saw above). Because your tone can define how your business is viewed by consumers, it’s critical to develop a consistent one.
It’s cliche, but people hate change.
Any ripple in our expectations causes discomfort, even if it’s subconscious. This affects how customers engage with your brand.
You’d want all of your stationery, email signatures, advertisements, company kit and website pages to show the correct logo and company name. You also want your copy to appear as if it’s come from one source.
Giving your brand this uniform ‘voice’ conveys trustworthiness, honesty and stability – traits that we, as humans, adore.
Just as you may define a certain friend as ‘funny’, a colleague as ‘enthusiastic’, or your boss as ‘frank’, your customers will see your brand’s tone of voice as an expression of you.
Innocent Drinks, for example, has long been making waves for their casual, conversational tone… just check out this product description:
Likewise, Dollar Shave Club infuses a healthy dose of humour into an otherwise bland product (men’s razors) to differentiate themselves from competitors.
For customers, not only does this build trust, it gives them something to identify with. It proves you’re not just the products you sell, you’re a company with values that line up with theirs.
Think of it in reverse order: if they buy into your personality, they’re more likely to buy into your ideas and eventually your products.
Pull back the layers of your business and defining a tone of voice takes three relatively simple steps.
Much like creating a mission statement, your tone of voice spawns directly from your company values.
First, you need to identify what those are. A good starting point is to pretend your business is a person you’re taking to a dinner party. Ask yourself what they would be like. Then, ask your team what they would be like.
From here, your values will start to take shape. While it sounds bizarre, human traits communicated as company values are what will set you apart – try to define three key ones.
Be careful not to pick general terms like ‘intelligent’ for your IT company, as intelligence is standard across every IT company. Focus on the traits that make you different.
More importantly, don’t fake it ’til you make it. If your company is not humorous, forcing it to sound so will be… well, forced. Consumers can see through try-too-hard copy and, in the age of social media, won’t think twice about calling you out on it.
Your brand does not have to be relaxed like Innocent or funny like Dollar Shave Club to be heard and appreciated. Trying to copy what works for another brand leaves your own identity hollow, and makes producing every piece of content harder for you.
Instead, talk – with and listen to – your colleagues and even your customers about the company. The words you use and how you converse is already shaping your tone of voice, you just need to be able to put that in writing.
After you’ve defined your three key values, you need to make some rules about how they will be communicated in writing.
Use a spectrum to get an idea of where you want to sit. From humorous to serious, formal to casual, or inspirational to straightforward, this will clue your copywriters and content creators in on where their pieces should rest.
Keep in mind who you will be writing for. If it’s other businesses, you may want a professional-yet-approachable tone, whereas if you’re customer-facing you may desire a fun-and-exciting voice.
Then, decide on your actual vocabulary.
Complexity: Consider if terms like ‘altruistic’ and ‘amicable’ or simpler vocabulary would suit your audience’s reading level.
Humour: If you’re treading the fine line of a humorous style, make sure it comes across as such to people outside the company.
No-go terms: What will your brand absolutely not say? For instance, travel companies might avoid cliches like ‘crystal clear waters’ or ‘something for everyone’.
Colloquialisms and technical jargon: Defining something as cheap-as-chips might work for some, while it may be too casual for others. The same goes for confusing industry terminology (in general, unnecessary terms are better left out).
Nitty gritty grammar: More formal writing may stray away from starting sentences with ‘and’ or ‘but’. Meanwhile, relaxed styles may want to avoid stuffy terms like ‘whom’ and ‘amongst.’ Conjunctions are another consideration: does your brand prefer ‘they’re’ or ‘they are’, ‘it’s’ or ‘it is’?
Punctuation: In a list, will you separate the second and third options with the Oxford comma? Are exclamation points strictly off limits? Does the full stop go inside or outside quotation marks? What type of dash will you –use long em dashes, medium en dashes, or two hyphens together?
Swearing: If you plan to allow swearing as part of your brand’s voice like Dollar Shave Club did in the product description example at the start of this article, it needs to match your values. If you’d define your brand as ‘rebellious’, then it probably works for you. If you swing more toward ‘cheerful’, it’s better to stay away.
When the small details have been hammered out, it’s time to look big picture. Storytelling allows you to present information to your customers that resonates with them on an emotional level. Stories also lead readers from one point to the next, so they won’t get lost in waves of ideas.
While not appropriate in every situation, you’ll be surprised at how frequently a story can replace mundane text.
History of your company is a good place to start. Instead of writing a bland background, give it some life by telling a compelling story about the founder’s journey.
Or, find ways to tell everyday stories. For example, GoPro highlights the videos and stories of its everyday users.
Or create a sub-culture around doing things differently. The American, outdoor gear brand, REI, combated the commercialism of Black Friday by showing the stories and photos of customers who chose to #OptOutside instead of spending the day shopping.
The biggest hurdle to implementing a tone of voice is getting everyone involved.
Your organisation and writers need to first believe in your core values – yet another reason they must be a genuine representation of your company. Having these values in place gives you guidance for which content creators to hire, and helps you bring your current ones up to speed.
Go through examples of what hits the mark, and be thorough with editing and feedback at the beginning. Give each writer copies of the guidelines, make sure they understand what’s expected and check in with them to see how it’s going.
Your tone of voice should resound from every aspect of your business. It pulls together your team and creates stronger emotional bonds with your audience.
If you’re true to your values, tone of voice will follow, and copy will become easier to write. You’ll find that everything you create can be traced back to who you are as a company, and you’ll be attracting customers based on more than just the products you sell.
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Content is crucial to your website’s search engine performance, and this is straight from Search Quality Senior Strategist Andrey Lipattsev at Google. He revealed in a video interview that the top-two ranking factors Google assess are content and links – find the full Q&A here. It’s important to note that he didn’t specify which is number one, but content is in the top two and so you should definitely be giving yours some TLC.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start because we’re about to go through a quickfire SEO content checklist to help you optimise your content.
Like any marketing campaign or strategy you need to do your market research before doing anything, and when it comes to search engines, that involves user intent and keyword research. Once you know why your target audience is searching and the search terms they are using, you can start to build a content strategy to answer their queries and satisfy their search intent.
The three SEO aspects you need to cover to evaluate your content strategy are:
You should always remember that although you are trying to please search engines, ultimately people are who you should be writing copy for. When creating content, always think of users first, and then the search engines. A quick checklist of what your copy should be is below:
Furthermore, the aspects which will make your content engaging are:
Although there’s no indication grammar and punctuation are ranking factors, both are user experience issues. When it comes to content, there’s nothing more that sticks out than a typo.
Furthermore, you should use statistics and facts to back up comments that you make that aren’t generally held truths. Not only does it convey you’re clued up on the topic, it conveys authority and also shows Google that you are linking to high-quality, relevant information.
Therefore, for this step you want to check the following points.
No SEO content checklist would be complete without the mention of keywords as they are important for signalling to Google what your content is about. Gone are the days where keyword stuffing is a good ranking tactic as Google has become adept at spotting it – and will penalise you if you’re found doing it. For guidelines on what keyword stuffing looks like, click here.
Google’s algorithm is sophisticated enough now to recognise synonyms and so they’re better at matching a users search query with a website’s content. Therefore, keywords aren’t completely useless, you just need to make sure that you use them more strategically. Below is a checklist for where, how and what not to do with your keywords.
Normally, technical SEO applies to an entire website but there are some activities you can do to help boost the performance of individual pieces of content on search engines. Although they aren’t crucial for you to carry out, they can help your content rank and will certainly not be bad to do – every little helps.
The importance of content cannot be understated in the current search-engine climate and if a senior SEO strategist at Google is saying it’s a top-two ranking factor, what more clarification do you need? Don’t be overwhelmed by the importance of content though, as the checklist above will have you ready to optimise your content.
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