Writing for sales: so maybe we DO need a few features…

It had to happen, didn’t it. We stretched the elastic band so tight on heart-centred sales and conversational copywriting and benefits-only wording that the other day, it snapped.

It was someone on LinkedIn who made the point that sharing the benefits of a product or service is all fine and dandy, but what if your prospect asks how you make those benefit promises come true? Not with smoke and mirrors, presumably. So here we must turn to corroborating features. Snap!

article on features

OK, but how do you make it Texas’ best bread?

I’m sending myself up here because I’ve been bleating on about “benefits sell, features smell” since the Dark Ages of my former career as a copywriter. (NB: I still deal with features and benefits in the planning and marketing of nonfiction books.)

So how do features work when our words are benefits-led?

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Please welcome ReaderReady writing. (This time around.)

ReaderReady? Yes, I just coined that word. It means the same as most of the terms and descriptions mentioned below going back to about the 1950s or so. So why is it new?

conversations in slaes

In both business writing and sales, success now lies in conversations – not presentations.

Short answer? It isn’t. But along with every new incarnation of the concept, we get the accompanying yee-hahs and whizzing bow ties assuring us that this is how we should be writing our books, online content, blogs, ad copy, and everything else down to the note you stick on your front door asking the delivery people to leave your stuff around the back. [Read more…]

Search engines: how you have murdered the art of copywriting

At one time, advertising copywriters were almost the most important people in the ad business. Today, copywriting is offered as a side dish on most VAs‘ admin menus. Professional freelance copywriters today are lucky to get paid the same daily rate their colleagues got back in the 1980s.

Rolls Royce advert

Probably the most famous advertising headline ever, written by the legendary David Ogilvy – yet Google would turn its nose up at it.

What has happened? Search engines have happened, that’s what. Consumers no longer read advertisements; they tap in keywords. It doesn’t take talent to write keywords; it just takes a little skill in basic arithmetic.

Copywriting? Whassat?

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Let’s hear it for the Ugly Duckling of marketing

Today we welcome my good friend and fellow scribe Stephen Church – a brilliant, naturally talented copywriter whose refreshing approach has gained many fans in our neck of the woods here in England. In this article Steve laments the way words have become the poor relation of website creativity – something I used to lament, too, when I was working as a copywriter. Over to Steve…

ugly duckling of marketing

Goodbye, ugly duckling. Hello, elegant swan.

Website words really matter – but no-one seems to care

Words. Do you remember them? Those little squiggly things, line after line, neatly laid out across the page. I’ll tell you something. They matter. They really do. [Read more…]

Writing style? What writing style?

“If any of you thinks you have your own writing style, you can leave the room now,” said the wonderful and inimitable Bill Galley, who was our senior tutor at the (then) Watford Art School Advertising Writing Course in southern England.

With his gruff voice, aggressive beard à la James Robertston Justice in the “Carry On” movies and an up-yer-nose attitude, Bill was a veteran of the 20th century Madison Avenue creative advertising era. Despite being a Brit his b*lls were more than big enough to make him heard above many of the famous types who populated the advertising industry at that time in the USA.

Writing style? What writing style?

Our beloved course tutor, Bill Galley, looked a little like James Robertson Justice from the old “Carry On” movies. His eyes weren’t quite so skewed, however…

In his latter years Bill freelanced back in London and paid the rent by teaching us little squirts how to write ads. After we graduated he became our mentor and go-to expert on anything from creative brainstorming to how to win an interview to how to cope with and mend broken hearts. We were distraught when he died; he had become like another grandfather to us all.

And we always remembered those words about not having your own writing style. [Read more…]

How to write a copywriting brief that gets you the results you need

There are two kinds of copywriters out there. One type will interview you and get you really thinking about your product or service offering, your target customers, and what they really want as opposed to what you think they should buy from you.

How to brief a copywriter

Make sure the briefs you give to a copywriter result in the right content.

This leads to a marketing communications brief that is bang on target and will produce an excellent result across all media. This type of copywriter tends to be experienced, skilled, very, very good at the job, but expensive.

Many SME businesses can’t or won’t pay for this level of professionalism. To quote a very-swiftly-dumped-ex-client of mine, “HOW MUCH? Just for a little bit of wording?” [Read more…]

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