7 things you should expect from good business copywriters

Monday 15th December 2014   by Andy Comber

copywriting

Successful businesses employ professional copywriters, as in-house staff, as consultants, or as a service provided by marketing agencies.

They know that, in this highly competitive, fast-moving, digital world, it is vital that they get their message across quickly, clearly and in a compelling way.

So, if you are looking to commission a copywriter for a marketing project, what should you look for?

Here’s seven clues that will lead you to a good business copywriter.

1. They should have a head for business. You want a copywriter who quickly understands your business objectives and what your marketing campaign is seeking to achieve. Creativity is important, but so is producing copy that serves a purpose.

2. They can explain complicated things simply. Getting down to the essence of what’s important is a neat trick, which good business copywriters can pull off. You only have seconds to engage and win over potential new customers. Confusing them is not an option.

3. They can tell your story. Almost all copywriting uses story telling techniques to convince the reader, listener or viewer that this product or service is for them. Stories help you build an emotional bond with your customer. So they care, and come back for more.

4. They will give you good ideas. You may have a firm idea about how your marketing campaign should work for you. Good business copywriters should be creative and experienced enough to add suggestions of their own, to make it even better.

5. They should get it right first time. Well, nearly. You should be impressed with a professional copywriter’s first draft. You should be saying: yep, they understand what we need. If a bit of polish is required, it shouldn’t take too long to apply.

6. They should be able to write fast and accurately. If you need copy quickly, good business copywriters should be able to write it quickly. Months spent in a lonely garret pondering the meaning of a word won’t cut it, unfortunately.

7. They should be able to write in different styles. Need something businesslike and sombre? Here’s what you need. Want something chatty and upbeat? You’ve got it. What about a Sun-style quick-fire media release? It’s done – and what a corker!!!

So, if you care about your brand, use a professional  business copywriter. And test their mettle against the points above. You shouldn’t go wrong.

5 reasons why stock photography may NOT be a good idea

Wednesday 10th December 2014   by Stuart Bickerton

In an earlier post, I was extolling the virtues of using stock photographs in your marketing campaigns. I came up with five good reasons to use stock photography, available online, in promotional designs.

I said they are convenient – quick to access. They can be relatively inexpensive, so the price is good. There’s a huge choice. Quality is also pretty much as good as you want it to be. And there are lots of styles, so creativity is also a plus.

I promised also to share some downsides. So here are five of them:

Lack of exclusivity

If these images are available for you to download, they are for others too. A competitor could use the same image for their brochure, web project or poster.

If you want to be 100% fresh and exclusive, commission the photographer and control the content. You can obtain a licence to restrict the use of the image by others. But that will come at a price. I’ve paid over £1,400 for just one image in the past, to give our client a certain degree of exclusivity across the world.

It’s a few years old but this post from FairTradePhographer nails the point I’m trying to make here rather well.

Licence agreements

Always read the small print. Can you use the image across multiple formats? And in multiple countries? Can it be used for advertising, or for press only? You need to make sure the image licence covers your image for the use it’s intended.

Search time

If you are not sure what you are looking for, you may end up scrolling through pages and pages of images and an hour has passed before you know it.
A solution is to give a concise verbal brief to a designer, who has the expertise and experience to look for you. They will have a good idea of what image works best in the space available. It will cost you a little more in design time, but will could save a lot of frustration.

Apparently this woman from istock is "Gathering all the information she needs". A common scene in your offices I guess. COMP IMAGE for representation only - full image available from iStock

Apparently this woman from istock is “Gathering all the information she needs”. A common scene in your office I guess? COMP IMAGE for representation only – full image available from iStock

Fromage

Not a technical term, I know. But some stock shots are cheesy, very, very cheesy. Some of the larger sites have improved dramatically in this respect, but approach with care – and maybe a knife, and some grapes.

Brand reflection

Without the individuality or care and attention a bespoke shot can achieve, it may be difficult to find images that consistently and accurately reflect what you want your brand to be all about. And compromise on brand may feel painful. It may also not make good business sense.

One of many images you can find if you search iStock for "Businesswoman cheering" - I've done the hard work for you here

One of many images you can find if you search iStock for “Businesswoman cheering” – I’ve done the hard work for you here http://istockpho.to/1qvlvsX

 

So, there you go. Stock photography can be excellent. But it also has its drawbacks.

Of course, you can choose stock or original photography on a case-by-case basis. Certainly depending on the level of importance you put on the particular campaign.

We’re loving that – Dolby Atmos F1 film

Wednesday 19th November 2014   by Neil Dicken

Red Bull Racing Dolby Atmos

Peter Clausen Film & TV is an independent film production company and creative agency.

Neil, one of our designers, spotted one of their videos demonstrating the amazing Dolby Atmos three dimensional sound arrangement, which hit the headlines with the Transformers: Age of Extinction announcement.

So, to hear it in action yourself:

1. Turn the volume up

2. Click on the image at the top of this post

3. Look to the left of the screen below the words Red Bull Racing Atmos

4. And select Play Main Clip

We’re loving that multi-dimensional sound!

 

Home Sweet Home

Thursday 13th November 2014   by Stuart Bickerton

It had been over a month since we’d moved into to our shiny new offices in Telford Town Centre. With only a couple of boxes remaining unopened – one of which is the Christmas baubles – we set about our signage project. Or, as one of our early visitors put it: “When are you going to whack your logo on the walls then?” In common with signage projects for our clients, we set about steering a path between style (looking good), being informative (sending people the right way) and cost-effective (lettering in real gold was vetoed from the off). We approached our neighbours here at Blount House (we’re on the upper floor), Columb & Gosling Telford accountants, and our sister company Shropshire Printing.

And so, advised by matm designer Lindsay Crayton, we hatched a plan to design and make our signage, and arrange for our signage installers to put them up. External signs we selected were:

  • Large aluminium tray signs attached to the exterior of the building – the big ones you can see when you’re on the way to Sainsbury’s, B&Q or (hopefully not) the courts
  • Small aluminium tray signs sitting alongside the door buzzer
  • Sensible and welcoming car parking signs – manufactured from dibond aluminium, so our visitors can park free of charge.

Then, moving inside:

  • Acrylic wall signs pointing people up the stairs – hang a left for your accounts, hang a right for design, web, PR and print

And finally…

  • Acrylic lettering sitting proud of our feature-painted walls. And, yes, here at matm we did have to buy the painter from Albinroy Interiors a set of sunglasses when he was on coat number 6

We’re really rather proud of the outcome. If you’d like the same care and attention to your site signage, drop Stuart an email or call him on 01952 883526.

 

Five good reasons to use stock photography in promotional design

Friday 7th November 2014   by Stuart Bickerton

Should I, Shouldn’t I?

Images are extremely important element in the design process – it’s often the first element I’m asked for when presenting a job to our design team.
Today, stock photography is very big business and a very popular option for many designers. However, like many elements of design, there’s a number of pitfalls to avoid and simple rules to consider.

So, what are the pros for using stock photography – or stock shots, as they are known as?

Convenience You don’t need to move off your seat – you can search, select, pay and download from your tablet or computer. You may need to pop downstairs to grab your payment card, but that’s about it.

It’s not hard to find a selection of good quality image from these sites:

That’s just three of the more popular sites you may well have come across already.

Price While it’s not as cheap as it was a few years ago, sourcing from stock photography libraries can prove a very cost-effective way of securing appropriate images. It can take a fraction of the cost and time in arranging to take the shots yourself, or hiring in a photographer, model and dressing the shot with products and props.

Some charge according to photo useage, for example: where it will be shown (known as territory); how it will be used; and how many times it will be used. Others charge per pack of images (up to 5 images for £80 could be one approach). And some charge per image and by the quality of its resolution.

So what seems straightforward can be a little confusing at first. Not quite as bad as using TripAdvisor for planning a weekend away, but perplexing nonetheless.

Choice Type in your search terms in that box and … wow! You are presented with a huge number of images to choose from. Whether it’s a particular age of person, a textured close up or landscape, the chances are something relevant can be found within a few minutes on a stock photography website. If you’re in Shropshire looking for an American diner image, or Brazilian rainforest, these sites can help with both your time, wallet and carbon footprint.

Quality Maybe not so true a few years ago, but many stock photography sites have realised it’s all about the 3 Cs – content, content, content. Today, they have stricter requirements for quality – and not just resolution. Many will check images for lighting and colours. They have come to understand that quality = more downloads = more revenue.

Creativity More and more now, we are expected to try to stand out in the crowd. Stock photography providers know this. Want an image of something from an unusual angle, with a sense of humour, a little bit kooky? There’s a good chance you will find something close to what you have in your mind. It might not be exactly the same, but it should be close.

And that’s another positive thing – if you are looking for inspiration, and fresh ideas, a stock photography site is a good place to look. Even if you don’t use one of their images in the end.

So how much will stock photography cost?

Good question. Without a brief from a client, and a little time to search, it’s difficult to give an answer. But here’s my rule of thumb for stock photography shots:

  • Regular images (Essential from istock), from £20 + VAT each
  • Premium stock images (Signature from istock) from £50 + VAT each
  • Stock video clips, from £200 + VAT
  • Stock audio clips, from £20 + VAT

We can source more exclusive images for you, from larger and specialist photographic libraries, but these will probably cost quite a bit more. Prices for these exclusive images often come with more conditions, so they may depend on where you wish to use the image, how large, and in what territories.

Overall stock photography has an important place in design – it can save oodles of time and huge lumps of cash. But approach with care, keep the design at the heart of your search and don’t be afraid to let (and pay for) the designer to help you find appropriate images.

By saying that, I’m suggesting there are reasons why you might not want to use stock photography. There are some potential downsides. In my next post I’ll be sharing more advice on the negatives of stock photography (no pun intended), and how to make sure they don’t upset your marketing design project.

If, at this stage, you have already decided you need original images, we can help. We can project manage that process for you, from sourcing the photographer, providing the brief, attending the shoot, and carrying out post-production work on the images, including formatting.

Whichever option, please get in touch. We’re here to help.

essentials-stock-photo

Examples of an Essentials stock photo – istock

Signature-stock-photo

Example of a Signature stock photo – istock

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The matm web browser infographic

Thursday 30th October 2014   by Stuart Bickerton

We received a number of positive comments from our last post showing browser useage stats, we thought we’d show you the very latest figures from September 2014 Browser statistics.

We found a couple of interesting stats in this latest set.

  • Chrome continues its inexorable rise to domination nudging up closer to 60% market share
  • Windows 8 Operating system on the increase whilst Windows XP is declinng
  • Android mobile operating system is gaining share, whilst the mighty Apple iOS (now on iOS8) has slipped back a little

Web Developers, such as ourselves here at matm, find these statistics useful in design and planning process – helping us to shape our clients’ websites in the future

 

MATM - infographics Sept 2014

Yellow jersey? Chris Froome can’t hold a candle to the matm team!

Thursday 3rd July 2014   by Stuart Bickerton

The Tour de France might be starting in Yorkshire this weekend, but the furious pedalling has already begun in Shropshire.

Members of the matm team were delighted to donate their legs to the AndrewsRitson Cycle Challenge this week.

Neil, Jem and Stuart took the saddle to add some miles for the event – a sponsored exercise cycle ride between 30 June and 18 July 2014 covering 969 miles, the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Bridgnorth solicitors AndrewsRitson is raising money for Palmer Children’s Trust, a charity that helps children with life-threatening illnesses, and their families.

You can find out more about the charity, founded by Rachel and Julian Palmer, from Herefordshire, in memory of their daughter Emilia, here website.

Donations can be made online via their Just Giving page here.

matm graphic designer Neil Dicken thinks he's Superman while web developer Jem Turner has other ideas

matm graphic designer Neil Dicken thinks he’s Usain Bolt while web developer Jem Turner has other ideas

AndrewsRitson_jem

matm Web Developer Jem Turner takes the mile count towards Bristol for the Challenge

Pictured (L to R) : Charlotte Wood from Andrews Ritson, Stuart Bickerton from matm, Rob Andrews from AndrewsRitson and designer Neil Dicken from matm

Pictured (L to R) : Charlotte Wood from Andrews Ritson, Stuart Bickerton from matm, Rob Andrews from AndrewsRitson and designer Neil Dicken from matm

 

Print Big … printed display boards and signs for building sites

Wednesday 25th June 2014   by Stuart Bickerton

Thought we’d share a quick snap of a recent installation of printed large display boards for Cornbrook Construction’s Sutherland Court building development in Muxton, Shropshire.

 

Foamex_sign_2

We designed a number of boards for the development site entrance and printed onto a quality 5mm foamex panel.

They were printed with UV resistant inks to help prevent the printed display boards from sun damage – enabling some of them to be reused on the next Cornbrook site later this year.

 

For ideas or quotations on big display board or big printing across the UK, contact Stuart on 01952 883526.

 

Sutherland_3

Sutherland_2

Sutherland_1

 

 

matm selects Linx modular exhibition system to put Xn Hotels on show

Thursday 5th June 2014   by Stuart Bickerton

Xn Hotels Systems, the global hotel management systems company,  commissioned matm to create a highly visual, yet cost-effective, stand for the leading hotel and hospitality show Hotelympia.

IMG_4423

 

We managed the creation of the exhibition stand from start to finish. This included:

  • Design and print of full height exhibition graphics for the rear Linx modular exhibition wall
  • Hire, build and break-down of the Linx modular exhibition system wall – with curved panels, tables and lockable storage areas
  • Illuminated graphic panels to provide extra impact for the stand
  • iPad demonstration pods, which allowed Xn Hotels to demonstrate its industry-leading software at a comfortable height for visitors (these are available for hire or for sale)
  • A large monitor for product demonstrations with a wireless keyboard and mouse
  • Full stand build-up and break-down

Another service we provide is taking away heavy or difficult-to-carry promotional items, returning them to the client later.

This saves marketing and sales staff struggling to the exhibition venue car park or on to buses and trains with armfuls of sales and promotion materials: not a pleasant experience after spending a long day meeting potential customers.

By using the modular Linx exhibition stands, Xn had the benefit of high impact visuals, while making a very significant saving over the main alternative, commissioning a purpose-built exhibition stand.

In addition, the graphic panels can be securely stored, and used for the next exhibition, contributing to ongoing savings.

The Linx modular exhibition system can be used to create stands in many different shapes and sizes, and to meet the requirements of a range of budgets.

If you are interested in finding out more about how matm can help you create the perfect exbition stand for your event, call Stuart on 01952 883526.

 

ipad_stands

iPad stands (iPad demonstration pods) provide hands-on display points for visitors to experience their software

linx modular stand hire

Raised floor with a choice of 24 carpet colours – Windsor Needle Punch Velour – for your stand whilst large graphic panels provide a big area for impact

AV Equipment Hire for exhibitions

Wireless keyboard and mouse powers the 40” monitor for product demonstrations

ipad display stands

iPad Display Stands linked to a dedicated wi-fi network.

 

 All Photography courtesy of Alan O’Riordan

The matm web browser infographic – and why the future is about mobile search

Tuesday 27th May 2014   by Stuart Bickerton

Which web browser should I use? And what’s all this about mobile web search? Two questions we get asked a lot by our web design and web development clients in Shropshire and across the country. That’s why we’ve developed this simple web browser infographic giving the current picture for web browser usage.

We’ll be keeping it up to date, and adding to it, over the coming months. If you have any further questions or concerns, just give us a call on 01952 883526. We’d be glad to help.

 

 

Communication lessons from the Euro elections – big is not beautiful for the voter

Monday 26th May 2014   by Andy Comber

Nigel Farage says his “dream has become a reality”. The UKIP victory in the European elections, following the vote on Thursday May 22 2014 and the count on Sunday May 25 has turned the political landscape for other mainstream parties into a nightmare. There are many reasons why UKIP have been able to, not so much hijack the political agenda but lay seige to it for months and beat it into submission.

Some what are some of the communications lessons that can be learned from the Euro elections result? This is an important excerise, because the way back for parties like the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democreats, as well as the European Union itself, is to find ways to communicate with electors much more effectively. Here are some that come instantly to my mind.

Complex messages vs simple messages – the EU is, by its nature, a complicated organisation. Supporters have failed to get across the benefits of membership because they have not been able to create simple propositions about why it is good to be in it, and find ways to communicate those effectively. David Cameron has tried to simplify the Tories’ messaging by promising an In/Out referendum in 2017. Even that has been open to confusion, partly due to the political infighting within the coalition. On the other hand, UKIP has a much simpler message (or the public has perceived it as being simpler): ‘We are against membership of the EU and we want a referendum now’.

Bureaucracy vs lean machine – the EU, you would have thought, would be big enough to defend itself and look after its own interests. But the Eurpean elections have shown that relatively small organisations (anti-EU parties) can take on monolithic institutions and their policital supporters and win, by depolying simpler, more emotional messages and delivering them cleverly, using all the channels now available to them, including the media and social media. Agility often wins over size when it comes to effective communication, especially when the agile beast is the aggressor.

Confident vs defensive – UKIP, and Nigel Farage in particular, exudes confidence. No matter what claims are made against UKIP, he has this knack of brushing them off and they don’t stick. Voters like a message delivered with confidence. The ‘opposition’, on the other hand, and by this I mean just about every other party taken notice of by the media, have been on the defensive. Their communciations have been about seeking to justify themselves and their policies. They have been on the back foot from the start. Again, Cameron’s referendum pledge is hardly a ringing endorsement of the EU.

In tune vs out of tune – the general public really does have a collective view on things. Hundreds of years ago, there was the mob. Now, the mood is displayed more subtly. But people across Europe have been looking for something to blame, and it’s the out of touch institutions that are the easy targets. UKIP have been able to exploit this. Their communications are simple, direct and deployed using highly visual stunts. Nigel Farage likes a drink or two, but one of the main reasons he spent so much time in pubs is because they’re one British (or English, sadly) institution we all admire: the best way to tell the older voting public that you are on their side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative photography and graphic design – mixing old and new is catching on

Wednesday 21st May 2014   by Andy Comber

A series of images created by Halley Docherty has caught the eye of our designer Neil Dicken. The striking pictures, published in The Guardian, show current views of London, Paris and Berlin, with images from World War 2 overlaid.

It’s a highly effective technique we call ‘windows into the past’, combining photography and creative graphic design skills.

It’s a technique Neil used closer to home to great effect, with the help of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, in and around Ironbridge, to show how life has changed, or not changed, in the last 150 years. The resulting series of images have been used by the museum since as part of public displays and have been enjoyed by thousands of people.

 

Password security – we say it’s Pants to share!

Tuesday 20th May 2014   by Neil Dicken

With many of us using a computer, smart phone or tablet in our day-to-day lives, password security is increasingly important. We need to keep our online accounts secure to prevent cyber crime. And that means having a secure password.

It takes only 10 minutes to crack a lower case password that is 6 characters long. Add two extra letters and a few upper case letters and that number jumps to 3 years. Add just one more character and some numbers and symbols and it will take 44,530 years to crack, says stopthehacker.com.

So we thought we’d make it clear that it’s ‘Pants’ to ignore cyber security. If you want to pring our A4 Pants poster for your workplace, to remind yourself and colleagues, click on the image below. Let’s say knickers to cyber crime!

 

Ed Miliband reinvented – media training advice designed to win elections

Monday 19th May 2014   by Andy Comber

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, was sounding different on Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning. Interviewed by Sarah Montague, there were clear signs that he had changed his approach and style to media interviews. Political leaders are constantly either trying to hone their media interview skills, or are having media training experts trying to do the same for them. Ed seems to have changed his style quite signficiantly.

In the past, his media interview technique was quite combatative. He was eager to get his point across. He sounded excited, someone who had important things to say, and so little time in which to say them. He would often start giving an answer before the interviewer had even finished the question, creating a sense of people tripping over each other as they talked.

If the journalist tried to butt in, as they are likely to, he would carry on trying to make his point, creating a crescendo of rising voices that could sound shrill and confused. A standard technique was to say “…let me make this point, because it’s very important…”, which he probably thought was his way of taking control of the interview and making sure he got the biggest share of voice, and could get his point across.

The overall effect was to make Ed sound like an over-eager schoolboy (“please, me sire, me sir” – hand pointing at the sky). Interviews descended into chaos with few sentences were finished and no complete and fully-rounded point was made. Miliband came across as sounding, not eager to explain his point, but flustered and frustrated. He had fallen into a trap. Journalists use this technique, of verbally bullying politicians to get them off kilter and off message, so they say things they have been briefed not to.

Most listeners are just frustrated and annoyed by such activities. The politicians and journalists deserve each other, they will say.

Well, Ed Milliband was definitely different this morning. The media training had, it appeared, had its effect. His voice was lower. He spoke more slowly. Both are techniqes to make yourself sound more authoritative. He waited of Sarah Montegue to finish speaking. Waited another beat. Then gave his answer. When he was interrupted, he stopped talking instantly.

Not once did he say “let me say this, because it’s important” – something that could, I bet his advisors told him, make him sound arrogant. He was seeking to control the interview by being passive, and it largely worked. Poor Sue sounded a bit confused. At one point, it appeared she expected her interjection to be interjected back by Ed, but he refused to speak, creating a comical pregnant pause.

This was Ed Milliband the unflappable, Ed Miliband the statesman, the calm voice of reason that demands to be heard. Of course, he wasn’t up againt the Rottie of the Today programme, John Humphrys. He was probably gently spinning over a relaxed breakfast of concrete chunks and iron filings. That said, it was an impressive performance. And one, I suspect, is particularly designed to position Ed away from Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, who also regularly makes the mistake of trying too hard in interviews and coming unstuck.

Not Ed anymore. Then again, you are only as good as your last interview.

 

 

 

5 tips for writing perfect press releases

Friday 16th May 2014   by Andy Comber

One of the central building blocks of any media campaign is the press release. There are now many ways and places to tell a story. But preparing a press release to send to journalists in a form that will make them go – “Hold the Front Page!” – well, at least show some interest, is a good starting point. There are many things to consider when sitting down to write a press release, so here are 5 of them.

In later posts, I’ll suggest more ideas, gleaned from many years sitting on news desks chucking press releases in the bin (real or digital), and a few more as a PR professional trying to avoid that fate.

1: Have a story to tell

Identifying the story in the first place is the first step. There is a balancing act between telling a story about something that is important to you, and something that will interest the media. The two might not always be the same.

There are a number of types of story that interest the media: something that is biggest, best or first; stories told by opinion leaders, for example industry experts or celebrities; important trends in society or commerce; something out of the ordinary, or shocking; or something quirky and humorous. Ultimately, news is people. If a journalist thinks your story will get the reader to turn to a friend, or post on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin, and say “Have you seen this?” you are most of the way there.

Tip: Ask people you know who are within the target audience for their honest opinion about if they would be bothered to read your story. If the answer is yes, you might be on to something.

2: Choose the right angle

If you think you have a story to tell, how are you going to tell it? What’s the angle? For example, you own a factory and plan to double its size. What’s the story? The amount of money you have invested? The amount of jobs you will create? The amazing new product you will be making? The number of new customers you will attract? Different publications might want to focus on a different aspect of your story. So be prepared to tell it in different ways.

Tip: Be flexible. If there is already a media buzz about something associated with the topic of your proposed press release, it might make sense to select an angle that adds value to that topic.

3: Structure the story

Once you have your topic and your angle, you have to structure your release in such a way that it grabs attention and holds it. The most important thing, the angle, should be presented in the opening line – the ‘intro’. The context for this statement should be given in the next two or so paragraphs so the reader has a good grasp of the whole story very quickly.

Introduce supporting quotes near the top of the release, and give the person being quoted something useful and important to say, so their comments add value, not platitudes.

The press release should be structured so the detail is presented in priority order from top to bottom. That way, it is easier for the journalist to quickly edit the new story by simply cutting off a chunk. And there is less risk that you will lose key messages in the editing process.

Tip: Get other people in your organisation, and outside it preferably, to read through your press releases. If they don’t get an instant understanding of the point you want to make, it needs to be amended.

4. Use plain language

Whole shelves of books have been written about how to write plainly. Avoid jargon. If you do use technical terms that might challenge readers, explain them. Use simple words. Write short, active sentences. Present one thought per sentence.

Keep paragraphs short – one sentence long is fine. Check grammar and spelling. Your credibility could be completely undone by a spelling error. Journalists love to smirk at poor writing (even though most of them make the same mistakes).

Tip: Have a look at the writing style of the publications you are targeting. You don’t have to copy it slavishly. But presenting journalists with copy that they know they can use with few amends is a big plus.

5: Answer the question: “So what?”

This is one of the questions I kept asking myself, and kept asking people who called me, when I worked on news desks. It might be fascinating to you, but is your story really of interest to our readers and viewers? Image the news editor is in front of you. What would you say?

Tip: Make sure you really understand what kind of stories your target media publishes. If your press releases match them in substance and style, there is a greater chance they will be used.

And finally….If you want further advice on how to write press releases that really hit the mark, give me a call. I would be glad to help.

Top firm achieves double win after using our business award writing service

Monday 24th March 2014   by Andy Comber

We’re really pleased here at matm to have helped another client win two much-coveted and much-deserved business awards.

On Wednesday March 19, at a ceremony held at the London Hilton Park Lane Hotel, Lanes Group was announced as winners of the Health and Safety Excellence Award at the Construction News Specialists Awards 2014.

Lanes Group team collects the Construction News Specialists Award

This completed a brilliant double for the company, the UK’s largest independent drainage specialist. Because they also won the Health and Safety Excellence Award in the main Construcion News Awards 2013.

We were really pleased to have been asked by Lanes to prepare their submissions and presentations the directors used in a formal meeting with judges as part of the decision-making process.

The health and safety categories are among the most fiercely contested in any construction awards – and the Construction News Awards are, probably, the most coveted accolades in the building industry.

We’ve developed a business award writing service with a proven six stage process that significantly increases our clients’ chances of winning. We know that’s true because our business award writing service has an excellent success rate.

So if you want to win a business award – get in touch. You have to be in it to win it. And you might as well give yourself the best chance of success.

You have to be pretty good at what you do, like Lanes Group, to win. We can make sure the judges are absolutely clear that your business is a contender.

 

The benefits of business case studies

Sunday 2nd March 2014   by Andy Comber

Here’s the case for business case studies in one simple story. Not long ago, I was at a client work site – a service centre run by a global aerospace company. Our client had been called in to do some high value facilities maintenance work.

I asked the facilities manager how he had selected my client and he said:

“I Googled the service I wanted and they came up on the first page. I liked what I saw on the website. It was clear they could do what I wanted to I called them, and here they are.”

So we have a global aerospace manufacturer and service provider Googling for support services costing into five figures. Telling enough. He also said: “What I like to see on websites is case studies, and clear stories about the kind of stuff we do. That gives me the confidence to call in a supplier.”

Our client could now win similar work at up to 20 of this company’s sites across the UK. And all because it showed up on the Google search.

Another story. A short while ago, the owner of another client, a construction company, came to see me and said: “Andy, I’ve got to say a big thank you. We were pitching to a new client and they wanted to see some examples of our work, just be certain that we can do what he needs. We pointed him at case studies on our website, and he signed a contact worth £125,000.”

My conclusion to both these…case studies, is that business case studies work, and can be very effective as supporting evidence to win new business.

Here’s some additional reasons why you should consider the benefits of business case studies:

  • Business case studies help a potential client in the decision-making process. A senior member of the client team may ask a junior to gather evidence before a purchase. By having information in the form of a case study, the junior can offer the business case study to directly support the decision-making process. The information in a case study can be laid out in a business report style, it can be industry or sector specific, it can contain supporting data and additional technical information – all content that will provide assurance for the senior decision-maker.
  • Business case studies can be targeted at specific types of customers or sectors. As such it can be created to appeal directly to specific types of buyers. There can be no misunderstanding: you provide precisely the service they need, and the business case study shows why.
  • A business case study makes best use of marketing content. You may have written a web story or a press release about the success of your service or product. With a bit of tweaking, it can be quickly turned into a case study, a different beast, which enhances search engine optimisation, and gives customers the precise information they need to make decisions about using your services.
  • Business case studies can be used by your marketing and sales team in customer acquisition campaigns, in face-to-face sales pitches and in marketing additional services to current customers.

So, the point about business case studies is, they add to the mix of marketing content you can offer online, helping you attract more customers through web marketing, they can be used offline as well, to support sales promotions and pitches and they will help you better target specifc customer segments. As the two business case studies above also show – they win you more business.

Watch out for future posts, when I talk about how to create effective business case studies.