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.