Friday, July 14, 2017

Writing Ad Copy

Getting into character


Beggars can't be choosers when it comes to writing advertising copy. 
But it's a content writer's job to generate translatable excitement, or at least interest, regardless of what the products are.

A while back I wrote a ton of advertising copy for e-retailers across all sectors, and I mean all. 

Imagine writing 350 enthusiastic words on; State of Origin signed shirts,EGT turbo boost gauges, padded bed headboards, industrial pressure washers and chemical camping toilets.  All in a days work.

But after 30 or so advertorials like this, I discovered a strange anomaly.  I actually write better ads for products I know little to nothing about.

For some reason I struggle coming up with compelling copy for familiar products I know inside out.  
It seems I'm a slave to facts and having a lot of them means I struggle to be minimalist.

I want to keep the baby and the bathwater, the soap, the towels, tap-ware, rubber get the picture.

When I'm looking at something unfamiliar, I flip my WIFM switch. Suddenly I'm an uniformed consumer and I want to know -
What's In It For Me?

For many unfamiliar products,selling a dream that is not necessarily my own involves getting into character.

Being paid to enthuse about signed rugby memorabilia for example. I am someone who sees the difference between Rugby and say AFL as sleeves versus sleeveless and that presents obvious challenges.

A little light research can help. Whether it's a technical search or an online user forum - Google is my go-to for getting into the right head-space. 
Reading a Rugby State of Origin Fan Forum followed by a few bangs of my head on the desk and some guttural hoorahs, suddenly my fingers fly across the keyboard.

Features versus benefits 

With advertorial and ad-copy, understanding the difference between product features and benefits is also key. 

A lot of advertisers offer bullet point lists of product features, but true consumer connection that generates the CTA response you want, is in the benefits. You need to ask, how would these product features fit with the consumer's lifestyle? How will they matter to them? (And yes, you may have to pick and choose from the features list.)

This is where you need to paint an emotional picture, showing empathy and highlighting how this product or service will likely fill a special need. 

Sell yourself


The take-away of this is; sell it to yourself. 
Look at what you're writing about, research the benefits,feel the love and convince yourself. 
Then imagine telling a close friend about it, quickly, in the last few moments of a phone call;"Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, there's this amazing [thing]I found that would be perfect for you..."

You'll be quick, concise, genuine and your enthusiasm will translate. 

As an end note, I found that most products I wrote advertorial for, I considered buying myself. 
Except the EGT gauges (my car doesn't have a diesel engine), and of course signed state of origin anything.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Marketing: less is more

Thank God, the days of sounding like a 1970's infomercial are long gone.  

Forget the bonus set of steak knives or boxed CD sets; there are three key things you can safely assume about the people out there you're trying to engage with your content;

1. They don't want to be sold
2. They're time poor and distracted
3. They're likely looking at a mobile screen

Stop selling

People don't like to be sold to and this is where the tone of your communications, be it on your website or in your emails, needs to be conversational. If you want to engage,then be engaging, helpful and friendly. 

Most people make emotional purchases they then justify those with rationalizations. 

So excite them first about what you have to offer, then give them reasons to back their decision. Nike never said to anyone "buy our runners and we'll throw in a lifetime supply of laces/ insoles/ signed memorabilia". 
Nike are masters of the emotive story; they'll show an iconic athlete, breaking through some personal barrier or setback to a stunning triumph...then like an afterthought -zoom in on those shoes. 

I've seen Nike branding ads that literally, and embarrassingly, made me cry, and that's the way to build brand loyalty. Not make people cry so much as just move them on that kind of level. Choosing your brand over another might make them feel clever, proud, safe; there are a lot of emotions to choose from to get sign up.  
But first you need to know your audience, what motivates them, find that need and show, rather than tell, how you alone can fill it. 

Laws of Distraction

These days pretty much everyone is time poor; reading emails, social media and websites on the go on a mobile screen,constantly distracted by the pings of various other apps. But that's only part of the problem;in this fabulous and funny article Wizowl's Sarah Quinn notes that human attention spans have shrunk to the point where goldfish are better focused. As a marketer you have around eight seconds to engage, excite and generate action. 


The most repetitive feedback I've heard from UX (user experience)testing, has to be "too many words" and "I just wanna get in and out"  
Content needs to be written and structured for mobile screens, with simple navigation and glancable infographics if you're going to hook those goldfish. 

You had us at Hello

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Digital content-ment

clients and places I've worked

Welcome to my place. I'm a digital copywriter, copy editor and wordsmith-all-rounder - over 10 years in the publishing trenches, both in print and digital, with a background in marketing (NIKE). 

What better way to tick-off the marketing box?
I've worked in Europe and down-under covering online and print features across Travel and Tourism, Stock Markets, Business, Health and Corporate Training, e-retail, also B2B, and B2C marketing coms.

Everything from error messages,FAQs and micro copy to advertising,3000 word features and high level web pages.

Recently I’ve been contracted to Qantas Loyalty working on their major re-brand and re-launch of the new Business Rewards Program. The success of this launch increased new business more than 1000% in the first 24 hours, over the previous quarter, and its success continues. My only regret is that Qantas Kanga lost his paw in the process; I hope it didn't hurt too much.
Qantas Kangaroo falls foul of cosmetic surgery
I'm a high energy individual - during one random discussion on 'what kind of dog would you be?' a colleague likened me to a Jack-Russel Terrier (and I was so sure I was a German Shepherd) but I'm not sure whether that means I'm cute as a pup, never take my eye off the ball, or I just have a long battery life...

Jack Russell on a laptop
Partial image credit...

Vanity dictates I believe I’m all of those. But I do like being run off my feet and that often leads to chipping in and helping with others' workloads whenever capacity permits. I like Jack Russells a whole lot too.

As far as my SEO skills go, I must be doing something right because my success has equated to daily online click increases X 10. I also ended up on Factiva’s radar and they went and bought reprint rights to my columns and market reviews. 

Factiva [heart] Suzy Mac

Click on the tabs above to take a tour of my folio.

Email me with enquiries or to ask for my rates card.

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By the way, how do you like the new logo?
I baked it myself:
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