Words are Important. Do you Copy?


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A word in your shell-like.. If you are a business one of the best ways of making an impact on the people you want to impress is by writing and hosting good clear and compelling copy on your various web platforms.

Words are like the air we breathe. You can’t avoid them and they infiltrate just about every aspect of your day – from the newspaper (or more likely the news website) that you read in the morning to the signs and directions you’ll read on the roadside as you travel to work – to the millions of words sent via the web every day in the form of emails and sales communications. We are becoming a nation of copy-blasé individuals as a result. Unless the words that you read are relevant, original, striking and penetrating you are going to pass on by on the other side of road – or blogosphere.

Your customers are no more word blind than anyone else. They are saturated by daily chit-chat and petitions, imploring and importuning. They have learnt to be callous about boring word chains, hackneyed sales lines, and red alerts and underlining that are really all about crying wolf. When you speak in writing or communication it’s really got to count. Deliver little gobbets of tedium to people and they’ll cross the digital road when you come by next time.

The content is so important – but then so is the way in which you package it in grammatical and spelling terms. A great message is undermined fatally by a spelling error and an apostrophe in the wrong place. Is it me or am I the only person in the world who knows how to use the possessive apostrophe? A case of Roy’s obsession. If you weren’t taught how to spell or punctuate at school, sue your ex-teachers and then get some help. There is always someone in the office that loves to proofread and show off their superior English skills. These are the true followers of Michael Gove – and in your business bubble they could become priceless. Ask them to doublecheck your words – and don’t be afraid of the criticism that will come your way. It’s for your own good.

In the old days good PR copy started with the edict – cover the Who, Where, Why and When questions in the first paragraph. The discipline still stands. Interest the reader, tell them why you are writing to them, what it’s all about, when and why and make it interesting. Does it have a call to action and does the piece set out the stall for your product or business. The deafening silence in response to these questions means that you are engaging in the business of jibber-jabber, diminishing echoes in an empty room.

The customer isn’t your only audience. Google sits above all this like a stern Victorian schoolmaster with algorithms as board rubbers ready to fly at you as they rank your copy by its quality and content. It wants to see that you are treating your reader as an intelligent human being rather than as a dumb recipient of adwords and phrases designed to lift you into the Web Premier League. Engage, befriend, amuse and stimulate. Your readers will like you more for it – and so will Google.

If you are not good at self-editing and suspect that you may not be the genius you’ve always aspired to be, then get someone else to critically appraise your copy.

Ask them to take a red pen to it, eliminate extraneous words and sub clauses, bracketed interjections and ruminations. These are the empty crisp packets fluttering along the street of your selling ambition.

In the old days ad agencies employed copywriters as apart of art departments and the scribe and the art director worked hand in glove. I know, because that is where I started. Nowadays the client pours copy into the funnel labelled Creative like raw cement and expects the power of the mac and the WordPress template to magically mix it into the smooth elixir of sales. The truth is that copy writing is an art in the same way that design is an art. Otherwise we’d all be ‘Madmen’.

If in doubt, employ a professional. The number you need is below.

 

Roy Stannard 01273 575102 / roy@zerofiftyone.com

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