Tag: copy

WRITING COPY WITH AUDIENCES IN MIND

Writing copy for an audience

For PR professionals, writing copy with audiences in mind is second nature. It is an everyday task and is a tactic that we use to work towards meeting with client objectives. However, when this becomes the responsibility of a business owner it can be a challenge too far.

When you launch a company, it is up to you to create a brand, develop a product and test a service. This level of control can make it difficult to change your mindset back to thinking about others and their needs first.

Understanding the audience

Writing copy isn’t just about updating a website or creating a newsletter. There needs to be a purpose and call to action. Knowing your audience will give helpful insight that can be used to shape content.

Prospective customers may want to better understand how to use a product. There are often hacks which share multiple uses of an item. This is common in the household cleaning market. For example, it may be a disinfectant which can be rubbed over radiators to become a subtle air freshener.

Thinking slightly differently about content and how useful it will be for the reader will provide focus. Mapping what you want to write and what you hope the audience will get out of it will also help. Consider three things that you want them to take away and set out sub-headings. This will provide structure and purpose.

Effective use of resource

The importance of writing copy with an audience in mind is important, particularly when you consider the lack of resource that most businesses have. Rather than doing something quickly, and therefore badly, time should be allocated to better communicating with audiences.

PR and marketing content should be a priority for every organisation, but this isn’t the case. Communications is mistakenly considered a ‘nice to have’.

Allocating the resource needed to write effective copy will mean the content shared is of a quality representative to the brand. No director would tell someone to put 50 per cent effort into anything and creating content is no different.

Giving people the right amount of time and the opportunity to produce work that they can be proud of will have a far more positive impact on a business.

Using the tools available

Some companies have an impressive website with well curated copy that is uploaded to a blog. They may also have white papers or resources available to download too. Although this content has real value to that business, they fail to share it beyond the site.

What this organisation could do is to share links across relevant social media channels. The copy could also be repurposed as an article for LinkedIn or as small snippets for Twitter and Instagram. Leaving it exclusively on the blog simply reduces the results that could be achieved.

Again, allocating time is essential if a business wants to use social media tools effectively. It is no good to post a link and consider that job done. It is important that these are then monitored and that any comments are captured and responded to.

What this additional effort will do is further showcase what can be achieved when PR becomes a priority.

Accepting things may need to change

Being flexible when it comes to PR is a must. Communications is often about test and measure and that may mean moving the goal posts or going back to the drawing board. It may be that the medium isn’t right or that the social media platform chosen isn’t working as well as expected.

The beauty with PR is that this can be done quickly and easily. Changing direction is not uncommon and can lead to far stronger results. In order for this to happen, those responsible need to accept that things change.

The best return on investment will come from a PR plan and content strategy that evolves over time.

Again, considering the needs of the audience at every stage is key. People mature and so too do brands. Amending the way that you communicate with audiences, and adapting to fit their needs, will encourage greater loyalty over a longer timeframe.

Sharing the results

As a forgotten relative, the results that are achieved through PR should be shared at the highest level. Including figures, audience reach, feedback and measures of success in board papers is just the start.

The metrics to any content strategy will develop over time. This will become apparent from what impact communications have on audiences. Being specific about objectives and campaign KPIs will help with this.

Going back to a call to action, it will become apparent whether people have changed behaviours or purchasing decisions as a result of the way a brand communicates. The results will allow that company to continue with the campaign or adapt to better meet with the objectives set.

Creating communities with purpose

Ultimately, the main reason we write copy for an audience is to encourage an action. We want those reading the content to do something with it. This may be changing opinion, educating them about a company or encouraging someone to purchase.

There are many reasons that directors can use PR to benefit their business. It all depends on the company, its strategy and what it hopes to achieve.

Those brands that get most from PR will be those that focus on creating communities with purpose. This delivers audiences that are far more than figures on a page. They become brand advocates, loyal purchasers and trusted shoppers.

Once a brand has a community in place, this can be used to collate feedback, measure success, trial new products and bolster the bottom line. I don’t know any business that would turn their back on that.

USING CLIENT EVENTS TO SOURCE EXCITING CONTENT

Leeds Business Lunch

As a PR agency there are many ways that we work with clients to source exciting content. No longer do we have to rely on the humble press release, we can create content to be shared online.

We have worked with iSource Group and the Yorkshire Mafia (YM) for more than a decade. Like many of our clients, we have built up a strong relationship over the years and are considered an extension of the team.

In addition to managing a schedule of more traditional PR activity, we offer advice and guidance about exciting content that can be shared across mediums throughout the year. This could be anything from comment pieces and thought-leadership articles to specific feedback from the 23,000 pre-approved members in the Group.

Leeds Business Lunch

It is Leeds Business Lunch (#LBL2019) tomorrow and we are lucky enough to have received our invites. As well as enjoying welcome drinks and a delicious lunch, we will be making it our mission to engage with others so that we can further populate the calendar of activity that we have.

There are so many interesting businesses within the YM community, and it makes our job so much more fulfilling to share their news and views across a range of subjects.

Attracting members from the SME market, we are expecting to meet with some familiar faces but also to extend our network. After all, with a room full of senior executives that have companies across the Leeds City Region, it makes sense.

Collating contacts and sourcing exciting content

As an agency we could sit back, relax and enjoy the proceedings, however that just isn’t our style. We are always looking for ways in which we can add some personality and variation to our clients’ PR schedule.

As ever, the YM has secured an impressive line-up of speakers and we will be looking forward to hearing from Sinead Rocks, Managing Director of Nations and Regions at Channel 4; Eve Roodhouse, Chief Officer, Economic Development at Leeds City Council; and Richard Flint, Former CEO of Sky Betting and Gaming.

There are also several sponsors including Lockyers, who have been an advocate of the YM since its launch, Media Works and Quantuma. Sharing their reasons for getting involved with the Group means that we can showcase the benefits that they receive by association.

A further opportunity to source exciting content with added personality.

Last minute preparations

As is to be expected when you host one of the largest lunchtime events in the annual calendar, last-minute preparations are underway. What’s more, we have it on good authority that pictures of Dior samples that were shared on LinkedIn and Twitter were just some of the items we can expect to find in the goody bags!

As a sell-out event the team have a lot to celebrate but it’s important to remember that these things don’t just happen. The team work hard behind the scenes to make each event bigger and better than the one before.

We can’t wait to take our seats and to meet with the great and good from the business community. As the preferred PR partner for iSource and the YM we will have our pen and paper at the ready to take notes and will be sharing blogs in the following days.

If you are attending tomorrow, then please do come across and say hello. For those that are missing out, there is always next year. I hear the plans are already underway to push the boundaries and to use the event as a platform to showcase the North as the powerhouse it deserves to be.

Watch this space.

Editorial and advertising: perfect bedfellows or simply getting too close for comfort?

Pondering the world of PR and all that it encompasses.

Pondering the world of PR and all that it encompasses.

Obligatory start to all communications this week, Happy New Year to one and all! We hope that you had a well-deserved break and have come back refreshed, albeit a little on the plump side. I certainly have

So, as we embark on another year ahead what are the challenges that you will face? Have you even considered what is around the corner? Or are you still debating whether it’s appropriate to eat those left-over mince pies and to wash them down with sherry or a last glass of fizz?

Anyway, enough about my overindulgence, it’s irrelevant – we are back to it now and so my ponderings for 2017 begin.

Before Christmas, I noticed a shift in the way that an online regional title was reporting news.

Rather than simply sharing updates, as they had done for several years, they instead offered the chance for people to upload their own content for a fee. This is nothing new, it has been done before and as a PR agency we would consider it advertorial.

The reason for this is that those submitting news can write – within reason – whatever they like and share it on the platform as long as they pay to do so. So far, so good. However, what made this approach rather ‘unique’, and I believe added some intrigue, was that the platform made it clear that they would choose the best three articles to feature on their daily bulletin.

The reason I find this so fascinating is that it really does blur the lines between what constitutes advertising and editorial. In the first instance it is advertorial, as the person has paid for the piece to feature as they have written it, but in the second it becomes editorial, as a journalist has shared it with a wider audience alongside content that has not been paid for. Now to clarify, you can quite easily see the bylined author of each article so can still see which have been paid for but it’s a fine line.

I have conflicting thoughts about this; commercially I have to admit that it is a step forward and I also think there are many online titles that will follow, but what is unnerving is that people already find the relationship between advertising and editorial a challenge and I fear this will make it worse.

People will believe that to work in PR you write copy and upload it for a fee, which isn’t the case. What we do here at Open Communications is to draft good quality copy that is then sent to a journalist for them to decide whether to share it with their audience or otherwise.

I’ve been a follower of this particular news feed for a number of years now and am certainly keen to see if this approach evolves – or doesn’t, depending presumably on its popularity and ability to become an additional income stream.

I’m always interested to see how publications change the way that they work while maintaining the integrity of the editorial they share, so again, this will be one to watch.
Another shift in the wonderful world of PR and communications – there’s never a dull day.

Wishing you all the very best for 2017. We will be sharing our thoughts and opinions about subjects that are relevant to PR, marketing, communications and life in general. Remember to come back for updates and of course, feel free to add your own thoughts too.

Big words don’t always make a big impression

As a PR agency we are often asked to draft copy for leaflets, brochures, newsletters and websites. Writing corporate copy isn’t quite as simple as some people may think and it is often a huge mistake to try and draft marketing materials in-house.

We are usually stage two of the process and generally receive a call after someone has attempted the first draft and it hasn’t quite worked out how they had expected. Now that doesn’t mean that it is grammatically incorrect or even that it is wrong but just that it doesn’t quite fit the brief.

There are always some common mistakes that businesses make when drafting copy and I would say that the number one has to be using big words where smaller ones will do. The problem that you find is that the person writing the piece will believe that it sounds more impressive if you use ‘big words’ but in reality the recipient will have no idea what it means.

People are very time poor and particularly when it comes to marketing materials it is essential that the key messages, tone of voice and language that are used are aligned to the target audience – not the writer, the recipient.

The biggest mistake seems to be to question why you would use a simple statement when you could sound ‘really impressive’ and use technical terminology and jargon but that isn’t effective communication – in fact it is quite the opposite. Keeping things simple doesn’t mean dumbing down your copy it just means writing with your audience.

When drafting copy we would suggest following three top tips:

  • Keep it simple and to the point
  • Read through and take out the jargon and repetition (there will almost certainly be some)
  • Ask for a second opinion – ask someone who knows nothing about your product or service to read the copy, if they don’t understand it then it’s unlikely your audience will

Sometimes it can be difficult to draft copy which has to include technical specifications or that needs to explain services that are not as straight forward as we may like but the principles are still the same. Big words do not make big impressions.