Tagged ‘brand‘

Quality Copywriting: Worth Every Penny

copy, copywriting

copywriting in metal type blocks

A penny for your thoughts? Well, that’s about what most copy is worth. Many companies are trying to build engagement, SEO ranking, website traffic, etc. by posting blogs and articles on their websites and social media. Products are being thrown up in online stores as fast as possible with little regard to giving pertinent information. But companies don’t want to spend money or time on finding qualified writers or even writers with expertise in their industry. Sure, you can find writers extremely cheap, pay them a penny a word or $20 a blog. But what are you getting?

We have all clicked on articles or blogs on searches and ended up on a site that seemed like gibberish. Chock full of key words jammed together, these articles rank really high on search engines, but give very little useful information and often sound very strange, because they are written by people in other countries, or people just trying to churn out anything with key words to get their $20.

What does this do? At the least it annoys people because you’re “tricking” them to your site but not providing value. You’re turning them off and cheapening your brand. At the worst, you’re providing erroneous information that can even be dangerous. A recent example, an RV website posted two blogs on what you could tow with small vehicles. The person writing the article obviously didn’t have any real life RV or towing experience and was recommending that people could tow a 3500 pound listed trailer with a 4 cylinder car that said it could tow up to 3500 pounds. This is incorrect, and anyone with actual towing experience would know that dry weight is always low, you have to add people, cargo, fuel, propane tanks, spare tire, camping equipment, dogs, chairs, etc, and ALL of that needs to be less than 80% of max to be safe. They also know that towing a camper (windblock box) is not the same as towing a boat of the same weight, and they also know that not all vehicles can handle tongue weight of trailers. Someone at the company should have vetted this article, especially if the writer was not an expert.

Worst case scenario for that brand, is that anyone that has actual knowledge that reads those articles is going to immediately distrust anything else that site has to say. They have hurt their brand credibility by ostensibly saving some money or time on a writer.

Spending money on effective and useful content is key to building your brand image, selling your products, communicating and engaging your target audience, and creating a body of assets for your company that can be useful in multiple ways. Copy is key when selling online, this is not an area to be cheap. There are experts out there, and more professional and knowledgeable writing will help your sales and your brand equity.

Are You Brand Blind?

blindfold3We are all close to our businesses, after all, that is what we do every day. We sweat blood and tears to build our products or our services and try as hard as we can to make sales. But when was the last time you asked your clients, or more importantly people who are your TARGET client what they thought of your business, product, marketing materials, or website?

Often we see ourselves one way and the public, or our target audience, sees us completely differently. And as they say, perception is reality. Many small businesses jump into business accidentally, without a strategy or a brand plan in place. Typically on a budget, I see clients and potential clients who have  DIY’d their marketing materials and website without sitting down and thinking about strategy, a target audience, and a plan so that everything works together and integrates, building upon each layer with a cohesive message. The shotgun approach typically doesn’t yield the most cohesive results.

Now your mom and your spouse may tell you that your website is pretty, but if I ask your target audience are they going to say “it took me 6 clicks to find the product I wanted” or “I can’t find a phone number” or “I’m confused about what they do?” If I ask you what are the top words you would use to describe your business, and you say “quality” and “inexpensive” and when I ask a client they say “cheap,” that is a disconnect. Do you know where you lie compared to your competitors?

I like to do research projects for clients where I do informal focus groups with their product/service and that of competitors. Some people refuse to acknowledge that they have competitors, but we all do, even if the other option is to just not purchase anything because you aren’t showing your value. If you are more expensive than your competition, are you communicating your value with your website and marketing materials being upscale and professional? You wouldn’t expect the same look and feel from your bank’s website as you would for a children’s party entertainer but both can be professional and easy to understand and “on brand.”

When I do brand audits for clients, I look at many things. Their marketing materials, website, product, service, positioning compared to competitors, etc. Brand is ALL these things, as well as your employees, your physical location if clients visit, how you present yourself on social media, your tradeshow booth, packaging, etc etc etc. And often I see a disconnect between what they THINK they are selling and what the customer thinks they are selling from a brand perspective. Customers do not like disconnect, they like everything to build upon the same message and cement the brand into their minds, along with the product or service experience making good on the brand promise.

Are you sure you are seeing your brand clearly? Or are you brand blind? And is your target audience aligned with your message?