The best of the best? Marketing copywriting goes O.T.T.
Best in class… industry leading… innovative in Excelsis… marketing copywriting can go a bit overboard on the hyperbole. And that’s a problem. (Notice, I didn’t say it’s an unmitigated disaster – that would be an exaggeration.)
Whenever selling your goods or services turns into over-selling, customers get suspicious.
It doesn’t even matter if all your claims are genuine. People don’t like self-congratulatory copy. Speaking as a typically self-effacing Brit, I’m always suspicious of anything that demands my interest on the basis that it’s the best…
‘Best’ is such a subjective concept anyway. I much prefer finding out why customers like a product, or why it’s different, or why it’s going to meet my requirements. ‘Best’ feels like first-draft marketing copywriting. It’s a stop-gap phrase, just until the copywriter finds something better. It just tells you that someone, somewhere judges this product or service to be better than others. Like a medal-winning bottle of wine. (Have you seen how many awards there are for wine these days?)
When the best just isn’t good enough
Your marketing copywriting should start with the assumption that you’re good at what you do. So you don’t need to spend too much time telling people. Your customers should be able to assume at least a basic level of competence, based on what they see and read on your site.
Copy that goes over the top about what you do doesn’t sell the fact that you’re good at anything – other than blowing your own trumpet. Instead, it deflects attention from telling your customers why you’re good at anything, and what your customers get out of working with you.
So focus on other things…
Interesting marketing case studies do things differently.
I’ve just written a marketing case study. It’s been a while since my last one and it reminded me of how valuable interesting marketing case studies can be.
It also reminded me that the way you choose to tell your story is almost as important as the story itself…
Good marketing case studies do things differently
Bog-standard marketing case studies run something like this: client meets customer, client and customer strike up great working relationship and have a mutually beneficial time. The end.
That’s okay as far it goes. But it doesn’t really do anything to hook your reader.
Partly the format is to blame. It’s easy to get locked into making case studies look and feel consistent. But a house style and an ongoing design template aren’t necessarily a good idea. Your client relationships are all different and your case studies should reflect that by looking and sounding distinctive.
What’s the best way to promote your brand?
Last time we looked at the fan gene. This time, we’re going to look at some of the ways we can use a fan’s devotion to promote your brand.
Promote your brand by replicating the same thrill over and over again…
I’ve been known to buy the same Disney film more than once. Every time an anniversary edition comes around and previously unseen material gets added, I’m interested all over again.
But why is that? The obvious answer is that each new reissue improves the original in some way. But I think there’s more to it than that. I think it taps into a desire to re-experience the same thrill you had the first time you bought that CD, or the first time you heard that music. It might even be symptomatic of trying to replicate that part of your life – all those happy memories of old times and places.
So how do we replicate that kind of experience in a business context?
Brand loyalty – is it just skin deep?
Before brand loyalty, there was fandom…
I find fandom fascinating. Fandom for books, TV programmes, sports teams, trains, old lemonade bottles… you name it.
Fans of certain things are cool. But there’s a hierarchy isn’t there? Music fans are somewhere near the top – assuming they’re into the right kind of music. While ‘Bronies’ – grown-up male fans of My Little Pony are somewhere near the bottom.
But the same fan gene courses through them all.
When does it start? When does simply enjoying something turn into fanaticism? How many football matches, albums, episodes or serial numbers does it take to engage your fan gene? And how can we make use of the fan gene to promote our businesses?
Want copywriting tips on using adjectives and adverbs? Time to hit the OMG button!
Beware copywriting tips that don’t have any flexibility built in.
Most copywriting tips on blogs like these are fairly general. We can’t address our advice to your level of experience, or your circumstances. But that doesn’t we should definitively tell you what you should and should not do.
Here’s a good example of some poorly judged advice that we see a lot:
Strip all unnecessary adverbs and adjectives out of your marketing copy. It’ll be better for it.
Now that’s certainly not terrible advice. But it’s not great advice either because it’s too inflexible.
Copywriting tips we can all agree on?
We agree that stripping fluff out of your copy will make it clearer. It may even make it better. But it’s not a guarantee. And it doesn’t make any allowances for your audience.
True or false
- It’s essential, not absolutely essential
- It’s confidential, not entirely confidential
The Daleks may not approve, but the exploits of their sworn enemy can help you refresh your brand…
It’s easy to refresh your brand when you’ve got a new a chief exec or new marketers coming on board every few years. They’ll take an objective look at what’s worked and what hasn’t.
Sometimes they’ll do things subtly… Sometimes they’ll shake things up so hard, the brand’s still rattling when the next change-agents come in.
But if your brand is strong enough, it can take it.
The BBC TV series Doctor Who was 50 in November 2013. And it’s a surprisingly good example of how to refresh your brand the right way…
Working out copywriting rates – just what are you paying for?
You’ll never get a consensus on copywriting rates. Copywriters come with a world of different specialisms and experience – and charge accordingly.
No wonder copywriting rates vary so alarmingly between pence-per-page and hundreds-per-hour.
It means that sadly, there’s never any consensus on how to charge for copy. If there was, there’d be a handy formula we could use to work out equitable copywriting rates every time. Something like experience over availability times reputation.
Assessing copywriting rates
Two things – above all others – influence copywriting rates: