I’m delighted to have been invited to speak to the next Billingshurst Chamber of Commerce lunch on the 12th June. The talk will centre on 10 easy and practical ways to improve your copy. I’m looking forward to it and hope to see you there.
When you sit down to write your copy, remember to think about your brand.
After a few months away from the blog (for various uninteresting reasons) i’m back and with the launch of my new website, I’ve spent quite a lot of time recently thinking about who I am and trying to ensure that my copy, whilst focusing on the needs and desires of my clients, is injected with the spirit of “Lucy Pitts – the copywriter”.
In other words I’ve been thinking about my “brand” and it’s an issue that is often either met with a blank look when I ask clients about this (“Branding is all about the graphics right?” Wrong.) or I find a client’s copy is so over infused with descriptions of who they are, that it’s like a repeated slap in the face.
And with that in mind, the following quote from author Kate Atkinson as she described the process of writing historical novels, struck a real a chord with me:
“As a reader I dislike historical novels where I am continually stumbling over an excess of facts; I readily understand the compulsion to include the fascinating stuff you’ve spent so much time reading about but there are few things more uncomfortable for the reader than to be constantly stumbling over the pathologically recondite research of an author.”
In other words know your voice but don’t shout about it.
And the point’s just as good when applied to writing copy. Whilst it’s fundamental to have your brand identity and voice in the forefront of your mind when you sit down to write your copy or content, it’s really important that that voice remains subtle and not the business owners equivalent of Ms Atkinson’s historical stumbling facts. I’m not saying that it’s something that’s easy to achieve, eager as we all our to point out our strengths and our USPs but you have to find that balance of writing in a style and way that encapsulates everything about you, without spelling it out either too obviously or too frequently.
But don’t write in a vacuum either.
So if you don’t make obvious reference to your brand, how do you ensure your copy isn’t written in a vacuum? Ms Atkinson author’s note to her book Life After Life (a cracking good read by the way) helps again with this when she says, “To research this book I read as much as possible before beginning and then tried to forget as much as possible and simply write.” In other words, research, identify and understand your brand to the point that you have completely and utterly absorbed it in to the fabric of who you are and then write instinctively without too much thought or reference to it.
Adjust the volume.
All that’s not to say I can give you a definitive guide as to how subtle or not your voice should be. That’s something you will have to adjust of course depending on your audience and your other objectives (marketing or otherwise). And neither is this the be all and end all guide to ensuring your copy is brand consistent. But if you’ve taken the trouble to know and understand your business brand, if you’re conscious of the need to write in a way that reflects your brand and if you use Ms Atkinson’s advice as a yardstick with which to cross reference your work when you’ve finished and adjust the volume accordingly, then you’ve certainly given yourself a fighting chance of getting it right!. Good luck.
Feature writer for The Good Life France.
Providing creative content, articles and features about the Vendee, west France.
Providing content for West Sussex fashion house Essence of Fashion.
Blog writer for community hub and networking site Hey Horsham.
Providing website copy for Judy Fry and Balance International Saddles.
Website writer for local, dynamic networking group, Sussex Women in Business
Writer, researcher for Lucy’s Glance At France blog which provides information about things to do and places to visit in the Vendée.
Author of informative blog and reference resource for ex pats and holiday makers in the Vendée, west France.