January 11, 2018 § Leave a comment
It amazes me how companies use a completely different language when it comes to their written marketing stuff which should be directly connecting with customers. They don’t write the way they talk and people have to work too hard to understand what the company’s offering.
If you see anything on my site that falls foul of what I’m about to say – please pull me up on it. I mean it. I don’t want to write anything I wouldn’t say.
A good example of the ‘different written language’ I’m talking about was nearly used the other day when a friend of mine wanted to complain about the shoddy service she was receiving from a company who was supposed to be supplying some wedding invitations for her. She started writing a flowery email to them and asked my advice, basically about the ‘big’ words she was using. There was nothing wrong with the email but I asked her what she’d say if she was talking to them about the problem. Let’s just say, we got to the point quicker by writing with words of one syllable and her message was all the more powerful for it.
There is a place for formal language – I suppose solicitors still have to use it but not many solicitors read my blog and they’ll ignore what I’m saying anyway. I’m talking to and about the people who are trying to get attention via their marketing and will struggle if they use fancy language.
I know when we’re writing we can be more thoughtful. I know when we’re talking we can often think afterwards ‘I wish I’d said that’. But if we use a mixture of those two elements in down-to-earth language we can get a good formula.
Crafting a direct message that gets to the point and dumps unnecessary frills that the customer doesn’t have time or energy – or will, frankly – to read is a skill. I think it should be a law of marketing.
I suppose a good test is to ask yourself: would ‘I’ read it?
June 1, 2017 § Leave a comment
It takes seconds to get yourself a reputation and decades to lose it and that’s exactly what has happened to Twitter.
Back in the days when Twitter started tweeting (2006), there was an appetite among the Twitterati to post a bunch of stuff that nobody needed to know but lots of people lapped up.
There’d be stuff as trivial as what the rich and famous had for breakfast, for example and there were celebrities like Stephen Fry who just loved tweeting.
So by slapping those two bits of info together people have landed on the notion that Twitter is only about ‘rubbish like Stephen Fry’s breakfast’. It’s an excuse that’s pulled out time and time again by businesspeople who don’t get Twitter – although why Stephen Fry’s breakfast has been chosen as a scapegoat is a mystery.
His breakfast doesn’t feature in his top tweets or even his first tweets.
It’s true he has said something about breakfast but, to be fair, he’s said something about a lot of things because he’s a prolific tweeter.
We’ve moved on miles since the first days of Twitter. Some of the early takers have ditched it – maybe to worry more about Instagram. Many other accounts have now joined Twitter not to talk about their breakfast but to talk about their business.
It’s easy to see why. Twitter is a cost-effective form of marketing particularly in an era when print advertising is relatively more expensive and far less interesting. But people who don’t get Twitter still use the ‘Stephen Fry breakfast’ argument as an excuse for not pounding the life out of their Twitter accounts.
Realistically, Twitter takes time to master. It’s a fast-moving beast so accounts have to tweet often and regularly to make their mark. Although there are tools to help everyone spread their message and reach a wide audience throughout the day, these need to be learnt as well. Using the right hashtags will mean tweets are seen in the right places by the right people – potential customers – at the right times. But all this takes the know-how to know how to build up an audience and keep them interested.
It makes more sense for many people to concentrate on the main business of running their business. One answer is to hand over the management of social media to a company whose business is social media and ‘words’. Bowler Hat knows plenty of companies who have decided to do just that, from DIY stores and hairdressers to accountants and webchat services.
Five tweets per day for the sum of £50 per week (that’s what Bowler Hat charges) adds up to good value for an ad campaign for business (and has nothing to do with Stephen Fry’s breakfast!)