7 essentials for successful copy

January 10, 2019 § Leave a comment

31959494_1540564399386190_3620031116922060800_nWhen you write copy to advertise your business people will judge you on the quality of your writing. That includes your posts on social media.

You might not think that’s fair because whereas you’re top of your trade – as a tourist bureau, for example – you’ve never got to grips with spelling, grammar and proofreading. Writing isn’t even part of your job – so why would potential customers care about typos? Actually you know the answer – because you do it yourself. If you read company literature that’s sloppy, you’ve immediately got a picture of said company as ‘cheap’ and a business that doesn’t pay attention to detail. If they’ve got their own communication wrong, what else are they going to get wrong? Sometimes the company becomes a laughing stock (see picture above).

Here are 7 steps that cover the basics:

  1. Read what you’ve written – not what you THINK you’ve written. A fresh pair of eyes on the job is ideal. If you’re working alone, go make a cup of coffee and come back to the copy later after a little break. You’re much more likely to spot errors then as opposed to a long hard stare at the same words in one sitting.
  2. Illustrate it – which I agree isn’t copy, as such, but is an essential ingredient for making your post/poster/blog look enticing. Uninterrupted blocks of text are off-putting. If you don’t have a photo to accompany the text,  companies such a Pixabay almost certainly do. Pixabay has a library of free images.
  3. Your headline is critical. Would it attract your attention? Perhaps you’re too close to the copy to know. Again, fresh eyes and an honest second opinion are useful. As a rule of thumb, don’t use your company name in the headline – it classifies the writing as definite advertising and reduces interest.
  4. Don’t talk posh. If you wouldn’t say it like that, don’t write it like that. Conversational rather than ‘stiff’ copy makes it easy on the reader, giving the copy a better chance of being read. I don’t mean slang!
  5. Don’t overlook numbers and little words like ‘to’ or ‘it’ . A department store local to me produced a promotional leaflet and got its telephone number wrong. It corrected its mistake by gluing white paper with the correct number over the error, thereby devaluing all the work it had put into the leaflet. I’ve also seen company literature where complicated words have been spelt beautifully but tiddly words have been allowed to morph into mistakes. Madly, headlines are often overlooked too.
  6. When it comes to blogs, make sure you categorise and tag accurately. Categories outline the subject you are writing about. Tags are more specific and pinpoint the topics within the subject. I like this explanation: a recipe for brownies on a food blog might have the categories ‘dessert’ and ‘baking’ and the tags would be something like ‘chocolate’ ‘brownies’ and ‘walnuts’. Every second around 17 posts are published on WordPress sites globally and you have to give yourself the best chance of being found.
  7. Lists are a great format to attract readers to a blog, either bulleted – or numbered like this one.




Where have all the photos gone?

September 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

Had a brilliant afternoon at my brother’s the other weekend. We pulled out some photo albums and took a leisurely trip down memory lane.

First of all there were the pictures of when we were kids and then pictures of when our kids were kids – and in between those weddings. holidays, birthdays – and, of course, the ever-changing hairstyles and fashions along the years (what made us think we looked great??) There were lots of ‘ooohs’, plenty of ‘aaahs’ and loads and loads of laughs. We ended up reminiscing for hours, the photos sparking memories of moments that were ‘around’ the pictures but not actually captured in them. It was fantastic.


Back in the day with my son & daughter

And then I panicked. There was something very real and everlasting about those photo albums. When was the last time I backed up my digital albums? And why am I saying ‘albums’ I’m not that organised in the digital photo world! I just click at stuff – there’s no system. When was the last time I held a recent ‘proper’ photograph?

My phone has a lot of rubbish images on it and the good stuff I don’t show people in case they flick back onto a ‘full-pout’ selfie I mistakenly took when I was fixing my hair before a meeting!

Anyway, call me old-fashioned – because perhaps it is – but I’m now in the process of having my ‘keepsake’ photos from recent years printed. I want to file them in the sort of flip album that makes them so easy to view – and stack on a bookshelf. In years to come I can’t see us crowded around a computer looking at images but I can see us passing photo albums around and having a glance at the way we were!

I called a friend today who’s recently had a baby and asked how she took photos of the little one. She takes loads, apparently, on her phone (just as I thought). But, my friend  was quick to confirm, they’d only recently been for a formal sitting with a professional photographer. Not the same, I suggested as the possibly haphazard but eminently preferable alternative of snapping away with a camera, sending them off for developing and the thrill of receiving them back two weeks later – if only to find just half being in focus. At least they’d be ‘proper’ photos her little girl would always be able to find on the bookshelf and enjoy looking at just as my kids enjoyed looking at their baby photos. Just saying ….


Further back in the day with my brother – I know, the hair! Clearly, I thought it was great then….


I have loads of these sort of albums – easy viewing – and now plan to have loads more for new pix

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