Monday, October 22, 2018

3 Reasons (Which May Never Have Occurred to You) to Hire a Copywriter

Most business owners understand the value of hiring a copywriter to address challenges such as building a marketing campaign from scratch, adding new content to accommodate expanding product/service lines, and keeping up with the need to produce constant streams of social media content. But there are also plenty of other ways an experienced freelance copywriter can enhance your success -- some of which you may never even have thought about. Let's take a quick look at three less-trumpeted (but smart) reasons to bring a marketing content writer on board.

1. Cleaning Up Translated Content

Do you live and work in a bilingual market? Do you do business with clients on an international scale? If so, you may find yourself needing to convert a website or other collection of marketing content from one language into another. Translators can certainly perform the basic mechanics of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary to yield English-language content -- but that content may not "sizzle" with those well-chosen rhythms and turns of phrase that actually sell. In that case, you'll need to let a copywriter go over that material and massage it back into compelling marketing content that will speak to your new target market. (More on that below.)

2. Reputation Management

Negative word of mouth can have a devastating effect on your business -- and those unflattering comments can get around digitally as well as orally. Social media platforms and review sites provide a ready soapbox for any disgruntled client to air long, loud, detailed grievances (which may be true or untrue). If you let these criticisms go unchallenged, you appear to validate them; if you fight back with angry tirades of your own, you can make your business look even worse. What's the answer? Let a professional copywriter compose thoughtful, calm, rational, genuinely helpful responses, which you can then post as gentle, constructive rebuttals. Even if you don't win the aggrieved customers over, you can still dilute the power of the complaints and come out looking like the good guy.

3. Connecting With a New Audience

Have you ever seen a brand change its entire marketing approach to cater to a new, more lucrative audience? This kind of target-market shift happens all the time -- but it takes more than a new look and logo to accomplish it. If you've crafted your written content to appeal to retirees, for instance, and now you've decided to focus on Millennials instead (or vice versa), you may have to change your tone, emphasize different points, or create new content to beef up specific marketing channels you weren't really relying on before. If you've gone from courting a B2B crowd to a B2C crowd, you may need to make your tone less corporate and more personal. A professional copywriter knows how to make these shifts and help you capture your new ideal prospects.

Think about these (and other) ways you can use a freelance copywriter to turn your marketing in the right direction. Then contact me so we can get started!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Putting the Pieces Together: Achieving Congruence in Your Marketing Content

I used to build model airplanes by the squadron -- the ones that came on big plastic "trees" that had to be glued together with model cement. I built and painted these planes with more enthusiasm than skill. When I took my time and followed all the instructions, the final result would look more or less like the illustration on the box. But all too frequently I'd be in such a hurry to get the thing finished that somewhere along the line I would skip a step (the old-school airplane glue didn't exactly sharpen my thinking in these situations either). Many times I found myself stuck with a model that didn't resemble the original because some piece or other was missing, backwards, upside-down, you name it. I've had similar problems over the years with do-it-yourself furniture, including one TV stand currently serving light duty as a supply shelf because I don't trust it to actually hold a TV.

Marketing campaigns are prone to the same trouble. If your print advertising conveys a different message than your website, and your website conveys a different message than your radio spot, and so on and so forth, you can't possibly hope to marshall the power that comes from a unified brand effort.

The word I'm looking for here is congruence. Congruence is a state of agreement. Behavioral scientists describe it as a state of internal and external consistency, with actions and appearances aligned with inner values and intentions. Consistent behaviors and actions allow you to make powerful statements and bring people around to your point of view. If, on the other hand, you speak with confidence but your handshake feels like a dead fish, that inconsistency weakens the power of your overall impression. The overall strategy may be intact, but some of the pieces are out of place or working at cross purposes.

That's why you must aim for consistency of tone and message across all your marketing channels -- website, blog, direct mail, social media, the works. Ideally, each piece of your marketing structure supports every other piece so that moving from one channel to the next feels natural and inevitable to the reader. Everything must work together to convey the same overall message, from the color of your business cards to the wording on your LinkedIn profile. All of your marketing content must display a consistent tone, attitude, and message. That's congruent marketing.

Strong, consistent messaging builds your brand and inspires confidence. Little inconsistencies are like cracks in the facade, weakening and eroding your brand-castle until visitors hesitate to venture inside. In the worst case, your brand becomes so all over the place that it ceases to be a brand at all. And then you have to start over. So check to see if your marketing structure has a few pieces missing or out of place -- and fix it (or hire a freelance copywriter to fix it for you) before the glue sets!