Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Written Content and Visual Design: 2 Peas in Your Marketing Pod

 When the word "marketing" enters your head, do you think of arresting visuals, or do you imagine compelling statements that demand an audiences' attention and inspire further interest in your products or services? Most likely, you envision both of these elements working together -- which is just as it should be. The written content and visual design elements that express your brand image and marketing message must mesh in a concerted effort to make your business shine. So let's look at how to get the best possible use out of these two peas in your marketing pod.

First, let's establish what we mean when we talk about visual design. In this case, I refer to two primary skill sets: graphic design and web design. Graphic design traditionally includes all the static visual elements of your marketing "look," from your company's logo and color scheme to the way images lead the eye through a brochure, sales sheet, PowerPoint presentation, or trade show display area. Web design creates and positions these visual elements in a dynamic online format, with bits and pieces that may change according to what kind of screen the viewer encounters them on (a technique called responsive web design) or as you add continuous updates to your portfolio, services, or biographical data. 

Web design and graphic design may differ somewhat in their requirements. For instance, certain fonts and color arrangements that work like gangbusters on a website may not look good on a print piece, and vice versa. Ideally, you want to create a design language that will work equally well for both offline and offline media.

Where does content writing enter the picture, so to speak? Well, it may come at the beginning, or it may show up later in the process. Of course your designers will want to have the basic look of your brand firmly in hand right from the beginning, while your web team will probably have some clear ideas about the basic formatting and layout decisions for your website. But the content-first approach often makes good sense for print marketing pieces. I've worked with graphic designers who used my content as a creative springboard to generate visual ideas for a onesheet, brochure, or direct marketing postcard. In some cases, a web designer may also make layout decisions based, at least in part, on what the written content seems to call for.

Ideally, your copywriter and your visual design team try to complement each other as seamlessly as possible (under the direction of a marketing director or coordinator who keeps everyone moving in the same direction). When I'm writing for a project that will include visual design, I talk to the designer about the overall concept and try to leave plenty of room for visual elements in my work. If the designer has trouble fitting my content into the design, I may need to trim it down. If I present an idea that lends itself to a particular image, the designer may want to fit such an image above, below, or alongside it. The main thing is that we're aligned as a creative unit to produce a final result that sells.

As an experienced freelance copywriter, I maintain relationships with many graphic designers and web designers. If you need both written marketing content and marketing design skills, contact me today and I'll hook you up with both!

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Gaining (a Copywriter's) Perspective on Your Marketing Content

You may have all kinds of good, solid reasons for outsourcing at least some of your marketing content creation needs to a freelance copywriter. Maybe you don't happen to have a talent for writing, so creating your own marketing content takes up a huge amount of time that ought to go toward doing your day-to-day tasks that keep your business running. Maybe you do have the talent, but you hate, hate, hate using it. (Some people just don't enjoy writing. Heck, even I don't enjoy it sometimes. Of course I find the resolve when it's time to pay the bills.) Maybe you already have a copywriting team in place, but it happens to be stretched to the limit already. These are all great reasons to hire a copywriter, and in each case I'm happy to step in.

But there's another terrific reason to think about adding a copywriter to your creative team: the possibility that you may be "too close to the topic." Let's face it, you know your business inside-out. You're immersed in it on a daily basis. You work with other people who also know the industry, and you communicate with colleagues that speak the lingo as well as you do. You live in the world of your business. The thing is, your customer probably doesn't.

You may find it impossible to see yourself objectively enough to put yourself in your reader's shoes. Sometimes it's hard to pretend you're John Doe instead of Jane Manufacturing Incorporated long enough to really grasp what the reader wants to know, as opposed to what you want to tell him. Time to bring in an objective party -- one who happens to write marketing content for a living. Your copywriter can see John's perspective as well as Jane's, creating a message informed by one and aimed at the other.

You may also find that your industry speaks a language the general public doesn't understand. I recall the time I walked into an engineering company and the owner said, "Ah, so you're the guy who's going to rescue us!" The company's leadership team had spent so many years talking engineer-speak to engineers that they'd lost a handle on how to translate their features and benefits into common English. Again, copywriter to the rescue.

Whatever your writing roadblock may be, don't keep suffering with it. Contact me today, offload that specialized work to a specialist, and welcome a new brain to your company's think-tank.