Here is the news - and our views.  

We hope you find something that interests you.

1 - Are you being boring? Or does your writing pack a punch?

Here’s a question: when was the last time a piece of business writing – whether copy on a website, an advertising campaign or a press release – really grabbed your attention?
There are some great examples of those kinds of writing and more out there. But equally, it’s also very easy to turn your readers off in a few lines (words, even) and make them snore.
So, what’s the secret of great writing? In a nutshell – don’t be boring!

A professional copywriter will always find ways of engaging customers, staff members, the media or whoever their audience is. One of the worse marketing crimes is when some of your communication goes unnoticed and uncommented on. That means your creative efforts have been wasted.
 But don’t despair; here are five tips to packing your copy with punch:

1. Be more interesting! Not as easy as it first sounds, as you may think what your company does doesn’t sound remotely interesting to the wider world. Well, there is always a way of making it so. You manufacture paperclips? Why not add a fun fact-file about paperclips into your copy. For example, how many paperclips would it take to stretch from the Earth to the Moon? Or what is the most unusual use a paperclip has been put to? The possibilities are endless.

2. Be succinct. Particularly when writing for the web. The advice is: write your article as briefly as possible. Then cut out half of the words left. Readers are put off by too much text. And readers don't read text on websites the same way that they do in printed formats. Online, time is precious.

3. Think visually. Work with a good graphic designer. Whether for digital or print, great imagery and imaginative visual concepts will work wonders in getting your point across persuasively. The copywriter should help generate these ideas, too. Did the phrase “pack a punch” above spark any visual ideas in your mind?

4. Think like your customers. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in your organisation’s own achievements and internal narrative. Yes, you’re proud that your company was founded 137 years ago and you have eight directors on your board. But what does that tell your customer – someone whose interest is likely to be fleeting at best? So, be harsh and apply what journalists call the “so what?” test on key statements in your copy. When presented with the latest gushing news release, editors and journalist will ask themselves if this is newsworthy. Is it really an interesting and unusual achievement and worthy of their readers’ or listeners’ attention?

5. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Who is your audience? Think of your customer as a real individual with a personality; likes and dislikes; a job; children (perhaps) and a mortgage. Of course you’re aware they have these things. But try building up a profile of a typical customer or a range of customers. What would grab them and spark their interest? What words or images would turn them off – or bore them? Give your fictional customer a name if it helps. And cut to the chase in your writing. That way they will be interested, certainly wide awake – and even hungry to hear more from you.

Andrew Bennett

Associate at SindyB Communications Ltd and a freelance copywriter at Bennettwords

2 - Time to spring clean your brand

It’s funny how the start of a new year brings on the desire to spring clean, declutter and “chuck out the tinsel”. My theory is that, having spent longer than usual indoors with more people, more food and more presents than at any other time of the year, we’ve had time to have a good look at our homes. It’s like seeing it for the first time - and recognising the areas that need to be changed.

The same can be true of our businesses; making plans for the year ahead is something occupying many of us right now. So why not start with your brand? Doing a whole rebrand may seem like a lot of time and effort for little reward. But reviewing what you stand for, what you are offering and how you are perceived by the people that are important to you is a key step to growing and developing your business. It is a proactive part of starting the next year of development.

Here are a few steps we recommend to spring cleaning your brand:

Step One: repeat after us, “our brand is much more than just a logo”. Your brand is your DNA, it is everything about your organisation, the way you work, the way your customers, staff and stakeholders see you. Before reaching for the Pantone (2018 is all about the ultra violet, you know), reach for the customer and staff research and see where your customers and colleagues see your strengths and your weaknesses.

Step Two: have a clear vision what you are trying to communicate through your brand. This should appeal to the positive feedback from your customers (staff and stakeholders) and give reassurance and confidence around any negatives.

Step Three: keep it consistent. Remember the bit about your brand being your DNA? Applying your brand consistently, and meaningfully across everything your organisation does, is the key. The images, the words, the customer service, being a great place to work and the quality of your products all add up to your brand. The design and presentation of your logo, should reflect who you are.

Step Four: communicate and promote your brand. Now is that time to use your brand to engage with existing audiences and reach out to new ones. Developing your communications strategy to showcase your brand, tell your brand story and stand out from the crowd is the final important step to rebranding.

Incidentally, if the plans you have in mind are on a more personal, career or relationship basis, then I can recommend Your Book as a way of bringing the same fresh thinking to old problems in your life.

It’s 2018, why not give it a go? Let us know if we can help.