Tag Archive: copywriting

  1. The Power of Positivity: How Positive Framing Can Improve Your Copywriting

    positive framing

     

    In life and marketing, the delivery is just as important as the message. Whether you realize it or not, you probably frame your messaging every day. Though some may interpret that thought as permission to tell half-truths, that’s expressly not the point. Instead, it is meant to teach a valuable copywriting lesson – the way you say something matters.

    There are two main strategies when framing your message: positive or negative. If I’m a plumber, I might frame a new ad for pipe replacement as:

     

    Negative: Your pipes may be ready to burst.

    -or-

    Positive: Strengthen your pipes for years to come.

     

    As you can see, the negative take may seem direr, but it’s also a downer that could turn consumers off from your services. That’s not to say that going negative is always the wrong choice. Anti-smoking campaigns, for instance, often focus on the negative effects of tobacco to emotionally resonate with their audiences. At its worst, this “loss framing,” as it’s called, can come off as unnecessarily alarmist.  

    The power of positive framing is perfectly illustrated in the famous framing experiment conducted by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in 1981. The experiment presented a hypothetical question about a risky treatment for 600 people afflicted with a deadly disease. Participants were presented with one version of the following treatment. 

     

    Negative:  The treatment has a 33% chance of saving all 600 people and a 66% possibility of saving no one.

    -or-

    Positive: The treatment has a 33% chance that no people will die and a 66% probability that all 600 will die.

     

    The result? 72% of participants presented with the positive framing said the procedure was worth the risk. Only 22% presented with the negative framing followed suit. Similar results came from other negatively and positively positioned scenarios. 

    There are plenty of ways to choose positivity over negativity in your copywriting, and doing so can attract new clients and keep the ones you already have. For example:

     

    Negative: You could be overspending

    Positive: You could save money


    Negative: Don’t use unsafe equipment

    Positive: Use safer equipment


    Negative: Stop being unhealthy

    Positive: Be healthier


    Negative: Stop being a bad writer

    Positive: Improve your writing

     

    When promoting your business, you should understand that your clients have a problem that your product or service can solve. Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on your product or service as the solution. That not only makes your content less of a downer but also inspires your audience to see your company in a positive light.

  2. Microcopy: How Small Phrases Can Have a Big Impact on UX

    microcopy

    Buy Now! Confirm Purchase! Subscribe! At this point, anyone who’s joined an online newsletter, bought a book off of Amazon or secured airline tickets on Expedia has seen these short call-to-action phrases that plead for them to seal the deal. That is called microcopy and it may be short in length, but it is intrinsic to your site’s user experience (UX) and can highly influence whether potential customers buy your product or service.

    The purpose of microcopy is to inspire user action. Whether that action is to add a product to a digital cart, subscribe to a weekly comedy podcast or submit credit card information to begin a free trial of Netflix, there is always a button begging to be clicked.

    Where the strategy comes in is the endless variable that is human psychology. In around three words or less, how can I convince you that clicking this button is worth your time, that entering a search term in my marketplace will yield the results you need, or that tapping “buy” on a checkout page will secure your purchase? Well, there are quite a few important factors to consider.

    Following an extremely helpful guide by Udit Gupta for UX Design, we have compiled and simplified three primary thoughts you should have before carefully crafting your microcopy.

    • Anxiety is the Enemy: As someone with admittedly high levels of anxiety in his personal life, the last thing I want is a case of the nervous sweats before I hit “confirm purchase” at checkout. To battle that stress, effective microcopy will provide supplementary information that puts users’ minds at ease. For instance, maybe an “Add to Cart” button will be paired with microcopy underneath explaining “You will not be charged until checkout.” A little clarity and reassurance go a long way. 
    • Calm the Shock: Would you give your credit card info to a stranger? Of course not. This is the challenge many companies encounter when asking for sensitive information from potential new customers. Explaining exactly why this information is needed is vitally important. Why do I have to enter my phone number in checkout? Why do you need my credit card information when signing up for a free trial? If you can provide some answers, you can calm the shock and knee-jerk “no way” response many people will have to these questions. For example, being upfront about a subscription fee if the user doesn’t unsub before the end of the trial period is vital to not only being ethical but gaining trust.  
    • Ask it Nicely: Though the question itself is important, there’s a lot of power in how you ask it. Microcopy is brief by nature, but that is no excuse for it to be curt or cold. Instead of “Rate Us!”, why not try “How Was Your Experience?” Little touches like this are invaluable to improving user experience and creating lifelong fans (and return customers).

    Microcopy in Action

    What good is advice if we don’t practice what we preach, right? With that in mind, check out how we incorporated some key principles of effective microcopy into our own website to attract new clients and newsletter subscribers.

    microcopy

    1. We spell out our intentions: Findsome & Winmore wants to start a dialogue with you in order to see if we can be of service and potentially begin a partnership.
    2. We ask nicely: Instead of coldly saying “Contact us” or “Inquire for more information,” we ask visitors to “Tell us where you’d like to go…” (which plays off of our exploration-themed branding and is far more welcoming).
    3. We explain what you’re getting: Instead of just saying “Subscribe to our newsletter,” we go into just enough detail to entice and explain what people can expect from us, namely, marketing tips and advice.

    At its core, good microcopy delivers by putting users at ease, explaining what they’re getting into by clicking and making requests nicely. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to insert more personality into your messaging. Though it may be tempting to go with a less-is-more approach, I implore you to take a second to strategize before slapping “BUY NOW” on that digital button and calling it a day. You may not have much room to work with, but with a little creative thinking, you can really maximize your limited word count and make your user experience that much better.

  3. Web Content Done “Write”: How to Craft Web Copy

    How to Craft Web Copy

    Whether you realize it or not, you’re a writer. From a catty comment on a Facebook post to the embarrassing email you almost (tragically) forwarded to your boss, in one form or another, you’re committing words to page or screen.

    Fortunately, many considerations taken when writing even the most trivial of texts can directly help you better understand how to craft web copy for your next website. Stay with me here: When texting a friend, responding with, “lol, omg,” may be acceptable. However, when writing an email to a colleague, the same message may be better suited as, “Oh my goodness. That’s hilarious.” You are crafting your message not just for the audience (formal vs. informal), but also the delivery vehicle (email vs. text). At its core, these are also the salient considerations when crafting effective web copy.

    Understanding the above point, it should come as no surprise that writing web copy like you might write a blog post or company newsletter will not fly. Crafting web copy is its own unique beast. Before trying to conquer your website’s content, consider the following factors:

    • Who are You?: What is your company’s persona? Is it clearly defined? If your company were a person, do you know what’s on their Spotify playlist, what car they drive and who their favorite Beatle is? Though it may sound (and feel) a bit silly to get this granular with your brand’s persona, it helps to clearly paint a picture of how to craft web copy in a voice that’s pitch perfect. Whether it’s playful, formal, whimsical or a mish-mash of all of the above, defining your brand’s persona is key. For example, Findsome & Winmore is generally characterized as professional, yet with a touch of whimsy and approachability.

    • Who are They?: Second only to knowing your own brand’s persona is knowing your audience’s. In all forms of writing, you must know your audience. If you don’t know who you’re writing for, chances are you’re writing for no one. Especially when writing web copy, there is a natural tendency to write towards one’s own interests instead of serving the target audience. Do not fall into this trap. Your audience should be top of mind at all times and take precedence over personal preferences. I may love early 1990s hip hop, describing Findsome & Winmore’s services as “phat” just won’t play for our target audiences. 

    • What’s the Point?: Though this is partially to do with the larger discussion of website design, you must ensure that every page of your site has a purpose. Moreover, ensure that this purpose is served by the content provided therein. Make your intentions known early and with gusto, especially if the page’s primary objective is to get them to click a link, “buy now,” or otherwise jump through a fiery hoop. Call to actions should never be subtle. Our site opens with a simple, direct question in all caps and red font that nearly glows off of the page: “LOOKING FOR A DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY TO HELP YOU FIND AND WIN NEW CUSTOMERS?” If so, you know to read on.

    • Keep it Short: Brevity is the soul of wit. Though most creative writers are guilty of getting a bit overly verbose for the fun of it, a website is not the place. Your audience is rarely looking to read a novel. Instead, it’s your job as a content writer to walk the tightrope between conciseness and creativity. If you proofread your web copy and think the same message can be conveyed in fewer words, chop chop chop. In promotion for our newsletter, we wrote, “Our monthly e-newsletter, HOT AIR, is chock full of advice on how to FIND and WIN more customers.” Balancing our defined voice with conciseness, this single sentence conveys that 1) we have a newsletter 2) it’s called HOT AIR 3) it’s full of marketing advice 4) you should subscribe (pushed by the subscribe button just adjacent to the copy).

      But hold on – there is one notable exception to this rule. Though conciseness is often golden, there are some notable SEO benefits to long-form content as well. Such content has been shown to sometimes rank higher in search engines, produce more backlinks and increase conversion rates, according to one article from 2015. The solution? Consider including a bit of both shorter and longer content to your site, monitor your performance and decide the best length for your audience moving forward.

    • Work with Web Design: Design and content face the same quandary presented with the chicken and the egg: what comes first? In best-case scenarios, both are developed in tandem, allowing both the form and function of the site to fit the content within it (and vice versa). However, if the design is already built, ensure that you are writing with this context in mind. Copy should fit the page like a glove.

    Even for well-practiced writers, writing for the web can be a real challenge. Take a deep breath–we promise, it will all be OK just as long as you keep a firm grasp on who you are as a brand, who your website content is targeting, and what the purpose is of each page. Then, you can edit for length and ensure the copy matches the design.

    Last, but not least, always, and I repeat, always, have someone proof your website copy. The internet is as big as its memory is good. From one writer to another (even if your specialty is texting), you have it in you to craft copy that works for the web. However, if you need help along the way we may be able to {Findsome} one up for the job.

  4. Creative Briefs: Not Just a Classic Agency Go-To

    This blog post written over a year ago still says true. Creative briefs are a must-do in the world of marketing and advertising. Need proof? Read on…
    Creative briefs aren’t just for the 1950’s Sterling Cooper ad agency, so before you corral your designer/writer/creative wizard for work, stop, take a deep breath and create a creative brief that will help your team produce their greatest work yet. If you’re not sure where to start, let me guide you…
    creative brief meme
    Quick rundown: A creative brief is a document that is used by professionals to help inform and guide a select person or team while creating everything from a visual design like a logo and website, to website copy and photography or video. It is not only helpful for a designer and copywriter, but also for the person who is requesting the creative and for the person that is overseeing it. The brief keeps everyone on the same page and it is a guiding light when the marketing world gets dark…and it really can without a brief.

    When taking a stab at your first creative brief, keep the following in mind:

    • Keep it brief. Creative briefs are meant to be short, sweet and to the point. Try to keep it at a page and provide a synopsis of the following:
      • Project breakdown
      • Big picture snapshot of the client (who they are, their attitude and tone)
      • Audience breakdown
      • Project objective
      • Design and detail inspiration (include keywords, links to inspirational images, websites, content and feel free to even include designs and details the client doesn’t like so your designer and/or copywriter knows what to avoid)
    • Inspire. Although the brief is meant to guide and inform, make sure that you, as the brand ambassador, inspire! When you have created your brief and received the a-okay on it, sit down with your team and challenge them with thought-provoking questions. What do they foresee to be challenges within the project? What do they envision for the end product? What inspires them when reading the brief? Get the group talking and roundtable it. When the juices start a flowin’, no one will be thirsty for ideas.

    When you have a creative brief, the benefits are clear:

    • A brief helps everyone that has a hand in the project stay on the same page.
    • It keeps the objectives on the forefront for all, which in turn supports the creative made.
    • Expectations are clear with no grey area, as all involved parties agreed to the brief.
    • Approval rounds tend to be shorter, as direction was agreed upon from the beginning and during the course of production, designers can ask themselves “Does this achieve the goal? or “Is this solving their problem?”, if not, they can start over and if so, they can keep on keepin’ on! This keeps costs down and everyone happy.
    •  At the end of the day, quality work is produced that is loved by all.

    In short, creative briefs are a must. Do it and you won’t regret it.

    creative brief meme