Small business BIG growth®
Words by Julie Cuthbert, Copywriter and Business Consultant with Copy2Go
You’ve spent squillions on your website, a packet on your logo and branding, and now, every time someone looks at your marketing material your prospects are thinking “What the?” Coz the words are like something from John and Betty. You know how it goes, “This is John. This is Betty. John can run. Betty can run…”
Your website and branding pictures are pretty impressive, but the words just don’t cut the mustard. Could that be because you’ve focused too much on how your marketing material looks, and not given it the credit it deserves regarding how your business sounds?
When you marry, you don’t let Uncle Fred sing for the reception. When you need to go to court you don’t ask Auntie Wilma to represent you. When you have the ATO breathing down your neck you wouldn’t get the abacus out and hope for the best! So why is it that so many rely on their high school English tuition to sell their businesses in words?
Using a Copywriter is an investment in your business – and it’s tax deductible!
Getting the right message across, in words that WORK FOR YOU, is imperative to your business success. I have the utmost respect for Website Designers and Graphic Artists. It’s gratifying that most people get what they do. And yet, when I say I’m a Copywriter, the response is often, “So what exactly is a Copywriter?” Essentially, my reply is “I write for people who have great businesses, but they just can’t put it into words”.
Starting your own business requires the development of a business plan, and whether you’re aiming to pitch to the powerful dudes on Shark Tank, or to the bank for an investment or loan, the message has to be loud and clear – and VERY persuasive. It’s not enough to say “I’ve got this great idea!” Your pitch has to be strategic, backed by overwhelming evidence that you’re on a winner, and no matter how much of a ‘dynamo’ presenter you are in a personal meeting, you then have to be able to back it up with something in writing, and it’s even more important as your business grows to higher levels.
You can TELL someone how good you are until you’re blue in the face, but the question will always linger… “so what have you got to SHOW for it?”
In a generational world of text messages and cryptic speak on Facebook, the art of writing has diminished. I grew up learning spelling by rote, and pouring over the purple Spelling Guide issued by the Victorian Curriculum authorities. I couldn’t graduate from Prep until I mastered John and Betty, and every book I read began with “Once upon a time…” Now I’m not saying that was the best way, but us oldies read for meaning and spelling and grammar. That makes a strong impression in your marketing if it’s right, and becomes a severe distraction if it’s not.
Over time, the younger generations have been liberated with “Round the Twist” and “The Day My Bum Went Psycho” (all hail Paul Jennings and Andy Griffiths), BUT handwriting classes have slipped to once a week in primary schools, teaching to the test (i.e. NAPLAN scores) has a centric focus for three months of the school year, and if you want to become a builder you have to at least get a Bachelor of something first. Just who is writing the business plans for the education system? In our current society, there’s a lot of ‘telling’ going on about how it should be done, but the results are eventually going to show that content writing standards are slipping, because there is less focus on our young people doing jobs they are born to be happy to do, less specialisation in the school curriculum (where did the Tech Schools go?), and more of a need to have a PhD just to get an interview (and, by the way, to do that you need a killer resume).
So what does a Copywriter do, and why is the art of good writing so important for your business?
Marketing is all about reaching your target market – in language they understand. It’s about standing out from the pack, it’s about resonating with your audience, and, to be successful in business, you have to be able to appeal across the generations, to make them want to buy your products and services. Selling yourself is now, more than ever, highly competitive. Google is your new best friend, the internet is flooded with choices, and a spell checker is often rong!!!?
My current catch cry is that “In no time at all, your Copywriter in Melbourne, Julie Cuthbert, will have you serving Beef Wellington words instead of something from the sausage factory!” Okay that’s a bit blunt, but it’s what I invariably strive to do for my clients.
Ask yourself if what you have in words is actually working for you.
Your words need to be strategically written to engage your audience, show why your prospects and customers should buy into what you offer, and it all boils down to the first few lines in your marketing to get their attention, on each and every page, flyer, letter, email header, and so on.
Your Copywriter can help you write letters of appeal when you can’t get insurance cover, help you divert a curly client who wants a refund, put together your website content, blogs, case studies and brochures to introduce yourself. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. In each and every example, the wording has to be structured, logical, factual, persuasive, and informational. You need to use a bit of narrative from time to time to make it creative, and you have to get the tone of voice right. For example, if I’m writing for a Personal Trainer in Belgrave, the language will be different to how I’d write for an Accountant in the city. Our society is very diverse, and so is the language that every demographic and industry speaks.
So go ahead and write your wording for your next marketing campaign by all means, and if you get stuck remember the reason why you wouldn’t let Uncle Fred sing at your wedding. Accessing professionals who specialise in certain fields, like Copywriting, will help you grow and get noticed for all the right reasons – and Big Think’s Specialist Hub is the perfect place to start when you’re stuck on a sausage when you’d rather have steak!
Julie has a Bachelor of Education, is a member of the Certified Professional Writers Association, and spent four years as a Professional Writing Seminar Presenter, throughout Australia, educating others about how to write Persuasive and Informational pieces – the core of advertising. Julie is also a published author, journalist, scriptwriter, and producer, and attracted significant attention from the ABC by co-writing and producing her own children’s show (in the wake of The Wiggles). She’s been a professional entertainer, and an award-winning actor (with a stint in the 2014 Melbourne Comedy Festival).