The hardest thing any business owner can do is to write about him or herself or their business. It just can’t be done—or at least done well. You need that outside eye—preferably a writer with a good marketing background and solid writing reputation—to create copy about you that others will find compelling. If you try to write about yourself, you will get bogged down in too many details, wondering which are the most important. You will also labor for hours on end trying to get the copy “just right.”
What Makes a Really Good Copywriter?
When you’ve decided it is best for both your sanity and your time to hire an outside writer, here’s what you should look for:
Style of copywriting experience
Your copywriter should be up to date on the latest ways to write for the particular medium you’re writing for, be it the web, brochures, a media kit or an author bio, for example. The writing styles for each are entirely different. If the writer doesn’t know the difference, look for one who does.
Great interview skills
Most of the information for the copy will come from you. A great copywriter has the confidence to conduct an interview to gather what they need in the shortest time possible. We know you’re busy and we need to use our skills to ferret out details quickly that make your copy shine. Expect some “off the wall” questions, and roll with them. We’re also looking for insights into your personality so we can inject that into the copy.
Ability to handle details
There are a lot of little details that go into writing good copy. The writer must be an expert at gathering information through research and interviews. They need to know the right questions to ask, and how to get this information quickly and accurately from you and your staff, or their research. You need to trust that the writer has checked credible sources and accurately reported details so that you don’t need to spend your time fact checking. A good copywriter will also be sensitive to proprietary or sensitive information as well as deadlines.
See the Types of Work we do at All the Buzz
Lack of an ego
The writer must understand that the represents you, not them. Seek a writer who doesn’t involve their own ego in the copywriting process. A writer with a big ego about how perfect their work is will make it much more difficult to make edits along the way. Make sure they are easy to get along with and are honest and up front through each stage of the work.
Gumption to take the reins
A great copywriter knows what to do on a project and can take the reins and run with it. A not-so-good copywriter will wait for you to give them all the directions. Be impressed if the copywriter offers new ideas on how to present your copy, and even more ideas on how to market it once it’s done. Be open to their suggestions; they’ve helped make hundreds of clients successful.
Patience and clarity
Expect that the copywriter will need to interview you and perhaps others in your company. Also expect the copy to go back and forth a few times for editing. A professional copywriter will establish a limit on the number of times you can edit the copy and then charge for further edits. Look for a clear presentation of the first-round copy, clearly defined. This will make it easier to modify it or make any changes as needed.
Make sure the writer clearly defines what is missing and understands your changes. Changes during final edits can at times be frustrating, especially if there is a difference of opinion. Both sides should show patience. The outcome—the final product—is the goal, not the personalities involved. However, trust the copywriter to know what they are talking about. They are experts in getting the message across and have experience in what does and does not work. What you personally like may not be the best way to get the message out there to convert readers to customers.
Quality of work
Your written product should be clear, well laid out, well written, and well designed—in each stage of the process. It should be free of grammatical and spelling errors. If the first copy comes in messy and fraught with errors, that is not a good sign for a final product. A good writer makes it easy for you, their client, to give go-ahead approvals at each stage.
Need a Great Copywriter? Contact All the Buzz.
Linda Barrett, the principal at All the Buzz, is a Clio Award-winning writer (that’s like an Academy Award in the advertising business!). We also employ other writers to assist us with projects and social media programs. However, all work comes through the top so you can be assured of the best product every time.
When you need great copywriting for your website, marketing and communications materials, magazines, social media, etc., contact All the Buzz.
Keeping up with all the changes in today’s technology isn’t easy. Business owners have to stay on their toes to maintain their edge over their competitors. One of the up-and-coming trends is voice searches. People are using Alexa and Siri and other voice-activated search tools to help find answers to their burning questions.
Here is an article I’m sharing from Joan Stewart at The Publicity Hound on “How to Rank Well for Voice Search.”
“Hey Siri, how can a mother help a colicky baby?” asks a reporter who’s writing a story for Parents magazine.
If you’re a parenting expert who has written a blog post on “How mothers can help colicky babies,” your article has a chance of being found in voice search.
Here’s a super tip from Website Magazine on how to rank well when people are searching by voice, as well as by typing their questions into the search engines. Continue reading →
When I do an interview, I always try to make it fun. I start with the easy stuff, like what’s your full name and title/how you would like me to refer to you in the article. This gets them talking and over the initial fear. Then we chat, with me leading them through the interview with questions that would normally come up in any conversation where someone is interested in either you or what you do. Once we start rolling, my subjects usually settle down into conversational mode.
But then…sometimes I hit them with the hard questions at the end. I think those are the questions that they think should scare them. But they shouldn’t be scared. These are questions that make them think…like, “What is the philosophy you always wanted to share,” or “Tell me in one word how you would describe your business.” Often, I get my best insights into people by asking these types of questions.
If you are interviewed by a journalist, there are a few things to keep in mind. These will help you prepare for the interview and keep you from saying something you shouldn’t.
How To Interview With the Media
Rule #1. EVERYTHING you say is ON THE RECORD.
I can’t tell you how many times people have felt so comfortable with me that they say, “I’ll tell you this, but it’s off the record.” If I weren’t so kind, this is the type of thing that could really get you or your business in trouble. Remember that you are talking to the media; a person who is looking for a juicy story. There is no “off the record.” Continue reading →
As a journalist, I hear fabulous stories from people every single day. Whether they are my clients or people I meet in the grocery store, I realize that everybody has a story and I am all ears to hear it.
So many business people either miss or disregard the opportunity to share their unique story with the world. And hence, they miss the many public relations opportunities the media can provide.
Why You Should Get Your Story in the Media
It Gets People Talking
If a journalist finds your story interesting, and a publisher thinks it is interesting enough to write about, then thousands of other people will too. I published a feature story about “What really goes on during spring break,” and was standing behind two moms in the grocery line one day when I overheard them talking about what they learned from the story. “I’m not sure I’ll let my daughter go without a chaperone now,” I heard one say. Think of all the people you can impact from your own story!
It Establishes You as the Expert
There is nothing more exciting–or better for your business–than media coverage. Landing a feature story in print, or being quoted as an expert source in an online article can exponentially boost your footprint in your market and set you apart from your competitors.
As a member of the media, I am always looking for good stories to write about. But most companies forget this side of marketing. Or they don’t know how to achieve it. Especially if they are a smaller company.
So far this year I’ve published more than 20 feature stories about local businesses and business people that appeared in newspapers and high-end glossy magazines. Not only did these people receive a beautiful story, they were able to use their media appearance in their marketing and social media programs to garner even more coverage and credibility. Some printed out copies of their articles and used it as a giveaway at appearances and trade shows. Others framed their article and mounted it prominently in their place of business. A few made podcasts or videos of their radio or TV appearance and posted it on their own media channels. Even more referred to their third-party coverage in sales presentations to help close the deal. Continue reading →
Get the Facts
First, it provides us with the facts we need about a company’s products, services, customer service policies, history, background, target customer audience and goals.
Get the Tone
Second, it gives us the opportunity to “hear” the company owner. We listen not just for the facts but for how the owner represents the business. Does he or she speak using technical language? Are the sentences long or short? Is there humor? This helps us to write in “their voice,” not our own, and is especially helpful when writing a speech the interviewee will be delivering. Most of the time our client remarks, “It sounds just like me!”
Get the Customer
Listening also helps us to uncover problems the owner may be having in the business, or issues their customers might be having. These can and should be addressed when creating good copy. Continue reading →
When I was director of marketing for a national company, my office was situated right next to that of the president’s. One day, he walked by my door and saw me sitting in the visitor chair at the opposite side of the desk than my normal chair. I was just sitting.
The president stopped in the doorway and asked me, “What are you doing?”
I answered, “I’m looking at the company from the customer’s point of view.”
We are often so busy working at our own jobs that we can overlook the point of view our customer sees. Therefore, it is good to either take a moment to “sit in their chair,” or hire an outside eye (trained consultant) who can identify just what it is the customer sees…and needs.
As a hired marketing consultant, I have made the tiniest tweaks in someone’s presentation, look, office, retail space or marketing strategy that have made huge differences the next time they Continue reading →