Category Archives: Writing Tips

Why a Well-Done Intake Interview is Vitally Important to Writing Copy

intake-interview-importanceWhen working with a new client, we always perform what we call an “Intake Interview.” This interview is valuable in a number of ways.

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.

We have a standard list of basic questions we ask a new client, but then we stop referring to our list and put ourselves in the shoes of the company’s customers to ask further questions. What is it the customer needs to know about the business, what is it the customer wants to know about the business, and what is it the customer isn’t aware they need to know? That special sauce that sets this business apart.

Behaving as if you were a customer of the business while performing the intake interview reveals items that should appear in the marketing copy, whether it’s for a website, brochure or other marketing collateral. And often, we find that the business owner is too close to the business to see what we can see with our outsider’s eye. Our recommendations are heartily accepted.

Get the Reason Why

Every business owner should have a reason why they are in business. Why did they choose this field? Why is their product or service of value to their customers? There are a number of “why” questions that apply. Often, the why is the most important part of any marketing copy.

Get the Human Qualities

The client’s favorite part of our intake interview is our psychological quiz that helps us humanize any business. People don’t buy things, they buy how things make them feel. And these human qualities can make the difference between a lukewarm looker and an excited customer. Knowing that someone “gets them” can turn good copy in to great copy when it addresses a customer’s needs, wants and desires. This segment of our intake interview always opens up the conversation to reveal the heart of any business.

Throughout my career as a feature writer for publications as well as a business copywriter, I have interviewed thousands of subjects. What makes a good feature story is the heart. The details that bring it to life. And the compelling elements that make it irresistable. It is the same for good business copy.

Make Sure Your Copywriter Incorporates an Intake Interview

If the copywriter you’re interviewing doesn’t do an intake interview, it is you, not them who will be missing out. They will never be able to capture the true essence of your business. And this is what compels people to choose you, not just the facts.

For great copywriting, contact All the Buzz. We are experts at creating copy that sells.

 

 

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Value is What You Get

Warren_Buffett_quotePrice is what you pay.
Value is what you get.

I love this quote from Warren Buffett because it truly describes what sales and marketing is all about.

If your clients or customers are complaining about the price of the services or goods you are offering, they probably don’t understand the value of what they are buying. And this is where you need to beef up your marketing efforts.

We’ve all heard how we must feature the benefits of an item, not its features when selling. This concept takes that credo to a new level. People will pay — and pay handsomely — for something they value.

Within the past few months I had the opportunity to work with a start-up company in creating its brand and new website. We went round and round with the pricing for copywriting on their new site. If it weren’t for the fact that I was referred to them by someone they respected, I’m not sure they would have hired a copywriter at all. They simply didn’t see the value in good writing or the need to pay for it. But in the end, Continue reading →

Google’s Rules on “Duplicate Content”

Do_Not_DuplicateAny good web designer or web copywriter will tell you that you cannot have duplicate content on your site. They’re right–in most cases.

According to Google, “Duplicate content refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” This means that when writing good web copy, each page should be original and blocks of copy should not be repeated within your site. Continue reading →

Washington Post Reports Writing Skills Rising on the List of Job Requirements But Failing in Candidates

Washington_Post_logoThe Washington Post published an article on Sunday, August 13, 2017 titled “Writing skills are rising on the list of job requirements–and falling in candidates,” by Jeffrey K. Selingo.

Selingo continues to reports hearing an interviewer from government contracting firm, looking to hire proposal writers for federal agencies, complain about “how difficult it is to find good writers these days.” Continue reading →

Why Keywords Matter for SEO

why_keywords_are_important_for_SEOAlthough the rules of search engine optimization (SEO) change frequently, one thing remains constant: the need for content that is keyword-relevant.

Not 20 years ago, it was easy to get noticed with your own website. But now that there are more than 1 billion websites on the World Wide Web, it is increasingly difficult to grab your audience’s attention and get them to click on your site. Continue reading →

The Difference Between a White Paper and an E-Book

Many business owners are told that they need to create a downloadable document that can help them explain their business, support their findings, provide education, set themselves apart as an expert in their field, or used as a free giveaway to help build a list. This can be a white paper or an e-book.

In speaking with business owners, I find that they are often confused about the differences between a white paper or an e-book and which is the appropriate item to create and offer. Continue reading →

How Can You Charge That? It Only Took You Five Minutes!

Pablo-PicassoPablo Picasso was sitting in a restaurant one day when a woman walked up and asked if he would draw her a sketch. He said OK, and jotted down a quick sketch. When the woman went to take the drawing, Picasso held back and said, “That will be $10,000.”

The woman was outraged. “How can you charge me $10,000 when it only took you five minutes!”

Picasso politely answered, “No ma’am. It took me 50 years.” Continue reading →

One Space or Two Between Sentences?

keyboard-typingWay back when I was in school, we were taught to put two spaces behind a period before beginning a new sentence. Writing for the web, however, is different. You only use one space between sentences.

When we used to use typewriters, in order for the copy to be read clearly, it needed two spaces to set it apart. There was only only font, after all, and it was not as easy to read as our modern proportional fonts found on computers. Continue reading →

Everyday Phrases that Came from Shakespeare

everyday-phrases-that-came-from-Shakespeare

What is it You’re Truly Selling?

raising-hand-in-a-crowdI was listening to a TED Talk today that offered to teach people how to find their true calling in just five minutes. In it, the speaker, Adam Leipzig, asked the audience five questions:

  1. What is your name?
  2. What do you do?
  3. Who do you do it for?
  4. What do those people want and need?
  5. How do they change as a result?
  6. Continue reading →