In most companies, the role of copywriter is far from glamorous. My mind typically gravitates toward an image of some poor, unfortunate soul confined to a dark room with a thick stack of business documents in one hand and a thesaurus in the other, wracking his brain for the best way to say “buy our stuff”. Okay, maybe its not that bad. However, I firmly believe that the day-to-day tasks of the conventional copywriter are largely underrated. Language and effective communication span across all industries and professions, and cannot be underestimated in a world where brands are continuously shouting over one another for attention. In the end, it isn’t the loudest ones that will receive responses. It’s those that have the most insightful things to say and the most interesting ways to say them; it’s the brands with the best voices.
Language is absolutely pivotal in creating content that sets one company apart from the rest, and understanding how to manipulate it to encompass brand image transcends the role of any one individual. Marketers, advertisers, analysts, and copy editors alike must have a firm grasp on how to represent and elevate their respective companies in order to influence various audiences. Whether the task is creating captivating web pages, developing long-term campaign strategies, or sending basic emails, it’s important for all professionals to form, understand, and pervade their brand lingo.
Leave your judgments at the door.
Every good copywriter knows (and every good business person should know) that the tone and vocabulary used in all copy should be adapted to the user experience design. This may sound basic, but often times, an individual’s personal lexicon and opinions find their way into the marketing conversation. This is detrimental for a few reasons: First, because your target audience is not necessarily the company’s target audience. Input too many of your stylistic and subjective preferences and suddenly, the brand vision is tainted with external influence and extraneous information. Second, because it’s not consumer-conscious. Know your audience. Make sure to speak to them, not to appease yourself or to promote your personal convictions. Hopefully, you are currently working for a company that echos your beliefs and ideas and you can use that overlap to create supportive, insightful content. If not, respect the buyer’s journey, research them thoroughly, and only enact language that will address their concerns and help them move forward. Think like your consumer. Take the time to understand how they currently view your company and how you can improve their overall experience with your brand.
Exercise thoughtful word choice.
Up until very recently, business jargon and buzzwords had been extremely effective in selling products and attracting customers to brands. However, like all tired, overused trends, they eventually stopped being effective and started being ambiguous. The truth of the matter is that phrases like “demand creation” and “customer alignment” have bled into the marketing background as all-encompassing babble with unclear meaning. The greater truth is that you aren’t going to differentiate your business by stringing them along your website like Christmas lights. Nowadays, consumers respond to bold assertions, outlets for two-way communication, and business integrity. Re-invent your copy to reflect your audience’s desires and only use language that your business can act upon and substantiate in practice. Don’t proclaim that your business is agile if you don’t have a clear and credible definition of what that means. Take the time to understand the goals of your company and the needs of your consumer, then re-invent your language around the value that you can provide.
Keep it simple.
Don Draper said it best: “Make it simple, but significant.” He may be a fictional character and he may have been talking specifically about advertising, but he had a good point. The language that you implement should parallel your company’s mission statement and foremost ideas as concisely and elegantly as possible. When it comes to content like site copy and case studies, be sure to use language that streamlines your business’s processes, demonstrates their benefit, and maintains clarity and brevity. No matter your target audience, people like easily digestible, understandable material that provides new insight and value. Anything else is a waste of their time.
To the customer, the way that a business articulates is a direct reflection of how they work, what goals they strive toward, and insight toward what an buying experience with them would be like. It’s not only important, but crucial that companies are mindful of the way that they brand themselves, responsive to industry changes, and conscious of the evolving discussion that takes place between business and audience.
Feature photo courtesy of Scribizzy.com