We’re always hearing about how content is king – and it’s true. Nowadays, companies of all stripes, no matter what their market, are deploying creative content to connect with their audiences in print and online. But living in the Age of Overload means there’s just SO MUCH STUFF out there – and not all of it’s fun to read.
Writing brilliantly is a skill that’s learned over many years of practice – but there are some great pointers that can help everyone create better, more compelling copy. Here are just a few…
1. Find your unique voice
What’s your brand? How would you describe it? What unique viewpoint can you offer? Do some prep work and find your brand personality by digging deep to find your tone of voice. But don’t just be a copyist – too many brands are suffering from what I’d call post-Innocent-irritation – and just try that super-friendly, over-familiar style that was made famous by Innocent Smoothies back in the early Noughties. Innocent were pioneers of the brand-as-person voice – and it works for them because it’s authentic to Innocent. (Not you). So find your own place.
2. Think of your audience
Creating great brand content is about being laser focused on your audience. What would they be interested in? How can you make your brand relevant to them? Put your readers front and centre when you plan your content and always run a quick Do, Feel, Know before you write. This is a super-speedy way to ask what you want your audience to DO, what you want them to FEEL and what your want them to KNOW from your copy. Once you’ve got that in place, it’s much easier to stay on track.
3. Take a stance
Don’t be afraid to offer an opinion. No, I’m not suggesting you wade in on international politics and the finer points of the latest celebrity break-up – let’s not feed the trolls, here. But think about the brands that have created powerful identities – that’s Innocent again, but also brands like Nike, Paddy Power, and Mailchimp amongst others – and you’ll see that they don’t shy away from having a stance and a recognisable opinion.
4. Cut the waffle
It’s a fact that our attention spans aren’t what they were (pardon? Sorry, I missed that). So with copy that’s most likely going to be read on a phone, think concise and punchy rather than waffly and ponderous. There’s a time and a place for long-form copy (and as a former journalist, I’m a huge fan of well-written treatises) but if you’re trying to engage audiences online, get to the point: keep it sharp, short and simple.
5. Have a heart
Authenticity can’t be manufactured – it comes from the heart of a brand. If you’ve nailed tone of voice right, then you should be making your audience feel something, too. Perhaps you’ve got a campaign in you, or your brand is raising awareness, or trying to eliminate a problem. Whatever it is, find the passion point within your brand and your content will deliver an emotional connection as well.
At Nine Media we offer bespoke writing courses for your brand, and can create tone of voice and brand identity guides for your business. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.