Expert copywriter's blog | copywriting tips | Aspect Copywriting

What exactly makes a good strapline, slogan or name?

What exactly makes a good strapline, slogan or name?

They must:

  • Be memorable
  • Be easy to pronounce
  • Stand out among your competitors
  • Have global appeal
  • Be acceptable across cultures

A good brand naming copywriter will consider all of the above, while coming up with a name that – in this digital age – would work well as a URL. This is extremely important. Along with the fact that your name or strapline can’t already exist, nor can anything too similar.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. You just might require a bit of assistance so that the words that represent your brand best carry through the message of what you do, along with your mission.

What’s good for one company, may be bad for another. A branding copywriter must consider what the brand identity naming elements should include.

For instance, if a name should explicitly mention what they do or not. Or how to incorporate company values in a name or strapline. Or what type of name to use.

As an example, you could name your company after you, simply by using your first name and surname. John Lewis is the perfect example of a reputable brand with a simple yet memorable name.

You could also use a descriptive name such as my own. Copywriting describes what I do, and Aspect describes how I assist in forming your brand image by using words that will make your target audience look at your brand from an angle that will make them want to invest.

Hence my strapline: taking your brand in the right direction (this is an example of how a good, long-lasting corporate strapline will marry with your name).

Another option is using a relevant object to come up with a creative name. The infamous Coca-Cola name was born from the coca leaves & kola nuts used as ingredients in the drink.

You could also choose initials and abbreviations. H&M and Asda are proof of this. Their names are shortened forms of Hennes and Mauritz & Asquith and Dairies. And UPS is an initialised version of the lengthy United Parcel Service of America, inc.

Somehow, I don’t think the non-abbreviated version of any of these would work well as a URL.

Blog writing

Effective Copywriting: Selling The Outcome

Effective Copywriting: Selling The Outcome

Effective copywriting doesn’t describe a service, product or brand. It sells the outcome: what your target audience can get from it.

When someone searches on the web for a travel agency, they already know that they’re going to visit the web page of a travel agency. Therefore, ‘Established in 1982, [Company name] is a travel agency that prides itself on…’ tells the website user nothing new. They are wasted, empty words and make the process from marketing something to selling it much longer.

Good copywriting endorses a product or service by highlighting what benefits the market will receive from buying into it. It doesn’t tell, it shows what the product means for the customer.

The travel agency would be better off sharing the impressive number hotels in their portfolio and the USPs of the travel & hotel experiences they offer. Good copy involves facts that the target audience otherwise wouldn’t have known about, and it excludes many of the obvious details.

Excellent copy sets the brand apart, and emphasises why it’s the best choice without uttering the words ‘best choice’.

Families don’t want a builder, they want a sturdy, well-built, well-integrated extension.

Businesses don’t want a copywriter, they want to transform their website to increase conversion rates.

That old sweet shop down the road doesn’t sell sweets. It sells traditional sweets that have delighted generations.

By putting this concept into practice while creating content, your target audience will know much sooner that their needs can be met. This in turn makes the sale happen much quicker. Everyone wins.

Standing out among competitors - copywriting

Why Copywriters Aren’t Ruled By Grammar

Why Copywriters Aren’t Ruled By Grammar

previous post of mine mentioned how copywriters are anti-robot language when it comes to trying to persuade people to believe in a product, service or brand.

Good copywriting is about humans talking to other humans. Humans that share the values of your company.

You can guarantee that the most successful, memorable of marketing or advertising campaigns have involved fun, effective copywriting that reach out to people’s core beliefs in the most human way. But how can language have this effect?

For one, if you look around, you will spot that copywriters aren’t afraid of contractions. ‘Don’t’, ‘can’t’ and ‘wouldn’t’ are generally favoured to ‘do not’, ‘can not’ and ‘would not’.

Unless of course ‘do not’ would achieve the outcome wanted out of sharing a message, due to its more authoritative nature (just as standard English is).

But most of the time, ‘don’t’ will reach people much easier. Because it’s what we hear most in natural, every day speech.

The point is, a decent copywriter only chooses words laden with meaning to contribute to the whole objective of the campaign or project. And they mostly do this by trying to appeal to people’s daily experiences of the world.

And guess what? Language plays a huge part in most of our lives. In fact, it is core to our identities.

So, if people are hearing contractions and starting sentences with ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘because’ on a daily basis, then they are more likely to be engaged by texts that use this type of language too.

This is also perfect for maintaining a positive brand image. Why? Because it’s more conversational and natural sounding.

This will make your brand shout sincere, warm and confident in what you stand for. You won’t come across as trying to make up for any downfalls.

See, it always comes back round to brand values and the identity you project.

Other things copywriting avoids that plain business writing doesn’t:

  • Sub-clauses: We tend to limit sub-clauses to just two parts separated by a comma or hyphen, if any at all
  • Over-long sentences: the shorter the sentence, the better
  • Pointless adverbs, verbs and nouns: Incredibly complex? Why not just complex? Delivering results? Why not simply letting people see results?
  • Semi-colons: people like simple sentence structures for ease of reading
  • Jargon: however, do use it if you only want to attract an extremely specific market niche who understand the particular jargon
  • Passive sentences: The active sentence ‘you can find us at the following address‘ sounds much friendlier than ‘Aspect Copywriting can be found at the following address‘. Pronouns are a copywriter’s friend.

Despite all of this, it’s important to remember that copywriters are not anti-grammar (hey, ‘are not’ seemed to fit better for purpose here than ‘aren’t’, who knew?) And all this doesn’t mean we aren’t excellent grammarians, either.

Many of us are involved in proofreading and copy-editing, and understand the importance of accurate grammar and spelling. For instance, it’s best not to start a sentence with ‘and’ in a CV. And Poundland’s slogan still pains me (have a look at the shopfront for yourself and you may notice what I mean).

It’s just that copywriters understand how there’s a time and a place for everything. We understand that some ‘rules’ can be broken without negative consequence.

We understand that contractions and passive sentences are often more effective when trying to get people to act than if we were to adopt perfect standard English.

We just want to communicate with people, and we aren’t afraid to communicate as people.

communication: copywriting

Personifying Your Content: Humans Talking To Humans

Personifying Your Content: Humans Talking To Humans

Consider these examples:

Act booking agency:

Content/business writing: Established in 1986, CLB Talent is a booking agency for A-List Bands, Celebrities and Comedians for Concerts, Private Parties and Corporate Events. Over 900 events have used our services since the company was founded, and a high level of professionalism is guaranteed.

Copywriting: We have booked a-list bands, celebrities and comedians for hundreds of events over the years to make your event a memorable one. Go on, impress your guests.

Or, even better: Leaving people star-struck since 1986.

Egg yolk separator kitchen tool:

Content/business writing: This innovative and stylish kitchen tool separates egg yolks from whites with ease. This is a quicker, cleaner and easier alternative to the traditional method and involves less mess, less broken yolks and less floating shell. Most importantly, this tool ensures no more damaged eggs and waste.

Copywriting: No yolks were harmed in the making of this meringue.

I think our examples speak for themselves. Notice how the copywriting examples focus on what people can benefit from their product or service? That’s because people only seek to invest in a product or service if they’re going to get something out of it. It’s basic psychology.

A good copywriter writes content as if they have tried and tested the product themselves, and as if they really know what the product stands for. And what the product stands for is, essentially, the benefits it can bring to a potential consumer. Or so it should be.

The content writing example for the egg yolk separator may describe the benefits, however it’s not concise in the slightest. The copywriting example puts the main benefit at the forefront of the readers mind, and quickly.

So sell the product/service and it’s features like you’re writing to show people what they will benefit from it. Don’t merely describe it.

Effective copywriting does more than that. It doesn’t just tell, it shows and tells.

That is why it is critical to inject personality into your copy. It’s obvious that there’s a person who created it to show you the product, not a marketing droid.

Content writing may contain keywords for SEO purposes, but it often reads in a way that none of us talk like.

The examples above also demonstrate the power of active voice. Copywriters use pronouns such as ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘you’ to keep the content conversational, and they favour contractions (‘it’s’ versus ‘it is’). The reader will automatically feel a sense of common ground with the writer, with that common ground being that both parties are human.

These are just two of the many grammar and language techniques copywriters are not afraid to use, which are otherwise frowned upon in standard English. But standard English does not make excellent content.  Without going all linguist on you, can we really blame them when it’s what is drummed into us at school?

And yes, standard English (I’m talking the English even the Queen isn’t posh/non-human enough to use in her spoken language) does have it’s place. But that’s not for here.

So, writers of business content only take on humdrum, robotic language when they:

a) Don’t have a good style guide in place, or at all
b) Don’t carry their brand values through their writing
c) Think standard English is the way to go

Effective Copywriting: Finding your niche

Copywriting Success: How Finding Your Niche Can Mean Business

Copywriting Success: How Finding Your Niche Can Mean Business

Identify your niche and dominate it. And when I say dominate, I just mean work harder than anyone else could possibly work at it – Nate Parker

Think of your target audience as a single, fictional character. What do they enjoy? What type of job do they do? Their values? Interests? Needs?

You get the picture. This is your market niche. You specialise in products or services aimed at satisfying aspects of your character’s personal profile and fulfilling their needs, and you strive to survive against your competitors who hope to do the same.

You need copy that shouts “pick me! pick me!”

Then, there will always be a second character lurking in the background. They don’t quite understand your niche, but are still interested in finding out more.

This character represents your potential customers, and it’s important that your words can be understood by them, too.

This means you have to cut out any business jargon from your communications (that is unless you’re a business that has an extremely targeted audience that is aimed at, for instance, civil engineers).

So how can you put this into practice?

As an example, a professional copywriter can cut out the middleman by removing any mention of their services being aimed towards “businesses of all sizes, big or small.”

Not only is this overused, but it doesn’t actually tell us anything about what the business does. It’s information we could go without having in that it contributes nothing towards how consumers see your brand.

Instead, the copywriter can write directly to their target audience: people who want to better their consumer’s brand image and improve their copy so that it brings in more customers.

These people want a copywriting service that promotes “taking [their] brand in the right direction.” So, something that will do good things for their business. Company size needn’t even come into it.

Your copy should be laden with your company values and what it is promising.

When you write to talk to the right audience, you realise that much of the stuff that had previously been written is vague and pointless.

Empty words serve no purpose in bringing in potential customers. In fact, it can contribute to a negative brand image. No one likes a cliché.

The theory is simple. Writing to a tighter target market = less empty words. More meaningful words = successful copywriting.

Once you have found your niche, you can write words that will appeal to your audience using your company personality.

Your company personality is the same personality you imagine that fictional character to have. This also happens to be the very thing that makes you different from any other company.

Don’t expect people to work out your market niche, or your message. Put it in front of them. Show them what you can do and be clear in order to be heard.

And most importantly, carry this message through all your communications. Be consistent.

copywriting style guides

The Importance Of Standing For Something: Company Values For Better Copywriting

The Importance Of Standing For Something: Company Values For Better Copywriting

If you don’t stand for something, how can anyone respect what you do? – Miranda Lambert

It’s obvious. When we buy into a product or a service, we are choosing one company over its competitors. In doing that, we are expressing our identities by portraying some aspect of what we stand for, and that is because the company is saying something that sits nicely with how we think.

This is the importance of standing for something as a company: having values, a mission, clear company identity, and communicating this all well so it can appeal to potential customers.

And that’s why it’s vital to have a seamless brand voice that’s described in a style guide to create a company personality that consumers relate to.

Company values can be communicated implicitly through what you say and how you say it, or explicitly through your content and tagline.

For instance, a travel photographer might believe they are on a journey to share images of today that will last generations. As a result, their choice of language for their website may be warm, friendly and full of sentimental phrases.

The same person may also express their values through the slogan, “Images For The Ages.”

In thinking about what your business stands for, what you care about should be obvious if you’re an established company.

There’s no use trying to come up with it out of nowhere because, trust me, it will show. That’s why so many company’s have such vague values which are displayed through taglines such as “building relationships that last.” This doesn’t sound like a cliché for no reason.

You’ll hear me talk a lot about empty words, and that’s because it’s what I find often separates plain business writing from copywriting.

If a company doesn’t consider what they can offer from the perspective of a consumer – what sets them apart from other businesses in their field – then their content will not set them apart.

Personality is a big part of identity, and values can be expressed through personality. And in marketing, personality is power. It’s how market leaders get ahead of their game.