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express writers write podcast e19

The Write Podcast, E19: From Freelancer to Content Development Specialist- Talking Life, LARPing and Practical Brand Storytelling with Tara Clapper

Listen to “E19 From Freelancer to Content Development Specialist- Talking Life, LARPing and Practical Brand Storytelling with Tara Clapper ” on Spreaker.

Can you believe we’re almost at Episode 20?!

In today’s episode, I sit down with Tara Clapper, the Content Development Specialist here at Express Writers – yes, I have the honor of employing this wonderful woman! Tara has an impressive background in content marketing. She’s the founder and senior editor of The Geek Initiative, a community for women in geek culture, and worked as the Blog Editor at SEMrush before she joined my team last September. Tara knows it all when it comes to creating great content and the industry of content marketing. She’s edited, written hundreds to thousands of articles, hosted webinars, and even Twitter chats, to name a few things.

Today, Tara and I are talking about brand storytelling, and how you can weave the elements of story into your content marketing to create impactful, audience-engaging brand content. (Learn more about Tara’s storytelling process in her recent blog on LARPing!)

express writers write podcast e19

The Write Podcast, Episode 18: From Freelancer to Content Development Specialist- Talking Life, LARPing and Practical Brand Storytelling with Tara Clapper Show Notes

Tara started her career in content marketing just after graduating college. She struggled through the experience of getting started in the industry in a tough economy. In fact, she persevered through having the same job outsourced from underneath her…twice! At 35 years old, Tara says she “grew up when the internet did,” and learned to create a web presence from the ground up early on. One of the first pieces of content she created was an email newsletter for a community of Beatles fans in an online community. She went on to work in various agencies, write hundreds of content pieces, and worked at SEMrush as their primary Blog Editor before finding a home working in my agency, Express Writers.

Tara’s unique skillset for today’s discussion actually comes through LARPing, or Live Action Role Playing. She’s even created her own LARP game and started writing and marketing it on her own, which became a foundation for her career, rooted deeply in content marketing and collaborative storytelling.

In this episode, we discuss the following:

  • How Tara started The Geek Initiative. And how her experience working as an independent contractor with sites like Yahoo! helped her hone her skills and develop her voice.
  • Why it’s so critical for marketers to understand that content is a long haul. While it’s tough for some marketers to see why content is a long-game approach, understanding this is critical. Tara talks about how long it took her to achieve her own marketing goals.
  • How to find a story, mold it, and tell it in their content. Tara says you should practice storytelling without thinking about your brand or company. When it comes naturally, it feels more authentic.
  • Why it’s so critical to tell the stories you want to tell. And how marketers can make their brand storytelling stronger by practicing creative writing and developing stories with other people.
  • The importance of routine for freelancers. Freelancers seldom have solid, set schedules. Tara talks about how routine can help freelancers keep their work, quality, creativity, and storytelling strong.
  • Why Tara advocates working on the idea as soon as you get it. Tara talks about her process of bullet-pointing content, and then sitting down and writing it. This keeps ideas and content fresh.
  • Which brands she thinks tell amazing stories.

Favorite Quotes to Tweet

Once all the content mills folded, all I had left was my site. @irishtaraClick To Tweet
Four years later, thousands of hours invested, my site has just started to turn a profit. @irishtaraClick To Tweet
Sometimes the investment in content, although it’s worth it, is SO long term. @irishtaraClick To Tweet
Content marketing is a long haul. @irishtaraClick To Tweet
The Geek Initiative is finally getting ad requests. Four years later, I am getting paid for my work. @irishtaraClick To Tweet
The only way I can do sales is to help people find the content they’re looking for. @irishtaraClick To Tweet
With content marketing, you’re not going to get a paycheck next week, but you’ll see results later. @JuliaEMcCoyClick To Tweet
'I didn’t see real results in links to my podcast till twelve months after it launched.' @JuliaEMcCoyClick To Tweet
It can be hard for brands to see the long-term vision with content marketing. @JuliaEMcCoyClick To Tweet
'I go for the 80/20 rule: 80% evergreen, 20% somewhat newsworthy content.' @irishtaraClick To Tweet
'My biggest tip for storytelling is to practice it without thinking of your brand.” @irishtaraClick To Tweet
“Work on the idea as soon as you get it.” @irishtaraClick To Tweet
“I love that @irishtara truly cares about what she’s selling to our clients.” -@JuliaEMcCoyClick To Tweet
“If you want to be innovative in your career, be on the ground floor.” @irishtaraClick To Tweet
“Be on the ground level of innovation. You’ll get a heads-up about what’s coming down the pike.” @irishtaraClick To Tweet
“Get right there next to the people creating things that inspire big companies.” @irishtaraClick To Tweet
“If you’re first in the ground floor, your content will be indexed.” @irishtaraClick To Tweet
“Trust from brand to consumer is hugely important.” @irishtaraClick To Tweet

Links Mentioned

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Email Marketing Tips for 2016

15 Hot Email Marketing Tips For 2016

Right now, more than 144 billion emails are sent each day.

In light of that, it may seem unlikely that anyone who does email marketing is ever going to get noticed. Fortunately, this isn’t true.

Get your free PDF, 25 Proven Email Subject Lines for Your Email Marketing.

There are several fundamental tried-and-true ways to win at email marketing you can apply this New Year to start boosting your email marketing ROI. Keep reading.

Email Marketing Tips for 2016

15 Key Ways to Win At Your Email Marketing This 2016

Here are a few sure ways to help you get started sending out great emails this year.

1) Think about prime send times

Depending upon your unique subscriber list, content, and company, you’ll have a prime send time that varies from everyone else’s. According to an email report by Experian Marketing Services, most emails performed best when sent between 8:00 p.m. and midnight. This block of emails boasted a 22% open rate and a higher-than-normal clickthrough and sales rate.

These results may be on account of inbox crowding: if you send your email While this is a great baseline to start from, it’s important to remember that each company’s prime send time will vary, so it’s important to look into your analytics to find your best sending time.

2) Give something away

People love free stuff and it’s just as true in email marketing as it is anywhere else. Recently, Bluewire Media ran a test on their 6,300 email subscribers. They were wondering which types of content earned the highest click and conversion rates. What they found was, overwhelmingly, that emails giving away templates and tools were opened at a much higher rate.

For example:

Download your free copy of 25 Proven Email Subject Lines for Your Email Marketing

To get more engagement from your customers and produce higher levels of conversions for your company, offer to give something away every now and again. Whether it’s a template or an eBook, freebies keep your users interested and help you produce great email marketing results throughout the new year.

3) Optimize for mobile

We can’t say enough about this. Mobile is a huge deal right now and if your email marketing content isn’t optimized for mobile platforms, you’re missing out. Mobile traffic makes up 47% of the average email open rate. That said, it’s hugely important to make sure that everything you send out via email looks and performs great on a mobile phone.

This means converting your content to one column templates, increasing font size to make it more readable on a small screen, ensuring that buttons are at least 44 pixels x 44 pixels, and making CTA buttons obvious (above the fold) and easy to click (by placing them in the middle of the screen).

4) Make use of weekends

Earlier we talked a bit about your prime send times but what about your prime send days? According to the aforementioned Experian study, emails sent on Saturday and Sunday outperformed emails sent on weekdays. That said, consider whether sending your marketing emails on the weekends is something that will work for your clients and company.

5) Keep your whole list active

Say you have a list of 1,500 email subscribers. Great! The problem is that only a portion of that list is likely to be active. In fact, some studies have found that most lists have an inactivity rate of 63%. That said, in order to make the most of your email list, you’ll have to figure out a way to engage the entire list rather than just a portion. One of the most effective ways to do this is through what marketers call a “Re-engagement campaign.”

Re-engagement campaigns look a little different for every marketer, but essentially they involve testing different subject lines to find out which ones earn the highest open and click rates from the highest portion of your list. Keep in mind, though, that any re-engagement campaign you run should offer value, as well. Once that inactive 63% of your list clicks an email, they’re going to want to see something good.

6) Write to one person

Nobody wants to be just one person in a crowd of subscribers, so help your readers feel unique by writing every email as if you were writing to them and them alone. This approach makes your emails more personal and provides a higher level of value for every reader.

7) Be respectful

Remember how we said earlier that 144 billion emails are sent every day? Most consumers feel like all of them wind up in their personal inboxes. For this reason, it’s hugely important to be respectful of your readers’ time. To put this another way: don’t spam anyone. Spam is one of the quickest ways to get yourself booted from the inbox and companies that don’t send spam are generally more well-regarded by their customers.

That said, only write an email when you have something valuable to say and be careful to get to the point as quickly as possible. This will keep you in your customers’ good graces and allow you to maintain your inbox privileges.

8) Remind your readers that they’re not alone

Why do people sign up for email lists? To get great content, information, and offers. But what’s one of the easiest things marketers can do to ensure that their readers are anxiously awaiting the next email?

The answer is simple: remind readers that you’re on their side. This takes a variety of different forms, including polling readers for content ideas, offering surveys, letting readers know you sympathize with their struggles, and then offering them actionable solutions to deal with them. This tip should pervade your content and, when done correctly, can take your emails from “blah” to “wow!”

9) Reward readers

So you’ve got a faithful list of readers. How do you keep them that way? You give them a reward! By rewarding your readers for faithfully opening your emails, you inspire them to continue doing so in the future. Rewards can be anything from access to a super-secret sale to insider info, industry tips, or inspirational content that’s not shared anywhere else.

10) Make use of power words

When you get 20 emails an hour, nothing much stands out. Until, that is, you see a subject line that includes emotive, exciting power words. Incorporating sensory phrases into your email marketing can go a long way toward improving your open rate and ensuring that your emails are well-received by readers.

11) Keep headlines simple

If your readers have to puzzle over the meaning of your email headline, they’re going to hit “Delete” in no time. Trust us on this one – when it comes to email marketing, the simple path is almost always the right one. Emails shouldn’t be brain twisters – they should simply provide valuable information in a quickly digestible package. Enough said.

12) Automate it

One of the easiest ways to make email marketing easier for you is to automate it. Services like MailChimp and Constant Contact both offer automated email marketing with simple drag-and-drop template layouts. Utilizing an automated service like this can help ensure that your emails get out when they need to as well as giving you a place to monitor your analytics.

13) Make the most of your CTAs

If you’re going to include CTAs in your email, they need to be clear, concise, and compelling. You should be telling your readers exactly what you want them to do and reminding them what they’ll get if they do. CTAs aren’t platforms for guesswork and when you lay it out clearly for your subscribers, you’re likely to produce better results.

14) Keep body copy short

You’re writing an email, not a novel. Long, bulky, text-dense emails are going to lose your readers’ interest in a hurry, so you’re best off keeping your body copy short and concise. The next time you edit your email, challenge yourself to cut your body copy in half before you send the email out. This will distil your points to the most important ones and ensure that your readers are getting only the information they need.

15) Be natural

Now more than ever, consumers want to interact with authentic marketers and companies. To help this come through in your email marketing, avoid using strict formulas, be conversational in your tone, and ensure that you’re interacting with your readers like you would interact with real people. This will help make your emails something readers look forward to.

Download your free PDF, 25 Proven Email Subject Lines for Your Email Marketing.

Conclusion

When done right, email marketing can be more effective than other types of marketing, including social media marketing. To get it right, though, you’ll need to keep these 15 tips in mind. Doing these things ensures that you’re sending valuable, exciting, actionable emails that your readers will love to engage with.

Major content game changers

How To Use 3 Major Content Game Changers: Infographics, eBooks & Brochures

Alecs is the Client Accounts Manager at Express Writers.

Content is a little bit like clothing.

We all know which types we like best and, after awhile, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut so to speak, recycling the same 4 items time and time again, leaving 90% of the vast closet untouched.

While you may not be literally reusing the same pieces of content over and over again, I’m willing to bet you probably reuse the same types of content – blogs, tweets, links, etc. While there’s nothing wrong with this content on its own, it can make your brand feel stale, boring and predictable if you don’t branch out – just like that dingy grey sweatshirt you love so much.

But what if you brought in fresh new infographics, ebooks and brochures into your content wardrobe?

It might make your brand feel a little like this…

new clothes

3 Amazing Content Forms & How to Benefit From Them: Infographics, Ebooks, Brochures

Major content game changers

In order to switch it up and give your brand new life, try experimenting with the following types of content.

1. How To Use Infographics

Infographics are the belle of the ball right now in content. Their most obvious winning factor is that they drive insane traffic to your site. Just how insane, you ask?

  • Infographic search volume has increased over 800% in the last 2 years.
  • The brain processes visual information at a rate 60,000 times faster than it does textual information.
  • 65% of people classify themselves as “Visual learners”
  • People who use infographics on their site grow an average of 12% faster than those who don’t.
  • Infographics are shared on social media 3 times as often as all other types of content, which means they have a high potential to go viral.

Personally, our brand infographics, like this one, have garnered 3x the average shares one of our blog posts gets.

How’s that for content that is in-demand? In addition to being in-demand, though, infographics are also amazingly functional. This owes to the fact that infographics pack a ton of information into a small, easily digestible mechanism and can help your readers better understand your topic. Because of this, they’re shared more often, viewed more often and understood more comprehensively than text-based content.

In order to use infographics effectively in your content, there are several things you need to consider. First of all, the infographic should be strictly information-based. Don’t ever use an infographic to pitch your company’s many virtues. These infographics defeat the point (viral information sharing) and use the infographic’s power for evil rather than good. Instead, focus on taking an issue your industry faces, a hot topic that will encourage sharing or an interesting development and breaking it up to provide your audience with further information. If you need help coming up with an in-demand and genuinely interesting topic for your infographic, consider consulting resources like Google Trends or viral Twitter hashtags.

Once you’ve chosen a topic, you’ll need to gather information. When citing sources for your infographic, make sure they’re reputable sources comprised of industry experts and high-profile sites. Pulling information from obscure sites increases the likelihood that the information will be incorrect and decreases the likelihood that your infographic will receive a good reception (people don’t like sharing faulty information, after all). When gathering info, think about which statistics will make a good visual. Increase or decrease in revenue, for example, can be illustrated by a bar graph. Stick with great sources and highly visual statistics and you’ll have a great infographic in no time.

When it finally comes time to design your infographic, you can either pay a designer (don’t be surprised, though, if prices top out around $1,000) or you can do it yourself. Free web-based platforms like Easel.ly, Piktochart, Infogr.am get the job done with professional results and can help you stand out from the pack in an instant.

2. How to Benefit From Ebooks 

Ah, eBooks – the quiet princesses overthrowing the palace one step at a time. Ebooks now top paperbacks in sales numbers and are set to completely overtake the paper dynasty any day now. As a marketer, though, it’s possible that you don’t want to sell your eBook and that you only want to use your eBook as an incentive. This is without a doubt how eBooks rose to prominence in marketing and is still one of the primary ways they are used within content strategy.

The reason for this is that bundling has long been a market strategy to help consumers make purchasing decisions and to help differentiate a company from its competition. For example, when a consumer purchases a piece of clothing from an online outfitter and finds a $100 voucher for a new online wine club (a sister company of the clothing retailer) enclosed, that consumer is much more likely to buy from that retailer in the future. Similarly, when a customer visits your site and finds that you’re offering samples of your content or (better yet) entire courses for free in eBook form, they’re very likely to stick around to see what else you have to offer. This approach also proves to consumers that a company is so confident in the quality of its product that it is happy to literally give some of it away.

Though compiling an eBook may sound complicated, it’s pretty simple. All you need to do is find a topic you want to write about (consider serialized topics you’ve blogged about in the past, consistent questions your customers ask, a problem many of your customers have or a new development you’re excited to debut) and write content (for more information about how to actually write an eBook, check out this HubSpot resource). In order to ensure that your content is as good as it possibly can be, ensure that it compliments your current brand, that it looks professional and that it is executed with precision. Enlist professional help to get your cover image on point and then give the eBook away as an incentive to subscribe to your company’s email list or as a promotional item bundled into more extensive courses or workshops.

3. Brochures Are Coming Back & How You Can Use Them

Did you think that brochures were an archaic form of marketing that nobody used anymore? Did you think that they were reserved for medical companies in doctor’s office waiting rooms and weight loss products? Think again. When done correctly, brochures can be a helpful piece of content that is ideal for spreading the message about your services and helping customers understand your mission. Alternately, brochures can be used to announce new products or services or to promote excitement surrounding sales.

Thanks to today’s technology, it’s completely possible to design web-based brochures that can be downloaded as a PDF or delivered directly to your customers’ inboxes. No matter what form you choose for your brochure, there are a few rules you should always abide by when creating brochures. The first is to be knowledgeable about your customer. Consider what the point of the brochure is – are you looking to promote information? Boost excitement? Introduce a new service? Now think about how the brochure needs to be laid out in order to communicate that – what kind of information does it need? Which questions should it answer? Once you’ve answered those questions, you can dedicate yourself to the writing process. In many ways a brochure is a small sales pitch and, as such, you should be writing great headlines and ensuring that your CTAs are on point. Even though a brochure is a somewhat rare form of content nowadays, it needs to fulfill all of the tasks of any other piece of content: provide information, intrigue audiences and tell them where to go next.

The Case for Content: How Infographics, Ebooks and Brochures Can Overhaul Your Brand

Today, everyone is online. That much is obvious. What people do online, though, is a bit more of a toss-up. While you may have a good audience for blog posts or podcasts, expanding out into other forms of content can help you reach new audiences and promote your message in a different way.

There are dozens of different types of content but for the brand that truly wants to overhaul its image and put forward a brave new face, there is no content so heavy-hitting and valuable as infographics, eBooks and brochures. Customizable, highly distributable and easy to create, these pieces of content are a fantastic way for you to spread information, drive people back to your site and ensure you’re casting your net as widely as possible.

Because, hey, while we all love that dingy grey sweater, it’s time for a change every now and then, don’t you agree? Who wouldn’t want their brand refreshed and dressed as well as a Marilyn Monroe?

Check out our infographic service to get started!

old spice copywriting

5 Major Retailers That Nail Copywriting

Have you ever wondered why retailers selling the same type of products report different profit margins?

How come some manage to strike gold in their sector, while others get buried in massive debts and basically put themselves out of business in no time?

Maybe this type of outcome is linked only to the price-quality relationship of their merchandise.

Here’s the real truth: the core script and great copy behind it all.

What’s the Story with Unique Copy Tailored to the Needs of a Successful Retailer?

Unique and compelling copy is the pillar that supports the core of your online business and stops it from drowning in a sea of unremarkable products and services that nobody wants to invest in, which are represented by marketing messages that nobody ever remembers. A successful retailer knows how to highlight the uniqueness of his products and focus on their benefits, instead of boring his readers to death with features and technical specifications that the public doesn’t really know how to interpret. Online websites can’t offer prospects a direct contact with the product that they’re selling. To eliminate this drawback, they balance great copy with dynamic content in an attempt to help their users become familiar with the look and feel of the product that they are planning on buying. Seductive copy incites, raises questions and answers them punctually; it creates a sense of desire and makes prospects want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Why Is It So Important to Invest in Above-Average Product Descriptions?

Stellar product descriptions are extremely important elements that help companies build trust and credibility, increase their client database and boost sales. What’s the first thing that crosses your mind, when you think about mediocre product descriptions? Naturally, you automatically project a technical terminology that is virtually impossible to decipher; then you throw in a bunch of random numbers and the picture is complete. After digging a little deeper, you could also envision a few lines of duplicate content “borrowed” from different other. The short paragraphs could also be stuffed with keywords and bring very little or no value to readers. Now that this little exercise of imagination has come to an end, we should tell you that this is not what a good product description is supposed to look like.

Some of the most reputable retailers already know that having exceptional, 100% original product descriptions conveying an important message that can actually be deciphered, assimilated and amplified by an audience is like having money in the bank. According to Smashing Magazine, first-hand product descriptions can help you boost your conversion rates by anywhere from 30% to 100%. Traffic increases are also associated with quality, compelling copy that manages to individualize whatever it is that you’re selling. Truth be told, finding and introducing the wow factor that makes your product memorable, unique and sellable could be a somewhat challenging task. But we are definitely not talking about a mission impossible.

5 Retailers That Kill Content Marketing

As a matter of fact, here are 5 well-known retailers whose success stories will convince you that a creative, buyer-oriented content marketing strategy is the key to flaunting deeper pockets.

1. Apple. Apple has a complex technique of seduction focused on great design, some of the coolest and desirable gadgets on the planet and a large community of brand evangelists that amplifies its marketing messages. But Apple’s world-class copy is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle that ensures a fruitful, uninterrupted collaboration with its prospects and existing clients. Undoubtedly, Apple is the master of effective sales copy that never gets boring. What makes Apple’s content pieces so special in the first place? According to KissMetrics, Apple’s copywriters aren’t afraid to play with short sentences that start with “and” or “but.” These sentences either deliver a promise (And that’s just for starters.) or introduce an element of surprise: “It doesn’t seem possible. (…). But it is”. Apple has taught us several other important lessons that we should definitely revisit while working hard to craft memorable copy that actually sells.

Here are some basic Apple-approved copywriting principles that you should keep in mind at all times.

  • Add a fair amount of technical details to boost credibility and reaffirm yourself as an expert in your field
  • Use your great storytelling skills as a powerful copywriting tool to evoke deep emotions and reinforce your connection with our public
  • Introduce your products as a solution to one of the most pressing problems experienced by your prospects on a day-to-day basis; for instance, Apple’s noise-canceling technology is presented as the best answer to issues related to elevated background noise. In this situation, you have to be familiar with the needs, demands and expectations of your audience and you should also know what kind of challenge each product feature can address.

 apple content

(photo credit: Apple)

 

  1. The J Peterman Company. We all buy clothes with the same passion and determination, don’t we? When we don’t really have the time and energy required by a prolonged shopping spree, we take the easy way out and decide to buy the perfect dress or boyfriend jeans with just a few clicks. But this doesn’t mean that we are ready to settle for just any piece of clothing. We want to retrieve the perfect combination of fabrics, design and faultless client service. The J Peterman Company seems to have everything covered. Perhaps the best part is that this company also knows how to sum up all these aspects and make them a part of an enchanting story. Through its personalized copy, this company speaks with you, instead of speaking to you. Through the product description crafted for the dress suggestively entitled the “Million Mile Dress” J Peterman Company tells the story of a successful woman that most of its clients can relate to: a real lady who knows how to stay classy even when she has to pack lightly. “One trip, only one dress. This one.” The “Million Mile Dress” is everything a businesswoman could ever need to create a positive first impression wherever she may go. The compelling, on-point and extremely original copy surely makes us want to buy this dress in all available colors.

 

j peterman 

(photo credit: J Peterman Company)

 

  1. Appliances Online. Numerous online retailers put themselves out of business simply because they insist on the ludicrous idea that they have nothing (new) to say about their products. Come on, I mean, there are only so many things that you could say about a washing machine? After all, a washing machine is the handy appliance that you use to wash your laundry-end of story. To introduce the ones that you’re selling, you just have to bombard your prospects with a bunch of numbers and more or less relevant product details, right? Wrong! Appliances Online follows a different approach. The product description written for one of their washing machines is focused on the benefits that a buyer could experience after buying and using this item. Revolving around the concepts of energy-efficiency, time-efficiency and ultimate level of convenience, this type of copy makes you want to buy your own washing machine and ditch laundry services for good.

appliances online

(photo credit: Appliances Online)

4. Uncommongoods

How could you possibly ignore a company that sends you an email with a subject line reading: “As You Wish!” Clearly, this intriguing and somewhat mysterious introduction raises your curiosity and makes you want to listen to what Uncommongoods (the author of this catchy email and a very successful retailer) has to say. According to HubSpot, Uncommongoods takes personalization to a whole new level, by replacing generic categories such as “women” and “men” with unique groups based on interests, such as “geeks”, “travelers” or “animal lovers.” Furthermore, this retailer offers a wide selection of gifts that can be customized based on their clients’ unique demands and uses a great variety of descriptive words to tell the compelling story of their merchandise. Each product description reflects a clean layout comprising three sections: in the first one you can discover the story of the product that you’re planning on buying; the second column delivers all the technical details, while the third section reveals interesting details related to the maker.

uncommongoods

Photo credit: Uncommongoods

5. Old Spice. According to Business2Community, some of the most successful brands are the ones that have a deep, resonating voice. Old Spice is constantly rolling up marketing messages that its audience understands and can actually relate to. Their ingenious slogan “Smellcome to Manhood” proves that Old Spice is so much more than a “smell good” type of product that men can buy to feel good about themselves. A funny documentary film that went viral in no time proves that dynamic content can be more relevant than 1,000 words. This memorable video shows what happens when one of the most popular fragrances in the world becomes available in spray form and also indicates that original, compelling, user-oriented copy is the most powerful tool that a well-known brand can rely on to attract new fans and followers, boost online exposure and reach just about any other marketing goal that might be on its agenda.

 

old spice 

(Photo credit: Old Spice)

5 Basic Principles of Stellar E-Commerce Copywriting

Can small businesses follow in the footsteps of huge retailers, hoping to achieve the same kind of goals? We’ll tell you this much: good copywriting is the magic wand that can make anything possible. Want to make your product more desirable? Would you like to reach a broader audience? Wish to keep your new line of products or services in the spotlight for the longest period of time with minimal expenses? Great copy is the simplest answer to all these challenges. Here’s the catch: in order to achieve excellent results, you have to factor in these basic principles.

  1. Less Is More. Long paragraphs and strings of numbers that don’t really say much about your product can be quite counterproductive. Avoid wordy phrases and try to stay relevant and concise while describing your goods.
  2. Leave Your Clichés at Home. Clichés are a major distraction that could actually stop your readers from grasping the real meaning of your copy. Moreover, clichés are also extremely cheesy and can hurt your image pretty badly; any professional content creator will tell you that flowery language will never have the power to stimulate a buying decision, so try to avoid unnecessary adornments and keep your copy simple and sophisticated at the same time.
  3. Use Active Voice and Make Yourself Understood. Active voice focused on the noun that is performing the action is always clear and compelling. “The battery in the 13-inch MacBook Pro lasts up to 10 hours (8-9 hours on the 15- an 17-inch models) on a single charge.” Stretching on only one line, this concise description delivers all the info that you should know about the MacBook Pro battery and accentuates the main benefit (a long battery life) that could encourage prospects to make a purchase.
  4. Don’t Exaggerate. Hypes won’t do you much good when it comes to crafting copy designed to build trust and convince your prospects that they actually need your products in your life. Exaggerations may make your goods more desirable, but only for a short period of time. On the other hand, they will most likely cost you trust and authenticity.
  5. Make Sure Your Copy Revolves around Cultural Sensitivity. There’s nothing more dangerous than a piece of content that can be interpreted in different ways by different cultures. In other words, all your content marketing strategies should be developed and implemented with the idea of cultural sensitivity in mind. This is a very valuable lesson that Pepsi had to learn the hard way. Its otherwise inspiring slogan: Come alive with the Pepsi generation got translated by its Chinese audience as “Pepsi brings back your ancestors from the grave.” This is perhaps one of the most hilarious examples showing how a marketing translation error can hurt the image of your brand. Unfortunately, Pepsi is not the sole company that recorded a failed attempt to promote a marketing message designed to reach a global audience. According to ClickZ, Clairol introduced its curling iron entitled “Mist Stick” on the German market. In this case, the problem is that in German “mist” is the slang term for “manure.” This major marketing mistake could be the main reason why Clairol’s “manure sticks” aren’t exactly top-selling items in Germany.

Can Great Copy Help You Consolidate Your Online Business?

The most inspiring success stories of giant retailers prove that original, creative and informative content with a real substance is the key element that ensures a much-needed competitive advantage in any field of activity. No matter how common your product actually is, there are thousands of ways in which it still differs from the ones introduced by your competitors. You just have to figure out what makes your goods stand out from the crowd and tell their one-of-a-kind stories through stellar copy written with your audience in mind. At the end of the day, being different always pays off, especially in a world where most of your competitors lose their own voice simply because they’re not bold or creative enough to explore their own uniqueness.

Feature photo credit: news.pg.com