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Give the People What They Want — A Good Story

Author’s and copywriters are different. Journalists are in their own lane again, as are screenwriters.

Each artform has its own individual requirements and specialties.

But what ties them all together is how the artists must construct a story for their readers. It may be obvious how journalists, authors and screenwriters write stories as their craft is centered around recounting real or fictional events in compelling ways with compelling characters. Copywriting may look like the odd-man-out as the role focuses on writing text for advertisements or promotion; but there is (or should be) a story behind every heading, caption, website page, blog or advert.

It’s just a little less obvious.

But why do you need a story to sell something?

Stories are often looked upon as forms of entertainment. This is true, they have been entertainment since people shared stories around campfires and painted them as images on stone walls. But they are also ways of connecting with people, delving into shared experiences, dreams and emotions. With that being said, why wouldn’t you use a story to sell? Having both entertainment and connection woven into copy intended to sell a business, product or service heightens the engagement and interest that people will have with whatever is being sold.

In copywriting, there can be a complete story being told or simply characteristics of storytelling being used.

An example of storytelling characteristics being utilised can be seen in a Rolls-Royce advert written by David Ogilvy. After extensive research into the car he crafted this headline:

“At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”

Ogilvy could have simply said “it’s the quietest car you’ll ever drive” or “new innovations have made the noise levels of the Rolls-Royce lower than any other car at 60 miles an hour”. But NO. He chose to create a story by including small details that show and don’t tell. You get a sense of the car’s luxury whilst subtly becoming aware of how quiet it is. It’s genius.

Another element of storytelling that appears in copy is a voice—a clear, personable voice of a storyteller. In novel’s, this is referred to as the narrator, but in copywriting it’s the voice that surges out of the words and expands the idea readers have of the brand personality. How something is expressed on paper (or the web) can create playfulness, intensity, urgency and a million other kinds of voices. A strong narrative voice is a weapon every copywriter should have in their arsenal.

In terms of writing a complete story, finding a story to tell is usually the hardest part. However, most people don’t realise that if they have a product or service, there is already a great story waiting to be told. How did your business come to be? What problem did you see in the world that you wanted to help overcome? This story allows you to connect with your audience as you show them that you have resonated with their pain and have worked tirelessly to take that pain away, which builds a relationship and trust. This story will build empathy and hopefully conjure feelings of hope and inspiration.

Your big take away from this blog should be that EVERYONE LOVES A GOOD STORY. When writing for your business, don’t forget to look for the narrative that is hiding in the mundane. Find a way to weave the wonderfully creative techniques of storytelling into your copy to add interest, intrigue and investment.

Gather people around your campfire to have them listen and care about the story you have to tell.

The Ying and Yang of Social Media

Social media is a world unlike any other.

It’s still new to us, especially if you consider how it seems to be everchanging with each new phone update.

Life would be made much easier if only there was an extremely specific recipe to success for all small businesses on all social media platforms. A recipe that needed just a splash of engagement, a cup of killer content and a beautifully cohesive brand identity as the cherry on top. Then, BAM. You’ve got yourself a tsunami of eager customers for life.

In all seriousness though, I wish there was a simple recipe you could follow step by step that would unlock the secret to a successful social media presence… sadly there isn’t.

But, there are many methods that are proven to work that you can try out and modify for your specific business, product and audience. You can navigate your own way to social media success and create your own unique recipe to get there.

Something that will have to be figured out on this journey to a successful social media presence is where your fine line is for various topics. What is to too much and what is too little? What is smothering your followers and what is neglecting them? Where is the line between sticking with what works and boring, repetitive content?

Here are a few examples for you to consider:

  1. Over Posting and Under Posting

Finding that sweet spot in terms of how much you post is a vastly underestimated aspect of social media. It is commonplace for upstarting small businesses to believe they must post everyday (sometimes multiple times a day) in order to keep the interest of social media users.

This is false.

In fact, posting too much will likely annoy your followers who will have a newsfeed oversaturated by your content. It may negatively impact the view of your business and the number of followers you can maintain.

On the flip side, you don’t want to make your content scare so that you lose the opportunities social media provides for conversion and leads. Your acquired followers may also unfollow you if they don’t feel they are receiving the amount of valuable content they signed up for.

2. Over Selling and Under Selling

To sell or not to sell? That is the question!

This is probably the hardest area to pinpoint in terms of what is too much and what is too little on social media. Of course, it is important to promote your products and draw awareness to your website and other business materials. That is why businesses use social media in the first place, to market their brand and products.

However, too much selling can sometimes repel audiences as they begin to feel bombarded by efforts to get them to the checkout. Your business will lose its personable side.

In amongst content which promotes and sells, there should be content that is educational, motivational or prompts casual engagement with your followers in order to create a feeling that there is a person behind the brand.

I suppose you can say there is a fine line drawn between selling and building relationships. Strike the perfect balance between these two things and you’ll end up with trusting customers who are not only engaged with your product, but they are eager to support your business.

3. Finding Followers and Finding Customers

It’s true. It looks good when your social media pages have a large number of followers. Visitors to your page may be impressed by the numbers and opt to join the extensive list of followers. A large following has potential to increase engagement and the sharing of your content to an even greater audience of people.

BUT…

Obsessing over numbers should not be your objective. Finding people that will have a genuine interest and customer potential should be the objective.

There’s no harm in having a couple of empty followers (those which add to your follower count but will not contribute more to your business) but the core base of your following should be made up of people that are beneficial to your business. These people can be obtained through targeted advertisements, use of relevant hashtags and searching the follower lists of competitors.

It is up to you to walk that fine line between having a larger following that looks impressive to visitors whilst still having quality individuals that make up this list.

4. Doing What Works and Making Content Varied

On social media, you track and measure the success of your content. When a post skyrockets and does ten times better than all your other posts, it’s exciting and you feel like you’ve finally cracked the code. All you have to do is keep posting that kind of content, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

It’s important to know what your audience responds positively to and engages with but, you should endeavor to keep your content varied. Social media audiences will not tolerate copy-paste content, they appreciate variation and innovation.

Sure, if posting a “Tip Tuesday” is your thing and your audience is positively responsive, keep it up. If you have an adorable dog that your audience goes wild for, include them in a post every now and then. Take advantage of what works, but don’t let your content become too repetitive and stale —your audience won’t thank you for it.

What Is Cause Marketing And Why It Matters Now

A crisis can bring out the best in people and companies too! As the year 2020 continues to rapidly pivot consumer behaviour trends, we could all use some inspiration for businesses to find ways to adapt to the current times.

So, how do you make a shift in your business strategy to match the current consumer demands?

The reality is consumers aren’t buying products purely for logical reasons, they do so, more often than not, because of reasons that benefit society and the earth. Often, this consumer responsibility connection between a brand and the customer has a large influence on customer retention and sales success. As well as usually, outperforming other purchasing motivations such as discounts, coupons and sales. That’s why you need to incorporate cause marketing into your strategy.

Therefore, what exactly is cause marketing and how can you make it work for your business?

With the age of social responsibility among us, consumers are displaying their preferences lie more with personal values than personal gain. Today, customers are more inclined to buy with their hearts and consciences first, even if it means splashing out extra cash. Consumers are committed more than ever before to leave the world a better place, and they expect brands do the same.

And, if you choose to ignore the age of social responsibility, you do so at the risk of your company. Addressing internal problems within your company is not enough today. It’s time to contribute externally. Today’s consumers support companies who are making an effort to make the world a whole lot more pleasant and socially just. So, find a cause and promote it.

When choosing a cause to support, make sure you feel passionate about it. Companies that support causes they feel strongly about, will typically do better. If your employees can all get behind the cause, the energy will not go unnoticed by your consumers. Simply, giving money to a cause is not enough today. Consumers want to see companies collaborate with not-for profit organisations.

In today’s society consumers understand the importance of buying power to effect change. Companies are rewarded by consumers when their values align. Conversely, consumers punish companies whose values don’t.

 

Consumers seek out and purchase from companies who share a commitment to make the world a cleaner, healthier and better place.

In conclusion, consumer power has become a means of activism. Consumers put their money and their actions where their heart is. And, so should your company.

 

 

So, to leave you with some final tips on how to successfully perform cause marketing;

  • Find a cause that relates to your brand
  • Choose a cause that you are passionate about
  • Do more than simply giving money to an issue
  • Collaborate and build relationships with the non-profit of your choice