Tag Archives: copywriters cheltenham

7 words that engage readers – a tip from the Gloucestershire Copywriter…

I was excited when NLP specialist Paul Goddard offered to share seven powerful words with us at Win-Biz Networking recently.

What Paul said resonated with me – I’ve been aware of this for a long time and regularly use these (and other) powerful words in my copywriting. Persuasive copy, containing powerful subliminal messages, needn’t be restricted to ‘high pressure’ American-style sales letters. Used judiciously, the seven ‘magic’ words have an important place in B2C and B2B copywriting – and the written communications we use every day at home or work.

So what are these amazing words?

  • Because
  • Now
  • Imagine
  • Please
  • Thank you
  • Control
  • The name of the person you are communicating with

seven words that will improve your writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s consider them one by one.

Because

Paul used the oft-quoted example of the 1970s research involving a photocopier queue, and how the researcher’s ability to jump the line increased markedly when they added ‘because I need to make copies’ to their request. This is sometimes referred to as ‘the photocopier effect‘.

The lesson? Whether in written or spoken communication, using because strengthens the persuasiveness of your case. It could be on your website homepage or your next email. Either way, used with subtlety, this is a powerful word.

Now

As every direct-response copywriter knows, now adds urgency and encourages action from the recipient of your message.

Try it – NOW!

Imagine

This, as John Lennon’s songwriting has proved for decade, is a wonderful tool for getting someone to think ahead and envisage a scene, a benefit or a feeling. By asking your reader to imagine something, you can put any idea into their head.

For instance, imagine a bear on a jet ski, or the time you’ll free up for other business tasks if you hire a professional to do your copywriting. (And please note how the latter example is so much more useful for your business than the first one!)

Got it? Great! Now imagine using this technique in future.

Please

Because basic courtesies still matter. You’d say please in conversation, so why on earth wouldn’t you do so when you write.

Please remember this next time you write.

Thank you

For the same reason as above. Thank you!

Control

Another subtle one to be used with discretion. We all like to feel in control, especially when we’re trying something new or being asked to make a commitment. That’s why, as writers, it makes sense to remind your reader that they are in control.

They will have control. And so will you.

Use their name

I don’t mean for every other word as is so beloved of sales people who are trying too hard. What I mean is the judicious use of someone’s name to personalise your communication. When Paul Goddard spoke to us he was using the example with reference to spoken communication, but the same applies to writing – by addressing a spec-approach to a named individual , rather than to Dear Sir/Madam, for example.

In copywriting, where you don’t know the names of all the people who are reading your brochure or website page, you achieve a similar effect by using ‘yo’u and ‘your’s in your copy. It ties in with the idea of writing as we speak, of communicating directly with the person who is reading your copy at that moment. As well as personalising your message, use of more ‘you’ than we, emphasises that your message is more about your reader than you. That’s important.

You will do this in your writing won’t you.

Start using these powerful words today

So there they are, seven powerful words that you can start using today to enhance your written and spoken communications and give you subtle control – that’s because they work.

It takes practice to deploy them effectively in your business writing. That’s why an experienced marketing, technical or SEO copywriter might be your new best friend. If you don’t have the time, special skills or inclination to write your own SEO copy, brochure content or client case studies, imagine  the benefit of some professional help.

If that’s the case for you, please contact me now. In any case, please leave a comment after this post and tell me which words you find most powerful when you communicate – and why.

Thank you!

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

The Gloucestershire Copywriter recommends this BBC Radio 4 show

I made an exciting discovery late one Sunday evening recently when I discovered BBC Radio 4’s Word of MouthI don’t know how it slipped under my radar for so long. My introduction to the Michael Rosen-hosted show was the recent episode entitled Office  Jargon. The programme, promoted as ‘where Michael Rosen and guests “drill down” into the subject of office jargon’ proved to be an absorbing radio gem. So much so, in fact,  that I searched out the programme pages on the Radio 4 site and discovered a wealth of back episodes just waiting to be listened to.

Over the last few years (there are currently 57 back-episodes on the BBC website),  the programme has covered a fascinating selection of language-related topics ranging from the aforementioned office jargon to ‘miscommunication, mondegreens and misophonia’ and our linguistic ties with German. Check it out. Excellent stuff.

This Cheltenham copywriter will definitely be delving into the programme’s treasure chest of archive material whenever he gets a chance. And I’d recommend that you do too. Now back to a load of website copywriting: it’s garden design and landscaping, specialist roof coatings and commercial laundry today and I love every minute of it.

By the way, do you have a favourite language-related radio programme. It could be in the UK or elsewhere in the world. If so, I’d love to know all about it, so feel free to leave a comment and share.

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

Very useful podcast on blogging – recommended

This week’s post is going to be short and sweet.

I may have previously mentioned being a regular listener to the Home Work podcast. This is a very useful (and very entertaining) podcast if (surprise surprise) you work from home, whether as a freelancer or a (regular or occasional) telecommuter.

In the most recent cast, hosts Hosts Aaron Mahnke and Dave Caolo included a concise guide to blogging, and I have to say that it really captured the secrets of the art well in just a few minutes.

I’d recommend you give it a listen and try some of the techniques they mention. But if you don’t have the time, the specialist skills or the inclination to do that vital blog writing yourself, I know a Cheltenham copywriter  who can help!

But I would say that wouldn’t I. Anyway, please listen. I’m sure you’ll love it.

Then, please add a comment and share your blogging experiences.

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

AIDA’s dead: long live AIDA, friend to copywriters in Cheltenham

Have you heard? AIDA’s dead. Well she, or he, or it is if you believe some copywriters.  AIDA is an invaluable acronym that has underpinned copywriting for as long as I can remember – and for decades before that too.  The name comes from the first letters of the words Awareness, Interest, Desire and Conviction. It’s a handy model for structuring anything from a sales letter to a webpage. Copywriters in Cheltenham use it, copywriters in Sweden use it and copywriters everywhere else in the world use it. If you’re not using it you should be. AIDA is the de facto standard for leading a reader through a piece of copy from headline to call to action.

aida

Recently, as I’ve read various copywriting texts, I’ve discovered writers putting the case for variations on AIDA: it’s as if they’re announcing her/his/its death as they introduce the idea of AIDCA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Conviction, Action) or AIDRA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, reason, Action) like successors to the throne of well-structured marketing copy. Personally, I feel that Messrs Maslen and Gabay respectively may be complicating things a bit. They’re both super-accomplished writers, senior statesmen of the UK copywriting scene, but I believe that original and simplest remains best.

AIDA works, and the Desire section can easily encompass conviction and reason. I can use conviction to generate desire or give a persuasive reason perfectly easily within that all-embracing D for Desire. Why complicate things. Methinks that sometimes people just like to create something new and proprietary to be different. Just a thought…

And then, just to complicate things further, when you read up on who first created AIDA,  someone comes along and suggests that the first occurrence was actually different again – AIDC, or Awareness, Interest, Desire and Conviction. That would be Frank Hutchinson Dukesmith, editor, in 1904, of Salesmanship. Maybe AIDA was an imposter after all?

Anyone got any more ideas on the subject? Post a comment and a suggestion if you can track AIDA’s birth back to before 1904! Or if you know another variation on this acronym.

This Cheltenham copywriter won’t bend the facts

I enjoyed last week’s Top Gear special about the cars featured in 50 years of James Bond films. As well as reminding me that none of us get any younger, it took me back to the 1960s, Ian Fleming’s novels and being given one of the original Corgi James Bond Aston Martin DB5s. If I recall correctly, I even had a crack at writing my own Bond-inspired spy stories…

If there was ever a master storyteller it was Fleming. He was a stickler for his facts too – a rule that Top Gear’s writers occasionally seem to bend. I’m sure that the old Fleet Street adage, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, often apply to Messrs Clarkson, May and Hammond. It certainly seemed to be the case during the show when, prompted by Scaramanga’s getaway in The Man with the Golden Gun, Hammond got onto the subject of flying cars. In particular the ill-fated AVE-Mizar Ford Pinto-based aircraft from the early 1970s.

al hidden copywriter sketch of ave-mizar flying car

While describing how the car was considered for the film, the Hamster couldn’t resist graphically describing how the car separated from its wings and plunged earthwards. It may have made a dramatic story, but it isn’t the truth. If you’ve seen the official accident report (NTSB Identification: LAX74FUQ18), you’ll know that what really happened was a wing-strut failure before the complete car-aircraft combo crashed in flames.

But I digress… As I watched the programme, I started thinking that my objective, as a Cheltenham copywriter, is to maintain factual integrity while telling an authentic brand or product story.

I could be writing SEO copy or a case study that uses a customer’s story to convincingly sell your product. It really doesn’t matter. Either way, the secret lies in an engaging benefit-led tale. With good source material and skilled writing, little more is needed; it’s really not necessary to bend the facts for dramatic effect.

So, on that note, you won’t find exaggeration, fact-bending or economy with the truth when I write for you and your organisation. You’ll just get a great story about your product, company or brand.

And by the way, in case you’re wondering, I’m not the Stig.

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

Great copywriting book recommendation from Sweden

While in Norway recently, Mrs H and I met Ronja Gustafsson, a Stockholm copywriter and PR specialist currently based at the city’s Entreprenörskyrkan (Entrepreneurship Church) business centre. Ronja’s background is in international marketing and she’s been running her own PR and copywriting business since the start of 2012.

copywriters in stockholm

We were able to swap notes on the UK and Swedish freelance copywriting scenes. And because Ronja writes in Swedish, I’ve suggested that we might be able to collaborate if any of her clients have a requirement for English-language content. If the Swedish scene is anything like that in Norway, there’s plenty of demand for English language  copy. But as we noticed in locations as diverse as Alesund’s aquarium and Norwegian’s in-flight magazine, the quality of written English coming out of the Scandinavian countries often leaves something to be desired when put under the microscope by a native English speaker. That’s in no way to detract from the excellent English spoken by all but the oldest Scandinavians, but a reflection of the importance of getting any translation or copywriting done (or at least thoroughly checked) by a native English speaker.

Back in the UK, I checked out Ronja’s copywriting blog and noticed that she’d reviewed (Boktipps) The Idea Writers by Teressa Iezzi. Having just read several of John Simmons’ excellent books on branding and brand language (including We, Me, Them and it: How to Write Powerfully for Business, The Invisible Grail and Dark Angels: How Writing Releases Creativity at Work), I thought Iezzi’s book, published in 2010, would complement them well. So far, I’ve been proven right.

I’m engrossed, and thoroughly enjoying the insights and excellent writing as the author takes an in-depth look at the state of copywriting and brand creativity – albeit with a strong bias towards the more conceptual, advertising orientated side of the business. Well recommended Ronja – you may want to try John Simmons’ Writers Trilogy.

If you are looking for a PR or copywriter in Sweden, writing in Swedish, why not contact Ronja? And if you’re seeking copywriters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire? Please contact me.

In the meantime, Hej då (as they say in Sweden).

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

A copywriter from Cheltenham fights food waste in Norway

Whenever I travel, food waste in self-service all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants breaks my heart. We’ve seen it again and again, from the UK to Cuba and around Europe. During a recent trip to Scandinavia, I did my bit to fight back…

Our trip to Norway finished with a couple of nights in Ålesund, staying at the excellent Quality Hotel Waterfront on Nedre Strandgate. It’s a Nordic gem, with a strong eco-stance and a delicious buffet breakfast. And that’s where my hackles were raised as, yet again, we watched uneaten platefuls of delicious local bread, brunost and waffles being shovelled into the garbage. Why, oh why, when they can come back again and again for food, do people pile their plates too high and then leave it?

Speaking to hotel management, I suggested a simple notice to encourage guests to waste less. The idea went down well and I was asked if I could help with some ideas. When I said I was a copywriter in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and offered to write something, guest service assistant Karoline Thorstensen (see picture below) was delighted. Mrs H and I were given free-run of the hotel bar and I set to work…

Karoline Thorstensen with Cheltenham copywriter, Al Hidden

Karoline Thorstensen from Ålesund’s Quality Hotel Waterfront and Cheltenham copywriter Al Hidden

The finished text had to be in Norwegian, German and English. I developed a copy concept around ‘help yourself to as much as you want, but help to avoid waste’. It had to be something that wouldn’t appear dictatorial, but would emphasise the benefit of enjoying as much as you want while gently reminding about avoiding wasted food.

Aware that the play on words wouldn’t translate easily, and that I’d need input from a native German speaker, I also drafted a more direct Germanic version. Karoline, who is German-Norwegian, was delighted, loved the concept and promptly emailed my copy to her mother, a native German speaker, to polish my German and draft a Norwegian variant. That happened overnight; the message was on display in time for breakfast.

Will my work help reduce waste? I hope so, and so does Karoline and the rest of the hotel’s team. We’ll be interested to check out the results next time we visit  Ålesund and stay at the Quality Hotel Waterfront. Which we will, because it’s great.

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.