Here’s another excellent guest blog post, this time from Matt Press @ Splash Copywriters
Saying content is king is one thing. Defining why is another. Matt gives it to us straight and with both barrels so we will be eagerly awaiting your comments.
Why will content be king for businesses in 2013?
Putting it simply: because business has never been tougher.
It’s getting harder and harder for businesses to stand out – and that’s a good thing for copywriters. Every business is fighting for their share of the market and many don’t stand out at all. That’s because I’ve always believed the words a company uses to communicate to their customers to be the ‘elephant in the boardroom’. Words are something that exists in every company, but they’re hardly ever addressed. In some cases, they’re never addressed.
The words are right there in front of everyone. You’ll see the company messages day in and day out. Companies have the same slogans, logos and methods for decades. Why? These days, we all have to be different, so make sure your business has a strategy for the words it uses.
Most companies have their finance meetings, budget meetings, marketing plans, advertising agendas and sales updates. There have their execs, PAs, agencies, leaders, IT guys, UX staff and soldiers on the office floor. And of course, they have their product or service that they’re selling.
Erm, who’s choosing the words?
Yes, that’s right. There are plenty of big companies out there with multi-million pound marketing campaigns. Campaigns worth enough money to cover a down-payment or two for Greece’s national debt. Yet the words are being written and chosen by people without the necessary skills. That’s like a Ferrari garage designing a new model and getting a dentist to make it.
All businesses need professional wordsmiths. It’s simply not enough to let any Tom, Dick or Harry pick up a pen. Just because a marketer has planned your attack, don’t then let them fire blanks. People should stick to what they’re good at. And more importantly, managers and directors should already know that.
Very few companies pay enough attention to the words they communicate. The best at communicating know exactly who the majority of their clients are and they don’t mess around – they talk directly to them in a friendly and effective way. You can’t please all the people all the time, so don’t try to.
The best also look at where the copy sits – there’s no point writing an essay to sit on a webpage because people’s attention spans aren’t what they use to be. Twitter alone makes us communicate in 140 characters or less, so businesses have a very small window to make an impression. In 2013, businesses will need copy that can be used in a variety of places: on websites, mobiles, tablets, laptops, PCs, televisions and radio. Because of this, content now leads and design follows.
The best also marry their brand to their content. They have a great, innovative tone of voice. They ignore the writing rules you are taught at school. They’re brave and they have the confidence to be different.
Whatever your brand strategy is, just be sure to give your content the time and thought it deserves. You’ll hear a few more companies talk about ‘content marketing’ this year. It’s the same thing – copywriting has never been more important.
Ignore the rules and be creative, too. We live in a time when communicating has never been easier. The Gangnam Style video got one billion views on YouTube in a few months. Make a note of that. Social networking in particular means that business reputations can be made and broken in a few clicks, taps and swipes. It’s important to stand out, but do it the right way for you. Riding invisible horses to a song and being seen by the world isn’t for everyone. It’s a fine line and that’s why there are specialist copywriters and brand experts.
It’s no longer enough for companies to talk at people. That approach worked for Colgate in the 50s, but not for long after. We must engage now. We must provoke opinion and spark debate. If people ‘like’ your business on Facebook, they’re announcing it to everyone they know. CEOs would kill for that sort of brand loyalty. So, go about things the right way and it could happen.
The art of writing good content is that it’s not just about the words – it’s also about the plan and execution. There has to be a strategy.
Without good content, at best your business is stagnating. At worst, it’s dying.
If you want to get in touch with Matt Press please do so at [email protected]