January 2, 2016
Copywriting is Everything
Copywriting is a commonly ignored aspect of branding. While aesthetics and functionality are important goals for many product makers, the efforts put forward to produce these will all be shortcomings if there’s no content or data to back up the problem that is trying to be solved.
Tailor your message to your target audience
Tailoring your message to your audience is the most important aspect of your brand. You need to be able to target those who would make the most use of the service or products you have to offer.
Writing about topics unrelated to your consumers won’t provide many benefits for you or them; so it’s best to keep the categories of content relative towards their own goals.
Copy can exist everywhere no matter the medium. The goal of the copy is to support the brand and backup the essence of who you or your company is and what it stands for.
Copy such as the first headline on your website to the fine print on a business card needs to be able to support your purpose. This consistency will allow consumers to better identify with your brand and give them that sense of well being we’ve all experienced with many popular brands.
As I write this article I’m sitting on my balcony of a cruise ship overlooking the Mediterranean sea. I’m currently sailing on a Viking cruise which is proving to be one of the best trips of my lifetime and also the main source of inspiration for this article. Everywhere I look puts me in a state of serenity because I’m doing something so completely different than back at home that I am always in a state of bliss. If you’ve ever thought about taking a cruise I strongly suggest Viking (and no I’m not affiliated with them).
Why am I telling you about this? Aside from some of the best branding I’ve seen across everything such as the worker's uniforms down to the sugar packets for my espresso, I am given that true sense of ownership within the brand. You can tell Viking made the effort to cover nearly every aspect of the experience which is why they are perceived as one of the best. Viking’s brand messaging speaks superiority amongst other cruise lines. The messaging of their brand supports their purpose to be a highly luxurious cruise line that will make every effort to please guests when aboard.
What copy can’t tell you
Copy typically always supports the “positive” side of every story. In the product world, you might call these features or advantages. Copy that doesn’t tell you all the details sometimes throws you for a loop. While the delivery of the brand may be consistent there are still some unknowns that surprise you after you buy-in. In this instance, Viking’s copy missed out on a very important and rather laughable detail for my girlfriend and me. Nowhere did it state the typical age range aboard their cruises.
In this instance Viking’s copy missed out on a very important and rather laughable detail for my girlfriend and me
Upon arriving in Rome, Italy, our embarking port for the cruise, my girlfriend and I were shocked by the lack of age diversity onboard. I instantly felt regret when we were rounded up like cattle at the airport to be transported to the boat. Among 400 - 500 passengers, we were one couple out of four that weren’t of nearing retirement age.
We later learned that the Viking brand is targeted to more of the older generation based on the pricing model. This was very surprising because there are excursions in different parts of the world that involve a lot of walking (the main appeal for us). Some of the people aboard the ship were in no condition to be walking long distances which made us question why they were there in the first place. We guessed that Viking assumed those of retirement age could afford more expensive cruises which in this case is very true.
To my dismay, the lack of age-based diversity made us feel a little out of place and embarrassed from the start, but the staff quietly reassured us that they preferred our age range (mid-twenties) rather than the latter.
While it’s true the cruises Viking offers are downright expensive, I can now understand why after only four days into our first cruise. The ship itself is without a doubt one of the nicest I have ever seen. It is nicer than plenty of hotels I have been in as well. The excursions so far have been truly eye-opening experiences to add to that effect.
The only downfall as I’ve stated prior was the miscommunication of the typical age aboard a Viking cruise. The website and other documentation failed to say this information which altered our view when we were surprised by the discovery when we arrived in Rome. The only hint I got was the photography on the website. Most models in the photos were of later age. At the time of my booking, I didn’t put this into consideration as I was more excited about the trip itself.
Luckily, besides this little mix-up, we are still enjoying our time in Europe. It’s hard to not enjoy yourself when living large for a brief period. Even the other passengers have treated us wonderfully despite the difference in age. We are perceived a bit differently but still approachable by many onboard which has made it fun.
The moral of my story
Since copy can’t explain every detail, it is best to do your own research elsewhere. A product or service will only tell you so much about the things they offer. Viking is very informative and makes it easy to get information while onboard a ship but what I failed to realize from the start was the target market. I consider this both my error and theirs as it isn’t conveyed clearly on their website and printed collateral. I think their ultimate goal is to target anyone looking to cruise in luxurious accommodations but that message was a little skewed for us. We are still having the time of our lives so don’t let the small detail of age range keep you from coming aboard. You’ll love it, I promise.
Too Much Copy
Too much content is the opposite of the problem when it comes to copying writing for your brand. Some product owners who know their products inside and out want to immerse their consumers with every detail they can. This ultimately can cause users to feel overwhelmed with so much copy that they never take the time to read it. The internet is the best example of this problem.
Too many websites add so much copy to the site that it makes it both hard to read and navigate. Chances are likely that the content won’t ever be read because there is so much going on. An average user has a short attention span on the web (seconds per page). They want the information they need and little to no more than that. Once they get their solution or information, away they go.
If a lot of copy is necessary, consider developing a consistent “copy brand guide”. By this I mean to write in a way that is easily legible, scannable, and consistent from page to page. Whether you are writing a blog post, a headline for a specific page, or just general call-to-actions on different mediums you’ll want to be as consistent as possible to keep your users from drifting away.
Users have little patience but if they connect your brand with your writing style you can bet everything else will fall into place.
Quality over Quantity
A lot of websites, especially blogs, write content that is pushed out quickly. This can often result in content not being up to par. You might recognize this content as long lists or round-ups of other websites or products to check out. These types of articles lack personality. There’s almost no story or humanistic approach involved and that is why they often lack in quality. The types of articles are certainly useful for some but you can bet most will only use the page for reference rather than spending real-time on the page.
Quantity is important for the sake of readership, SEO, and general notoriety. Quality is important for intriguing content, higher readership, and general trust from your readers. As you can see both are certainly important but in my own experience quality will always win.
At Web-crunch, we try to publish an article a week. If we don’t then the world doesn’t end. Other blogs have a lot of contributors but we keep it personable offering a look inside our own opinions and mindsets towards relative topics. Most of our content comes from actual thought rather than sources, other blogs, and more. We do this to keep the humanized aspect alive in a world where automation and artificial intelligence is beginning to take hold. Quality content hooks your users and keeps them coming back for more even if it is just once a week.
I leave you with this... Focus on your message. Make it consistent as possible. We have all had that fuzzy feeling from good branding. Work towards making your own fuzzy feeling for others. Doing so provides trust, promotes ambiguity, and creates repeat business. What more could you ask for from people you might have never met?