Today, image is everything. We want to look good. We want our brands to look good. We want memorable logos and unique brochures and cool websites.
But have you ever spoken to someone physically attractive, only to realise you’re not all that interested in what they have to say? That their inability to communicate with you actually lessens their appeal?
Design – no matter how well planned – is only as good as bad copy.
Our attention spans are short. If you were a plumber, for example, customers would visit your site for services and contact details – not a four-page essay on the sanitation of ancient Roman aqueducts. Potential clients just want the key facts.
Who are you?
What do you offer?
How do you do it?
Why are you the best?
Why should I choose you?
Answer succinctly. Stop there.
If you fail to notice any abnormality in this excerpt – and subsequently are not crippled by the agony of bad grammar – please consider putting down the pen.
Sloppy punctuation and spelling errors imply unprofessionalism. If a business only invests half an effort into building its own image, how can clients trust it to deliver the best for them?
If writing your own content is of personal significance to you, hire a professional to proof it. An unbiased opinion may prove to be your most valuable asset. Even Ernest Hemingway had an editor.
If you’ve only got one thing to say, don’t repeat yourself. Repetition should be avoided when a statement is made again and again. Avoid repeating the one point. If you only have one concept to preach, stop saying it so often.
Irritating, isn’t it? Any three of those sentences could be deleted, and the key concept would still be expressed.
This isn’t to say repetition is totally useless. Enforcing a clear call to action across a variety of brand collateral can familiarise your message and help to drive sales. But be strategic about what you choose to emphasise. Telling clients you’re very well loved, due to your experience in being so experienced and well loved is pure waffle.
In the case of copy, quality always trumps quantity. Make your point – once! – and move on.
One of these things is not like the others.
If bad copy is so easy to identify as the odd one out, why should good design suddenly disguise it?
American advertising icon Shirley Polykoff once said, ‘Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer.’ Consider the types of conversations you enjoy having. What is it about them that you appreciate most? Appearance or opinions?
Girl meets boy. Girl finds boy attractive. Girl asks question. Boy can’t answer. Boy is bland. Girl finds boy less attractive. Girl seeks new boy.
Design is integral to creating an unforgettable first impression – powerful and evocative in its own right. It can be dark, clever, beautiful or clean. But without the substance to actually market itself, design becomes somewhat redundant. When good copy and good design work in tandem however, your brand becomes irresistible.
If design is your brand’s appearance, copy is personality. Knowing how influential personality can be, wouldn’t you want a positive one to remember?
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When you’ve got a problem that needs solving, consulting a specialist is recommended. Writing is no exception to that rule.
With an in-house copywriter, Being takes what you have to say very seriously. If you’re struggling to find the right voice for your brand, we’d love to help put your thoughts into words.