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Advertising That Sells (Part 4) – Big Ideas

David Ogilvy

4. Big ideas.

Unless your advertising is built on a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. It takes a big idea to jolt the consumer out of his indifference – to make him notice your advertising, remember it and take action.

Big ideas are usually simple ideas. Said Charles Kettering, the great General Motors inventor: “this problem, when solved, will be simple.” Big, simple ideas are not easy to come by. They require genius – and midnight oil. A truly big one can be continued for 20 years – like our eye patch for Hathaway shirts.

Previous entries

View previous entries in the ‘How to create advertising that sells’ series from David Ogilvy on the Minerva Copywriting website:

Discover more

Find out more about David Ogilvy’s acclaimed tenets of advertising across the Minerva Copywriting website, starting at the beginning of ‘How to create advertising that sells‘.

Alternatively, you can find out more about the copywriting services provided by Minerva Copywriting today. Simply browse our website and discover more about the SEO content writing, advertising copy, email marketing, and social media content services currently available from our friendly and experienced team.

You can even contact our friendly team today by submitting an online enquiry form or by calling FREE on 0800 180 4085. We’ll be happy to provide you with a free sample of work, and also quote you on any content or copywriting requirements you may have.

Advertising That Sells (Part 3) – Brand Image

David Ogilvy

3. Brand image.

Every advertisement should contribute to the complex symbol which is the brand image. 95% of all advertising is created ad hoc. Most products lack any consistent image from one year to another.

The manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand gets the largest share of the market.

Previous entries

View previous entries in the ‘How to create advertising that sells’ series from David Ogilvy on the Minerva Copywriting website:

Discover more

Find out more about David Ogilvy’s acclaimed tenets of advertising across the Minerva Copywriting website, starting at the beginning of ‘How to create advertising that sells‘.

Alternatively, you can find out more about the copywriting services provided by Minerva Copywriting today. Simply browse our website and discover more about the SEO content writing, advertising copy, email marketing, and social media content services currently available from our friendly and experienced team.

You can even contact our friendly team today by submitting an online enquiry form or by calling FREE on 0800 180 4085. We’ll be happy to provide you with a free sample of work, and also quote you on any content or copywriting requirements you may have.

Advertising That Sells (Part 2) – Large Promise

David Ogilvy

2. Large promise.

The second most important decision is this: what should you promise the customer?

A promise is not a claim, or a theme, or a slogan. It is a benefit for the consumer. It pays to promise a benefit which is unique and competitive, and the product must deliver the benefit your promise.

Most advertising promises nothing. It is doomed to fail in the marketplace.

“Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement” – said Samuel Johnson.

Previous entries

View previous entries in the ‘How to create advertising that sells’ series from David Ogilvy on the Minerva Copywriting website:

Discover more

Find out more about David Ogilvy’s acclaimed tenets of advertising across the Minerva Copywriting website, starting at the beginning of ‘How to create advertising that sells‘.

Alternatively, you can find out more about the copywriting services provided by Minerva Copywriting today. Simply browse our website and discover more about the SEO content writing, advertising copy, email marketing, and social media content services currently available from our friendly and experienced team.

You can even contact our friendly team today by submitting an online enquiry form or by calling FREE on 0800 180 4085. We’ll be happy to provide you with a free sample of work, and also quote you on any content or copywriting requirements you may have.

Advertising That Sells (Part 1)

David Ogilvy 'How to create advertising that sells'

How to create advertising that sells

“Ogilvy & Mather has created over $1,480,000,000 worth of advertising. Here, with all the dogmatism of brevity are 38 of the things we have learned.”

By David Ogilvy

1. The most important decision

We have learned that the effect of your advertising on your sales depends more on this decision than on any other: how should you position your product?

Should you position Schweppes as a soft drink – or as a mixer?

Should you position Dove as a product for dry skin or as a product which gets hands really clean?

The results of your campaign depend less on how we write your advertising than how your product is positioned. It follows that positioning should be decided before the advertising is created.

Research can help. Look before you leap.

David Ogilvy

The Art of App Description Writing

In today’s short attention span marketplace, words are at a premium. We’ve gone from infinitely long blogs to Facebook-style snappy posts, and then taken things even further with Twitter, Vine and Snapchat. This has implications in the copywriting world, with brevity now king. If you can’t get your message across in 100 characters or less, you are in danger of being dismissed as “too long winded.” Nowhere is this more important than with app writing.

Though catalogue writing has never lent itself to volumes of words, online catalogue writing is a lot more competitive. In a traditional sense, all products are being sold by one shop, so competition between items is unlikely. But on Apple’s App Store, or the Google Play store, every app is fighting every other app for downloads. There could be hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of competitors out there, so writing the right content is a case of sink or swim.

So how can you best go about it? Well, here are some tips and pointers that can give you the best chance of surviving in this overcrowded market place.

Know your marketplace

Much like how there would be differences between advertising in a kids magazine and advertising in a financial newspaper, there are key differences between the App Store and Google Play. Here are some of the fundamentals:

  • App names can be 255 characters on the App Store, but only 30 characters on Google Play
  • The Apple’s App Store has a keyword field, whereas Google Play does not
  • You can use five screenshots on the App Store, and eight on Google Play
  • Both allow video previews but Google Play’s (max. two minutes) is longer than the App Store’s (max. 30 seconds)
  • The App Store uses categories (one dominant, one sub) for each app (three for games), but Google Play uses only one
  • Google Play allows for social likes, via the Google + “+1” system, but the App store has none

The key difference to understand is that keywords in the description have no effect on ranking in the App Store (hence the inclusion of the Keyword Field), but they do have an effect on the app’s ranking on Google Play. Keywords are still important on the App Store, of course, as Google still indexes iTunes pages (and keywords within the content are a ranking factor), but it is a finer balancing act on Google Play.

Know when to fold ‘em

The “fold” in ASO (App Store Optimisation) speak refers to both the cut-off point of a description and the app name itself when looking from a mobile device. At some point, for the sake of compacting the screen, both will be cut off. That means that the first one or two sentences, or even the first few words, are critical.

As you can see from screenshots, you don’t get much. Generally speaking, 225 characters is the limit for iTunes description cut-off point, whereas the title will be cut off after about 30 characters. In more accurate terms, the title or description won’t exceed a certain amount of pixels. Make sure you preview everything to make sure you fit within these vague limits.

So, while you don’t get a lot, there are effective ways to work within these boundaries. To maximise effect, you have two choices – either sum up the whole app in this short space, or push the unique selling point. Hopefully, you’ll be able to give a complete description of the app in this short space. If your game app is simple, this is easily achievable.

If, however, your app can’t be described so succinctly, you have to change gears and focus on its USP. What does your app do that others don’t? When users are browsing, giving them a killer hook will usually be enough to at least warrant a closer inspection. Then the other characters in your description can take over.

Reeling them in

To use an ocean analogy, the above fold text is the bait on the hook you have cast off from your little boat. It’s designed to tempt the potential user, before you reel them in with the other tools at your disposal. The title and short description might be the combo that gets them hooked, but it’s the longer description that finishes the job.

Both stores have a 4,000-character limit in their descriptions. That’s a lot, and it’s important to use it all, and use it well. Users these days don’t want a lot of “fluff” content. Give them details, give them stats, give them reviews, and then get out of there. Obviously, you should do your utmost to dress this content up professionally, but don’t waste characters on something that won’t matter in the user’s final decision.

Otherwise, the best advice we can give is to use tried and tested short advertising guidelines. Short sentences, short paragraphs, smart lines breaks and useful bullet points will all combine to get the message across effectively. It is very important to get it right, therefore you should consider using a professional copywriting agency.

Lie detector

Finally, it’s important to be honest. The internet is not a great place for corporate “white lies” – they have a tendency to be found out. Overselling your game may pay dividends in the short term, but the truth will come to light sooner or later, which could have catastrophic effects on both the current app and any you as a developer launch in the future (due to lack of trust).

If including stats, don’t make them up. Don’t make up reviews. And don’t make your app out to be something it isn’t. But DO mention everything good about the app. If it cracks one million downloads, great. Tell new users about the large user base they would be stepping into. If a major reviewer gives it a great score, fantastic. Include snippets in the description. You may find it a struggle at first, but the possible pay off for the honest way outweighs the potential pitfalls of being deceitful.

So, in conclusion, the “art” of app description writing lies within a few simple disciplines. Know the differences between app stores. Be succinct and punchy. And above all else – accentuate the positives.

What is copywriting?

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is a form of communication that conveys advertising and marketing messages to an audience through print, online, television, and more. Unlike other writing professions – such as journalism – the purpose of copywriting is to raise brand awareness and to persuade a target audience to purchase a product or invest in a service.

The responsibilities of a copywriter vary from position to position, and according to the medium through which the marketing/advertising is to take place. Copy can take on long or short forms, scripts, web content, radio jingles, product reviews, books, brochures, and much more. Copywriting is also integral to social media activity, used, as it is, in blogs, status updates, and promotional activity.

What is copywriting for?

Copywriting is essential for the dissemination of marketing and advertising material to target audiences. From a business perspective, the role of copywriting is to promote the benefits of a particular product or service, persuading potential customers to invest. But copywriting also plays an important role in raising awareness of a brand.

Branding is vital to any organisation, conveying the ethics and identity of a given company, and attracting new audiences to the existence of its being. Without copywriting and copy, transmission of identity and values would be all-but impossible, so it’s essential that every brand utilises the services of copywriting professionals.

What is a copywriter?

Copywriting is, of course, carried out by a copywriter. Most copywriters will work either in an agency or client-side capacity, conducting work for either a number of clients or just one. Increasingly, copywriters work on a freelance or contractual basis, providing them with the freedom to move from one project to another. In addition, professional copywriting agencies (such as Minerva Copywriting) employ a number of writers to work across client projects. The advantages of such a system are the easy scalability of projects and also quality control measures being in place.

For a copywriter, the role includes a number of responsibilities. From customer profiling to proofreading, research to writing, there are myriad tasks involved in crafting copy. Even conceptual copywriting of just a few words – the kind you might see in adverts on television or in glossy magazines – demands extensive care and attention, with the need to invest time and effort into developing the perfect message and emotional response.

Often, a copywriter will work as part of a creative team, partnering with an art director or graphic designer. The modern era of internet marketing, however, has seen the relationships copywriters have with others expand, with SEO professionals often working alongside copywriters in generating a content marketing strategy for a website.

In such instances, even greater responsibility is afforded to a copywriter, who will be tasked with conducting further tasks in the completion of a project. These include data analysis, keyword research, website optimisation, and more.

History of copywriting

Copywriting has been an integral role of marketing and advertising since the dawn of the industry. As such, there has been substantial evolution in the role and refinement of what types of copy work best for selected audiences and mediums. This has meant that the transition from long-form copy to shorter adverts, in-depth website copy to engaging scripts, has been continual. And, as new forms of marketing channels open up over the years to come, copywriting will evolve once more.

Famous copywriters

The advertising industry is littered with household names that built a reputation on their copywriting skills. Below is a list of just some of the most famous copywriters to have created iconic adverts and marketing material over the years, as well as some who would go on to future careers in other disciplines.

  • David Abbott
  • David Ogilvy
  • William Bernbach
  • Leo Burnett
  • Don DeLillo
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Terry Gilliam
  • Alan Parker
  • Salman Rushdie

Quotes on copywriting

“Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer.”
Shirley Polykoff

“If you can’t turn yourself into a consumer, you probably shouldn’t be in the advertising business at all.”
Leo Burnett

“Consumers do not buy products. They buy product benefits.”
David Ogilvy

“We want consumers to say, ‘That’s a hell of a product’ instead of, ‘That’s a hell of an ad.’”
Leo Burnett

“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”
David Ogilvy

“The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything.”
David Ogilvy

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”
Leo Burnett

“Let us prove to the world that good taste, good art, and good writing can be good selling.”
William Bernbach

“A copywriter should have an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy toward them.”
George Gribbin

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Are you paying enough for content?

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”You get what you pay for”, they always say. “Pfft,” we reply. “I know a bargain when I see one.” But do we? We all want the best value for money, that much is true. And, in pursuit of the best value, we usually plump for the cheapest option. This is where the potential of saving money blinds our decisions. In business as in life, cheap does not necessarily mean value for money. “You get what you pay for,” they say.

When it comes to content marketing – the hot topic for marketers the world over – trying to secure value for money is particularly challenging. Should you opt for a reliable and professional content marketing agency, or let your SEO team pick some cheap and cheerful content writers off the web? It’s entirely up to you, of course, but it would be our recommendation to choose the former. Why? Well, the answer to that couldn’t be simpler.

Low cost, low quality

Investing in a professional means receiving a professional service. This is the case in building, law, medicine, and every other industry around. So why not content marketing? Professional copywriters and graphic designers have spent years mastering their skills, and they’re there to be relied upon to deliver high-quality service. Don’t you deserve the very best service when you’re spending your money? Or are you happy for your budget to be spent on a faceless freelancer slapping together some copy after they’ve spent eight hours doing their ‘real’ day job?

Pay more, earn more

When you look at it like that, the answer is obvious, isn’t it? You want the best content in order to connect with your target audience. As such, you need to employ the services of those that understand how an audience thinks, how target demographics differ from one another, and how effective use of language can trigger the responses necessary for a successful sale. And yes, it costs money to hire professionals with such knowledge. But in the end, isn’t you success more valuable than saving a few pounds here and there?

Look at your current content and see where it’s working and where it’s not. If it’s not working, try to determine why. If it’s a quality issue, it’s time to ask yourself: are you paying enough for content?

Find out more

We at Minerva Copywriting are experienced in support clients in generating the content they need to succeed. Whether online or off, we can craft engaging copy that triggers the responses you want in your audience. Contact us today on 0800 180 4085 to find out more.

Copywriting Basics: the CTA

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The secret to great sales copywriting is to never forget the overriding objective: making a sale. Even with the online environment changing apace, with social media and brand awareness taking on ever-greater importance, the ultimate aim of copywriting is to push the reader towards a sale. And the simplest way to achieve this? Effective use of a call to action (CTA).

Failing to craft an effective CTA puts to waste the hard work put in to writing engaging copy. Imagine the scenario: you’ve written eloquent, aspirational copy reviewing the latest product for sale with your company. The reader is excited by the engaging introduction, is impressed with the range of features, and is thrilled by the images used. But then what? What should they do next? While it may seem obvious to you and I, some people need clear instructions of what to do – this is your call to action.

Don’t leave people hanging

Identifying the precise steps potential customers need to make is fundamental, regardless of how obvious it may be. Whether long or short, the sales copy being used needs to have a purpose. After all, you’re trying to sell a product or a service, right? Or, at the very least, trigger an emotion or a response?

We writers are often guilty of thinking that people should connect with our work, regardless of the message we’re trying to send. And, no matter how intelligent, radical, or superb that writing is, there will always be those that miss the point (there’s probably people out there who still think ‘Animal Farm’ is just a story about some animals on a farm). It’s by no means condescending, therefore, to simply swallow some pride and give the audience a nudge in the right direction.

Repetition and urgency

Repetition works. Repetition works. Remember when you were at school and you were revising for a test? How did you learn the facts you needed to learn in order to pass? It was probably, like most of us, repeatedly reading and reviewing them until they were embedded onto your mind so that there was no way you could forget them. Don’t be afraid, therefore, to repeat your call-to-action. Whether you’re writing a 1,000-word article or have a three-stage sign-up process, liberally placing your CTA where it’s clear to see is important. Repetition works, you see?

For those companies looking to sell a product or service, meanwhile, it pays to optimise your CTA copy to have urgency. Using words such as ‘now’, ‘today’, ‘limited’, etc. puts your audience on their toes. Creating a sense of urgency makes people act quicker, so the simple addition of such words can help boost sales and make your audience react. Combine this with repetition, and you could soon see your customers converting on a grander scale.

In conclusion…

Ensuring that your page design features suitable space for an effective CTA is fundamental to the success of any marketing campaign. Similarly, the language used in your copy can make the difference between abandoning a shopping cart and increasing conversion. Always ensure the CTA is present and prevalent, and try split testing to determine what works best for specific audiences.

To find out more about copywriting and copywriting services, contact Minerva Copywriting today on 0800 180 4085. Our experienced copywriting team can help develop the content you need to boost sales and increase conversions.

Time: the greatest enemy

If you’re battling to stay ahead in the marketing profession, you’ve probably got a to-do list that stretches over a good few pages. We certainly do. There’s never any downtime, nor any opportunity to simply sit back and bask in the glory of your endeavours. In fact, there’s barely even time to take a full lunch break anymore.

So, what’s the solution to this problem and how can you find more time? More and more marketing professionals are looking at ways of automating processes. Whether it’s the automation of emails or social media, you can’t help but feel that taking an automated approach removes the personalisation and engagement that are so vital to success. Plus, when it comes to preparing content, there’s no shortcut to developing good quality.

Increase resources

The alternative is to increase the resources available to complete tasks. For some, this might be the case of recruiting more staff to fill positions for those tasks judged less strategically vital (meta tags, uploading images, etc.). For others, there may not be the option of employing people full time, with overheads an expense that isn’t always easy to absorb. Instead, companies look to outsource excess work on a contractual basis.

The awkward bit

Now, we know what you’re thinking (“Here comes the sales pitch,”) and, to an extent, you’re spot on. But, outsourcing to the correct provider can prove essential. Think about the sums: employing a copywriter full time for your company costs – on average – £35,000 each year. Each year! And that’s just for one person doing only so much work. Outsourcing to a professional copywriting agency, meanwhile, means you can access a pool of experienced (and we stress experienced) copywriters at a fraction of the cost, and only when you need them.

Doesn’t it make sense to at least consider outsourcing some the content work you have? With professional copywriters working on raising awareness of your brand and engaging with your target audience, you may even see a significant growth in traffic, sales, and profit.

Is content still king? The birth of the content republic

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In a 1996 essay, Bill Gates wrote that ‘content is king’. Some fifteen years later this phrase became to buzz of the digital marketing world. You couldn’t visit a marketing blog or sit through a PowerPoint presentation without reading those words. They became ubiquitous.

And then the king died.

Content has, until now, been seen as the tip of the iceberg, the finishing touch to all other marketing efforts. Although pitched as the supreme ruler, its consideration has all too often come second to design elements, to keyword rankings, to the noise of 50% off and great value. Its benefit has always vied with contradictory SEO advantages, and too many times, it has lost. But the internet is changing. The king, whom everyone said held ultimate power, is dead, and in his place comes the birth of a republic. The republic of content.

The importance of good quality, consistent, relevant, engaging content is only growing. There is no longer any space for it at the tip of the iceberg; it is now the 90% that sits under the water, keeping entire strategies afloat.

Republic

/rɪˈpʌblɪk/

Noun
A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.

 

Copywriters: the pillars of the content republic

The content republic means that any and every marketing strategy should start with content, with the words that describe products and services, that persuade and entertain and engage. And what that means, whether you like it or not, is that the employment of a professional writer – or better yet, a team of professional writers – is no longer a negotiable. Businesses cannot, and should not, leave content creation to its SEO team, or indeed to the junior who happens to have reached the dizzy heights of A-level English and achieved a respectable B-grade. Do you really expect to convert with B grade content?

In reality, it doesn’t matter if the person you employ has a degree in chemistry from Durham, as long as he or she can write. And by ‘write’, I don’t mean simply string an adequate sentence together – most of us can do that, and that’s why there is such a common misconception that content is something anyone can do. I mean that the words are thoughtful and provocative, the grammar and sentence structure competent, the style relevant for each marketing channel, the tone of voice suitable, all copy consistent and targeted correctly. Starting to look a bit more difficult isn’t it?

This in turn means that you can’t expect to hire a good, experienced writer for peanuts, nor can you simply pay someone you find on a freelancing website £8 per page and expect to get quality copy. Content is the same as any other discipline: you get what you pay for.

Time for a quote? Of course it is. It’s impossible to put it better than the legendary Red Adair when he said, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

So, the biggest asset to your business in 2015 is, trust us, a writer. If that’s a no-go, there’s nothing to stop you getting your content written and managed by a professional copywriting company. It’s often cheaper than getting somebody in, and offers more flexibility for regular and ad hoc work.

Content as the foundation of your strategy

The birth of the content republic means that content should be at the foundation of your strategy, and that the needs and interests of your customers should be paramount. Good content, alongside effective analysis, ensures the consumer remains your focus, regardless of internal goals.

I have worked with marketing teams whose aims revolve solely around what the business is trying to achieve, and have had to be actively re-educated to think customer-centrically. Quality copy will always pitch a product or a service to appeal to the customer’s requirements or desires. It answers the question, “And so what?” before it is even asked. Good content considers why the offering will be attractive to the target audience, relates how it fulfils their needs, and injects personality into a potentially faceless brand.

This is so important in order to move forward, to expand and increase conversions and brand awareness. You might be thinking that no-one will notice the odd grammatical error or poorly written blog post, but they do, and bit by bit those weak pieces of content erode consumer trust in your brand.

Let’s touch on personalisation for a second too. This is the big word for 2015 – everyone is trying to get as much information as possible so that they can relay relevant messages. The data gathering is obviously essential, but if the copy isn’t properly targeted and executed, no amount of data will ever increase your sales. Again, it’s about trust, authority and familiarity.

Join the republic

Content underpins everything about a business’ marketing – what is said on the website, how blog and social posts are written, how the PR team represents you, the way emails are phrased depending which consumer segment they target, even how a PPC ad entices a potential buyer in. It all has to tie in, it all has to be consistent and positive and on brand. In short, it is an – indeed the – essential weapon in your arsenal.

Don’t get left behind this year. Find great writers, employ them, and watch your business grow.

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