By Maureen Legg, Account Executive
Companies often think that their big fancy brochure is the cat’s meow, but it turns out to be a dog and they have to eat crow. It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back and the board wants to throw the marketing manager to the lions.
That guy’s goose is cooked so he decides to talk turkey. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, he says, and because the company had nothing meaningful to say the brochure ended up being an old dog that couldn’t do new tricks. You might think he’s jumping on his high horse, but really he’s taking the bull by the horns and should get the lion’s share of kudos for recognizing a white elephant when he sees one…
Before you go cuckoo managing your menagerie of marketing collateral, what can you do to avoid getting saddled with a white elephant? Well, for starters you can make sure you are writing good copy.
You might think I’m playing possum with the use of the term “good,” which is vague and subjective. So before your feathers get ruffled and you decide this blog post is for the birds, let me go whole hog and define “good copy” as “copy that gets your attention.”
Now, how do you get someone’s attention?
Well, you might amuse them with some word play (clearly, one of my favorite approaches). Much like this British headline did to herald the coming of our client’s film to the U.K.
Star Trek set to stun at SCI-FI-LONDON
Not taking your business too seriously can create staying power among your readers who appreciate a good pun and some pithy wit.
But more importantly, good copy does not subscribe to the “if we write it, they will come” theory. If you’ve got nothing to say, then all the copy in the world can’t make that interesting. But if you’ve got something say, then dare to be different about how you say it.
Good copy also answers the question, “Why should I care?” It’s not just about telling the reader what they don’t know — it’s giving them a reason to want to know more. That requires getting inside the mind of your intended reader and finding their hot button. What you think is interesting about your company is not necessarily what will resonate with your audience.
Copy also has the power to differentiate you from the crowd … if you let it. If you’re reluctant to make stand-out statements about your business, copy can only do so much to make an impression.
And there’s really no substitute for knowing what you’re talking about. Investing time to share information and knowledge with your public relations agency enables them to inventory your assets, create a branding strategy and develop powerful messaging to tell your story.
Of course, there’s also the important relationship between design and copy, but that’s a horse of a different color and fodder for a future post.
Did I get your attention … or did I just get your goat?