7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.

 

There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are blogging regularly about what they do, and many others are hovering on the fence, not sure whether they can keep up with the commitment. But if you’re one of the few who doesn’t see the value in it, I have 9 reasons you should be giving blogging the old college try.

 

  1. 60% Of Marketers Say Blogs Are Their Top Inbound Marketing Priority

 

Creating blog content is becoming more and more important, as marketing companies realise it is fuel for everything they do. Without a solid bank of content, there is nothing to share on social media, nothing to hook in readers and make them click on newsletter links, and nothing to fall back on when they’re talking about their business. Blogs are the foundation of any solid marketing strategy.

 

  1. 80% Of Companies Consider Their Blogs ‘Useful’, ‘Important’ Or ‘Critical’

 

Blog content isn’t just useful for social media. Your blogs are a way of communicating with your prospects and your clients, and a way of sharing ideas, information and yes, even selling to them. That’s why so many people think they are important. For some businesses, content is the lifeblood that keeps them going, while in others it’s a convenient marketing tool that backs up everything they say in their other messaging.

 

  1. Once You Write 21-54 Blog Posts, Blog Traffic Generation Increases By Up To 30%

 

It’s true what they (I mean we) say, you’ve got to keep it up! So many companies blog for a little while, and then they run out of time, or motivation, and they stop. 9 times out of 10, they stop before they’ve managed to hit that critical mass of blogs, between 21 and 54. But the thing is, when you have that much content on your site, Google starts to take notice. And that’s when the rankings start to climb, the traffic starts to increase and your blogs can even help with your direct sales. So don’t give up, whatever you do!

 

  1. Small Businesses Who Blog Get 126% More Lead Growth Than Those Who Don’t

 

Small businesses have to fight for every lead and every prospect that comes their way. That takes up a lot of time and energy, and sometimes spreads the owner pretty thing. But one thing that takes up minimal time and provides maximum results is blogging. A regular blog will increase your online visibility and send your lead growth through the ceiling. There’s no downside there.

 

  1. 346 Million People Read Blogs All Over The World

 

People read blogs. You’re reading one now. Blogs are the things that people read to learn, to better themselves, to research and even to kill some time before the day ends. Whatever the reason, 346 million people worldwide read blogs on a regular basis. And if they’re not reading yours, they’re reading your competitors.

 

  1. Websites With A Blog Tend To Have 434% More Indexed Pages

 

Google loves content. And Google indexes all of the pages on your website, and gives them a ranking. So it makes sense that the more content you have, the more pages you have, and therefore the more pages available to be indexed. And the more pages you have indexed with Google, the more likely you are to come up in a search. Blogs are a great way of creating indexable pages for your website without having to constantly update your web copy.

 

  1. Blogs Have Been Rated As One Of The Top Five Most Trusted Sources For Information Online

 

This is what I think is one of the most important reasons for businesses to blog. Blogs are ranked up there as one of the most trusted resources for information on the internet. That means that when people want information, to research products and services, they turn to blogs to find the answers. Blogs allow you to present that information to prospects and convince them that you’re the right person for the job – without being overtly salesy about it.

 

If you’re not blogging yet, you should be. No matter what industry you’re in, there are people out there who want to know about what you do. Rather than assuming no one else in your sector will give them what they want, you need to make sure you are there when they ask those questions. Get yourself out there as a source of information enough, and you will be the first person they think of when they’re ready to buy.

 

But blogging takes time and energy, and a lot of business owners just can’t manage it. That’s ok – that’s what people like us are here for. All we do, all day every day is write blogs for businesses like yours. We help support your marketing efforts, get you found online and provide the information your customers need to make their buying decisions. Our packages start from just £75 a month – so why not give blogging a try? Find out more about our services here, or just give us a call to arrange a chat.

 

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
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The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight lines on the internet. They don’t go from left to right, reading every single word in the line before going down to the next line. Instead, we read in a distinct ‘F’ pattern – and you should be using that to design your website and its content.

 

What Is The ‘F‘ Pattern?

 

To sum it up, the ‘F’ pattern is the most common eye scanning pattern of people reading blocks of content online. To go a bit deeper (because you didn’t come here for summaries), it’s how your users read your content. In just a few seconds, their eyes whizz across your content in a distinct F pattern. We know this because there have been studies done using heat mapping, which shows us exactly where readers eyes go, and how long they stay there. Honestly, it’s pretty cool. It’s made up of 3 components:

 

  • Users read in a horizontal movement first across the upper part of the content area. This forms the top bar of the F.

 

  • Next, they scan in a vertical line down the left-hand side of the screen, looking for headings and points of interest in the paragraphs initial few sentences. When they find something they like they read across in a second horizontal movement, typically covering a shorter area than the previous one. This is the second, lower bar of the F.

 

  • Finally, the users scan the content’s left side in another vertical movement and scan across the full lines when they find something interesting, in smaller, off shooting F’s.

 

For more visual people, it looks like this:

 

 

It’s pretty much the ‘go to’ layout choice for text-heavy websites, like blogs and news sites. So if any of your pages are a bit text heavy, then the F pattern is perfect. It’s also the most comfortable layout for Western readers, who have been reading top to bottom, left to right their entire lives.

 

How To Use The F Pattern In Your Content

Prioritize Your Content – When you’re creating a page or post, pick out your 3 most important pieces of information, and make sure they fit into that reading line. Once you’ve identified what you consider important and what your users will be most interested in, it’s simply a matter of making sure they hit those ‘hot spots’.

 

Set Initial Expectations – Your first two paragraphs are the most important – so get your key messages at the top. On pages, make sure your important content is at the top of the page, level with the navigation bar if you can. From there, use the F pattern to place your sub headings and other important areas.

 

Design For Scanning, Not Reading – Too many people write content assuming they’re going to be read word for word. With so many pressures on our time, people tend to speed read most things, which is code for scanning. So rather than hope you’re the exception, design your pages and content for scanning. Start your paragraphs with enticing keywords to catch the attention of time poor readers. Cover only one idea per paragraph, and use bullet points regularly. Make your content as easy to san as possible.

 

Utilise Your Side Bar – Sidebars exist to get users involved on a deeper level. So use it! Feature anything you want users to see in this side bar – such as a list of ‘related articles’, a search function to help people find specific things, or a social media widget.

 

And there you have it. If you want more engagement, you need more F’s. And if you’re not sure how to structure your content to fit that pattern, then call someone who does. At Eleven Eight, we specialise in helping businesses create compelling and engaging content, which means we know a little something about reader psychology! To find out more, just get in touch with us, or book a consultation here.

 

Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to drop a few ‘F’ bombs in your content when they’re needed too!

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
Read More

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

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Which Hogwarts House Does Your Content Belong To?

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How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

Google, google, google. There isn’t a day goes by where we aren’t reading something about Google. How to get your website to page 1 is the main one, since occupying that coveted page 1 spot will gain you more clients, more exposure and ultimately, more success. And posting regular content in the form of blogs is a great, low-cost way of getting you there. But it isn’t just as simple as posting some stuff and hoping for the best. So to help you out, we’ve got four ways you can improve your blogs and get them to page 1.

 

Do Your Research

 

Anyone who’s done even a little research will know that Google still likes keywords. And why wouldn’t it? It’s one of the most important signposts Google uses to identify what content should feature in search results. But the most common mistake people make is filling their content with the wrong keywords. Instead of using the keywords you want to be found for, instead look at what people are actually searching for. That might sound like the same thing, but actually, they’re completely different. Use a keyword research tool (Like Google’s keyword planner or SEO Book’s Keyword Tool) and figure out what people are typing into Google to find you. It’s a little bit of effort, yes, but it means that your content will actually start showing up in search results – which is the whole point, right?

 

Produce Good Quality Content

 

When it comes to blogging, it’s not about quantity; it’s about quality. I often come across business owners who want to write a post every single week and make sure it’s splashed everywhere. And that’s great. But the odds are that you won’t get high-quality content churned out in that time frame. So instead of trying to get loads of content out there, focus on producing just a few pieces of high-quality content a month. If you’re not sure what constitutes ‘high-quality’, here are 5 elements to remember:

 

  • Audience focused
  • Trustworthy
  • An authority
  • Offer substantial value
  • Quality control measures

 

What all of that means is that you should be writing good content that your audience actually wants, not being so focussed on stuffing it full of the right key words that you forget people will actually read it. When you’re writing your blog, forget about SEO. Seriously. Don’t worry about algorithms and key words – even though I know that goes against the paragraph above. Instead, write something engaging, interesting and useful to people, and your content will be much more successful. Don’t publish a bunch of shallow, you-focussed content that doesn’t serve anyone.

 

Mix It Up

 

Google is constantly changing its algorithms in tiny ways – always tweaking and improving something. And so should you. More specifically, don’t just write the same length of content, on the same topics over and over again. Variety is the spice of life after all. So create some posts that are just 400 words long – a nice quick read. Make some your average 600-700 word, easy reading posts. And then include some of the meatier, dig-in-deep posts too. This is where a lot of businesses fall down. If you look at studies carried out on Google’s search results, you’ll find that the average first page post is almost 2,000 words long. This is known as ‘cornerstone’ content, and is just as important to your rankings as your regular, shorter pieces.

 

Don’t Forget The Extras

 

Going back to keywords. Your content isn’t the only place you should be including them. When you upload your blog posts, you will be asked to fill in a whole bunch of metadata. And you should be including your keywords here. The most important places to use your keywords include:

 

  • Your title
  • Your URL (which you can customise)
  • Your headings (which are throughout the text)
  • Your alt image tags and image captions

 

As well as throughout your content. Google ranks your page based on the entire content of the page, not just on the bits visible to readers. So don’t neglect it.

 

If you don’t know how to do any of this, then don’t worry – you’re not alone. SEO is a complicated business, and frankly, even we don’t know everything there is to know about it. That’s why there are SEO gurus. But we do know how to get blogs to rank well, and use them as a tool to boost your rankings. If you’d like to know how to do that, you can book one of our 90-minute crash course sessions, or get in touch for a consultation. Can’t wait to hear from you!

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
Read More

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight...
Read More

How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

Google, google, google. There isn’t a day goes by where we aren’t reading something about Google. How to get your website to page 1 is the main one, since occupying that coveted page 1 spot will gain you more clients, more exposure and ultimately, more success. And...
Read More

4 Benefits To Story Driven Marketing

Brand storytelling isn’t a new concept. So in a sense, this blog might just be rehashing old ideas. But here’s the thing. Only the bigger businesses seem to be doing it. Why do you think the John Lewis adverts get such attention every year? Because they tell a story...
Read More

Which Hogwarts House Does Your Content Belong To?

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a bit of a Potterhead. Harry Potter came out in 1997, when I was just 6 years old. As an avid bookworm, I had my head in the first book almost as soon as it could get from the book shop shelves and into my eager hands. I grew up...
Read More

4 Benefits To Story Driven Marketing

4 Benefits To Story Driven Marketing

Brand storytelling isn’t a new concept. So in a sense, this blog might just be rehashing old ideas. But here’s the thing. Only the bigger businesses seem to be doing it. Why do you think the John Lewis adverts get such attention every year? Because they tell a story in the space of 1 minute. Something compelling and charming that connects the viewer with the advert from the first few seconds. And guess what? John Lewis’s sales soar after those ad’s air. There’s not any question about it anymore – if you want to make your brand stand out, you need to be telling stories. But in case that wasn’t enough of a reason (and hey, it might not be), I’ve pulled together a few more you for,

 

Why We Crave Stories

 

Here’s a nice, juicy reason to indulge in your fantastical side now and then. Our brains are hard-wired to respond to and crave stories. Seriously. Various neurological studies have proven that our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than cold, hard facts. That’s because when we read straight data, only the language parts of our brains are activated, working to decode the meaning behind it. But what scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive. Words like “lavender,” “cinnamon” and “soap,” for example, elicit a response not only from the language-processing areas of our brains but also those devoted to dealing with smells. So when we read a story, it’s not just the language centre of our brain that lights up – all of the other areas of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing the events light up too. When we read stories, they imprint themselves on us, meaning they are easier to remember in the future.

 

As well as being hard-wired to respond to them, our brains are creating their own stories all the time, to fill in the gaps. We spend around a third of our lives daydreaming – our minds constantly looking for distractions. The only time we stop flitting from daydream to daydream is when we have a good story in front of us. So if you want to capture the full attention of your customers, the best way to do it is to give them that story

Show Off Your Personality

In an age where ‘people buy people’, giving your brand a personality is everything. While you may be able to do that in your everyday marketing to some extent, there is nothing like telling a story to shine a light on your brand voice. Your stories could be created by your brand, following your brand voice, or they could be created by your customers – who will share similar values and reinforce your brand personality at every stage. Some businesses we’ve met are worried about letting their personalities come through – but think about that for a second. If your brand ha no personality, then what sets it apart from the rest of the marketplace? What is there to attract customers to you, and not someone else? Never be afraid of putting your personality into your marketing. Tell customers a story, and make sure they hear it in your voice.

 

 Push Your Brand Front And Centre 

 

Some time ago the CEO of Jeep UK (Damien Dally) commented on story telling. “Storytelling in the automotive industry has been key in marketing campaigns for some time, especially since the advent of interactive/social media. This can be something metaphoric, yet simple, like a journey, to something more in-depth, with use of roles and a plot for the more adventurous. Portraying your brand as the protagonist, in either case, is essential.” In other words, storytelling is what links the brand with the story’s values. So whatever story you’re telling, your brand will be intrinsically linked to that message. You could use this to subtly position yourself above the competition, or as the maverick champion of the customer’s values. It’s about standing out, without being complicated about it.

 

 Hit The Emotions

 

Successful stories are successful for just one reason. They make us feel something. Even after we’ve finished reading or hearing them, they have a way of bringing back those feelings when we think about them. Storytelling is the best way to hit an emotional chord with your customers, so get tucked in for Storytime! But one caveat – make sure the stories you’re telling are real, at least for the most part. The last thing you want is to be caught in a fairy-tale lie because you wanted to pull on the old heartstrings. Your customers will see right through it and think less of you for it.

 

 Get Them Hooked

 

If there is one thing the human brain can’t resist, it’s a cliff-hanger. We desperately crave closure, and we always want to know how something ends before we can move on. So it’s really simple – tell them a story that never ends. Use every part of your marketing to keep the story going, and you will keep people’s attention along the way. Always leave them wanting more. And FYI, ‘more’ can manifest itself in any way you can imagine, so switch it up. Don’t let your method become stale and detract from your story. Use a variety of methods to tell your story, and push it out onto as many platforms as possible.

 

At Eleven Eight, we specialise in putting the personality back into your business copy. Through blogs, white papers and even your web copy, we can highlight your brand voice and attract more readers to your website. All you’ve got to do is seal the deal! If you want to know more, come find me in my office, or drop me a line for a chat.

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
Read More

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight...
Read More

How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

Google, google, google. There isn’t a day goes by where we aren’t reading something about Google. How to get your website to page 1 is the main one, since occupying that coveted page 1 spot will gain you more clients, more exposure and ultimately, more success. And...
Read More

4 Benefits To Story Driven Marketing

Brand storytelling isn’t a new concept. So in a sense, this blog might just be rehashing old ideas. But here’s the thing. Only the bigger businesses seem to be doing it. Why do you think the John Lewis adverts get such attention every year? Because they tell a story...
Read More

Which Hogwarts House Does Your Content Belong To?

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a bit of a Potterhead. Harry Potter came out in 1997, when I was just 6 years old. As an avid bookworm, I had my head in the first book almost as soon as it could get from the book shop shelves and into my eager hands. I grew up...
Read More

How Tendinopathy Improved My Writing

How Tendinopathy Improved My Writing

Strap in kids, this one gets a bit personal.

Around 6 months ago, I felt the first twinge in my right wrist. It was while I was at the gym, in the middle of a bench press, so I figured I had just overextended things a bit. I let up on the weight, and by the next day it was back to normal.

Fast forward 3 months, and I was experiencing sharp, shooting pains in my right hand at almost every movement. It came on quite suddenly, and rocketed fro, mild inconvenience to tear inducing pain in a matter of days, leaving me almost completely unable to actually use my right hand for anything.

Which as a copywriter who relies on her hands to do her job, was a very bad thing.

After I fought down the pure panic that I had developed rapid onset RSI, I dragged myself to a doctor. A few specialist visits and many tests later, I was diagnosed with tendinopathy – the tearing and inflammation of the tendons along the back of my hand and leading into my fingers, due to a combination of my 2 favourite things – typing and lifting weights. With the right treatment, it can be dealt with, but I will be prone to flair ups for the rest of my life. For a while, this felt like a hugely bad thing – a cloud hanging over the things I loved in life.

But actually, I’ve found it to be hugely beneficial. For one, it’s made me realise just how fragile our bodies are, and how much we take for granted simple things like being able to carry a shopping bag or fire off a quick email. It’s helped me adjust how I exercise to be safer, and more effective along the way. And it’s massively improved my writing. Since typing was such a big source of the injury, I was told I needed to adjust the way I work to avoid making it all worse. So I did 2 things – I bought myself an ergonomic keyboard, and I started playing around with voice to text software.

The keyboard has made much more of a difference than you’d think. Not only is it much more comfortable for me to write, but it’s forced me to re-learn how to type, since with that big hole in the middle (I’ll put a picture here so you can see what I mean), all the keys are in difference places. This in turn proved to me that I do indeed type like my father (with one finger on either hand, and quite hard). But now, I’m being forced to use all of my fingers to type, which is slowing me down while I learn. Sure, this means I can’t get as much done in a day, but that extra time means I can really think about what I’m saying in a way that I sometimes don’t when the words are flying out at lightning speed to try and keep up with my brain. In turn, my arguments are more considered, the words I choose fitting together more naturally the first time around (instead of in editing), and my own awareness of the processes I go through has heightened. I’m also much more conscious that I keep hitting the wrong keys at the moment, which has halved my proof reading time since I’m paying more attention to what’s going on the page the first time around.

The voice to text is a bit more interesting. I’ve only been using it on days when the pain is particularly bad, but it’s made an interesting difference. You see, as a writer I tend to flit around a lot. I’ll write one paragraph, then skip ahead and write a whole new section, before skipping around again and then linking them all together at the end and polish out any bits that don’t quite fit. It’s just how my brain works, and it’s worked perfectly well throughout my entire career. And when you’re typing, that’s easy to do. But when you’re dictating, it’s suddenly much more difficult, and everything often ends up in a muddle. So I’ve been forced to start thinking in straight lines, which is not something I’m used to in any area of my life. I bounce around as the inspiration and information comes to me, but having to know what I’m going to say in the exact next section is a relatively new experience for me. This in turn has led to improved writing, even if I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s better.

While it’s not like taking a course or reading a book, my journey through tendinopathy has certainly made some positive changes in the way I work. Just by being forced to re-evaluate how I do things, I’ve been able to improve a number of processes. Things I didn’t even realise were inefficient are suddenly glaringly obvious, and I’ve been able to take all of those positive changes and pass the benefits on to my clients. So yeah, I’d rather not have such a disabling condition in my hand, and living with the reoccurrences is going to suck, but would I go back and stop it happening.

Absolutely not.

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
Read More

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight...
Read More

How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

Google, google, google. There isn’t a day goes by where we aren’t reading something about Google. How to get your website to page 1 is the main one, since occupying that coveted page 1 spot will gain you more clients, more exposure and ultimately, more success. And...
Read More

4 Benefits To Story Driven Marketing

Brand storytelling isn’t a new concept. So in a sense, this blog might just be rehashing old ideas. But here’s the thing. Only the bigger businesses seem to be doing it. Why do you think the John Lewis adverts get such attention every year? Because they tell a story...
Read More

Which Hogwarts House Does Your Content Belong To?

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a bit of a Potterhead. Harry Potter came out in 1997, when I was just 6 years old. As an avid bookworm, I had my head in the first book almost as soon as it could get from the book shop shelves and into my eager hands. I grew up...
Read More

Celebrating The Life Linguistic – Or Just Chatting Shit With Copywriters?

Celebrating The Life Linguistic – Or Just Chatting Shit With Copywriters?

So last week, despite being firmly in the middle of my lovely two week holiday, I strapped on my best copywriting helmet and braved the sodden winds of Bournemouth beach for Copy Cabana. I actually discovered this gem of an event last year – about three days too late for the 2016 event. So I swore to myself I would get tickets the second they went on sale for 2017’s shindig, and thanks to the lovely Vicki Ross, I damn well did.

 

For those of you who aren’t quite as sadly dedicated as I am – Copy Cabana is the name given to the gathering of over 300 copywriters to talk about words. And believe me, the very best words were on display. From the moment the first people sidled through the doors (and were then told off and sent away for being 10 minutes early), the room was buzzing with ideas chatter that could only come out of copywriters.

 

It. Was. Amazing.

 

It was great fun too. I’m really glad I didn’t bother with heavy eye-makeup, because the speakers had me staring wide-eyed in wonder, laughing so hard I was in tears (I’m pretty sure the guy next to me thought I was having a nervous breakdown) and moved to the point of tears. I left feeling inspired, uplifted, and I’m pretty sure I drove my husband mad on the drive home with my excitable chattering. But I also learned some pretty amazing stuff too, and I wanted to share that with you lot. Because you all deserve to learn too! Strap in guys, this is a long one.

Fall in Love With The Devil In The Detail

 

Sarah Topping was the speaker I was most looking forward to seeing at the event, so when they announced that she was up first, I couldn’t contain the excited squeal (again, sorry Andrew!) Sarah Topping has my dream job, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more jealous of a human being. She cut her teeth by waddling through the Puffin/Penguin/Penguin random house offices writing all sorts of exciting and colourful copy. Sarah taught us all about the devil in the details, and how you really do need to put the research work in if you want great results. When creating book blurbs of a few hundred words, Sarah will read the entire book cover to cover, just in case the main character dies in chapter 4. Likewise, when writing anything you should know all of your facts before you start, or else you could write something completely wrong.

 

Seriously people, do your research.

The Robots Are Coming

 

I have never heard such a simultaneously terrified and angry outburst as when Glenn Sturgess and Pete Stephen announced that the robots are coming to steal copywriters jobs. This fantastic and informative talk had us all panicking that in 20 years, AI will be so sophisticated that it can write copy better than us. They even gave us a lovely poem, written by AI:

 

‘But it’s not all doom and gloom!’ they cried. ‘Copywriters just need to adapt!’ So instead of fearing the robots, we should be using their unlimited analytical and pattern recognition to test and improve our own writing (while we still can). In 20 years, we may be calling ourselves digital anthropologists instead of copywriters.

 

Everyone Loves Ice Cream

 

Next up was the most delicious speaker of all – Kerry Thorpe, Communications Lead for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Once I had got over my sudden desire to work at Ben & Jerrys (dogs, picket fence desks and 2 pints of free ice cream a day?!), Kerry revealed to us that that carefully crafted whimsical tone we see plastered over ice cream tubs isn’t all it seems. Instead of being just a clever piece of marketing tone, the teams at Ben & Jerry’s really live and breathe the ethos. Social responsibility, cheeky fun, experimentation and truly amazing ice cream – that’s what they’re all about. Kerry reminded us that companies who truly embrace their identity are the ones that create these standout brands. They do what they love, and it shines through in everything.

Care, And Care Hard 

 

A surprise insertion, the 4th speaker at this illustrious copywriting conference was….

 
A window cleaner.

 

Yes, you read that right. But he was a window cleaner who reminded us that we do our best work when we actually care about our customers. The same goes for any business, any service, anything. Care, and care hard. Or what’s the point?

 

Avoid Going Up Shit Creek

 

These ladies truly amazed me, in part because they run their content marketing school from a pub, and that’s pretty awesome. But they’ve also created some amazing graphics that describe exactly what the content marketing journey is like, and give you a compass to navigate it with. For example, their map of ‘content island’, which needs no follow-up:

 

They encouraged us as copywriters to get a bit more involved in the content strategy element of what we do, and help our clients do the same. Something I fully plan to embrace (watch out clients!) They also provided me with my first favourite quote of the day:

 

Dogs aren’t just for Christmas, and content writers aren’t just for web copy’

Something About Poetry

 

I’ve got to be honest here; there was a chunk of Rishi Dastidar’s section that completely flew over my head for two reasons:

 

  • I have about as much poetic talent as a duck on stilts.
  • Something he said sparked a fire in my brain, and I was scribbling down a children’s story idea so fast I’m surprised my page didn’t catch fire.

 

But in all seriousness, Rishi was great. His points about the creativity of copywriting and poetry (and their similarities), and how as copywriters we should always be trying to mix the magical into our everyday copy, just as poets do.

 

Guide To Wine Writing

 

Our celebrity appearance was Joe Fattorini (he presents The Wine Show on ITV) taught us that subject experts are quite shit at writing about their subject area, because they have the ‘burden of knowledge’. This is something I rabbit on about quite a lot (though I say ‘blinker vision’) and really shows when it comes to wine. Joe regaled us with tales of his days donating wine to the homeless in exchange for ‘real reviews’, and how the ‘fancy’ wine copy is often lying to you (ask me how later). Experts who use posh language to impress their customers rarely do, and instead, you should be looking for the real reasons people use your product if you want good sales. For wine – relaxation and because it’s enjoyable.

 

This spawned my second favourite quote of the day, when he described wine as ‘a wank in a glass’. And no, I’m not explaining that one any further.

 

Care Again

 

I don’t actually have many notes from Karen’s speech, mainly because I was so engrossed in listening to her stories. As the fundraising manager for World Vision UK, she has to reach out and pry money from the hands of privileged Westerners and give it to poor children suffering in the world’s harshest places. All she did was read us some of the letters they send to their supporters – telling the stories of these poor children and how their donations helped. By the end, I was reaching for my wallet too. Emotion might just be the single most important weapon marketing has, and we don’t use it enough.

Tone Of Voice Isn’t Bullshit

 

Remember when I said some of the speakers left me laughing so hard I was crying my eyes out? That was this guy. Every other word out of Nick Parker’s mouth was a mixture of laugh out loud comedy and genuine genius, which made his talk about tone of voice all the more impressive. He shared some fantastic examples of good and bad tone of voice with us, and coined his own names for the 10 tones of voice that provide marketing gurus with the fuel they need. A few of my personal favourites included ‘Ronseal’, ‘Big Friendly Giant’, ‘Playful Children’ and ‘Foolbiscuits’. But more to the point, tone of voice isn’t all bullshit. It’s the hand of Midas that turns your ‘meh’ content into true marketing gold.

Everyone Is Biased

 

Making a complete U-turn, Elle Graham-Dixon made everyone take a good hard look at themselves. With some simple riddle, she exposed the gender bias of everyone in the room, making us all feel like awful human beings. Although she did try to make us feel better by explaining it’s our brains who are lazy and make presumptions, not us. Still, Elle’s half hour segment about bias and stereotypes sent every copywriter in the room away with a new desire to write more inclusively, use insights instead of stereotypes and be the change we want to see. Bravo Elle.

The Art Of Being Interesting

 

Our final speaker of the day was promoted as having written the most expensive marketing book of all time (£3000 a copy), and being an all-round ultimate copy guru. Unfortunately, as a speaker he just wasn’t my cup of tea. No offence to Steve Harrison, but sometimes people don’t gel. Maybe I was getting tired (it was very warm in that seminar room). It’s not you, it’s me. Etc etc.

 

Steve did make some really good points, even if I didn’t connect with him as a speaker. And I know a lot of other copywriters there loved him. He reminded us that we really should be focusing on the problems the end readers of our content have – and not the problems the client who commissioned it has. We shouldn’t be writing content to get the client more sales; we should be trying to solve their customer’s problem. That’s how you generate buzz around a brand and turn passive readers into real-world sales.

 

And that’s it. My first experience of Copy Cabana was inspiring and insightful, and it’s definitely changed the way I think as a copywriter. I can’t wait to see what they have in store next year! (No pressure Vicki and Andy!)

 

Oh, and thanks for sticking with me for nearly 2000 words. I promise the next blog won’t be as long.

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