One of the most important changes a business should make during this time is their copywriting approach. But how do you write great content during this time?
What’s In This Episode?
- How To ‘Be Sensitive’ (1:30)
- How To ‘Be Accurate’ (8:45)
- How To ‘Be Relevant’ (11:20)
- How To ‘Be Consistent’ (14:40)
Josh: Your content and ads should not look the same now as they did a few months ago. Your copywriting and your word choices have to change, and so, that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.
Welcome to Creative Juices, the show where we help you feel personally confident about your online presence.
I’m your host Josh and today I’m joined by Em.
Em: Hey Josh!
Josh: How you doing?
Em: I’m doing good! It’s a nice warm day today! How are you going?
Josh: Yes, I’m doing well!
So it’s two episodes in a row with you!
Josh: Exciting! So today what we’re going to be talking about, and this is kind of a second part to our last episode. Last episode we were talking about content. How should your content strategy change during this time? The other thing that does need to change as well as your content strategy, is your actual content itself, and the way that you write your content.
Josh: So today we are talking about copywriting. So we’re going to be giving away a few tips on how to produce better copywriting during this time, and what you should do with your current content and copywriting. Everything from blogs, to social media, to any advertising campaigns you’re currently running.
So do you want to get us started with our first tip for copywriting?
Em: Yeah. Awesome! So just to be really clear, copywriting is basically just the words that you’re using. So that could be like you said social media, on ads, it could be on your website or even in your emails. So that’s what we’re talking about and our first tip is to be sensitive during this time.
So really, it’s better to be a little bit more on the serious side rather than maybe saying something that you might regret or saying something that maybe might upset some people.
Josh: Yeah. Absolutely! Some people have been personally affected by this, or may know someone who’s been personally affected by this, and even if you don’t have any clients or any followers who have been personally affected, the outrage culture at the moment is like ‘I’m going to get offended on behalf of everyone else’.
Josh: And so you need to be really careful about the tone that you present to people, I guess. And so it’s what kind of tone should we be presenting?
Em: Yeah. So make sure you still keep positive and optimistic and like with all our content, we still want it to be helpful, so we’re not just sharing things just for the point of sharing them. But make sure what you’re saying and what you’re sharing is valuable and it’s still helpful and communicating with your audience.
Josh: Yeah. So you’re saying to lean towards the side of being serious, but you don’t want to be depressing and pessimistic. You want to be like ‘hey there is hope at the end of the tunnel, this isn’t going to be a forever thing it’s just a temporary thing’ and so we’ll be positive during it. But that also doesn’t mean that you should be humorous or witty or casual.
I’ve seen so many people trying to make light of the situation and try to come up with these really smart witty descriptions which just make them seem insensitive.
And a great example of this is actually Denny’s from the US. Denny’s is a restaurant chain, fast food chain and so in February for their Valentines post this was their copy. ‘Things are getting steamy and it has nothing to do with your Valentine and everything to do with our skillets.’ Compare that to March where the US has been locked down pretty much and everything’s changed. They’ve changed their tone and they wrote this. ‘We’re changing a few things to keep our customers and staff safe. You can read the full statement from our CEO here.’ There’s no jokes, there’s no witty comments even though that’s their usual brand tone.
Josh: And I think that’s really smart! They haven’t made light of the situation. They’ve been a little bit more serious.
Em: Yeah. I think it’s important to note too that with words, people can’t see where you’re coming from, or they can’t hear the tone of your voice or read your body language and so that’s why with your words, you do need to kind of err on the side of caution. Because if people can’t see like what kind of position you’re coming from when you’re saying things, then that’s when people can get upset or maybe it can get taken out of context too.
Josh: Yeah, and also your use of emojis, because that’s generally what people use to present tone. Your use of emojis can seem very insensitive during this time. So keep that in mind as well.
Em: Yeah. So something else to think about is to maybe check for any insensitive words. So we’re talking about being sensitive right now. I know it’s very easy when words are being thrown around a lot, to grab a hold of them and accidentally even use them in what you’re saying, sending things viral or things like that…
Josh: Yeah yeah. That’s pretty bad! This is massive particularly for ads. I came across an ad the other day that was for a course about content create and the title was ‘How to create contagious content’. Like really?? That is so insensitive!
Em: They might not have even meant it either. It might just have been like what they usually say, because people do talk about content being, becoming contagious but probably not the right thing to talk about at the moment.
Josh: And the other thing is, it may be left over from an ad that they were running before all of this started!
Josh: Like I’ve had to change a lot of ad copy, google ad copy for our clients who were using language before this which was relevant and which created a lot of urgency, like ‘check out this killer deal’ but maybe let’s not mention killer deals at the moment….
Em: Yeah, too far!
Josh: ….or contagious content, or ‘hey let’s spread this viral content’. Yeah maybe it’s time to check for those insensitive words and maybe steer away from that.
Em: Yeah, so I guess instead of that just try to take more of like a neutral or kind of like supportive stance. So, like you said, kind of backing off from more of the ‘salesy’ kind of side of things. Like yes, you still need sales, but in times like these maybe just take those really strong salesy words like ‘now’ or ‘purchase today’ or things like that out, because we really want to foster more of a positive, community kind of environment on your social channels and on what you’re communicating, and just being there in a more supportive stance and providing helpful content for people.
Josh: Yeah, absolutely! So, some examples that I’ve had to change for a lot of our online marketing is to not use words like capitalize, or gain, or profit, or advantage, use this time for your advantage. It’s not time to leverage for your own profit but you use words like contribute and connect, and let’s navigate this time together, let’s respond to this time together. So respond is another good word. And then some words you just need to be careful with in terms of context. So be careful with the word opportunity and like ‘make the most of’, ‘let’s make the most of this situation’. Depending on the context of that word it could be good, it could be perceived as bad. What you want to think about is you want to think about contribution not just conversion.
Josh: Like yes, your business runs on profit. Yes, you need to make a profit to survive, but you don’t have to profiteer. You don’t have to present this profiteering, this tone through everything that you write.
You want to be thinking about how can you offer value to your audience? And your copywriting should match that as well.
Em: So it might sound a bit strict, what we’re saying, like do do this and don’t use that word and all of that kind of thing. So if you’re maybe not sure, just run it by two or three people before you publish it. Say ‘hey can you cast an eye over this and see if you think there’s anything like inappropriate or that people could take out of context’. So that might be something you could easily do just to kind of keep yourself safe.
Josh: Yep! I’ve seen many social media posts who needed to do that!
Em: Who should have done that!
Em: So, second point in your copywriting is to be accurate. I’m sure, now more than ever, we’ve seen so much misinformation going around and social media is ripe for misinformation. And it’s one of the biggest problems you know. People taking things out of context or Chinese Whispers and this and that.
So for your business to remain credible and professional you really need to make sure that what you’re sharing is accurate!
Josh: Yeah! The amount of businesses I’ve seen share information that they just heard from someone on Facebook, and it just was not relevant whatsoever and it just made them look stupid really.
Josh: You want to use credible sources. If you use misinformation, so for example Karen who’s posting in your Facebook group, if you’re using her information and that’s wrong, you will be creating this persona for your business that’s hey I’m careless because I’m not willing to actually research. So some of the more credible sources include World Health Organization. I was about to say World Horse Organisation, World Health Organization or WHO. Your state’s website. That’s a big one, and also the Australian Government has an app which is like the Coronavirus app, which has a lot of relevant information.
Em: Make sure that information too, is actually shared by that credible source. So I’ve seen a lot of posts going around that it’s just like a screenshot and it says this doctor from such and such place says this information, and really it’s just like you said Karen sharing it in the Facebook group. So you really actually don’t know. So make sure the people that are sharing information are the ones that are credible.
Josh: Yeah. Plus taking snippets from a full speech or from a full article that was written, taking that out of context is still misinformation.
Josh: So the other thing is, when it comes to being accurate, you want to stay optimistic but you also don’t want to over promise. Be accurate with what you’re promising your customers. You don’t want to over promise something when it comes to your service or when it comes to your opening hours. Just be optimistic but don’t over promise!
Em: Yes, that’s right.
Josh: That’s pretty much the point.
Em: Cool. So, number three is you want to stay or be relevant with your copy. Now you’ve mentioned Josh that you’ve had to change a lot of your ads because they’ve been like ‘visit us in the store’ or this or that, so maybe this involves things that you’ve posted, like your ads that people could still be seeing without you actually realizing, or maybe it’s the content that you’re currently about to post. So make sure that your offers and your services are actually relevant to what’s going on basically.
Josh: Yeah, this also comes back to your website copy as well. This isn’t just for your content that’s going out this is the content that has been static and sitting there forever. Now I’m not saying that you need to go into your Facebook page and Instagram page and go back through the hundreds of posts and change everything. Don’t do that! That’s useless, but your website which you’re directing everyone to, maybe you need to re-look at your copy.
So we mentioned earlier that maybe you need to ease up on the urgency, like ‘call now’ and ‘book now’ is still relevant particularly if you offer online services. But the copy that says things like ‘hey don’t miss out’ ‘limited time only’ ‘grab your spot before it’s too late’, people aren’t resonating as much as they once were now, because there’s a lot of change happening, there’s a lot of confusion, people aren’t on solid ground at the moment. They don’t know what’s happening and so trying to create some sort of urgency in people at the moment may not work as much, or as well.
And so, you want to change some irrelevant copy like you mentioned, like ‘see us in store’ or even ‘hands-on appointment’ maybe irrelevant.
Em: So one way that you could maybe do that, I’ve seen people putting pop-ups on their websites or even just like a banner notice at the top of the page. And that just makes your customers aware that you know what you’re doing, that you’ve changed things because of Covid or because of whatever’s going on. So it just makes them aware of any changes. So that could be, like I said, doing a pop-up or maybe you need to change the actual words on your website page itself. There’s a few different ways you could address that.
Josh: And the pop-up really helps for websites that have hundreds and hundreds of pages that you just can’t get through.
Josh: The other thing to keep in mind is also your opening hours. If you’ve got in the footer of your website hey visit us at this location during these times but that business is closed, maybe change that. Also change that on Google My Business. Don’t miss that!
I looked up a restaurant the other day that said they were open. So I was like cool! I’ll go get some takeaway and they were closed, which is probably good because I shouldn’t have been out looking for food, but um, yeah.
The other thing is you need to make sure you check your scheduled content. A lot of, particularly marketers, they schedule a lot of content in advance. If you have scheduled content, make sure you check the copy of that. Scheduled content that once used to be great. To say ‘hey get together this Easter’, Easter has just passed, but get together with your family and cook this awesome recipe or something, that’s no longer relevant, but also don’t delete it. Keep it, which leads to our next one.
Em: And yes, that is to be consistent. So we don’t want your business to just drop off the face of the planet and people to forget about you until things kind of return back to normal. A good thing to do is to keep posting and to stick to your regular voice, or your style, I guess you would say, which might sound a little bit contrary to what we talked about in erring on the serious side. But remember that you still want to be creating and posting helpful content and you can still do that.
Josh: Yeah, absolutely! Prioritize your relevant and important information during this time as well. You want to be consistent with the situation that’s happening, and so if your services are changing with the times as everything else is changing, prioritize that over maybe the funny meme that you have planned.
The other thing is that those funny memes all those scheduled content, like I mentioned before, track what you change. Like okay, so I’ve changed the copy of this, maybe just track that in a excel spreadsheet or something. And then also, maybe a particular post or a blog post or content that you’re about to post was not/is not relevant at all. Don’t just delete it! There’s a reason why you created that content in the first place. Maybe just save it as a draft or schedule it for months, months in the future where it will be relevant.
So, just to recap, some copywriting tips, number one, be sensitive. Number two, be accurate. Number three, be relevant. And number four be consistent. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
Em: I think we’ve covered it all!
Em: We did a great job!
Josh: That’s good! So hopefully, you can go through your current copywriting and that means Google Ads, Facebook ads, scheduled content, social media posts, website, website copy all of that. Go through, double check it, instigate some of these tips that we’ve recommended and yeah, you’ll be able to stay relevant, and build trust, and come out the other side of this going, we handled that well and our and our customers agree with us.
Em: That’s what we want!
Josh: That’s all we want. And so, that’s it for this episode. We will see you on the next episode!