Copy Points

Scraps of Thought from The Mighty Copywriter

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Lesson from LinkedIn

Cleveland headhunter Kelly Blazek made national headlines last week for flaming a jobseeker who contacted her through a LinkedIn group.

Blazek's victim didn't sit still for the abuse. She posted the headhunter's put-downs verbatim on several other Websites and they quickly went viral.

Blazek apologized for the breach of trust in a letter to The Plain Dealer“In my harsh reply notes," she wrote, "I lost my perspective about how to help, and I also lost sight of kindness."

Blazek subsequently deleted all online traces of herself.

Ironically, only last year the headhunter was named "Communicator of the Year" by the Cleveland Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.

We all can benefit from the advice of Florence Hartley, author of The Ladies' Book of Etiquette, published in Boston in 1860:

"Never write a letter carelessly. It may be addressed to your most intimate friend, or your nearest relative, but you can never be sure that the eye for which it is intended, will be the only one that sees it. I do not mean by this, that the epistle should be in a formal, studied style, but that it must be correct in its grammatical construction, properly punctuated, with every word spelt according to rule. Even in the most familiar epistles, observe the proper rules for composition; you would not in conversing, even with your own family, use incorrect grammar, or impertinent language; therefore avoid saying upon paper what you would not say with your tongue."

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What's Hot for 2014?

According to this year's AP-GfK's General Social SurveyAmericans don't trust each other.

The 2013 poll shows only one-third of Americans think they can trust their fellow citizens, down from one-half in 1972. 

A record high of two-thirds of Americans are suspicious of others.

That's bad news for marketers, who rely on customers' trust to offset their uncertainties.

The AP-GfK poll results come on top of more bad news from the CMO Council, whose 2013 B2B Content Survey shows buyers are largely skeptical about marketers' content.

Trust will be the hot issue for 2014.

Trust me.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Write to Delight

In Eight B2B Companies That Deliver Delightful Copywriting, Hubspot's Corey Eridon recommends these rules for better writing:
  • Choose the right words. Precision turns the most complex ideas into simple ones. 
  • Be concise. Omit everything that's inessential.
  • Empathize. Find common ground with your customers and avoid "business babble."
  • Don't be afraid to have fun. Infuse a little humor in your copy and you'll charm your audience.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

When Branding, Don't Follow the Herd

You're a global, market-leading, socially responsible company with a broad product portfolio and a deep commitment to diversity and sustainability.

Guess what?

Your customers don't care, according to new research by McKinsey.

The consultancy studied the marketing materials of 90 B2B companies, then asked 700 buyers to rank by importance the themes expressed in those materials.

It turns out buyers don't evaluate prospective suppliers in terms of global reach, market leadership, or their commitment to social responsibility, diversity and the environmentamong the most prevalent themes in today's marketing materials.

Instead, buyers care most about suppliers' responsiveness, honesty and expertisethemes rarely expressed in the materials.

The researchers caution against "following the herd" when developing marketing themes.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Get Personal in Your Marketing

Ready for a shocker?

B2B brands have stronger emotional bonds with customers than B2C brands.

According to a new study by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), 40% to 70% of customers feel an emotional tie to such brands as Oracle, Accenture, FedEx, SAP and Salesforce.

In contrast, only 10% and 40% of customers feel an emotional tie to such brands as CVS, L'Oreal and Wal-Mart.

Most of us are taughtand believethat B2B customers care only about the business value a brand delivers.

But, based on its findings, CEB urges B2B marketers to adopt campaigns that focus on the fulfillment of customers' personal and emotional needs.

B2B campaigns that promise personal value have twice the impact of those promising business value, as demonstrated by recent campaigns by Xerox, Grainger and Edwards Lifesciences.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Searchers Getting Wordy

Bloggers can take heart from a trend in the way customers are searching on line.

Searchers are increasingly using complete sentences and long phrases as search terms, according to software maker Hubspot.

They're realizing that simple search terms can no longer pinpoint useful Web content, given its enormity.

So, for example, instead of entering "sales training," a searcher might enter "two-day onsite sales training for a small insurance brokerage in Kentucky."

"As a result of these more complex searches, Google has actually changed its algorithm to better fit conversational questions from searchers," Hubspot says.

Google's change in its algorithm will help drive more traffic to blogs, "which are designed by nature to be educational, answer questions, and provide background info," Hubspot says.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Social Spam Surging

Spammers are frantically spreading their muck across the social media networks, according to a study by Nextgate.
Spam increased by more than 350% on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn during the first six months of 2013.
Facebook and YouTube host considerably more spam than the other social networks, according to the study.
We're immune to the spam that floods our email in-boxes, but social spam is insidious, because it's much more difficult to detect.
And there's another reason spammers love it.
Where spam delivered as an email reaches one victim at the time, spam delivered as a post on a social media network can reach thousands.
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