Why is copywriting important?

No business can function without words. Whenever you draw up a contract, give an instruction to an employee or answer the phone, you use words to communicate.

But you can’t use any old words.

Often, a few, well-chosen words will convey a message more effectively than pages and pages of text.

Appropriate communications

Just imagine the shopfloor of a department store. You probably won’t see a sign saying: “Please select the goods you wish to buy, place them in your shopping basket, then go to the checkout next to the fire exit where our staff will scan them, take payment and wrap your purchases.”

But you probably will see a sign saying:

“PAY HERE”

The first sign is more accurate, but when you’re scanning the horizon for a checkout it’s unlikely to catch your attention, whereas the shorter, less comprehensive statement actually tells you all you need to know at that stage.

The “pay here” message works because it is appropriate. This is important, because there are so many ways we can use language to communicate and in each case the writing must suit the purpose.

Adopting a suitable style

For example, a business producing two newsletters – one for its customers and another for its employees – will probably use different styles for each audience. It is likely to adopt a more serious tone for its customers, to ensure it appears professional, while the employee newsletter will tend to feature more light-hearted, even irreverent articles to entertain staff.

But that does not mean that customer newsletters shouldn’t include light-hearted content or that employee newsletters should not include serious articles about the company. Generally, each newsletter will adopt a tone finely tuned to its specific audience. And this is where the skill of the copywriter comes into play. Understanding the message that needs to be communicated and the style most likely to succeed with the target audience is crucial.

After all, a brochure aimed at selling music to a teenage audience is unlikely to succeed if it is crammed with long paragraphs of text, while a magazine aimed at readers of epic literature is unlikely to be filled with jokes and gags.

Targeting

So knowing your audience – or your market – and the best way of communicating with them is very important.

In business, people like to receive their information in different ways – from business magazines to web sites, text messages, brochures and detailed technical documents. If we are trying to communicate with a specific group of people, we’ll have more chance of succeeding if we use the method of communicating that they find works best for them.

Can I write it myself?

Yes. Why not?

Some people are perfectly capable of writing good copy. Others may find it more difficult or not have the confidence. If you can write good copy yourself, there’s no reason why you should not write your own text for your brochures, web site or press releases, other than whether it is the best use of your time. Do you do your own accounts, your own legal advice, selling or IT support? Probably not, because you don’t have the time to do them all. You’ve got to run your business.

Tips for good writing

• Develop your own style. See how other people write, by all means, but the best writing comes from ourselves.

• Don’t use jargon. Assume everyone reading your copy knows nothing about the subject.

• Keep it short. People are bombarded with so much information these days that many will not even bother to read something that looks long-winded. Length does not guarantee quality.

• Check your spelling: it does make a difference. Use a dictionary rather than a spell-checker.

• If you’re unsure of your grammar and punctuation, start writing in a simple style and develop it as you become more confident.

• Sometimes grammatically correct writing does not sound right. It’s nearly always better for your writing to sound natural, so learn the rules, but know when to break them to avoid clumsy-sounding text.

• Check your writing by reading it aloud. Does it sound natural? Or ask a colleague or friend to read it. It’s better that someone close to you spots any mistakes before you send it out to the rest of the world.

Words are a powerful tool

Always remember that words are a very powerful business tool. Whether you’re writing text for a brochure or a presentation or speech, words can achieve a lot – often at little cost to yourself.

Although you may not have a big budget, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to communicate more effectively than your competitors, and many small businesses are better at communicating than bigger ones.

• You can find more practical advice and prompt sheets at www.editorialresources.co.uk

Do you need a customer or employee magazine?

We are just sending to press the 8-page magazine for The Business League, which we have written, edited and laid out.

I’ve worked in corporate communications for some 20 years and am experienced in creating lively, informative magazines for companies, clubs and organisations.

It’s something we enjoy doing and we take away all the hassle of compiling articles, interviewing people, etc.

Please get in touch if you’ve thought of producing your own magazine, but been put off by the thought of all the organisation, planning, writing and production. We will make it easy for you.

Robert Zarywacz

Zarywacz’s PR excellence reaches the South West

Zarywacz – the PR consultancy and written communication experts – have broadened their business horizons with the opening of their North Devon office.

Managing partner Robert Zarywacz’s recent move to Ilfracombe now enables Zarywacz to offer their PR and copywriting expertise to businesses in the North Devon and the South West region of the UK.

“Ilfracombe is a lovely part of the country,” comments Robert, “For creative activities such as writing, it helps to work in a pleasant environment. And in the modern world of telephone, internet and email the geographical location of your business is becoming less important.”

Wokingham-based partner Simon Zarywacz will continue to service new and existing clients in the Thames Valley.

“Everybody needs to market and promote their products and services – no matter where they are based. So now we’re looking forward to developing new business relationships in the South West,” adds Simon.

Now enjoying their tenth year of trading Zarywacz’s other business activities will continue as normal.

Communication overload causes confusion . . . and prevents understanding

We all suffer from it, because modern technology has increased the quantity and frequency of the communications we receive, while traditional editing skills have been largely forgotten.

When we are overwhelmed by so much irrelevant information, we miss or misunderstand those messages which are important to us.

Every wrong piece of information costs you time, money and reputation:

  • A wrongly delivered product requires you to collect and replace it.
  • A wrong meeting date wastes your time and travel.
  • An unclear press announcement attracts enquiries from the wrong audience – who have no interest in the products and services you provide – while missing the target audience who do want what you offer.

As a result, service suffers, product quality plummets, reputation tarnishes and customers shrink away.

Make yourself understood . . .

. . . so your business runs more smoothly.

Precise and accurate messages enable your people to work more effectively. They reduce your costs and increase quality, because everyone understands what they do and why they do it:

  • The right product is delivered first time to a satisfied customer.
  • You arrive for your meeting on time in a confident frame of mind.
  • Your press announcement attracts the enquiries you want.

Your service is seamless, your products are perfect, your reputation shines and your customers multiply.

Speak clear messages . . .

. . . so that every audience you reach understands you in whatever medium you use:

Employees – are motivated by your newsletters, intranets and all other forms of internal communication.

Departments – work together more effectively with less friction, because everyone understands the importance of good inter-departmental relationships to the overall success of your organisation.

Partners and suppliers – understand your vision and their role within it, so that all your collaborative activities succeed.

Customers – understand who you are and why you are important to them – through your newsletters, speeches, press releases, presentations, web sites, sales letters and face-to-face contact with your people.

Business is understanding . . .

. . . what each of your audiences wants and communicating effectively, so that everyone understands everyone else clearly.

Speak less, say more . . .

. . . with effective, professional written and spoken communications from Zarywacz.

We focus entirely on your message – whether it’s a short sales letter or a company-wide communications programme – to ensure that you are understood.

We aim to reduce the quantity and length of your communications to make them all shorter, sharper and more easily understood – to save your time and money, enhance your reputation and boost your success.

Zarywacz provides e-commerce expertise for awards

For the second year running z2z partner, Robert Zarywacz has represented The Business Magazine on the panel of judges in the South East regional finals of the UK Online for Business/InterForum E-Commerce Awards 2001.

“As a regular contributor to The Business Magazine on the Internet and e-commerce, I am delighted to have participated in the prestigious E-Commerce Awards again,” Robert commented.

Robert has had hundreds of articles published on technology and business topics and has also written features for Internet.Works magazine.

Along with partner and brother, Simon, their Zarywacz PR and communications consultancy reflects a detailed knowledge of the Internet as a business tool and an interest in combining traditional communications skills with the innovation enabled by new media.

Zarywacz partner participates in “Technology Forecast: 2001 – 2003”

Robert Zarywacz has been invited to participate as one of the panel of industry experts at PricewaterhouseCooper’s “Technology Forecast: 2001 – 2003” event at the Madejski Stadium in Reading on 23 May 2001.

This year’s Technology Forecast takes as its theme “Mobile Internet: Unleashing the Power of Wireless” and analyses the characteristics of “killer” applications for the mobile Internet and discusses the mobile applications already in use or likely to become available in the near future.

Robert joins the panel as technology writer for The Business magazine and as a Communications Consultant and will comment on the Technology Forecast and take part in the discussion.

Zarywacz partner is e-commerce judge

Zarywacz managing partner, Robert Zarywacz, has joined the panel of judges for the South East regional finals of the Government’s Information Society Initiative/InterForum E-Commerce Awards 2000.

Representing The Business Magazine – for which he writes on e-commerce, the Internet and technology – Robert participated in the judging and attended the presentation of the South East awards in London on 22 May 2000.

“Writing so frequently on developments in technology and how companies are exploiting them to improve their business has strengthened my specialist knowledge considerably and this has been recognised by the invitation to judge the awards,” Robert commented.

Robert has had hundreds of articles published and contributes regularly to The Business Magazine, which has a readership of 100,000 in the Thames Valley and South Central areas of the UK.

For further details of the South East E-Commerce Award winners, see The Business Magazine web site at www.businessmag.co.uk