All posts by Jessica Chapman

5 Reasons to Stop Handling Your Own Copywriting Now

Jessica

We all know copywriting is used to persuade people to think or act a certain way. Every piece of writing in a company’s marketing efforts is part of a brand and should be treated with the same importance. That includes everything from traditional materials, such as brochures and print ads, to digital outlets, like websites, emails and even social media.

As creative professionals with experience building content that works, we know there are too many smart marketers wasting time developing content that simply won’t push their business forward. Why? Because they choose to handle the copywriting themselves instead of trusting the professionals.

To set the record straight: that’s not to say marketers or business professionals can’t write. We know plenty of clients and colleagues who are passionate about their brand and have the writing skills to communicate their products or services to their customers. The downside, though? They’re not trained to write specifically for advertising.

Still not convinced? Here are our top five reasons to hand the copywriting over to a professional.

1. Digital demands more.keyboard-561124_640

We all reminisce about – or at least remember from Mad Men episodes – the days when all you needed was a killer tagline and a rockstar photo to make your year-long campaign take customers by storm. Oh, the good old days (or so we’re told).

All too often, we work with clients who continue to focus a lot of time and energy on developing copy that’s very traditional in style. A content writer, on the other hand, is trained for digital media and will use a number of approaches to activate the campaign’s message. Additionally, content specialists are constantly changing copy on digital tactics based on the message’s performance.

2. Good copy alone won’t get results.

People are exposed to around 5,000 brand messages per day. The majority of those brand messages are completely tuned out. Even the most loved commercials often suffer from a lack of brand recognition, (meaning we remember something about the spot) but we don’t recall what company it’s for. Unless you have a multi-million dollar marketing budget, copy that’s good just isn’t good enough.

An agency content writer knows how to write for all sorts of brands, under many circumstances and for many audiences. They are experts when it comes to taking what you know and love about your brand and making it meaningful for the end user. It’s not to say an in-house team can’t write awesome copy, but we typically find that our clients are so ingrained in their products on a day-to-day basis that they have difficulty developing copy that is truly customer-focused.

3. You’ve got more important things to do.computer-1185567_640

This may seem like a no-brainer, but unless your sole focus is writing, you probably have some pretty important things on your agenda. Many in-house marketing managers are tasked with everything from internal communications, to managing the CRM system, to developing sales presentations and more.

Creating impactful content takes time, and even the most skilled writers run into writer’s block. It can be a huge time suck and most likely it’s not the task that is most vital to your organization. So ditch the writing and start working on that big idea you’ve been meaning to pitch to the CEO for eight months.

4. You could be missing out on SEO opportunities.

We hope if you’re reading this you’re aware of the importance of SEO when building digital content. However, many in-house marketing teams do not have the resources or tools available to create content that will drive organic traffic. The days of stuffing your website with keywords are long gone. You must know how to use those keywords within rich content that answers a question or solves a problem for the end user.

Our media and content teams work together to ensure that our clients’ content is SEO-based. Changing a keyword or phrase even slightly, for example, can dramatically change your chances of being found in search. We take into account things like search volume, competition and what’s trending in order to make your content work harder.

5. It’s time to take some risks.workshop-2209239_640

When it comes to writing, greater risk often means greater results (in fact, we did some research on creative risk to prove this theory). Now that you’ve accepted that good copy isn’t enough, it’s time to go all out. That’s where an agency comes in. Agencies are known as the kooky creatives, you know – they wear jeans way too much and have Nerf gun fights in the office.

But seriously speaking, allowing an agency to do their creative thing takes the pressure off you and your team. Let a group like Quinlan come up with the ideas that will never pass the board’s approval and you can help to find a middle ground. You might just find that there’s an idea worth trying.

Ready to get a little weird with your copy? Tweet us @QuinlanCompany or contact us for a free evaluation of your favorite content piece.

Are you ready for Mobilegeddon? The Top 3 Things to Know About 4/21

Jessica

On Tuesday, April 21 — a week from today — businesses across the Internet face what’s being called Mobilegeddon: the official change of Google’s mobile search algorithm.

The main focus of this update: mobile-friendliness will become a key factor in organic mobile search results. If your website doesn’t fit Google’s criteria of mobile-friendliness, it will likely be penalized. Failure to act now could have catastrophic results for the mobile visibility of your website.

What does this mean?

Google defines “mobile-friendliness” as a website that is well-designed for mobile devices. You can find full details on Google’s Webmaster Central blog.

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After 4/21, websites that are not mobile-friendly may experience a significant decrease in organic search traffic.

Is this bad?

Yes! According to comScore, mobile web and mobile app usage account for 60 percent of all digital media consumption in the U.S. Google Think Insights reports that 48 percent of mobile research begins with search.

What can I do?

There are three things to remember:

1. You can’t be kinda mobile-friendly. Google’s mobile-friendliness is a pass/fail test. A number of factors make up your grade, but ultimately your website is judged to be mobile-friendly or not.

2. You can test your mobile-friendliness. Do a Google search for your company in any desktop or mobile device. A small, light-gray “Mobile-friendly” label will appear below the URL if you have a passing grade. Google also provides a mobile-friendliness tool that allows you to test any URL.

3. There is hope! Google provides a wealth of resources to help businesses get mobile-friendly by 4/21.

The most important issues include:

  • Size of type. Yoast notes that Google recommends using a base font size of 16 px.
  • Spacing between touch buttons. Make sure your tap targets are at least 48 px.
  • Outdated media (such as Flash). Remember: mobile design is not the same as desktop design.

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Once addressed, your site will deliver a better user experience, get the Google seal of approval and — most importantly — more effectively convert mobile customers.

Still unsure?

Our digital experts are ready to answer any questions about making your website mobile-friendly for 4/21.

Be prepared for Mobilegeddon.
Contact us today with any questions and we can help
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5 ways to get the most from your agency

Jessica

Among the many overused marketing terms, “strategy” must be in the top five.  What’s scary is not how often the word is used, but how often it is misused. Here are some common examples:

“Our strategy is to use more digital media”
“Yes, our strategy is to increase sales”
“Let’s use our strategery to make this happen”

Not kidding, that last one is real. A strategy is not about making a list of tactics and media. A strategy is certainly not the goal itself, such as to increase sales. So what is strategy?

Merriam-Webster defines strategy as “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time.”

Is Your Agency Really Giving You Strategy?

As many brand marketing teams are being forced to scale back in an increasingly fragmented media landscape – it’s essential to partner with an agency that understands how to build effective strategies that are not dependent on one particular channel or tactic.

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Here are five ways to spot strategic thinking in action:

1. Planning and preparation
The definition of strategy is a “careful plan” – yet in reality it can be a struggle to get budgets and sign-offs in a timely fashion for an annual marketing plan. Still, it’s better to have a strategy in place that can be altered based on budgets versus waiting for final budget information and then cherry-picking tactics at the last minute.

2. Challenging the status quo
Many brands engage in certain legacy tactics simply because “it’s what we always do.” A smart agency will challenge these types of tactics if they are not on strategy or seem to be ineffective at reaching your goals.

3. Understanding market dynamics
According to Forbes’ 5th annual Client and Agency Relationship survey, 53% of CMOs feel that agencies have a poor level of knowledge of issues that impact their business.

Ouch.

It’s true that despite the best of efforts, an agency may never be as in-tune with your industry as you are. The key here is to work with partners who strive daily to understand your business model, markets and competition – and most importantly how they shape your marketing objectives.

4. Flexibility
Knowing when it makes sense to halt a campaign or shift gears is extremely important in today’s world due to the nature of social media and digital marketing. We have the opportunity to change course on a frequent basis and create relevance in real-time. Work with a partner who can adapt to changing situations and is on the lookout for your brand’s “Oreo moment.”

5. Asking questions
Sometimes, even with an amazing strategy in place, additional needs arise that may leave your agency . . . puzzled. What may seem like an annoying email coming across your desk at six o’clock is likely a reflection of your agency team trying to understand the variables behind your request.

Trust us: this is a good thing.