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GIVE GOOD HEADLINE

It's the Holy Grail. Here's why you should get straight to the point.


PLUS A SIMPLE GUIDE TO TONE OF VOICE AND COPY BASICS...



Good copy is all about creating engagement. It’s about layering the information – starting with a short, sharp fact or question is traditionally the way to go:


“If I Had More Time I Would Write a Shorter Letter”

Mark Twain


In our hectic, multi-media world, this is truer than ever.



It really pays to think before you write. It's the only way to produce focused, single message communications that starts where your audience is and brings them to where you want them to be.

 

Here's the general direction of travel:


A good HEADLINE...

- Identifies with and addresses your AUDIENCE

- Surprises or creates intrigue or camaraderie

- Moves your reader to want to READ MORE


...leads into a great SUB-HEADLINE that...

- Builds on your headline and grows the thought or concept

- Amplifies the emotion

- Adds credibility and qualifications, outlines expertise


...builds into GREAT VAUE COPY...

- Communicates a strong, clear value proposition

- Distinguishes you from the competition

- Speaks directly to the thoughts and feelings of your target market

- Is backed up by strong facts


....that concludes with a strong CALL TO ACTION

- giving your reader a clear response mechanism is essential and leaves them in no doubt what to do next – and what they’ll get out of it: call us to speak to an advisor, go online to register for information, follow us on Twitter for updates, check out our Facebook page to win...


The journey that any business wants to take its customers on is, in very board terms, the same.


How they do that varies enormously in tone and style.

 

WATCH YOUR TONE!


A clear Tone of Voice is one tool that can help you to stand out by sounding distinct and to create a relationship with your customer.



For example, a law firm will and should sound entirely different from a chocolate manufacturer: we want our solicitors to have authority and gravitas, while we like our chocolate to be fun and even a little bit ‘out there’.



Companies establish, maintain and build these reactions and perceptions through a distinct tone of voice, using appropriate words and avoiding any jargon or technical speak that would alienate their audience.


Establishing a distinct Tone of Voice is best done by getting under the skin of an organisation and finding out its brand values, building good ways of communicating, championing good ways of working and giving everyone a clear road map of how they can use those values to work best with each other and drive development and growth.

 

And while each Tone of Voice, by definition, is distinct to an organisation, each one should be built on some simple premises:


THE GOOD COPY COMMANDMENTS




Be conversational

Do your communications sound like one person talking to another person? There are degrees of ‘conversation-ality’, from sounding professional yet human, to being colloquial or using slang: it’s all down to what your audience relate to best.






Use ‘You’

Talking directly to your reader automatically begins to create a conversation with them and is ideally the beginning of a long term relationship.







Keep it smooth

Read your content out loud to get a sense of the flow. If any phrases jar or sound weird in the overall context, they don’t sit well with your Tone of Voice.










Keep it simple

Think about what your audience knows and avoid jargon at all costs: you’ll only confuse or create more questions. Using insider language will alienate while using clichés is just lazy...




And if you're still not sure, give me a shout :)


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