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10 indispensable tips for writing online copy

This is a guest post from Jayne White. Jayne is a freelance copywriter and proofreader. She mainly works with web designers to create and improve the copy on their clients’ websites. Her website is eletha.co.uk.

Does your work involve writing or signing off on online copy? If so, take a look at my top tips for making your copy as engaging and effective as possible.

  1. Show some personality – the more expressive you are in conversation, the more your listeners will take an interest; this is true of copywriting also. Consider what your readers might be thinking as they read.
  2. Lead with a strong point – this gets attention! A slow wordy introduction will turn off your readers.
  3. Use the active voice as much as possible; it’s more engaging than the passive voice. Passivity has little place in marketing.
  4. Be focussed – think about what you need to say and say it. I know this sounds obvious. However, many websites and brochures have copy which fails to stay on point or mixes topics in a way that the reader finds distracting.
  5. Spell out customer benefits – inexperienced copywriters often focus entirely on the product and the business and hope the customer will deduce the benefits on their own.
  6. Be clear – your old English teacher isn’t marking this so you don’t have to show that you know how to use really long words and complex grammar. Your goal is to make your copy as readable as possible to as many people as possible.
  7. Be knowledgeable – if you don’t know what you’re talking about the copy will read as waffle or filler and the potential customer will lose interest.
  8. Be concise – many people have a short attention span for reading online. Make sure you’re not making them work too hard. If you’re writing about a big subject, think about how you might break it down so a reader can easily navigate through it.
  9. Include a ‘call to action’ – if you’ve caught a potential customer’s attention make it easy for them to know how to contact you or how to buy what you’re selling – don’t break the flow and encourage them to put you to one side.
  10. Edit – No writing is perfect first time. Lay it aside for a day or two and come back with a critical eye.
megan mondi marketing

Marketing tips for improving the bottom line (in the wake of the EU referendum)

I don’t know about you, but I found the article in The Independent about job vacancy adverts falling by 700,000 the week after the referendum result absolutely terrifying, though not entirely unexpected. As companies spend the coming months evaluating the long-term implications of the UK leaving the EU, there will undoubtedly be increasing pressure on marketing teams to cut costs wherever possible.

Here are five steps every marketing department should be taking now to help improve the bottom line:

1) Brush off the dust on your RFQs

Be it designers, printers, videographers or mailing houses, we all have our preferred vendors – those we have worked with often enough that it’s easy to just throw a new project in their direction without thinking twice because it saves us from having to go back to basics. But now is the time TO go back to basics. I managed to save a company I worked for £20,000 during my first month on the job by submitting requests for quotes (RFQs) to new and existing designers, printers and PR platforms. Be as specific as you can with your project requirements – including deadlines – so you can compare like for like. You don’t need to go nuts: 3 or 4 requests for quotes or a price matrix for each service should help you realise who to hire and what the going rate is for a particular project. You’ll be surprised by what you find!

2) Canva is your new best friend

canva marketing exampleI work at Kogan Page, where all of our authors are business experts, meaning their LinkedIn connections are to die for and they more likely than not have very strong Twitter profiles as well. We aim to leverage that as much as we can, and Canva helps immensely. Canva is a free, easy-to-use online graphic design platform. It has a range of social media templates – including cover photo templates complete with holes cut out for where the profile picture sits – so you can easily add book covers, discount codes and calls to action on prime real estate. Similarly, if you have a great book endorsement, take a minute to turn it into an image you can tweet. I don’t recommend using Canva for everything – there’s a time and place for quick and easy design – but it’s great for creating profile headers and graphics for you to post.

3) Use what you have

We’ll increasingly be asked to do more with less, so think creatively about the great content already at your fingertips to grow your database. Do you have access to premium content you can put behind download forms on your website? I worked on the apps project team for an educational publisher, and we created a series of revision apps using content we already had. We secured 10,000 downloads in a single day and were then able to upsell other revision products through push notifications.

4) Don’t be afraid to try new things

I think the gut reaction for many over the weeks to come will be to just stick with what works. But try to avoid that, especially when it comes to digital marketing. The beauty of digital is that you can get results fairly quickly and that it’s an iterative process: test something, measure it, tweak it and move forward. If it works, do it some more; if it flops, then refine it or move on. So long as you have particular goals and KPIs you’re working towards don’t be afraid to try new things.

5) Go back to basics with digital

As with going back to basics with suppliers, take the time to do the same with digital. All activity will drive traffic to your website, so optimise it first to improve the performance of your other channels. Refine keywords and copy and make sure you’re adding new content regularly. Also take the time to find your best-performing channel – whether it’s a PPC campaign, affiliate marketing or another channel – and maximize that before moving on to others.

Megan Mondi (@meganmondi) is marketing manager at Kogan Page. Originally from Chicago, she has publishing experience in both the US and UK, where she has worked for educational, academic and professional publishers.

 

youtube

Who needs broadcasters? On digital content, YouTube and discoverability

TaDaKidsWith the advent of YouTube, media companies now have a unique opportunity to bypass broadcast and connect directly with consumers. Christopher Skala, Co-Founder & CEO, TaDaKids Ltd, who have recently launched the first portfolio of 16 YouTube Pre-school Channels, will be speaking at The London Book Fair on what this kind of production, brand and IP model looks like. Here are some of his insights ahead of the talk.

We can’t keep going on the way we have in kids TV. In fact, why kids TV? Why make content for broadcast anymore?

It’s just too painful, difficult and unrewarding. The power structure inherent in commissioning and licensing content creates a fundamentally skewed and unpleasant playing field for content creators and producers. The emotional rewards are risible; and the financial rewards even more so.

It’s time for a fundamental change.

Here’s something to chew over

The shortest time it ever took me to source, develop, finance and produce a TV show was three and-a-half years. That was MIKE THE KNIGHT. One show. Three-and-a-half years. That’s the quickest, and a little unheard-of (unless you work in Canada or France, which both have protectionist, subsidised markets).

In five months, from September 2015 to January 2016, my creative partners and I conceived, developed, produced and delivered for YouTube eight brand new shows. Eight shows. Five months. Over 14 hours of content. All at less than the cost of one 11-minute episode of MIKE THE KNIGHT.

That makes me very excited and feeling good about creating engaging kids content, the first time I’ve felt that way in over ten years. We’ll be creating six more shows before the end of July; and a further nine before the end of next January.

25 shows. One year and four months.

Where’s the catch?

There has to be one, right? Yes, there is a catch. But before I get to what it is, let me also add in the further experiential joy of creating content without any input from broadcasters, distributors, and toy companies (I decline to be drawn into characterising said input. You may infer what you will). The only people I’m answerable to is the audience.

So, the ‘catch’. The catch is… ‘discoverability’. With over 400 hours of content being uploaded to YouTube every minute, the landscape is getting pretty darned crowded. The platform is also exhibiting strong signs of Network Advantage (to them that have, comes more…).

How does new, innovative and original content cut through?

I don’t know, is the honest answer. At TaDaKids, we’re trying everything short of paying for AdWords, which in itself would render our business model null-and-void. Growth-hacking seems to be the groovy marketing term of the moment (we’re trying that). Off YouTube distribution (we’re trying that). Celebrity performers (we’re trying that). YouTube audience optimisation Best Practices (we’re trying that). And a whole lot more.

It’s too early to tell whether we will be successful. I hope we will be, because what we’re betting on is a generalised and easily applicable model of new content funding which is important for everyone in this business, not just us. If it works for us, it can work for you, too. Imagine that.

Christopher was formerly Head of TV Sales & Strategy for three years at Guinness World Records. Before that, he was SVP, Progamming at HiT Entertainment; and before that, at Tiger Aspect. Before that, doesn’t really matter much anymore.

 

Bookseller Rising Star

On working at Nosy Crow and organising events: Tom Bonnick interview

We last interviewed Tom Bonnick, Business Development Manager at Nosy Crow, after his big win at the IPG awards earlier this year. We clearly can’t get enough of him! Here Stephanie Cox interviews Tom about his role at Nosy Crow and his recent nomination as a Bookseller Rising Star.

1. Please introduce yourself to our readers and give an overview of your career so far.

I’m the business development manager at Nosy Crow, where I’ve worked for the past four years. It’s quite a wide-ranging role: I work on all of our digital and audio publishing, web development, digital marketing and social media, event planning, and other kinds of new business.

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Digital Marketing insights

Digital Marketing insights from Katie Sadler [HARPER COLLINS]

This is a guest interview with Katie Sadler. Katie is Senior Marketing Manager at Harper Collins and focuses on HarperVoyager (science fiction and fantasy) and HarperImpulse (romance) lists. Follow @katiemorwenna for more.

1. You have been at Harper Collins for over 3 years now. What’s been the biggest development you’ve seen in how you run digital marketing campaigns during that time?

I think when I started, there was a sense of “if you build it, they will come” – a lot of micro sites and games and videos. People were spending their budget creating incredible content, but there wasn’t any cohesive strategy of how to actually get people interacting with it, and converting people to buy the book. Today there is still amazing content being produced to support a book launch, but I think we try much harder to make sure that it isn’t just released into a vacuum.

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Marketing Executive – Journals [JOB POSTING]

BookMachine Jobs

A leading and innovative academic publisher in Cambridge has an exciting opening for a Marketing Executive to join their scientific journals publishing team.  This is an excellent opportunity for an experienced Marketing Assistant or Marketing Executive to take on more responsibility and play a key role within the department.

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