The most essential B2B writing skill

While writing may be a much-anticipated creative outlet—a bullet on your job description that you actually look forward to—when you write for a company, that piece of work isn’t yours.

Drowning in content? We’ve got a solution.

If your marketing department is drowning in content—yet still failing to keep up with the demand for more—we have a few tips that might help.

Creating rabid fans of your content

The dream of every content marketer is to generate content that keeps readers coming back for more. But how exactly do you create a loyal following? In this video, Peter Shankman, founder and CEO of social media company The Geek Factory (and author of Zombie Loyalists: Using great service to create rabid fans) talks about how to create a super-loyal customer base.

The ‘no more excuses’ social media plan

Social media is a phenomenal way to connect with customers—but a consistent, effective strategy can also be a drag to maintain. In an ideal world, you’ll have someone to manage the day-to-day tasks for you. But if you don’t, you’ll be happy to hear you can do it yourself—in just 18 minutes a day. Hootesuite recently set out a great 18-minute social media plan for businesses. Basically, the minute-by-minute guide breaks down the social media experience into five easy steps: browse and engage; monitor; post; analyze; and schedule. It also gives you advice about how to apply the five steps to the various social media channels. In our opinion, it’s […]

Do copywriting formulas work?

I hate it when content takes longer to write than anticipated—especially when my calendar is overflowing with deadlines. So when I recently came across a website that offered a complete handbook of copywriting formulas—a handbook that promised to drastically reduce the amount of time I spent writing content—I felt like I hit the jackpot.

 

Right there in front of me were standard formulas for writing tweets, headlines, blog posts, web pages—virtually any form of content you could imagine. But, once I had a chance to really look at them, I have to admit—those formulas made my head spin. Honestly, I think it would take me longer to force information to fit into a template than it would to simply write that same content from scratch.

 

The entire experience got me thinking—is there really such thing as a copywriting formula? Judging from personal experience I’d say yes—but in very rare situations. If you’re sending out a standard press release—say, announcing the opening of a new office—then sure. Certain types of speeches could probably benefit from a fill-in-the-blanks approach also. But things you write in abundance—like blog posts? Personally, I think you need to freestyle those.

 

My reasoning is simple. The whole POINT of content marketing is to write pieces that will capture the attention of your target audience, and you can’t do that if all your content follows the same, predictable formula. Writing a boring, run-of-the-mill press release is fine if you just need something—anything!—to post in your website’s ‘news’ section. But if you want to really capture the attention of the media—and gain some coverage—you need it to stand out.

 

To do that, I suggest ditching the templates and, instead, trying some of these time-saving techniques:

  • Put the most interesting/important/eye-catching messages at the top of the page. Not sure what those messages are? Try implementing some tried-and-true journalistic rules—sourcing out the 5Ws, the news peg, the inverted pyramid—to help you organize your thoughts and find the nugget of information that will really speak to your audience.
  • Stop thinking so much. Can’t get that first paragraph perfect? Jot down the first thing that comes to mind—without worrying if it’s good or not. Revising it later is so much easier than getting it perfect the first time.
  • Tell the story. When verbally telling stories to others, we tend to naturally offer up the most interesting information first. It’s a great way to determine what’s really important about your piece—and also offer some clues on how to arrange your thoughts.
  • Glance at some precedents. When all else fails, look at a similar, previously-written piece of content. Pay close attention to how the information is arranged and copy that “formula” (in your own words, of course).

 

What do you think? Is there a time and a place for copywriting formulas? What tricks do you use to write efficiently? Please share—I’d love hear!

Is your email font ruining your life?

You spend hours a day staring at your computer screen—with a good portion of that time writing and reading emails—but have you ever given any thought to your email font? In all likelihood, probably not—but you should. Because it could be ruining your life.

 

According to this Bloomberg article, many email clients default to Helvetica or Arial—two serif fonts that are incredibly difficult to read because their letters are just too close together. While they may work in glossy magazine advertisements due to their simplicity, they’re not great for reading on itsy bitsy computer screens—or mobile devices.

 

So what fonts should you change your email client to? Fonts like Georgia, Calibri or Verdana are apparently much more legible and professional at the same time. Whichever font you choose, however, make sure you’re comfortable with it—and enjoy it on an emotional level. After all, given the amount of time the two of you will be spending together, you want to find one that makes you happy.

 

Here at AR Communications, we quite enjoy Calibri. What email font do you prefer?

 

 

Why would you ever pay someone to write?

Writing is a skill most of us learned in the early days of grade school—and one that we practice every day writing emails, notes and LinkedIn status updates. So why would you ever pay someone to do it for you?

Are you vlogging yet?

In the B2B space, vlog posts allow companies to showcase the expertise of their subject matter experts, communicate with their audience at a more intimate level and share content in a format that’s more interesting to consume—making it a popular medium both on desktops and devices. Creating a successful vlog doesn’t happen without effort, however. Here, we offer a few tips to get it right.