From time to time the Idler Academy launches the Bad Grammar Awards.
Say what you like about these awards, love them or loathe them, they do highlight one thing: we all make mistakes. Whether you are a large organisation (Tesco and NHS I am looking at you) or a smaller start-up, mistakes can creep into your marketing copy and sometimes those mistakes can cost you business.
No doubt Tesco, the NHS and the Army Careers Office have had a good old chuckle about their award along with others who made some of previous shortlists. By the large, they know that a one-off mistake like this will not cost them a huge amount of damage or drop in revenue. They will simply dust themselves off and carry on as normal, pausing only briefly to see who is responsible for making them look a little bit silly. It shouldn't happen to a copywriter....
Often I am asked why a business would need a copywriter and for each person that asks, there is also another thinking it. We copywriters are rather misunderstood (see previous post) and the need for copywriting in business is often undervalued.Essentially, some people believe that they can do all their marketing and writing themselves and will have not yet made the link between their written marketing communication (copy) and their business success. Others revert to the old ‘ah, well we have someone who does a bit of marketing’ and fail to understand the difference between a marketing professional and a copywriter. Either way, they are not placing enough importance on how their copy directly impacts on their brand, image, reputation, customer base and ultimately, on their revenue.
The Bad Grammar Awards are mainly a bit of pedant fun to poke at those companies who so often get it right but who have on this occasion, failed miserably. They are also used by the ‘grammar police’ who love to leap on those who make mistakes in a self-righteous fashion. I am not one of those but I do think that these awards show how important copy is. We are all capable of mistakes and it’s a copywriter’s job to ensure that these mistakes do not happen. Furthermore, it’s a copywriter’s job to ensure that your copy is absolutely stop-everything-what-is-that, unforgettable. And not unforgettable because you got your you’re and your your muddled up. (See what I did there?)
To be memorable, your copy does not have to be brash, loud or cheeky – although these personalities work amazingly well for some organisations. Gentle, persuasive, serious and factual can work equally well in making your copy captivating and effective. It is the copywriter’s job to find you the right tone-of-voice, develop a character and speak to your audience with what they want to hear. If you consider how many adverts we view in one day, how many flyers we receive through the door or how many websites we visit, we interact with a high number of organisations on any given day. For most of these companies these moments with you, the potential customer, are fleeting. Be it a click-through advert or printed ¼ page in the daily newspaper, our attention is quickly diverted away by our busy lives. It can be a quick as the turn of a page or the time it takes for the flyer to travel from the doormat to the bin – this is the only chance to capture customer attention and it has to be good.
This is why you need a copywriter. Not just to spot the difference between their and they’re but to put copy together that turns people on to your business and not off. We all have favourite brands which speak to us with straplines and advertising, those we remember first when considering our options. They are the companies who got it right and who used a copywriter.
If you would like some guidance on when it’s its and when it’s it’s, drop me a line and I will be glad to help. If you would like creative copy to develop your brand and promote your business or campaign, get in touch and let me help you get it right. I can help you find your voice.