Posts Tagged ‘copy’

Top tips for killer content

Whenever you spend time writing something – whether it’s a blog post, a newsletter or even a tweet – it’s an opportunity. An opportunity to get a message across, an opportunity to reach out to a dormant client or an opportunity to connect with someone new. Don’t let the opportunity be wasted!

  1. Before you start writing, ask yourself: What am I trying to achieve with this communication? Who am I trying to reach?
  2. When you know who you’re targeting, keep them in mind while you’re writing. You would speak differently to a business contact than you would to your friends and equally you should write differently for students than you would for lawyers, for example.
  3. Start well! We all have busy lives and won’t waste time reading something that doesn’t draw you in.
  4. Please, drop the jargon. It doesn’t make you sound clever – it just isolates the reader. Write clearly and simply.
  5. Make it interesting! If it’s a tweet, will it stand out from thousands of others sent at the same time? If it’s a newsletter article, could you tell your story through an individual to bring it to life?
  6. Keep it concise. Realistically, who is going to read a blog post that goes on for thousands of words?
  7. Break it up. A big chunk of text can be overwhelming and put readers off so use sub headings to make it more digestible.
  8. When you think you’ve finished, read back over it. Then read back over it again. If you send out a professional communication littered with errors, it could have the opposite effect to the one you want.
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Get your LinkedIn summary right

In January 2012, I reached 200 connections on LinkedIn and decided to mark this milestone by offering some advice on how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile. Or, more specifically, the summary section at the top.

I went through the LinkedIn profile of every one of my 200 connections to see how they were using this opportunity so that I could share some tips on how to write the best summary and common mistakes to avoid.

I was shocked to discover that 79 of the 200 profiles (now, I’m no mathematician but that’s over a third… I think!) had no summary at all. If someone turned to you in the elevator of elevator pitch fame and asked you what you did, would you just stand there with your mouth closed? To me, that’s the exact equivalent! You are being given an amazing opportunity to sell yourself and, by extension, the company you work for, to anyone who happens to view your profile – why wouldn’t you take it?

Top 5 most common mistakes

  1. Misuse of apostrophe in ’10 years’ experience’ – most people use no apostrophe at all, someone had written ’10 years’ of experience’ (the ‘of’ makes the apostrophe obsolete) and I even saw ’10 year’s experience’.
  2. SME’s – SMEs should not have an apostrophe.
  3. Lead rather than led – eg ‘customer lead solutions’and ‘I have lead’.
  4. X company name provide (rather than provides) – a company is singular – imagine saying ‘the company provides’ instead.
  5. 1990’s – there shouldn’t be an apostrophe in this, or 90s etc.

Top 5 over used words

When you read 200 profiles in a row, you start to notice the same words cropping up again and again. If you want your profile to stand out, consider avoiding the following:

  1. Passion or passionate
  2. Key (as in key clients)
  3. Creative thinker
  4. Bespoke
  5. Engage or engaging

Top 5 typos

Please proofread your profile before you publish it! Or, if you don’t feel confident enough to do it, I’ll be happy to look at it for you. The worst mistakes I spotted were:

  1. Breif
  2. Prvate sector
  3. Marketting
  4. Hamds on work
  5. Piece of mind

What makes a great LinkedIn summary?

After having studied so many LinkedIn profiles, the ones that stood out for me were:

  • Concise – Any more than three short paragraphs is too much – some of the best ones were just one, very succinct paragraph.
  • Clear – If you do something technical, try to avoid using jargon that people won’t understand. If you do two very different jobs, try and keep them separate and consider explaining how they fit together or how you moved from one industry into the other.
  • Full of personality – People buy from people and the summaries I remember gave a real flavour of the person who was being described. And make sure you describe yourself here, not your company – there’s plenty of space for that further down.
  • Up-to-date – If you changed jobs, don’t forget to update your profile.

Remember – this could be your big chance to make a great impression – grab the opportunity with both hands! If you want any advice about writing a stand-out LinkedIn profile, please get in touch on fiona@wordsbyfionakyle.co.uk and, to see how else I can help, please visit my website.

LinkedIn summary

An example of a LinkedIn profile including summary

A tale of two coffee shops

Picture the scene: York station 8.30am Friday 7 October. It’s FREEZING and the unseasonable 29 degrees from earlier in the week is long gone. A steady stream of shivering commuters. Two coffee shops.

The first coffee shop has posters of an ice cool drink trying to entice customers with a slogan using the words ‘summer coolers’. The second has a blackboard outside it with pictures of autumn leaves and the slogan ‘Settle back in’, a picture of a mug of warm frothy coffee and then the words ‘Perfect for right now’.

Which coffee shop would you go into?

I not only went into the second one, I bought the very drink pictured on the blackboard – it looked and sounded too good to turn down.

See how powerful marketing can be? Five days earlier, the temperature had been sky high and I’m sure a ‘summer cooler’ was exactly what everyone wanted. But not that morning and one of the outlets was quick enough to adapt their marketing.

Another example of how this unpredictable weather has caught out a company with their marketing campaign is a flyer I received through the door from a holiday company promising ‘winter warmers’ when it was almost 30 degrees in Yorkshire. I was quite warm enough thanks! The flyer went straight in the bin.

So when you’re planning a marketing campaign, make sure it is relevant not ony to its audience but to the climate in which they will receive it. Be sensitive when you’re offering expensive goods during these difficult economic times. Don’t send a newsletter out to your employees celebrating success if there has just been an unemployment announcement. Every single piece of communication should be targeted – from a newsletter to a blog to a tweet. I wrote this blog on Friday night, for example, but who would read it then? So I held it back to publish on Monday.

If you’re planning a marketing campaign and would like some advice, please drop me an email on fiona@wordsbyfionakyle.co.uk