Los Angeles Copywriter Shares 8 Tips

Los Angeles Freelance Copywriter’s Words to the Wise

Before we get into this blog post on copywriting tricks of the trade, I’d like to make a few points for those who may not be as familiar with professional copywriting. Often, startup entrepreneurs and small business owners fall into a dangerous trap of thinking that copy is just the words we need to fill in on our website or whatever the tactic of the month may be. Due to everything on their plates, they forget that clarity around why they even exist and how to properly communicate their value to their prospects are sales and success imperatives. Just as you wouldn’t hire a mumbling, meandering, monotone salesperson, you shouldn’t go to market without the aid of a professional copywriter at your service.

Another misconception is that copywriting is just about words, that what you need is a wordsmith. In my opinion, genuine copywriting has less to do with the actual words on the page than it does with determining the key concepts and ideas that will resonate with your targets. This is why the most highly paid and awarded talents on Madison Avenue are, first and foremost, the strategists. Then come the idea generators, and “writing” at this level includes the ability to conceptualize and think visually. After that, it’s those who can write on-brand, conversational copy across all media. Then, the media-specific specialists. Then, everybody else.

Watch your language!

All of that said, when it does come to the actual writing, you do need to keep things flavorful. But great copywriting is the art of balance: if you go overboard, you wind up with flowery, purple prose that may gild the lily but will fail to persuade or sell. But if you pay insufficient attention to the language tools and figures of speech that make reading or hearing something easy and enjoyable, you will lose attention, interest, excitement and, ultimately, readership.

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A whitepaper on copywriting by Los Angeles freelance copywriter Scott Silverman is available for free download in the marketing resources section of this website.

8 Copywriter’s Tools and Tricks of the Trade

1. Alliteration is something we all probably remember from a class or unit on poetry. It’s the repetition of the same sound, occurring at the beginning of the words. Sentences with similar sounds show smooth style… but be careful of overuse. Blatantly boring.
2. Allusion is a reference to something other than the subject matter, used to illuminate the topic at hand via a (hopefully) known commodity. For example, if we describe your company as the King Kong of widgets, we know you’re big in the industry (and perhaps a tad angry.)
3. Anaphora is the repetition of a series of words. A series of words establishes a rhythm. A series of words can increase drama and impact. A series of words can make for more engaging speeches and marketing collateral copywriting.
4. Antiphrasis is just another word for sarcasm; we say one thing but the intention is the opposite. I’m thrilled about my recent weight gain. Aren’t you impressed?
5. Euphemism is when we “soften” the potential harshness of something. A trouble-making toddler becomes high-strung and curious. A warehouse full of unsold goods becomes a sea of opportunities. As you can imagine, euphemism is popular in advertising, especially when you need to describe the “before state.” Your clients’ businesses aren’t tanking; they’re experiencing cash flow challenges.
6. Hyperbole is probably advertising’s most commonly used figure of speech as the exaggeration of things helps us get to a more concrete understanding of what is being communicated. Also, it intensifies the emotions and promises that speak to the buyer’s desires. But before you dismiss it, consider this: many of the most effective marketing communications throughout history were deeply rooted in hyperbole. Taking things to their logical extreme (often via metaphor), provides copywriters (and comedians and screenwriters) a useful device for making their points memorably.
7. Metaphor is a comparison. While with simile we use the words “like” or “as” to make a direct comparison, metaphor cuts out the middleman, as it were, and simply substitutes the reference for the original. Whereas Chevy used to be “Like a rock,” a simile, Prudential used to promise you your “Piece of the rock.” Nobody was hurting for rocks; they got the idea. Want to be a better copywriter or marketer? Work on your metaphors. Rock on!
8. Oxymoron is the use of two words that seem to not go together, sometimes by outright contradiction, other times simply by the clash in their worlds of reference. For the former, familiar example would be “mud baths” or “deafening silence.” For the latter, Pluto, before it lost its cred, used to be referred to as the “dwarf planet”. Often used for sardonic, humorous effect, other examples could include “airline food”, “tax advantage”, and “bipartisan cooperation”.

If you enjoyed this first list of 8 copywriter tips and tricks, please let me know. I’ll get to work on the next 8 for you pronto!

8 Business-to-Business Branding Tips From A B2B Branding Consultant

B2B branding is quite a bit more challenging than B2C… maybe that’s why I love it so much!

As a Los Angeles branding consultant and the owner of a branding agency, I may not be able to simplify branding into a DIY project, but I can certainly share with you some of the fundamentals. When you’re trying to increase leads, revenue and market share, it doesn’t take long to recognize that you’re going to have increase interest, understanding and enthusiasm first. To do that, you can take a narrow approach – thinking only about the next “miracle” marketing tactic or your next campaign. Or, you can do what that wise third little pig did… and build your business house in brick.

When it comes to branding and business development, which little pig are you? Straw, wood or brick?

Building your house in brick means you’ve had sufficient marketing and general business experience to understand how perception management and the creation of customers truly happens. You know what you really want is not a series of one-note, one-off marketing tactics but an orchestrated concert. That’s why my job as a branding consultant isn’t just to make you look pretty; the real challenge for the consummate brand strategist is to build the seeds of your customer connections into your brand’s DNA. This way, every action and piece of communication can do a better job in helping you sing your company’s song. Not only does having a strong brand behind you increase performance on each initiative, but the cumulative impact is that you have established brand equity you can trade on in the future.

When I say “trade on,” I mean anyone who thinks sales are made in the moment is simply kidding himself or herself. To be able to “trade on” accumulated brand equity means you understand that a Sale is not a moment in time, but a culminating event. What is the event? The transfer of trust. They have heard your uniquely beautiful song; your consistency bespeaks your authenticity and your integrity. You can read more about Message-Centric Branding™.

Just as a great salesperson needs more than a come-on to run on, a company needs a brand. The straw and wood of this or that tactic often only serve to create the illusion of action. They don’t endure and they actually wind up costing you a whole lot more in the long run. Building in brick means your vision and values aren’t seasonal; you’ve taken the time to understand your target connections and your differentiators. Because if the creation of customers doesn’t sit at your company’s foundation, I’d like to ask you: what does?

8 B2B Branding Tips From A Los Angeles Brand Strategist

  1. Position actually trumps brand when it comes to long-term B2B marketing success… and that’s coming from a dyed-in-the-CMYK brand zealot! Know the unique pain points you exist to solve and be clear on the unique value your clients derive from working with you… instead of the competition. Position first, then brand.
  2. Be sure you have buy-in from every department from Sales to HR and Operations, but be wary of “creative by committee” and groupthink that will only interfere with what you really want: a memorable, cohesive, differentiated brand presence that advances your near-term Sale and creates equity that you will want to leverage in the future.
  3. If you’re simultaneously thinking about re-doing your website, start with clear objectives and a clean communications brief. Be sure that brief doesn’t stop at laundry lists; a stellar brand brief specifically spells out how we’re going to create interest and excitement with your most desired prospects.
  4. From there, establish a well-organized and intuitive site architecture. A streamlined and enjoyable user experience telegraphs a similarly outstanding customer experience.
  5. Just because it’s B2B doesn’t mean it has to be boring and dry. Just a sprinkling of creative panache communicates volumes about your business’ professionalism and marketplace maturity.
  6. Address the needs of different vertical markets with specific messaging. “All things to all people” most commonly leads to insufficient juice for anybody to get all that excited about.
  7. In today’s B2B world, remember: people are doing much more of their own research and decision-making pre-sale. To make it to their “short list,” be sure you’ve established the authority position with content that affirms your leadership and provides value along the buyer’s journey.
  8. SEO matters – even if your current plans don’t call for a major organic web marketing or Pay Per Click campaign, you want to rank as high as possible. Know your keywords and their contextual brethren.

Hope that gives you a little insight into how I help people build stronger brands. If you’d like more specific commentary on your business, I’m happy to help. You know where to find me! Though your soon-to-be-beloved brand consultant here is based in Los Angeles, I’m capable of serving from New York, Chicago, Nashville and Miami to Dallas, Seattle and Portland. (You get the idea.)