Setting out to create content for a website or new copy for your brochures can be like herding cats. You may have to gather information from multiple sources, take into account the views of strong-minded department heads, combine existing collateral with fresh ideas and use all this to conjure up something that expresses the unique personality of your business in a bright and engaging way.
As copywriters our job is to bring coherence and consistency to this jumble. We also work with you to define the tone of voice you want to use with your customers, staff or other stakeholders.
How to bring consistency
Consistency starts with a harvesting process. We gather the elements together that will form the basis of your content. That might be bullet points from one department, rough notes from another director, six pages from the next. Our research might be talking to key stakeholders, knowing what questions to ask and channelling their passion onto paper.
From all this information we gain an overview and establish how it all fits together, and we can also assess the relative value of each section.
We think carefully about what you want your readers to do when they have read the web page, brochure or annual report, and make sure the copy incites them to do it.
We weave all the crucial elements into one consistent and coherent piece of content. Then it’s down to editing – we streamline and cut out duplication until we are satisfied we have told the story you want.
It’s critical at the outset to establish the tone of voice required and to follow that style throughout.
How to establish tone of voice
How does your business speak to its customers? Is it chatty, straight talking or formal? Your tone might be human – confident – informative – inspiring.
When we write on behalf of our clients, we think like their customers. We tap into their problems, aspirations and needs. Having a customer persona can really help write content with them in mind, rather than writing for a nameless, faceless audience. It helps us create copy in a tone of voice that appeals and talks directly to your customers.
Here’s some example of clients we’ve worked with recently to bring consistency and coherence to their copy.
The challenge was to create coherent and consistent copy to showcase Connor’s five “centres of excellence” on their website – each headed by a bright, passionate director with strong views about how they wanted their practice portrayed.
We were called in to edit the Global Trade Report, slicing 25% from the 22,000-word draft to present a more succinct and persuasive argument. It involved liaising with three authors who had contributed different sections, adopting a consistent tone and deciding what material could be removed without diminishing the overall case.
We created a series of in-depth website articles under the heading “Internal Communications: nearly everything you need to know…” This was a mammoth piece of work but delivered to readers in bite-sized chunks with catchy headings, easy-to-read bullet points, human examples and graphics.
The website needed to communicate with passion and energy the many ways that archaeology is relevant to British life in the 21st century. As many of the original pages had been written by different members of staff, bringing a coherent edit to the whole site was an important task.
The key was to make each page customer focused, in keeping with Wessex Archaeology’s mission to serve clients ranging from property developers to universities.