Brand story writing tips
The best way to stand out and get attention in today’s media saturated world is by telling a compelling brand story. Brand stories create a consistent relatable story arc that shows what your brand has to offer by showing what you really care about and what you stand for as a company.
Without a brand story, the rest of your communications not only fall flat but will be inconsistent with each other and be devoid of emotion. I recommend really nailing your brand story before proceeding further with your other communications materials.
Big corporations like Coca-Cola and Apple have long realised the power of using their unique brand story to build connections with their audience. Below is all you need to know about writing a compelling brand story.
Brand storytelling tips
A compelling brand story should be able to generate consumer trust straight away and not just any story will do. Your brand story should have the right elements to stimulate emotion and connect with the reader. Here’s how you can do that:
Your story should show brand personality
A brand story is not an impersonal thing like a clickbait or a marketing tool, instead, it is a way of showing brand persona. A great brand story should be driven by your brand’s personality whilst clearly demonstrating who work for you. And don’t forget the people who have been instrumental in your business’s growth and success! Most big tech brands today share their personality by telling the stories behind their creation, think of Steve Jobs and Apple or Jeff Bezos and Amazon.
However, your brand story shouldn’t end up being an individual’s biography. Rather, it should tell the evolution of the brand, showing how it was inspired by an individual’s personality and it should definitely be a relatable journey (at least in the beginning). This way, it provides someone real that your customers can trust, since people are more likely to trust other people rather than an abstract concept or corporation.
Your story should connect with your customers
At its core, your brand story isn’t really about your company. Its goal is to establish a connection with your customers. Therefore, it should be able to tell your customers that you understand them and you’re on their side. It should also be able to make your brand relatable and distinguishable. For example, Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company was able to raise millions of dollars by creating a brand story that connects people to its non toxic household goods products.
‘Research indicates that the human brain responds to the descriptive power of stories in deeply affecting ways, influencing both the sensory and motor cortex. To read a story is to feel an experience and to synchronise our minds with the subject of the story,’ Neil Patel states.
Your story should be simple
A simple brand story is better and easier to tell whereas an overly complex story can erode trust. Every good story has a beginning, a middle and an end and your brand story should follow this fundamental structure. No matter how bulky the description of your brand’s story it should conceptually follow the following process:
Your story should shape your existence
A compelling brand story should describe the whole reason for the existence of your company. Explaining why your brand exists builds trust and answers the question of why people should buy from you. Just like the way the TOMS shoe company shows that for every pair of shoes purchased, they donate a pair to someone in need. This explains the reason why they exist, to improve the lives of those in need. It also helps to elicit empathy and altruism in whoever reads their brand story, which is a very powerful motivator within humans.
Remember this iconic television commercial from Chanel No. 5? It employs classic storytelling techniques and has a clearly identifiable brand story that provides the foundation for their infamous product.
Remember, by answering the question of why your brand exists with a story, you can build the trust of your customers. It’s also worth refining the tone of voice and getting the structure super clear and readable. Don’t just ramble on with whimsical overwritten blurbs just because they sound fun. It might pay to revisit the five building block questions of writing.
Overall, a terrific brand story is a powerful way of building a foundation of trust and establishing a business that people want to align themselves to and which breeds loyalty.
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Marketing book for success
The Thirty Days to Conscious Success book is a workbook for those of you who are serious about success in your business.
It’s more than a book; it’s a thirty day program to eke out creative ideas and flood your marketing plan with easy to implement activities that will heighten the reach of your business or services.
Packed with useful marketing information and thought generating activities, this guide will take your promotional efforts from dull to dazzling in only a month. The mindful exercises and in depth exploration will also prove to be inspirational and transformational journey.
Each activity is cleverly crafted to connect you with your inner self as well as truly have an impact on your business.
Written with creative, complementary and wellness businesses and services in mind, you will use this book as a personal course to creating and implementing a marketing plan.
Best of all, it’s a lot of fun.
You’re just thirty days away from enormous success.
How to write a great SEO article
Sure, you have to be creative when it comes to SEO article writing. But there are also also handy tricks and tips that you need to keep in mind when writing for SEO.
This SEO article will cover:
Put your readership (which is your target demographic) first. Write how they want to hear things and solve their problems. Straight up give them the information they need, that they are searching Google for and that will generally make their lives easier.
The guru of SEO, Neil Patel, says ‘Your content needs to accomplish two goals: first, appeal to the end-user (customers, clients, prospects, readers, etc.) and second, solve a particular problem.’
For example, you’ve most likely come to this content article because you’ve searched how to write a SEO article. And I’m spelling it out as best I can and lay out all the right information you need to write an epic post.
What I often do when writing an article or web copy that I want optimised, is to write it as natural and best fitting to the audience as possible. It’s only after I’ve written the article to the best of my ability do I insert keywords. I don’t include them arbitrarily but where they can sit naturally without damaging the flow of the writing. But don’t misunderstand me because with most content writing, the keyword will inform the topic that I write about, so it’s important to do your keyword research from the absolute beginning.
Title and headlines
You need to include your keyword in your page title and your heading, once only. These are two separate facets of your content writing. The page title forms one of your meta tags and your heading (or headline) is your <h1> or <h2> tags.
It’s often suggested to put your keyword towards the front of your headline but you still need it to be super catchy and natural sounding. How to write great headlines.
Use your SEO keywords in your body text. In the olden days of SEO (AKA ten years ago), keyword stuffing was a surefire way to make you rank better. These days you will stuff yourself up if you do so. Google will recognise when you are doing so and penalise you as such. Plus, your readers will just be left shaking their heads.
I can’t give you a magic number of times to use your keyword in one piece because I want you to focus on making the content article sounding natural and flowing. But if you’ve only included the keyword once in one thousand words and one semantic keyword, you might need to hire a SEO copywriter. Know any good ones? Kidding.
However, it’s purported that on page keyword usage is as important as 15.04 per cent of Google’s ranking algorithm. So that should give you an indication of the time and attention you should give just to your keywords alone.
It’s beneficial to include your keyword at the start of your article body. I aim for the first three words or the first sentence at best. Unless it sounds awkward and forced, then I forego it. Because great writing always comes first, right? ‘Quality has become the #1 ranking factor in Google, especially since the Google Panda and Penguin updates.’
Essentially, you need to write an entertaining and informative article. SEO writing is a little like juggling or doing a puzzle: each piece is as important as the other and they all need to fit together until it makes a whole picture.
In summary, here are the most important factors— or secrets— of SEO writing, particularly if you are new to it:
Copywriting squeeze pages
It is almost impossible to surf the net for more than a couple of minutes without encountering a number of squeeze pages. This is not surprising since email marketing is considered one of the most powerful marketing tools, with an average ROI of 3800%. There are several email marketing activities that are great at capturing email addresses and building your enews database but the one that has incredibly effective results is a squeeze page.
What is a squeeze page?
A squeeze page is a type of landing page that is designed for one specific purpose; to “squeeeeeze” an email address and a name out of you prospective clients that land on the page.
When looking to collect personal information from internet users who strive to remain anonymous at all costs, you have to employ a lot of guile. Squeeze pages are designed to lure website visitors to put in their personal details (an email address and name, and in some cases a phone number) in exchange for a reward such as more information, a discount, a tangible or digital asset or a free service.
To achieve this, there has to be a form of subtle pressure designed to compel website visitors to fill in their details. This is usually done using expert web copywriting, deliberate colour schemes and purposeful layouts to place your offer in the best possible light while asking for just a measly email address.
Five steps to writing a valuable squeeze page
1. Create an enticing offer that has some value
How often have you seen this phrase – 'To download XXXXX, simply enter your email here.' Your enticing offer can be anything: a free ebook, software, template, webinar, online course or design aid that is important enough for the visitor to want to give up their email. The important thing being is that it has some specific benefits, particularly to the reader.
Think along the lines of:
2. Let your customers do the talking
Customer reviews have influenced an extraordinary amount of buyer decisions, with some reports suggesting 93 per cent of people impacted by online reviews.
Allowing your customers to do the talking builds trust as this shows prospective customers what they will experience if they use your product or service. You might remember we’ve talked about this in terms of social proof. It’s also just common sense as a customer would rather trust another customer’s (who they see as unbiased) review than any marketing material you may have.
3. Spend time copywriting your page content
Copywriting is the act of writing content with the aim of advertising, marketing or increasing brand awareness. Copywriting is absolutely necessary because we are all lazy readers, especially when it comes to online content; your visitors are more likely to scan and skim through the page content. So great copywriting will help them do just that with a bold headline, compelling subheadings, captivating pictures and prominent CTA buttons.
4. Keep it simple
No, really! You have to keep things really simple to the point when it would even make sense to anyone and everyone. Simplicity sells and using clear concise statements will make your copywriting easy to understand and skim. Opt for simple short sentences using basic words to describe exactly what you want to say.
5. End things with a compelling CTA
Your call to action button will be the deciding factor on whether your squeeze page converts (turns someone into a reader to an actual sale) or not. One website saw a 321 per cent increase in opt ins when they provided visitors with a compelling reason to subscribe.
Visitors usually spend a short time deciding whether to opt in to your offer and a button that says ‘Yes, I want the free report,’ is more likely to convert than one that says ‘Download report.’ Adding the super, all time converting word free is also a good way to increase the chances of them clicking on your offer.
Here's exactly why you need a content writing strategy for your website
The purpose of a content strategy is to create thorough, enticing and meaningful content writing that draws in more website traffic and ultimately attracts the right kind of customer that sees you as the best choice when it comes to your industry.
Additionally, a content strategy will provide you with a sustainable way of creating and posting content without burning out.
‘Content strategy helps organizations provide the right content, to the right people, at the right times, for the right reasons,’ Content Marketing Institute.
Content writing and creation is still super important to your marketing and SERP results. ‘57% of marketers rated relevant content creation as being among their most effective SEO tactics.’ If you’re investing a lot of time into content creation, it absolutely pays to get it right from the start and have an overarching long term plan.
Here are five reasons why you need to invest in a content strategy.
You won’t have to spend ages wondering what topic to write about
How long does it take you to come up with the perfect blog post topic? Five minutes? An hour? Twenty days? It can be either of these and if your content plan requires you to put out a weekly post, that adds up to about fifty hours a year that you spend tossing up what to write about. That’s fifty hours of the year you could dedicate to client service, meeting new clients or giving keynote presentations or completing an extra project.
Content article topics will be crafted to speak to direct goals and audience
Don’t spend six months writing about irrelevant things that don’t do anything for your website traffic or boosting your SEO. Get it right from the start.
A content strategy will also help you avoid writing about the same category of topics over and over again, ensuring there is an even spread throughout the year, in alignment with your marketing objectives, world holidays and celebrations and any industry relevant events.
Plus, a content strategy will break it down and inform exactly what each post needs to entail, the title to use and any relevant key points to cover. Each post will be keyword matched, ensuring you’re putting your best SEO foot forward!
Your content articles will speak to each other
Content articles and blog posts will never be an afterthought and you can link each post to other relevant site content, build on from other topics and create a solid online asset for your business. Relevant categories (that again speak to your keywords) will be set up and ensure there is adequate content for each.
Consistency and reliability
Picture this: you have some spare time to work on marketing in February so you post a great blog post every week for four weeks. Then the leads start coming in, so you are swamped with client work and neglect the blog content for another six months. The leads and enquiries via your website start to go quieter so you hastily add other short and poorly written blog posts that aren’t really that relevant but you couldn’t come up with a right topic quickly.
Now picture this scenario:
Your content strategy tells you exactly what to write and when for the rest of the year, so you have dedicated half a day per week (or similar) to creating the right content and publishing a regular post. Your website always has an abundance of content that is regularly updated and the leads and enquiries are regularly coming in each week. Your SEO is not only steady but it is improving with the fresh, well thought out content.
And because the planning has been taken care of and you know what research has to be done and what resources are required, the blog posts are well written and helpful for your target audience.
Furthermore, you’ve had time to carefully plot out a marketing strategy to share the regular content which means it reaches more people and a wider audience. Before too long, you’ve developed a reputation for providing consistent and reliable information that attracts regular readers back to your site.
You’ll always be clear on your why
It’s not uncommon to get so wrapped up in your next bit of creative content that you completely dismiss why you are doing it. It’s only after you’ve posted a two thousand word article on the importance of the colour blue you realise that it has nothing to do with your business marketing objectives of getting more clients interested in taking out home loans.
You’ll waste valuable time and confuse your existing audience. A content plan will list your objectives and your “why” and help you always prioritise your clear message.
'The moment we stopped saying, “We’re pool builders,” and started saying, “We are the best teachers in the world about Fiberglass pools and we just happen to install them as well,”… that was one of the most prosperous days of our lives.' Case study.
Writing structure: five terms you need to know
Copywriting is a tricky artform which can really power up your marketing assets. If you're new to copywriting or even creative writing, there are some fundamentals that you need to learn before you embark on your content writing journey. Here are five fundamental elements of writing structure that you need to learn.
Read more about excellent writing structure here.
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Need a freelance copywriter? Hire me today.
One of the most make or break things about professional writing is the structure and it absolutely pays to get it right.
Structure is the order of ideas. More specifically, when it comes to professional communication and writing, it's about looking at the way your assets are structured. Learning the fundamentals of structure are incredibly important so that you can apply it to your own writing and achieve successful results.
Building block questions
In every piece of writing, you need to look at the basic storytelling building block questions that are to be answered in the research phase. These answers to these fundamental questions will form the basis of the information of your piece of writing.
In addition to these building block questions, it pays to be clear on the following aspects of structure:
Ten writing tips for structuring your work
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Although these Youtube videos aren't all directly related to copywriting, sometimes you need a little visual and audio inspo to get you motivated to achieve the marketing success in your business that you truly desire. This used to be a blog post of five inspiring videos but I have chosen to remove Tony Robbins due to his deplorable recent minimisation of the #MeToo movement and I don't want to support his work any longer.
SEO for beginners with Neil Patel
Neil Patel is one of the world’s leading experts on SEO and his friendly, unassuming vibe makes it easy to understand all things SEO. Here he explains some basic tips to keep up with algorithmic changes in 2018. I highly recommend giving over ten minutes to learn these SEO fundamentals. Don't forget that I have some SEO steps here too.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
If you’re interested in increasing income (who isn’t, right?) and improving work performance, there is a little timeless classic call Think and Grow Rich written by Napoleon Hill, first published in 1937. Thankfully, it can be found as the complete audio book (all ten hours of it) on Youtube, so it makes for great listening. Warning: there’s some parts that you might want to tune out of that may not align with today’s social values.
How to Write Copy That Turns Website Visitors into Customers by Marie Forleo
This is a very simple video on copywriting that provides one very clear tip which I abide by in all copywriting pursuits. It’s a short video, has a bit of waffle and is broken down quite simply for those who are new to marketing but the tip and concept is priceless. And it reminds us of that age old copywriting technique of eliciting empathy.
How To Price Design Services and Make More Money with Chris Do
I really like this video and I find it particularly educational for those who work in creative services and are unsure (or more specifically, undervaluing) their skills, expertise and talent. Chris Do’s straight talking logic is quite inspiring and he is very transparent and generous with this knowledge about value, worth and pricing strategies.
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Innovation: an overused and ignored word
As someone who writes a plethora of technology articles (I’m genuinely infatuated with big data, blockchain, artificial intelligence...) I stumble across the word innovation or innovative multiple times a day.
Innovation is a late Middle English word which stems from Latin. What’s fascinating is that the term innovator, used to be a complete insult and punishment often resulted in jail time and having their ears cut off. Ouch!
Innovation is about introducing something new (or change something into new). Used in its precise context, it works well. But how often to companies, products or services that are described in copy or when a keynote speaker is gracing the stage or sitting opposite Kochie on whatever morning program he is on and purport themselves to be innovative when what they are doing isn’t new at all?
I’ll admit, it’s a great word that captures a lot of what people are trying – or think – they do.
But it gets lost in the noise and becomes invisible because it’s categorically overused.
The more predictable the word, the more likely someone is going to skip it. ‘Readers possess semantic and syntactic information that enables them to form expectations about upcoming words in text (Goodman, 1970).'
And if someone is skipping your text, they aren’t going to totally absorb your message. And if you’re trying to stay front of mind in your potential customers and clients, you want them to remember your message!
‘…when word length is matched, words that are predictable from prior text are more likely to be skipped than unpredictable words…’
Instead of innovation, try these terms:
But it’s not enough just to use these words.
You must take it a step further and explain exactly why you/your product/your service are those things to connect with your audience and convince them that you are the one for them.
And truly, I’m not saying don’t use the word innovation, I’m saying become creative and specific when conveying your message. Put across different ways of saying what it is you actually do. Be accurate, why are you innovative? For example, list the technology you use or where you deviate from industry best practices that work. What are you doing differently from others in your field?
Is it time to refresh all your copywriting? Learn how to write great content here.
Do you run your own business and want to set yourself apart from your competitors? Do you want your future clients to see you as leading the way? Then it’s time to consider positioning your business, yourself and your services as industry leaders.
Have you always fancied yourself to be a thought leader or subject matter expert but not quite ready to do that TED talk? Then here is a way to make that happen. This, by no means, may be easy and you will need to invest in professional support but the rewards will be endless, particularly if you are enthusiastic to grow your business.
‘Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success,' Thought Leadership Lab.
Below I’ve outlined a three phase plan for your marketing to ensure you are positioning yourself as either a thought leader, subject matter expert or your company is the “go to” in your industry.
Phase one: client case studies
I have broken this phase down into four simple steps.
Collate and collect the data to write up some impressive client case studies. You can use my case study template here.
Write and edit the case studies so they read well and contain the right storytelling element. My recommendation is to start with three to six. Make sure they feature on a dedicated page on your website, where people can find them. If you work with clients in various sectors, be sure to capture a range of ways you have successfully helped clients.
Pluck out testimonials from the case studies to splash across your website and design graphics to use across your social media channels. Remember: people love social proof.
Share your case studies far and wide. Include them in any tender material, quote and award submissions, digital marketing strategies and talk about them when you meet people.
Phase two: annual content strategy
Devise a complete annual or six month content strategy, tailored specifically for the needs and goals of your business.
Your twelve month content marketing strategy will provide overarching content goals, themes, ways to implement marketing activities to support the reach and promotion of the content and the content will be in alignment with SEO research and other analytical research to meet business goals and objectives in align with your overall strategic business plan.
A great content marketing strategy will undertake an audit and look at and review the existing and potential challenges and provide practical recommendations to overcome them. Try using this content strategy template.
Don’t forget to include your target demographic in your strategy. Find out how to keep your content fresh here.
If you have a book or an ebook or are planning to write one this is the perfect phase to include it in and start promoting it. Here’s why you should write (or get someone to ghost write) a book if you are an entrepreneur.
Phase three: public relations campaign
The third phase focusses on spreading your message far and wide via the media. Having a third party confirm your leadership, especially the media, boosts your credibility and encourages people to believe that you are as you say you are.
A traditional statewide and national public relations campaign to position the business owner or senior executives as thought leaders and industry experts, whilst concurrently positioning your organisation as the “go to” business for the core services that you offer. If you service overseas clients, you might like to consider an international public relations campaign too.
So that’s your three phase plan to position your business as experts in your field and make sure that when people think of your industry, your brand name is at the forefront of your mind. Drop any questions in the comments below!