content marketing, content production, copywriting, digital copywriting, editing, research, storytelling, writing tips

Before you begin – top ten questions to ask yourself before you start creating content

We work with some of the most interesting professionals around Australia. Some are avid communicators, enthusiastic marketers and lovely storytellers. Some are clinical experts, with an awe-inspiring level of knowledge of their industry, who have no idea how to impart that knowledge. No matter who you are or what your piece of content is meant to achieve, we always, always, always implore you to prepare! Get to know your content before you create it. Below are the top ten questions we ask our clients at the beginning of every project. They’re a great way for you to get your head around your audience and your overall purpose – two things you need to create great content.

What is your service/product and what has changed?

We know you know who you are, but forcing yourself to put it into words will help guide you to be clear on your overall purpose.

How does this piece of content fit into your overall story?

Do you have a content strategy? Is this content to stand alone? Where and when will you publish or share this content? This can help to identify where you may have strategic gaps and inspire you to bed things down.

What is your purpose? Inform? Compel? Change views?

Know and understand from the outset what you want from your content. If it’s just to inform, why have you chosen the platform you have. If it’s to compel action, what is that action and how will the platform you’ve chosen help this along?

Who is your audience/potential audience?

Get to know your audience as well as you can. Who are they? What drives them? How will your content add value to them?

Does your audience have an intimate understanding of who you are and your offering?

For those in a business or technical environment, this question is key. How much does your audience know about your offering? What is their technical knowledge and capability? Knowing this will help you pitch your language at the right level.

What does your audience currently think of your business and what do you want them to think?

Knowing where your audience stands and comparing it to where you want them to stand is a great way to give your purpose context.

What are three things you want your audience to take away? Call to action

Summarising your content down to three points will help you define and refine your purpose and get clarity on your call to action.

What is the tone of your content? Friendly? Casual? Technical? Formal?

Does your brand have a style guide? If not, do you know the kind of tone you want? It’s important to find that tone before you begin because it will inform how you communicate your message.

If you could describe your offering in three words what would they be?

This is another great way to help you refine your message.

What has been successful/a disaster in the past and how does this content reflect that?

It’s incredibly valuable to understand your past successes and failures in communication. What content has resonated with your audience and why? How are you adapting your current content to continue this relationship?

Answering these questions can help give your content structure, shape and purpose. When you combine this with great storytelling, you can develop compelling content.

 

content marketing, copywriting, digital copywriting, editing, freelancing, invoicing, research, sub-editing

Re-introducing – Make it Peachy

The last couple of months has been both exciting and mildly terrifying. Where once upon a time, it was just little old me, Peach, out in the desolate land of freelancing, fending for myself, I’ve made some pretty significant changes. My exquisitely talented husband Jeremy (who hails from years banging the business development drum) has come on board to help me turn Make it Peachy into a business we can be even more proud of.

Country copywriters with the city smarts

After years happily ensconced in the hamster wheel of city life, we have made the bold choice to step away. Not from the service, expertise or clients – our city based clients are some of our most loyal and down to earth. Rather away from the sea of inauthentic pretension that sometimes seeps in.

We have moved ourselves and our little business headquarters to the country. Reflecting the relaxed, beautiful and grounded atmosphere down here, we want our clients and future clients that we are the real deal. We want to get to know you and your brand and we want you to feel comfortable and confident in our relationship.

Just don’t mistake our authentic approach as out of touch or soft. We have the skill, the know-how and the spunk to manage the big guns just as smoothly as we manage the smaller local businesses.

Small team with huge capability

I have worked with some extraordinary people in my many years of communication. I have faced the self-righteous bullies head on and had the pleasure of building incredible relationships across a range of industries. When I decided to grow, I decided there was one thing I would not compromise on. People.

The small team I have built around me is dedicated, talented and ready to take on anything and everything. They are respectful, efficient and entirely reliable. On top of that, you can always have confidence that if my team says they can do something, rest assured it will be done.

We work with clients who are looking for a like-minded approach. If you’re looking for respect, transparency, talent and efficiency – Make it Peachy is on hand to deliver.

Our focus is service – local or remote

I want to make it clear – for me Make it Peachy is all about service. We want to help you communicate your brand, purpose and message with clarity and authority. Understanding who you are and delivering as best we can is how we operate.

Whether you are a local business, looking to expand your presence, or you’re based in a major city a thousand kms away, our team of experts will be there to take you to the next level.

Our boots fit just fine

Because I’ve had the privilege of working in such a variety of industries, I’ve been lucky enough to learn and grow from every experience. I’ve seen arrogance and over-confidence ruin business. I’ve seen a lack of conviction do the same thing.

It’s why I continue to work incredibly hard to hone my craft, build the skills of my team and show a united and confident front at all times.

Join us now and reap the rewards

I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve built so far and am more than excited about what is to come. We’ve got some exceptional ideas, some remarkable talent and a commitment to build ongoing, local and remote relationships.

Why not give us a call, or email now and find out how we can help you, Make it Peachy!

content marketing, content production, copywriting, digital copywriting, ethics, research, writing tips

Newsworthiness versus total tone deafness – how to find the balance

In light of the recent rather tone deaf disastrous blunder, we thought it pertinent to talk about how to get your tone right with your content and content marketing. Seriously, how does a major successful and often entertaining brand get it so wrong? And if they’re getting it wrong, what hope do the rest of us have? Haven’t the experts been telling you all along that relevance and timeliness are fundamental to great content? We certainly have.

The fact is people get it wrong every day. And when they get it wrong, the social media storm descends without hesitation, ready to annihilate every wrong step in its path. It kind of makes you want to curl up and hide – don’t risk it you say. Don’t be crippled by that fear. Creating your own content and offering comprehensive and creative and relevant content solutions to your stakeholders is exactly what will set you apart.

Find your place in the current political or social climate is absolutely crucial for illustrating your value. Profiteering from that climate is stepping into dangerous territory. The key is balance.

Tapping into the local climate versus manipulating it

The world today is under a lot of upheaval. We’re all trying to forge a path amongst the uncertainty and to be fair to Pepsi, they were misguidedly attempting to tap into our burning need for unity right now. The fact is, connecting your message to the wider news and events is a clever tool to show you have both your finger on the pulse and your content is valuable and timely.

What often happens is that instead of embracing the news of the day and finding a place in it, many brands make the mistake of appropriating social, cultural and political catastrophes and inserting themselves where they were never welcome. Thus begins the onslaught of abuse and distrust. With the added bonus of today’s connectivity, your credibility, brand and reputation can be destroyed in mere hours after publication.

Finding an authentic connection

Keyboard warriors the world over are waiting unapologetically to pounce the minute they find a reason. And yes, some of these warriors are nasty trolls that deserve nothing more than a shake of the head and a turn of the cheek. Some of them, however, a genuinely and passionately fighting for what is right, just and authentic behaviour. They are waiting on the other side of that line to make damn sure you know when you’ve stepped over it.

So why test them? Keep your content relevant and respectful. As with any and all communication, the fundamental rule of useful and relevant content is knowing your audience. How will a story about International Women’s Day connect with both your brand and your audience? Are you making reference to a religious holiday? How is it consistent with your news? Is your reference considerate?

By all means, embrace the news of the day. It’s how we connect ourselves to others. But, understand the social ramifications of what you are doing.

You can still push boundaries without isolating people

So what, we just can’t be controversial or push boundaries? Isn’t boundary pushing the cornerstone of comedy and great storytelling? If we are hamstrung by the politically correct are we not just limiting the conversation? Are we not closing the debate?

Not at all! Don’t fall under the misplaced assumption that innovation and creativity have to be offensive. The fact is pushing boundaries is the bedrock of development and progress. Don’t ever lose sight of that, because when you do you lose your audience as quickly as if you’d offended them.

Step out on a limb by all means. The only way you can reach the perfect balance is by knowing where the line is, so embrace boundary pushing in the creative stage. With it you must also embrace self-regulation, conscientious creativity and social sensitivity and awareness.

That tightrope is thin and scary but with your purpose clear and your creatives both socially aware and contemporary you’ll navigate that balance.

Know your core values and stick to them

Another key to ensuring you keep your content on the right side of the line is to ensure that your content always aligns with your core values. If your values illustrate social justice, ethics and unity, then so too should every piece of content you or anyone associated with your brand produce. Of course, you’re going to make mistakes, and if you are being innovative, sometimes you will step over that line. Just remember, if and when you do, your response to that mistake is almost as important.

Find creative experts who will embrace your values

Surround yourself with like-minded souls. Your creative team should fully understand your values and help create content that is in line with those. If you are engaging experts, understand who they are, and ensure their values align with yours. You want to be able to trust your content producers implicitly with your brand. You want to know that they will build your reputation, credibility and brand in a positive and productive light. Choose content producers who value an ethical approach.

Be creative. Be innovative. Be funny. Be fabulous. BUT, be real. Be authentic. Be conscientious. Be kind!

Create by building others up.

copywriting, editing, proofreading, research, typos, writing tips

Research my old friend – the key to credibility

Well, that was embarrassing! By no means the most embarrassing thing to come out of the White House in recent weeks, but for us lowly Aussies, it’s a pretty blatant slap in the face. It just shows how a simple mistake, like not knowing someone’s name can wreak havoc with your credibility (although having said that I suppose that would have to assume Mr Spicer had some to begin with, which is up for debate). As a writer, it just reminds me how critical it is to have exemplary research skills.

What’s in a name?

While we all may take issue with some of the decisions our Prime Minister has made (or not made for that matter), Spicer referring to Malcolm Turnbull as ‘Prime Minister Trumbull’ has put a bad taste in our mouths. Is it that he deliberately got it wrong and is trying to make a statement that we don’t matter? Or is he so grossly incompetent that he can’t check his facts before addressing the media? Either way, it doesn’t sit well.

As a writer, I am always thrown new and bizarre topics and ideas. I am tasked with creating something engaging in any number of industries and fields and write it in the name of the experts. If I muck up the facts, not only I lose face, but so do my clients. What’s in a name? Your credibility that’s what.

Finding credible sources

Don’t get tarred with the unpleasant brush of ‘alternative facts’. Much like we all need to start investing in the validity of the news put in front of us, when you are producing content, make absolutely certain you know where your facts came from.

Don’t take my word for it. I cannot emphasise enough, the need to find credible sources. A little reminder, Wikipedia might give you your quick facts to get you started, but you know anyone can edit their pages, right? Whether you are writing news articles for major publications or editing a bit of content for someone’s website, if you use someone else’s content, please check it first.

book-1421245

Check your facts

Not only do you need to ensure that your sources are credible but more important than that – have you checked your facts? Have you checked your names? Your dates? You may have gone out of your way to find credible sources, interviewed fantastic people and profiled some fascinating event or product. But if you’ve mucked up the nitty gritty, the whole content piece is totally worthless! I’m not even exaggerating. It’s one thing to have the odd typo (even us experienced writers must admit that every now and then something slips by), it’s another thing entirely to call the Prime Minister of a country by the wrong name.

Research can be fun – really it can!

You know the thing I love most about what I do? That I get to step into someone else’s world for a day. For the time it takes me to produce that content, I get to become an expert. And for that time, I do. The cool thing is that other people’s worlds can be amazing, especially when you get to step back into your own at the end of the day.

To make something interesting to your readers, you’ve got to be interested yourself. The best way? Get in and learn. Before I worked for a metal finishing company, I had no idea how cool metallurgy can be. I mean, seriously, check this video out. Science is cool!

Don’t proof your own work

Whatever you do, whatever you write, wherever you plan to publish, don’t proof your own work. Yes, of course, you can ensure you minimise mistakes and check and recheck everything you write. Please remember, you are invested in what you create and sometimes you will miss things. Sometimes significant things. Don’t embarrass yourself the way that a media professional never should. Ask for help.

There are so many things I want to say about research. I am a research fiend. I actually enjoy finding new and interesting ‘actual facts’.

You know what? The last few months have been pretty confronting for a lot of people. There is so much about recent events that if I am honest, I am not even sure how to react. But you know what? I can say this! Do your F$#@ING research!

content marketing, copywriting, digital copywriting, editing, research, storytelling, writing tips

Writing tips for non-writers – KISS your jargon filled copy goodbye

You are the expert. You have oodles of experience. You know your product. You’re passionate about your product.

The problem is you just don’t seem to be able to translate that passion into engaging content. Why?

There are many reasons you might be missing the post. Today, we are going to talk about jargon. That dreaded terminology that took you months, if not years to pick up is likely turning your content to gobbledegook. It’s time to unlearn those words, and simplify, simplify, simplify!

Here are some tips for keeping your content clear, engaging and authoritative. Write down what you know and then give it a little bit of love.

Just remember – it’s all in the KISs

Keep It Short

 You want to find the most efficient way to relay your point. Why use 15 words when four will suffice?

All you are doing is alienating and likely boring your audience.

Your copy overall does not need to be long to be effective. Neither do your sentences. By shedding the excess, you will likely cut a lot of the jargon by default.

Keep It Simple

 Your field is likely full of complicated definitions and terms that make communicating within the industry easier. You must remember that no one else understands your jargon. If you want to illustrate your point, strip away the technical words. Assume your audience does not have a glossary of your terms. Be as clear as you can without patronising your reader.

Your thesaurus can absolutely be your friend. Just try not to overdo it, like Friend Joey Tribbiani once did.

Keep It Straightforward

Get to the point. Unless you are writing for writing’s sake (which by the way is a perfectly admirable thing to do), there is no need to beat around the bush. Tell it how it is.

Sometimes it can be hard to remember that using your jargon is not, in fact, the most straightforward way to explain something. Sure, if you are speaking to people within your industry that may be so. Clients, partners and other stakeholders won’t understand.

It can be helpful to break down your content into bullet points or headings. This can often highlight for you what your most important points are.

Keep It Stylish

 Create a brand style guide. Work with your marketing resources to identify how you want to represent your brand to the public.

Know your tone ahead of time. This can be a really simple way to avoid using jargon. If you have planned your style ahead of time, you might also have identified a handful of key phrases that relay your brand clearly. Using these instead of industry jargon will be far more effective.

Keep it Succinct

You want to make your content clean, clear and sharp. Don’t be precious with your words. There is a lot of literature about how to declutter your life or your house. The Japanese KonMarie method tells us to keep only those things that spark joy. When it comes to your writing, ask yourself, “does this sentence support my point?”

  • Remove anything that doesn’t serve your purpose.
  • Avoid the passive voice; it’s clunky and unclear.
  • Use strong purposeful words. The more direct your words are the fewer you’ll need to use.
  • Don’t be redundant.

When it comes down to it, using jargon in your copy is the easiest way to lose your audience. Non-industry readers won’t understand and they will check out. It is so much harder to win back an audience member than to just keep them interested.

So when you’ve written your first draft – KISs your jargon goodbye.

writing at a table with smart phone and water
copywriting, digital copywriting, editing, research, storytelling, writing tips

Writing tips for non-writers – Secrets of Newsworthiness

Creating engaging, enticing and relevant content can be incredibly overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. Well, I am going to share a little secret with you. You, too, can create newsworthy copy, that people want to read.

Those of us who trained in the art of writing were all given a cheat sheet; constantly there to remind us what is news. Let’s take a look at the seven pillars of newsworthiness and how you can make your digital copy newsworthy too.

Even when you are creating marketing material for your clients and potential clients, these pillars will ensure your content is on point.

Timeliness – When did it happen?

In a generation of instant gratification; we want what we want and we want it now! When you create your content, bear this in mind at all times.

Is there a NEW campaign? A NEW product? A NEW Service? Is there a way you can make it NEW? If you publish new content on a regular basis you can guarantee that you always have timely news to offer your readers.

Proximity – Where did it happen?

People are generally interested in news that is local. People are often emotionally absorbed by events that are close to them. The tragedy in their local town is a greater tragedy; the local celebration is all the more exciting.

How can you make your content ‘local’? Focus and direct your material to localized groups. Change your content to appeal to each group at a personal level.

One of the many extraordinary things about living in the digital age is that proximity is constantly evolving. As our connection with the rest of the world is consistently strengthened, so too is our ability to reach a wider ‘local’ audience.

By personalising your content to meet the needs or interests of your intended audience your news is in closer proximity to them.

Rarity – How unique is it?

This is a particularly significant point when dealing with digital content. The web is absolutely saturated with content marketing, brand news and ‘exciting new offerings’. The only way to stand out is to find a way to make your content unique.

Why is your product different from the next? What makes you or your service special? Exclusivity is terribly appealing to people, they want to know that they’ve got something that other people don’t.

Prominence – Who’s involved with it?

So many of us are seduced by fame. Whether it is the latest celebrity endorsing the latest product or an industry authority promoting a theoretical approach, others influence us.

Gaining respect in your field is a very important part of adding validity to your work. People want to hear from industry trailblazers who are taking risks and know what’s going on. Join the conversation. Follow the right people. Align your service or product with someone or something that already has the name, respect and prominence.

Impact – How does it affect me, and others I respect?

News is interesting because it changes something. Perhaps it changes the environmental landscape, or the financial landscape or even the entertainment landscape. Someone or something is always affected.

Before creating your content, think about how your content will impact your customers, your industry or the world. Each piece of content you publish should illustrate this change. If it does not – you really need to question whether the material has the desired impact.

Novelty – Why is it interesting?

You can make any piece of writing just a little more engaging by linking it back to something extraordinary. Maybe there’s a holiday coming up, like Black Friday or Christmas, or even an event that is unique to your company. Coming up with a unique approach is key to great news and great marketing.

If you’re trying to push your brand or service, think about how you can link your material to something cool, random or relevant.

Human Interest – How do I feel about it?

Turn your marketing material into a story about people. Not for profit organisations are notoriously good at creating emotive and heart wrenching stories to entice their donors.

Why not take a page out of their book? Tell a story; how did your product or service help Jo Next Door to realize her dream. Pull on the heartstrings and give your audience some human interest.

Decorated pumpkins in a garden
content production, copywriting, digital copywriting, research, storytelling, writing tips

Give your customers a treat this Halloween, not a trick

We’ve all been there. Happily surfing the web and up pops a fantastic looking article. Off we go, trusting and naïve, and there at the end of our click is a nasty, boring, uninteresting monster, completely unrelated to the original bait. We feel violated. How can we slay the evil click bait monster? For starters, don’t contribute to it. Positive, reciprocal and useful relationships are based on mutual respect and exchange of useful products, services and information.

You can make a point of creating engaging, relevant content, and treat your customers to a great service. Below are five tips for keeping your content interesting and still engaging for your audience.

Don’t be a vampire: substance over seduction

No one is denying that sex sells. The sexy and captivating vampire sucks you in with his charm and good looks. Instead of giving you the best night of your night, you are left with a very sore neck and a rather impressive iron deficiency. Don’t do this to your potential customers.

By all means, spend time to create great headlines and sexy invitations. Don’t leave it at that. Make sure that whatever you promise, you can deliver. Create entertaining content that is both helpful and engaging.

You can’t slay the beast if you don’t know what it is

Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have had super strength and mad kung fu skills, but she would never have defeated the big bad without the knowledge. She relied heavily on the researching skills of her team to determine just exactly what she was fighting and how she could win.

Always hit the books, or rather net, and research, research, research!

Who is talking in your industry?

What are they talking about?

Who is your audience?

What do they want?

How can you provide it?

Without answering these questions, you’ll never be able to create or even curate the best and most enticing content.

Identify your weapon and use only that

If you have discovered that a silver bullet is the only thing that will defeat a werewolf, you grab a gun with silver bullets. You don’t overload yourself with a crossbow, a sword, a light saber and a wooden stake. All you’d be doing is weighing yourself down with excess crap, and it will likely just get in the way.

Strip down your intent to the cleanest content you can. Simplify what you’re able to and get rid of the fluff you don’t need. It’s wasteful and boring and you will likely just lose your audience before you even begin.

Be forever vigilant

If you are going to make yourself known to the big bad, you’d better be prepared. It could come at you at any time, and you need to be armed and ready.

Ensure that your digital content is accurate, useful and up to date at all times. You don’t know what or when a customer is going to take interest in your content, so it’s important to make sure that your content is relevant.

If you’re outgunned, call for backup

You wouldn’t run into car park full of crazed zombies alone and unarmed.

Don’t create and curate just for the sake of it. Make sure you are able to provide great and practical content. If you find yourself overwhelmed, time poor or simply unable to get started, ask for help.

There are some incredible resources online that offer tips, advice or industry relevant information. Follow engaging blogs, industry leaders and inspiring content providers for inspiration.

If you are not sure where to start, many content consultants can work with you from the beginning. They can help guide you out of the darkness and into the content haven.

Don’t throw eggs at your customers this Halloween; give them some delicious candy that lasts.