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Big Ship Copywriting

The Adventure Copywriter

The importance of play for work success

I’ve been leaning back towards my enthusiasm for sales recently (I used to work as a door to door salesman in the state of Victoria, Australia), and remembered its emphasis on attitude.

The immediate office was quiet today with people off sick and others off-site, and I realised the need to interject moments of fun into the work routine for me and the rest still here.

Once, when selling in Australia, I found a tennis ball outside a house. To pick up my spirits, I bounced it up and down and played catch with myself and anyone I was buddied up with. Joy is in the simple things!

Back here at my desk in London, I’ve got a stress ball. I took a quick break to turn around and offer a game of catch with my workmates.

Energy was uplifted, smiles sprang to life and we went back to work feeling (briefly) much better!

No one action creates a never-ending feeling of happiness forever, but repeat small injections of fun like this throughout the day, and you’ll help return everyone to work in a much positive mood.

Statistical reporting for copywriting

Copywriting is primarily concerned with the art of persuasion through the written word, but your work is nothing without some hard facts to back it up.

Here I’ll go through three methods I’m experimenting with to not only improve my work on web pages, but to also prove the importance of my work to my boss.

How much work is being produced

The basics. Use Excel or Google Sheets to add up the amount of content being completed. You need to see week-on-week how much work is in the pipeline and identify why there are rises and falls in workload. Who’s pulling their weight and who isn’t? Are deadlines being met?

Siteimprove

Siteimprove is great for managing the countless web pages of large institutions like universities. Through its reports, you can identify all the spelling mistakes, broken links, broken PDFs and more that need fixing – no matter how hidden within your site they may be.

Google Analytics

Analyse page views and click-throughs to estimate how well your copy is helping to sell an undergraduate degree. After all, what’s an ‘Apply Now’ button other than another ‘Purchase’ button at checkout? This is crucial to prove your value to the business. My favourite method of being paid was 100% commission in a sales job I did – if the same was available in copywriting, some of us would be very rich right now).

The future (or, right bloody now!)

A quick google search for similar thoughts on this subject directed me towards Adam Singer’s post on Copyblogger. The opening statement of his last section, “The best-paid copywriters in the 21st century won’t just be wordsmiths — they’ll also be analysts” is bang on the money.

 

University values

A couple of months back, I attended a short marketing course at Accelerator, London Metropolitan University’s business incubator that supports student start-ups.

In the branding session, we considered how people determine whether a company’s brand is meaningful enough for them to connect with. It made me consider – what makes a university’s brand meaningful in the long-run?

Functional values

At its core, a university must run courses that are of a high standard of teaching. That means being up-to-date with the latest developments in the field, access to modern teaching materials and teachers who actually care about their subject and students.

Personal benefits

A university must run courses that are focused on helping students get employment in the sector they want. Lectures and seminars that engage a student’s mind and aspirations. A social environment conducive to new friendships, relationships and fun times.

A bonus is having access to facilities that help an individual expand themselves in new ways – as an increasing advocate of sports and fitness myself, I’m thinking particularly of gyms and sports activities here.

Collective benefits

Students care about their fields of study, societies and wider environmental and humanitarian concerns. There’s also the local community – a university, with all its resources and exciting young talent, can create events and services that will bring both students and locals together in fulfilling relationships.

Universities should also make sure to support that which the student cares about beyond themselves, so it will instil a pride and loyalty within them that will extend well beyond their years of study. Such measures are much more likely to produce membership paying Alumni.

In conclusion…

Functional, personal and collective. At the end of the day, its all about what can the university do to benefit the student.

 

Copywriting for the student market

As a copywriter who focuses on writing the descriptions for university courses, I’m selling an expensive product. £27,000 minimum for a three year undergraduate degree to be precise.

So what questions are the average (ie, not wealthy) young person and mature student going to want answered before they decide to purchase such an expensive product?

Course content

Just what are the key modules I will be learning in this course? Will I just learn knowledge or vital skills as well? What are the most important things you will teach me in relation to a future career?

Teacher experience

How renowned are the teaching staff? Are they a member of any professional bodies? Do they have professional experience in the subject they are teaching ? That last point is of major importance in my opinion.

Work experience

Do you have a specialist career unit to help me get work? What links to companies does the university have? Where have other students worked in the past? Again, these questions may be more important than those around what will actually be studied.

Study abroad

Can I get multinational experience in this global world? Can I learn a new language with my course? Will I form international connections to build my network?

Assessment

Will I be assessed in other ways than repetitive exams? Is there group work? Do you train me to get results as I’ll be expected to achieve in the corporate world?

These are just some of the questions that our target audience are asking. Those that don’t address these questions – and can’t answer them – are in dire straights indeed.

Copywriting in Higher Education

I’m about to start my fourth week as the new copywriter at London Metropolitan University.

This primarily involves writing online university course descriptions, but there’s no end of extras, from emails to tweets to hardcopy prospectuses. Getting to interview course leaders with voice recorders and being paid to travel between campuses is huge fun, and the marketing knowledge I’m gaining into the HE sector overall provide incredible insights into the latest challenges and developments.

I’ll be posting my own reflections on HE copywriting, marketing and advertising, as it now becomes one of my specialisms alongside ‘adventure’ copywriting.

 

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