Tag Archives | copywriting tips

So who are we writing grammatically for?

Apologies for the less than subtle headline.

The preposition ‘for’ at the end of this one would have attracted the red pen from grammar teachers of yesteryear. So it might have read: For whom are we writing grammatically?

But doesn’t it sound, well, stiff?

It seems the rules are now being widely ignored. And those sensitive to these things better get used to it.

Check out The Guardian’s interesting piece 10 grammar rules you can forget: how to stop worrying and write proper

Careful when writing for some clients though, this sort of thing can get people very wound up…

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Annual report copywriting made easy: 5 top tips

AR_2There. That got your attention. Anyone who claims that writing an annual report is easy must have a screw loose. Right?

The truth is that getting the content together and writing it is a lot less painful if you follow these five top tips. And the busy annual report season will go like a dream.

1. Know who’s drafting what and when
Put an initial against each contribution proposed on the flat plan – alongside first and second draft deadlines and any other amendment process details. Make sure all involved know when their input is needed. And when they’ll be able to comment on the initial draft.

2. Make a plan for key elements like Chairman and CEO statements
Face to face interview? Or conversations around prepared questions on the phone? Either way it pays to flesh out a complementary angle for each that focuses on those strategic/operational differences and  – ideally – reflects the personality and style of the individuals involved.

3. Think case studies, editorial and other engaging content
Annual reports may have to contain a whole stack of statutory information, the only limit to making them more interesting is your imagination. Interview clients as well as employees. Go down the case study route. Raid the archives for a piece of history. If the content is genuinely interesting, the annual report may even get read…

4. Apply house styles from the start
Consistency is key. So make sure any specific names and company/organisation references are always spelled the same way. And that there’s a policy on things like km or kilometer. The devil is in the detail…

5. Use the right tone of voice for the job
Just because an annual report is important, it doesn’t mean it has to be dry and boring in tone. Engage your audiences as if they are people and watch your brand come to life.

From oil production and the weather, to leisure, financial services and anything else you’d like to report about – find out more about how Tim Trout Copywriting could help make your next annual report project go with a swing.

View a Kuwait Energy annual report example here.


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Cringe! Copywriting to make your toes curl too.

Ad-Age-Logo_smallUS creative/writer Bill Karl talks us through some all-too-familiar copywriting structures in his Advertising Age piece Ad Nauseam: Copywriting at its Cringeworthy Best

You’ll never look at The Non Sequitur, Blindsiding Question or Three-Word Tagline in the same light again.




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Groovy baby: 10 slang phrases that define an era

groovy_babyDid we really say that…?

Nice BBC piece about slang words with a life of their own.




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Headline news

Oh-My-Headline-300x248Writing strong headlines is one of the most important elements of copywriting. Because if you can’t get the attention, you’ve got no chance of holding it – and getting the results you want in terms of response.

This thoughtful blog piece in The Guardian charts how online headlines have moved from click bait to over-promised hype – and suggests readers are wising up to too many hollow promises at the top of a story…

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Apostrophe now!

New government focus on grammar set to kick in with primary school tests.

But (sorry) what will be its effect…?


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SEO: keywords just soooo yesterday

Once upon a time we copywriters knew where we all stood SEO-wise.

We included keywords and phrases in just the right percentage and position – then stood back and waited for the traffic to roar in.

This piece on neuromarketing is a useful taster of where we’re going next with SEO – if we haven’t started going there already…

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August 2: projects update

Loads going on at the mo, what with websites for apps, video scripts, more University of Bristol projects including faculty brochures – plus copywriting training courses now booking into September, including one for the UK’s biggest name in outsourcing.

All good. And now here comes the sun…

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Copywriting tips: first drafts and blank sheets

copywriting tipsThese are the two main starting points for most copywriting jobs.

Where the client has committed him- or herself to paper and made a good start. Or has the end result clearly in mind, but not really kicked off.

So I’m often asked to either polish the text to publication standard from draft copy or recommend a ‘from scratch’ approach – sometimes also sourcing the information needed before I can fill those blank sheets or screens with just the right content.

What all this highlights is that every client has their preferred way of doing things and I’m always happy to fit in with that. The most important thing I can do as a copywriter is understand that process completely – and the client’s expectations – so that the job is nailed first time round (or as far as humanly possible).

Copywriting tips for success:

  • Ensure that all interested (and influential!) parties have had their say in inputting at draft copy stage
  • Make doubly sure that all who should have, have had their input at briefing, if heading down the ‘blank sheets’ route.

Get this approach clear from the start and copywriting a project can be a breeze. Get it wrong and, well, let’s say things can get messy…





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New Tim Trout Copywriting site nearly complete

I love WordPress so much – yes really – I’ve built  this main site to accompany the new copywriting courses / training site already online at www.copywriting-training.co.uk

The new Tim Trout Copywriting site is growing every day and features examples of my work across diverse business sectors.


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