Stop press! New dragonfly website takes off

Brisbane copywriting, editing and communicationI’m very excited to (at last) be launching our new-look dragonfly website. I’d love you to visit and let me know what you think. http://dragonflyink.com.au.

It’s an interesting exercise to completely change the look and feel of a website you’re happy with. I made the choice because I wanted content management capability, and there were also technical issues messing with my SEO (search engine optimisation).

But I’ve had it parked for a whole year while I’ve been flat out with work – and, I’ll admit, procrastinating (just a bit). I’ve finally put it out there and I feel so much better – and not just because it was one more thing ticked off my to-do list.

It’s a bit like buying a new car. You loved the old one, but the new one just goes better.

So I’m well aware of how daunting it is to create a brand new website or update an old one – no matter what size organisation you are. It’s something that ends up in the too-hard basket. It sits on our to-do list, sticking its tongue out at us, daring us to ‘just do it’.

My advice to you is if you need help, get it. With the words, the structure, the SEO, getting the URL, the right service provider. Most importantly, decide who your audience is and why they’re coming to your website – and give them what they want.

Not only will you feel better about getting it done – but you’ll reap the benefits of an effective business tool. Trust me, you’ll wonder why you kept putting it off…

What does your communication style say about you?

I was working with a new client the other day, and I have to say, it was a delight. This client had a very strong sense of who he was and what his business was about. And he wanted his written communication to reflect that.

He had the vital ingredient when it comes to communication style: authenticity.

So instead of creating a hazy document, muddied with corporate-speak, we were able to put together a clear, simple document that said what he wanted to say and in a way he would say it himself.

He was willing to take a risk, be a little different – be real. I call it a WYSIWYG approach. What You See Is What You Get.

The term is used to describe computing systems that display the text as it will appear in the final output, rather than in code (e.g. HTML).

I use it to describe a piece of writing that clearly conveys the ‘personality’ or ‘voice’ of the person or organisation it is about – no secret codes, no BS. You know what you’re getting.

That’s authentic – and it’s good for business. Your clients and customers can feel comfortable knowing that you mean what you say – and the language and style you use is consistent with who you are. It inspires confidence.

Does the style or ‘voice’ of your content – in websites, reports, and marketing material – reflect who you and your organisation really are? Is your communication authentic?

This is the second in our series of posts about branding. You might also like to read: Is the ‘face’ of your business sending the right message?

All that jazz…outsourcing writing jobs with confidence

buzz-saxSome time ago, I was asked to jazz up an existing short profile for a client’s upcoming television appearance.

Imagine my surprise when a pile of clippings, notes and pages as thick as a best seller arrived in the post. What my client wanted wasn’t editing, it was content creation.

Yes, I delivered the va-voom, but it highlights how important it is that we are all, um, reading from the same page (did I really say that?). So what’s the difference?

Proofreading is really a quality control exercise. We make sure all amendments have been included, the document is complete (lines or words haven’t ‘dropped off’ the page, etc), links work, there are no spelling or punctuation errors, the document conforms with the client’s style guide, the index is correct, and page, line and word breaks are suitable.

Copy editing focuses on style and consistency. We make sure the meaning is clear and correct grammar, punctuation and spelling are used. We check for consistency, such as capitalisation and numbering.

For online work, we check links, pop-ups, and metadata, and make sure files download or open properly, with ‘user-friendly’ speed.

Full editing, referred to as substantative editing, involves all of the above, with the added task of reviewing structure, language, style and clarity or usability. A full edit focuses on making a document easy to read and consistent.

Content creation is a term our Dragonfly team uses to describe developing content from information we’ve gathered or our client has supplied.

Content creation can involve all or a mixture of writing styles including storytelling (narrative), information or explanation (expository), and influencing behaviour or opinion (persuasive).

Content creation involves, in varying degrees, the following process:

  • Briefing, including establishing audience, message, and method of delivery
  • Gathering and reviewing information, often including conducting interviews
  • Brainstorming ideas and developing concepts or themes
  • Developing text through various draft/approval phases
  • Delivering final edited content, often including design suggestions

So next time you’re thinking about outsourcing your writing or editing work, you can relax because you’ll know what you’re asking for – and what to expect. I could say something here about us all singing from the same… but, no. I think it’s home-time.

cheers

the dragonfly

Demystifying SEO-speak

The language of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is enough to make your head spin. But it’s not rocket science. Here are some quick definitions to get you started:

  • SEO: the process of improving your website/blog ranking in search engine results
  • Keyword density – No, it’s not repeating yourself, repeating yourself, ad nauseum. It’s the number of times your keywords appear on your page (without sounding ridiculous!)
  • Title text – Look at the very top blue line of your browser page. It should be different for every page, used like a magazine article title, and include keywords…
  • Meta-description – This appears in search results. It’s those approx 160 characters that can make people click through to your site – or not
  • Header text – This is HTML coding that indicates the relative importance of that block of text, like main heading and sub headings. Tip: Use keywords in header text (as long as it doesn’t sound stupid) 
  • Link titles – This is the text that appears when you scroll over a link. Check your site. Are you linking from ‘click here’ or ‘more’? Make that text meaningful
  • Image titles – Ditto. Make these meaningful. ‘Spiders’ love pictures and video, so don’t waste your opportunity to get ‘picked up’
  • On-page factors – These are the things mentioned above, the things you can do on your own site
  • Off-page factors – Google and other search engines like quality inbound links from other sites to yours.

No more spinning heads? Excellent!

cheers

Lou (aka The Dragonfly)