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Good copywriters - HELP!!!

 
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BungleBob



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 67
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 10:40 am    Post subject: Good copywriters - HELP!!! Reply with quote

Hi all

We're hoping for good response to this! We're an advertising service and one of the headaches of the job is property descriptions. We're not professional copywriters and, beyond spelling or grammar corrections, we don't have the time or personal knowledge to write every property description personally.

We do try to give lots of help to advertisers but too many just don't "get" how important having a strong descriptive write-up can be. It's not unknown to see a 5 word paragraph come in! The ensuing "battle" to get further information can then lead to annoyance from the customer who thinks we're being overly fussy. Not a great start to the relationship.

We'd like to be able to refer people to some quality articles/tips on copywriting for rental property but we're also happy to put people in touch with anyone here who'd like to do the wordsmithery for them.

Can anybody here help?

Richard

P.S. Paolo - is there any mileage in opening a section for owners to post their descriptions and get them spruced by other friendly owners?
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ross



Joined: 05 Oct 2004
Posts: 19
Location: 23,000 + properties in 70 countries.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there BungleBob,

We too are an advertising service. When we won the New Media Age award for the Travel sector prize in 2003, the one thing that all the judges agreed on what the standard of copy our site had. This accolade was of course passed onto our advertisers. One of the things that makes our industry so successful is the personal touch. If all the adverts were written by expert copy writers, i feel that the personal experience will be diluted. adverts will then look like they have come from a corporate rather than a property owner.

We of course proof read the adverts for spelling mistakes (as we deal with lots of second language advertisers). We do not change the copy unless it does not conform to our content policy.

Good copy is important, it does have to be the owners own. This is my opinion.
_________________
Ross McGowan

www.Holiday-Rentals.co.uk
ross@holiday-rentals.com
Tel +44 (0)20 8743 5577
Fax +44 (0)20 8740 3863
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BungleBob



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 67
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 1:28 pm    Post subject: Agreed - but help for some required Reply with quote

Hi Ross

True enough and thankfully the majority of advertisers provide quality info. My problem is the minority who don't.

We'd just like to be able to go "the extra mile" and point people at some good examples, tips, info, etc. Failing that, somebody who can do it for them. It's no biggy but anything to improve the finer details is a bonus and we like to hear from owners.

BTW we know your site, doesn't everybody? All hail! Laughing

Rich
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paolo



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 3959
Location: Provence, France

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By coincidence, I am a marketing copywriter and I specialise in the travel sector.

I agree that the copy is very important and the general level of writing on ads and sites is not too high. That's because they are written by rental owners, not copywriters.

I did think when I started Lay My Hat that I could cover costs and time spent on it by doing some work improving people's copy. But those that have asked me to look at their sites or ads usually just need a few pointers, not a rewrite. The ones with really bad sites haven't contacted me! Smile

What holiday-rentals do very well is split up the various bits of copy needed - about the house, about the location, about the surrounding area. This makes it easier for the advertiser to organise the copy. And they also separate out the amenities and distance to airports, etc. - all necessary info that can make a description unreadable if it is all bundled together.

A site like vrbo lets you go free range and write pretty much to whatever length you like. That's good if you know what you are doing, because it allows you to make more of a personal, emotional connection, but it also lets you get it badly wrong if you don't know what you're doing.

I think there are two things any owner can do to really improve the performance of their advertising:
- hire a professional photographer
- hire a professional copywriter.

Neither is particularly expensive, and quickly paid for in bookings. But I'm not holding my breath!

Ross makes the point that it is better if the owner writes the copy, which is true, if the owner can do their property justice. The job of the copywriter is to write from the owner's very personal point of view. Corporate is for company brochures; a decent writer can adapt to whatever is needed.

When I get a moment I will add a section here for peer reviews, covering design, copy and (basic) SEO for websites and ads. And there'll be links to good online advice and tutorials - there's a lot of good free stuff out there.
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Paolo
Lay My Hat
http://www.laymyhat.com
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Darren



Joined: 09 Nov 2004
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
True enough and thankfully the majority of advertisers provide quality info. My problem is the minority who don't.


If that was only true. 99% of the property descriptions on our site have to be edited, for various reasons, usually small amount of information or text in capitals! Evil or Very Mad

One of the examples;

'describe your living room'

reply: the room has a sofa and tv

That was it - no description that the living room opened up to the swimming pool, no mention of the other furniture in the room, the wonderful views from the living room windows.

Over 75% of the descriptions received I have to send an email back asking them for a property description of each room in the home.

I could quite easily write the description from the photographs, but in my opinion it is the owners (advertisers) responsibility to describe their property properly if they want me to market their holiday home effectively.

We also have to be very careful of the UK advertising standard laws! Something we are trying to educate owners on.

Darren Smile
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PeeJay



Joined: 05 Nov 2004
Posts: 93
Location: Los Cristianos, Tenerife

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Darren

Have just registered on the Worldwide Holiday Homes site.

Would appreciate any comments on the pics and copy.

Pete
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Darren



Joined: 09 Nov 2004
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Pete, I've sent you an email.

Thanks,
Darren Smile
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BungleBob



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 67
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 8:56 am    Post subject: Thanks Paolo Reply with quote

Quote:
When I get a moment I will add a section here for peer reviews, covering design, copy and (basic) SEO for websites and ads. And there'll be links to good online advice and tutorials - there's a lot of good free stuff out there.


Thanks Paolo, we'll tell our advertisers where to find the links. Any chance of an article? More referrals to Lay My Hat? Wink

Rich
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paolo



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 3959
Location: Provence, France

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rich,

Of course - I'll email you about it.
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Paolo
Lay My Hat
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