What copywriting tips and tricks were on offer at #PCN2014?

Not that I want to rub it in or anything, but the other week I was lucky enough to attend the Professional Copywriters’ Network Conference (#PCN2014) at London’s Haberdashers’ Hall.

Now in its second year #PCN2014 is the brainchild of Ben Locker and Tom Albrighton. If you’re not already following these two on Twitter, then you need to do something about this - sharpish! Let that be my first lesson on the art of good copywriting!

Here are some of the other tips and tricks gleaned from this year’s event.

How do you write a compelling corporate story?

Writer and communications consultant Tim Rich got the day off to a cracking start by talking us through the serious business of corporate storytelling – his words of wisdom no doubt honed by years spent working with big-name corporations such as BP and KPMG.

With so many companies now boasting their own corporate ‘story’, how do you make sure that yours stands out from the crowd and triggers an emotional response amongst your customers?

Tim told us that his perfect formula for a good story comprises these three key elements:

  • Challenge: What sort of challenge is your company facing?
  • Action: How does your business strive to overcome this challenge?
  • Transformation: In rising to the challenge, how has this shaped your company?

How many of the above does your own corporate story include?

What does behavioural economics have to do with copywriting?

Next, it was the turn of the ebullient Rory Sutherland to take to the stage to show us how behavioural economics can be applied to copywriting.

In a keynote speech filled with many a fun anecdote, the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group UK (which boasts an impressive portfolio of clients ranging from easyJet to BUPA) gave us two particularly useful pieces of copywriting advice:

  • Test counterintuitive things! Sometimes, the answer you’re looking for isn’t always the one you'd expect it to be. Don’t be afraid to try something that, at first glance, appears to defy logic.
  • Dare to be trivial! Never underestimate the impact that making small changes and minor adjustments (for instance, adding just a few extra words or sentences to your copy) could make.

What can social intelligence teach us about writing good copy?

Then came the turn of Dr Jillian Ney to talk to the packed main hall about the art of storytelling from a social intelligence perspective.

Dr Jillian Ney (CEO of social intelligence consultancy Disruptive Insight) is in fact the first Doctor of Social Media in the UK.

During her speech, she gave insight into the way that brands (via means of rigorous data-analysis techniques) can harness the power of digital noise (such as tweets) and use this information to their advantage.

For instance, from tapping into this digital noise, businesses can gather information (related, for instance, to your online audience’s opinions of your products and services) to inform their copywriting choices and social media strategies.

Not only does this make copywriting for your target audience a much easier task, but could also serve to boost brand engagement levels.

See you at next year’s copywriting conference?

The conference provided the perfect balance between informative speeches, skill-building workshops and meeting with lots of other lovely copywriters from around the country.

Oh and the buffet lunch was rather good too!

If you’re wanting to learn more about the art of copywriting, I really couldn't recommend strongly enough that you attend the next Professional Copywriting Network event. I look forward to seeing you there!

Photo credits: Ben Locker and Mynewsdesk UK