Creative Copywriting For Small Business

We’ll be covering a few tips, tricks and perspectives to help you unleash your creativity and create a balance between this and optimised copy.

Inspiring with figurative language

You’re sitting in a chilly classroom in some unloved block of your school. The teacher is talking about Romeo and Juliet…or something. In this section, we’ll give you a refresher on what she was talking about.

Similes

Similes are a simple figurative language device that compare two things that are similar – it even derives its name from the word similar!

“Hotter than hell” – Dua Lipa

“Sweet like chocolate” – Shanks & Bigfoot

Similes use certain connective terms like ‘than’, ‘as _____ as’ and ‘like’ to make it obvious that a comparison is being made. You can do all sorts with similes.

Below you can find different examples, starting with a general one:

“The occasion was as subtle as Lady Gaga’s meat dress.”

You can compare something living with something inanimate:

“He was as flexible as Gorilla Glue.”

Compare something inanimate with something living:

“The clock declared the hour like a judge with their gavel.”

You can play with concepts (real/surreal/not real) or even incorporate fictional characters and places:

“He looked like a scared woodland creature trying to bargain with a not so impressed one; much like Ron Weasley in the presence of Hermione.”

[Cue debate on whether Hogwarts is real…].

Metaphors

Metaphors, much like their close cousins similes, are a great way of adding interest to writing. A metaphor states, in a comparative way, that something is something else. Metaphors can be small – in the presence of just a few words or lines – or big – stretching over a couple of paragraphs or pages. In the famous Romeo and Juliet balcony scene, we hear Romeo describe Juliet as ‘the sun’:

“It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.”

This conjures images in our mind and invites us to imagine how Juliet could be like the sun: Is she warm? Does she give life? Is she overpowering? He continues:

“Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon

Who is already sick and pale with grief

That thou her maid art far more fair than she.”

As Shakespeare extends this metaphor, he clarifies how Juliet is like the sun. We learn that she is ‘fair’ yet powerful enough to ‘kill’ the moon. Here we also witness how a metaphor is used to express relatable, human concepts (like jealousy) which connects the reader with the content on a deeper level. This excerpt is a perfect example of the richness that metaphors can create.

 

Lexis

‘In comparison to now, the old school writers of our time, would revel in a spectrum of lexis, spanning from simple to complex, and use it freely to fulfil differing purposes and fancies.’ 

[Sorry, what did you just say?…].

Lexis is basically a fancy word for ‘words’. It refers to the type of words we find in a text and its original meaning relates to the ‘stock’ of words one finds in a language. Therefore, when assessing our writing’s lexis, we can treat it as paying attention to our overall choices – a bit like a buyer would with their stock!

The first sentence of this section is deliberately odd to demonstrate different types of lexis. It contains a combination of simple lexis that’s easy for the reader to understand (‘now’, ‘old’, ‘use’) and slightly more complex lexis (‘revel’, ‘spectrum’) that is more challenging to the reader. It also includes lexis that you might associate with a different time, place, culture or personality (‘differing’, ‘fancies’). If we wanted to make this easier to read, we could use a combination of words that sit on a similar level to one another in terms of complexity.

‘Writers of the past enjoyed using different words – from simple words, to complex words. Compared to now, they used and combined these in a way that was more free and indulgent.’

This type of language is basic, universal and easy for readers to understand. It also makes it more likely that speakers of English as a second language (ESOL) can also follow and engage with our text. It can, however, simplify our writing in such a way that it makes it seem, well, bland.

Once identifying your key words, consider using a few words and phrases that add a point of difference – you know, spice the piece up a bit. Great words and phrases to use are ones that can add ‘flavour’, whilst not being so wild that they don’t fit the following:

a) your audience

b) the thematic content of your piece,

or c) the flow of your sentence.

For example, if you are an art supply business writing about a new range, based on your audience type, you can afford to make your writing more creative and maybe even incorporate some technical language related to a certain artistic technique or discipline.

Although playing with lexis can be tricky at first, we recommend testing out a few ways to challenge or satisfy your reader; teach them something new.

Blend, baby, blend

So what’s my advice as a writer wanting to create successful and engaging writing? My answer? Blend.

You might be thinking “what’s the point in ‘zhuzhing’ my writing if it reduces space for keywords?” or “I am getting traction when I use popular words – why change?”. To that we might say “good for you!”. But in the world of business fresh, competitive ideas are popping up all the time. And the modern world can be a fickle place.

This is why whilst it’s important to master writing from a technical perspective, using SEO tools and tricks to drive traffic to our pages, it is equally important to remember human beings are encountering your touchpoints. And we have an in-built authenticity radar. If your business can address your customers’ needs whilst raising interest or sparking a smile, you’re onto a winner. So, if you think your reference will resonate with your customer and their values, include it!

 

And finally, draft

  “Oh, I’m hopeless at writing” – a Gal speaking an untruth 

“I’m not very good with words” – another Gal speaking an untruth!

Because we all have unique experiences, we have unique and valuable perspectives. So whilst some of us might lack a little confidence when writing, with the right techniques and practice, you will soon be winning. Promise.

The truth is when I write, I delete and reshuffle A LOT (you would need a visual-distress warning if you could see the amount of leaping around my loyal little cursor does!). So if you’re stuck for a way of saying something, try allowing a flow of consciousness take space for a moment – you might find something of value in there that you can then re-draft or formalise. If you feel more comfortable developing your brand’s voice outside of pieces you plan to publish, you can always ask a friend or a member of the Good Business UK network who will be more than happy to provide you with some friendly advice.

3 great questions to ask yourself when editing are:

1. What purpose does this word/term/sentence/section serve?

(For example, does it inform? Add detail? Raise a smile? Portray authority? Show approachability? Etc, etc…)

2. Does it align with the placement of my business?

(Audience or market-place)

3. Does it align with the personality of my business?

(Here to help if you’re still building!)

So upon your final read through, if your written experimentation sit well, keep them in, sister! And let the imaginary wind blow catch your scarf for a moment whilst you remind yourself that you are a literary star…

To round off

So if you’re feeling ready to extend something extra to your customer – something special, something you – have a try. We’ll be right behind you, cheering on your creative, world-turning force!  

‘This business is HOT; it’s hotter than a billy goat with a blow torch!’