So far this year work is rolling steadily through The Wordsmithy’s door – and long may it continue! But we’ve noticed a change in the kind of work clients typically commission. Although the word “recession” is being used much less than last year, budgets are still tight and everyone has got into the habit of focusing on value. While we’re still doing creative-led brochure and print work, we’re seeing a clear trend for providing more and better information and in particular, online resources that can be shared and used in a variety of ways.
B2B – a more thoughtful approach
For example, business-to-business white papers and thought pieces provide insight and start discussions. They are written from a more objective viewpoint and help set the scene for possible investment. Clients are using public domain research or press articles to add weight to their communications without the expense of bespoke research commissions. Targeted newsletters are on the up too – giving useful advice on how my clients can help their clients save money, be more efficient and support business growth in tough times. Both of these lend themselves well to low cost online distribution and are a great resource to send out to media contacts as well as consumers.
Consumer loyalty – not just about discounts
Loyalty is proving increasingly important in times when consumers are thinking more carefully than ever about where to spend their precious pounds. So I’ve been working on loyalty and affinity scheme communications. Online newsletters are very popular: the most successful are short and carefully targeted at different customer segments so they’re always relevant, reducing unsubscribes. Exclusive offers and information really help customers feel valued and understood. Blogs and refreshed web content are also focal areas, with clients asking me to benchmark their site content against competitors and update their own to exceed it in scope and usefulness.
The toughest service environment ever
Another recessionary imperative for all sectors is service. Consumer and commercial customers can be more demanding than ever when so many organisations are competing for their business. Expectations for service standards are at an all time high. We’ve been helping our clients improve their customer communications – from standard letters and emails to overall tone of voice and in-store communications.
Saving on outsourced writing is another trend which we’re not as unhappy about as you might think. We’ve been supporting individuals and teams who regularly write high profile communications for wide distribution – either internally or externally. Our half day writing coaching sessions with follow up are a great way to build up your colleagues’ skills so they’re confident about everyday written communication and have a writing toolkit to use for planning, structuring, choosing the words and checking what they send out. Feedback from coached individuals and the people who receive communications from them has been that it’s made a big and visible difference.