The old adage ‘keep it simple, stupid’ is copywriting gold. It’s stuck around this long for a reason, and it might just help you create killer share plan comms…
A few weeks ago, I caught up with a friend who works in financial services. She’s in marketing, so obviously a huge part of her role involves understanding complex products and how to make them sound appealing to customers.
She said that when she joined, the deeply technical financial jargon was what threw her the most – it was like having to learn a whole new language. But at the same time, not understanding some of that jargon was beneficial too, because it challenged some assumptions the internal team was making about prior knowledge.
It hit a note with me, because when I joined Eximia as a creative copywriter, I didn’t have the level of understanding about reward and share plan comms I do now. Like all copywriters, I spent lots of time in the beginning getting under the skin of both Eximia and its clients, and learning lots of new lingo! But a bit like my friend in financial services, my lack of knowledge at the beginning also played to my advantage.
A copywriter’s secrets…
How, you ask? Because my lack of knowledge allowed me to put myself in the shoes of the audiences I’d be creating content for. The average employee will, like me at the beginning of my Eximia journey, know vaguely what a share plan is and how one works. But they won’t necessarily understand what a CSOP, JSOP, LTIP or SIP is, and if you bamboozle them with too much terminology up front, you’re in danger of putting them off altogether. So while there’s a place for that sort of detail in your comms, when you’re working out what your key campaign messaging is going to be, you want to be steering away from the dry, the technical and the jargony as much as you possibly can.
That’s the challenge we face at Eximia. How do we take share plan communication, and turn it into something easily digestible and engaging for employees? This is where I like to apply my mantra as a copywriter of “less is more” (a modern take on ‘keep it simple, stupid’). Communicating simply and effectively is a valuable skill, and while I’m not about to do myself out of a job by giving all my trade secrets away, here’s a very quick copywriter’s 101 on how to put ‘less is more’ into practice and create share plan comms that stick:
Ditch the jargon (where you can)
The reason I’ve bracketed that second bit is because in the share plan world, there is always going to be a certain amount of specific lingo to relay. But it doesn’t need to be all over your comms. Your invitations to enrol, for example, should steer as far away as possible from corporate-speak and technical talk. If an acronym needs explaining, avoid it altogether! Rule number one in copywriting is to speak to people’s emotions (think longing, need, even fear). Jargon doesn’t do that – it just alienates people.
Fun fact: people (and brands!) are perceived to be more credible when we speak plainly.
Stick to snappy sentences
Short sentences are easy to understand. They sound more friendly than formal. And they create impact. That’s why when we’re working with you to create share plan comms with clout, we’ll never use two-dozen words when far less will do. Where this really counts too is in your key campaign messages – the main points you want your audience to hear, remember and act on.
Fun fact: When average sentence length is 14 words, readers understand more than 90% of what they’re reading. At 43 words, that drops to less than 10%!
Be bold, be active
You want your share plan communications to sound optimistic and upbeat because that’s what’s going to create interest and ultimately, buy-in! There’s a knack to this. First of all, you want every word to count. That means ditching filler words and phrases, cliches and bland adjectives. Secondly, you want to avoid anything that’s going to knock your sentences into the passive voice.
Fun fact: The passive voice can give the impression of evading responsibility. For example, if I say “the report was lost”, it seems to dodge the question “by whom?”.
Sound… technical? It’s not to us copywriters. We’ve spent years perfecting our craft. And actually, we love nothing more than taking the complex, and turning it into creative, engaging content that makes whoever is reading it say ‘hey, I want to know more about this!’.
So when you’re planning your next share plan rollout, why not come and chat to us, and let us show you how less can actually mean more…