Demonstrate the benefits: how to use powerful picture-words

Well, women all know the feeling before waxing – the main wish is to get through it as rapidly as we can, with as little pain as we can. And this is what this billboard promises with the very clever use of “on and off”- instead of saying it will be fast and painless.

Demonstration is better than description

In sales writing one of the challenges is to demonstrate and explain processes, services, results with words instead of showing it. If people can observe something it is always more powerful than reading or listening to an explanation about it. In the above example, if I go to the salon, and see how quick it is, I would be impressed.

Picture made of words

Fortunately, words can also do that: with expressions which make us feel the impact instead of understanding and analysing it. If I say fast, it can be anything from 1 second to a few minutes or an hour depending on what process I am talking about. But expressions like ‘with a click of a button‘ imply that you just push a button and it happens, A more powerful way of saying ‘You can order online fast and easy’.

The same thing happens with ‘the blink of the eye’ – we all know it is one second and unconsciously imagine this blink and fell the speediness. The ‘on and off’ example just does the same: in one second the was is there, and in the other it is not.

As easy as 1,2,3

‘As easy as 1,2,3’ or ‘as easy as abc’ are again great picture-expressions: as we read them we feel how fast it is, and feeling is always stronger than any other understanding.

Be careful: it is not the same as idioms. If I say ‘as easy as pie’ – which is a widely known idiom for being easy – nobody will think of an actual pie, or nobody will feel the easiness. Idioms are also great elements in writing, but in this case, will not have the same impact of showing a picture in our head.

From a great night to goodnight

This Uber ad is displayed on the tube and aims to draw the attention to their better and quicker alternative for late night party-goers. And as discussed above it plays with the “great night – goodnight” word-picture, much much better than “get to your bed in 18 mins”. The good-great word couple can be used the other way round in slogans, headlines: ‘good for you, great for your children‘. Or ‘good people, great results’. Or an actual slogan of Eden Eco Solutions: ‘Good for your business. Great for our world.’

Note, by the way, using a non-round number (18) as the length f the journey. We pay attention and believe more numbers which are not round, so it becomes more credible. Even if in the example it is completely hypothetical, just wants to suggest a very short period.

We take only ‘Wow’ as an answer

If you provide services – like we do with content – we all know there are three types of reactions from our clients when we show them our work. They either say – hopefully in a very rare case – ‘no, this is not something I wanted’, or they say, ‘Fine.’ And the best is when they are impressed, and say ‘Oh wow, this is better than I imagined.’ Instead of writing on our website that we work until our clients are satisfied, why couldn’t we say: ‘We work until you say Wow.’

Use a few of these word-pictures in your copy and it will be more powerful and will clearly demonstrate what you are saying.

Words and photo by Timea Kadar, Global Head of Content at ContentBonum




5+1 things editors don’t tell you

Not because it is a secret but because they are so overwhelmed by pitches and emails and their daily work that they don’t have the time to tell you this. Having written for various magazines for 5 years, and having pitched successfully many others including Forbes, I can tell you what editors never tell you.

If you ever tried or thought of trying to send an article pitch to an editor (but this is true for any cold email) and it was never answered, you might have made one of the below mistakes. But don’t worry, these are easy to avoid, and you will have a much higher response rate.

 #1 Too much ado about you

It is obvious that in such an introductory email you would introduce yourself or your company to justify your expertise and why they should listen to you. However, this should not precede the fact that they are interested in your idea. So even if overall politeness and chronology tell you to introduce yourself first, in a pitch to the editor this should come only after you have their attention. And even then a brief intro is enough.

 #2 They have just written about your topic

You don’t necessarily have to be a fan of the paper and read everything about them, but it is nice to have an idea about the types of articles they publish and check back a couple of months what they published to avoid repetition. Look for some niche area they don’t talk about and you could.

#3 You sent a full article

It might seem obvious to show that you can write well and send the whole article they just should publish. In reality (1) editors don’t have the time to read full articles pitched and (2) they prefer to be involved creating the piece. So better to send a few bullet points about what the article would include, or you might want to write a lead.

 #4 “I can write about anything that is important for you.”

In most – if not all of the – cases this often used sentence just delegates the task of finding the idea to the editor. And this is exactly they would be happy to have help with. The best help if you come up with specific ideas and show how you would write them. If you have a blog or Facebook with similar topics, you can justify the interest in them.

 #5 Sending too much information

It is tempting to attach all your previous work, achievements, blogs and websites, but the editor will surely feel overwhelmed by all these and will never take the time to find out from your blog who you are. On top of that heavy attachments could block their already stuffed email box. It is always nicer to offer in the email that you can send high-quality photos, a presentation etc if they want, and it is your job to make them want 🙂

 # +1 Following up

Some editors would call it crazy chasing what some writers do. Following up on FB, Linkedin etc right after sending the email if they have seen your message is not the best way to make them reply. Some experts advise following up frequently using all channels, but I would say you should keep away from that. It can easily happen that the editor misses your first email, so a reminder can be helpful, but I prefer to wait for some time and to tie it to some additional info and then use the opportunity to ask about their opinion.

Copy and image by Timea Kadar, Read my quotes about words on Instagram.



Books for commuters – how to target your audience

This ad targets a very specific audience; those who spend 20-40 minutes commuting on the tube and would need some entertainment during this time. It is clearly articulated in the ad that it is going to be short, and both the copy and the picture makes the impression that these books are impossible to put down.

The star of this ad is not a specific book but the fact that any item of the series is a good choice for commuters. What we can learn from it is to target bravely. This ad clearly doesn’t target real bookworms – probably even annoys them – but this doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter until they have a very strong, easy-to-recognise message sent to their target group, and a unique selling proposition they can point out.

How to find the right target audience for your business

These are your ideal clients, you would like to attract and talk to, so get to know them as much as you can. The best is to set up a so-called buyer persona, i.e. the profile(s) of your target group (sex, age, profession, family status, financial status, hobbies, likes, dislikes etc.).

What are their issues/problems that they look to solve when looking at your business? What are their desires you can fulfill? What is the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of your business they are attracted by? You can either do a market research with an online survey, or interview a few of your clients. Look at the your customer service complaints and questions, and search for keywords in google and on social media.

By talking to a niche you gain more sales instead of missing out

What kind of misbeliefs do people have about your industry and specifically about your business? During networking try to talk about your business to as many people as you can and listen to their reactions. How do they misunderstand it? What are their questions? Look in the news, media, Facebbok groups and forums dedicated to your profession, what people normally ask and what kind of opinions they share.

As soon as you find out the answers to these questions, you will be able to create your buyer personas and talk only to them. Use their language, write about their problems, and desires, and address them specifically.

Don’t worry losing some of the audience if you are not talking to ‘everyone’. You are more guaranteed to get the attention of your real target group as a reward.

Copy and image by Timea Kadar, Read my quotes about words on Instagram.


“Oh, did you tap by mistake? It happens.” the most creative mobile ads from the past few years

The companies who bother to optimise banner ads for mobile, usually do this by taking off some of the text and adapt the scale. But this is only technical responsivity and doesn’t maximize the full potential of mobile ads. I show you a few exciting examples where the features of a smartphone were creatively exploited.

While most of us find the banners covering our full screen on the mobile very disruptive, smart mobile ads help and entertain their audience, instead of being a pain. Brands can make use of the unique features of a smartphone, like touchscreen, GPS and in-built camera. And sometimes you don’t need anything complex, just some honest words.

Did you tap by mistake?

This campaign by IKEA didn’t even need a heavy budget. They simply honestly reacted to the fact that some of us (according to some surveys 60% of us) tap the banner by mistake as an attempt to close or remove it, which is really annoying. IKEA displayed this frustration on their upfront banners: “Oh, did you tap it by mistake? It happens.” Their click rate was three times as much as usual, altogether 400,000 people landed on their page. They had a message match there: “Where life happens.”

Closing the banner is dangerous

The tablet ad of Bradesco Seguros insurance company looks like a simple car ad until you swipe it to get rid of it. At this moment the car starts and crashes, and the message appears: “The worst things happen unexpectedly.” They used the power of surprise at a moment when people were about to leave their ad.

Virtual armchair in your flat – Augmented reality in mobile ad

The AR application of IKEA made it possible for users to see how the specific pieces of furniture would look like in their flat. Users could also get additional information on products in the legendary catalogue. The application was downloaded 6,2 million times which made it the most popular marketing application of all times.

What I really like about this campaign that it didn’t only focus on the new technology per se, but used it to create a really useful service for clients and prospects. Brands sometimes can be carried away by the abundance of solutions technology offers an tend to use these without a real purpose. In the IKEA campaign, however, the technology (AR) cleverly supports the urge from customers to see the products in their own home.

People do watch (long) video banners

The launch of Nissan Rouge was promoted by a video clip showing the car fighting with evil snowmen. The 1-minute video is an intriguing film in itself, but watchers could stop it at certain (pre-announced) hotspots to learn some interesting information (e.g. that the lowest temperature ever measured in Canada was -63 Celsius.) 73% of the people who started to watch the video finished it, and 93% of watchers gave some interaction! The golden oldie “Did you know it?” technique proved itself again.

Should Sara stay in or go out?

In the mobile video by Victoria Secret, users could choose if the model should stay in or go out. The idea is very simple and basically works with the choice between two videos on top of the first one. You can imagine how many people watched both versions, again and again 🙂

Copy by Timea Kadar, Read my quotes about words here: