Making Less Say More: Microcopy for Bloggers

Microcopy
noun

Used by professional writers to refer to short but crucial snippets of writing, set aside from the copy (the main body of text). Used on menus, buttons, forms and widgets etc.

plural: microcopy

etymology:
micro- + copy (from the Latin root copia meaning plenty)

If you’re short of time, you’ll get my drift by scrolling down to see screen shot examples of microcopy. Click on the graphics to visit the original sites. For those able to linger, this longread post celebrates thoughtfully composed microcopy, mostly found here on WordPress.

Why use microcopy?

Microcopy is a modern day telegram: we use it to pass on useful messages to our readers in the least words. Partly we’re forced to be concise by space constraints, but we also know the more words we write, the less likely people are to read them. And we usually want microcopy to stand out enough to be read, for example:

  • Follow this blog
  • Leave a comment
  • Read my previous post
  • Buy this book
  • Follow me on social media
  • Contact me
  • Read more

Two of my passions come together in my admiration for great microcopy – language and marketing. It’s an overlooked art form: a fun way to finesse your blog – but there’s a serious side too.  Continue reading

Negative online reviews: how to respond like a pro

It may feel heartbreaking to receive a bad review or negative comments when you’re writing as a private individual; if you’re a company, dedicated to providing an excellent product, experience or service, negative reviews could hit your bottom line.

Your first reaction may be that the review is unfair, but take a deep breath. Think very carefully before posting a reply. See this as an intellectual challenge – your response will become part of your brand’s online DNA.  Continue reading

Polls and surveys – are they irritating or enlightening?

On WordPress.com we all have the option to add polls and surveys. Done well, they can give us valuable feedback. Done badly, they can be irritating, provide meaningless or misleading information, and can even change our visitors’ opinions for the worse. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example many of us will have seen on WordPress. Ever clicked on ‘Visit the old stats page’? The first thing you’ll see is a poll. A poorly worded one:

Why do you prefer this Stats page?

  • It’s faster
  • It shows more information
  • It’s less confusing
  • I’m used to it

Vote

I don’t prefer the old stats page. I click the old stats button once in a while because it’s temptingly placed at the bottom of my stats. I remember vaguely that there’s something extra on the old stats, but don’t recall what it might be.  Continue reading

A PR crisis is underway – yikes!

Perhaps a social media post has gone viral in the wrong way; a senior member of your team has said – or done – something unwise; there’s been an accident or major incident; a product is unsafe and needs to be recalled; or customers have been treated poorly. Whatever the issue, it’s moved beyond the concerns of an individual or a manageable group. The press and the public are very interested. Your response will affect your company’s reputation. It’s time to bring out your crisis plan!

If you haven’t got one, you’re not alone – these guidelines will help. But please don’t wait until it’s too late. By setting aside a few minutes to think about how you would deal with a crisis now, you’ll be much better placed to react when the pressure is on.   Continue reading

PR: 18 tips for working with journalists that are proven to work

It’s become fashionable to talk about the pet PR hates of journalists, yet the articles I’ve seen appear to miss the trick. My partner is an award-winning garden journalist and I’ve also had the chance professionally to work with many talented journalists from around the world. Here’s my common-sense guide to working with these elusive, heavily-stalked creatures:  Continue reading

How can I market my blog? Should I even try? The blogger’s dilemma.

If we’re going to do any marketing at all, we’re going to have to invest something. It might ‘only’ be time, ideas, creativity and enthusiasm: it might ‘only’ be money. We can justify using ‘only’ if we have a limitless amount of any of these precious resources – and nothing else more meaningful to devote them to.

For most of us, this is not the case. So how do we make wise choices? Continue reading