Quick Word Company: Why All Businesses Should Invest in Content
Ellie-Kate Macalister (L), Cruzanne Macalister
Chat with wordsmiths on what makes good copywriting
Take a look at the Quick Word Company’s website, and you know you’re in the hands of linguists. Where most blogs nowadays are saturated with GIFs or pictures, the Quick Word Company’s page is brimming with sentences. Purposeful, witty and grammatically sound sentences. (It makes us think twice before pressing enter…)
The Quick Word Company was started by sisters born and raised in Hong Kong. Sharing a passion for syntax and sentences, the two launched their own copywriting agency after seeing a lack of quality written content in the local market.
“I moved back after spending time abroad [in New Zealand] and realized there was a need in Hong Kong for good copywriting. There’s not a lot of copywriters in terms of standards, compared to London or Australia,” says Cruzanne Macalister, who has a background in advertising and PR.
So together with her sister Ellie-Kate Macalister, who had just moved back from Beijing after working in media, they launched their own business in 2013.
“In Hong Kong, [English] copywriters tend to work in isolation, maybe because there’s not that many of us. There’s sometimes more value placed in copywriting in other cities,” says Ellie-Kate. A reason for this, she speculates, is that since Hong Kong’s workforce is largely bilingual, the rare art of truly mastering one language is often given the brush-off.
They started by first reaching out to people they knew — initial clients included the popular restaurant Little Bao — and then gradually expanded to include a diverse clientele, ranging from workout studios to film and television scripts.
“It’s an interesting challenge. When you’re copywriting, you’re a chameleon. You really need to understand who your client is and adhere to their voice,” says Cruzanne.
One attribute their clients all share? An openness to quirky, creative and witty content.
We asked The Quick Word Company to share some of their insider’s tips for startups and small business on how to create quality content. Here is what they penned:
1. Bring back the watercooler!
Today we’re less likely to just chat to our colleagues than the days of watercooler banter, but there’s huge value in talking to your people. Don’t be afraid that by opening the floor to discussion, you’ll just get people who will take it as an opportunity to complain. Treat your people as a resource (they are a human resource) and discover a world of insights and fresh, engaging content ideas.
2. Waste not, want not.
Every piece of content should exist for a reason. Before you click publish, double check it aligns with your vision and mission and serves a purpose. If it doesn’t – then it’s probably not worth publishing. We like to say, “If you only ever think ‘more, more, more!’ then it’s likely your reader will snore, snore, snore!” (Subject to variation, of course.)
3. Mirror, mirror, on the wall…
You’ll be more familiar with vanity content than you think. Those outdated awards from 2002, team photos with every extracurricular activity a person did at high school – it’s irrelevant content that often makes it seem as though a brand is overcompensating. Sometimes more is less and if you’re just having a brag – you’re not engaging your reader.
4. Beware the sands of time.
Be careful about creating content that will date. Unless you have a strong content editorial team who can regularly update content, steer clear of including content that gets old quickly. We call this ‘smelly content’ and it’s that slightly cringe feeling you get when you discover the last time a super-hip-insightful-energetic company updated their blog was three years ago with, “Hey, we love the iPhone 4!”. Build to last, people.
5. Take a walk on the wild side.
As quick as we are to publish anything and everything about our lives on social media, many of us can be self-editing and anxious over-thinkers. You don’t have to be rude or risqué to stand out as a brand. It might seem a bit risky at first to look at writing as you speak in your company, but focus on authenticity and you’ll find the unique tone of voice that brings your brand to life.
For more of their quacks and quibbles, check out their online blog.
This interview with The Quick Word Company was conducted and condensed by Hannah Leung of EntrepreneurHK (EHK).