02 Dec 2020  /  by:

Central 1

  /  3 minutes

Expert Spotlight: Lisa Gheysen

Meet Lisa–  The Agency at Central 1’s Content Strategist. With an extensive background writing for finance and tech, we sat down to learn a little more about her and pick her brain about how to achieve truly compelling content:  

Tell us a bit about how you got into writing and financial copywriting in particular? 

I fell in love with writing because I love to read. As a kid, I pretty much read anything I could get my hands on. It kickstarted my fascination for things like narrative style, sentence structure, nuances of meaning in word choice. Around age 10, I decided I could do this stuff myself and began writing knockoffs of my favourite books, like Lord of the Rings. I’ve definitely become more original since then!  

That fascination carried through my university years and straight into my career. When I moved to Vancouver, I joined a B2B agency as a copywriter. The work was demanding to say the least, but it introduced me to a new passion – financial copywriting and credit union copywriting in particular. The industry’s cooperative values really spoke to me and the challenge of its subject matter was exciting. Taking complex, often obscure, financial concepts and making them clear to the layman was a rush. Nerdy, I know, but it certainly boosted my own financial literacyI knew I’d discovered my niche and industry of choice, where I was not only interested in the content but also invested in the ethos behind it.  

What is it about writing that you enjoy so much 

Writing is like a big puzzle to me. There are so many pieces you need to slot together to create the picture, or in this case the message, you’re looking for. What medium am I writing for? What pronouns should I use? Which words convey the right connotations? How do I combine them together to create a compelling rhythm and flow, while ensuring clarity in the message I want to deliver? Not to mention considerations like brand voice and search engine optimization. All these factors and more play a part in content creation. When I piece that puzzle together successfully, it’s incredibly satisfying.  

What is content strategy and why is it so important to consider 

Content strategy is the ongoing process of really understanding your content and the intentions behind it. It involves taking a long, hard look at each individual piece of content you create and asking the tough questions that ensure it has purpose, value and ties into your business’ overall marketing objectives. Those questions aren’t just what content shall we create but also:  

  • Why are we creating it?  
  • Who are we creating it for? 
  • Where will it live? 
  • What next step will it drive towards? 

Without content strategy, you may be creating the wrong content to engage and convert your audience, creating content that dead ends or, worse still, creating the right content and call to action but housing it somewhere your audience will never find it. This strategy is particularly important for websites, because content there is typically housed across a lot of interconnected pages that can easily become disorganized and fragmentary without proper planning and management.  

What are the differences between editorial and web writing?   

The considerations and challenges associated with editorial and web writing are quite different. When you’re planning an editorial piece, you’re looking at long-form copy. Your aim should be to capture the attention of your audience from the outset with a strong introduction and then hold it throughout by delivering informative, actionable content they can use. My top tip for this type of copy is to section your piece out and keep your paragraph lengths limited. Large blocks of content are often off-putting to readers.   

Web writing, particularly for web pages, is all about brevity. You need to get your message across as clearly and concisely as possible. Readers online are typically scanning your content, so breaking it into small, easily digestible chunks is key. My biggest piece of advice here is to keep your sentences short and to the point. If your sentences are more than 20 words, they’re likely too long.    

What makes strong copy?  

This is a tricky one to answer. There are as many responses to this question as there are different forms of content. But, personally, for me, it comes down to three core things:  

Make every word count – Adding unnecessary padding to your content is distracting. Once you’ve written a first draft, be ruthless in your editing and remove any words or sentences that don’t add to your overall message.  

Avoid fancy words – unless your readers are academics, they probably won’t be impressed by big words. In fact, they’ll likely find them irritating. So, as E.B. White would saydon’t use a twenty-dollar word, when a ten-cent one is handy.   

Be true to your voice – your brand voice is important. Make sure your writers know who you are and how you talk. Otherwise your content can come across as inauthentic. 

Need a helping hand with your content or want to learn more about The Agency’s other services? Visit their website.