Creative copywriting: Hype v Storytelling

Creative copywriting: Hype v Storytelling


We need to talk about copywriting. It’s so important for your company – regardless of what you hear about modern consumption of news and views.

Last week we wrote about the increasing importance of video, and how good videography is so effective at driving brand engagement.

And it’s true: many audiences are reading less. So copywriting is less of a concern in the digital age. Right? Wrong.

If anything, the less people have patience for reading copy, the more crucial nailing your copy becomes.

More than any other form of content, copywriting defines your brand voice. In video, you hear an individual’s voice. Same with audio. But writing comes straight from your company. So your copy has to capture your brand personality, and convey that to your audience.

And when we talk about copy, we’re not just thinking blog posts. Social media, email marketing, websites, apps, flyers, banners – you name it. Anywhere writing is representing your company, you need to be consistent with your voice.

A good copywriter builds the skill of defining and adapting voice by reading widely, absorbing as many cultural influences as possible and practicing writing in different ways for different situations.

Not only that, once you’ve established a personality and voice, you have to know how to use it. What do you talk about? Where? When?

Again, that intuition comes through experience – experience that here at Orfi Media we’ve built by working on different projects, with different brands, in different situations.

But luckily for you, we have a simple cheat sheet. And we’re happy to share it with you.

We’ve distilled our basic approach to copywriting in different situations to one mantra: hype v storytelling.

How do we define these concepts? Hype pops off the page. It’s short sentences, explosive vocabulary, capital letters, exclamation marks. It’s content that is going to get people excited. Storytelling is more chill. It takes its time. It explores a subject and informs the reader about the why, the where, the how – not just the what.

As a rule of thumb, hype is used to attract attention, storytelling for audience retention. To explain what we mean, we’ll look at an example from one of our recent projects.

We built the brand of new pro basketball team London City Royals from scratch. They’ve entered the British Basketball League with a bang, and they wanted people to know that they’re here to take over – for immediate success and to grow the British sport.

So our proposed brand voice was confident and charismatic, short sentences, making statements not asking questions, not getting too excited by success or failure.

Initially our storytelling demanded hype – we needed people to take notice, to care.

With that in mind, on social media captions we were minimal, marrying confident statements with exciting video content or impactful photos. In blogs we concentrated on quotes-led pieces from the team, setting goals and expectations.

After the first month we had a chance to take a breath and step back. That’s when storytelling became important. Already our social media following had grown into the thousands. For these people to become genuine fans of the team, they had to learn about the reasons why the team had been founded, and the personalities and motivations of the people behind it.

Hype demanded attention. Storytelling retained, converting interest into support.

And it’s not just relevant in sports situations. Far from it.

When working with health food caterers Lean Lunch we followed the same principle. Hype copywriting accompanying colourful, attractive visuals of food and ingredients. Storytelling to explain the thought and care that went into the meals’ preparation.

Attention. Retention.

Hype. Storytelling.

We’re proud of our methods – we genuinely use the hype v storytelling formula on every project we work on. Hopefully it can help you to achieve powerful results with your copy and brand voice too.

If you want to make use of our copywriting expertise, get in touch at hello@orfimedia.com. 

Andy Donley

Andy is the resident wordsmith at Orfi Media, coming off a career in journalism and writing that has seen him cover the Rio Olympics for BBC Sport and write on news, sport and tech for some of the country's most well-known publications.