You all know The Old Spice Guy, right? The years-old "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign was memorable for many reasons, but one of them was that it gave Old Spice a voice. A voice that came through in every video, commercial, tagline, Facebook update, tweet -- you name it.
And do you know who is behind all of that marketing collateral?
Copywriters. The ability to find the exact right words to tell your company's story isn't an easy feat, and it's even harder to do so consistently. So when we come across companies that are doing it successfully, we think their copywriters deserve a pat on the back (and a raise?). Take a look at some of the companies we think have stellar copywriting, and if you're looking, maybe get some inspiration for your own brand, too.
10 Brands With Stellar Copywriters
UrbanDaddy has mastered the art of getting me to open emails. Take a look at these subject lines:
Let's click into one to see more epic copywriting, shall we?
This is the copy of the email with the subject line, "Fun." There are a couple things I notice in this email. First, there's no long preamble; the writers get straight to the point, a wise choice for something as simple as a rubber band gun lest the reader feel cheated reading sentence after sentence for something so common.
Second, take a look at the purposeful sentence structure. This copywriter eschews conventional grammar rules by combining run-on sentences and traditional product promotion copy in sentences like, "Lock and load with Elastic Precision, a Kansas City-based workshop that manufactures high-powered weaponry except not at all because they actually just shoot rubber bands, now available online." Keep reading, and you see a conversational tone that mildly mocks the silliness of the product, but also loops the reader in on something kinda fun.
And then, of course, they close with badgers. And how can you go wrong with badgers?
Best of all, UrbanDaddy's unique tone is found in every single piece of copy they publish -- from emails, to homepage copy, even to their editorial policy:
This company clearly knows its audience, which jokes to crack, and has kept it consistent across all their assets.
You may know EAT24 for their brilliant blog posts on Bacon Sriracha Unicorn Diaries, but they deserve credit for their short form copy, too. Take a look at their homepage sliders, for example:
Yes, it's funny copy -- but it doesn't sacrifice clarity for humor. I was introduced to EAT24 via their blog (a co-worker shared it with me), and had never heard of them. After reading copy like this on their homepage, it was all clear in just a few seconds.
If you think the brilliant copy stops at their homepage, think again. They extend it to their job descriptions, too:
And to their email subscription call-to-action:
Even to their meta descriptions:
No post from me about excellent copywriting would be complete without mentioning the folks at Velocity Partners. A B2B marketing agency out of the U.K., we've featured co-founder Doug Kessler's SlideShares time and again on this blog because he's the master of word economy. And since we're talking about word economy I'll shut up and let you check out one of his SlideShares.
I found this example while downloading HipChat on my work computer. HipChat takes a creative approach to copywriting by figuring out how to embody another popular group of voices: the folks on the American version of The Office. I like it because it's not a forced analogy for the work HipChat is doing -- it nails the characters' hypothetical behavior and language had they ever used software like HipChat and entertains while still explaining how their software helps employees collaborate.
Take a look at the exchange you'll find on HipChat's software download page:
The copywriters at Intrepid Travel, a Melbourne-based adventure travel company, are on this list because they understand where the intersection of interesting and informational lies. I love seeing copy that is totally and utterly functional -- that delivers critical information, but is so pleasant to read that you actually keep reading. Quite a feat on the internet these days.
Take a look at their company description, package names, and package descriptions below for some examples of this fantastically functional copywriting in action:
Of course, they do benefit from quite a lovely subject matter, but still -- hats off you to, Intrepid Travel.
With the exception or UrbanDaddy, I've been focusing a lot on site copy so far, so I wanted to check out some examples of excellent social media copywriting. I know you all like to see some more B2B examples in here, too, so I surfaced one of the best examples of the holy grail: Twitter copy, from a B2B company, that's funny. Behold, some recent highlights from the R/GA Twitter account:
added "proficiency in Yo" to the skills section of my resume— R/GA (@RGA) March 11, 2015
Here's the thing: anyone whose time is valuable enough to order Pizza Hut hands-free from their connected car is not eating Pizza Hut.— R/GA (@RGA) March 4, 2015
I like it when I happen to see a tweet in the 2-3 seconds it exists before it's deleted. I have no proof but I believe this brings me luck.— R/GA (@RGA) March 2, 2015
The dress is stupid. But the llamas. The llamas were riveting drama, with a story arc, separation and reunion, moral ambiguity.— R/GA (@RGA) February 27, 2015
Say what you will about Hillary, but she reached inbox zero.— R/GA (@RGA) March 3, 2015
Do you know what Trello is? If the answer is no, this copywriter is for you. Check out how clear this product description is, first:
And then check out how clear the use cases are:
Some of the use case clarity can be attributed to how smart the product is, but I think copywriters deserve some credit for communicating it clearly, too. I mean, when is the last time someone just started a product description with "This is"? Nicely done, Trello. Call it like it is.
Check out U.K.-based drink makers innocent, and you'll see a language, style, and tone that matches their philosophy, product, and even their branding and design. It's all just clean, straightforward, and simple. And believe it or not, simple is a really, really hard thing to nail in copywriting. This stands out best on their "Things We Make" page. (Isn't that page name even beautifully simple?)
This same straightforward-but-charming copywriting philosophy extends to their site navigation:
And, my personal favorite, to their bananaphone:
I've always loved the copy at GymIt, and will check back to their site and social profiles periodically to see if they've freshened it up. Luckily, they're no one-trick pony and have continues to keep their site fresh with captivating copy. Here are some of my favorites, all of which hit on the pain points of gym-goers that they try to solve (and actually do solve with their customer-friendly policies).
I can vouch for that one. As a former GymIt member who moved too far to make the trek to my facility anymore, it was refreshing to be able to walk in and just ... quit. My former gym? I quite literally had to pretend I moved.
All of this rolls up to their philosophy, espoused eloquently on their "About" page, that gyms should just be about working out:
And how did their copywriters choose to make sure everyone knew what this new gym franchise was about if they didn't read that About page? This tagline:
Doesn't get much clearer than that.
ModCloth is a brand that has always had an excellent grasp of their buyer persona, and it comes through in their pun-filled copywriting. All of their products are silly plays on words -- check out this screen grab of some of their new arrivals, for example:
Dive into their product description copy, and it's equally joyous, evocative, and clever -- just like their customers. Often, it'll also tell the story of what you'll do while wearing their items:
After reading their descriptions, one can imagine what their life would be like if they owned this product. That's Copywriting 101, but so few brands can actually pull it off like the folks at ModCloth do.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.