Adam Fisher
12th October 2018 - 7 mins read
T

wenty years down the line these terms are second nature to me, but I have to keep reminding myself that to many others they are a mystery.

Content production, like any other industry, has words, phrases and acronyms which while meaningful to those working in it, mean nothing to those outside.

Of course, we don’t use these terms in our content (we are still on a mission to eradicate all jargon from content), and we try to avoid using them when talking to clients.

But we thought it would be fun to take you through some of the frankly, often bizarre, and sometimes morbid terms we use and explain what they mean.

So here is our guide to copywriting jargon:

 

Above the fold – Traditionally this referred to broadsheet newspapers, with the top half of the page being above the fold, and therefore being the most prominent place for an article. It is now a term that is used in web design, referring to the part of the page visible without scrolling.

Blurb – The blurb is similar to a byline (see below). It is a brief introduction to the author that follows the headline.  If you look at our magazine In This Issue you will find some short text on each main article which details who wrote the piece and their experience.

Byline – The byline on a piece of content gives the name of the person who has written it. But it is not really about giving credit to the author. It is more of a tool which adds legitimacy to an article. For example, if you looked up the author of this post, you will see that I should know what I am talking about. When the byline is from maybe a senior leader in an organisation, or a particularly experienced writer, it can play a role in encouraging the reader to keep reading. The byline has evolved in recent times and will sometimes include a small bit of background on the author, or perhaps a Twitter handle so that readers can continue the conversation. 

Churnalism – Not a phrase you would hear at Thirty Seven. This refers to the practice of churning out content and articles rather than producing fresh, original and well-researched material.

House style – This refers to an organisation’s rules for writing, spelling and presenting content. For Thirty Seven, for example, one of the house rules is that numbers one to nine are always written out. In my experience, particularly from working in newspapers, any attempt to move away from house style is often met with profanities from editors and a stint in the naughty corner.

Greek – This is what we call the nonsensical text used when we are designing the layout for some content and the real copy is not yet available, even though it is actually Latin. You will probably have seen it at some point starting with ‘Lorem Ipsum’. This dummy text has more-or-less normal distribution of letters allowing the design to look complete so that it can be shared with a client. 

Gutter – No, not a reference to tabloid journalism. This refers to the white space in a magazine where two pages meet. It can also refer to the white space between text columns.

Hook – Hooks are a crucial component of effective content. These are the bits which keep your readers interested and engaged. They may be unusual facts, emotive examples, eye-catching statistics or perhaps posing a question the reader wants answered. Essentially, anything that encourages someone to keep reading the content is a hook.

Kerning – This may sound like some slightly obscure Winter Olympics sport, but kerning is actually the process of adjusting the process of space between letters.  I’m told by our designer that this is actually an ‘art’. But I write the words around here and I would describe it as a way of adding some polish to the design and improving legibility. Kerning can play a key role in eliminating orphans and widows, which sounds a lot more brutal than it actually is (more on those terms soon).

Kicker – This helpfully has a few different meanings when it comes to content. Traditionally, it has referred to a line above a headline which reveals something about the content – a sort of headline on the main headline.  More recently, it has also come to mean something surprising or poignant that is used to end a piece of content.  So if you hear us talking about a kicker, we could be discussing something at the beginning of a bit of content or something at the very end – helpful.

Orphan – One of the content world’s more morbid terms and something that is often confused with a ‘widow’. Even by those in the industry. It refers to a single word which appears at the top of a column or page. It is considered a villain of typography as it causes poor horizontal alignment at the top of a column or page. The key to remembering the difference is that an orphan is alone at the start, while a widow is alone at the end. Dark.

Pull quotes  A pull-quote is a strong, attention-grabbing quote, which has been, well, ‘pulled’ from the main text to add some visual flair to lengthy articles and make them more appealing to readers. Ideally, they are short, direct quotes, used to break up large sections of words and encourage the reader to keep going.

They are sometimes also called ‘callouts’ – but not by us.

Sidebar  This one more or less does what it says on the tin. It is a short article in a magazine or on a website sitting next to next to the main piece, which contains additional and supporting information  

Spike – Hopefully you won’t get to hear us use this phrase. It refers to a decision not to publish a piece of content or an article.

Standfirst – This is the term given to a brief introductory summary often used on longer forms of content. Its role is to give the reader an overview of what they will find in the rest of the blog or article and encourage them to invest their time in continuing to read. Generally, a standfirst will just be a few lines. Brevity is considered key.

Strapline – A strapline in print terms is a headline beneath the main headline, written in a smaller font, and used to give the reader further teaser information about the article.

Subheads – Subheads are the little headlines, usually one or two words long, that you will see scattered across longer forms of content. They serve a dual purpose. Firstly they break up the content making it appear less daunting for the time-pressed reader. Additionally, they make it easier for people to scan content to get a good idea of what it is about.

Teaser – This refers to a few lines of copy designed to encourage a reader to find the rest of the article. A printed magazine, for example, could include a teaser on the first few pages for a piece appearing further back in the publication.   

 

Tracking – Similar to kerning, but tracking is the process of adjusting the spacing throughout an entire word. Once kerning has been used to get the spacing right between each letter, tracking can be used to change the spacing equally between every letter at once. Clever hey? Still not an art though. (Stop picking fights with our designers Adam – Ed)

Widows – Another bleak term and something which is very similar to an orphan.  It refers to a short line – usually a single word - at the end of a paragraph or column. This is a design problem in printed content as it leaves too much white space between paragraphs.

WOB – Quite simple this one. It means white on black and refers to white text on a black or other coloured background.

 

At Thirty Seven, we offer content and design services to ensure your campaigns reach the right audiences at the right times. Our journalist led approach ensures your content is interesting, engaging and informative so you gain brand awareness and engagement whether it is social media content or a whitepaper.

Marketing

Podcasts: How can you tell you are getting a return on your investment and time?

James White 5th June 2020 — 4 mins read
T

hat is more than double the number that was listening to them just two years ago.

We are, it seems, absorbing more and more content through our ears.

So, it is hardly surprising that increasing numbers of companies are becoming aware of the benefits and are looking to include podcasts in their communication strategies.

One of the questions we are often asked by companies looking to get involved in podcasting is how they can measure success in this area.

And that is an important question because you need to see a reward for your investment in time, effort and resources.

Let’s take a look at some of the key metrics you could use.

 

Downloads

This is the most obvious metric and will help to give you a good idea of the size of your audience.

But it is important to remember that a download does not necessarily equate to a listen – your content could remain unheard even if it is downloaded.

Additionally, a listener could download the same podcast on multiple devices.

Rather than looking at total downloads, opt for using unique downloads as this refines the numbers and removes multiple downloads from the same user.

Also, look at the number of downloads per episode. Fluctuations here will show you what content your listeners are most interested in and what they find less appealing.

 

Subscriptions

This measures the number of people that are subscribing to your podcast and who get notified when a new episode is available.

If people are opting to subscribe to your podcast, it tells you that they want to hear more from you and that they don’t want to miss an episode.

 

Social mentions

If people like the content of your podcasts, they are likely to talk about it on their social media channels.

And you will be able to use your social media listening tools to see who is discussing your podcast and what they are saying about it.

Likes, shares and retweets are all good measurements and the comments can give you a good understanding of what is resonating with your audience.

 

Backlinks

Backlinks are another good thing to monitor and show how many times another website has linked to your podcast.

In theory, the more backlinks you generate the better.

But you also need to look at the quality of those backlinks. For example, there could be a small chance a backlink may be trying to persuade people not to listen to your podcast.

 

Create a dedicated landing page

Creating a dedicated landing page for your podcast is a great idea.

It establishes a home for your podcast, it can offer incentives to encourage new listeners to sign-up and you can use it to thank your subscribers

And it can help you gauge the success of your content. You can measure the hits and engagement on the page and the number of people who go from it and subscribe to the podcast.

 

Special offers and promotions

These are a really easy way to measure the success of your podcast.

Special offers, discounts, incentives and promo codes can either be read out on air by your presenter or used in the text of your landing page.

And by promoting these deals with your podcast, you can pinpoint exactly what leads are coming from your listeners.

A good idea with these types of offers is to set a time limit for them as this may encourage your listeners to take action quickly.

 

Email marketing

Competition for listeners is pretty fierce and you need to work hard to attract and grow your audience.

Email marketing has an important role to play here and we would encourage you to use your mailing list to promote your podcast.

Not only will you increase awareness but there are useful measurements you can use as well, such as open and click rates and the numbers of unsubscribes, all of which will give you an indication of the appeal of your audio content.

 

Context

All of the figures I have mentioned will help you understand the success of your podcast.

But it is also important to have realistic goals.

For example, the more niche the subject you are talking about the harder it is likely to be to attract large numbers of listeners and, on the face of it, your unique downloads may not look that impressive.

However, a relatively small number of dedicated listeners in this instance could be a real business win and show more buying intent than a more general podcast with a bigger audience.

 

Get in touch with one of our account managers to find out how we can help you get your podcast started. You can also find out more about starting a business podcast in this recent blog.

 

At Thirty Seven, we offer content and design services to ensure your campaigns reach the right audiences at the right times. Our journalist led approach ensures your content is interesting, engaging and informative so you gain brand awareness and engagement whether it is a podcast or email marketing.

Emily Stonham
13th February 2019 - 9 mins read

Every company wants to be an authority in their sector - those that engage the media usually are

Media First designs and delivers bespoke media and communications courses that use current working journalists, along with PR and communications professionals, to help you get the most from your communications plan.