By: Helen Frear On: March 15, 2017 In: BLog, Content, Content Marketing, Uncategorized Comments: 0

The billion-dollar tech start-up was once the realm of fantasy. Today, they’re thriving, backed by a rising market and a new generation of disruptive technologies.

So how do these billion-dollar ‘unicorns’ do it? Innovative technology and a crack team, sure, but there’s something else; great branding and solid copy. Here are five copywriting tricks that we can steal from unicorns to boost our clients’ brands.

1.     Talk to the individual

A great broadcaster talks to the individual – the same should go for copywriters. People want to recognise themselves in the copy that you write, so be direct and target the individual.

Pivotal Software Inc. is a great example of a unicorn that knows its audience, and targets them, one developer at a time. The language on their site is short and to the point; it’s written for an audience that spends more time writing in code than they do in their own language.


2.     Find your voice

How many B2B tech companies do you know that describe themselves using the same clichés, like ‘innovative’, ‘agile’ or ‘disruptive’? So many big tech companies have come to sound the same and that makes it hard to differentiate. Brands need to have the guts to bend the copy rulebook and vary their tone to suit the situation – remember that voice and tone are different things, and it’s important to use the right tone in the right context. Buyers now do so much of their journey without actually talking to anyone, so marketing copy has to do the hard sell.

Workplace communication platform, Slack, is a unicorn with a strong brand voice. Slack describes its platform as ‘Team communication for the 21st century’, and its voice echoes this. There are no corporate clichés here – Slack’s tone is informal, addressing its audience directly with the second-person pronoun ‘you’.


3.     Demonstrate to differentiate

In today’s saturated marketplace, there are few tools to differentiate your brand from the competition – but language is one of them. Don’t just say you’re ‘passionate about something’ – demonstrate it. Demonstrate your adjectives.

4.     Show, don’t tell

It’s all very well referring to your client as an expert, but why should we believe you? Show your expertise by stating what you know in simple, relatable terms.

Be concise, and get to the point. One unicorn that does this particularly well is email marketing platform Mail Chimp. Take a look at its value proposition:


There’s no ambiguity, just effective email marketing.

5.     Inspire action

Great copy draws on the dark art of getting people to do what you want, but making them think that it was their idea.

There are three key principles when it comes to getting people to take action:

  1. Value: What is the value for the reader? What are they going to get out of it?
  2. Social Proof: Make the reader believe that everyone else is doing it, so they should too – ‘just last week, X amount of people signed up’
  3. Exclusivity: Make people feel they’re joining an exclusive club. Signing up to a service should imply an exchange of value and / or knowledge.

Basecamp is a company that adheres to all three principles of a successful CTA:

  • They make it clear what the audience will get out of registering for their service, a ‘saner, calmer, organized way to manage projects and communicate company-wide’
  • They use social proof – ‘X amount of businesses signed up in the last week!’
  • People feel like they’re joining an exclusive club: ‘Put the fire out. Try Basecamp.’


Keep it personal, keep it concise and keep these five points in mind when planning your next content campaign. Done well, you’ll create a more engaged and loyal following for your business.

Thanks to Fiona Campbell-Howes and David McGuire of Radix Communications for their insightful presentation at InTech, which inspired this post.

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