The majority of websites have a prominent page devoted to blogging. And, understandably so. It is your opportunity to demonstrate your industry knowledge, boost your brand and give value to your target audience. There is also the potential to lure fresh customers from keywords and boost SEO.
So, if everyone is blogging (millions of people/companies daily), how can you make sure your blog is stand-out fresh?
1. Work your angle
An evocative, compelling angle is a must for your blog. It will transform a decent blog to must-read click bait. Think before you write. How are you going to help your audience? Why will they be interested in what you are writing about? What emotional thread do you plan to gently tug on? Your angle is essential and can easily be uncovered with a little tenacious research, a quality brief and experience of writing sales content.
2. Give your blog some structure
As with all good storytelling, your blog needs an introduction, a middle and a conclusion. Clear structure will keep your audience reading and help them understand exactly what you are trying to tell them.
Top tip: make sure your conclusion includes a call to action on all blogs designed to encourage inbound leads.
3. Use headings, paragraphs and white spaces
Strong headings, paragraphs and white spaces are your friends. Big, solid blocks of text (especially when writing for digital) are a massive turn-off. Readers do not have the commitment to unravel the key messages when your blog reads like a book. Keep your message punchy and easy to read with a visually appealing blog.
4. Get comfortable with keywords
Your blog has the ability to direct traffic to your company website, which in turn can convert visitors into customers. Potential customers can find your blog when it triggers keywords. For example, you enter into Google, "find me a fitness instructor in Barnet" and some clever fitness instructor in Barnet (who has written a blog including those keywords) should be in those prized page one search engine results. And page one search engine results lead to business and revenue.
5. Add regular content
Google will know that your site is active when you post regular content. Without regular content Google will not regularly crawl your site - negatively impacting its SEO. Regular content also keeps giving your target audience value (hopefully) and will attract potential custom. Post at least once a week and write a minimum of 500 words per blog. However, don't just post for the sake of it. Poor content will have the opposite effect and put potential customers off. Worse still - poor content can and will damage your company's reputation.
Top tip: don't forget to check your blog's readability.
If you struggle to create regular, fresh blog posts - I can help. A 500-800 word blog post costs less than you think. Using a professional copywriter ensures your brand image is consistent, your keywords are organic and your content is what your target audience are looking for.
For a quote or any advice - please get in touch.
It is the focal point of your business - the place that prospective customers go to check your credibility, view your offering or perhaps even to buy products and services. Yet often your website receives little or no attention from one year to the next. Perhaps a third-party manage the hosting for you and the process is cumbersome and expensive. Maybe you spent a hefty sum getting a top-notch, professional site that is SEO-friendly and feel the deal is done.
Rather than treating your website as an adhoc expense, it is better to update it little and often, keeping it fresh and up-to-date. Your company website isn't about you. It is a tool with which to conduct business and engage with your target audience. Modern analytics provide more than a steer, they can direct you to your potential customers.
Rather than waiting 3-5 years to totally overhaul your site (at considerable expense), instead make regular data-driven decisions known as Growth-Driven Design (GDD). GDD will improve your customer experience and website. If you have the resources and know-how to deploy this strategy - you can spend a lot less money and tailor your website to your target audience in the process.
It doesn't make sense to invest thousands of pounds in your most important digital tool and then leave it stagnant. The internet is always changing and so are its search engines. It's true, a poorly designed website is an immediate turn-off. If you haven't invested in approximately 4 years it could be time for a face-lift. I speak to some people who don't realise the true value and purpose of their website. It tells people what their company does, which is fine, right?
Every industry is crowded. There are plenty of people who do what you do and sell what you sell. Getting your head above the crowd matters. You may have sales teams and marketing teams but then where do all of these prospects head (once they hear about you), to validate whatever they heard and see if you can help them? Any would-be clients who find you through a search engine or specifically look for you online are expecting your website to impress. And you don't have long (around 15-20 seconds). Your website needs to impress quickly or that would-be client is lost to the competition. Your website is encouraging or discouraging revenue opportunities all of the time.
Your company focus will move around throughout the fiscal year. Your content should reflect this and support your strategy. You will (no doubt) push different products or services at times, try and fill any gaps or shortfalls and capitalise on any opportunities that present themselves. Your content strategy is part (a big part) of your sales strategy and in harmony are a partnership that can really deliver.
Up-to-date content on your website not only keeps your clients informed, it also tells search engines that your site is active and relevant. Content marketing has proven to be integral to all digital marketing and that shows no sign of stopping. Regularly investing in your content is an investment in the ongoing conversation with your target audience.
Your website may not need thousands of pounds spent on it...just a little TLC.
Catchy, sharp, witty, formal...there are so many options. To say we are all small fish in a ridiculously large pond is a gross understatement. Yet somehow we need to lure potential and existing customers, impress recruiters, colleagues, managers and (let's be honest) friends with our creative, attractive, original personal biography.
It is your moment to impress, be unique and get your message across. There are a few important questions to ask yourself before you put your proverbial pen to paper that will guide the process and induce a better outcome.
It can be tempting to inject some humour, however, I would advise caution here. Don't go over the top. What is funny to you could alienate someone considering you for a great job role. Sometimes the humble bio (in a misplaced attempt to get noticed) may say things like, "awesome Ninja who will make you money." It is of course down to personal preference, but I am not convinced by these tactics. Blunt does not equal impressive.
Are you using your bio to sell your company, sell yourself, or as more of a CV? The answer to this question will very much dictate how it needs to be written. Are you writing for a particular audience or is your bio a general introduction?
You are your own brand and your bio can make or break it. Writing isn't everyone's cup of tea, but asking the above questions will guide you along the right path. Say what you want to say and be authentic. I have remained quite formal and corporate in the past as I thought that was the ‘done thing’, but there is nothing wrong with allowing your personality to shine. In doing so you will attract potential business suitors who are like-minded and a good cultural fit.
Adding a testimonial or references boost credibility and remember to 'show' not 'tell'. Linking to further resources or web pages will help your audience, boost SEO and potentially attract business. Throughout the writing process always remember who you are writing for and what you are trying to achieve - this keeps your bio on the right track. Copy with an angle directs your content and brings your subject matter to life.
Lastly, I recommend keeping your bio up-to-date and adding a good profile photograph. Be open, go wild and smile - that sort of thing.
A lot of people find it really hard writing about themselves. I have written copy for an internationally acclaimed, New York Times best-selling author. About an hour into our first meeting, having been gaily chatting away, I said to this person (who I was slightly in awe of), "I have to ask: why am I writing your website? Why wouldn't you just write it yourself?" The response was, "oh no, I can't write about myself."
If you would like some help articulating your appeal, please get in touch for a competitive quote.
It's apparently good - criticism. Not the kind where you get completely annihilated by your partner for leaving a towel on the floor (albeit that may well be deserved). The other, constructive kind. The kind where actually, with a bit of a steer (that's nice speak for criticism) you can do even better. Constructive criticism is defined as:
"helping to develop or improve something; helpful to someone, instead of upsetting and negative."
Unfortunately, not all constructive criticism is actually constructive. Those in the noble position of guiding others do (sometimes) need to heed the criticism definition. Framing and delivering your feedback in the wrong way can leave the recipient feeling personally attacked and vulnerable which leads to upset and ultimately, a demotivated individual. However, staying objective, respectful and collaborative can have the opposite effect, which is in everyone's best interests.
I have to be honest, I wasn't too good at taking criticism when I was younger. My tactic was to look earnest, stay quiet and nod - whilst going on the internal defensive. This was a mistake. I responded emotionally instead of logically. Everyone should learn to take constructive criticism. It can help unlock your potential and improve your capability. Of course, should the criticism not be constructive, it is simply information or opinion and you do not have to do anything with it.
I forced myself to do it, to smile warmly, to ask questions and for examples so that I could learn. I also surprised myself and the other party. Once you push past the pain barrier you realise that everyone is different and the person speaking is actually trying to help you.
The experience I provide for clients includes reviewing the copy - it is an important and natural part of the process so that you get exactly what you want. Part of this process is presenting the copy on a copy deck. The copy deck tells you what you are going to look at and why, the research materials I used and the strategy.
I also encourage constructive criticism and provide a simple process for clients to critique the copy, saving time and keeping everything relevant and clear. Using criticism is an important part of my job. I can learn how you like to sound and speak, and ultimately do an even better job for you.
I am officially a constructive criticism ninja (during work hours only). How about you?
Blogging continues to reign supreme with 55% of marketers saying blog content creation is their top B2B inbound marketing priority for 2019.
Not only will your company blog help customers and potential customers find your business in search engines, but it will generate leads - three times as many leads as paid advertising.
I see countless posts from professional people stating that they are sick of being targeted by sales people in the traditional 'cold' impersonal format we are used to. A blog allows you to communicate with your target audience giving them valuable, helpful information and (better still) directs them to you.
Compelling reasons to get blogging. However, your blog doesn't just drive inbound leads, it is a significant contributing factor to brand recognition and can help build a killer reputation. How you communicate, the expertise and wisdom you impart, your tone of voice and audience interaction are all key elements.
Most of my clients found me via my blog and admitted to checking my posts before they got in touch. Blogs posted on social media and my website got me found. This strategy got my head above the crowd and enabled a connection with my target audience and all without harassing anyone!
Every time an established website links to your blog post, your entire website reaps the SEO benefits. Attracting those links is much easier with engaging, quality blog content.
Your blog is a powerful article. Make sure you:
Blogging is the smarter and (put bluntly) much less irritating way to sell socially and induce your killer reputation. The stats speak for themselves.
If you would like some unique blog post suggestions for your business and a competitive quote, please get in touch.
The above stats were compiled by HubSpot, you can read more here.
How much will it cost? What can you expect? These are just a couple of the common questions I am asked. Whether you use a copywriter or content writer regularly or are new to the experience, this FAQ will provide all the information you need (and if it doesn't, just drop me an email).
Q. What does a copywriter do?
A. A lot. That is the short answer. Creativity isn't something everyone is blessed with. Couple that with a natural, subtle ability to sell (in written form) and it produces a powerful combination. A good copywriter will speak to clients for you, extract the brief and enhance/direct the process. They will research your business and industry, understand your value proposition and ensure consistent branding and communication. That is the long answer. A true pro may also help with your content strategy...
Q. Why do I need a copywriter?
A. You have a solid command of the English language. You can spell-check your work in good old Microsoft Word. You understand your business better than anyone else. Right? It would be a bit (or a lot) like asking your completely inexperienced friend to take your wedding photographs and expecting that your friend will then attract wedding photography work off the back of it. You could write it yourself and gamble with possible spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes, but actually (much worse than that) most amateur copy tends to waffle on, slip into a variety of tenses and speak industry jargon (amongst other things). It can fall short of the mark and actually discourage customers. By contrast - great copy works hard and smart. It woos your audience. It is short, sweet and bang on the proverbial money.
Q. What information will you need from me?
A. This is where you start to see value for your money. Research, extracting a solid brief, following a sound process and experience are the difference between writing a winning piece and writing a generic, page-filler. The tone of voice, USP, target audience...it is all catered for to write an article and create a brand that people instantly recognise and connect with.
Q. What copywriting projects do you offer?
A. I offer a variety of work, and sometimes work that isn't 'on the menu'. Increasingly clients ask if I can upload work directly to WordPress (for example). I have no issue working on your website and will upload and publish content, however, it is your website and remains your responsibility. Please find a list of the services I offer here.
Q. Should we meet?
A. I love meeting clients, but I write for many whom I have never met. It comes back to the brief, but the answer to this question is down to you. We can easily chat on the phone, extract a solid brief and create a compelling piece of work.
Q. Who owns the copyright of the work you do for me?
A. A good copywriter will provide an agreement which covers your project, payment terms and legalities so that everything is transparent. Once you have paid for the work copyright is automatically assigned to you.
Q. How long will it take to write my copy?
A. This depends on your project. You may need a 1000-word blog, turned out quickly, or a full website writing. A quality copywriter will assess your needs and price the work up, with a realistic and achievable deadline that meets your (and their) needs.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. I had a client, some years ago, who told me, "buy cheap and buy twice." I don't want to harp on about quality, because you don't always get what you pay for, but (let’s be honest) generally - you do. It is not how many words you write per hour (anyone can quickly fill a page with any old nonsense). You are paying for creativity, skill, research, experience and a tailored process. I have taken two hours writing an 800-word blog and also spent two days agonising over a punchy strapline. A good copywriter will quote based on your project and needs, and let you know how long they expect it to take. I do not charge per word, as that does not account for the research, planning or proofing.
Q. Is working with a freelancer risky?
A. It could be. That said, you could hire a full-time employee and spend months paying for substandard work and further months going through the process of legally parting ways. Look for a copywriter who displays their portfolio online, or is willing to share examples of their work and has some testimonials. You can always ask to be put in touch with one of their clients for a reference. A copywriter who guides the process and asks the right questions is a good start.
Q. Will you work at my premises?
A. No. The office environment does not work for me. I work best in my office, with the dog and Spotify for company. As a freelancer (and someone who has worked remotely for almost 20 years), I am experienced at producing high-level copy and meeting your deadlines. I don't waste time commuting into a noisy office, nor is it necessary. That said, I meet with clients at their premises to brainstorm, collaborate etc., but no physical writing will occur anywhere but my lovely, quiet office.
Q. What about confidentiality?
A. Whilst many clients are happy for me to promote and link to the work I have done for them, others require that I sign a non-disclosure agreement and take it to the grave! Either way is fine and entirely dictated by you.
Q. Can you complete regular work for me?
A. I commit to regular work for clients over an agreed period. I can agree on work for the following 12 months and am always transparent about my availability. If I accept the project, that is because it is within my power to complete it, hit the agreed deadline and produce what you need.
Q. What if I don't like the copy?
A. Research, communication and following a sound process is integral to producing the copy you want. It is also important to realise that the first draft may not be exactly as you wish. Which is why it is only a first draft. I offer a complete copy document and two rounds of subsequent changes included in the price of the project. Certainly, during the formative stages of our working relationship, edits and revisions are natural. As our relationship develops you will find there are few or even no revisions; we are a fluid, working partnership and I understand exactly how you want to 'sound'.
Q. Do you collaborate?
A. Sometimes, yes. I collaborate with website developers and creative teams for the greater good of your project. Just let me know what you need and who is involved.
Q. Can you get me on the first page of google?
A. Anyone that promises this is lying because it is not possible to guarantee. How your online content is written, meta-tags, keywords, regularly published content and a whole host of factors determine how your site is ranked. What I can promise is to write your online content using digital techniques and organic SEO - as per my formal training and experience.
Q. Can you provide a free sample of your writing?
A. I have a carefully chosen online portfolio that will provide you with examples of my writing. I do not provide a 'free' sample of my work.
Q. Do you have experience of writing for my industry?
A. I may have; however, this isn't necessary. It would not be possible to have a working knowledge of every clients’ industry and offering before I write for them. The meticulous research I complete and brief I extract render this 'need' obsolete.
Q. How do I know which copywriter to choose?
A. Hiring anyone to write on behalf of your company is an important job. Your reputation is at stake. This can (often) be why clients want to meet. Geography pending, I am happy to meet with clients, or have a chat over the phone, so that you can ask some questions. Really, it is similar to a regular hire; trust your instincts, ask good questions and (if you're happy) give them a try. I have picked up quite a bit of work from clients who felt their previous copywriter did not understand their unique offering, so posing some questions around research and the process is advisable.
Q. I would like to work with you, what happens next?
A. Let’s assume you have reviewed my online portfolio, we have had a chat and you would like to proceed. I will now: quote for your project (formally), provide a defined summary of your agreed project, produce your copywriting agreement (which outlines T&C's, legalities etc.) and we will agree on planning and deadline.
If there is a project I may assist with or you have further questions, please just ask.
It's pretty trendy to be blogging. Everyone is at it. You probably are too. I rarely scan a website without finding the "Blog" page. Is the humble case study redundant, or a unique method with which to bond with your target audience?
Your blog is important for two reasons:
With fresh, original content your blog will attract followers. In fact, blogging is one of the best ways to drive inbound traffic and convert visitors into leads. Your audience will expect you to have a blog and be communicating helpful, insightful, regular content. Where your blog discusses opinion or a topic, your case study is all about the customer. It also provides a snap-shot as to how you behave and treat your customers. We all know that any good story is well written, pulls at an emotional thread and reels in the audience, and there is no reason why your case study shouldn’t do the same.
Done well - a case study is a great way to build trust, demonstrate your service and attract new business. Too often case studies verge on the boastful and do not follow their directive – to be all about the customer. There is an art to writing a powerful case study that will have your target audience picking up the phone.
How can you give your case study more impact?
A good case study draws you in, wins you round and delivers. Bullet-proof your case study with these top 5 tips:
1. Decide what your case study objective is
This point is particularly relevant because it will ensure your case study sticks to its objective and therefore does the job it was designed for. Deciding on your objective keeps the material in line with the desired outcome. When I write for a client, I always ask them to finish this sentence, “when the audience finishes reading, I want them to…” If the answer to this question is, “subscribe to our newsletter” – I know to keep subtly plugging this and creating that need within the copy.
2. Choose an ideal suitor
As per point 1, the ideal candidate for your case study needs to meet your objective. Fact-check your candidate’s story and choose a customer who is well-acquainted with your service and enthusiastic about your organisation.
3. Ask the right questions
An effective case study highlights a problem, demonstrates the solution and magnifies the results. This simple yet effective recipe needs to steer the questions you ask. Obtain all pertinent, basic information such as their details, job title etc. and pose questions about the problem they had, why this was such an issue for them, how they felt, what solution they utilised and how this solution eradicated their problem.
4. Tell the story
Any good story has a beginning, a middle and an end. It is also important to keep drip-feeding relevant, tantalising nuggets of information along the way. Allow your story to be a well-written trail of breadcrumbs. Illustrate the problem, the emotional and actual impact of the problem. Define the solution and the amazing results. Add facts, quotes and statistics to support your story and boost credibility. Do you want to add a call to action that meets the studies objective as you conclude your story?
5. Don’t forget to promote your case study
Having interviewed your customer, written a compelling case study and achieved your objective – don’t forget to promote it! Social media, a direct marketing campaign, and your website are all great ways to connect with potential customers and start building relationships and trust. Alert all your existing customers to the fact you do a great job too. Be noisy and strategic – choose the perfect marketing deployment method.
People still buy off people, albeit the communication medium has evolved. A case study allows you to keep it personal (even in today’s digital age) and woo your target audience.
If you do not have the time or the inclination to write regular, quality content that supports your growth - please get in touch.
It is 'the norm' for companies to have sales teams, equipped with strategies and targets. No company can afford to sit back and wait for lovely, new clients to knock on their door. As the customer experience has evolved a growing number of us do not even meet with clients. They google us, find our website, do some research and (hopefully) become customers. Even those who wish to meet still google, research and check us out. Everyone is a critic. If what they find is not appealing, well written and credible then there are plenty of our competitors they can turn to.
As important as your sales strategy is, a content strategy designed to engage with your target audience and deliver your message is equally important. Whilst researching this article I landed on a site that was simply visually unappealing. It was crammed with text and I had a hard time finding what I needed, so I moved on. This took about 20 seconds and is actually a perfect example of what could be happening right now if your content isn't well designed and delivered.
"Is it enticing, engaging and fresh?"
Content strategy is the planning, managing and development of content. Content strategy is more than just words and can apply to written content and other media. In the same way that we go back to shops and sites with whom we have enjoyed a good customer experience the same goes for your website, apps, marketing campaigns, product launches and so on. Are you providing a good experience? Is it enticing, engaging and fresh?
Good content isn't just about writing a nice article. It should tickle the needs of your audience, speak in their language and be leading a trail of breadcrumbs to action. Whether you want your audience to pick up the phone or subscribe to your newsletter, content can achieve this. In 2019 it is not just your sales team driving your company growth but your content.
A competitive edge is crucial but can be difficult to articulate and demonstrate. It ties into content and sales, marketing and branding. How can you drive new customers to your website? How can you deliver effective content on your app? What sort of social media strategy actually resonates and with whom?
"Do you need a content strategy?"
Do you need a content strategy?
It is important (for so many reasons) to have an effective content strategy as your content communicates with your customers and potential customers. Your content needs to reflect the way we purchase, do business and communicate. Put simply, a huge proportion of your customer interaction is with your content. Poor content = poor interaction.
So, what should be considered?
In a similar format to your sales strategy, it will be useful to consider these tips when planning and delivering your content strategy:
I don’t personally communicate or do business without doing my homework, checking the content and understanding the values.
What does your content say about you?
As always, warmest regards,
Regardless of your industry or offering, effective marketing and copy will support your sales strategy and independently drive your companies' growth in 2019.
The customer experience and buying behaviours have evolved and we need to evolve with them. We shop from our sofas, we communicate online, we do business online.
If your copy isn't impressively and quietly converting customers you are missing a trick.
Forbes describes poor web content as, "the silent killer of online sales leads and revenue generation." You can read the full article here.
Your website, your marketing campaigns, your social media posts and blogs are you silent sales partners and should be performing for you. Compelling copy will boost your sales efforts and turn clicks into clients. Copy and sales are a partnership that yield consistent branding, effective marketing and new business. So much selling is done through blogging, web copy, apps and social media.
Are you in control of your website and online analytics? Key information is readily available and can steer your website and content. If you haven't already, then embed a unique HTML code from google into your website and register for Google Search Console. This will provide a mine of information that can help shape your online sales strategy. Amongst other things, you will gain insight into the keywords and phrases that trigger your site. You can then gear articles and content towards your best performing phrases and keywords to boost your search engine optimisation (SEO). This results in more visitors and potential clients.
It is an exciting time and sales is evolving. Is the traditional cold call dead? I don't think so, but it certainly should not be all that you use to grow a healthy pipeline. Take advantage of the many different approaches and mould a modern strategy that connects you to your target audience.
Copywriting is the way to support your sales strategy. Without it, your target audience will struggle to engage and find what they need elsewhere.
Be warned, it does involve writing.
If that brings you out in an allergic reaction, then please get in touch for a chat about your needs.
As always, warmest regards,
We have all been there. You think of an inspired article or marketing campaign. You write it all down, knowing it's a great idea and that people will be interested.
You click post. You're excited and can't wait for it to be published and successful.
Three days later a colleague takes a look. Said colleague points out a grammatical error and a spelling mistake in the first paragraph. Your heart sinks. It's already had thousands of views.
Were any of those views' potential new clients, existing clients, your boss? Any of whom (instead of enjoying your article) may have stopped reading and judged you to be someone who cannot spell or is not fastidious enough to proofread your work.
Have you indicated that you deliver rushed, inaccurate, or worse, sloppy work? It's impossible to really know. Some may not have noticed, whilst others may be instantly turned off.
Regardless, you haven't given your article a good send-off or the best chance to impress and succeed.
No one produces perfect work all of the time. We all make mistakes, rush and get excited during the creative process. This is why proofreading is so important, each and every time.
Proofreading is not the same as 'normal' reading. In fact, it is rather slow and you should not follow the flow of the text. You have to break the flow and really digest each word in isolation, as well as checking all punctuation and grammar. I have to be honest, proofreading is not much fun. Highly important, but definitely scoring low in the fun stakes. That said, a little pain is definitely worth it before you publish because unfortunately any kind of mistake damages credibility.
This is the only method that I trust and is a version of the method suggested by Andy Maslen, published author and copywriter.
You can blame him. It does work though.
Or (if that all sounds a bit much), hire a copywriter. A good copywriter ensures your article is published and viewed in the best possible light, giving it the send-off you deserve and need.
If you would like a quote or any assistance, then I can be reached at:
SEO (search engine optimisation) isn't about littering your article or website with an excess of keywords. It is a combination of things. Write your site for the user and their experience, then improve your site or article with these top tips!
So, you have finished writing and think your copy looks good and reads well, but how can you be sure? It is easy to get caught in the trap of writing long sentences and paragraphs, or using industry-specific jargon.
There is actually a simple way to check that your copy is easy to read and understand by checking its, "Flesch Reading Ease" and "Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level." This may sound complicated but is done very easily by checking a box in Microsoft Word.
The Flesch Reading Ease was developed in 1948 by author, readability expert and writing consultant Rudolph Flesch. Fleschs' formula tests your copy for its readability and is considered one of the oldest and most accurate methods. Your score will be between 1 and 100, although a score can be in the minus figures (note to self, this is not a good thing). Flesch is also the co-creator of the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.
Text with a score of 100 is very easy to read and said to be understood by the average 11-year-old. The Harry Potter books have an average score of 72.83, whilst The Harvard Law Review has a general readability in the low 30's.
The "Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level" was developed in 1978 under contract to the US Navy by J. Peter Kincaid. It was also used by the Army for assessing the difficulty of technical manuals. It soon became a United States military standard and is used by authors and writers all over the world.
Text intended for readership by the general public should ideally have a score around 60 to 80 and a reading level grade of 8 to 9. This will ensure it is easy to read and will be enjoyed by a wide and varied audience. The accompanying picture is the Flesch reading score for this copy.
Learn how to change your settings and assess your copy's readability here.
On a final note: you should not have any passive sentences. This will ensure you grab your audience's attention in an active voice.
Failing all of that, I can always write it for you.
When pitching your concept, product or service, brand recognition and appealing to your target audience is essential.
To do this you need to:
Missguided's collaboration with Love Island over the summer was genius and saw their sales increase by up to (a whopping) 9000% on outfits the contestants wore on the show. Apparently, the islanders were very cleverly offered a free 'gifting suite' of clothes by the brand before they packed their bags. Love or hate the show, it is a huge hit with their target audience of 16-30 year old's and a campaign bang on point. You can read more here: loveislandeffect.
Regardless the size of your campaign, some savvy marketing and writing is proven to increase brand recognition, loyalty and sales.
Your website and social media are your silent sales partners and should be converting customers. If your visitor cannot easily understand your site and find what they are looking for, they move on in a matter of seconds.
When launching your campaign, tell your creative team exactly what you want. Have comparisons, demo the product and go to town describing the features and benefits to your team. That is your version of the canny 'gifting suite.'
I was invited, by a lovely client of mine, to a meeting last week and a spot of lunch with the creative team. Whilst pleasant, this was very clever.
Before we went for lunch, the client took the time to show me the new product they wanted me to help launch. I was given a demo of the product, in fact we took it apart and rebuilt it, and said client showed me its many impressive and market-leading design features.
I went away from the meeting with a visual experience to rival any written brief. I was able to write a nine page brochure rather effortlessly, that truly captured the essence of the product and the tone of the client. Most importantly, I really understood who would want the product and why.
Copywriting is different to other forms of writing. Copywriting is the ability to sell, persuade and engage. It is not to be confused with creative writing. Long words, stories and paragraphs have no place in copywriting. You must try and appeal to everyone and be clear and easy to understand. Use short, punchy sentences that elicit interest and hold focus.
Copywriting is the ability to keep readers on your page and convert them into customers.
How is your silent sales partner performing?
If there is anything I may assist with, the first hour is on me:
As always, warmest regards,
The short answer, is never.
If you have words to write, they are important. They don't just fill a space or tick a box, they have purpose, they are trying convey something on your behalf, something that is important to both you and your target audience.
Words are effective, impressive and require thought and planning. If you are just filling space, then to be honest, there probably isn't much point.
I believe most of us want to do well, we want to be effective, productive and enjoy a sense of achievement. We all have strengths and (of course) weaknesses, but overriding any of that is the desire to do well, in whatever individual form that takes.
Your copy, your article, your website, is all an extension of you. It's another chance to 'do well' and communicate your message.
Not everyone is great at writing. I have a fair few clients who tell me that they know what they want to say, but it's hard to write it. Great copy is an investment in your business and turns a space filler into a copy winner.
Anyone experiencing challenges writing their copy isn't alone. Therefore, I wanted to breakdown what I offer and what you can expect, if you would like to discuss improvements to your copy.
It's easy when you know how, and now you do. Drop me an email and let's make great copy!
As always, warmest regards,
In a nutshell, a boilerplate is an organisations standard description, that is used repeatedly, without change.
However....it is something of a superhero amongst copy.
Let me explain:
Take Apple for instance. Hugely successful, massive organisation, with (quite possibly) one of the best boilerplate's I have read. It features on their website, on the bottom of every press release and seldom changes. It underpins their external communications and truly captures their essence. By all means take a look, its the last paragraph of this press release: apple press release
FedEx and Starbucks are another two great examples. The clever ones even manage to 'sound' like the organisation to which they refer, cue yet more brand recognition.
"It is the single piece of company writing that receives the broadest exposure."
Boilerplate's traditionally live on your, "About Us" page. They are also very popular on company brochures, case studies, white papers, sales sheets and, without fail, on every press release (usually its the last paragraph, sometimes the first). Quite often journalists will print just a few bullet points and then simply attach your boilerplate.
The clever, little boilerplate should ideally be one paragraph and no more than 100 words. These 100 words (or less) need to be chosen wisely. They should underpin all of your formal communications and manage to convey a factual and neutral tone, whilst simultaneously and subtly conveying how fabulous you are and what you are about.
For example, if a blogger writes about your organisation – they will attach a line or two, or maybe the entire thing.
Potential customers, employees, investors, they all head to the boilerplate for a sound summary of what you do and what you are about.
It shoulders quite a bit of responsibility - the humble boilerplate, display yours loud and proud.
As always - warmest regards,
To those of you enjoying your dream career - my absolute congratulations. To do something that you love and get paid for, is very high on most peoples ‘to do’ lists.
Not in that category?
Want to be in that category?
It's hard isn't it? Spend any length of time in a certain field and you are pigeon holed, pretty much good for nothing else (according to some recruiters). Some know exactly what they want to do from an early age (was always a bit jealous of them), whilst others just fall into their careers and make the best of it.
You also might be good at something, but is it enjoyable and does it fulfil you? Those two things are quite different.
"Invest in yourself, believe in yourself."
I spent almost two decades selling. Shares, boat trips, you name it. I came back from travelling and kept on selling. It ticked a lot of boxes but I would never say I was in my dream job. It got quite close, for a time, but when I thought of being a sales person for the rest of my career, a frown began to form. I didn’t want to be a sales manager either, or a sales trainer or anything else I could think of that might make sense.
Sales is a hugely important role that most (if not all) businesses need and rely on. Let’s be kinder to our sales people. It’s become a dirty word in recent years. People now label themselves as ‘Client Relationship Managers’ or ‘Client Growth Executives’ - basically anything without the word ‘sales’ in it. I will proudly say I was a kick-butt sales person. Like every different department there is the good, the bad and the lazy. Selling is hard work, pressured and constant. So, build your sales people up – they are the face of your organisation. The relationship you enjoy with your customers depends on them.
"Your happiness is important."
Right, back to the dream job thing, I didn't know what mine looked like. That makes it rather hard to obtain. I was restricting myself to what I deemed to be my capabilities, i.e. sales, good with people, and balancing the need to be on hand for the smaller members of my family.
But to those who still aren't sure what their dream job is; just keep trying new things and mixing it up. Most importantly believe in yourself, expand your knowledge, invest in yourself. It literally dawned on me, after goodness knows how long, that I love copywriting. I had been doing it for years (inadvertently) and was doing it more and more due to trying new things. I took a course in it, I invested in myself and I started to believe I could do it, and guess what? I can.
Your career is important. Your time is important. Your happiness is important. Don’t undervalue yourself.
Just because you haven’t quite landed your dream role yet does not mean that you won’t. Invest and believe in yourself and good things will come.
Oh, and network loads and work smart……that helps a lot too.
As always - warmest regards,
It’s a well written article and grammatically sound, but is it really great copy?
It can (sometimes) be quite hard to tell but here are six things to look out for:
We have all read an article that had an awesome, attention-grabbing title, only to drop away only a paragraph or two in having almost died of boredom. Why is that? It was well written (technically) and shared factual information and content, however did it truly create desire? The real pros are adept at stirring feelings and desire in their audience. This is fairly easy to do, for example, “our affordable beauty products mean it is no longer just celebrities who can achieve the perfect look." This simple sentence plays on our desire to emulate the stylish, alluring people we see on our screens and in glossy magazines. It incites envy because those glamorous, successful celebrities have access to all the best products, and so should we! Desire subtly created. We all buy with our emotions and then rationalise the emotional reason with something logical to back it up.
2. Specific words
Don’t fall victim to the classic mistake of too much, “I” and, “we” in your copy. Readers don’t care about some author they have never met, they care about what is in it for them. Play to this with lots of lovely, “you” and, “your."
3. Pain points
Does it address them? Have you uncovered the needs related to your audience/product/market and addressed the pain points effectively and seductively? If you haven’t then it’s highly likely your readers will lose interest pretty quickly.
When attempting to excite and captivate your audience with your lovely, well written article, it is best to keep things simple. Long, impressive words are all well and good but you will (no doubt) be hoping to appeal to a wide and varied audience and ensuring your copy is simple, clear and concise is the most effective way to do that.
Certain words are a great authors sure-fire recipe for success. Here are a trusted few; “Proven, Results, Save, Guaranteed, Maximise." Get plenty of these in your article and then sit back and enjoy the results (see what I did there?).
6. A strong call to action
Many years ago when I was doing a welcome speech to approximately one hundred and fifty holiday makers in a Grecian hotel, a very wise and savvy lady (who had clearly noted my nerves) told me that even if my welcome speech (about exciting things such as swimming pool rules and the bar opening times) wasn’t hugely riveting it didn’t matter. Wise, savvy lady said that as long as I ended with a strong close/call to action that clearly told those lovely holiday makers exactly what I wanted them to do, they would open their wallets and purchase lots of excursions. I thought what? That can’t be true? Well I would love to tell you that my first ever welcome meeting had the audience on the edge of their seats, hanging from my every word, but sadly not, it was a bit of a dud. The good news is that wise, savvy lady was totally spot on. The one thing I did manage was a very strong and clear close and (to my amazement) everybody did open up their wallets and buy lots of excursions.
I was fortunate that I had a relatively captive audience (turns out bar opening times = rather important), however in the world of advertising and marketing I’m afraid you will have no such luck. You have but a few seconds to grab their attention, pique their interest and create that desire.
Muddling through? Having a go?
Seems like an OK plan, right? You don't (after all) have to pay a writer to do it, so why not? It can't be that hard....
I spoke to an MD just a few days ago at a fairly large firm. I asked if there was any copywriting or editing I could assist with. He told me that he had spent five hours just the day before writing some sales literature that needed to go out to their client base (so quite an important piece of literature).
Mr Anonymous MD (you know who you are) said he read back what he'd written some five hours later and it was "pretty awful" and he hated doing it. We had a little chuckle at that. He then added that at least he hadn't spent any money.
Ah the many responses! I stuck with just two, these two; "I suspect you earn a fairly handsome salary as the MD of the company, so actually your five hours spent writing were rather costly, not to mention the other, better and more enjoyable things you could have been doing in that five hours." My second point was that a writer would (hopefully) not have looked back five hours later only to realise their work was "pretty awful."
Is your website copy exciting and packing a punch? Do your social media posts attract hits, likes and generate sales?
Great copy spreads your message and boosts customer retention and sales.
Is your message important enough to be written properly?
I love writing, but writing isn't just words. It is the ability to stir feelings, spread your message and unite people.