Entries from November 2009 ↓

Copywriting – Perfect Paragraphs


I’ve spent a lot of time in this copywriting blog talking about content for websites, brochures, emails etc. Normally I concentrate on stuff such as keyword placement, headings, subheadings, calls to action, layout…

No one likes to see solid blocks of text, they are a bigger turn off than watching Kim Woodburn eat a witcherty grub on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!

The art of creating interesting text is in its layout – and especially the paragraph.

These little fellows often prove problematical to writers. When used incorrectly the reader can be left all at sea and not really sure what you’re talking about.

They can even be repititious – a sure sign the writer has run out of things to say but is desperately trying to hit his word count.

Whatever writing you are involved with (sales, promotional, business or journalistic), perfect paragraphs are paramount.

As an avid fan of Copyblogger I really enjoyed this post by Jo Morrow extolling the virtures of The Art of the Paragraph. This is a ‘must’ read for any writer out there who doesn’t want to fall foul of the “National Society of Writing Snobs”.

Finding Time for Social Media


For any business, social media should be as important as face to face networking, cold calling and lead chasing. In fact, once you get the hang of it you could kiss goodbye to cold calling forever.

Ever since starting out as a freelance copywriter I have harnessed the power of social media. Today I don’t have to do any cold calling and only minimal face to face networking giving me more time to get on with the important stuff – helping my clients.

It can be time consuming but no more than other methods of business generation. And yes, unless you have a plan, you can waste valuable time ‘playing’ rather than achieving great results.

This excellent post from Chris Garrett on Social Media Examiner gives 5 tips for finding time for social media. It shows you how useful it can be and how it can easily be worked into your normal working day.

If you haven’t already dipped your toes into the warm waters of social media, give it a try – you might just amaze yourself at the results you get.

Editing to Keep Your Message Clear

High quality editing is at the heart of successful copywriting. Composing the copy for an article, like this one, is only the first step. Once it’s taken shape the experienced copywriter will, like any other artist, step back and judge their work with a critical eye.

Does it deliver the right message clearly and simply? Is the composition correct? Is the balance right? When you’re working on the detail, building sentence by sentence, it’s easy to lose track of the bigger picture. Often it’s only when you stand back to review the completed whole that you spot the flaws and the gaps. Then it’s time to do some touching up.

The obvious problems are spelling or typing errors or rogue words left behind in the editing process. Your editing software might highlight these with warning symbols, but spelling-checkers can’t tell whether you meant to say ‘stationary’ or ‘stationery’.

But beware of focusing on these relatively easy problems. There are bigger issues to consider, such as whether the article achieves the objectives you had for it. Does it convey a consistent message in a consistent way?

One of the pleasures of writing is the constant flow of ideas. As you write you think. Let’s say you’re putting together a 500 word piece about buying an inexpensive laptop computer for use at home. This sets you thinking about the issues of which operating system to use or the practicality of a smaller notebook computer. These thoughts start flowing into your copy.

Before you know it your article has started to address multiple subjects. The main message is no longer clear. Choice of operating systems and the style of laptop might be related but they’ve changed the focus of the article, which was meant to be about buying a cheap computer.

The ideas spawned in the writing process could become new articles in their own right, so make a note of them. But don’t get distracted from your main message.

Editing also addresses other questions. How well does the text flow? Can the punctuation be improved? There are broader issues as well, such as the value of working with an editor, and indeed who might make a good editor. These can be picked up at another time.

Today’s message is, I hope, a clear and simple one. Make sure your copy is exactly that – clear, simple in order to communicate the message you want your readers to hear.

This post was written by guest blogger Andrew Knowles, a freelance copywriter who also runs a blog for small businesses.

Boost Your E-Mail Open Rate


If you have been following my blog, you’ll recall the last few posts dealt with the issue of email marketing.

Email remains one of the most cost effective methods for today’s small businesses to market to their customers. With a single click your offer or news item can be distributed to thousands of in boxes anywhere in the world. We have already looked at the structure and content of a great email campaign – now it’s time to take it to another level.

I came across this great post on eMarketer which gives you a further trick you can try to boost your email open rate. This is an excellent piece of advice for all business owners and definitley worth a try because Coupons Boost E-Mail Open Rate ( eMarketer).

This is such a simple idea and so easy to implement. So why not give it a go?

Next time you send out an email campaign or newsletter, try adding a coupon and see what effect it has on your open rate.

Associated posts:

Is Email Marketing Right For You?

Email Marketing – It’s All In The Subject Line

Work Your Way Towards The Perfect Email Body

Work Your Way Towards The Perfect Email Body

body building

Most emails sent today are HTML which carries an extra benefit – the hyperlink. This little fella allows you to direct your reader to a website for further information or an opportunity to immediately buy or sign up to an offer.

But if your email is to be interesting you will need to make sure it is appealing to your reader.

  1. Be friendly

Write as you would a letter – use a salutation, if you can, personalise it with the recipient’s name. This adds a personal touch and begins to build a relationship. Always remember to close it in a professional way too.

  1. Communicate in a glance

A solid wall of text isn’t going to be very appealing. Use headings and subheadings to allow the reader to see at a glance what information the email holds.

  1. Don’t make them wait to the end

You will want to include within your email a link to your offer, but don’t leave it until the end. Buy incorporating it within the email several times you are allowing your reader to click through to it as soon as they have made their buying decision.

  1. Short and sweet

There are times when you’ll want to communicate a lot of information to your reader, but sending an incredibly long email is a no no. Give them a taster of what you want them to know and then ask them to click for more information. That link can them take them through to your website or blog where the full article is shown.

  1. Benefits and features

As in your website copy and sales letters, make sure you add in your features and benefits. You don’t have to include everything, just the most important ones in relation to what you are writing about.

  1. Don’t forget the opt-out

Always, always, always include your opt-out link in all your email communications.

Don’t forget, your emails don’t always have to sell. To enhance your relationship with your customers use them to also share information that might be useful to them. By giving away free hints and tips you’ll help build trust and credibility and strengthen your relationship.

Read also:

Is EMail Marketing Right For You?

Email Marketing – It’s All In The Subject Line

Sally Ormond – freelance copywriter