Entries from March 2010 ↓

b2b Copywriting

B2B CopywriterWhen was the last time you actually saw a business do business?

Personally, I’ve never witnessed a company pick up a phone to place an order to arrange an appointment.

In the world I live in, it’s the people that run the companies that do the buying, selling and phone calling.

Selling to business

In all the years I’ve been working as a freelance copywriter I have written copy for personal customers and business customers – B2B and B2C.

If I’d been given a pound every time a new client said “My main clients are other businesses so your copy will need to be very corporate….”

Number 1 – real people run businesses. Real people make buying decisions therefore writing to sell to businesses isn’t that different to writing to sell to individuals.

Even though your client has a corporate image and headed note paper, they still experience problems. And those problems need solving.

B2B emotion

As a B2B copywriter I know how important it is to pull on the emotional triggers. Business owners have concerns and worries the same as anyone else – and they want solutions to those worries.

If your copy blatantly disregards those basic needs, your sales message is going to fall on deaf ears.

But if your message shows you understand their problems and you have the solution that will take their pain away – you’re more likely to have a winner on your hands.

To achieve this you can employ many of the psychological triggers that you already use on your personal customers.

Keep it simple

The language you use should also be relatively simple. It is often argued that b2b copywriting should be more formal and complex because you are addressing other companies. Plus the level of management you are aiming is going to be well educated and therefore will expect something rather more ‘high brow’.

Again, don’t forget you are writing to normal people. They are also likely to be very busy. A complex, dense document is not going to look as attractive as a powerful headline, a paragraph of stonkingly good sales copy that is packed with benefits and a strong call to action.

When you next write b2b copy, remember:

  • The company can’t pick up the phone
  • Your are selling to a human
  • They still have problems for which they are looking for solutions
  • They will be time-limited so keep it short, simple but strong

Internet Marketing


Are you embracing the world of internet marketing?

It is one of the fastest ways to get your products and services out in front of your customers. But it also comes with a health warning:

It is powerful, it is wide reaching but it takes time, patience and a damn good writer.

Internet marketing and social media are incredibly powerful tools. Recently I have a talk about how I’ve used the power of social media to build my business. However I don’t profess to be an expert – I don’t think anyone can. It is a field that is constantly changing. Just as you think you’ve got a handle on it, something new is thrown into the mix.

But that doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t use it within your business. In fact, there is no good reason why you shouldn’t.

I stumbled across this great post by Ian Lurie of Conversation Marketing entitled 25 Internet Marketing Facts. If you are thinking of using internet marketing or are using it already, you need to know these:

  1. Internet marketing is hard. Really hard. It’s not something that easily succumbs to a ‘miracle system’. Guys like Shoemoney have it right – they have systems, but they don’t say it’s easy.
  2. Internet marketing can’t be done by a computer.
  3. You’re still marketing to human beings. That’s why #2 is true. As long as we’re selling to humans, we’re going to need humans to handle the marketing.
  4. ‘Internet’ marketing is more of a medium than a method. Marketing is a method/technique. Internet where we now do it. Yes, the techniques have changed a little, but not as much as you might think.
  5. It’s measurable. While you can’t automate internet marketing, you can measure it. If you aren’t measuring each click, sale, interaction and citation for you and your business, you’re losing a lot of data.
  6. Data is gold. That data (see #5) is solid gold. It’s the stuff you interpret, in part, to develop a strategy. Without it, you’re doing seat-of-the-pants marketing, which isn’t bad, per se. It’s just not as targeted.
  7. Data is turd, unless you interpret it. You have to use data to make it worth something. Leave it lying around and it’s untapped potential. Sort of like cow pies.
  8. Internet marketing takes time. A lot of time. There are aspects of it that can feel like a real slog if you’re new to marketing.
  9. Internet marketing is the fastest marketing. To those of us who started out in 19coughcoughmumble, internet marketing is the fast forward of marketing. You can change something and see a result in less than six months?!!!! Holy CRAP!!!…
  10. It’s two-way. Duh. I won’t beat this one to death any more.
  11. If you try to learn it all at once, your head will explode. I figured out that I’ve spent a hair under 30,000 hours in this profession. I still have huge gaps in my knowledge. If you’re planning to buy a book (even even this one) and learn it in a week, you’re in for a rude awakening.
  12. Internet marketing is the most accessible form of marketing ever. You can reach more people, faster, for less money than in any other type of marketing.
  13. Access does not imply expertise. Anyone can launch a web site and try to sell something. That doesn’t mean they’re qualified to do it, any more than my access to a sharp knife means I’m qualified as a medical examiner.
  14. Your web site is a hub, not the universe. You’ve got a web site? Great! Now you need to attend to all the other stuff. The web site is just a landing place. All the conversations swirling around it in search engines, social media, etc. are where the real marketing happens.
  15. Internet marketing is distracting as hell. Twitter. E-mail. The most recent person saying SEO is dead. You could spend all day just reading about the field, and never doing anything.
  16. You need focus. Only the most focused succeed. If you let the distractions pull you away, you’ll be lucky to launch a MySpace page.
  17. You can’t fire-and-forget. If you’re a CMO, or a small business owner, you can’t just hire an internet marketer and then forget the whole thing. It requires your input. You at least need to check in now and then. Otherwise, crappy results are as much your fault as your consultant’s.
  18. User generated content is a blessing and a curse. Everyone’s babbling about user generated content now. Great. Did you know that the average American reads at a 7th grade level? What kind of content do you think you’re going to get? I’m not slamming anyone. I’m just saying you need to be aware of the limitations.
  19. You are never an expert. I’m not an internet marketing expert. Every day, I’m learning something new. It never stops, and you’re never an expert.
  20. Relationships make or break campaigns. Your relationships with clients, colleagues, bloggers and others will drive your marketing. Relationships lead to recommendations, retweets, blog posts and a thousand other subtle citations what make internet marketing work. Don’t neglect them.
  21. Ego can kill you. Ego-driven internet marketing can ruin the best campaign. Don’t let it. Pick your SEO keywords based on your audience’s questions, not yours. Design your site for your visitors, not for your family.
  22. Ego can save you. At the same time, understand you’ll spend a long time shouting in an empty room. Be confident that what you’re doing will work. Otherwise you’ll end up in the modification toilet bowl of death, making one change after another, and getting no results.
  23. One-year plans are doomed. You can’t write a detailed step-by-step plan describing how you’ll be spending money from now until next year. Well, you can. Just be prepared to feed it into a shredder in a month. Your audience is too dynamic to fit that kind of plan.
  24. Those who talk, fail. If all you do is meet, talk and plan, then you’re not doing any marketing. You’re going to fail. Probably before you even launch anything. Meet briefly, if at all. Work hard, in bursts, then talk to the team, then go again. Always be launching a new initiative.
  25. You have to write. I know, you think a YouTube video or two will do the trick. Plus you can hire 30 people at $5/article to write all your content! Wrong. If there isn’t a really, really good writer behind your internet marketing campaign, it will be a big, fat fail. Even your YouTube video requires a description and a script. There are times when you just have to pay for good copy.

Wise words – heed them well and your internet marketing efforts will be rewarded.

Sally Ormond – freelance copywriter

Copywriting and Schumacher


It’s Mothers’ Day so I’m sat here in front of my computer working while the kids and my husband are glued to the TV watching the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Everything has to stop in this house when it’s F1 season – especially as Schumacher is making his big comeback this season (or at least he hopes!).

I’m not doubting that this year should see some amazing races. After all we have Hamilton and Button as team mates, Alonso looks strong and Vettel has got the first pole of the season.

So the big question is, has Schumacher still got what it takes to win races?

Moving on

You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with copywriting. Well, if Schumacher drives as he used to when the cars were different and the rules were different, he’s not going to get very far.

Although he’s been working as a consultant for Ferrari since his retirement, he’s not actually been out there behind the wheel of an F1 car for sometime.

If he doesn’t move with the times. he’ll be left behind. And that is precisely what will happen with your copywriting if you just continue to churn out the usual stuff.

Freshen up or risk boredom

If you put out the same old sales message time and time again, your audience is going to get bored. Even though you may want to keep your colours and corporate image static, you need to alter your message and style.

Not every product or service you want to market is going to be successful if you market them in the same way. Think about your customers –what type of person are they? how old are they? what social standing do they have?

When you want to produce a new advert, sales letter, landing page etc., don’t just regurgitate what you’ve done before. Go for something different – make people stop and think “Oh, that’s different. I wander what that’s about.”

Giving a new take on your advertising keeps it fresh and arouses curiosity. If you can get your audience curious they’ll want to know more.

Tips to keep your copywriting fresh

There are a few techniques you can use to try and give your copy a new twist. It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut if you’ve been writing for the same product for a while.

Try one of these suggestions next time you are struggling to find an original angle:

  • Browse through the websites of your competitors and see what they’re doing. This might help generate new and innovative ideas.
  • Study headlines to find a new, stronger angle.
  • Try to link your product to something topical – use a current news story to give a different slant to your marketing.
  • Talk to friends and family about the product – they can sometimes be a great source of inspiration.
  • When you’re out and about be aware of what’s around you, look at adverts, listen to people – you can pick up great ideas from casual conversations.
  • Study news papers and magazines – keep cuttings of interesting articles and headlines that could be useful.

The world around you is full of fresh and interesting information that can be used within your marketing. All you have to do is be more aware.

Oh, and by the way – despite Vettel’s pole position, his car let him down, Alonso won. And Schumacher – 6th.

What Do I Blog About

copywriter In my last post I explained why you should get your business blogging.

“That’s great Sally. But what the hell am I supposed to write about?”

Trust me, you’d be amazed at the wealth of material available to you.

By blogging you are going to really help your search engine optimisation, customer communication, online reputation as an expert and really boost your web presence. So it is really worth digging deep to find some great topics to write about.

Look beyond your writers’ block

Everyone has something to write about:

  • your businesses background
  • top tips
  • ‘how to’ articles
  • customer case studies

In your daily work situation subjects are likely to crop up. Keep a pad next to you to jot down ideas as they come to you. That way you’ll begin to build a list of potential blog posts for future use.

I stumbled across a great post on Problogger tackling this subject. In his post, Mark Hayward gives 9 tips for creating more small business blogging ideas. Building these suggestions into your everyday working life will generate you a constant stream of ideas.

Therefore writers’ block and the excuse that you can’t think of anything to write about will be banished forever.

Sally Ormond – freelance copywriter

Get Your Business Blogging


If you are a regular reader to this blog, you’ll know I’m passionate about blogging for business.

I’ve been blogging for quite a while now and it has proven to be an excellent way to build my business. Plus it is a fabulous vehicle to help other people with tips and advice.

But, if it is new to you, it can be daunting. Where do you start?

I’ve put together 10 tips to help you get the most out of blogging for your business.

10 tips to get you blogging

1. What is your blog for?

Before you dive into blogging you need to be clear about why you are doing it. What is your aim?

  • to build credibility?
  • use it as a search marketing tool?
  • will it be your main company site too?
  • are you going to use it as a tool to communicate with your customers?

You may want to use it for all of these purposes. But it is essential to get this clear in your mind before you start.

2. Decide on your URL

If your blog is to be part of your main site, your URL will be incorporated into your main sites name e.g. www.companyname.com/blog. However if it is to be a separate site try to pick a URL that incorporates your keywords/topic name.

An example of this is this blog. I’m a freelance copywriter therefore the name of my blog is www.freelancecopywritersblog.com.

3. Software

The next stage is to decide on which platform you are going to blog. You can use a free blog such as through WordPress but if you do that you must remember that you will not get any benefit from inward links. All the links you get will be building WordPress’s site not yours. Therefore I would strongly recommend you get your own blog on your own URL.

4. Customise it

Create a blog that will perform as you want it to. Blogging platforms have various plug-ins you can use to enhance your posts. Through WordPress there are plug-ins such as All in One SEO, Google XML Sitemap and Tweet This to name but a few.

Your choice of plug-ins will be determined by your goals.

You can also customise templates to create an image that coordinates with your company.

5. Content

When starting out it is very important you decide what kind of topics you are going to blog about. Try and keep within your specific field. After all people will subscribe to your blog because they are interested in what you are talking about.

On this blog I discuss various copywriting and marketing subjects. People subscribe because they want to learn about those fields and know that each post will be relevant to them.

It is also a good idea to use your keywords as categories on your blog – that makes it easier for people to find information they are interested in.

6. Easy to share

If one person is interested in what you have to say, there is a good chance that other people will be too. Use a plug-in that makes it easy for your readers to share your post with others through social bookmarking sites such as Digg and Delicious.

7. Keep it social

Spread the word of your blog through RSS feeds into your Twitter account and Facebook. List your blog on directories and publish your URL.

8. Monitor

To keep up to date with what’s going and to find out what people are saying about you, your blog and your company use tools such as Google Alerts and Social Mention.

9. Blog regularly

The more often you blog the more people you will reach. Try to blog at least 3 times a week –if you can post daily.

10. Link

One of the most powerful benefits of blogging is that it creates back links to your main site. In every post make sure you add in textual hyperlinks to your main site utilising your main keywords.

I hope those 10 tips will help you set on the right foot. Blogging really is a powerful tool that every business should utilise. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, blogging can and will help you reach a wider audience.