Entries from October 2012 ↓

Does the Length of Your Subject Line Matter?

We all know that in the world of email marketing your subject line matters.

It’s the first thing that is seen by the recipient and will determine whether your email is opened or consigned to the trash.

For a long time, many marketers have gone by the rule that a subject line should be between 40-50 characters in length. But with today’s numerous mobile devices changing the way we read and receive emails, is that still the case?

In a recent post on Email Audience, they look at a report recently published by Adestra, which analysed subject line lengths for different audiences to try and find out what is the ideal length.

In summary, they discovered:

“…in B2B emails, longer subject lines work better than shorter subject lines. Also when looking at the number of words. Subject lines with 6–10 words will drive open rates, but don’t deliver the click-throughs. In the report 6-10 word subject lines are advised for awareness emails that don’t necessarily have a direct need for a call to action to click.

“After 130 characters, there is a drop of the open rates, but also a huge increase in the number of click-throughs. Anything over 16 words can deliver on both opens and clicks.”

The report then goes on to look at the B2C market:

The differences in B2C are much bigger than in B2B. Subject lines with 3-5 words appear to have a very bad effect on open and click-through rates. Subject lines with 3 or 4 words perform around 40% worse than average both in open rate and in clicks.

“The subject lines with over 80 characters do hugely better in B2C email marketing. It seems to be that making your subject line stand out is ever important. A long subject line can do just that in B2C, with the added information and length to account for higher open and click-through rates. A 20-word subject line appears to be the real champion in this research, with a 115% uplift in opens and 85% uplift in clicks.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean to say every B2C email you write should have 20 words in its subject line. Although the subject line will have a big impact on your open rate and click-throughs, how targeted your message is will also have a big effect.

So when devising your next email marketing campaign remember to not only look at your subject line (the one aspect of a campaign that is easy to test), but also your message.

Think carefully about your audience and what is important to them. What words will make them take notice of your email and open it?

All too often marketers get lost in how many characters should be used in their subject lines and lose sight of the important thing – their customers.

The best way to create successful campaigns is to test your subject lines. But remember, there is no magic formula that will work for every audience and every campaign.

Over to you

Have you found any patterns in the open rates of your emails?

Leave a comment below and tell us about your experiences

How to Get Your Press Release Picked Up and Published

The following guest post was written by Vicky Fraser. The author’s views are entirely her own and may not reflect the views of FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com. If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas.


Thousands of press releases land in the inboxes of journalists every day. Why on Earth should they bother properly reading, let alone publishing, yours?

The hard truth is that nobody is as interested in your business as you. If you want people to read about it, you need to give them something fascinating to read. But first, you need to generate press interest and spark a story idea for the journalists to whom you’re sending the release.


Not only do publications receive thousands of press releases, many of them are badly written, overlong and full of spelling and grammatical mistakes.

Others are stuffed full of meaningless marketing waffle and jargon, while others are just a thinly (or not so thinly) veiled advertorial. Still more are irrelevant to either the industry area covered by the publication, or the geographical area, or both.

Once your press release lands on the desk of a journalist or news editor, its fate is in their hands. However, there are a few things you can do to improve its chances of publication.

1.     Keep it clear, short and simple

If a press release is longer than one page of A4, it will often get put straight in the bin. Make sure the headline grabs people’s attention but is descriptive of the content, and ensure the first paragraph summarises the press release succinctly and engagingly.

Don’t use marketing waffle, jargon or the hard sell. The purpose of a press release is to impart news, not sell a product. Tell a story and raise your business’s profile: that’s what it’s all about.

2.     Think of your press release as a tool for the journalist

Remember two things about journalists: firstly, they are people too, and if your press release doesn’t interest them, they won’t publish it.  Secondly, they are very busy. Budgets have been cut, staffing levels are lower than they’ve ever been, and they (local papers, certainly) genuinely find it difficult to source and write great stories.

With this in mind, be helpful! Make it as easy as possible for the journalist to publish your press release. The less they have to do to knock the release into shape, the more likely it is to get published.

If you don’t have much experience writing press releases, do a little research. Take a look at articles in newspapers and magazines, and try to emulate them. Include quotes from relevant people – journalists love this, because it saves them having to contact you themselves.

3.     Send your press release to the right places

It may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. If your business is a technology firm and you’re talking about an award you won (for example), don’t send your press release to Horse and Hound or Ideal Home magazine.

Similarly, if your story is a local interest one, don’t send the press release to publications outside your geographical area. They won’t use it.

4.     Send it to the right people

A little research goes a long way. When you’re building your distribution list, spend some time finding out which journalists to target. Many smaller publications will simply have a “news desk” email address, but others will have health reporters, technology reporters, political reporters, etc.

If your press release goes to the right person first time, it shows you’ve done your research as well as reducing the chances that it will get lost.

5.     Check, check, and check again

As a sad indictment of today’s education standards, more and more press releases arrive full of spelling and grammar mistakes, and typos. They are very unlikely to be used and the business’s card is usually marked by the journalists receiving such releases.

The value of proofreading cannot be understated: get your press release checked before you send it anywhere. Check for spelling, grammar and general sense and interest.

Putting out great press releases will create goodwill with the journalists you’re targeting. If you get a reputation as a good PR, you will find that journalists start to come to you. A solid relationship with a reporter is like gold dust: difficult to stumble upon, but extremely valuable.

Don’t forget, too, that there is a multitude of online press release portals that you can use for distribution. There’s a lot of mileage in a good press release: it can be reused on blogs and website news sections, shared via social media, and linked to by customers and partners. So make it SEO-friendly too and let it work harder for you, your customers and the publication to which you’re submitting it.


Vicky Fraser is a freelance copywriter and marketeer based in Warwickshire. Being a science nerd undertaking a physics degree, she specialises in simplifying and clarifying scientific and technical copy but writes about all manner of things for a wide variety of clients. She blogs about science, freelancing and writing – amongst other things.

10 Tips to Produce Better eBooks in Less Time

The following guest post was written by Liam Gooding. The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com. If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas.

Writing an ebook can seem a daunting task. A book is substantial. More than a blog. We expect books to add value, to mean something. Even a short ebook, requires planning, effort, commitment. Don’t fret. It’s often the starting that’s the Writing an ebookhardest part. Let’s not waste any more time.

1 Freewriting

Freewriting is the painless way to start writing. I recommend you use it every time you sit down to write. It stops you procrastinating. It gets you in the flow faster than anything else I’ve ever tried. It can help with any kind of writing. It doesn’t matter whether you need to decide a topic for your ebook, plan your chapter structure or start writing your first chapter, freewriting will help.

Freewriting Rules

  • Decide a topic you want to write about and type this at the top of the page. (e.g. My ebook will be about)
  • Set a timer for 2 minutes. (As you get more experienced, you can extend the length of timer up to 10 minutes.)
  • Start typing whatever comes to mind.
  • Do not edit your writing.
  • Do not correct spelling mistakes.
  • Do not delete a single character.
  • Do not stop writing.
  • If you run out of ideas, choose one phrase to repeat like “don’t know what to write” or “what else”.
  • Let me repeat, Do Not Stop Writing.

When the timer finishes, you’ll often find useful phrases, sentences or ideas that you can air lift out of the freewriting grammar crash and include in your ebook. This technique liberates you from the pressure of writing something that is ‘good enough’ for your book. Freedom from that pressure seems to purify the writing process and to get you in the flow quickly.

2 Audio recording

Let’s face it. Some people would rather talk than write. If you have the gift of the gab, the fastest way you can write your ebook is to speak it. Put together your ebook structure with chapters and sub-headings. Get yourself an audio recording. My preference is to useEvernote. Start recording your thoughts. With Evernote, you can label each audio recording, so you know where it belongs in the book. You can either type up your words yourself or share your audio recordings with a Virtual Assistant who will be able to transcribe them for you. Sure, you’ll need to write some additional content and do some editing, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you can write your ebook using this technique.

3 Interviews

There are two ways you can use interviews to create content fast. You can ask a colleague who understands the topic to interview you to help draw out the content for the ebook. Another option is to select industry experts to interview. You can record the interview using an audio recorder, but you may want to try using Google+ Hangouts. Google+ Hangouts allow you to publish the interview on your YouTube channel. Alternatively, you can also record a video call with Skype. Your interviews can be transcribed and included in your book if they naturally read well. Otherwise, you can use the interviews as inspiration for your writing and use carefully selected quotes from those experts.

4 Crowdsource

Crowdsourcing an ebook not only helps you create content more quickly, it aids the books promotion. To crowdsource an ebook, you can carve up the structure of your book and invite experts to contribute. You could have each chapter written by a different expert, or you may weave together writing from several different authors in each chapter.The best part is that all of your crowdsource contributors will want to share the ebook with their audiences when you publish.

5 Find a good editor

You write. Let the editor edit. If you want to create content fast, get writing and hand it to your editor. A good editor can whip your content into shape saving you time and improving the quality of your ebook.

6 Outsource your research

If you need statistics or data to give credibility to your writing, outsource the research. There are plenty of freelancers or Virtual Assistants who can source the information you need. Spend your time writing instead of getting distracted online.

7 Set a crazy deadline

Set a deadline that will push you. Set a deadline that makes your stomach tense up. The truth is that the writing will not take as long as you think.A crazy deadline keeps you writing.It’s easier to keep writing when you are ‘in flow’. It is much harder to get back on track when you take a break.

8 Structure & Schedule

Don’t attempt to write your book without a structure and a schedule. Prepare your chapter titles and sections, ideally with some bullet points to keep your writing focussed. Plan how much you will write and when. Sitting down to write your whole book is a seance for the procrastination you killed with the free writing. Keep procrastination buried by planning to write specific segments of your ebook at scheduled times.

9 Trust your instincts

Nothing will slow your writing down more than ignoring your instincts. Sure, you need to consider your audience, but don’t start tearing your writing apart thinking it’s not good enough. Don’t become obsessed with every detail. Write and trust your instincts. You can always edit it later.

10 Clear the decks and write

Once you’ve set your crazy deadline and planned your structure and schedule, it’s time to clear the decks and write. Don’t get distracted. Don’t do anything else. Don’t make excuses. Just write.

About the Author

Liam Gooding is the co-founder and CEO of Virally, a social content marketing platform. He blogs about content marketing, conversion optimisation, and occasionally goes off topic and talks about entrepreneurship and startup marketing.

Is There a Place for Contractions in Copywriting?

Why am I writing about this?Contractions in Marketing Copy

Well, for the first time ever in my writing career, a client complained about the fact that I’d used contractions in his copy.

Bearing in mind the brief was to write ‘friendly, conversational copy that will engage with our readers’; I was rather surprised by his reaction.

Are contractions sloppy? Do they suggest lazy writing?

In my mind, no they don’t.

I even went back to my well-thumbed copy of Fowler’s Modern English Usage to see what that had to say:

Contractions of the type I’m and don’t are exceedingly common in informal writing and increasingly found in various kinds of fairly formal contexts.”

Even Shakespeare used them!

Do contractions have a place in business writing?

Let’s get one thing clear from the start; even if you’re writing for a business, it’s going to be read by a person.

The best way to get your information across to your reader is by using a conversational style and that means using contractions that provide an easy tone to read and comprehend.

If your writing is easy to understand, it’s easy to absorb.

The guiding principle to grasp with any written communication (especially marketing materials) is to always write for your reader.

Using simple language and contractions will result in copy that is friendly and warm.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter.

Granted, there are certain circumstances where contractions are not appropriate, but for general marketing texts, do you thing they’re acceptable?

Have your say below.

Sally Ormond – Copywriter

Managing Your Twitter Relationships

We all love Twitter – go on admit it, even you’ve fallen in love with it.

It’s such a great way to meet new people, chat with customers, colleagues and friends and get your business name out there, recognised and loved. Engagement is the name of the game, but are you managing your Twitter relationships effectively, or are you letting them slide?

When you first set up  your account and only have a few followers, it’s relatively easy to keep on top of things. But as time marches on and your following increases, the time you have to spend monitoring your account reduces. This is especially true if you are a solopreneur or manage numerous Twitter accounts.

So how can you make sure you’re engaging with the right people?

Thankfully, help is at hand through a very interesting post I discovered on Social Media Examiner.

In it, they bring our attention to an application called Commun.it, which is designed to:

  • Help you manage your Twitter relationships
  • Focus on your top influencers supporters and potential leads
  • Offer stress-free social productivity to help you focus on the right people

For an in depth look at how it works and how to get set up, pop over to Social Media Examiner and take a look.

And don’t forget to come back and let us know how you got on with it; we’d love to hear your reviews about it.