Entries from December 2012 ↓

Why 2013 is The Year of The Blog

The following guest post was written by Alice Elliott. 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.

For a long time writers have been waiting for Google to catch up with their predicament and realise their true value.

The onslaught of search engine optimisation and how it destroyed creative writing has been a blight on many a copywriter over the years. Being forced to research suitable and relevant keywords (or phrases) was bad enough, but to have to include them in sufficient quantities and appropriate places within our text was sometimes the last straw.

Often have I winced at optimised prose. It sticks out like a sore thumb, heavily punctuated with formulae and links to please the algorithms that dominate the search engine practices. The result is not only illegible, but excessively boring.

But now our cries of anguish have been heeded to. Google has created the Penguin to come to our aid. Relevance takes centre stage, along with the conversational style, which thrives within social networking. Writers are now able to express themselves freely with ordinary language, explore their vocabulary and use punctuation correctly. In other words, really start to write.

As I said, relevance is the key. Outgoing links that match destinations relative to the content and subject matter will result in brownie points and search engine recognition. Keywords can now be used sensitively, appropriately and with a frequency that now makes sense.

And the power of the story now shines through the mist, and this is where blogging comes to the fore. This should become a pleasure, an act of second nature, the opposite of a chore and something performed as a by-product of your everyday activities. Your blogging hat can be firmly pressed upon your brow rather than left covered in dust amongst the coats by the back door.

Blogging can now become the extension of your expression as it was meant to be. It should allow you to extend the contents of your website in a variety of ways that would appeal to a diverse number of potential customers. It will reveal the successes, stories and case studies that take up too much room elsewhere, and can be easily and enthusiastically fed to and read by hungry readers found in a myriad of social networking sites.

Now that we are freed from the tyranny of the optimised keyword, we can start to explore language again. We can research into which communication styles gain the best reaction from our customers, cunningly grooming them into understanding, liking, trusting and eventually contacting you to do business.

There is so much more potential for bloggers to really start to shine in 2013. So what are you waiting for?

About the author:

Alice Elliott

Alice Elliott, aka the Fairy Blog Mother, provides easy to understand blogging tuition and offers a design and build service for websites using WordPress. Advice and assistance is also given for website optimisation, digital marketing campaigns and content copywriting.


It’s All in the Presentation – Copy + Design

Ask any professional copywriter and they’ll tell you the power of persuasion lies within the copy of any piece of marketing material. Ask any designer and they’ll tell you it is the eye-catching design that will sway the reader.

So who’s right?

Well in a way they both are. Let me explain.

Your audience wants to be seduced; they want to be wooed by high quality sales messages that are not only engaging when read, but that also look the business.

Let’s face it, a glossy mailing that arouses curiosity is more likely to be read than a folded piece of A4 paper covered in Courier font that’s splattered with italics, bold words and underlining.

Admittedly, these letters do work in some markets, but personally I can’t stand the things and always launch them bin-wards when they arrive through my door (or if it’s on a website I navigate away faster than a fast thing).

But there’s no getting away from the fact that a quality mailing will give a better return.

Words and design go hand in hand

The main trick for any mailing is to ensure the copy and the design marry. For example, if you send out an elegant flyer that’s accompanied by text that’s very informal and more akin to something you’d expect to find in a text message (extreme example), it won’t work.

Or will it?

Perhaps that sort of disparity would work – it would certainly get your mailing noticed and talked about.

And, after all, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Getting noticed?

There’s a challenge for someone – to come up with an elegant ‘up market’ style flyer that contains text-speak language. I’d love to see the results.

The same goes for copy.

Why are there so many people out there who feel the desperate need to flag up the tiniest of errors just because they can? No one is perfect (nope, not even me) and errors do happen.

But there are some copywriters who will even – shock horror – make spelling or grammatical errors on purpose.

A well-placed typo can bring attention to a key point; flouting the rules of grammar can have the same effect – after all, rules are there to be broken aren’t they? And people have been breaking grammatical rules for centuries.

Of course there is a huge difference between a well-placed faux pas and an ignorant and careless mistake.

Your reputation in your hands

What it comes down to is your mailing, or whatever form of marketing you care to mention, holds the key to your customers’ perception of your company.

It’s human nature to judge ‘a book by its cover’ (please excuse the cliché) and however hard you try not to, you won’t be able to help yourself.

So one sloppy mistake, one misjudged mailing, one ill written letter, will tarnish your business forever (well, for quite a while anyway).

Make the Most of Twitter by Split Testing

When you first start using Twitter to market your business you’ll face quite a steep learning curve. You have to learn what to tweet, when to tweet, how to follow people, how to find people – the list is endless.

Then you’ll be faced with working out how best to engage with your followers.

Split testing is something that marketers use a lot. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it involves placing two messages (emails, subject lines, web pages etc.) out into your market place and measuring the performance of each. It is a process that can be repeated a number of times to refine your message to receive the optimum results.

So what does that have to do with Twitter?

Well, to improve your engagement on Twitter why not split test your tweets?

To give you a run down on how that can be achieved, check out this post on Social Media Examiner. In How to Split Test Your Twitter Marketing they take you through:

  • Ways of creating your split test
  • Analysing your results
  • Expanding your testing

It’s well worth a read and could help turbo charge your Twitter activities for 2013.


Website SEO – Structure

Over the years I’ve written a lot about search engine optimisation (that link will take you to a series of posts covering everything from keywords and on screen optimisation to link building and dodgy SEO practices that should be avoided), but mainly in relation to on screen SEO copywriting.

This post looks at the other side of SEO – your website’s structure.

As this also plays a vital part in your ranking success, it’s about time I gave it some coverage. However, a word of warning, I’m not a web designer or coder, so this is all stuff I’ve picked up along the way (i.e. it won’t be really technical).

I guess a good a place to start is your website’s navigation.


Q: What is the purpose of your site’s navigation?

A: To help your visitors find their way around your site easily and for the search engine spiders to crawl your site easily.

Did you see that? The word ‘easily’ featured twice in that sentence – that should give you a clue as to where this is going.

There are 2 main things to say here: the first is that your navigation should be coded in such as away that it’s easy for the spiders to crawl it (i.e. not in Flash or JavaScript); secondly, think about how deep your website is.


Depth is basically a measure of how many clicks people need to make to reach the inner pages of your website. The more layers they have to click through, the harder it is for them to navigate.

People (and search engine spiders) like to find the information they need quickly and easily and don’t take kindly to having to dig deep to find it. So, if possible, make sure your website only has a maximum of 3 clicks to find the information needed. This will help your rankings (in conjunction with your other SEO activities) and reduce your bounce rate.

That’s why it’s vital you plan your website’s navigation and structure from the outset rather than just letting it evolve.

Internal linking

The depth of your site thingy is OK if you’re a relatively small company, but what happens when the size of your business demands a big website?

That’s where good internal linking comes in to play.

There are 2 types of links relevant to SEO:

  • External backlinks – those than point to your website from one unrelated to your site
  • Internal backlinks – links that connect pages within your own website

Why is it important to link between your own pages?

Well they have a number of SEO advantages: such as decreasing the number of clicks need to access information deep within your site (benefiting the spiders and readers); giving you the opportunity to use keyword rich anchor text links; improving user experience.

So, whenever you add a new blog post, page or article to your website, make sure you use relevant anchor text links to link it to other related information within your website.


The last item on my list is your URL structure.

Using your keywords within your URL structure will definitely help your SEO, so make sure all your sub-pages use keywords relevant to that page.

Not a lot more to say about that one.

Over to you

That’s a very quick, non-techy perspective on website structure and search engine optimisation.

So come you on techies out there, what have I missed out?

If you can offer some nuggets of wisdom, leave a comment below and enlighten the masses.

Is Your Email Marketing Working?

What is an acceptable open rate for your email marketing campaign?

What should your click rate be?

In answer to those questions the answer is ‘it depends’ – mainly on the industry you operate in.

To give you a heads up, below is a table of statistics compiled by MailChimp outlining the average email campaign stats from their customers by industry:­

Average Email Campaign Stats of MailChimp Customers by Industry

Type of Company Open Rate Click Rate Soft Bounce Rate Hard Bounce Rate Abuse Complaint Rate Unsubscribe Rate
Agriculture and Food Services 23.94% 4.85% 0.97% 2.06% 0.10% 0.38%
Arts and Artists 17.53% 3.54% 1.58% 2.54% 0.08% 0.25%
Beauty and Personal Care 14.94% 2.65% 0.71% 1.54% 0.09% 0.28%
Business and Finance 15.47% 2.77% 2.10% 1.57% 0.04% 0.21%
Computers and Electronics 15.51% 2.97% 1.12% 1.71% 0.08% 0.30%
Construction 28.70% 8.01% 4.51% 5.81% 0.11% 0.35%
Consulting 16.32% 3.30% 2.50% 2.39% 0.03% 0.25%
Creative Services/Agency 24.64% 3.08% 1.34% 2.05% 0.06% 0.25%
eCommerce 14.98% 3.36% 0.74% 0.88% 0.08% 0.25%
Education and Training 16.64% 3.41% 1.42% 2.09% 0.06% 0.20%
Entertainment and Events 16.09% 2.98% 0.85% 1.55% 0.08% 0.19%
Government 25.66% 5.37% 0.86% 0.89% 0.04% 0.20%
Health and Fitness 20.96% 5.73% 3.14% 6.30% 0.06% 0.30%
Hobbies 18.45% 4.33% 1.13% 2.08% 0.12% 0.40%
Home and Garden 28.20% 4.38% 2.93% 2.68% 0.02% 0.41%
Insurance 20.91% 3.03% 2.37% 4.15% 0.10% 0.30%
Legal 17.34% 2.49% 0.79% 0.89% 0.02% 0.12%
Marketing and Advertising 18.79% 4.13% 1.39% 2.50% 0.08% 0.23%
Media and Publishing 18.43% 3.39% 0.48% 0.63% 0.03% 0.11%
Medical, Dental, and Healthcare 13.76% 2.59% 2.18% 4.09% 0.06% 0.18%
Music and Musicians 13.95% 2.43% 0.68% 1.07% 0.06% 0.18%
Non-Profit 20.43% 3.54% 1.13% 1.51% 0.05% 0.17%
Other 33.52% 10.90% 0.83% 1.66% 0.09% 0.40%
Photo and Video 28.93% 5.70% 0.99% 1.34% 0.07% 0.26%
Politics 13.72% 2.58% 0.49% 0.78% 0.07% 0.15%
Professional Services 19.77% 3.71% 2.55% 3.57% 0.08% 0.45%
Public Relations 14.81% 1.12% 2.07% 2.28% 0.03% 0.16%
Real Estate 18.48% 3.44% 1.18% 1.67% 0.06% 0.25%
Recruitment and Staffing 15.31% 3.35% 1.37% 1.75% 0.07% 0.31%
Religion 23.04% 3.24% 0.52% 0.68% 0.05% 0.15%
Restaurant 20.07% 2.41% 0.70% 1.11% 0.09% 0.30%
Retail 17.80% 3.54% 0.61% 1.00% 0.08% 0.24%
Social Networks and Online Communities 22.37% 2.85% 6.94% 5.44% 0.11% 0.74%
Software and Web App 15.57% 2.49% 1.88% 3.06% 0.11% 0.39%
Sports 19.54% 4.77% 0.86% 1.53% 0.08% 0.24%
Telecommunications 21.20% 3.22% 1.60% 2.85% 0.10% 0.41%
Travel and Transportation 14.50% 2.71% 0.84% 0.83% 0.05% 0.17%


How do your results compare?

Congratulations if you’re about right (or above average) for your industry. But what if you’re a bit under par? Where are you going wrong?

Common causes for poor email results

There are a number of reasons why your emails aren’t performing as they should, but here are the most common ones:

1. Murky

The reason for sending your email has to be clear, that means your subject line has to tie in with the email’s content.

If you promise one thing just to get them to open the email and then fail to deliver (or deliver something different), you’ll lose their trust and they’ll probably unsubscribe.

So make sure you’re clear about why you’re sending the email, make sure the subject line and content tallies and make sure your message is clear – that means stick to one (or a maximum of 2) topic rather than trying to cover everything in one go.

2. Way too long

This one slots in nicely after number 1. If you try to cover too much your email will be too long and no one will read it.

If you want to bring the readers’ attention to an article, rather than placing the whole thing in your email, write a short teaser and link out to it.

The ideal length for a newsletter/email is about 400 words (600 would be an absolutely maximum).

3. You, you, you

Read your email back to yourself – who is it talking about, you or your customer?

If it is all about your company, how great you are, your products etc., without any mention of the benefits you will bring your customers, your readers won’t read it.

Email marketing is there to help you build relationships with your customers, which means every email should add value to them. It should offer them great information, give them tips, perhaps an offer or two – it should be about them and not you.

4. No call to action

Sending out emails that give great information is fantastic, but if you don’t ask your reader to do something, they’re a complete waste of time.

It could be something as simple as following a link to your website, downloading a top ten tips list, perhaps a report – basically, anything that will add value to them.

5. Typos

We are all human; mistakes happen and typos slip through, but do your utmost to make sure your email goes out error free.

If you do spot something after hitting the send button, send an apology and offer them something for the inconvenience – perhaps a voucher?

If you get it wrong, apologise and they won’t think badly of you.

Writing engaging emails

OK, we’ve looked at why your click and open rate may not be as high as it should, but what can you do to remedy it?

Well, what follows are a few simple tips that help you be more effective with your email marketing:

  • Be yourself – write from the heart, don’t try and be corporate it doesn’t work. Be conversational if you want to boost engagement
  • Be in a good mood – the best emails are those written when you’re in the right mood. Try and write a good one when you’re in a bad mood – it’s impossible
  • Read out loud – by far the best way to check for errors
  • Connection – make sure you write about something that your readers can connect with, if possible tie it in with topical events
  • Email address – make sure the email address you send it from is real, i.e. it has your company name in it – it is far more likely to opened that way

There you go, a few simple tips to make the most of your email marketing. Give them a try and see how you get on.