Entries from January 2013 ↓

Why Blog Headlines Are So Important

Why are your blog headlines so important?

Quite simply because:

  1. They are instrumental in getting the reader to read your post
  2. They encourage Google to bring you traffic

That’s right, they really are that powerful. So if you’re the type of person who writes their blog post and then sticks any old title on it, it’s time to change your ways.

Generating winning blog headlines

There are loads of articles out there offering advice on how to write the perfect headline for your blog posts, but below are 3 methods I find most useful.

1. Study

When you’re researching a subject for work or just taking time out to catch up with what’s happening in your industry, take note of the articles that catch your eye.

Think about what it was that made you stop and read. How was the headline phrased?

The same goes for when searching for a topic through Google. Take a look at the results and the titles that are displayed. What words and phrases were used?

2. Your audience

Think very carefully about whom you are writing for and what’s important to them.

Which words or phrases would they associate with your topic and what they use to search for information on that subject in Google?

3. Ask Google

Have you noticed that when you type in a search term in Google it comes up with some alternatives?

Researching blog titles

The added bonus is that the alternatives it offers are phrases that other searchers have actually used – so you know people are searching for those words and terms.

These three methods are very simple and incredibly effective. So when you write your next blog post, don’t leave the title as an afterthought; think about what you’re writing and whom you’re writing it for.

Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and blogger

How not to do Facebook Marketing

More and more businesses are beginning to utilise the power of Facebook as part of their online marketing strategy – in fact 69% (source: zednet) of small business owners currently use it.

But if you want it to make a different to your business, you have to know what you’re doing; miss-use it and you could do more harm than good.

So what do you need to know to make sure you don’t make any Facebook marketing faux pas?

1. What’s the plan?

Setting up a Facebook business page is easy, perhaps a little too easy.

Frequently, a business will get all excited about using Facebook, set up a page and then sit back and wait. But without a plan about how you’re going to use your business page, its value to your business is limited.

Before you get going think about why you want to be on Facebook, is it for:

  • Building brand awareness?
  • Connecting with your customers?
  • To gather a loyal following of fans?
  • Improve your customer service by increasing your accessibility?

A plan is essential if you want to get the most out of it.

2. It’s not free


OK, there is no charge for setting up your Facebook business page; the cost we’re talking about here is the cost in man-hours for you.

If you want your page to be effective you must have someone (or a team depending on how popular and successful it is) monitoring it for you. Therefore it’s essential you keep this invisible cost in mind when you analyse the effectiveness of your Facebook strategy.

3. Joined up marketing

Your entire marketing strategy – on and offline – must be linked to get the best out of it.

Make sure all your marketing (website, brochures, flyers, business cards etc.) show your Facebook page address. Of course that also means that if you’re directing people to the page it must have content they need, but more about that later.

4. Measure

How do you measure your page’s effectiveness?

Well, you could take the number of fans into consideration, but that only goes someway to showing the popularity of your page. A more valuable measure would be the number of shares you get and comments on your page’s content.

If these are both high it suggests that you’re providing the kind of content your customers and fans want.

5. Getting the balance right

When it comes to the content you put out, you have to do a bit of research. Take a look at the response to your comments, posts, videos etc. Find the type of content your fans like the most and give them more of the same.

Also make sure your frequency of posting is right; too much and you could put people off; too little and you won’t engage them.

As you can see, marketing with a Facebook page takes a lot of thought and a well-devised strategy.

How are you using yours?

Are you happy with your engagement levels?

Leave a comment below and share your Facebook business page experiences.

Author: Sally Ormond. Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd

Self-promotion the Subtle Way

When you run a business you have to self-promote in one way or another. All your marketing, networking and social media activity is aimed at boosting your profile. But how you go about that self-promotion will have a huge impact on how you are perceived by others.

My business is fantastic

If you go around telling people at networking events and through your online content (website copy, articles, blogs and social media) how amazing you are, you’ll come across as big headed and disingenuous.

No one is going to want to know you or do business with you (probably) because they have no reason to believe your claims.

But if you leave it to others to praise you through testimonials, online reviews etc., your company will be seen in a different light because third party praise is seen as being authentic and believable.

Our products are great

Really? Do you think people are going to believe that your products are the best on the planet just because you say so?

If your website copy bangs on about how amazing your products or services are, how they are the best on the market and how everyone thinks they’re the best thing since sliced bread, it will be taken with a pinch of salt.

Have an independent writer, company or researcher review your products and services and you’re on to something.

Or, how about asking one of your clients to be the focus of a case study? By giving a real life illustration of how your company helped someone, you’ll be adding extra kudos to your marketing.

I’m almost embarrassed by how great I am

We’ve all met them, haven’t we? At a networking event there’s always one person who swans around as though they were the bee’s knees. They’ve done everything, achieved everything and succeeded at everything – leaving you wondering why they then feel it necessary to attend the networking event.

People like that have a tendency of getting the backs up of others. They’ll be seen as being very up themselves and instantly disliked and possibly mistrusted.

But if someone else recommends you to someone because they’ve done business with you, then you’ll be seen as someone to know, someone who’s passionate about what they do and who cares about their customers.

So the main thing to remember about self-promotion is that third party testimonials, reviews and case studies are worth their weight in gold. Yes, you need to let people know how good you, your products and your services are, but in such a way that it’s believable, genuine and trustworthy.

Newsletters Aren’t About You

Newsletters aren’t about you – yes, you did read that right.Newsletter marketing

Many companies fall into the trap of sending out a regular newsletter that focuses on them, their achievements and what’s new in their world.

To them, it’s the most interesting thing they’ve read in a long time (or at least since the last issue), but to their customers it’s the most boring thing to hit their inbox since the last influx of SEO spam.

So, I hear you cry, if my newsletter isn’t to be about me and my company, who should it be about?

Keep your customer in focus

Let’s go back a few steps.

Why do you send out a newsletter each month?

The idea behind it is to build and enhance your relationship with your customers and keep them up to date with what’s happening.

The best way to do that is to provide information they will find useful.

Yes, giving away hints, tips and great information will strengthen your customer relationships – it’s not rocket science.

Become more familiar

A great way to boost engagement is to keep the structure of your newsletters pretty consistent every month.

Start off with a general paragraph to say hi and introduce the main theme of your newsletter. Then give them something such as an article that offers tips, advice and great information that they will find useful.

You could then add a short case study about one of your clients showing how your product/service helped them. That’s a neat way of giving you a plug whilst benefiting a client (they’re not going to say no the free publicity). Plus, if you have the case studies on your website, adding a link to the full article will help drive more traffic your way.

This could be followed by a thought for the day, book recommendation etc., something that you can share and talk about. Or you could mention an article that you found interesting or one of your recent blog posts. Rather than making your newsletter extremely long by including the whole article, you could write a teaser and then link out to it.

Finally, if you have an offer, new product or service, or a sale, you can mention it at the end. That way, by the time the reach it they’ll be feeling pretty good about you because you’ve given them something first.

You see, just by giving a bit of thought to the content and structure of your newsletter you can go from a low open and click rate to one that will be the envy of your peers – it just takes a bit of thought.

Over to you

Have you found a winning formula for your newsletter?

What are the most popular sections you use?

Leave a comment below.


Content Writing for Sole Traders

Promoting your business online needs a lot of content.writing content for sole traders

Your website copy, blogs or articles must be relevant, interesting and useful to your readers otherwise they will be no more that just a collection of words.

When you’re a sole trader it’s very easy to fall into the trap of writing about yourself.

Hang on a moment…

Oh, hi Joe (Joe’s a self employed plumber), how’s it going?

What? Yeah, fine. What do you mean trap? Of course I’m gonna write about myself, I am my business and people want to know about me.

Are you sure about that Joe?

Are you taking the p…

Hang on, there’s no need to be like that. Look at it from your customer’s prospective for a moment.

Yeah, they want to know about me, who I am and what I do, obviously.

No, they don’t. They want to know what you can do for them.

Same thing.

No it’s not. Look, the fact that you’ve been in business for 10 years, you drive a blue van and your favourite pizza topping is ham and pineapple is of no interest to your customers. They want to know how quickly you can get to them, and the type of work that you do.


Yes, really. If they’re searching online for a plumber it’s generally because they have a leak, need a new bathroom installing or something else along those lines. In other words, they have a problem to which they need to find a solution – you. That’s why your web copy, articles and blogs all have to be focused on what you can do for them.

OK, you may have a point.

There’s no maybe about it Joe. If you want your content to be read and you want people to come to your site and think ‘hey, Joe’s the guy for me, he offers the service I need and can come out to me quickly’ then you have to write it for them. If you just fill it with loads of information about you and only you, you’re not giving them what they want.

Joe…hey Joe, where’ve gone?

Just looking at my web copy again…don’t suppose you want to write it for me?

Writing for your readers

Separating yourself from you business and writing about it as though you were a customer is difficult.

You have to place yourself in the shoes of your readers and think about what’s important to them.

These are the basis of the benefits of your product or service – the things that add value to your customers. Keeping them at the heart of everything you write will keep you on track.

One final word – to make sure you don’t deviate, make sure you use ‘you’ instead of ‘we’ on your website, even on your About Us page.

Here are 3 takeways to remember when writing your content:

  1. Always write for your reader not yourself
  2. Use a lot of ‘you’
  3. Write conversationally to boost engagement