Entries from May 2013 ↓

Marketing Your Business With YouTube

This is a guest post written by Angie Picardo. The views expressed in this post are entirely the author’s own and may not reflect those of Freelance Copywriter’s Blog. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please get in touch with your ideas


Video is a great way to interact with your customer base, and YouTube makes this process painless. Business owners, entrepreneurs, and self-employed people can all find ways to leverage YouTube for their business needs: promotion, engagement, and more.

Not Just Another Storefront

First, using video is a great way to humanize your business. One thing that people like about small businesses is that they are not faceless conglomerates, and posting videos on YouTube is a great way to prove that you definitely have a face.  If you’re an entrepreneur or self-employed person, then letting customers see who you are can communicate that you don’t have anything to hide, plus it can help you put your best foot forward when communicating with new or potential clients. You can upload an introduction video—either for yourself as a person or for the business—to let people know who you are and what you are about. People also really love a story, so if you can communicate your business motivations into a narrative, that can be especially endearing.

A really great way to use YouTube for your business is to provide video user guides or demonstrations to let customers know how to use your product. If you’re a local baker, you could show videos for how to make awesome sandwiches, the right way to store bread, or some basics on cake decorating. These sorts of videos give customers new ideas for how to use your products and give them an opportunity to see you work. If you’re self-employed or provide a non-tangible service (consulting, tutoring, etc), instead of user guides, you could explain what your intake process looks like, or share a before and after video from a client. This way, potential customers know exactly what to expect when they work with you and they will be much less apprehensive about the whole process.

Interactive Opportunities

Next, YouTube can also be used to engage your customer base. There are a few ways to go about this. First, when you create a video, you can end with any kind of question or comment that asks watchers to sound off in the comment section. Be sure to actually respond to the comments! Users love it when they get a response from their favorite brands. Second, you can ask for video responses. In a video response, users upload video to YouTube and mark that it was “in response” to another video. When people watch either video, there will be a link to the other on the page. Third, you can have video competitions for customers. These could involve asking customers to use your product in a wacky way, taking the product to the coolest destination, or creating their own guide for how they use the product. Again, if you deal with a service, rather than a product, you could try having people respond to you with how they have improved. If you are a Spanish tutor, you could ask students to create videos of them speaking Spanish as responses to your videos.

Be Yourself

YouTube allows users to customize their “channel” page, which can be a good way to highlight content or link to other channels. Users can select a video to be featured at the top of their channel page, usually a new video or a most viewed. Since this page is customizable, it is a good place to inject some branding. Choose a color scheme and banner that reflect that of your business. This will help customers remember what they are looking at and it will visually distinguish your page. Another part of your channel page can be your “favorite” channels. This is a good opportunity to work with other businesses or to promote other people in your town or field. If you are a baker, you might favorite the channel of a local sandwich shop, or of any other services you use. In turn, those businesses can favorite you and you will be cross-promoting each other.

Finally, as a general piece of advice for video: keep it short and be engaging. Users will not watch very long videos, even if you believe it is a work of art in advertising. For best results, keep videos under five minutes. If  you have something to say that takes more than five minutes, break it up into several videos and create a series, like “Awesome Sandwich Making Part 1,” follow up with your other parts. Make sure you can create an engaging video. If you don’t feel you have the ability to do so, find a staff member with a charismatic personality or hire an advertising firm to help you out.

About the author:

Angie Picardo is a staff writer for NerdWallet. Her mission is to help consumers stay financially savvy, and save some money with the best high yield CDs.


Creating an Effective ‘Sales’ Email

You’re probably wondering why the word ‘sales’ in the title of this blog is in inverted commas.

Well, that’s because a lot of companies that send out emails to their customers and potential customers treat them like sales letters as opposed to emails that should be building trusting relationships.

They seem to have a mental block, believing that every communication they send out must contain the hard sell.

Well, if you do that you could be kissing good-bye to a huge chunk of your audience because they’ll get sick of it and opt-out. And that’s not good.

If you’re sending out regular emails to your list (daily, weekly or monthly) concentrate on the pain your readers are feeling.

After all, if they signed up to your emails they are obviously looking for a solution to a problem.

So rather than hitting them hard with the benefits of your product/service and giving them the hard sell, talk about the pain caused by the problem they want solved and only talk about that.

List all the issues they have, show your empathy with them and then, right at the end, simply add a call to action like:

To see how to overcome this….[insert problem] check out (sales URL)

This approach is:

  • Easy to write
  • Isn’t a hard sell
  • Shows your empathy
  • Builds trust
  • You don’t even have to mention your product

It really is stealth selling at its best.

Why not give it a try and let us know how you get on?

Perhaps you’ve already tried this approach? If so, how did you find the results?

Leave a comment and let’s evaluate this approach with some real life examples.

 About the author:

 Sally Ormond is a copywriter, blogger, cyclist, mum and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. She’s also an author.


How to Engage With Your Blog Audience

Blogging is a great tool for marketing your business.

It gives you a platform from which to show your expertise and drive traffic to your website. But that only works if your writing engages with your audience. After all, if you want them to keep coming back for more, you have to create a connection with them.

The way you write will have a big effect on your audience.

1. Conversation

There are a lot of bloggers out there who struggle with the concept that writing in a conversational tone is the most effective way to communicate.

People don’t want to be faced with something cold, corporate and formal – they get enough of that already. They want something that is easy to read.

Writing conversationally is easy – just imagine you’re sitting with a friend and chatting about the subject you want to write about, use every day language and avoid ‘corporatisms’ like ‘innovative, market-leading etc.’

Using short sentences also boosts readability as does using ‘you’ (i.e. writing in the second person), asking questions (builds engagement) and avoiding adjectives and adverbs.

Above all, your personality must shine through.

2. Metaphorically speaking

Metaphors help you get your point across in a way that’s easy for others to understand. If you can liken your product or service to an everyday event, people are more likely to ‘get it’.

They really bring your writing to life.

3. Empathise and inspire

Start your post by empathising with your readers and showing you understand the problem they have. Then go on to share some tips that are easy to implement.

So where does the inspiration come in? Well, at the end of your post make sure you give them an uplifting paragraph that fires them up to follow your example.

4. Be real

No one is perfect (nope, not even you), so although you want to be seen as the market leader, no one is going to believe you got there without making any mistakes along the way.

As you share your information, show your human side by telling your readers the mistakes you made and how you put them right.

5. Show your interest

Last, but not least, it’s important you show your readers you’re interested in them.

Ask for their opinions and comments and when you get them respond to them and start building those all-important relationships.


Above all have fun with your blog, be natural and be conversational. Be wild and start a few sentences with ‘and’, or ‘because’. Be open and honest and share great information – people will flock to you.

Have you tried anything different to boost engagement through your blog?

What has worked for you in the past and what wasn’t so great?

Leave a comment below and let’s chat.

About the author:

Sally Ormond is a copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. She also loves to blog and cycle – but not at the same time.




Public Relations and Networking

If you follow this blog you’ll know that networking is not one of my favourite business activities. But as it is a necessary evil of the freelance life of a copywriter, I have to force myself to endure it now and then (but not as often as I should).PR and networking

As I sit here preparing myself for tonight’s networking event (eek!) I can’t help but think about how closely related PR and networking are.

For example, if I were meeting a member of the press to promote my business, there are certain things I would automatically do, which are also things I should be doing when networking.

Hmm, that’s sounds rather vague, so I’ll explain what I mean.

Whether you like it or not image matters in business. By image I mean not only how you look, but also how you come across to others and how you interact with them.

Listen and interact

A bad networker will talk at you and not ask any questions about you or your business. They see the event as a way of speaking to lots of people and an opportunity to get rid of loads of business cards – not very effective.

But a good networker will drive the conversation with lots of open-ended questions that will lead the conversation in the direction they want it to go. They don’t bully answers from the person they are speaking to, instead they chat, ask questions and gather vital information that lets them know whether they can help them or not (now or in the future).

They effectively start to build a relationship with them.

Eye contact

Not everyone finds it easy to maintain eye contact with someone, especially if they don’t know him or her. But glancing left and right or looking at the floor while speaking comes across as quite rude.

By maintaining eye contact (without it turning into a staring match) you’re showing interest in the other person and holding their attention. It shows engagement and attentiveness, which will encourage the other person to chat openly with you.

If you do find it challenging, practice in the mirror.

Dress to impress

Be smart, but be expressive. There’s nothing worse than being at an event dressed up like a kipper and feeling uncomfortable. A networking event doesn’t mean you have to be suited and booted. Just make sure you’re smartly presented; dress like you want to be taken seriously.

It’s about you not me

Whatever you do, don’t just talk about you.

We’ve all been to a networking event and been talked at by the person who just wants to shout about their achievements, their business and their goals – yes, the networking bore.

If you want to be well received introduce yourself, but then ask them about their business, their future plans and what interests them. Make an offer of help or refer them to someone who may be able to help them reach their goals, just don’t be pushy.

Networking and PR are very closely related. Listening, eye contact, interacting and image are all an important part of the networking process. It may not come easy, but practice makes perfect.

The Qualities of a Successful Business Person

And why The Apprentice candidates are wrongbusiness qualities

Have you been watching the latest series of The Apprentice?

If you have, you’ll probably understand why I’m writing this post.

In the early days I found it quite entertaining, especially as it featured one or two candidates that looked promising. But this year’s line up beggars belief – would you seriously consider any of them as a business partner?

The girls are constantly cat fighting, the boys are just intent on getting one over on each other and as for Alex – has he come as the cartoon villain?

Yes, you need grit and determination to succeed in business, but you also need empathy and the ability to get along with people. What happened to good old-fashioned teamwork? I haven’t seen any of that yet.

Week after week they are back-biting, jumping in trying to hijack pitches, making decisions without any consultation and generally stabbing each other in the back.

Lord Sugar would be better off sacking the lot of them and investing in someone who actually shows some business acumen rather than a forced cut-throat attitude because they think it makes them look big.

OK, I’ll admit it makes good TV (although I can no longer bring myself to sit through their toe-curling antics any more), but it gives completely the wrong impression to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Let’s face it, if people run their businesses the way the candidates are, they will quickly alienate their suppliers and customers, not to mention their teams. Their attitude is a sure fire way to failure.

Business qualities

As a copywriter I have been in business since 2007. Over that time I have been fortunate enough to have worked with some fantastic people.

The vast majority have not shown any of the traits displayed by the candidates.  Instead of arrogance they have shown empathy and a willingness to listen, engage and work together to reach desired goals.

That’s why they are still in business today and thriving.

I have a feeling that if any of the candidates actually manage to get a business off the ground (and apparently some of them already have) they will be short lived, unless they change their attitude.

To be a success in business you need determination, but that must come with equal amounts of empathy, engagement and good old-fashioned manners.

What do you think?

What’s your take on this year’s candidates?

Have they got what it takes or has The Apprentice turned into a business version of The Jeremy Kyle Show?

I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this one, so leave a comment below.

Thanks for letting me rant.