Entries from September 2013 ↓

The True Value of Copywriting

Judging by my inbox these days, more and more people are looking to use professional copywriters, but why?

What’s their motivation?

As far as I can tell there are 3 main camps:

1. Joe who doesn’t have time

Joe spends 40+ hours a week chained to his desk. The work keeps pouring in and he’s struggling to keep his head about the water, but his boss keeps sending more his way.

The latest demand is for a re-write of the product descriptions on the company website. Its mind numbing work and Joe a) can’t be bothered and b) doesn’t have the time.

He’s just about got enough in the budget to get some help, so he Googles for a copywriter. The problem is he doesn’t see the work as important and so offers peanuts. And we all know what happens when you only want to pay peanuts.

The problem is, although the copy is fairly short, it’s vital to the success of the business. If the company’s product descriptions aren’t inviting, no one’s going to buy them.

The result? Joe outsources the work to a very cheap company (abroad) and ends up with substandard writing that simply doesn’t work – epic fail.

2. Frank who can’t write for toffee

Frank is also drowning in work, but also knows he doesn’t have the right skill set when it comes to creating engaging copy.

When his boss asks him to write the copy for their new corporate brochure, Frank turns very pale. After a meeting with his boss, Frank persuades him to get in a copywriter. The only problem is, his boss doesn’t see the value in getting someone else in and so sets a very low budget.

Franks is really frustrated because he knows it’s not enough to get a good writer on board, but his hands are tied and calls in a cheap writer.

When the copy arrives, Frank ends up having to re-write it, even though he’s far from confident in his own abilities.

Thousands are printed and taken to the next trade show…and are then brought back again because no one wants them.

3. Alice who values great writing

Monday morning is the budget meeting. Alice already knows she will be responsible for creating a new brochure, web copy and email campaign this quarter. She also knows there’s no one with the right skill set in the company. Plus, she also knows using someone outside will enhance the copy.

During the meeting she makes a strong case for using a professional copywriter and is granted a sizeable budget.

After a bit of research, Alice finds the perfect writer and meets with them to explain what the company is looking for. After taking a detailed brief, the copywriter creates exceptional copy that blends with the company’s brand and engages with the customer.

The result is higher sales, more traffic to the website and an enhanced professional image.

Joe and Frank go in search of help because they don’t have the time or skills, not because they understand the value of professional copy.

Alice, on the other hand, knows that good copy doesn’t come cheap, but she also knows that with it comes experience and the ability to engage customers.

If you think like Alice, your company will be going places.


Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+



Boost Your Email Success With the Right Words

Despite the onslaught of video, social media marketing and search engine optimisation, you shouldn’t ignore the impact that a good email marketing campaign can have on your business. email marketing

A recent report by Salesforce.com showed that:

  • 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email
  • 72% of B2B buyers share useful content via email
  • 82% of consumers open emails from companies
  • 33% of recipients open emails based on the subject line alone
  • 64% open an email because of the subject line

Those last 2 suggest the subject line you use is critical for the success of your campaign. Hardly ground breaking stuff, but how much time do you give to your subject line creation?

The importance of the email subject line

Adestra has just released its annual subject line analysis report that shows usability and clarity is the key to getting good email open and click rates. So forget the cryptic teaser subject lines, people don’t have the time or energy to try and work out what you’re talking about. If you’re having a sale, tell people; if you’re launching a new video, tell them; if you’re announcing a news item, guess what? Tell them.

The report shows that using the word ‘free’ in your subject line will decrease open and click rates, but using ‘free delivery’ had the opposite effect.

So what other keywords work? Well, how about:

  • Sale
  • New
  • Alert
  • News
  • Video
  • Win
  • Daily
  • Weekly

Those that didn’t perform so well were:

  • Only
  • Learn
  • Report
  • Today
  • Webinar
  • Get
  • Register
  • Don’t miss
  • Re:
  • Fw:

Even if you spent hours putting your email’s content together, a hasty subject line could undo all your hard work.

Your subject line is the key to getting your emails read, so it makes sense to spend time over them.

Have a read of Adestra’s report to see what nuggets you can glean that will give your email marketing the shot in the arm it needs.

Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos

Stop Your Video From Being Hijacked

Everyone knows video marketing is amazing:

  • It can add the wow factor to your online presence
  • It will set you apart from everyone else
  • It offers a ‘face’ behind the brand
  • It’s a great way to explain complex ideas in a simple way
  • There’s a good chance it could go viral, boosting your exposure online exponentially

That’s all great, but what happens in your organisation when you decide to put a video together?

Probably one of the first things is to find yourself a good video marketing company who can help turn your vision into a winning video. But how do you come up with your vision in the first place?

Too make cooks…

If you are a large company, the chances are you’ll have a team of people involved in the project.

There’ll be someone to lead and coordinate everything and then several others who will all have a say in what happens.

But what happens when someone, who has his or her own agenda, hijacks your team?

Before you get started it’s vital you all agree on:

  • Who your target audience are
  • What they want to know
  • How it will be conveyed to them
  • What the theme of your video will be
  • Whether it will be animated, voice over, using an actor, interviewing members of staff etc.
  • How long it will be

…and that you stick to your ideas.

It’s very easy to get carried away. Creating a new video is exciting stuff, but that can lead to random ideas being thrown about that end up taking your project off course resulting in a video that one team member loves, but everyone else (including your audience) hates.

If it becomes apparent that someone is driving the project off course, stop.

Go back to your original outline and ask yourself:

  • Will this appeal to our target market?
  • Is it addressing their needs?
  • Is it conveying the message we want to get across?

If the answer to any of those is ‘no’, it’s time to steer the project back on course.

When putting a video together it’s essential you have a goal and that you stick to it.

Don’t be afraid to speak up if you can see things heading off track. The video exists to promote your business not the egos within it.

As a complete aside, we thought you’d like to take a look at our latest video. Our aim was to show our audience the benefits of using the services of a professional copywriter – what do you think?

Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+

Using Social Connections to Boost Your Blog

It’s an age-old problem every blogger faces – how can you be sure you’re writing the right kind of posts that your readers want to read? Social connections and blogging

You could blindly write about anything that came into your head, but how can you be sure that’s what your readers want to learn about?

Or you could blog smarter.

How about using your social connections to discover the topics that will perform well and be a hit with your readers?

After all, what’s big in your social sphere will be big on your blog, right?

1. Title

You already know that the headline of your blog post has a huge effect on its popularity.

If it’s eye-catching, people are more likely to read it.

The best headlines (and the most successful ones) are those that show an obvious value to the reader. So, all you have to do is take a look at the leading brands and thought leaders in your industry and find out which of their articles are performing best.

Track them down on Twitter and Facebook and look at the blogs that are getting the most hits. What are they talking about? What issues are they addressing? Then use that knowledge to create your own post.

2. What do you want?

One of the best ways to generate a fresh list of blog topics is to ask your readers.

Don’t just write ‘what do you want to read about?’ Instead, think about a particular area and ask what issues they face, what do they need to make their lives easier etc.

Then, once you have received feedback from them, you’ll have a ready-made list of topics to write about. What’s more, because the list came from your readers, you have an eager audience ready and waiting to read your words of wisdom.

3. Facebook Insights

If you use Facebook Insights you’ll get a birds-eye view of the most popular posts you’ve written in terms of their overall reach, engagement and how many people are talking about them.

This type of information is priceless as it means you can identify the main topics your audience are interest in to boost your post’s reach.

4. Tweet

You can also identify your most popular posts using a tool called Social Sprout. This shows you which tweets had the biggest impact so again, you can make sure you provide more of that type of information for your followers.

As you can see using your social connections as guidance you can take the guesswork out of your blogging. Now you can be sure that what you’re ‘putting out’ there is what your readers want.

Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos

Quick Tips for Being a Better Business Writer

This is a guest post written by Nancy Anderson. 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.

For many administrative professionals, writing is a crucial part of their job descriptions. The way you write communicates a great deal about your competence, skills, and professionalism. By following a few time-tested writing tips, you can Better business writingtake your business writing to the next level.

During the course of a normal workday, most administrative professionals communicate with people from all aspects of the business. You might write emails to people who have little to no industry knowledge, draft reports for business insiders, or communicate with subject matter experts. When working on a range of professional communication types, one of the most important writing tips is to know your audience. As you write, consider what the readers already know and what they need to know. If your audience has little to no knowledge of your topic matter, avoid using jargon. If you are gearing a piece toward experts in the field, don’t bother with basic information that adds unnecessary length. By considering the reader, you can make your writing clearer and more efficient.

No matter who you are writing to, it is crucial to have a goal in mind. People in administrative positions often handle multiple projects at once, so having a focus is important. Before you start, you should know what you want to accomplish. Whether you are writing an informal email or drafting a long report for a company executive, having a specific purpose can help you stay on track. One of the most helpful writing tips is to keep your communication as focused as possible. Every sentence in your document should relate to your goal; if it doesn’t, take it out. Most professionals have multiple tasks competing for their attention; by getting straight to the point, you can increase the chance that the recipient will understand your message and take the necessary action.

As an administrative professional, you may need to communicate with a range of important clients, vendors, and outsourced employees. According to a recent article on professional writing tips, it is vital to consider the potential legal ramifications of everything you write in connection with your company. Even when you are writing informal emails, it is best to avoid anything that might place you, your company, or your clients in a compromising legal situation. To stay safe, avoid including opinions, statements about race, jokes, political commentary, gender bias, or religious assertions.

One of the easiest writing tips for administrative professionals to follow is to be clear. Cut out unnecessary words, replace long words with shorter ones where feasible, and be as brief as possible. This will help keep your readers’ interest and let them know that you respect their time.

When it comes to business writing, simplicity, brevity, and focus are often the keys to powerful communication. By following tried-and-true writing tips, administrative professionals can cultivate a style that gets the job done efficiently and effectively.

About the author:

Nancy Anderson is the communities and article Editor for Beyond.com.  Nancy has 10 years’ experience in the online job search business with Beyond.  Nancy’s team produces dozens of articles every month for top internet sites.  Follow Nancy and the Beyond team on Twitter @BeyondJobs.

Image courtesy of Naupong/FreeDigitalPhotos