Entries from January 2014 ↓

You Need Content, But What Type of Content?

You must get into content marketing. It’s all the rage. Everyone’s doing it.

How many times have you read a blog post that sells the virtues of content marketing?

However, more often than not, they gloss over one particular aspect – what type of content you need.

You see, content isn’t just this (i.e. a written blog post); it can also be video, podcast, images, infographics etc.

Of course, the type of content you need depends on what you want to achieve (the format of it will largely depend on your audience).

You’re probably after more traffic to your website, which is another way of saying more money.

Rational and emotional content

Emotional or rational?

Content boils down to two types: emotional and rational.

They will appeal to different people; some make decisions based on emotional responses, others on logical and rational foundations.

In that way, your content must be a mix of the following 4 types.

1. Something that entertains

Before you can sell to someone, you must get them interested in your company.

Entertaining content (for example, an amusing video) hits them at an emotional level. It intrigues them and makes them aware of your business. This is the type of content you need right at the top of your sales funnel.

Its purpose is to grab their interest and to engage them enough to make them want to share it so it can then do the same to others. It’s fantastic for building brand awareness and social sharing.

2. Education, education, education

Not as much fun as entertaining, but equally effective.

People love to learn, so putting out some content that educates them will a) appeal to their rational side and b) make them feel valued because you’ve taught them something valuable i.e. you’ve given them something for nothing.

Again, by giving them that warm and fuzzy feeling, it’s more likely to be shared. As before, educational content works at the top of your sales funnel and is a great way to start building valuable and trusting relationships.

3. Go on, you know you want to

The next type in the mix is content that persuades – yes, that’s right, back to emotional content. Tugging at their heartstrings will persuade them that what you’re offering is exactly what they need.

Testimonials and reviews are great for this because they give compelling reasons to buy without selling. Plus, you’re not the one telling them how great your product is, other customers are doing that for you.

Persuasion content comes in a little further along your sales funnel once your entertaining and educational content has done its job.

4. Convert

The final part of your sales funnel, converting content does what it says on the tin – it’s there to convert browsers to buyers.

This type of content must appeal to their rational side. They have to be convinced that buying your product is the right move because it will help them achieve what they want.

It’s essential that your content marketing covers all bases: video, blogs and articles and images to give it the widest appeal possible. But on top of that, it must also speak to both the emotional and rational sides of our brains.

Content is essential throughout the whole sales process from attraction right through to getting the sale. It can be web copy, brochure content, email marketing, videos, podcasts, direct mail…the list is endless. But whatever it is, it must cater for all types of customers – both the rational and emotional.


Author: Sally Ormond

How to Work With a Copywriter

Over the past 18 months or so, I’ve noticed that more and more of my clients are first time copywriter users. Sally Ormond

As such, I have been explaining how the whole process works several times over, hence this post.

If you’re considering working with a copywriter, but aren’t too sure about what that entails, what follows is a brief outline of the process (at least the way I work) so you know what to expect.

Before I get started I just want to stress a couple of things:

  • It is a collaborative process, so you will have to be involved
  • You will have to provide information and direction to your copywriter

It doesn’t matter how highly recommended your writer is, he or she isn’t a magician or a mind reader, so you’re going to be the primary information source about your business, market and customers they’ll need to tap into.

Briefing your writer

The first step (once you’ve chosen your writer) is to brief your copywriter.

Just saying ‘we’re a financial services firm that deals with professional people’ isn’t going to cut it. You must to tell your writer everything:

  • What your business does
  • Who is does it for
  • What’s unique about it
  • How your products/services work
  • What the main benefits are that you offer
  • The background of your business
  • Why people want your product or service
  • What the factors are that stop them from buying from you
  • What is your offer?
  • What do you want your website visitors to do?
  • Who your customers are and what they need

Once you’ve gone through all of that, you must also think about the style of the writing – do you want it conversational, professional, something that makes you sound approachable? A great idea is to provide links to examples of the tone that you want to achieve.

Oh, and before you start rambling in your industry jargon, don’t. You’re copywriter will not write in jargon. Instead they will adopt a plain English approach because that works.

This process may take a while and may involve several conversations, but bear with your writer because it’s in your best interests that they get all the information they need and have a firm understanding of your business. Trust me, there’s nothing more frustrating for a copywriter than to get as far as the first draft only to be told they’ve missed out information that they were never party to in the first place.

Also, if there is a style that you really hate, provide examples so your writer knows not to go down that particular avenue.


You’re probably thinking that they’ll now go away and write something for you within a day or two.


It’s at this point they go away and do some research into your industry and your business. Plus, there’s a lot of thinking that has to go on – creating eye-catching, powerful copy doesn’t happen overnight.

Only when they have everything they need will they begin to plan and structure the first draft.

First draft review

OK, let’s get one thing straight right now, this is the first draft – it’s called that because it’s not the final draft.

You wouldn’t expect your web designer or graphic designer to hit the nail on the head straightaway, so give your copywriter the same chances.

Writing is very subjective and, because the copy is being written for your customers, it may take you a while to ‘get it’. The copy is not about you, it’s about what you can do for your customers; that’s something a lot of clients have a hard time dealing with.

I’ve lost count of the number of clients who say ‘oh no, our website is there just for information, we don’t want to sell through it’ when they read the first draft, worried that it’s not talking about them enough. Firstly, a website is there to sell (otherwise what’s the point in having it) and secondly, the writer you are using has years of experience so trust them – they know what they are doing.

Once you get the first draft, read it through several times to get a feel for it. Resist the urge to attack it with red pen if you find a typo or two (these will be gone by the final version). Remember, this is a first draft; it’s used to test the water.

Frequently, I’ll be asked for an informal, conversational tone, but when the client sees it they decide it’s too informal. You see, everyone has different ideas about what a style should mean and it’s only when it can be seen for the first time that decisions can be made as to whether it’s the right approach or not.

Ideally, when reviewing the copy, go through and highlight the areas you like as well as those you don’t to give your writer a clear idea of how you want to proceed. Also, this is the time to check facts and content to make sure everything is covered from the brief.

Provided you’ve given constructive feedback that is clear, your writer will have enough to work on to produce the second draft.

Second draft

Having taken on board all your feedback, your copywriter will now go away and produce a second draft.

This will incorporate your comments about the tone, content and layout, shaping the copy into something that you will want to use on your website (brochure, case study etc.) and be proud of. It’s also the time for thorough proofreading to banish any typos or grammatical errors.

Once ready, this new version will be sent back to you for your review. Assuming every thing’s now exactly as you want it, congratulations you’ve got great copy. But if there are still a few changes to make, these can be easily sorted and a third draft sent to you for your sign off.

As you can see, the whole process is very collaborative, which means you must talk to your writer.

The chances of hitting the right tone and content straight away are slim, so you shouldn’t be surprised if it’s not quite right. If the first draft is not working for you, pick up the phone (or send an email) to talk about it. They can’t work with you if you don’t talk to them.


Author: Sally Ormond

Banish The 7 Excuses That Prevent You From Blogging

It’s 2014 – what are you going to do this year? why you should blog

How about starting that blog you’ve been talking about for the past 18 months, but never quite got round to.

Whoa – I may not be able to hear you, but I know you’ve just started listing all the excuses you can think of to illustrate that now’s not the right time to start.


Excuses are for losers. If you want to succeed, get off your butt and do something.

Here are the 7 top excuses for not starting a blog and the reasons why they are just a figment of your imagination.

1. People won’t like what I have to say

Really? Have you asked them?

Of course you haven’t. And who’s to say they won’t like your stuff?

Sure, you’re never going to appeal to everyone – no one can do that (not even J K Rowling), but that’s no reason not to blog.

Blogs are very personal, some people will like your style, and others will hate it. If they hate it they won’t come back so there’s no need to worry about them, if they love it they’ll be hanging on your every word, which is pretty cool.

You’ll get some amazing comments and you’ll get some rants from small minded people who get their kicks out of trolling blogs, who, quite frankly, aren’t worth worrying about.

The main thing is that there will be people who like what you say, so that’s that excuse blown out of the water.

2. I don’t have anything new to say

There aren’t that many subjects out there where there is anything new to say, especially if you’re giving tips.

Take the subject of blogging for example, there are zillions of posts out there telling you why you should blog, how to blog and the benefits of blogging, but that didn’t stop those authors getting their message out.

What makes each and every post worthwhile is that they are all told from someone else’s point of view. No one else writes like you, so whatever you write about will be original because it’s your take on the subject.

Boom, there goes number two.

3. Overcrowded

So what if your particular niche already has hundreds of bloggers writing about it. That doesn’t signal that it’s overcrowded, it means it’s a topic that has a huge audience and they’re all waiting to hear what you have to say.

Take that number three.

4. No time

Oh right, and the rest of us bloggers have loads of time?

Nope. None of us have the luxury of just writing blogs – we’re all working or running businesses too.

Take me for example, I run a successful copywriting agency from my home office. I also have two sons I end up running here there and everywhere, 2 dogs that need walking, a pile of washing and ironing that has to be kept up with and a family to feed.

No time? I don’t think so.

5. Where do I start?

How about at the beginning?

Set up your blog and get the first post written. Decide on how often you’ll post and stick to it. You’ll find your blog evolves over time as you grow as a writer, so there’s no point getting hung up on how to start – just do it.

6. Not the right time

When is?

If you are listing the reasons why you can’t start blogging right now, what happens when those excuses are no longer relevant? Do you think of some more?

There never is a right time, so stop procrastinating and get on with it.

7. I might fail

Define fail.

You can’t, can you?

Blogging is a great way to stir up your creativity, drive traffic to your website, boost your online reputation and get stuff off your chest.

It can be very therapeutic and you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.

The best advice I can give is stop with the excuses and just start writing.  You will get so much out of the blogging experience – your knowledge will grow, your reputation will grow and your business will grow.

Just go and do it!

Author: Sally Ormond

2 of The Biggest Headaches Web Designers Face

First off, I’m not a web designer so if you are and you disagree with me, please feel free to leave a comment and tell me (and everyone else who will be reading this post) what it is that really bugs you. web designer headaches

As a copywriter, I work with a lot of web designers.

It seems to me that there are still a lot of people out there who firmly believe that:

a)    Their website comes fully loaded with copy

b)    Once it’s published, visitors will flock to their site

If you think like that, you’re wrong on both counts.

Just because you’ve hired someone to build you a fantastic website does not mean people will be beating down your door to take a look at it.

These days, if you want a successful website you’ve got to do some work – well, quite a lot of work and that means having a budget.

‘Budget’ – the word sends shivers down your spine, doesn’t it?

Your outlay doesn’t just begin and end with the design and build of your website. This brings us back to the first misconception listed above.

Your website comes fully loaded with copy

No, it doesn’t.

Your designer will create you a fantastic website, but he or she won’t be filling it with content for you – that’s your job, or if you prefer, the job of the copywriter you’re going to hire.

Yes, hiring a writer means more money, but it will be money very well spent.

Once you have people flocking to your website, it’s the words that will keep them there and draw them in, convincing them to buy or contact you. If you have the wrong words, they’ll keep on browsing until they find a website that gives them what they want. I won’t bore you with the details about how to write website copy here, because there you can read out that in my earlier post ‘How to Create Engaging Website Copy’.

But of course, before your copy can engage them, you have to get them there.

Traffic will just come to you

Err, no it won’t.

This is the other misconception.

Once your website goes live, if you just sit back and wait for visitors you could be waiting a very long time.

No one is going to know you’re there unless you tell them. That means:

  • Getting busy on social media
  • Writing blogs and articles
  • Building links

Yes, in other words, you’ve got to do some work. Again, you can either get on with this yourself, or you can find the budget to pay someone else to do it for you.

Getting a website online is only the start of your online journey. If you don’t have the time, patience or knowhow to do it yourself, the cold hard fact is that you’ll have to find the budget you need to get someone else to do it for you. But just make sure you find someone reputable with a proven track record. Cutting corners by paying peanuts will leave you frustrated with a website full of dire copy and rolling tumbleweed where you should have traffic.

Author: Sally Ormond

How to Protect Your Twitter Reputation

It doesn’t take a lot to ruin your Twitter reputation.

One badly worded tweet, a lapse in judgement or a tweet in haste could bring everything you’ve worked hard to achieve crashing down around you.

To help you stay on the straight and narrow, here are a few tips on how to keep your Twitter reputation intact.

1. Verify

Your reputation as a reliable source of information is precious, so guard it with your life. Before you RT anything, always check the source to make sure it’s a genuine article.

If your followers click on a broken link, or worse a dodgy one, it could do untold damage to your rep.

2. Relationships

How many times have you seen businesses on Twitter just slamming out ‘by now’ tweets and nothing else? Annoying aren’t they?

Building relationships must be your first concern on Twitter if you don’t want to be seen as a spammer.

Take me for example; I won’t put out a tweet saying ‘buy my copywriting services now’, instead I tweet about things that are happening, put out links to my blogs and retweet stuff I find interesting that I think my followers might like too. For me, Twitter is about chatting, making new friends and helping those who are looking for advice.

3. Respond

Many of your customers will use Twitter as a way of getting hold of you because it’s quick. But that means you must respond quickly. Taking days to reply to a tweet isn’t good enough. Your Twitter account must be monitored at all times so you can act quickly when you have to.

4. Consistency

Tweeting once in a blue moon isn’t going to work. If you want to build relationships and a following, you must come up with a tweeting schedule and stick to it. Sending out a barrage of tweets once every few months just won’t cut it. You need to be seen daily (if at all possible).

5. Critics

Sorry, but there are people out there who are not going to like what you sell or say. But don’t get defensive and don’t let yourself get drawn into a Twitter spat. Respond quickly to any derogatory tweets in a positive way and state facts and your opinion clearly. If you have made an error apologise immediately to diffuse the situation and, if you can, put it right.

Other followers will be watching how you deal with the situation.

6. Automation

I’m not adverse to automation per se, but keep it to a minimum. Your followers will want to know that there is a real person behind your Twitter account. By all means have your blog posts automatically go out, but make sure there are also live tweets too.

Most of that is common sense, but it never hurts to reiterate it now and then.

Your Twitter reputation is precious so make sure you take care of it.

Author: Sally Ormond