Entries from May 2014 ↓

Are Your Words Driving Customers Away?

You hate ‘in your face’ marketing, right? Marketing

I’m talking about those websites and landing pages that are full of hype and insincere drivel that’s supposed to make you want to buy a product you don’t need.

All you really want is the basic facts about the product and how it’s going to benefit you. Then, if it is something you can’t do without and it’s the right price, you’ll buy.

If that’s how you think, why is your website full of marketing drivel that’s driving your customers away?

I’m not talking about jargon; I mean the stuff that’s damaging your conversion rates.

Over-used phrases

How many times have you read that something’s ‘ground-breaking’ or ‘market-leading’?

“Our product is world-class…” – really, where’s your proof?

“Our new widget is first-rate…” was the old one second-rate?

These words and phrases are meaningless. Instead of wasting space with these, tell your reader why your product is great and why that is important to them. Will it make them happier, save them time, make them happier?

Over excitement

If you’re launching a new product you’re bound to be excited about it, but resist the urge to claim it’s a ‘breakthrough’ (unless you have proof), ‘innovative’, or ‘pioneering’.

It’s new; we get that, but tell us why. Explain what’s new about it and, more importantly, what it means to us as consumers. In that way you’ll be converting this new feature into a benefit.


Don’t tell us you’re the best, or incredible or the ultimate, instead tell us what you’re really like and leave words like that for your testimonials.

If you over-hype your copy no one will believe you.

Stop being meaningless

Come on now, tell the truth, does your website copywriting claim ‘fast delivery’ or ‘great customer service’?

If you want to show your customer service levels use specifics, such as the results of a customer survey. This will increase your credibility.


The last on my list, but one of the biggest offenders in the ‘meaningless website drivel’ stakes.

Leveraging and alleviating are not as powerful as ‘using’ or ‘easing’ – stop trying to be clever and write what you mean.

Come on, be honest, how many of these are you guilty of?

You see, writing simple, straightforward copy isn’t as easy as you first thought. It’s easy to splatter your copy with meaningless drivel that dilutes your message until there’s nothing left to impress your customers with.

Before you start writing think about your customer, who they are and what they want. Then keep them focused in your mind as you write using their words.


Author: Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

Changes at Freelance Copywriter’s Blog

As a regular reader of this blog you’re used to seeing 3 new posts per week.

It’s been like that for quite some time now, so it’s time for a change.

You’ll still find the great information  you know and love, but it will just be a bit more spaced out – time-wise.

Rather than posting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from now on I’ll just be posting once a week.

Why the change?

To be honest I just want to try something different and see how it goes.

Keeping up with the demands of this blog is tough, so consider this a little experiment.

My next post will be next Wednesday so don’t forget to pop back, or sign up for my RSS feed (link on the right) to make sure you never miss any of my pearls of wisdom.

Thanks for being such a loyal follower and I hope the new regime will suit you too.

Best wishes.



Improve Your Business Results by 240%

Not possible?

It is if you follow the advice in Gallup’s recent report on the “State of The Global Marketplace”.

According to their findings only 13% of employees are engaged in their jobs, i.e. that they are ‘emotionally invested in and focused on creating value for their organisations every day.’

What’s more alarming is that actively disengaged employees outnumber the engaged ones by 2 to 1.

3 types of employee

There are 3 main types of employee:

  1. Engaged – have passion for what they do, drive innovation and move your business forwards
  2. Not engaged – do what they have to do without passion
  3. Actively disengaged – unhappy in their work and content to let everyone know about it

I don’t know about you, but I know which ones I want.

So how can you be sure your employees are engaged and happy in their work?

Increasing employee engagement

If you are only interested in your bottom line, the chances are your employees aren’t particularly engaged.

Your people should be your biggest investment because they are the ones that will drive your business forwards.

If you want to get and keep customers you’ll need employees who are engaged. Companies that attain higher employee engagement levels achieve 3 times the operating margin of those that don’t. Plus, companies with engaged employees see a 240% improvement in business results because they become brand ambassadors giving a positive slant on the business with every interaction.

You can achieve greater employee engagement in 3 ways:

  • Hiring the right people – look for people with the right attitude and personality for your business
  • Invest – focus on their strengths and offer coaching to help them improve their skills further. Investing in them will increase their engagement to you
  • Well-being – help your employees with their work-life balance as well as providing fair pay and perks (such as healthcare)

If you want to get the best from your people, it’s up to you to show them you are the right employer for them. See them more than just tools to generate sales; they are real people who, with the right training and investment, will become great ambassadors for your brand.

When your staff want to do their best for you, they will bring in the customers you want.


Author: Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

How to Create Social Media Headlines That Work

What are social media headlines?

The whole point of social media updates is to engage with your followers. That could involve showing them a video, illustrating something through an infographic, asking them to click on a link for an offer and it’s this last point I want to concentrate on.

The headline in social media terms can, at times, be the whole update. This is simply because of the character limitation imposed on some platforms. But the aim is to get the reader to click your link.

If you measure your effectiveness by shares, likes, comments and retweets you are missing the bigger picture. When a link is involved, the sole purpose of your update is to get clicks, so how is it done?

1. Ask them to download

OK, technically speaking an update that says: “Our new app will help you keep a track of your cash. Click here to download” is more of a call to action, but it’s still relevant here.

According to Twitter, after analysing 20,000 promoted tweets the most effective call to action was the one asking people to download something.

To make the most of this, offer an incentive for signing up to your email marketing list such as a downloadable eBook or something along those lines and tweet about it using the simple “click here to download” call to action.

2. Facebook wins

On Facebook (as with most other social media platforms) shorter updates work better than long ones.

The name of the game here is tempting your audience by hinting at something and offering a link to find out more. If you’re sharing a blog post, just offer a teaser and link through to the whole post.

3. Images

Facebook posts with an image out perform those without.


They immediately attract attention and stand out in the newsfeed. OK, although technically not a headline, an image can work in the same way.

4. Be active with your keywords

Dan Zarella has done some research in this area. These are not keywords in terms of what your customers use to search for you, rather a list of the most retweetable words and phrases Dan identified in 10,000 of the most retweeted tweets:

  • You
  • Twitter
  • Please
  • Retweet
  • Post
  • Blog
  • Social
  • Free
  • Media
  • Help
  • Please retweet
  • Great
  • Social media
  • 10
  • Follow
  • How to
  • Top
  • Blog Post
  • Check out
  • New blog post

Listed in order of popularity, using them within your tweets would have a positive impact in your click through and retweet rates.

Where does the active bit come in?

Well, Dan’s research also showed that using more verbs and adverbs and less nouns and adjectives also helped. That’s not all that surprising considering copywriting in general is much more effective using an active vocabulary.

Some words and phrases you can use are ‘act now’, ‘launch’, ‘save’, ‘boost’ and ‘earn’.

Make sure very tweet, status update and message you send out asks the reader to do something. Using the tips above you’ll soon see your click rate increased and, quite possibly, your sharing rate too.

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

Writing Copy is Easy. Writing Great Copy is Tough

Pah! Writing is simple. writing copy

All you do is write down a load of stuff about your company that tells the customer how great you are and that they should buy from you.

If that’s what you truly believe your website is probably way under performing and your marketing materials are falling on deaf ears.

Any professional copywriter will tell you that writing copy is quite easy (once a fill brief has been obtained and the research done), but things start to get tricky when you refine and edit your text to create the final draft.

How to edit your copy effectively

1. Going from long to short

It’s much, much easier to cut copy down that to pad it out, so always overwrite.

Write anything that comes to mind and then, once the first draft is finished, go back through it, be ruthless and strip out anything that’s sloppy, doesn’t fit or is irrelevant. You might also want to rearrange your copy to create a better flow.

2. Find the perfect start

A common mistake by many writers is to waffle before getting to the point. When looking back through your copy, you may well find that the first paragraph or two don’t really drive the message you want to get across. If that’s the case, cut them and start the copy from where it really gets going.

3. Be lean, mean and active

What does that mean? Well, your copy should be fast and easy to read, that means short sentences and paragraphs with simple vocabulary and punctuation.

As for the active part, this happens when you use active verbs. Rather than saying “you can improve your sales technique” try “improve your sales technique”.

4. Build credibility

You build credibility by not over promising. Make sure your claims are realistic, which can be reinforced by admitting a limitation, such as “We can’t promise to make you a millionaire over night, but our investment course will help you identify the right places to put your money.”

Credibility also relates to the price you’re asking for your product. The idea is to show the value of what you’re offering. Saying “you will have access to over £300,000 worth of photos for just £29 per month” shows value for money as opposed to “subscribe for £29 per month for unlimited access”.

As you can see, there is far more to writing copy that first meets the eye.

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd