August 12th, 2015 — blog, blogging, blogging for business, seo
Is there really such as a thing as an SEO secret these days?
Possibly not, but there are a few white hat practices that bloggers tend to overlook.
Blogging is all about sharing your knowledge, but it’s also a great way to drive traffic to your website and raise your online profile.
The tactics I’m going to outline in this article are pretty basic, which is why they usually get forgotten about. However, each one with help you make marginal gains that all add up to a big difference.
Your headline is crucial.
Not only will it get your post noticed, it will also determine whether it gets read or not.
Did know you know that the more click throughs your article gets in the search results, the higher you’re likely to rank? It’s true, because Google’s algorithm will attach more value to your blog because of the post’s popularity.
Conversely though, if you already rank fairly well, but your headlines are poor having a knock on effect on your click through rates, your blog will be seen as being irrelevant to that search term and your rankings could fall.
That’s why it’s best to always write cracking, eye-catching headlines.
Images give you diversity in your backlinks.
The Alt tag tell the search engines about the image, but if you use an image to link to your blog post, that tag will also serve as a keyword.
A great way to boost this effect is to create infographics for others to use – just ask for an image backlink to your post.
Nofollow or Dofollow?
It’s tempting to take a few short cuts when it comes to link building, especially when a growing number of sites only offer nofollow links. If you’re tempted to buy in links, don’t. That’s is the quickest way to ruin your rankings and reputation.
Concentrate on creating high quality articles that other sites will want to link to.
Yes, linking out to other high quality blogs is a good thing.
If you are seen as a trusted blog, it’s expected that you’ll be linking to other equally high quality blogs.
Length of blog post
It’s best to stick with longer, high quality, informative blog posts. However, you also need to work on gathering comments because this will add to the length of the unique content for each post – something the search engines love.
None of these are revolutionary, but they will all help you in your quest for a high ranking blog.
If you have any other suggestions I’ve overlooked, leave a comment below.
August 5th, 2015 — marketing, Video marketing, Viral video marketing
The internet is jam packed with videos these days.
Bloggers, would-be musicians and companies are all at it vying for your attention.
That means if your video is going to cut the mustered and get noticed it’s got to be something pretty special.
Granted, the production, initial idea and storyboard will have a lot to do with that, but so too will your video’s script. After all, you need powerful words to make the most of the action.
Making an impact
The first thing to remember is that your script must be written in spoken English.
Written English, as you would use for web copy and other marketing materials, will come across as stilted so it’s important to write as you speak.
Whether you have a storyboard to fit your script to, or you’re writing freestyle, it’s important to start with the most important person – the customer.
Every word must be directed at them and what they need, so think about:
- What are they looking for?
- How does the product/service help them?
- How will it make their life better?
These should all be addressed early on (and recapped at the end) before you talk about any features.
Pain and pleasure
Once you’ve worked out what you need to cover to answer the question above, finding the customer’s pain (i.e. the problem they have and the reason for them looking for a solution) should be fairly easy.
Your next stop is to highlight this issue in your script and show how the product/service will alleviate it and make their life better.
Going back to the earlier point of using spoken English – now’s the time to ignore (some) grammatical rules and write as you speak.
Don’t get me wrong, it still has to be good English, just not as straight laced as written English.
The best way to make sure you’ve captured it is to read the script out loud and adjust it until it sounds like natural speech.
The length of the script
Remember this is a video not a feature length film.
The video isn’t there to answer every question the customer has; it’s there to tempt them into finding out more.
Ideally, your video shouldn’t exceed 90 seconds.
Call to action
Yes, your script does need a call to action.
If you don’t include one it will just fizzle.
Recap your main points (especially the benefits) and tell them how to get in touch. The final visual should be of the web address, phone number and email. Let’s face it, if you forget that they’re not going to get in touch.
So, a quick recap:
- Write for the customer
- Write in spoken English
- Keep to 90 seconds or less
- Finish with a call to action
Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd
July 29th, 2015 — Advertising, Branding, marketing
A tagline has always been seen as an important part of your brand’s marketing, regardless of your company’s size.
In a few short well-chosen words, it sums up your brand’s promise, but is it still relevant today?
Just look at some of the biggest companies around like Amazon, Apple, eBay and Google, they don’t rely on taglines, their logo is enough to instil the values they hold dear.
OK, the chances of your business commanding the same kudos in your industry is unlikely (you don’t have their marketing budget for a start), but if they can go tagline-less can you?
More and more companies are moving away from them, but is that because the vast majority of taglines are, well, not to put too finer point on it, bad?
Is there a value in taglines?
Look at is this way, advertising is moving away from selling. Overt sales pitches don’t cut it any more (did they ever?). Consumers want to be wooed; they want to be shown how great their life will become if they buy your product. In other words, your marketing has to be all about them and not about you.
The inclusion of a tagline however, creates a hook that attaches itself to their mind permanently telling them:
- I’m lovin’ it – McDonalds
- Just do it – Nike
- We’re better connected – 02
- Every little helps – Tesco
- It gives you wings – Red Bull
- The make-up of make-up artists – Max Factor
- 8 out of 10 cats prefer it – Whiskas
A good tagline can permanently cement itself from childhood, who doesn’t remember the Frosties, They’re Grrrrrrreat!
It instantly conveys what your brand stands for and your customers’ attitude towards it.
How to create a winning tagline
Only time will tell if you’ve come up with a cracker, but here are a few tips to try and get you on the right course.
- Do you want it to reflect your values or your product/service?
- Does it reflect the emotions and feelings of your customers?
- Does it gel with your businesses ideology?
- Use simple language without any jargon
- Will it date quickly or does it have longevity?
- Is it memorable?
Ultimately, ask yourself whether it adds value to your brand?
If you’re really struggling to come up with something perhaps it’s worth going to market without one.
In time, as your business grows and you understand it better (and your customers), you can always do a mini rebrand exercise and introduce one.
July 22nd, 2015 — copywriter, copywriting, copywriting tips
You’ve settled down for a coffee break.
Being the diligent, dedicated worker that you are, you’ve decided to spend your 15 minutes reading up on a subject that you’re working on at the moment.
After a quick Google search you’ve found an article that looks as though it will tell you everything you need to know.
As you settle down the writing engages you and you lose yourself in it completely, soaking up the knowledge from the screen.
Just as you reach the final paragraph you notice a typo. It’s nothing catastrophic, there’s just a letter missing. It doesn’t detract from the information, but it stands out to you.
What do you do?
a) Skip over it, after all it’s not hurting anyone
b) Slam your mug down in disgust and state you’ll never read any of their work again
c) Send a DM tweet to bring their attention to the mistake
d) Leave a caustic/sarcastic comment at the end of their blog post
We are all human
Granted, mistakes shouldn’t happen, but they do.
At times it doesn’t matter how often you read through something errors will slip through.
Because you’re human.
Can you really imagine a world where no one makes mistakes?
So, getting back to the quandary, what should you do?
As a writer I make mistakes (shock horror!). I try not to, but every now and then one will slip through.
Personally, I welcome a DM tweet to let me know so I can go back and correct it. I see it as something positive. After all, it means that someone has liked my writing enough to read the entire article and that they care enough to let me know there’s a typo – that’s pretty special.
I’ve also had smart arses who have left curt comments on my blog when they’ve found an error. Right, like they’ve never made a mistake in their life. My response is generally a sweet “why thank you so much for pointing that out to me”, but they don’t put themselves in a good light.
You see there are various ways of doing things.
Some decisions will show you as caring and thoughtful, others as someone who loves to revel in the mistakes of others like some God that never gets anything wrong.
Next time you come across a typo stop and think. How would you like to be treated? Everyone makes mistakes – EVERYONE – just remember that.
Why have I written this post?
I’ve already admitted to making the odd mistake now and then. This post is in response to a lovely lady (and friend) who spotted a missing ‘t’ in a recent post of mine. She was kind enough to DM me so I could correct it.
If I’m feeling particularly mischievous I’ll slip in a deliberate typo just to see if anyone notices.
Keep your eyes peeled.
July 15th, 2015 — copywriting tips, newsletter
It wasn’t too long ago that we were all panicking when Google announced it was cracking down on websites that weren’t mobile friendly.
Business owners around the world were frantically trying to bring their sites into line with the search giant’s exacting demands.
If you beat the deadline you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief and relaxing feeling smug.
What about your newsletter?
Is that mobile friendly too?
Today, about 66% (source: emailmonday.com) of emails are opened on mobile devices so if yours isn’t optimised for mobile the chances are it will be deleted immediately.
The good news is that unlike your website, fixing your email readability is relatively straightforward.
Make people open your emails
You have 3 bites of the cherry when it comes to convincing someone to open your email:
- Subject line – 28 to 39 characters long, personalised (use “I” and “you”), emotive language
- First line – make it sound friendly, as through from an old friend (e.g. “Can you believe Briar Copywriting has turned 3? It only seems like yesterday…)
- From line – show they’re from a real person (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com)
Is your font readable?
If you use a tiny font that makes your readers squint to try and read it, it will get binned.
Make sure it is big enough to read without having to pinch and zoom. A good size for the body text is 14.
Don’t give your email a garish dress to wear
When your recipient opens your email they should be drawn directly to your text not your design.
Don’t cram it with images; less is definitely more.
Shout about your call to action
Your email needs a call to action – that’s a given.
The problem with text-based calls to action is they’re not overly obvious and can be difficult to “hit” when using a mobile device.
Using a simple, coloured button will draw attention to your call to action and make it easy to press.
See, I told you it wouldn’t be difficult to make a different to your emails.