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. email@example.com rather than firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.
July 8th, 2015 — blog, blogging
Blogging is great for your online presence, but you don’t need me to tell you that.
It helps you share your knowledge, drive traffic to your website and rank highly in the search results.
You already know about the basic SEO stuff to do with on-page factors and link building, but there are loads of other factors that get overlooked.
Granted, you’ll never smash them all, but it’s worth spending some time on the easy ones to make sure your blogs have a bigger impact.
Here are 5 simple but effective tactics you should be using.
Yes, headlines help your rankings.
They attract click-throughs, which will give your search rankings a boost.
Because the algorithm will attach more value to your blog.
If your blog has a fairly low rank, but gets lost of clicks your ranking will rise. However, if you rank highly and you don’t get click throughs, your blog will be deemed irrelevant to that search term and your rankings will fall.
Therefore, eye-catching headlines improve your rankings.
Use images to boost your rankings
Using images to link to your blog will boost your rankings and provide some diversity to your backlinks.
The Alt tag tells the search engines about the content of your image. When using an image to link to your blog post, the Alt tag serves as a keyword.
The best way to get these link-based backlinks is to create an infographic for others to use – just ask for an image backlink to your original post.
Dofollow vs nofollow
Your aim is to get dofollow links because they show your blog is of high quality and a trusted source of information.
The problem is a lot of profile sites and blogs only provide nofollow links. An excessive amount of these will make your blog appear untrusted – not good.
Buying in links (please say you don’t do that) is the quickest way to ruin your rankings. Instead concentrate on guest blogging for high quality blogs.
Linking to trusted blogs
Outbound links are just as important as inbound ones.
As a trusted and high quality blog, you’ll be expected to link to other high quality blogs if you want to raise the value of your blog in the eyes of the search engines.
Short or long blogs?
OK, yes you could probably write a useful and informative high quality blog post that’s short, but the search engines love long content.
But not only should your content be lengthy (but still high quality, relevant and informative), you also need to work on getting comments. This will help boost the length of the unique content of each post.
Although none of these ideas are revolutionary, they often overlooked. Simple and easy to implement, these tips will help you get more out of your blogging.
Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any further ideas on how to get the best rankings from your blogging, or if you have any questions.
July 1st, 2015 — Branding, copywriting, copywriting tips, Copywriting tone, marketing
Does this sound familiar?
“Through our organisational changes we’ll strategically transition towards a more customer centric approach. Going forward, by leveraging KPIs this paradigm shift will cultivate a results orientated environment cultivating workable growth strategies.”
This is the kind of wording corporates love. Their marketers think it makes them sound impressive and worth every penny of their excessive fees.
All they’re doing is using a lot of words to say absolutely nothing.
It doesn’t tell their reader anything about them, how they are going to help them or what benefits they will bring.
They will even go to far as to say their clients expect them to write that way.
Do you think anyone wants to read that stuff?
Presenting your marketing in that style makes me (the reader) think that actually you have no idea what you’re talking about. Especially when I ask for clarification and your response is a barrage of alternative marketing terms that also mean nothing.
The problem is that because it’s become so ingrained in the corporate world if you don’t speak it you’re seen as an outsider.
So what happens if you run a small business and have to sell to corporates?
Dare to be different
Most companies try to emulate this incomprehensible style of writing because they think it’s the only way they’ll be taken seriously by their target audience.
Well, I think it’s down to the smaller business to show these behemoths how it should be done.
- Don’t tell them permanent recruitment is your core competency; tell them you know a lot about permanent recruitment.
- Don’t start a dialogue with them; talk to them.
- Don’t tell them how you utilise your resources; show them how you use them.
- Don’t tell them you have multiple strengths you can leverage; tell them you have lots of great resources that will help them.
Keep it simple
Yes, your marketing must be targeted to your audience, but in relation to the benefits you offer them.
When it comes to language, keeping it simple and conversational will win every time.
By showing empathy and how you’re going to make their life better will be understood no matter how educated your reader is or how high up the ladder they are in their organisation.
They just want to know you understand their problem and have the solution to make it go away.
Just tell them how it is in plain English.
June 24th, 2015 — copywriting tips, marketing
Marketing is a necessary evil when it comes to running a business. It’s one of those things that most people hate, mainly because it takes time. Th problem is, without it you won’t have any customers so it’s a bit of a catch 22.
If you are one of those rare creatures that enjoys it – whether you’re a social media fanatic, blogging hero, content writer extraordinaire, or a wizard at email marketing – there’s one thing you must do in order to get your customers to buy.
Want to know what it is?
Finding out what interests your customers.
You have to know what keeps them awake at night, what pushes their buttons, what they really, really want.
There are probably several things, but in the main their main interest is themselves.
They don’t care about your business, where your premises are, whether you’re the market leader (everyone says that), or a great innovator (yawn), all they want to know is how you are going to help them.
Even though you’ve spent years building up your business, you’ve weathered economic downturns, fluctuations in your market place and umpteen rows at home because of the number of hours you spend at the office, your customers don’t care.
But why should they?
None of that’s going to help them, is it?
The only way they’re going to spend their hard earned cash with you is if you can convince them that their lives will be greatly improved by your product or service.
It’s the exact same reason why you buy things and yet it’s easy to forget that when you’re putting your own marketing materials together.
If you want to sell, forget about your business
When crafting your message, put yourself and your business to the back of your mind.
Every thought you have must centre on your customer.
- Who are they?
- What problem do they have?
- How can you help them?
- What can you offer them that will solve their problem?
There’s no room for a tempting “we’re the best at what we do” spiel.
The cold hard fact about marketing is that there’s no room for your ego. The only thing that matters is what you can do for your customer. Keep everything you write focused on them and you’ll see your sales increase.