January 14th, 2015 — Building a business, copywriter, copywriting, marketing, Press releases
It’s the age of the entrepreneur. Businesses are springing up everywhere, so how do you get yours noticed?
As a start-up you have no track record, no testimonials, no social proof. That might sound like a brick wall, but if you can prove to the media that you can change the world you will get your story heard.
Your pitch: I can change the world
The usual course of action for a new business trying to get noticed is to write umpteen press releases, but journalists are inundated with them so how about trying a different approach?
Writing a pitch, tailored to the journalist you’re targeting, will help you stand out, but only if you write it from a benefits point of view rather than as a sales document. Give them everything they need, from your logo and contact details to ideas for your story. Remember though, as I said earlier, this isn’t a sales document. You must prove you can change the world.
What do I mean by that?
Your business, whatever it does, will solve a problem, create wealth, make someone smile or take their pain away.
Because if it doesn’t have a tangible benefit it’s not a business.
Your job is to understand that and show the reader (in this case the journalist you’re pitching to) how you change people’s lives. The “people” are their readers, so if they can smell a great story you’ll have their attention.
Who do you contact?
It’s all well and good creating a great pitch, but who do you send it to?
Every newspaper, magazine, TV and radio channel has it’s own audience. Your job is to do your research to find the journalists who write about the problems your company solves.
Because their audience will be the people who will buy your product or service.
If you want to maximise your coverage you have to match the journalist with your message.
Once you have your list, don’t just send cold pitches because they are likely to be ignored.
It’s all about who you know. Look at your contacts, is there anyone who can help you? Perhaps there is someone who can make an introduction for you?
Get in touch with journalists and build a relationship with them. See if you can help them out before pitching to them. Try to meet them in person. The stronger the relationships you forge, the more likely they are to run with your ideas.
Did they say yes?
If they say yes and run with your story, fantastic, well done. Keep in touch with them and let them know your areas of expertise and that you’re interested in being interviewed or happy to contribute to future stories.
If your idea doesn’t get picked up don’t hound them. Chase after about a week, sending your story again just in case they didn’t receive the first one. If they’re still not interested, don’t just give up. Try sending it to a different contact, even one within the same outlet – just because one person wasn’t interested doesn’t mean no one will be.
If you want people to talk about your business you have to show how you can change people’s lives.
There are too many press releases out there that try to sell. The trick to getting noticed is to show yourself as a company that puts its customers first by highlighting the benefits they receive.
Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd
January 7th, 2015 — marketing, Matt Cutts
When Matt Cutts speaks everyone sits up and listens.
There are loads of small businesses missing out on some great opportunities because they have made a huge SEO mistake.
They think that just because their business is small they don’t need to bother with a website.
Why should they?
They have their local customer base and no one is going to search online for them…or are they?
A website is crucial regardless of the type of business you run. If you don’t believe me, this is what Matt Cutts has to say about it:
More and more people are searching online for the products and services they need.
If you market yourself through leaflets or magazine ads you’re only reaching a small percentage of your potential market.
Get a website and make sure you’re seen by the people that need you when they need you.
December 31st, 2014 — website design
First things first, I’m not a web designer or an SEO (search engine optimisation) expert, so this post is written from a business owner’s perspective.
Having gone through 3 website design processes (and currently going through the process for the fourth time), I have learnt a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t.
Before looking at web design specifically, I want you to think about the content on your site. As a copywriter that is obviously my area or expertise and the way that’s created has a lot in common with web design.
One of the biggest mistakes I see is copy written from the company’s point of view. It tells the reader all about the business, how long it’s been in existence, how they are the leading widget builder in their field, how they value their customers and how reliable they are.
Heard it all before.
There is nothing there that makes them stand out from all the other widget makers.
Why is that so wrong?
Because the only thing the reader is concerned about is themselves. They want to know that your product is going to help them in some tangible way – saving them time, money, making them more successful etc.
What does all of that have to do with web design?
Well, when you start with your web design process you’re more than likely going to think about what you want to see.
You’re going to want to be the owner of the flashiest, quirkiest, most modern looking website out there.
You’re going to obsess over colour, images and fonts.
The problem is none of that stuff is important.
Granted, it’s got to have a professional look to it, but it’s far more important to give your customers what they want.
Because they are the ones you want to buy from you.
Think how your customers are going to view your site – ask yourself what will they want?
- Clear and logical navigation
- Useful information that’s updated regulalry
- Video how-to guides and product demonstrations
- A simple way to contact you
- Information that tells them how your products will help them
In other words they want a website that’s easy to use.
How does that measure up with the plans you had?
Remember, when designing your new website make sure you leave your ego (and your web designer’s ego) at the door. It should be designed for your customer. Everything it does should make their life easier. After all, their interaction with your website will probably be the first impression they get of your company, so if it’s all about them and making their lives easier they’re more likely to buy from you.
December 17th, 2014 — twitter
Have you noticed how everyone else seems to have a handle on Twitter and yet you seem to be tweeting into nothingness because no one is engaging with you?
Even though you’re tweeting regularly you’re not being listened to, it’s as if your tweets are invisible.
Making an impact in the Twitterverse is important if you want to get your business noticed.
Stop banging your head against that brick wall and read these 8 tips that will get you tweeting like a pro.
1. Make use of Twitter lists
Using lists will help you make sure you’re tweeting relevant information to different groups of people, a bit like you would do in your email marketing.
They are also a great way of helping you keep up to date with what’s going on with the different groups that you follow.
When you publicise your blog posts do you just send out the title and a link?
How about sending a snippet instead (along with the link) to arouse curiosity?
Look at your Twitter feed. Your eyes will be drawn to all those tweets that incorporate images.
Use the impact of visuals to your advantage to help your tweets get more attention.
When you read an article and decide to share it on Twitter make sure you @tag the author too. This is a great way to start to build conversations and relationships.
This is something that should be in all your marketing, but especially your tweets.
Showing your human side will really endear you to others.
Twitter is immediate, so be topical and put out your opinion of things that are happening in the world. Plus, if there’s something happening in your industry, bring it to the attention of your followers.
Although it’s fine to now and then tweet about personal stuff, make sure (in the whole) that what you put out is valuable to your followers.
8. Be seen
People have to notice you if you want them to pay attention. Join in conversations, reply to people and connect with your audience.
The idea is to be seen as an influencer and all these tips will help you achieve that.
December 10th, 2014 — copywriting tips, Sales Letters, sales writing
Sales letters are still widely used despite the growing popularity of email marketing.
In some cases a letter can make more of an impact because people are becoming immune to emails and are more likely to delete it if it doesn’t immediately pique their interest.
Snail mail may be old hat, but there’s still something comforting about receiving a letter, something that makes us want to open it (especially if it comes in a hand addressed envelope).
I would love to tell you that this blog contains a free template for the most successful sales letter on the planet, but in truth there are too many variables for their to be a “one size fits all” template, such as:
- The audience you are addressing
- What they’re doing and how they are feeling when they get your letter
- The offer you are making
- What the weather is like
- How their journey into work went
I could list more, but you’re getting the picture.
Having said there is no winning formula, there are a few things you can do.
1. Grab their attention
This shouldn’t need to be said as it’s true for all your marketing.
You have to grab their attention the minute they open your letter. That means a compelling headline and an awesome first line.
Make sure you draw attention to the benefits they’ll get if they do business with you and always go for clarity over creativity.
2. Problem and solution
This format always works well.
Your product/service is going to solve their problem, you just have to make sure you convince them of that.
There’s no need to lead them in gently, get straight to the point and empathise with them.
The benefits must always be the focus of your letter.
Your reader wants to know how you’re going to help them so make sure you tell them. Everything you say about what you’re selling must be related back to your reader – how it will save them time, money, make them more successful etc.
People always opt for offers over purchases.
If you need glasses you’ll always go for a 2 for 1 offer, so make sure you offer a great deal and emphasis it.
One of the easiest ways to over come cold feet when you’re trying to sell to someone is to offer them a cast iron guarantee. If they know they can come back to you if they change their mind, they’re far more likely to take the plunge and buy.
6. Tell them what to do
If you do all the hard work listed above. but forget to tell them how to buy, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.
Make the buying process as simple as possible and offer several different ways to buy – by email, phone or by using a reply card and stamp addressed envelope.
This may not have been the template you were hoping for, but it’s as close as you’ll get to one.
All you have to do is make sure each one of the elements above are included in your letter if you want to give it the best possible chance for success. Another tip is to follow it up with a phone call (depending on the size of your mailing).