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How do you Engage People Through Copywriting?

You see it mentioned all the time - your writing must engage your reader if it is to do it's job properly. Great, but that doesn't tell you how to write it to make it engaging. Simplifying things, there are two main types of content: that which asks the reader to take an action (i.e. "buy now") and that which encourages them to interact with you (i.e. social sharing, blog commenting etc.) Both require engaging copy, but the latter is the one that gets conversations started. And it's conversations that lead to strong relationships. OK, that's great, but how do you write in an engaging way? How to create engaging copy that works Before you can master engaging copy, you have to know who your audience is and what they want. The idea behind generating content that will kick start a conversation is to give information that your audience is interested in, needs to know and will ...

Write With Creativity and Dare to be Different

It’s often said that it’s impossible to have an original thought. What do you think? Everything we hear, see and read has an effect on what we do. I remember writing a sick note for one of my boys many years ago. At the time I was studying for my OU degree, looking at the 19th century novel. The note I wrote could have some straight from the pages of Jayne Eyre. Without realising it, the style and voice of Jayne Eyre had wheedled its way into my subconscious. You’ve probably experienced it yourself at some point. Perhaps you’ve found yourself writing like a favourite author or speaking like a favourite actor? That’s why it’s so difficult to come up with an idea that is completely original. So where does that leave your marketing strategy? What follows in an excerpt from a blog I wrote last year that helps illustrate this point and how you can ...

Encourage More People to Read Your Blog

If your blog doesn’t get traffic, it’s just a space on the internet with a load of thoughts scribbled all over it. The power of blogging comes from the people who find, read and share your stuff, so how do you attract them? Here are a few ideas to get you started. 1. What are they looking for? People read blogs because they are looking for something. It could be information, ideas or inspiration. But whatever it is, if you can provide it, they’ll find you. Although that sounds obvious, there are a number of bloggers out there who insist on writing stuff about the things they’re interested in rather than what their readers want. That’s not to say there’s no room for personal blogs that are about random things, but if you’re using your blog to promote your business you must write about what ...

Make Your Offer Irresistible

Offers are what bring your customers flocking, but only if they hit the spot. How do you make sure that happens? Simple – you must understand your audience. These 7 tips will help you discover who your audience is and how you can make them buy. 7 ways to create a must-have offer 1. Audience You can’t create a winning offer if you don’t know whom you’re selling to. For example, if you wanted to sell washing machines you’ll have more luck aiming at homeowners, newly weds and families than teenagers. Make sure you do your homework and work out who you are selling to, what challenges they face and what they really, really want. 2. Your offer’s value I’m not talking about the cost to you, but its perceived value in the eyes of your customer. They’ll only be tempted if they believe its value to ...

Creating Powerful Press Releases [Infographic]

How good are you at telling the world about your achievements? Press releases seem to be dying. Few companies use them to their full potential. Regardless of whether you want to use them on line or off, they can generate a huge amount of interest in your company and don't have to cost the earth to produce. Having said that, one of the main problems editors have with them is the vast number of poorly written releases. Common mistakes that create poor press releases The first thing to remember about press releases is that they are there to announce news. That seems to be the major stumbling block for many companies. Intent on selling, they create press releases that are really nothing more than a thinly veiled sales pitch. Editors aren’t daft, they will be able to spot that a mile off and the press release will end up in the bin. Another problem is that they are frequently ...

9 Steps to Powerful Copywriting

Writing is the easiest thing in the world, isn’t it? You’ve been doing it since before primary school. Your skills have developed from the scribbles and lines your mum swore blind was your name to lengthy essays about the fermentation of yeast. It’s something you do every single day so writing for your business can’t be that hard. Really, you think? In that case why is no one finding your website, no one ringing you and no one responding to your ads? The problem is you, and many others like you, splurge your thoughts onto a Word document, give it a quick scan and then publish it. Big mistake. You haven’t written anything. All you’ve done is put a few random thoughts in a document along with a scattering of connecting words to create paragraphs of text. That’s only the first stage of creating copy; that's the ...

How many times have you been roped in to trying something new? It could be a new sport, event, food or hobby. Sometimes you hit it right and love it; sometimes it turns out to be the worst decision you’ve ever made. As a keen cyclist, I was ‘talked’ into trying my hand at crit racing (closed circuit racing). I only started cycling in 2012 and since then have mainly done sportives and endurance riding like the 300 mile in 24 hour challenge I completed at the end of last year, cycling from Newcastle to London. I love that type of challenge and get a real buzz from it. If you’ve ever watched professional cycling you would have noticed that the vast majority of participants are men (same for sportives), so with our club’s growing female membership it was decided it would be ...

“Ah, it’s great you’ve found yourself a nice little job.” Argh! That’s the type of comment I had to deal with all the time when I set up my copywriting business 7 years ago. Yes, I was mum to two small boys (now mum to two hulking great teenagers) at the time and yes, I wanted to work but it had to be something that allowed me to stay at home and care for my family too. It makes my blood boil though when men (sorry guys, but the comments were always from men) think that just because I’m a mum who refuses to compromise on the care of my family, I’m not serious about running a business. In their defence, there are a lot of women out there who run ‘lifestyle’ businesses. They love attending networking events – several a week – because it makes them feel part of a business community (sorry if ...

At every stage of your life you’ll have a hero. I’ve flitted from Hartley Hare (Pipkins) to the Banana Splits, to Duran Duran and all manner of movie stars I shan’t bore you with. You want to be like them…no scrap that…you want to be them. You want their lives, their personalities; you want to look like them. Why do you get so infatuated? Perhaps because you think their lives, in some way, are better than yours? Perhaps on the surface they are. Their bank balance is undoubtedly bigger, they probably go to better parties, but would you really want to live in a goldfish bowl like they do? It’s human nature to think the grass is always greener elsewhere, but if you stop and look hard enough, you might just realise that it’s not so bad where you are after all.  

Last night I watched the Channel 4 documentary “The Complainers”. No one’s impressed when things go wrong, so some of the reactions of the people on the programme were understandable (although I do have an issue with the guy who was a professional complainer who’s sole aim was to get compensation from every company possible), but what was more interesting was how they were dealt with by the companies. Last night’s focus was on utility companies, one of which was the energy giant E.ON. Channel 4 was given exclusive access to E.ON’s customer service centre to show how they deal with some of their most challenging customers.  It wasn’t the massive customer service team that caught my eye; it was their social media team. I can’t remember the exact numbers, but they have a team of about 20 (forgive me if that’s wrong) customer service agents just to monitor their social media channels. Every ...

How much thought did you put into naming your company? It’s not something I’ve really considered before, but a recent question on a Facebook group got me thinking. Everyone wants a name that’s memorable, but is that the only way to get your business noticed? I don’t think so. Granted, a catchy or clever name may stick in the mind, but surely your whole brand is more important? Brand versus name People may well remember a name if it’s quirky enough, but that doesn’t mean they’ll remember what the company does. Your brand will say a lot more about you. I’m not just talking about your logo or website and stationery design, I mean the whole shebang. Your brand incorporates the look, feel and ethos of your business. Let’s face it, I’m sure you’d rather your company was remembered for its exceptional service rather than it’s bizarre name. In my view, and feel free to disagree with me, the ...

    There’s no getting away from the importance of social media has on B2B marketing. I was intrigued to come across this infographic on Smart Insights from B2B Marketing and Circle Research. Following a survey of 288 client-side marketers they discovered: LinkedIn was the platform that generated the most revenue Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook came out as the top 3 platforms for brand awareness Most content (75%) is posted by the marketing team, followed by key experts and then the management team The main challenges associated with social media are ROI and the time involved I’d love to hear your comments on this. If you run a business, to you agree with their findings?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

How to Refresh Your Facebook Marketing

After your initial surge of enthusiasm, your Facebook marketing starts to take a slide. You used to get countless shares and likes for your posts and fans flooded through your virtual door. But something’s happened. Your posts are falling on deaf ears, your fan base has stagnated and you’ve not had a share in months. Why isn’t it working any more? Facebook marketing is difficult. You have to constantly engage your audience and provide them with loads of great content that they love. Being that brilliant all the time gradually wears away at you and before you know it you’ve slumped. How can you turn it around? Breathing life into your Facebook marketing There are several things you can do to get your Facebook mojo back. 1. Start at the beginning – ideas Facebook marketing needs lots of varied and engaging content. Try this: Brainstorm content ideas. Get as creative as ...

Why Time Limited Offers Work So Well

  You see them everywhere. “Offer ends Tuesday.” “Hurry, this offer is only available for 24 hours.” Why is the time limited offer so effective? In general your customers (and people in general) are procrastinators. If they can put off making a decision – especially one that involves spending money – they will. That’s why time limited offers are so great. Your customers are faced with countless decisions every day. They are stressed and tired, so if making a decision is going to take effort they won’t bother. But, if you ask them to make a ‘yes/no’ decision and make them do it quickly (i.e. because the offer is only available for a finite amount of time), the decision they make is more likely to be in your favour because they won’t want to miss out. How to make your time limited offer irresistible It takes more that just ...

Sales Letters That Sell

Sales letters have been around for a long time. The way they are constructed has changed very little and, being an off line form of marketing will remain that way. That said there are a lot of really bad sales letters out there. Many are inward facing – by that I mean they focus on what the company does rather than what the company will do for the customer. Let’s face it, people don't really care about your company (that is at least beyond whether you’re trustworthy or not), all they want to know is that you’re going to provide the solution to the problem they have. Getting the most from your sales letters The following 7 tips aren’t revolutionary, it’s nothing you haven’t heard before, but they are essential to make sure you get the most from your marketing. 1. Strong start If you ...

What’s Your Favourite New Word?

English is a language that's constantly evolving. Yes, you have the pedants in one corner that believe change is bad and that we should still be speaking ye olde English forever more and that grammar should never be fiddled with. But surely change should be embraced. After all, today's world is a whole lot smaller than it used to be. Our culture is being constantly influenced by others bringing with it changes in our language, outlook and society. And let's face it, Latin never evolved and look what happened to that - it died. Evolution has shaped (and continues to shape) the flora and fauna around us refining it to cope with its environment that's also constantly changing, so why should we be in uproar when our language evolves? Personally, I'm all for change. The language of days gone by is no longer suitable for today's world. I remember my parents telling me that ...

What’s the Number 1 Aim of Your Email Marketing?

If you’re dabbling in email marketing you must have an aim. What is it? If you just said, “to get my emails opened”, you’re only partly right. Getting your emails opened is part of it, but it’s way more important to get the reader to act on it. After all, getting your email opened alone won’t generate you any income. That means the copy within your email has to wow the reader and convince them to do what you’re asking them to do. Sound simple? Of course it’s not. If it were you wouldn’t be reading this. How do you go about creating an email that will make your reader act? For starters you can’t actually (remotely) make someone do something. Again, if you could you wouldn’t be reading this, but you can write something that will persuade them to consider it (if your ...

Marketing Your Marketing

This post first appeared on our sister blog, FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com, but we wanted to share it with you too. Everyone knows that content marketing is the way to go. With SEO becoming more social, it’s essential that businesses start to get great information out to their potential customers, to remain visible in the search results. But what do you do when it’s ‘out there’? Do you tweet a link and leave it at that? No, you must engage in smart marketing. It’s up to you to produce marketing that your customers want - useful information that builds trust and engagement. Shouting about what you’re doing through social media will help get that information out to a wider audience. You’ll know if you’ve hit it right because your followers and Facebook fans will then share it. Why? If your information is useful, relevant and valuable to them, then they will share it for you. This will get it out to ...

What is a Bad Sale?

Surely every sale is a good one, right? It means money in the bank, a (hopefully) happy customer and a bit more stock off your shelf. But not every sale you make is necessarily going to make you money. Confused? What if I were to mention the word 'coupon' or 'voucher'? Are you beginning to see now? These are great for the consumer because they get a stonkingly good deal. On the face of it they're good for you because you get more customers through  the door and more sales. But are they right kind of people and sales for your business? The science of selling I've already established that coupons bring people to you , but what sort of buyers are they? To be honest, they are unlikely to be the ones that will return to you again and again, wanting to build a relationship with you and ...

Benefits-led Copywriting

As a copywriter I'm always telling clients that the best copy focuses on the benefits of their product or service. Customers are only interested in what you can do for them. They don’t care about you, your company or even what you sell (apart from to make sure you're trustworthy). They just want to know how you’re going to make their life easier. But when it comes to writing the copy, focusing on the benefits is tricky. The first thing you have to work out is what the benefits are. Identifying your benefits When it comes to the features and specification of what you’re offering, you’ve got loads to write about, but the benefits? That’s a whole different ball game. Before you start writing you need to work out who is your ideal customer. Who are you writing for? If you could pick your ideal customer, what would they be like? Think about their age, occupation, likes and dislikes, ...

8 Simple Checks to Boost Your Website

Although there are some great websites out there with persuasive web copy, eye-catching images and easy-to-follow navigation, there are still a lot that fall short in those departments. But all is not lost. If your website is a bit lacking, there are a few things your can do that don't involve an expensive redesign. 1. About Us I've said it many times, your web copy must be written for your readers. That means no ‘we’ and lots of ‘you’ and benefits. That can cause a headache for most business owners because they just want to shout about their company and what they’ve achieved. Well, to cheer you all up, the About page is the one on which you can talk about yourself – kind of. Your About page should tell you readers what makes you different to everyone else, your ethos, why you do what you do and also some personal information about you ...

Why you need content, social media and SEO in your marketing strategy Do you see content marketing, social media and SEO as three separate entities? If you do, you're probably not seeing the results you want from your marketing activities. Content marketing is a must because. Social media widens your reach. SEO (search engine optimisation) boosts your visibility. But all are ineffective without the others. Want to know how these 3 elements work together? Blogging and content generation Blogging is the most popular form of content marketing. It helps you share your expertise with your audience and attracts people to your website. But if you just write, publish, write, publish you’re limiting your effectiveness. Your blogs must be written with a clear SEO strategy in mind. That means using relevant keywords (but not stuffing them) to help your articles get found. Then, to amplify their ...

This is an unusually short post because I feel a rant coming on. Content marketing is killing search engine optimisation - some would like you to believe that, but I'm not falling for it. You have a limited marketing budget. On the one hand you have the content marketing camp telling you the smart money goes on high quality content because that will draw in those all important links. One the other is the SEO marketer that tells you the only way people will be able to find you in order to link to your content is through a robust SEO strategy. So who is right? They both are. As far as I'm concerned, you can't have one without the other. SEO won't work without high quality content (if anyone tries to tell you otherwise they are probably practising some dodgy black hat techniques) and, surprise surprise, high quality content is useless without SEO. SEO and content ...

Having a blog is the fastest way to traffic heaven...if your content is good. But having loads of traffic coming to your site is worthless if its doing anything once it's there. Is your stuff being shares, commented on or liked? No? Are they coming back regularly and signing up to your RSS feed or newsletter? No? You've got a problem. How to get more sign ups People will only do something if you ask them to. Adding a simple footnote to your blog posts asking for comments, shares, or letting the reader know you have a newsletter and how they can sign up for it, will create more sign ups and engagement. Make the most of your social media accounts. Tweet or add a Facebook status update telling people when your next newsletter is about to go out and how they can sign up for it. When ...

Google has been throwing all manner of birds and animals at us recently in an attempt to improve user search experience. Plus, unless you change your Google settings, many of you are seeing local search results rather than county-wide ones. Some may say that's a good thing, but what about for all those small businesses that rely on Google's wide reach for their survival? Many businesses with national and international reach reply on their rankings to gain new business. The issue now is that they have no idea what results people are seeing because the SERPS are being localised meaning everyone is seeing different results making devising a winning SEO strategy increasingly difficult. Does this signal the end of SEO? SEO is changing A lot of Google's changes have been good as they've knocked on the head many of the black hat SEO practices that were rife. The only issue is that many genuine ...

Is There a Difference Between Web and Print Copy?

What is the difference between web copy and print copy? Actually, there isn't a difference because other than the format in which they appear, they most both engage and persuade the reader to take an action. The only real difference is how they are read. Website copy Reading from a screen is very different from reading from a printed page. 79% of web users only ever scan a page of text rather than read it all word for word. Plus, their reading rate is much slower so your writing must be concise and written in short paragraphs with sub headings and summaries to help the reader find the information they want quickly. Of course, one of the main benefits of web copy is the hyperlink. Using this the writer can link one section of text to another, or direct the reader to an external information source that will enhance their understanding of a particular topic. Search engine ...

It is a fact that not every business that uses social media monitors their accounts effectively. How can I be so sure about that? Because I've lost count of how many times I've put a comment on a Facebook page or sent a tweet and never heard anything back. Why ignore your customers (or potential customers)? It seems crazy to me that they're willing to invest in a social media presence, but do nothing with it. They don't seem to understand that Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and all the others are a two way street. Yes, they are a great way to get a message out, but equally they are an invaluable tool to interact with customers. It doesn't take a lot to make a good impression and show yourself as a company that cares about its customers. Show yourself Getting set up on social media is easy, making people aware of your presence is not. Once you have all ...

Does Your Business Need a Website to Succeed?

You would have thought the simple answer to that was yes, but it would seem as though some business owners still need convincing. According to the Office of National Statistics, 21% of small firms still don't have websites, which is astonishing. They are mainly plumbers, florists, small retailers, decorators etc., who rely on word of mouth. That's all well and good, but what happens when business slows (as it does from time to time), how will they find new clients to make ends meet? If you're one of the 21% it may also be worth noting that research conducted by O2 showed that a quarter of the 2000 people they polled said they wouldn't use a small business if they didn't have a website. Although you may not see the need for a web presence it would appear as though your potential customers do. What is stopping from you having a website? The most popular ...

Why Do Your Facebook Updates Fall Flat?

When using your personal Facebook account your updates are always met with a tonne of likes and comments. So how come the stuff you're putting out on your business Facebook page is going unnoticed? No one is liking them, no one is commenting on them. Perhaps all your fans are out and their phones are switched off? Or perhaps you're not putting out stuff that interests them because if it doesn't appeal to them they're not going to take any notice of it. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make - do any sound familiar? 1. Wide of the mark If you're using questions in an attempt to get people to respond, what exactly are you asking? The best responses come from questions that are very specific and ask for an opinion on one particular issue. If your questions are too broad no one will bother answering. Also, if you ask something that's ...

What Are Your Thoughts About Facebook’s Hashtags?

You've been using hashtags for a while on Twitter, but Facebook has now got in on the act too. On Twitter they help you keep up with particular topics and what's trending, so are you getting the same value from them on Facebook? One things is certain and that's the fact that advertisers will have a field day with them. Advertising on Facebook is already highly targeted, but the introduction of the hashtag means retailers can find the hotspots of user activity around events and topics to help them target even more potential customers. As for Facebook users, well, they'll be able to find out what their friends think about trending topics by grouping comments together simply by adding the same hashtag alongside a keyword. Plus, they can search for hashtags using the Facebook search bar. This is what Facebook has to say ...