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The Triple Threat of Copywriting

You’ve heard of triple threat in the entertainment world, right? If you haven’t it relates to a performer that excels in all three skills of acting, singing and dancing. So what is the triple threat in the sphere of copywriting? Basically, if you want to excel at copywriting your writing must: Engage Educate Persuade Engage A lot’s been written about creating copy that engages. It’s not one of the easiest things in the world to pull off, just ask any one of the millions of failed authors out there. If you want people to read your stuff you must engage with them. Just as a top flight author will adopt a style that draws you in, defining their characters in such a way as to make you care about what happens to them, it’s your job to write about the product or service you're trying to sell in a ...

Is that really a surprise? OK, granted the fact that it’s the UK that’s to hit this milestone first might be a surprise, but the fact that digital marketing and online media is commanding such a high percentage of annual spend isn’t. The research, carried out by GroupM (as reported in The Drum), shows that in 2015 £1 of every £2 spent on advertising in the UK will go to digital and online media. So what’s caused this surge? According to Adam Smith of GroupM, it’s down to the British embracing smartphone use: “The British are the most enthusiastic online shoppers in the world in terms of spend per head. And there has always been a high level of credit and debit card use [online]. On top of that Britons have rapidly embraced smartphone and tablet use, all of which has fuelled where ...

One Powerful Reason Why You Should Use Google+

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – you’re already battling to stay on top of your Twitter and Facebook feeds, how on earth are you supposed to maintain a Google+ account too? It’s one of those platforms that, on the face of it doesn't seem to have done much. Having said that it gives you the power to grow communities, keep track of people by placing them in circles and it is a great social media driver for your communications and information-rich content. There’s something else too; something that can really make a difference and raise your profile to stellar heights. Want to know what it is? Yeah, got your interest now, haven’t I? OK, I’ll tell you. Hangouts. That’s right. No other social media platform can do this. Using the hangout feature, you can give your business a human face. Its video conferencing that’s free (up to 10 participants), ...

You hear it all the time. If you want stand out from your competition you’ve got to have a unique selling point – a point of difference that no other company can offer. The problem is if you sell widgets, the chances are your widgets are very similar to those that your competitors sell. Sure, you might offer a few different gimmicks, but unless they are revolutionary there’s not a lot to distinguish your product from the one sold by the guys down the road. Before you hang your head in despair, all is not lost. All you have to do is look at things differently because there is something that makes you stand out from everyone else. Know what it is? It’s you. Your company runs in a unique way. Your values are very different from your competitors. So stop wasting time trying to compete on price, or trying to convince your customers that your ...

Have you ever wondered what a copywriter actually does? Obviously they write, but there’s a bit more to it than that. The interview Before any words can be written the copywriter must meet with the client. Face to face is ideal, but geography can sometimes throw a spanner in the works there, so telephone, Skype or email is the next best thing. Although she will have plenty of questions to ask, the main thing that will happen at this stage is listening. One of the most important qualities your copywriter has is being a good listener. Not only will she be listening out for details about your business, produces/services, customers and aims, but she’ll also be listening to how you speak. This will give valuable clues as to what the right tone of voice will be (how the writing sounds when it’s read) right for the project. Back at the office Unless further meetings are needed ...

5 Steps to Stellar Copywriting

You know what it’s like. You’ve spent hours creating copy for your latest project, the deadline is looming and you quickly finish it, compose a covering email and then hit send. Was it really your best work? Does the headline really stand out? Have you really given the reader what they want? The answer is in the return email you get from your client – no. Not only do you have to be a great communicator to be a great copywriter, you also need to know how to effectively evaluate and edit your work before your client sees it. Let’s take a look at 5 steps you can take to make sure (or as far as possible) your copy is smoking hot. Keywords and phrases I0f it’s SEO copy you’ve been working on, you must make sure you’ve exploited all opportunities for using your keywords (and associated synonyms), ...

Maximising Your Email Marketing Open Rate

Email marketing remains one of the most popular forms of marketing. When things get a bit slack, it doesn’t take long to put something together and send it out to the thousands of opt-in contacts in your customer database. The only problem is most industries have an average open rate in the low 20 per cents and a click through rate that barely scrapes 4 per cent. Even if you hit those averages, it doesn’t matter how big your list is, your not really being effective. There are numerous articles out there that claim to have the magic formula to higher open rates, but there’s nothing magic about email marketing. All you need to do is be yourself. 1. Be you Even though you want your customers to buy from your company, it’s you they are really dealing with. That’s why you should always write like a human. Even if you are in the B2B ...

Are you a small business owner? Are you looking to build your business online through content marketing (a horrible term, but one I’ll stick with for the purpose of this blog)? Are you currently looking for a copywriter to create the blogs and articles for you? Stop right there. The sole purpose behind content creation is to position yourself as the “go to” person in your field – to become a thought leader. I appreciate that you’re a busy person and there are never enough hours in the day – blaa, blaa, blaa – but how can you be seen as a thought leader if your thoughts aren’t the ones people are reading? Making a connection You’re right, time is a huge issue for you and yes, if you’re not used to it, sitting down and writing an article or blog can take a while, but ...

Create a story. How many times have you heard that when it comes to coming up with new marketing ideas? As usual it’s one of those things that you hear, nod because it makes sense, but when it comes to actually putting it into practice your mind goes blank. One of the masters of this is John Lewis. Once again their Christmas advert tugs at our heartstrings as the little boy realises his penguin needs a companion. Well, rather than me tell you about it, take a minute or two to watch the story. Why do stories work? You’ve been exposed to stories all your life. For centuries people have listened and told stories so it stands to reason they are one of the most powerful communication tools you have. They are a great way to get your personal brand out there. Think about how you started in business. There has to be ...

How Good is Your Social Media Privacy?

You use social media all the time, whether for work or for personal use, so are you concerned about your online privacy? Checking your privacy settings is essential, so I was really pleased to come across a post on Social Media Examiner that takes you through the basics. Here is a summary of what they say:   Facebook Facebook is the most popular social media website, topping 1 billion active monthly users. There are three places to set privacy on Facebook: the Privacy tab, and your profile and photo settings. Facebook Privacy Tab Go to the Privacy Settings and Tools tab by clicking the lock icon on the upper right. First, change the default setting on your posts under “Who can see my stuff?” You can share things with Public (anyone on or off of Facebook) or with Friends. You can also do a custom ...

The marketing trigger that will increase your sales Marketing – you can’t run a business without 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. Finding out what interests your customers is vital if you want them to take notice of the constant stream of messages you’re putting out. So what is it? What is the mystery thing that all your customers want to know about? What is it that really interests them? The answer is simple; the answer is they’re interested in themselves. That’s right – 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. How selfish! You’ve spent years building up your business. You’ve weathered economic downturns, fluctuations ...

I have never encouraged anyone to write about their own business. The quality of the marketing collateral you produce is key to your business’s success. I know you’re sitting there reading this thinking yeah, right. You would say that, you’re a copywriter. Granted, that’s partly the reason because if I encouraged you all to write your own stuff I’d be out of a job, but that’s only a teeny-weeny part of my motivation. Something strange happens when you run a business – you become knowledgeable. After a while you have come across just about every scenario you can think of, the information you have amassed is stifling your objectivity and you start to communicate less effectively. No, really, you do. Because everything about your business is like second nature to you, you begin to assume a certain level of knowledge in your audience. As a result ...

8 Sure-fire Ways to Out-Tweet Your Competition

The gloves are off. You’re tweeting like you’ve never tweeted before to make sure everyone knows you, what you do and what you can do for them. But are you being listened to? Are you standing out in their Twitter feed? Are they reading your tweets? I won't bore you about how amazing Twitter is for business ‘cause you already know that, but it’s important to keep up with the best ways to make an impact. Here are 8 smoking hot ways to make sure your tweets are seen. 1. Lists Are you using Twitter’s list feature? No? OK, let me ask you this – when you do your email marketing, do you segregate your mailing list? Of course you do, because that’s how you make sure the right message gets to the right people. You can use Twitter lists to do exactly the same thing. Once you’ve created your lists you ...

How to Write a Sales Letter That Wins Every Time

OK, let’s start at the beginning. The title of this piece is a wee bit misleading because there is no single formula that will ensure every sales letter you write will be a success. So why did I start off with a big fat lie? Because I think it’s important for you to understand that. Yes, you started reading this in the hope you were going to get a free template for the world’s best sales letter, but you must understand that the success of your mailing is going to depend on: Your audience How they are feeling on the day they get your letter Your offer The time of year Their journey into work that day… You see it’s not all about your sales letter, but it’s not all doom and gloom either. Although there’s no winning formula, there are some tried and tested tactics you ...

Things Not to Do With Your YouTube Marketing

Video marketing? Yes, you know it’s something that should be part of your marketing strategy, you’ve read all the blogs that tell you so, but do you know why you should be doing it? First off, Google owns YouTube. Secondly, it’s the second largest search engine on the internet (Google is obviously the biggest). These are two very compelling reasons for using it as part of your marketing. Not to mention that more and more people look for videos to help them research products or do everyday things. Sold on the idea? Great, but don’t charge in half-cocked otherwise you could fall flat on your face. You see using YouTube isn’t as straightforward as it would seem. Granted, the actual usability of the platform is very easy, one of the reasons why it’s also easy to get it wrong.   What not to do with ...

What Exactly is “Tone of Voice”?

Tone of voice is one of those terms you hear bandied about by marketers and copywriters, but what does it really mean? How can a piece of writing have a voice? It doesn't make sense...or does it? For a moment I want you to think about your marketing writing, or copy. What does it do? You probably think "well, it sells." OK, to a certain extent that's true, but it does more than just sell. Take a look at your website. Now put yourself in the shoes of your website visitors. They don't know anything about you, so why should they buy from you? Because your website tells them to? No. They will only buy from you if they: Like your product Like the price Like you That last one is the most important one. They have to like and trust you before they'll buy from you. If they were stood in front of you, it would be easy. You'd greet them with a warm smile, ...

Don't you just love email marketing? No stamps, no paper and no ink costs - just instant sales messages that can reach thousands of people in an instant. The only problem is, because it's so easy, you have a tendency to jump in without thinking. Don't worry, I'm not just singling you out, most businesses do exactly the same. You see, email marketing has developed a bad name over the years. Your in box is probably a good illustration of why. How many spam emails do you have to delete every morning? Tens? Hundreds? Thousands? There lies the problem - because email marketing is so easy, companies send them out blindly without thinking about the recipient. Who are you emailing? I'm going to pause there for a moment and consider the person who's in box your email lands. Why did you send it to them? Have they opted in to your ...

The Reasons Why Spam Emails Fail

This blog first appeared on our sister site, Freelance Copywriter's Blog, however we wanted to share it with you too.   You may think it rather odd that I’m writing about the failure rate of spam emails. Well, the reason for my madness is that you can learn a lot from the spammers about how not to do email marketing. When you send out emails to potential clients, do you think carefully about your subject lines, presentation and content before hitting send? I’m not going to go into detail about how to make your email marketing work, if you follow that link you’ll find a post that tells you all about that, instead I want to take an example of a spam email and highlight the areas the sender has got wrong. You see if you get the same areas wrong your emails could end up looking like spam and that’s something ...

The Hidden Value of Your About Us Page

You already know that the most effective website copywriting is completely focused on the reader. It should talk about them, tell them how you can help them and how their lives or business will be improved when they become a customer of yours. Although that is widely regarded as the best approach, it leaves many companies frustrated. When do they get to talk about themsleves? After all, it's their website so there should be a place for them to shout about how amazing they are. For many, the About Us page is seen to be the place to launch into the "We are market leaders...." spiel, shouting from the rooftops about their amazing credentials. Granted, to a certain point that is what the About Us page is for. After all, it may not be the page on your website that gets the most traffic, but it is one that many people will check ...

Don’t Outsource Your Social Media Activities

What is social media about? Customer interaction, showing your human side and getting your thoughts out there for all to see. Did you notice that I used the word "your" in that sentence? If you get someone else to deal with your social media how can the comments be your thoughts and how can you react quickly to your followers and fans? Social media = relationships At the risk of repeating myself, social media is about building relationships with people. It's not a direct sales channel. The only way you can build those relationships is by interacting with people. That means you need to be there, monitoring your social media channels so you can respond in an appropriate and timely manner. If you outsource, it's a but like going out on a date but sending someone else in your place because you'd rather stay in and watch the latest episode of Downton Abbey. You probably think it's going ...

What is the main advantage that high street retailers have over online marketers? Their customers can feel, touch and see their products and they can chat to someone about them there and then. In contrast, when you rely on your website your customers only have your written content to go by and no one to answer their questions for them instantly. That's why you must get the right content on your website. 4 main content types Think for a moment about how you like to get your information. Do you prefer reading, or is video more up your street? Everyone is different, which is why your website has to cater for all tastes. Product information Whether you sell services or products, this content is going to be the main source of information for your customers. It should not only focus on the features, but also the benefits your products or services offer your customers. This can be done through ...

What’s Your Writing Voice Like?

When you set out to write a fresh piece of marketing copy, what is in the forefront of your mind? Your audience? Your message? Your product knowledge? How about your voice? No, I haven't lost my marbles. How you write will have a big effect on how well your marketing message is received by your audience and therefore deserves as much thought as the actual content of your marketing piece. To make your message resonate you have to inject personality into what you write. If you don't your words come across as flat, empty and almost thrown together. For some, writing with personality comes easily, but for many it's a challenge. Not because of their inability to write, but mainly due to their conditioning throughout their academic life. All through your school and college years you're taught to write in a bland, academic way, forcing out every ...

Most business owners are obsessed by the amount of traffic they get to their website. You've no doubt heard them boasting at networking events about how many thousands of unique visitors they get month, figures at their finger tips because they check their analytics every week to boost their ego. They smile smugly as they discover they have oodles more traffic than you do. So what? Yes, they may get tons of people visit their site, but the more important metric to consider is how many of those convert into customers. What's your traffic doing? When you first launched your business online, your budget was probably fairly small. You commissioned an OK website and wrote the content yourself. With a bit of DIY SEO you started getting traffic. The problem is that traffic is still coming, but your sales are floundering - your visitors aren't converting into ...

How to Spot an Unnatural Link

Google is cracking down on dodgy links. Sites are being penalised left, right and centre so it's vital you know what constitutes an unnatural link to make sure you don't fall foul of Google's wrath. An unnatural link (in simple terms) is a link that only exists to manipulate the page rank or search engine results of your website and one that's been placed on a website without the owner's consent. Still confused? Here's an example of what would be classed as an unnatural link: Pretend for a moment you've just been to a health spa and had a wonderfully relaxing time. You want to tell others about your experience so you write a blog about it, linking to the health spa's website. There's no problem with that unless you wrote it because they offered you a free weekend or a set of treatments, ...

  This article is my own personal view about this particular question. In my mind, your marketing should always be about your customers. That means no grand statements about how great you are, how big your premises are or how you’re the ‘best in your field’ (unless you have some concrete evidence to back up such a claim). Everything you write must be about your customers, how you can benefit them and how their lives will be so much better if they buy from you. I’m better than you It’s very tempting to write something that tells your customers how crap your competition are in comparison to you. You could shout from the rooftops about how you’re cheaper (although they could lower their prices and blow that argument out of the water), that you give better customer service than they do etc., etc. But is that really the right way to be going? Is that the best way to ...

This post first appeared on my other blog, Freelance Copywriter's Blog, but I wanted to share it with you here too. Social media changes faster than a fast thing. It’s important to read up on the latest comings, goings and techniques if you want your social media strategy to continue to work well for you. A recent post on SocialMediaExaminer looks at some surprising social media research findings that will affect your social media strategy. Below is a summary of the findings (the link above takes you to the whole article). 1. Facebook – the social login favourite Research by eMarketer shows that the majority of people prefer to use their Facebook (51%) credentials when logging into websites. How does that affect you? Well, if your website requires the user to register before accessing information you could enhance your number of registrations by offering a Facebook login option. There is a concept known as password fatigue ...

Are you doing it Better Than the Big Boys?

What am I talking about? Customer service. I’ve often said that customer service is the one area a small business like yours can out-do the larger competition. According to a recent article in The Drum, two thirds of the public (68%) have had poor phone experiences with big brands and 36% said this would definitely make them consider changing company. The research, undertaken by Smith and Milton, focuses on the financial services where telephone remains a key customer service channel. Although 40% thought financial services brands don't listen to customer complaints, 39% thought they did. When you drill down into the results more closely they showed that less than a third of those aged between 18 and 24 believe brands pay attention to them (46% of 55+ year olds thought they did). The research shows there is definitely room for improvement within that sector, but I think their results should also be heeded across all ...

Before I begin I just want to say one thing - you're probably going about content marketing all wrong. You're probably putting out blogs and articles whenever you get a minute and assuming thousands of people are lapping up your words of wisdom. OK, you don't get comments, but they're busy people and don't have time to offer their opinion, or say "I agree", or "nice post" or anything else for that matter. You see, for your strategy to work you have to think about: Why you're producing the content you're publishing How effective it's being The type of content you're putting out Scratching your head yet? At the moment you're writing content for the sake of it. Your content strategy Most content produced by companies is text (yes, I'm guilty of it too) - blogs, articles, newsletters, emails etc. Yes, it's a good way to get information across, ...

How to Improve Your Blogging

How can you get better at blogging? Practice. You won't be a success over night because you have to build an audience, find your own blogging personality and spend time testing different approaches until you find the one that suits your audience. Sound hopeless? It's not. Here are 7 simple things you can do to help you build a strong, readable blog that people will find and fall in love with. 1. What do your readers want? If you don't know, find out. There's no point in writing loads of posts if your target audience isn't interested in them. I love cycling, but that doesn't mean my readers (who are generally looking for tips on marketing and copywriting) share my passion. If I started writing loads of posts about my pedal-powered exploits they'd soon get cheesed off and head elsewhere for the information they need. When ...

How to Win The Social Media Game – The Greggs Method

  Things go wrong. It doesn’t matter how thorough you are, how much attention you give something or how conscientious you are – sooner or later something will go wrong. The problem is that thanks to social media, when we make a cock up everyone gets to hear about it. Not only that, but everyone feels obliged to give you their opinion on the matter too – whether you ask for it or not. A bit like all those people who read your blogs and never leave a comment until they find a small typo or grammatical error. Then they let you have it with both barrels as if you’d committed a deadly sin rather than just typed ‘you’ instead of ‘your’. You can’t do anything about people like that when you’re putting stuff out on the internet, but you can do something about how you react. If you launch in, all guns blazing, you’ll intensify the ...