Wednesday, 15 February 2012
But so often, we’re worried about sounding brash or arrogant and so we hang back. The result is copy that fails to get noticed. So how can you easily add confidence to your copywriting without sounding like a pompous twit? Here are five ideas:
Want your copy to get noticed? Start with a bold headline or title. Something that grabs the reader’s attention and can’t be ignored. Ask a question; make a daring statement or be controversial and you’ll hook people in.
For some reason, particularly in the UK, we don’t like boasting about our achievements and tend to play down our accomplishments. But when it comes to business, this isn’t an option. If you’ve got something worth saying, shout it from the rooftops. If your product is used by a celebrity, say so. If you’re the market leader, let everyone know.
Remember to include details of any awards or accreditations you’ve received at the bottom of every piece of marketing material you produce.
Be a Bossy Boots
Don’t be afraid to give people instructions. Sometimes people like being told what to do because it means they don’t have to think too hard for themselves. So tell the reader what to do next – whether that’s to visit your shop, pick up the phone or complete a form. Try giving them a time limit and an incentive so that they act straightaway. So for example, rather than saying “if you are interested, give us a call”, say “sign up in the next 7 days and receive 25% off”.
To write confidently you need to assume that your reader will want your product or service. So write as though you’ve already done the deal. For example, rather than saying: “If you do choose to join our health club, you’ll benefit from x, y, z.”, say “As a member, you’ll enjoy x, y, z”.
Swap ‘could’ for ‘will’
Whenever you write the words ‘could’ or ‘can’, try changing it to ‘will’. For example, instead of saying: “Become a member today and you could be fit in time for Christmas”, say “Become a member today and you will be fit in time for Christmas”. ‘Will’ is a much more convincing word than ‘could’.
Try these tips next time you’re writing sales materials and if you need further advice from a freelance copywriter, get in touch.
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Mistake 1: Talking about features not benefits
Most people don’t care how something works. They just want to know how it helps them. So when you introduce your product or service don’t describe how it works or the features it contains. Instead focus on the benefits it brings to the customer. If you’re struggling to identify the benefits try asking yourself “so what?” at the end of your descriptions. For example:
"Our new deodorant contains revolutionary micro-crystals." [a feature]
"So the fragrance lasts for 24 hours."
"So you'll still smell good even after a long day at work." [the benefit]
This exercise is an easy way to separate the features of the product (the micro-crystals) from the benefit (smelling good).
Mistake 2: Trying to say too much
When space is limited it can be tempting to cram in as much information as possible. But this just results in confusion for the reader and prevents your message getting through. Stick to one key message per page.
Mistake 3: No clear call to action
Your customer isn’t a mind reader. If you want them to take action after reading your flyer, ad or newsletter you need to tell them. Make it clear exactly how they can get in touch if they want to place an order or request more information.
Mistake 4: Forgetting to proofread
Once your copy is complete, you need to proofread it carefully before publishing. If possible get someone else to do this. A fresh pair of eyes will often spot errors that you have missed. If this isn’t possible, try reading your copy out loud. Read more proofreading tips
Mistake 5: Waffling
Keep sentences short. Avoid jargon unless you’re sure your audience will know what you mean. Don’t use a long word when a short one will do. And don’t use ten words if you only need three.
For some reason when writing for business, many people resort to ‘corporate speak’. I think the intention is to make the text sound professional but the result usually just sounds confused and unfriendly. Remember your reader is a human-being too, so keep your writing as natural as possible.
For example, “If you should happen to require any additional assistance, please ask for help” (13 words) could be shortened to “If you need help, just ask”. (6 words).
Avoid these common copywriting mistakes and you should see quick improvements within your marketing text.
Sunday, 13 November 2011
I therefore decided that it would be a good idea to create a separate website to support my online copywriting services. I'm therefore very excited to announce the launch of Words that Click - my online copywriting website.
So if you're looking for an online copywriter, take a look - www.wordsthatclick.co.uk
But of course, I still offer a full range of offline copywriting services too. So if you're looking for a freelance copywriter to help with any kind of content, get in touch.
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
Is ‘update blog’ the one item on your to do list that never gets done? If so, you’re not alone. Many people start a blog with the intention of updating it regularly but then day-to-day tasks get in the way. But if you want people to visit your blog it’s important to update it regularly. A well-written blog that’s regularly updated is a fantastic sales tool and a great way to improve your search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website. So how can you write high-quality blog posts without it taking up too much of your time?
As a blog writer, here are ten tips that work for me:
Combine writing a blog post with another activity that you have to complete. For example, if you are researching a new technology in your particular industry why not jot down your thoughts as you go and turn what you learn into a blog post. It’s the classic ‘two birds, one stone’ solution.
2. Split them up
Sometimes you’ll find that you’ve got so much to say about a topic that you’ve easily written 1,000 words. Rather than publishing this as one blog post, try splitting it into chapters for separate posts.
3. Conduct an interview
Interviews with interesting people make great blog posts. You could interview a colleague, a supplier or someone in a field related to your business. Ask thought-provoking questions, record the answers and you’ll have a near-instant blog post.
4. Host a guest post
People are usually very happy to write a guest post for your blog providing you include a link to their website or blog. Choose someone who can write on a topic that will interest your readers.
5. Revisit old posts
Take a look back through your old blog posts. Have there been developments in your industry recently that mean you can write a quick update to your original post?
6. Write in batches
Quite often just getting started can be the hardest thing so rather than trying to write one post a week, write in batches of three or four. Once you get in the flow you’ll probably find that the writing process gets quicker. In addition, you can save time by completing the research for three or four blogs on the same topic at once.
7. Check the news
See what’s in the news that’s relevant to your industry. Whether you choose to agree, disagree or put your own spin on a particular story, it’s a quick way to get topical ideas for your blog posts.
8. Be on the lookout
Inspiration for blog posts can strike at any time and so it’s worth being on the lookout for ideas. Keep a pen and pen close to hand to jot down thoughts as they occur. Then when you’re ready to write your blog posts, you’ll have a stack of ideas ready to go.
9. Create top 10 lists
Like this one! Readers love lists and it’s often quicker and easier to write a post that you’ve already split into ten headings.
10. Write one day, edit the next
If you find that writing blog posts is time-consuming because you keep crossing out your first paragraph you might be suffering from perfection paralysis. Don’t get bogged down by thinking that your first draft has to be perfect. As American author and cartoonist, James Thurber said: “Don’t get it right, get it written.” Write your first draft without striving for perfection and then leave it overnight. When you come to edit the post the next day, you’ll find you’ve got a clearer perspective on the areas that need work and you’ll then be able to make your final draft just perfect.
So there you go; ten tips to help save time when writing blog posts. Just remember, the success of your blog relies on having well-written blog posts that people want to read so whilst it’s useful to save time; don’t scrimp on quality.
Thursday, 14 July 2011
As a website content editor it’s no surprise that when it comes to website copy one of my top bugbears is poor spelling and grammar. But spelling mistakes on your website are more than just a minor annoyance spotted only by pedantic copywriters like me. A report on the BBC website today states that spelling errors could actually result in your business loosing sales.
A matter of trust
In the article, online entrepreneur Charles Duncombe says that website analysis shows that just one spelling mistake could reduce your online sales by half. Some might argue that online shoppers are forgiving enough to overlook a minor spelling mistake but as the report shows this is not the case. When it comes to buying online, shoppers are on the lookout for the subtle clues that convince them that a website is trustworthy and this includes well-written website content and immaculate spelling.
In a digital world where we are constantly warned to be on the lookout for scams, phishing or bogus sales offers, shoppers need to be sure that a website is legitimate before parting with their details. It only takes a spelling mistake to introduce a seed of doubt in a potential customer’s mind and they’ll be heading off to your competitor’s website instead.
How to avoid costly mistakes
So what can you do to ensure your website content is error free? Well if your website copy is already written, then you need to invest time proof-reading.
When writing new website content it’s important to choose the right person for the job. Whilst your MD might have the vision to create inspiring copy, if their spelling and grammar is not up to scratch then they’ll need input from someone with a good grasp of English and an eye for detail. If there’s no-one within your organisation that has the skills to write error-free copy, hiring a web content editor could be the wisest solution. You’ll receive well-written, engaging and importantly error-free website content and the investment will be well worth it when you see an increase in your online sales.
Saturday, 4 June 2011
If you’ve got the job of writing the content for your company’s new website it can be difficult to know where to start. Should you launch straight in and tackle the homepage, start with the company history or head straight for the products and services? Stop! Before you write a single word you need to take a step back and put a plan in place. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is the website aimed at?
- What is the objective of the website?
- How are people going to find the website?
Let’s take a closer look at each of these:
Who is the website aimed at?
The most important thing to think about before you start writing your website content is your audience. After all, they’re the people that are going to be reading the content and they’re the people you want to win over with your words. So before you put pen to paper, take the time to think about who your audience is. Think about:
Who exactly is your target audience? Teenagers, parents, business people? Defining who they are will help you decide what tone to use when writing your website content.
What does your audience what to do when they reach your website? Are they looking for in-depth information or do they just want to find your phone number? Tailor your website content to provide the information that your customer is looking for.
What is the objective of the website?
Think about what will make your website a success and you’ll identify the key objectives for the website content. It may be to increase the number of telephone enquiries, improve sales or encourage people to join a mailing list. Once you know what you want your website visitor to do you can tailor the content to guide them in that particular direction.
Whether you want people to call you, buy a product, request a brochure, or sign up to your newsletter make sure that they can clearly see where to do this. Consider putting your key ‘calls to action’ on every page. If your visitor can’t quickly and easily see what to do, you may never hear from them.
How are people going to find the website?
For most companies the main priority is that their website can be found on search engines. It is therefore really important that the content you write is tailored around the key words and phrases that your potential visitors will be typing into Google. Before you start writing the website content, make a list of these key words and phrases. Google has a free keyword tool to help you do this. You can then incorporate these words into the content that you write. Be careful not to overdo it though. If you stuff your keywords into the content at every opportunity it will sound unnatural.
If you’d like to chat to a website copywriter about your website content, call me on 07850 991030 or email me: email@example.com
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
Let’s face it, long pages of website content can be a real turn off. Studies show that people read up to 30% more slowly on screen which means when faced with a long page of text, they tend to skim read. Obviously this is bad news for anyone who’s spent hours lovingly crafting their website content, shaping every sentence to be just perfect. So if your website content is on the long side what can you do to improve the chances of your copy being read?
Break up long website content with sub-headings
As a website copywriter, I’ve found that a quick and simple way to break up long pieces of text is to use sub-headings. Whenever you introduce a new idea to your website copy, add a sub-heading, just like I’ve done here…
Five reasons why sub-headings rock
• They break up your website content making it more enticing and easier to read.
• They aid skim-reading by sign-posting the key information.
• They are perfect for grabbing attention. If you have a particular point to make try incorporating it into a sub-heading to make it stand out.
• They are great for search engine optimisation. When used correctly, headings can be really beneficial to your search engine rankings. A website copywriter or SEO specialist will be able to show you how to use heading tags effectively.
• They are ideal for reinforcing your key messages. Even if your website visitor skim reads the text, good sub-headings will provide a clear indication of what the page is about.
So next time you find your website content is a bit on the long side, try splitting it up with sub-headings.
If you’d like to talk to a website copywriter about how you can improve your website content, call me on 07850 991030 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org