One of the beauties of using Google Analytics is that it lets me know which blog posts are the most read. At the end of each year , I love to do a brief calculation to see what people are actually interested in reading and what appeals the most. Here are my most popular blog posts of 2018.
The most popular blog post for this year was the history and evolution of copywriting which was an interesting— and surprising— recount of where copywriting originated from. I bet you didn’t know it started in the 1600s!
I’ve worked with a lot of authors and potential authors over my professional career, especially at SA Writers Centre, so I compiled a fundamental guide to creating an author website, which is a crucial building block in your author platform.
Features tips on what to include, ideas on how to make the most of your author website and examples of great author sites that you’ll get inspiration from.
I’m surprised this post isn’t the top of the pile, to be honest. Especially as it’s a common question I see in Facebook groups and a really great starting place for people to begin to improve their website, either as an individual or small business.
Includes a useful template to write your About me page.
Everyone loves a useful listicle. Here’s a multipurpose list that offers a collection of ideas of what to post on your social media channels to help with your business marketing.
One for every day of the month!
I am particularly pleased that this post is in my five most popular blog posts this year as it showcases some of South Australia’s best talent. If you’re looking for some new reads over the summer holidays, you might like to add these books to your collection by Adelaide authors.
What about you? Was there a blog post of mine in 2018 that made a difference to your copywriting or marketing? If so, please do let me know!
Take a look at my posts on:
Free SEO writing course
Do you want to dive right in to effective SEO writing?
Sign up for my FREE three day SEO writing ecourse. Just by popping in your details, you'll be emailed three easy but potent lessons over three days on how to improve your content articles, blog posts and website copy with foolproof SEO writing tips and techniques.
The three lesson ecourse will teach you about:
And yes, it's completely free! But don't delay, it's only free for a limited time so it's best you take advantage of the offer ASAP.
In today's world, SEO writing has become such an integral aspect of modern marketing that the growth of businesses of all sorts (and all industries) depends on choosing SEO over other marketing strategies. Marketing is itself tough enough a task— digital marketing even more so. The complex nature of SEO can make it seem like the most gruesome method for marketing your business online. However, this doesn't have to be so, because when done right, there's no better strategy for growing your business organically.
Created by professional copywriter and experienced SEO writer, Vanessa Jones, this easy to follow SEO writing ecourse will have you uplevel your knowledge in just a few days.
How to write a great SEO article
Sure, you have to be creative when it comes to SEO article writing. But there are also also handy tricks and tips that you need to keep in mind when writing for SEO.
This SEO article will cover:
Put your readership (which is your target demographic) first. Write how they want to hear things and solve their problems. Straight up give them the information they need, that they are searching Google for and that will generally make their lives easier.
The guru of SEO, Neil Patel, says ‘Your content needs to accomplish two goals: first, appeal to the end-user (customers, clients, prospects, readers, etc.) and second, solve a particular problem.’
For example, you’ve most likely come to this content article because you’ve searched how to write a SEO article. And I’m spelling it out as best I can and lay out all the right information you need to write an epic post.
What I often do when writing an article or web copy that I want optimised, is to write it as natural and best fitting to the audience as possible. It’s only after I’ve written the article to the best of my ability do I insert keywords. I don’t include them arbitrarily but where they can sit naturally without damaging the flow of the writing. But don’t misunderstand me because with most content writing, the keyword will inform the topic that I write about, so it’s important to do your keyword research from the absolute beginning.
Title and headlines
You need to include your keyword in your page title and your heading, once only. These are two separate facets of your content writing. The page title forms one of your meta tags and your heading (or headline) is your <h1> or <h2> tags.
It’s often suggested to put your keyword towards the front of your headline but you still need it to be super catchy and natural sounding. How to write great headlines.
Use your SEO keywords in your body text. In the olden days of SEO (AKA ten years ago), keyword stuffing was a surefire way to make you rank better. These days you will stuff yourself up if you do so. Google will recognise when you are doing so and penalise you as such. Plus, your readers will just be left shaking their heads.
I can’t give you a magic number of times to use your keyword in one piece because I want you to focus on making the content article sounding natural and flowing. But if you’ve only included the keyword once in one thousand words and one semantic keyword, you might need to hire a SEO copywriter. Know any good ones? Kidding.
However, it’s purported that on page keyword usage is as important as 15.04 per cent of Google’s ranking algorithm. So that should give you an indication of the time and attention you should give just to your keywords alone.
It’s beneficial to include your keyword at the start of your article body. I aim for the first three words or the first sentence at best. Unless it sounds awkward and forced, then I forego it. Because great writing always comes first, right? ‘Quality has become the #1 ranking factor in Google, especially since the Google Panda and Penguin updates.’
Essentially, you need to write an entertaining and informative article. SEO writing is a little like juggling or doing a puzzle: each piece is as important as the other and they all need to fit together until it makes a whole picture.
In summary, here are the most important factors— or secrets— of SEO writing, particularly if you are new to it:
It’s really important to write with authority and establish credibility if you want to build an audience and/or following for your website or blog. It’s even more important if you want that audience to buy what you tell them to buy.
Writing with authority is about demonstrating your expertise and knowledge and defining where you sit in the market and in your industry. Are you renowned for selling multimillion dollar houses in the hills? Are you the most efficient bookkeeper that your clients have ever worked with? Do you have exceptional and up to date knowledge on what is happening with big data? By writing about your niche and using specific language choice, you can begin to assert your authority.
Below are five useful links to help you write with authority.
This post has many valuable key takeaways but one of my favourite is keeping your writing succinct. Including short words and short sentences.
Although it’s nearly three years old this post is from a really credible copywriting site and has very clear cut information on writing with credibility, with some snapshots from some of the most influential business leaders. One of the key takeaways is to just do the hard work.
Although this is written for fiction writing, it has a lot of valuable advice that can be applied to copywriting. My favourite advice of all time and I regularly employ it in my own copywriting is specificity. Honestly, I believe this is key to success in all types of writing.
This super simple post is ideal for the beginner. These six crystal clear tips will have you sharpen your copywriting in no time.
This content article is more indepth and has a lot more information and some super great bullet points to follow. A brilliant takeaway is ‘Put the important information at the beginning of the writing. Support the rest of your copy with the details.’
Copywriting squeeze pages
It is almost impossible to surf the net for more than a couple of minutes without encountering a number of squeeze pages. This is not surprising since email marketing is considered one of the most powerful marketing tools, with an average ROI of 3800%. There are several email marketing activities that are great at capturing email addresses and building your enews database but the one that has incredibly effective results is a squeeze page.
What is a squeeze page?
A squeeze page is a type of landing page that is designed for one specific purpose; to “squeeeeeze” an email address and a name out of you prospective clients that land on the page.
When looking to collect personal information from internet users who strive to remain anonymous at all costs, you have to employ a lot of guile. Squeeze pages are designed to lure website visitors to put in their personal details (an email address and name, and in some cases a phone number) in exchange for a reward such as more information, a discount, a tangible or digital asset or a free service.
To achieve this, there has to be a form of subtle pressure designed to compel website visitors to fill in their details. This is usually done using expert web copywriting, deliberate colour schemes and purposeful layouts to place your offer in the best possible light while asking for just a measly email address.
Five steps to writing a valuable squeeze page
1. Create an enticing offer that has some value
How often have you seen this phrase – 'To download XXXXX, simply enter your email here.' Your enticing offer can be anything: a free ebook, software, template, webinar, online course or design aid that is important enough for the visitor to want to give up their email. The important thing being is that it has some specific benefits, particularly to the reader.
Think along the lines of:
2. Let your customers do the talking
Customer reviews have influenced an extraordinary amount of buyer decisions, with some reports suggesting 93 per cent of people impacted by online reviews.
Allowing your customers to do the talking builds trust as this shows prospective customers what they will experience if they use your product or service. You might remember we’ve talked about this in terms of social proof. It’s also just common sense as a customer would rather trust another customer’s (who they see as unbiased) review than any marketing material you may have.
3. Spend time copywriting your page content
Copywriting is the act of writing content with the aim of advertising, marketing or increasing brand awareness. Copywriting is absolutely necessary because we are all lazy readers, especially when it comes to online content; your visitors are more likely to scan and skim through the page content. So great copywriting will help them do just that with a bold headline, compelling subheadings, captivating pictures and prominent CTA buttons.
4. Keep it simple
No, really! You have to keep things really simple to the point when it would even make sense to anyone and everyone. Simplicity sells and using clear concise statements will make your copywriting easy to understand and skim. Opt for simple short sentences using basic words to describe exactly what you want to say.
5. End things with a compelling CTA
Your call to action button will be the deciding factor on whether your squeeze page converts (turns someone into a reader to an actual sale) or not. One website saw a 321 per cent increase in opt ins when they provided visitors with a compelling reason to subscribe.
Visitors usually spend a short time deciding whether to opt in to your offer and a button that says ‘Yes, I want the free report,’ is more likely to convert than one that says ‘Download report.’ Adding the super, all time converting word free is also a good way to increase the chances of them clicking on your offer.
Not everyone can be the charismatic copywriter that is Don Draper. In fact, not even Don Draper was Don Draper. Unsubstantiated rumours claim the character is modelled on an amalgamation of four real people.
It may not be easy to be Don Draper but that doesn’t mean that you can't do your best at copywriting. Particularly with these useful copywriting formulas that you can use as a quick hack to writing better.
Copywriting formulas and techniques
These simple little tactics are great to use when you are stuck in your writing and can’t seem to add the necessary “punch” to make it stand out from the plethora of written communications out there.
Sometimes it’s not enough to tell your readership that you are holding a new event, you have a new or improved service or that there is a fundraising drive that they absolutely must attend.
As consumers, we’re so overwhelmed by information that a lot of what you will put out into the world (or online) as marketers or business owners will fade into the background. These days, it takes a concerted effort to make your communications stand out and reach the correct people.
Below you will find three reliable copywriting formulas that will help you write significant pieces of information that will drive your audience to do something. These writing formulas are particularly effective for fundraising or charity campaigns and I have written the example with that in mind. However, these copywriting processes aren’t limited to not for profit but are applicable for any type of copywriting. Test them out on your next content article, squeeze page or advert.
DRD copywriting formula
This is a formula that is often used in creative writing but can equally be used in effective storytelling as part of your copywriting. In creative writing, it is used to create scenes, eg character finds out husband is cheating (dilemma), character is distraught (reaction) and decides to leave him (decision). This is one of the most effective ways to get action happening in a story. Translated into copywriting, it is an effective way to move the readers along with you so by the time you have taken them through the journey of a dilemma, they are ready to agree to the decision you propose (eg, buy this service to abate your dilemma).
The problem and solution copywriting formula
The problem and solution copywriting formula is particularly effective for writing media releases or anything where you need to take people on a particular journey for them to emotionally invest in your plight. Many not for profit and charity organisations would value from using this copywriting technique.
Let’s look at these steps in closer detail:
The AIDA technique is a time tested process in sales and it is also known as the purchase funnel. You may recognise a semblance of this process in modern day sales funnel marketing – many visible bloggers and digital sellers use it to varying degrees of success.
‘The AIDA model is one of the longest serving models used in advertising, having been developed in the late nineteenth century.’
How to grab attention?
There are some surefire ways to grab attention. Words such as “free”, “discount”, “sale”, “you” and similar are very effective in grabbing almost anyone’s attention.
Develop interest with unusual statistics, social proof statements or claims, credible testimonies or endorsements or proposition your reader with a hypothetical scenario that would leave them wondering.
Create desire by proposing something that is absolutely irresistible to your reader. A new product that will eliminate their problem? Something that will boost their confidence or provide them with the comfort or luxury that they have wanted for ages?
By this stage in your copywriting, your reader is all prepped and ready to take some action to make their desire manifest in reality. If your writing is well done, they will be easy to convince at this point. Incorporate an effective call to action.
At the end of the day, you can use these copywriting formulas with some sense of success. But for truly powerful copywriting, it still takes creativity, storytelling and marketing knowledge. And I have repeated this in many blog posts but I will say it again: you must, must, must know your target audience and exactly how to write to them in a way that makes them do what you want, for example read your website, buy your product, book your service straight away!
What are meta data descriptions and meta tags?
Meta tags and meta data descriptions are the summary of what your web page contains that is implemented at the backend of your website as part of your meta tags. This is the information that search engines (such as Google) uses to index your website and web pages and displays when someone searches for your keywords. You might also notice this information when you share it via your social channels, especially Facebook.
Meta tags consist of a title (page title), meta data description (a few sentences of description) and a slug (specific URL).
Although it can help with keyword searching (mainly in the title rather than description), it’s primary purpose is to encourage web searchers to click on the link and read your website.
They need to be cleverly crafted so that they appeal to both Google's robots and to human readers to improve your ranking/SERP.
Meta data descriptions are like a mini advert or sales tools. And it’s very short so it has to be super effective. Essentially, it has to contain the absolute perfect blend of sales copywriting and SEO text.
They are a vital part of your SEO strategy and plan. Perfecting meta data descriptions is a completely important part of your website's optimisation and it really does pay to get it right from the start.
A good meta data description could be the very reason someone clicks through to your website.
It is a unique blend of advertising and SEO and is one of the key factors in getting people to read your site. They really do need to be compelling and an accurate summary of the corresponding webpage. Each meta description needs to be unique and match the web page’s content. It's basically a summary of what the web page contains.
Neil Patel, who is considered one of the leading experts in SEO discusses why meta data description is so important.
Here are 33 examples of great meta data descriptions.
Content articles are one of the most pivotal parts of not just your content marketing plan but your overall marketing plan. Statistics show that the more content your site has, the more Google will rank your page.
Content articles are not only important for your SEO but for your customers and sales as well. 82 per cent of customers have a more positive outlook on a company after reading custom content. And seventy per cent of people would prefer to learn about a company from content articles than adverts.
Is it shareable?
Would you personally share this content? Or would the leader of your organisation share it with their networks? This simple test is often a quick objective way to determine whether the content is of good quality.
SEO content articles
Is it search engine optimised? Use this Yoast plugin SEO checker tool to check if your content follows best practice and is web ready.
Call to action strength
Does it have a strong call to action? Relevant and well placed calls to action has been shown to increase revenue by a whopping 83 per cent. Here's how to write call to action.
Content writing keywords
Include your target keywords in your heading, subheadings, first paragraph and throughout the article. But avoid keyword stuffing. How many times should you write your keyword?
There's no hard and fast rule but try to include it multiple times in your content article. But this should never be at the sacrifice of brilliant copywriting. If it sounds unnatural, then it will hinder SEO performance and turn away your readers.
Are there clear takeaways and action steps that you offer your reader? What do you want your reader to do exactly? Spell it out.
Include some tangible information. That means including statistics, facts, research and links to sources. This will add to the content article’s credibility and help convince the reader when they come to the call to action. Never sacrifice brilliant writing. The average reader only spends 37 seconds reading an article or blog post (NewsCred Insights).
End and begin well
Top and tail your posts really well. Write a clear and informative introduction and a succinct paragraph at the end of the article that provides them information about with what to do next.
Heighten your assets
Make your content articles part of your assets.‘Ninety two per cent of marketers said their organization views content as a business asset.’ Ensure your content writing is of a high enough quality to add value to your asset pool.
You might like to read more about content writing.
Did you know that 44 per cent of companies outsource their writing? Take a moment to get a no obligation, easy copywriting quote today.
Not sure what topics to write about? Get a content strategy.
Writing structure: five terms you need to know
Copywriting is a tricky artform which can really power up your marketing assets. If you're new to copywriting or even creative writing, there are some fundamentals that you need to learn before you embark on your content writing journey. Here are five fundamental elements of writing structure that you need to learn.
Read more about excellent writing structure here.
You may also like... How to write great content articles
Need a freelance copywriter? Hire me today.
One of the most make or break things about professional writing is the structure and it absolutely pays to get it right.
Structure is the order of ideas. More specifically, when it comes to professional communication and writing, it's about looking at the way your assets are structured. Learning the fundamentals of structure are incredibly important so that you can apply it to your own writing and achieve successful results.
Building block questions
In every piece of writing, you need to look at the basic storytelling building block questions that are to be answered in the research phase. These answers to these fundamental questions will form the basis of the information of your piece of writing.
In addition to these building block questions, it pays to be clear on the following aspects of structure:
Ten writing tips for structuring your work
You may also like... How to perfect your content articles.