A content article is a well written editorial type article that generally sits between 700 and 1200 words and is often in written in the third person.
As it is often commissioned by a commercial client, it does inherently contain bias and is used as a soft sales tool but is written in a way that still retains credibility, resources and can be mistaken for
A good content article will contain quality pull quotes, statistics, links, sources and genuine information and is relevant and employees a number of best practice SEO techniques. It also uses impeccable grammar and spelling and follows an editorial style. I also take the liberty of highlighting a few HTML/formatting tags including headings, sub headings, pull quotes, call to actions and so forth.
Content articles will be written to a specific content plan/strategy that has been created by your marketing department/consultant that adheres to the customer buyer journey or your SEO research and keyword/search term list.
Content writers ‘...produce content to entice and engage visitors so they continue browsing the current website. The longer a visitor stays on a particular site, the greater the likelihood they will eventually become clients or customers,’ Wikipedia.
It’s unwise to engage a content writer that has no SEO training and doesn’t keep abreast of SEO updates and changes.
Email marketing campaign packages could include kickbacks, autoresponders, automated campaign emails and prompters.
Automated emails are set up via specialised platform (such as Mailchimp, Aweber, Campaign Monitor etc) that are sequential and have their own trigger.
Check out my email marketing campaign template here.
Stay tuned... more to follow.
It's a Jones-iversary!
The 31 October was exactly a year since I took the plunge and made my copywriting business, Jones the Writer, fulltime (after playing with it on the side for more than six years). Happy Jones day (and Halloween) to me!
I was working in a job that was near perfect for me. I was surrounded by writers all day, I worked in marketing in a role that I partially created to suit my strengths, it was a fun role, a relaxed and flexible working environment and everyone supported my writing because that was the aim of the organisation. o leaving was not only a huge risk but a confusing time.
I didn't really know if it was the right decision for me but I felt so compelled to and my client load just kept increasing, so a lot of it made sense. One evening I encouraged myself to make a firm decision and I asked the beach I was walking on to tell me what I should do and a dolphin literally shot up out of the water and tumbled forward. So that was a sign enough for me!
And here I am a year later, working with some of the most impressive brands including Alisa and Lysandra, Australian Institute of Business, Southern Cross Care, Rivergum Homes, Flinders University and so many more!
I want my next twelve months to be similar and I want my clients to have a lot of success. I also want to finish writing my second novel. Here... we... go!
In other exciting news, I have launched another creative project about my one true love: TELEVISION. Take a look at She Watched here.
Putting a case study on your website is such a valuable thing to do. As we've looked at, social proof is a powerful technique to help get new clients and customers over the line.
Case studies help potential clients put themselves in the place of your existing clients and visualise how you can successfully help them overcome similar challenges with your product or service. Here are five reasons why case studies should be on your website.
To make your life easier, I have created a useful case study template which you can download and fill in to help you write the perfect case study to tell the story of client success!
Don't forget to include a glowing testimonial. Here's an example of a case study that I have written for a client.
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Facebook is thirteen and a half years old. So why businesses still insist on running their own social media marketing astounds me. There are many passionate professionals in the industry that can help you avoid the most basic of social media marketing mistakes plus showcase your brand and your services or products in the best way possible.
Here are some fundamentals of getting your Facebook and Instagram marketing right that have stemmed from social media marketing mistakes that I’ve witnessed from businesses recently. Yes, even in 2017!
Caption to capture attention
Write compelling captions and status updates. 'Try Product Name today' is not compelling enough. Give your potential customers a reason to try your product. How will it enhance their life, make their day easier or affect their emotions? Be specific and clear and make one point per post.
If you ARE encouraging your customers to buy your product or service, make sure you are sending them somewhere by adding a link in your post.
And don’t post an image without a caption or some kind of indication of why you have posted it.
The devil of duplication
Don’t post the same content. Facebook’s algorithm will disregard your content if you keep posting the same type. By type I really mean medium. Don’t post a single image every single day for two weeks straight. If you want Facebook to share your content with a wider range of people, you need to mix it up a bit with links, shared content, text only status updates, images and native video.
This should go without saying but I witness it all too often and it destroys my marketing soul a little. DO NOT double up your content on Instagram and Facebook. If you are posting the same content to each platform (especially at the same time), you would be wise to invest some time into learning the differences between the platforms and how they act in the marketing space. Whilst I do think it’s occasionally okay to do this (I’m talking once every few months at most), posting the exact same content (and not even modifying it for the platforms) at the same time is lazy and ineffective.
The fastest way to destroy credibility
Bad spelling this destroys me (obviously) and it destroys your credibility as a professional business that can be trusted. Remember: 'use correct grammar and spelling to convey a professional tone and generate trust from your audience.'
As well as eliminating bad grammar it’s wise to limit your overuse of grammar. Quit! It! With! The! Exclamation points! There should be ONE exclamation point (at the absolute most) in your post.
Likewise, reserved for desperate MLM pushers, a post status overladen with emojis just screams tacky. Limit your emojis to one or two to portray an emotion or make a point. Don’t substitute every fourth word with one, or your brand will lose credibility, seem juvenile and have minimal business credence.
Don’t give yourself a bad image
Always shell out for professional photography. Especially if you're in an industry where your business relies on visual mediums to sell your product/service, such as fashion, retail products, beauty items, food and beverages, design, real estate and property and experiences. If you are your brand, product or service make sure you arrange for professional headshots and stylised captures.
Using the internet to sell your product or service means you are removing certain senses that enhance the selling process, so images have the very important function of doing most of the selling for you.
Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images. (Buzzsumo, 2015)
Off brand badness
Limit posting content that you’ve created, that doesn’t really tie in with your brand, as much as possible. There’s some leeway when you’re sharing content and there can be more a tenuous link between the content and your brand or your brand or product.
If you are creating content for your brand, make sure you are keeping on track with your branding/style guide. Stick to one or two fonts, colours and consistent images and style so that people who see your content immediately recognise that it belongs to you. Although you may long for freshness, deviating from a very clear and consistent (and instantly recognisable) look will damage your brand and render your content not just useless but confusing and diversionary. Don’t forget that your potential and existing customers aren’t as familiar with your content as you are, so they may not be longing for freshness like you are.
If you’re unsure, ask this question:
If I post this photo of a dog, will our viewers know what this has to do with our brand without explaining it?
This will help you be very clear on whether you should post it or not!
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Facebook has been trialling a little thing called explore feed. But this week this feature went from a trial to a fulltime new feature.
You may have started to notice the small rocket icon in your Facebook app on mobile (92 per cent of users are on mobile) and it has also arrived on your desktop (left hand side where your saved links are). This is your “explore feed” which is specifically posts from Facebook pages that are very similar to what you follow. In your original timeline will be all the content from your Facebook friends and pages you like and this will form the basis of the similar content you get shown in the explore feed. Great for you to organise what you see plus it has the very real potential that businesses who market on Facebook can start to reach a wider, organic audience once again (without the hefty spend).
What appears in the explore feed?
This is content from pages that Facebook thinks you’ll like. And from my quick exploration, I’d say they know me quite well (or that I’m fairly predictable).
'We are beginning to roll out a complementary feed of popular articles, videos, and photos, automatically customized for each person based on content that might be interesting to them,” the Facebook spokesperson said. “We’ve heard from people that they want an easy way to explore relevant content from Pages they haven’t connected with yet.' Post updated, 10/18/17, 2:30 pm et, with Facebook’s confirmation, via TechCrunch.
Explore is great for those who are content hungry (or need to keep discovering new stuff for marketing purposes) and who are getting sick of seeing the same stuff.
What’s the best way to keep positioning yourself to show up in the explore feed?
Have you noticed your Facebook page engagement slipping and slipping? Whilst Facebook pages still need to be creating and posting top notch content and appeal to the algorithm, brands also need to be investing in Facebook advertising (ad campaigns and post boosts) to even be in the race, let alone show up prominently and consistently in the timelines of the pages’ fans.
Above all else it’s crucial that you are regularly posting interesting, relevant and creative content (and a variety of mediums including video, links and images). This is the golden rule that you must stick to, no matter what.
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There are many great reasons for hiring a specialist and outsourcing project work, particularly when it comes to copywriting. Here's the first few (stay tuned as they get updated):
1. It is a specialised skill
A copywriter is a specialist and copywriting isn’t journalism. It’s not an unbiased piece of content that provides you with direct news. It’s a marketing tool to help you widen your customers and sell the services and products that you bring to the world.
Sure, a lot of people may be able to write. They can even sound incredibly professional or quirky. But copywriting is a very specific skill in that it combines high level professional writing to speak directly to your target audience, for the medium intended.
Copywriting is a persuasive art, often disguised as being so subtle that readers don’t even know they are being sold to! This takes the mind of a magician.
Good copywriters know to how capture exactly what you want (or should be) saying and how to position your business almost instantly (well, okay… maybe after you have filled out the brief). This is one of their honed skills in their magic bag of tricks.
2. It saves you time
The time it takes for your staff members to write something, say a blog post or a media release or even to rewrite a whole new website, is time taken away from their core duties.
It can take around five hours to write one blog post, longer if your staff are not experienced. That’s essentially a day’s work on a blog post. Can any of your team afford to lose a day with their current work load?
Most people are already stretched thin in their job as it is, if you throw an extra task or project into the mix, something (either the employee’s wellbeing and/or other facets of their job responsibilities) will be negatively impacted.
Being overworked and over extended is an epidemic in this day and age. In fact, it can lead to costly mistakes at work and serious health issues. Nearly thirty per cent of workers feel that they are overworked.
‘Poor work–life outcomes are associated with poorer health, more use of prescription medications, more stress and more dissatisfaction with close personal relationships.’
You can start to alleviate some of this strain simply by outsourcing your copywriting and improving your bottom line. You may even find your employees’ performance improve.
‘In the 19th century, when organized [sic] labor first compelled factory owners to limit workdays to 10 (and then eight) hours, management was surprised to discover that output actually increased – and that expensive mistakes and accidents decreased.
3. It will be well written
Since '45% of marketers say blogging is the #1 most important piece of their content strategy,' (source) it's crucial that your blogging content well exceeds mediocre.
Not only will a professional copywriter make sure the copy is expertly written to sound intriguing enough to keep reading, whilst pushing a soft sell or direct sales techniques, but will incorporate fundamental writing practices.
‘A word after a word after a word is power,’ Margaret Atwood.
4. It will master your tone of voice
The art of copywriting comprises of absolutely “nailing” the voice of a company. Voice is a powerful way to give your brand a personality and once your brand is personalised, people will automatically and subconsciously connect to it. Words are often the first step or level of establishing a relationship with someone or something. And as your sales team will tell you, selling is all about relationships!
'47% of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep,' (Demand Gen Report, 2016).
5. It will improve your SEO
Sterling copywriting will ensure you are super discoverable online by enhancing your copy with SEO best practices. SEO specialist copywriters will conscientiously keep abreast of Google’s ever changing algorithms and know how to write well and optimise your content.
Good grammar, clear formatting and the way the writing is structured (as well as internal and external links) will all enhance your SEO.
6. It will help with your content strategy
You know that you should be blog posting regularly to improve your SEO but you have no idea what to write about and what would make great content that will increase your search results. A decent SEO copywriter will be able to guide you in your content plan by suggesting blog topics and content ideas in alignment with your keyword research and marketing plan. Some may even have the skills necessary to do the SEO research necessary.
'Websites with a blog have tend to have 434% more indexed pages,' (source).
They’ll also guide you in the right direction in terms of which assets work for which purpose. Not sure whether you need a flyer or some email marketing? A copywriter will help you determine which medium will suit your purpose and audience.
7. It will save you money
‘I have been working on this for weeks but I just can’t get it to sound right,’ is one of the most frequent comments I get when new clients hire me. And just like above where I have outlined how hiring a writer can save you copious amounts of time, saving time always equals saving money.
Having a copywriter on staff can be costly process, especially if you only need them for project work.
8. It will give you a whole lot more than you expect
This may not be the case with every copywriter but often they can have a generous skillset. For example, I have been a publicist, project coordinator and marketing manager so I can bring a lot more than “just” words to the table. I know how the media thinks and responds, so I can write really effective media releases and I have a deep understanding of concepts like “sales funnel” and lead gen and customer journey map, when clients throw those terms my way.
Additionally, I am a trained yoga teacher, have studied creative writing, psychology and philosophy at university and professional writing psychology at TAFE. Besides meaning that I’m an education junkie, this suggests that I am fascinated by the human mind and have a profound understanding of how people work, making it easier to communicate directly with them. I appreciate the personal and emotional facets of where people want their money to go, even at a corporate and government level.
I’ve also written a marketing book, a novel, a book of short stories and a book of poetry (and another two books on the way) and everything I learn in the process of writing those mammoth projects are brought into my client work.
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Facebook is unique to mаnу оf thе other соmmunісаtіоn сhаnnеlѕ уоu uѕе. And thаt mеаnѕ a lot оf оnlіnе marketers or business owners mаkе the fоllоwіng thrее mіѕtаkеѕ оnсе thеу start engaging their marketing оn ѕосіаl media. Arе уоu mаkіng thеѕе mistakes tоо?
Mistake one: tаlkіng at your fans, not to them.
Sосіаl media іѕ, аѕ thе nаmе suggests, an іnteraсtіvе ѕосіаl platform. If you’re just blasting оut promotional material and advertising copy, уоur аudіеnсе іѕ gоіng to instinctively be turned off if there is nothing in it for them or no opportunity for them to interact in a meaningful way. People inherently seek ways to contribute and conversation via social media platforms are an “easy fix” way for them to do that, throughout the day and from the convenience of their couch, desk or bed.
As Jeff Bullas notes: 'It is okay to share your achievements with your loyal followers but you should never overdo it. If you are not offering value to your visitors or are not providing them with the information they are looking for, you’re missing out a lot.'
Intеrасt. Engаgе. Crеаtе a dіаlоguе.
An effective way tо do this is to post creative content or share content that invites conversation and where you can directly ask your audience for their opinion or feedback.
TIP: this doesn’t have to be negatively controversial or outlandish themes. It can be benign themes such as ‘are you a cat or a dog person’?
Make sure you keep it relevant to your audience (by now, you should know their needs, wants and pain points, check out the target demographic post if you haven’t) and in line with your brand and businesses’s messages.
Here are some placeholder sentences/conversation encouragers that you might like to use:
• What do you think about this? Share your thoughts below.
• How would you do this differently?
• Do you have a favourite (insert topic) trick or tip? What has worked for you that you would encourage others to try?
• Do you prefer (item A) or (item B) and why?
• Have you ever been in a similar situation? What did you do?
TIP: pretend you’re meeting someone for the first time and you’re interested in getting to know what sort of person they are but are sick of the boring, basic questions. Cut right to the heart!
Mіѕtаkе two: nоt capturing emаіlѕ.
Hеrе'ѕ thе problem wіth Fасеbооk: they оnlу ѕhоw уоur соntеnt to a ѕmаll part of your audience, unlеѕѕ you рау tо boost уоur роѕt. This has long been the bug bear of us hard done by social media marketers and business owners who run their Facebook page.
Sо іf уоu'rе rеlуіng оn thіѕ рlаtfоrm tо communicate with уоur еntіrе аudіеnсе, you're going to be pretty dіѕарроіntеd.
Cарturе emails. Crеаtе a “ѕtісkу” post at thе tор оf your Facebook pаgе thаt оffеrѕ your audience something rеаllу dеѕіrаblе аnd valuable fоr free іf thеу join уоur lіѕt. If you need ideas, check out my posts on email marketing.
Communicating across platforms (Facebook to email marketing and back) can be really important to ensure you are front of mind and constantly feeding your audience (and potential/existing customers) quality information that will solidify your brand and make you their supplier of choice.
Mаnу оf the big еmаіl marketing platforms, such аѕ Awеbеr аnd GеtRеѕроnѕе, hаvе created apps specifically for Facebook. That mеаnѕ you can collect еmаіl аddrеѕѕеѕ dіrесtlу оff уоur Facebook Pаgе.
Mіѕtаkе three: posting dead end content
Fасеbооk іѕ buіlt specifically to mаkе соntеnt exceptionally еаѕу tо ѕhаrе wіth оthеrѕ (unlike Instagram which has no internal resharing capabilities… yet…)
But frankly, іf you're nоt creating ѕhаrеworthy content, thеn you're nоt going to gеt any trасtіоn.
As you can see from this article, high quality data driven content, meaningless pop quizzes and inspirational quotes are amongst the most shareable content. Honestly, will we ever get sick of inspirational quotes?
BuzzSumo took the liberty of identifying the top fifteen most shared posts of 2016. Honestly, number fourteen just really speaks to the depths of my soul.
Besides sharing other page’s content, crеаtе content that is wоrth sharing (and viewing).
Video is increasingly beneficial for Facebook reach with ‘51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI and Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.’ Source.
Fасеbооk is a place tо interact, engage and build уоur аudіеnсе and the relationship with them. The amount of time and effort you put into cultivating your audience online will be rewarded over the long term.
And finally, my bonus tip is to utilise your great writing skills (or… ahem… hire a copywriter) to really craft excellent Facebook posts. Keep the wording flowing, audience specific and engage brevity where possible. Short, sharp and shiny is advice to write by!
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Three years ago, Jen Evison of Jennifer Evison Consulting, took it upon herself to see that Adelaide’s social media community were armed with the same developmental opportunities that the rest of the world were privy to. So she implemented Adelaide’s own social media marketing day, alongside Rubina Carlson and Ryan Jones, a full day of insightful and educational seminars specifically to educate those working in the industry in a consulting or inhouse capacity.
True to form, it’s known as #SMDayADL and this year saw a crowd of not only high calibre but dedicated industry professionals, fill the Bradley Forum in the Hawke Building at UniSA on 28 July 2017.
The program consisted of the following industry leaders:
There was a significant amount of information imparted and it’s well worth the day spent away from the desk and in a room filled with fellow hashtaggers.
'A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding,' Marshall McLuhan, Canadian Communications Professor.
Fantastic Metrics and Where to Find Them with Erica Stacey
Erica is a self confessed analytics nerd. And we wouldn’t have her any other way. Her enthusiasm for great reporting is infectious and every time I hear her speak, I feel the urge to up my reporting game. Whilst Erica had A LOT of information to share, some of the key takeaways I found pertinent include:
Why we must be doing thorough reporting
Reporting not only avoids assumptions and justifies our roles as marketers and industry professionals but importantly it really drives strategy and validates each and every marketing activity that we undertake. Reporting is fundamental to better results; how else do we know where to point if we don’t know where we are?
‘I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts,' Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes.
Whilst your clients or organisation may have quite broad and common goals as part of the overall marketing and business plan (which might look like brand awareness, brand loyalty, increase enquiries and increase sales), it’s worthwhile incorporating some really specific goals to hang your marketing activities on. Examples of specific goals might include, reaching a totally new demographic or 5% sales increase over three months in a new city etc. When you identify your specific goals, you know exactly what marketing activities to implement and save money and time from using a scattergun approach and hoping for the best.
Make tracking specific to your strategy
Once you have got your data tracking in place you may like to incorporate your specific minimum metrics that you keep an eye on. This could include:
Reporting this to your clients or managers/employers will demonstrate that you are measuring more than just vanity metrics and that the real value comes from interpreting what they mean and what actions you should take.
Erica’s cheat sheet advice card:
Influencers with Hayley Kroon
Following Erica, Hayley Kroon, Social Media Manager from KWP, one of Adelaide’s leading marketing agencies, offered us a valuable overview of social media influencers.
'An influencer is someone who has a substantial following and can command an audience. They have specialized knowledge about a certain subject. They are all experts at building a brand,’ Agnes Kozera, cofounder of FameBit, an influencer-marketing platform.
Identify and start connecting to your influencers as early on in the piece as you can. This will require some degree of foresight and long term planning as you engage with influencer types well before you require them for a campaign or activity, so that you are not approaching them cold. Build a relationship as early as possible. Comment, create conversation and lay the groundwork for when you do reach out to them, even if you think you might not.
It’s beneficial to use an influencer to amplify any existing sponsorships or partnerships and sharing the message.
What is important to look for when thinking about using an influencer?
The engagement from followers and online audience needs to be relative, not only to their content and branding but also your campaign and branding. Their engagement should be organic and varied and there should be significant new engagement which is evidence that their audience is growing and hasn’t been paid for.
Quality of followers
Bots are of no use to anyone when it comes to end sales, so make sure their followers are actual people that you can cross promote to. Use SocialBlade to help you ascertain whether someone’s audience is real and interactive.
Quality of content
Think about whether their content is something that you would like to align to your brand. Check out their main topics, relevancy, industry and suitability of their content. Check for language they use, events they attend, values they hold, other brands they have shared or talked about.
Don’t forget the important obligation that as of 1 March this year, influencers must reveal where their posts and placements are sponsored. Check out the AANA guidelines for influencers and brands that use influencers here.
Planning Your Social Media with Jen Evison
(undertaking Paul Goodsell’s presentation due to illness)
Jen stole the show with her caffeine fuelled effervesce and natural enthusiasm for the digital space was contagious.
She reminded us that rather than creating content for content’s sake (which can be frustrating, time consuming and exhausting), it’s crucial to discover— and do the necessary research— your customers’ pain points and then address them via content.
Social media is the cheapest form of advertising as opposed to direct mail, television, radio and print advertising in terms of reach. The cost for 1000 users is $2.50 whereas avenues such as direct mail is $57 for 1000 users (via Lyfe). In terms of ROI, social media is low cost and effective and should be a key consideration in your advertising strategy.
Content Hacks, Apps and Tools with Ryan Jones
In a very short amount of time, Ryan let us in on some industry secrets, apps and platforms that makes our jobs as a social media managers much, much easier. Since we’re constantly against the clock with the need to produce and disseminate content within a microsecond, some of these tools are handy for “on the go” content. He also shared with us some helpful tips on how to do great live content (hint: it’s all about great lighting!)
Make your images and quotes pop:
Whip together a quick video on the go:
More to play with:
Q and A with Mal Chia
After a fascinating insight into Mal’s time with Uber and the PR crisis that no one could have predicted during the time of the Sydney siege, Mal gave us some no nonsense advice on running your social media channels.
He reminded us of the rule of reciprocity and that social media is very much a two way street with genuine opportunity to humanise your brand and communication channels. This is particularly useful when communicating in times of crisis. Use empathy and a more human (as opposed to corporate) response to convey urgent and crucial messages during these intense and highly charged times.
Understanding your audiences is the key to social media success and targeting everyone simply does not work. Ensure you define and narrow your target audience to suit your niche and speak directly to them. Really invest time in those people who do care about your brand, not those that don’t.
Finally, test, analyse and optimise. Magic words!
‘It’s really f*cking time consuming to do it right, which is why so many people don’t do it right,' Mal Chia.
Social Media and the Law with Paul Gordon
If you’ve never heard Paul speak and you work in communications, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Paul is an Adelaide lawyer known to work closely with social media marketers and has specialised knowledge in the industry. Due to the newness of the industry, there are not many “Pauls” around and we are extra lucky that he is unendingly generous with this time and knowledge.
Copyright infringement can occur via social media livestreaming and most of the time, regramming through Instagram is contravening Copyright. Instagram has even stated this in their terms and conditions. To avoid this, you need to seek explicit written permission from the content creator or create your own content. The bad news? Yes, all memes not made by you are infringing copyright.
You’re generally okay with re-sharing content on Facebook and Twitter as they have inbuilt functions for sharing. If you’re unsure – just make your own content!
NB: obviously this is not legal advice, silly. But Paul is very approachable and knowledgeable, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need some legal help.
Feel like you missed out on a whole lot of job saving information? You probably did. Nevermind, there’s always next year! See you there.
You may be quick to disregard LinkedIn, especially if you don’t work in the corporate world or aren’t job seeking. But the professional business networking site, which has been around for fifteen years (yes, longer than Facebook!), has over 500 million users 4.2 monthly users in Australia alone—and shouldn’t be underestimated as a great marketing tool. In fact, Huffington Post suggests it may be the Most Powerful Marketing Tool of the 21st Century.
LinkedIn is important for a number of reasons. Not only is it an online resume, Facebook-adjacent, forum and a recruitment database all rolled into one but your peers, clients and coworkers can endorse your skills and write recommendations for you. And we know how great social proof is for your personal and professional branding.
'46% of online adults who have graduated from college are LinkedIn users, compared with just 9% of online adults with a high school diploma or less,' (Pew Research Center, 2015).
It’s also an easy way to let people know about your industry/work experience, knowledge and expertise. Rather than having to send people your complete resume, you can just share the URL to your LinkedIn profile with them this makes it much easier for sharing in other areas too, such as in your email signature, business card, other social media platforms, marketing collateral and so on.
Why is LinkedIn important for you?
How to maximise your profile:
‘You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have [a headshot]. Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.”
How to write a great Linkedin profile summary
How many times should you post on LinkedIn?
Studies suggest once per day is best, with ultimate posting time between 10am and 11am. Social media app, Buffer, suggests once per day at 8:14am and not on weekends. Experts say that posting less than twice a week is not advisable.
‘The goal is to be consistently visible and valuable. It’s not about selling. You need to educate and provide useful information.’
What to avoid:
Remember: it’s a professional networking site not a social networking site such as Facebook, so keep it completely professional.
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'As a solo business owner, you often face stress alone. Here are seven techniques to help you master that stress when things get tense. '
Check out my article on Flying Solo that includes tips and techniques to stay calm when it comes to stress in business.
Let me know what you think below!
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'Australia’s housing prices rose as much as 10.7 per cent over 2016 and are predicted to hike up an average of five per cent over 2017. Despite that, many homeowning retirees are still...'
Read more of my article on WYZA.
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As we’ve looked at previously, writing well is a key player in drawing in more customers and leads via organic searches.
If you’re not getting the organic traffic that you expect, it’s likely time to start including better written content on your site. To do this, it’s essential to know what Google determines as good content. You'll need to know what to avoid, how to make it engaging and readable to your target audience with an insight to the importance of setting business goals in order for marketing success!
72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic. (Ascend2, 2015).
In this article we’re discussing great content. Content can mean a number of things in marketing but in this article I am focusing on discussing content articles, which are online articles that are informative and well written but as they are often commissioned by a business an organisation, they play a part in the sales process. They are not as obvious and glaring as advertorials, they are more closely related to editorial. Although not overtly “salesy” they can occasionally contain bias and will avoid mentioning competitors. We’ll also touch on static website copy (all the other text that sits on your website) and the part that plays in sales and conversions.
Before you consider creating exciting features or content for your website, brainstorm your business goals and what you want to happen when people visit your website. To get the results you desire, set marketing goals from the outset in order to develop an effective marketing strategy that is easy to follow and execute. Identifying clear goals and your “why” will help you understand the motivation behind every marketing activity and help you simplify your decisions.
If your goal is to increase sales, you might consider in your plan to focus on having a user friendly site with clear calls to action to increase conversion rate. Conversion rates indicate the amount of people who visit your site who then follow your call to action which include making a purchase on your site, subscribing to your enewsletter or contacting your business. Find out more about calls to action here.
Other goals include becoming an authoritative resource in your industry or on your area of expertise, improving interaction with your customers and nurturing new leads to eventually convert them into new customers or sales. To achieve these goals you'll want to establish trust on your website with the content you provide and way you present your knowledge. You’ll particularly want to give your customers a reason to come back to your site.
‘On average, consumers visited at least three online stores before making their purchase.’ Minewhat and 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase.
And in the travel industry, 'buyers can visit up to thirty eight sites to plan their holiday.'
To capture those people who are ready to make a purchase upon first viewing of your site or to increase the chances of people coming back, it’s imperative that you foster a sense of trust and knowledge on your product or services. Having compelling content articles and static website copy will instil confidence and security in your potential buyer.
Kissmetrics tells us that ‘Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy.’ Give them a reason to come back!
If you're looking to establish your brand and its credibility, you'll also need to look at producing great content.
Keywords: the base of your content articles
Good content is optimised content (SEO stands for search engine optimised), which uses intentional keywords in your content. Keywords are the words or phrases people typically search for whilst using a search engine. For example, if you've set up a business selling BMX bikes in Sydney, ensure that you use these keywords and variations of in your content. Avoid overusing the terms, make it readable and enjoyable and importantly informative for your audience, as Google’s ranking system is hyper savvy and will know when you are “keyword stuffing”. Keyword stuffing is the practice of throwing in a bunch of keywords in your content at the expense of good writing.
You can research the top keywords on sites such as Google Adwords, Google Trends, Keyword Tool, Hubspot’s guide to keyword research to find the best key words to attract your audience to your site. To get a good idea of which key words will work, check out your high ranking competitors and the type of content and keywords that they use.
Tip: don’t forget to include locations in your keywords, particularly if you are a location based service. For example, one of my search terms is “Adelaide copywriter”, given that I am based in Adelaide.
Once you've figured out your key words, get a feel for what people like to read about and care about. Using our BMX shop example, you might want to write about competitions and races that are taking place in the local area, or you might want to write about exciting new and upcoming products that you'll be stocking. Never pad out or over use keywords as this will detract from the quality of your writing and as we’ve discussed here, Google search rankings favours well written material.
‘Sixty percent begin by using a search engine to find the products they want’.
I’m about to start blogging. What should I do?
Firstly, set goals. Your blog goals can be centred around number of views, posts, comments as well as growth in writing quality and experience. In addition to your goals it pays to be very clear why you are writing. The “why” will keep you motivated even when it seems like no one is reading your great work. Check out Simon Sinek’s Start with Why to discover your “why” factor.
Secondly, create a list of content/post ideas that you can tackle further down the track. Much like you might plan out writing a book, list the topics that you wish to cover. Write some content before you “go live” so you avoid the awkwardness of luring in readers with your first post but leaving them hanging with nowhere to go.
Here are eight blogging tips to get you started.
I’m not a great writer but can I blog anyway?
Technically, yes you can – anyone can and there are a plenty of horrendous writers with famous blogs. But if you’re intending to create a text heavy blog (as opposed to images or a vlog) I would cock an eyebrow and ask why you aren’t interested in being a great writer first and foremost? Your SEO will be disadvantaged with poor writing and your audience will give up on you if they don’t understand your message or you’re not doing the topic any justice.
Read: grammar for blogging.
I’ve been blogging for a few months, what should I do now?
Refer back to your goals. Are you on track? Do any of your goals need to be revised or shifted?
Conduct a thorough self review of the following areas:
Which is more important – writing or promoting your writing?
It’s certainly a delicate balance between the actual writing and promoting yourself. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) this is the double edged sword of being a writer these days. If you are interested in pursuing professional writing as a career, I would recommend that this is part of your learning experience. In short: do both if you can! But not at the sacrifice of your writing.
The best thing you can do is keep blogging – consistently and frequently. It’s something that will build over time, not an overnight thing.
How can I promote my blog on Twitter?
Although Twitter may not be the most effective tool for brands, it still hosts a lot of readers and writers. To really reel in the reader, you have to craft really short (less than 140 characters) lead lines that make people want to click on your link. This can be tricky but fun. Take a look at Why your business writing is probably crap.
If you want to tweet an annotated screenshot, read this article from the New York Times.
Make sure you know where your readership are. If you’re writing about building muscle and weight lifting, your audience are likely to be in topic specific Facebook groups or online forums. If you’re trying to connect to a more corporate audience, then Linkedin is your way forward. Find your target demographic here.
And importantly, don't forget to set up an email list and campaign to help promote your blog posts.
No one is reading my blog posts. Is blogging really worth it?
It depends on your goals and desired outcomes but almost invariably the answer is yes! Keep writing! Keep blogging and experimenting with promotion until you find the thing that work for you. Blogging, like any writing or micro business is a long term investment, so consistency and dedication are the key attributes that you can apply.
Here are some useful articles on building an audience:
Do I need to include pictures on my blog?
Yes! It helps with SEO and attracts eyes when promoting via your social media platforms.
Blog Tyrant sums it up really well below:
‘At a minimum, you want to be part of a quality stock photo site that allows you to use photos on your site with an attribution license. I use Dreamstime for any stock photos but an even better option is to take your own photos, make your own images, or have a professional do it – that really sets you apart from the rest.
Visual content has been growing for years and it appears to be speeding up, not slowing down. We now have retina display tablets and our smartphones are getting bigger. Social networking sites like Facebook and Google+ are favoring images and videos over text – never mind sites like Pinterest which are totally based around photos!’
Remember that using your own content and royalty free stock images prevent any copyright issues. Don’t pull a Marie Claire and share an image with proper attribution or permission!
Need more help? Check out How to start a blog here.
If you have a question not answered here, please feel free to pop it in the comments section below or leave a link to your blog so we can have a read!
If you want anyone to find you through an organic search on the web and want optimal reach, it’s not enough to have a great website; you need to employ SEO tactics even if you only start with the basics.
Incorporating effective SEO techniques is a precarious balance between pleasing the robots and pleasing the people. I’ve always thought our modern world would come to this!
Following on from my post How to top Google’s search results here are some additional tips to that you can easily implement over a weekend to vastly improve how people find your site.
'Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about partnering with Google to provide the best search results for Google’s users,' Phil Frost, Main Street ROI.
According to Raven Tools, 78% of all SEO issues are related to images.
Include images where possible. An image or two per blog post and page is not only visually appealing but will help the bots that crawl your site and see how user friendly your site is.
Ensure all images are labelled/named clearly and relevant to your text and insert a suitable keyword or phrase into “alt text” section. Keep images at a reasonable size so it doesn’t hamper website loading time.
Google has even told us that it factors in site loading speed into how your site ranks.
‘You may have heard that here at Google, we’re obsessed with speed in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed.’
Keep the image size between 100kb and 400kb and your site needs to load within one to two seconds or you have potentially lost most of your site visitors. Sorry to be the one to tell you that. Check your site load speed here.
As you can see from this image, I’ve got a bucket load of work to do to get mine up to scratch. Another item for my “to do” list.
Write terrific content
Make sure it is written well (as if you were a journalist or professional writer). That means that sentences should be cohesive and not "waffley". Standard writing best practices apply throughout your whole website, from blog posts to static web copy to behind the scenes in your meta data description. Maybe now you finally have a legitimate excuse to sign up for those writing classes you always wanted to take?
Spelling and grammar should be faultless. Believe it or not, Google now judges you based on your grammar and spelling (Hallelujah, the writers cry). This pleases me as we’re seeing a lot more credible and well written content on the web, rather than just anyone with a blog and some time on their hands.
Ensure your meta descriptions are up to date, well written and contain your keyword/s. Each web page values from having its own meta data descriptions written well, not forgetting they have to be interesting enough for someone to want to click through to your website, when they read the short blurb on Google. Put simply, these descriptions will need a sales flair that entices people to click, without sacrificing good writing and sentence structure.
SEO leaders, Moz, provide a clear definition of what meta descriptions are:
'Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise summaries of webpages. They commonly appear underneath the blue clickable links in a search engine results page (SERP).'
Write compelling and keyword rich meta data descriptions. Make sure the meta data description reads really well and has a sales flair that entices people to click, without sacrificing good writing and sentence structure.
And of course, we’ve discussed that it’s imperative to keep your content fresh. You need to be posting new content super regularly (ideally, more than once a week) to appease the spiders.
Stay tuned as this post will be updated regularly with more helpful SEO information.
You may also like to have a look at online writing.
‘Everyone is not your customer,’ Seth Godin
You probably have a terrific product or service that you have refined and you’re ready to tell the world. But where is your money, time and marketing efforts better spent: telling the entire world in a diluted scattergun approach? Or specifically targeting and blitzing people that are almost guaranteed to buy your product/service? Or at the very least buying similar from your competitors, have a need for what you offer or will likely to want it.
Here’s how you can discover the people (and psychographics) that you need to be speaking to directly. Knowing who these people are will shape how you talk to them, what kind of language and tone you use, what platforms you use and what images they will want to see. Remembering that '2pm on a Tuesday could be a very different moment from 2pm on a Saturday for the same person.'
A demographic is a group of people that you are aiming your message towards. They are defined by their characteristics, purchasing habits and other factors.
Here are three types of demographic groups. Within each group you can further filter into more specific demographics.
Also known as your existing or primary group, these are the people who are already addressable and interested in what you have to offer and have knowledge of your product/service. Although smaller, this group are easier to influence. The one thing you will have to provide is a unique selling point or a reason why they should continue to choose you above their existing practitioners or suppliers.
Also known as your secondary group, these people are more likely to be potential clients/customers. They may have never tried your product or service or have little or no knowledge about your business but are open to taking that step or have been referred to you but are yet to “cross that line” and make contact with you. They may also have signed up to your enews or have enquired about you in the past without taking it further. Although a larger group they will require more energy and work to encourage them to move into the engaged group.
This is a wide group of people, also known as the wishful or bonus group, that have no interest in your topic and are not open to learning or hearing about it and are unlikely to (however, if they do open up at some point, they automatically swap into the new group, then may convert to the engaged group). Needless to say, the return on effort (and there might be a lot of effort involved) is not worth reaching out to this group.
Your target demographic will be the people that you want to communicate directly with who are most likely to buy your service or product. This is not about excluding anyone from your marketing prowess but is about honing in on the people most likely to buy from you so you save your time and resources and get a better result.
I’m going to help you simplify this process so that you will find a useful and helpful way to use this knowledge, rather than overwhelm you with possibilities. My intention is not to dumb this down for you but to find a way of melding common sense and technical marketing knowledge in a useable and workable concept. By all means, do some extensive research on demographics and how to identify and reach them. You can even go so far as to boil it down to a sample person (known as a customer avatar) based on all the median research that has been done. A lot of larger consumer companies do this, so they know who they are targeting and can personify their demographic in the hope of really speaking to them.
Remember: don’t fall into a seductive trap of thinking that your product or service is best marketed to everyone. It is simply not the case that your product or service will be wanted or accommodates everyone, so it’s better to maximise your time and effort and really hone in on the target demographic that will make your business thrive. Be aware that this might only be five people that purchase a hundred thousand dollars worth of product from you each year. Or it might be twenty thousand people that buy ten dollars worth of product from you each month. Download your free demographic template here.
How to identify who is in your existing and new groups:
Resources for finding data:
The internet is wonderful, of course, but there may be a lot of information you have to wade through. Ensure you put aside enough time to do so.
Here is a simplified example of demographics broken down into three groups.
BUSINESS NAME sells an organic cotton clothing range in a dedicated retail store in Byron Bay. They also sell their range online, via their website. Primary demographic: females aged from 20 to 45 years, who live in suburban areas and mostly come from Victoria and New South Wales. They prefer to buy their clothing in-store but will often research the product thoroughly online first. They go to yoga and meditation classes, prefer to shop and eat organic and most of the group are mothers and work for themselves in some capacity.
Curious? Check out Victoria Secret’s identified marketing demographics here.
This cohort includes the primary group’s partners, parents, friends or children that buy for this group and might also include wholesalers that act as a middle man for BUSINESS NAME’s product.
Maybe you have a dream that your business reaches the over 50s market. Perhaps there needs to be some alterations to your product or service to suit this demographics’ lifestyle (and you’ll know what that looks like because you’ve done your research!) Perhaps your product or service already suits this group but you need to alter your branding so it really speaks to them. In this example, you might consider creating an “Over 50s” range with more classic branding.
Tip: to successfully communicate with any of your demographics, find out what they want through customer segregation. You can’t do this by guessing or assuming what they want. You can do this by asking them, perhaps as an incentivised survey (try SurveyMonkey) or by doing your research and monitoring people’s behaviours, trends and attitudes towards other products and services.
Remember: people’s behaviours and wants change regularly, so you will need to reassess who your target demographics are at least once a year.
The better you understand your customer, the faster your business will grow.
This has been adapted from an excerpt of my marketing book Promote Your Spiritual Business.
Here’s a collection of things that I have personally used that make my professional life easier and more productive.
I can often be found muttering to myself ‘geesh, I love technology’, because really, how great is it? That we can do our best work and have so many useful tools and programs to help us achieve great results and outcomes.
Harpoon is my “one stop shop” business running app. It invoices my clients (and sends automatic reminders should their payment be late), it stores all my clients’ data, helps me to budget and forecast my income and most importantly for me, it tracks my time so I can accurately keep track of how long it takes me to write something and if I am charging my clients correctly.
LiveChat is a plugin for my website that runs an automatic chat bot for anyone who visits. You can outsource to consultants but I prefer to be the one chatting to potential clients/site visitors, even if that means I miss out on some opportunities. Fortunately, I can access chat via both my phone and laptop and I am alerted as soon as someone has questions. This week, I had the opportunity to encourage someone to buy my book, book into my ecourse and let a potential client know about the extra services that I offer (we’d originally discussed some product brochures but he was also interested in getting some media releases written).
This is a great tool for anyone in a customer or client facing business that wants to add another layer to their customer service.
Boomerang for Gmail
Boomerang is an add on to your Gmail platform that performs a few handy actions including scheduling your email to be sent at a specified time, triggered reminders in XX number of days if the person hasn’t replied and has a tracking option to not only show you when someone has opened your email but what links they have clicked on in the email.
This is a handy instrument for those people working with less than desirable clients who claim to have never seen an invoice (thankfully I am yet to have one of those, touch wood).
So, we all struggle with being distracted by the internet. Anyone who says they don’t is probably lying or in a place with really bad WiFi. Sometimes you just need that extra kick up the butt and Freedom is just that. It blocks out the internet or designated apps or social media sites for a predetermined amount of time so you can explicitly focus on your task at hand. As a writer, this is such a key factor in being super efficient.
IFTTT – which stands for If This, Then That – is one of the most incredible automation tools of the new world. It is a collection of applets (conditional statements) that bring together your existing apps and online services using a myriad of “recipes” to basically make your life easier and make the absolute most of almost everything that exists in this glorious world of tech. For example, I have set up recipes to guide my iPhone to repost every one of my Instagram pics as native posts on Twitter (this saves the hassle of those ugly links that Insta sharing creates). I also get a message an hour before it rains, when I need to put sunscreen on and more.
It can even get you out of bad dates, automatically unlock your front door when you arrive home.
As an avid reader and collector of information, Pocket has been an app that I have used consistently for years, both in a professional and personal context. There’s always so much content (articles, videos, listicles, slideshows) floating about that there is barely enough time to read it all and the chances of you stumbling across an interesting link during a busy work day or just as you are about to fall asleep is highly likely. For these occasions you can simply send a link to Pocket and review later when you have half an hour to wait at a doctor’s appointment or are doing some research for a client.
I know I have mentioned it before but CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer [sic] is really a worthwhile tool, particularly in my line of business.
Would love to hear about your favourites!
The subject line is the first thing that people will see when it hits their inbox. According to Chadwick Martin Bailey, 64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line. Crafting the perfect subject line is an art form, a rewarding one, which can entice people to open the email and read the content. Your mission: to write an appealing subject line that will make people want to keep reading. The subject line is really worth investing time and energy into getting right. This is going to be the device that encourages people to open your email and read it (and then, hopefully, click on the call to action).
Most importantly, the subject line needs to indicate or foreshadow what is in the email and what the readers can expect to get out of it. Be sure not to misrepresent your email’s content. Much like a headline the subject line will need to have a great hook in it. Give specific reasons why someone should open the email (as that one hundred per cent the aim of a great subject line). Which sounds more specific?
The answer is 2. Number one is too vague and number three is too "salesy". Remember: it’s much more effective if you tell your readership what the email contains, rather than give them the “sell”.
Just like headlines, you might want to employ one of the psychological techniques in your subject line (as long as you adhere to the other success principles):
Although there has been some preliminary research into how many words affect the open rate of an email, there seems to be no consistent number of words that prove best practice when it comes to wheedling opens. An older study from Adestra suggests that subject lines fewer than ten characters long had an open rate of 58%.
This is more of a personal opinion than professional opinion but I detest the sight of an emoji in a subject line, no matter the industry or brand. It cheapens the look and detracts from the offer or information. This may not always be the case for your target demographic, however, so it is best to do some thorough research and understanding of your target demographic groups (my book has more details about those groups) to know how to directly speak to them. If you’re communicating B2B I would strongly recommend not using emojis in your subject lines or email body copy. World Emoji Day on 17 July might be the only exception to this rule.
Most email platforms have something called A/B split testing. This is the ability to send your email to your mailing list with two or three minor changes, so you can ascertain which gets more of a response. It’s worth your time to try A/B split testing for subject lines. Don’t just guess what people will respond to – test the waters! These test results will be useful for the next time you send out an email campaign and you’ll be able to see whether your email list responds better to questions or giveaways or rewards or whatever you decide to test!
Craft the language to be personal (not at the expense of professionalism though). You may also like to include the recipient’s name in the subject line. Mailchimp discovered that including your company name in the subject line increased open rates. For example, Jones the Writer really wants you to learn about this today…
So how many people should be opening your emails? How do you know if your subject lines are doing well? Although it is industry dependent, Mailchimp purports that between 15% and 29% of your entire mailing list opening your emails are standard. Check out where your industry lies here.
Here are a few industries that most of my audience fall within. These figures are up to date as at 1 February 2017.
Technically it is both correct if you capitalise the first letter of every word (known as title case) but my grammatical preference is to only capitalise the first letter of the first word (known as sentence case). I find it is easier read and promotes a flow that the eyes can follow easily. As with any great writing, avoid excessive capitalisation and overuse of syntax (keep the exclamation marks away). Read more about grammar for blog posts here.
In a nutshell
Keep the subject line copy very clear, medium to short in length, professional and as a precursor to what the email contains. As with most copywriting, it’s better to aim for brevity and clarity over and above being to creatively “clever”. Although it may seem a little on the conservative side, it’s better to opt for something that works.
'64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line.'
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Facebook's algorithm has changed again recently and here's what you need to know in a nutshell.
Facebook’s latest algorithm changes mean that posts with more authenticity and that are more genuine will be favoured.
If you’re asking for likes, shares and comments, Facebook will basically say ‘pfft to you’. And if you spread too much "fake news" you’ll be penalised by the higher power that is Facebook. And the more people hide your posts, the more Facebook will realise what you’re sharing is basically… well… crap and will be reluctant to put you front and centre on the stage that is the Facebook newsfeed.
A handy article to read more here. And if you want to know how much a social media marketer is really worth, check out the breakdown on this page (scroll halfway down).
A call to action [CTA] is a concise phrase that you include in your copywriting and marketing material that not only encourage your readers to do something but it demands it! The term itself gives it away – it’s a strong directive that ensures action. The action that you want taken are practical steps that will ultimately lead to a sale, a booking or a purchase.
Examples of call to actions include:
An effective call to action offers urgency. Create urgency to play up to the natural instinct that humans have – the fear of time running out or missing out on something (also known as the scarcity principle). Tell your audience exactly what to do and when – words like today, now, straight away, before too late…
Pick one of your benefits (not a feature) to the consumer and use that as a call to action. For example, a benefit of good copywriting would be that it improves your SEO ranking. Therefore, I could use this benefit in my CTA like this:
Check out this video from Marketing Experiments on the power of a "micro yes" when it comes to call to actions.
Where do you include call to actions?
Include them on each page of your website, each blog post or content article, videos, social media posts, enewsletters and direct email campaigns and in person. Each of your webpages and marketing emails should have between one and three call to actions.
Place one within the first half of your webpage/email/marketing collateral but not directly at the top, as your readers will want to read some credible information first. It's also wise to place one at the end of your copy, to remind and instil your message.
Tips on writing a great call to action:
Don’t forget to include your call to action on your webinars, infographics and presentations or slide shows. You can also verbalise one if you are giving a talk but don’t give more than one. It will most likely be ‘go to my website for more details’.
Here are two clear call to action examples on big business's landing pages:
Do you think email marketing (that’s your email newsletters, EDM and email automated campaigns) is dead? Are you mistakenly believing that you need to invest all your time into your social media marketing?
You might be doing your business a disservice because according to MarketingSherpa, '72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media.' Those kind of stats are just too hard to not experiment with, let alone ignore. Not only does an enewsletter provide an effective way of communicating new and existing services or products you have but it will ensure clients/customers feel connected, attended to and will encourage click throughs to your website and social media channels. Here's six reasons why email marketing is important.
But almost everyone has an inbox overflowing with various enewsletters, so it’s important to fill yours with interesting and relevant content. Not sure what to include in your enews?
You may like to experiment with this formula
30 per cent teasers
50 per cent quality information
20 per cent direct promotion
Examples of what to include in an enews
Make sure you set up your template so that every enews includes:
Here's two more important factors to a good enewsletter:
Sporadically—every four to six months—make your enews purely about the readers, cut out the promotion and offer quality content and/or a free product or service or ask them a question to invite conversation.
Include a clear call to action. Make your readers do something. That could include going to your website, booking an appointment or providing you with feedback. Aim to have at least three calls to action per enews—even if they are the same. Read my enewsletters here.
Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. – McKinsey
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A copywriter is a professional writer that will write your marketing material (whether that be for your website, blog posts, brochures, social media marketing, enewsletters, media releases, adverts and a whole range of things). A copywriter is an expert in writing and will pen persuasive words in a way that is potent for your marketing plan.
Why hire a copywriter?
I’m going to be straight up here: almost everybody thinks they can write. This isn’t the truth. Let’s get real about this so you don’t do your business a disservice. An exceptional copywriter can position your business, services and products as memorable and leading the way, outshining your competitors and as something that people just MUST HAVE. With the art of the persuasive word, professionally written copy can increase sales.
The beauty of a copywriter is that they are able to step back from you and see the best in what you offer and know how to tell the world about it. Often, you can be too close to your own offerings to effectively describe what you do.
Copywriters are more than just writers. I come from a marketing background, so I know how to effectively promote something – whether it’s yoga classes, property or balsa wood – directly to your potential or existing customers, influence their decisions. I also have a genuine understanding of SEO, making you more easily discoverable online.
An awesome copywriter can make anything – and everything – sound thrilling.
Perhaps best of all, in my view, a copywriter will write with great grammar and spelling, giving you more credibility and readability. If the first contact new customers have with you is a poorly written website or Facebook page, how can they expect you to be professional when delivering your services? Go on – choose three websites at random and you will easily be able to tell which has been professionally written and which has been written in haste by the business owner.
Although this may not be the case for all copywriters (and is certainly not a requirement), I am also an award winning creative writer (having written many short stories, poems and a novel), so the art of storytelling is in my veins. And as customers become more and more saturated by content these days, they are craving authenticity and genuine storytelling. See also: how to keep your content crispy.
Most of what we are commissioned to write is written to sell. We believe in and live the “art of the sell” using only so much as our words.
When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it “creative”. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product,’ David Ogilvy.
This may vary mildly depending on what you want written but the most likely process will go like this:
Then you can relax as I squirrel away for a time and work on the copy to the deadline we’ve agreed upon. This is the “go time” for me and where I spend hours researching, taking notes, writing and rewriting, proofreading and editing and maybe, just maybe, watching Netflix (some of my best ideas have come from television shows!)
You’ll be emailed the work (usually in a Word document) to review. I offer a revision with all quotes but I rarely, if ever, have to do it but I want you to know that the option is there because there’s no point with you being unhappy with the copy.
Then you can do whatever you need to do with the writing – upload it to your website, email merger, letterhead, social media platforms. It's then time to enjoy the benefits of meticulously crafted copy.
Now be honest, that was a lot less painful than you thought, right? Certainly a lot less painful than agonising for weeks or months over writing your homepage or blog posts. There we have it – the mysteries of working with a copywriter solved! If you have any more questions, drop a comment below or send me an email.
‘Let us prove to the world that good taste, good art, and good writing can be good selling,’ William Bernbach.
BONUS: learn to write terrific headlines that will make people click
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Copywriting and business writing is markedly different to writing a poem or writing something sweet in your grandmother's birthday card. It has a specific focus and uses a particular set of skills to increase sales, draw in new customers or clients or set you apart from your competition by demonstrating that you really know what you're talking about.
We've already looked at why content writing (and blogging) is excruciatingly important for your marketing plan, so now we're going to discuss how you can write really well in all your professional marketing communications (such as your website, blog posts, enewsletters, social media posts etc, because you're doing these all regularly… right?)
Writing well to promote your business is crucial to its success. In a digital era of fast paced communications, you need to get your message "bang on" immediately or clients will drift elsewhere along the fast paced current of the online communications river. Below are some starter guidelines for both online and off line writing. Keep these in mind the next time you write something that the public will see.
Use persuasive words
Ideally, you want people to do be doing something, to take action. Even clicking on a link is taking action. Use words as your triggers and cues.
According to Copyblogger, the top five most persuasive words in the English language are:
Here's a really comprehensive list of influential words you can use.
Correct grammar and spelling enhances your credibility and affords trust in what you are saying, ensuring a smooth read that will not distract readers from absorbing your message. If you neglect to take care of your proofreading, potential and current clients may wonder where else you neglect attention to detail.
Let it breathe
Put your writing aside for at least twenty four hours – a week if you can afford the time. Putting distance between you and your writing only improves its quality. You may learn something new that is pertinent to the topic at hand in that time- especially since it will be the forefront of the mind. And you will easily identify errors and poor structure once you've had a chance to have some distance from it.
Write in the second person
Write as if you are directly speaking to one person/client, rather than a group of people or nobody. Direct what you're saying by using terms such as "you", "your" etc, which will not only personalise your message but give the reader the ability to "try on" what you are saying to them and they will be more readily willing to absorb your message – particularly if you are persuading them to invest in your product or service.
Use confidence in your language. Replace terms such as ‘you may' with ‘you will' or ‘why not try' with ‘invest now'. Refer to the list of persuasive words above if you get stuck.
If you're not completely (three hundred and twenty per cent) sold on your product or service and the results that it will deliver, how can you expect a potential customer to be?
Twitter is a charming tool for this as it forces you to convey a message in less than 140 characters. To enhance your brevity, imagine how you would turn any message you are writing into a tweet.
Be clear, get to the point immediately and ensure you cap off your communications with a short summary of what you have written.
Be clear with yourself throughout the process - from the start (or before) of writing until releasing it into the world. What is the exact purpose of what you are writing? Be excruciatingly clear with yourself. Is it to attract another ten clients? Is it to be recognised in your field of expertise? Is it to voice your opinion on a current issue? Write this purpose at the top of your page or on a sticky note where you can see it and keep referring back to it as you write. Clarity = better results.
If you incorporate all these tips into your business writing and copywriting, you'll soon see more success than you thought possible!
You can write the most epic blog content that could set off a bunch of life changing insights for your readership but without a tantalising headline, few people will bother to click through and read it.
Ensure you have a compelling heading for each blog post. Make sure it’s a bit of a tease and that people will want to click on it and read more. Include why someone absolutely must read this post; explain why it will change their life/business/mind etc. The headline must be about the reader and how it can benefit them. For example, How Garlic Will Make You Lose Weight.
‘With [blog post] titles, it's best to under promise and over deliver. So if you're choosing between uber-compelling and accurate, choose accuracy every time,’ Corey Eridon, Hubspot Marketing Blog.
Here are some things to add that will create punch in your headline:
A great headline should make a reader curious and want more. Here are some types of headlines that have proven themselves to work time and time again:
'Most people will share content based on the headline alone.'
How many words should your headline be?
There's been many different discoveries when it comes to the ultimate headline length for maximum readers. The platform you are sharing on does make a difference but to summarise, Outbrain has found that seven words is an ideal length.
Coschedule similarly suggests that 60-100 characters is ideal.
Do you want to know whether your headline hits the mark? This is my favourite tool when deciding between headlines to use. Try this headline analyser.
Here's how I decided on the headline for this post:
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You’re ready to write a non fiction book but you’re hesitant to start for any number of reasons; perhaps you are swimming in self doubt, overwhelmed or just not sure where to you start. You’ve identified a non fiction topic to write about and you may have even picked a title and can picture the cover in your mind’s eye. You just haven’t written a single word of the draft manuscript. That is okay! You’re actually probably way more ahead than you realise.
I wrote my book, Promote Your Spiritual Business, in less than sixteen months because I genuinely enjoyed the process and was very committed to getting it done. And even though I write for a living, I STILL understand the pain of starting some written work – at times, it can be ghastly!
But an idea is just an idea, it’s not a book! Until it’s written, it’s just thoughts. So you actually need to start. Every single successful project in the history of time was started at some point.
If you’re having trouble starting, pick one of the following action steps today:
Do some research
Set a timer for thirty minutes and do some serious, hard core internet research on your predetermined topic. Cut and paste as many relevant sections, paragraphs, links, stats and quotes as appeals to you and put in a Word document. You’ll come back to this document at the right time to expand on relevant sections or use the research to back up your opinions in the book.
Unearth what you already know
Open your Word document and type the heading ‘What I know about TOPIC (this is the topic you will be writing about)’. You can also apply the same action step to keywords that will be in your book. This is your chance to write down dot points of what you already know. I guarantee that you will shock yourself with how much you know about this topic. We often don’t even know how much we know… Donald Rumsfeld proclaims that we no longer know what we know and what we don’t.
Most adults have a finite capacity of storing and collecting information, so it’s not implausible that there is at the very, very least one book’s worth of information readily available in your brain. I’m confident there is enough information there to write as many books as you can be bothered!
‘…if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.’ Scientific American.
Set up an interview
Interview yourself! Write out a list of questions that you would ask someone else about the topic or that you want to know, then set about asking yourself. You may even like to prerecord yourself, or rope in a friend to ask you these questions. Just having a different voice can be a really effective process in unearthing your knowledge.
Get really quiet. You may already be familiar with a little thing taken the world by a peaceful storm, called mindfulness. If you’re a mindfulness junkie, there’s an opportunity to commence that right now. But if you’re unfamiliar with it, just get really quiet and really still. Distractions have no place here! It doesn’t even have to be long – five to fifteen minutes are ideal.
Empty the mind of all your thoughts and when it feels as empty as possible (this is no small feat, by the way) invite thoughts about your topic in. Keep a notepad handy nearby and jot down every single thing that comes to mind, even if it is “purple monkey dishwasher”. You will get something useful out of it – even if it is one keyword that will spur you to undertake step one, two or three.
Find your notes from a workshop you have attended in the last year or so on your chosen area (or closely linked) and gather up your notes. From these notes you will type them up (even if they have been previously typed) and highlight keywords or topics that you will expand on by doing step one or two.
Have you attended a workshop that is on a different topic? Grab your notes from that find the similarities between your topics. You may even find some beautiful metaphors or ways to cross pollinate knowledge here. Like I did with this.
Didn’t take any notes? Tsk tsk. But not all is lost! Your action step is to enrol in a couple of workshops, seminars, webinars, ecourses or similar on your topic and when you attend, take so many notes that you are left with a hand cramp at the end! Don’t aim for creativity when note taking, just get as much data down as you can. When you type them up later, you’ll be able to interpret in your own writing style, with your own take and research to make them meld seamlessly into your book. Pay particular attention to the extra resources, such as books, podcasts, links, key people that the lecturer, teacher or course provider recommends as this is where you will extend your knowledge and get those extra nuggets of information that make your book juicy with information.
There are no excuses left to not starting your non fiction book and being well on your way to a bestselling non fiction author! All you have to do is pick one of the action steps above and do it. You may like to pick an action step for each day and dedicate yourself to completing it. At the end of the week, you’ll be so energised and motivated by what you’ve achieved that it’s likely you’ll want to continue writing your non fiction book until it’s finished!
Once you've written it, it's time to engage a copyeditor.
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