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.
Although these Youtube videos aren't all directly related to copywriting, sometimes you need a little visual and audio inspo to get you motivated to achieve the marketing success in your business that you truly desire. This used to be a blog post of five inspiring videos but I have chosen to remove Tony Robbins due to his deplorable recent minimisation of the #MeToo movement and I don't want to support his work any longer.
SEO for beginners with Neil Patel
Neil Patel is one of the world’s leading experts on SEO and his friendly, unassuming vibe makes it easy to understand all things SEO. Here he explains some basic tips to keep up with algorithmic changes in 2018. I highly recommend giving over ten minutes to learn these SEO fundamentals. Don't forget that I have some SEO steps here too.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
If you’re interested in increasing income (who isn’t, right?) and improving work performance, there is a little timeless classic call Think and Grow Rich written by Napoleon Hill, first published in 1937. Thankfully, it can be found as the complete audio book (all ten hours of it) on Youtube, so it makes for great listening. Warning: there’s some parts that you might want to tune out of that may not align with today’s social values.
How to Write Copy That Turns Website Visitors into Customers by Marie Forleo
This is a very simple video on copywriting that provides one very clear tip which I abide by in all copywriting pursuits. It’s a short video, has a bit of waffle and is broken down quite simply for those who are new to marketing but the tip and concept is priceless. And it reminds us of that age old copywriting technique of eliciting empathy.
How To Price Design Services and Make More Money with Chris Do
I really like this video and I find it particularly educational for those who work in creative services and are unsure (or more specifically, undervaluing) their skills, expertise and talent. Chris Do’s straight talking logic is quite inspiring and he is very transparent and generous with this knowledge about value, worth and pricing strategies.
You may also like... Eight reasons why you should hire a copywriter
Innovation: an overused and ignored word
As someone who writes a plethora of technology articles (I’m genuinely infatuated with big data, blockchain, artificial intelligence...) I stumble across the word innovation or innovative multiple times a day.
Innovation is a late Middle English word which stems from Latin. What’s fascinating is that the term innovator, used to be a complete insult and punishment often resulted in jail time and having their ears cut off. Ouch!
Innovation is about introducing something new (or change something into new). Used in its precise context, it works well. But how often to companies, products or services that are described in copy or when a keynote speaker is gracing the stage or sitting opposite Kochie on whatever morning program he is on and purport themselves to be innovative when what they are doing isn’t new at all?
I’ll admit, it’s a great word that captures a lot of what people are trying – or think – they do.
But it gets lost in the noise and becomes invisible because it’s categorically overused.
The more predictable the word, the more likely someone is going to skip it. ‘Readers possess semantic and syntactic information that enables them to form expectations about upcoming words in text (Goodman, 1970).'
And if someone is skipping your text, they aren’t going to totally absorb your message. And if you’re trying to stay front of mind in your potential customers and clients, you want them to remember your message!
‘…when word length is matched, words that are predictable from prior text are more likely to be skipped than unpredictable words…’
Instead of innovation, try these terms:
But it’s not enough just to use these words.
You must take it a step further and explain exactly why you/your product/your service are those things to connect with your audience and convince them that you are the one for them.
And truly, I’m not saying don’t use the word innovation, I’m saying become creative and specific when conveying your message. Put across different ways of saying what it is you actually do. Be accurate, why are you innovative? For example, list the technology you use or where you deviate from industry best practices that work. What are you doing differently from others in your field?
Is it time to refresh all your copywriting? Learn how to write great content here.
Do you run your own business and want to set yourself apart from your competitors? Do you want your future clients to see you as leading the way? Then it’s time to consider positioning your business, yourself and your services as industry leaders.
Have you always fancied yourself to be a thought leader or subject matter expert but not quite ready to do that TED talk? Then here is a way to make that happen. This, by no means, may be easy and you will need to invest in professional support but the rewards will be endless, particularly if you are enthusiastic to grow your business.
‘Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success,' Thought Leadership Lab.
Below I’ve outlined a three phase plan for your marketing to ensure you are positioning yourself as either a thought leader, subject matter expert or your company is the “go to” in your industry.
Phase one: client case studies
I have broken this phase down into four simple steps.
Collate and collect the data to write up some impressive client case studies. You can use my case study template here.
Write and edit the case studies so they read well and contain the right storytelling element. My recommendation is to start with three to six. Make sure they feature on a dedicated page on your website, where people can find them. If you work with clients in various sectors, be sure to capture a range of ways you have successfully helped clients.
Pluck out testimonials from the case studies to splash across your website and design graphics to use across your social media channels. Remember: people love social proof.
Share your case studies far and wide. Include them in any tender material, quote and award submissions, digital marketing strategies and talk about them when you meet people.
Phase two: annual content strategy
Devise a complete annual or six month content strategy, tailored specifically for the needs and goals of your business.
Your twelve month content marketing strategy will provide overarching content goals, themes, ways to implement marketing activities to support the reach and promotion of the content and the content will be in alignment with SEO research and other analytical research to meet business goals and objectives in align with your overall strategic business plan.
A great content marketing strategy will undertake an audit and look at and review the existing and potential challenges and provide practical recommendations to overcome them. Try using this content strategy template.
Don’t forget to include your target demographic in your strategy. Find out how to keep your content fresh here.
If you have a book or an ebook or are planning to write one this is the perfect phase to include it in and start promoting it. Here’s why you should write (or get someone to ghost write) a book if you are an entrepreneur.
Phase three: public relations campaign
The third phase focusses on spreading your message far and wide via the media. Having a third party confirm your leadership, especially the media, boosts your credibility and encourages people to believe that you are as you say you are.
A traditional statewide and national public relations campaign to position the business owner or senior executives as thought leaders and industry experts, whilst concurrently positioning your organisation as the “go to” business for the core services that you offer. If you service overseas clients, you might like to consider an international public relations campaign too.
So that’s your three phase plan to position your business as experts in your field and make sure that when people think of your industry, your brand name is at the forefront of your mind. Drop any questions in the comments below!
This year has been a terrific whirlwind for Jones the Writer. More than sixty per cent of small business cease operating in their first three years, so the mere fact that I have replaced my income (from employment) has exceeded my expectations.
Other goals that I have met, include blogging quality content regularly, with the aim to knowledge share as much as possible. To make your life easier I have curated my top ten most viewed blog posts, according to my Google Analytics. Some of these were posted years ago but have had a resurgence in 2017.
My content articles are specifically written with practical advice in mind and the aim is that you should get at least one genuine takeaway (minimum) that you can implement straight away and improve your marketing. So, if you read all ten below, that’s AT LEAST TEN practical things you can do to uplevel your marketing immediately.
1. Social media day
Adelaide's infamous Social Media Day had a host of information to impart. From legal ramifications of social media to tracking who visits your website, this recap has it all. Read here.
2. Easy SEO actions you can do over a weekend
3. How is your business writing?
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. Fix here.
4. Case study template
I'm not surprised that this free downloadable was a popular one! If you haven't already done so, download your template here.
5. Social media mistakes you need to stop
To be upfront, half of the reason this post performed well was due to the Facebook advertising I did in October as part of a campaign for my website. It's still one of my favourite posts, however.Stop these mistakes now.
6. Facebook's algorithm and how it works
If you're unclear how Facebook algorithm works, have a brief read here.
7. What you don't know about freelancers
I bet you didn't know that freelancers actually care about our clients and really want them to succeed and we'll probably go above and beyond to help make that happen. This was a surprise wildcard post and gives you an insight into how freelancers really think.
8. Facebook marketing mistakes
Easy to make (and yet easier to avoid) Facebook marketing mistakes. Find out what they are here.
9. Your marketing demographics
This is definitely one of the most useful content posts I have written. Identifying your target demographic audience is really important and the initial investment can end up saving time and costs. Identify your own demographics here.
10. Content marketing planning
Creating content with purpose can be challenging but incredibly rewarding, both emotionally and financially. Read more about content marketing here.
Even if you implement one new practical tip per day, you could have your marketing flourishing and well on track by Christmas time. I'm always interested to see how businesses are thriving, so be sure to let me know via commenting below or sending me an email on how these posts have helped you.
PS. I use Harpoon to track all my time, invoice clients, forecast my budget and record all my expenses. If you're in business for yourself, I recommend giving it a whirl.