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Copywriting Tips

By approaching your writing more strategically and using some of these tips of the trade, you can improve your writing in an instant.

Answer these 7 questions before you write anything

 

1. Who will read the document you are writing?

2. How is your document making their life easier?

3. Have you given them what they need in order to act?

4. Can people easily skim your document?

5. Can your sentences be shorter?

6. Can your language be simpler?

7. Have you made it easy for people to keep reading?

10 EASY TIPS

TO IMPROVE YOUR COPYWRITING RIGHT NOW

It is easy to figure out what you want to say. What’s difficult is taking the time to understand what your customers want and need to hear in order for them to act. By using a few of these simple copywriting suggestions your marketing materials can become more compelling and convincing... and that means better results for you!

 

1. Pretend you are sitting down having coffee with one person from your target market and write the way you would chat to them.

 

2. Start analysing all the marketing material that comes your way. What works? What doesn’t? Can you see any common threads in the successful pieces? Keep those pieces and make sure your work is in the same ballpark as theirs.

 

3. Write so a five-year-old can understand what you are saying

 

4. Give what you say credibility through case studies, statistics, testimonials, research findings, endorsements, credentials or money-back guarantees

 

5. Ask yourself, “What are your customers really buying?” e.g. peace of mind

 

6. Once you have done a first draft, sleep on it before starting to edit

 

7. Do the “so what” test. If at any point in your copy your reader asks, “so what?” that part needs to be more personal, more specific and give more reasons why

 

8. Overcome all imagined objections by writing them down and responding to them in your copy e.g.

Can’t afford it = payment plan


9. If you are having trouble getting to the benefit, describe a feature and then write, “what this means to you is…”

 

10. Re-read everything once more for luck before sending it to print

 

Of course, the only catch is... good copywriting does take time! So ask yourself “Do I really have enough time to do my job justice?” If your answer is, “No,” you might want to consider hiring a professional copywriter.

IMPROVE YOUR RANKING:

TIPS FROM AN SEO COPYWRITER

 

Search Engine Optimization is a complex business that changes as search engines like google do. But the one thing to remember when it comes to ranking: content is king. It does take time and persistence, but if you follow this list of SEO tips correctly you should see improvement in your organic ranking on search engines like google.

SEO Tips

  1. Use relevant (researched) keywords

  2. Use a mix of highly competitive and less competitive keywords

  3. Use targeted keyword phrases that your customers will use when they search for your products or services in search engines

  4. Ensure your title pages are keyword rich. Many websites have titles such as “home page”, “about” etc. These are non-descriptive and could be applied to any business. Go for keyword focused title page descriptions instead.

  5. Ensure individual pages focus on different keywords or phrases

  6. Use H1 header tags for prominent content titles

  7. Make sure your body copy is both user friendly and keyword-rich

  8. Any hyperlinks in your text should include targeted keywords that point users to pages within your site. Again, try to avoid using generic terms such as “click here”

  9. Graphics used in the site should have descriptive, keyword-rich alternative attributes. This is great for when the picture is loading, but also provides a way for the google robots to read the information

  10. Include a site map with text links

  11. Submit your site to all major search engines and include it in quality directories

  12. Ensure all the pages in your Web site have keyword-rich meta descriptions

  13. Ensure your site filenames and directory names include targeted keywords

  14. Avoid using pop-ups

  15. Gain as many incoming links from quality websites as possible. There are countless ways to do this – write free web articles including links, join industry relevant groups that allow you to link back to site, have your say on on-line forums and include a link back to your site... the list goes on.

WRITE ON TARGET

 

When you are selling a product or service you can’t just say, ’my product is great!’ and expect people to buy it. You need to find ways of persuading potential customers to act.

 

Don’t talk about your fertilizer; tell me about my roses!

The real difficulty here is that not every person likes to be persuaded in the same way. You have to know who you are talking to and what will motivate them to buy before you begin. Is your target market driven by a sense of belonging or motivated by their individuality? Do they operate by moving away from problems or toward goals? Answering these kinds of questions means you can tailor your language for the greatest impact. And in case you are wondering, writing for ‘everyone’ is not possible – different markets require different approaches.

 

To know them is to love them

Read the magazines your clients read; look at promotions that have succeeded or failed in the past and figure out why; study ads and brochures to see if they hold any clues about a clever new approach. You need to be constantly on the lookout for better ways of communicating if you want to avoid annoying or offending your customers.

 

Begin with the end in mind

Knowing the right words to use with your customers is not enough. You also need to know what sets you apart in the marketplace and what real benefits you are selling. And that means research. Researching your competitors. Looking at your product as if you are a customer seeing it for the first time. Finding those things that make dealing with you a unique and worthwhile experience.

 

Once you have done this, work out the most logical structure for all your selling points. This step is especially important when writing for the web where customers give up if they can’t immediately find what they want.

 

Writing is only a small part of the process

As you can see, none of what you do up to this point is the ACTUAL WRITING. Research and planning is about 50% of what a copywriter does.

 

That’s because there is no point beginning to write until you really understand who you are writing to, the way they like to receive information, as well as what you are writing about.

No more writer’s block

The best thing about all the research and planning is that you end up with loads of useful information, tons of ideas, as well as a good structure to work from. You are now ready to create a rough working document (this is the writing part), before you move on to the task of refining.

 

Even Ruth says: “Be Ruthless”

Refining (or editing) your work involves choosing the clearest, tightest and easiest to understand language possible. It means being brutal with every word. And just so there is no confusion here, PEOPLE LIKE TO READ PLAIN ENGLISH. If you ask someone to spend time deciphering flowery language because you think it sounds impressive, chances are they will not read your document.

 

Rome wasn’t built in a day

Ask anyone. It takes no time at all to write a ton of drivel. What takes time is communicating simply and effectively. So don’t try to write something in half an hour. It takes five to eight hours to write a tight, crisp, one-page letter and you can work upwards from there for larger documents.

COMPETITOR ANALYSIS:

A MARKETING PERSPECTIVE

 

You probably already know all about SWOT analysis. You might even have your opposition's target demographics, market share and sales figures on hand. But have you ever applied the same type of stringent methodology to analysing your competitors’ visual presence in the marketplace?

 

Conduct a Marketing Audit

A marketing audit is a fantastic and relatively easy way to get a clear picture of how your competitors are perceived, what key messages they are communicating and how you look when placed alongside them. It’s also a valuable exercise that informs you about the type of communication your customers are receiving on a regular basis from your key competitors.

 

So how do you do it?

The first step is to compile every piece of sales and marketing collateral you can find from the competition. This includes trawling through their website and taking screen grabs of key pages, subscribing to their mailing lists, getting your hands on their brochures, purchasing their products so you can have a look at packaging etc. etc.

 

According to Peter L. Phillips author of 'Creating the Perfect Design Brief – How to Manage Design for Strategic Advantage', one of the best, least expensive and fastest methods is to attend all industry trade shows. He also suggests using your sales force members to find out what the competition are up to. As they come into direct contact with customers every day, they can often pick up competitive literature from the customer. They only need to know what you need and of course why you need it.

 

So once you have compiled the information, what do you do with it?

 

A wall of competitors

The best way to start is by putting your competitors’ information up on the wall and analysing them one by one. Invite as many people as possible from your sales, marketing and business teams to give their individual opinion on what design elements are working very well for the competition, and what weaknesses they can see. By starting your analysis on your competitors first, you will build up a bit of objectivity so you can then turn the same harsh critique onto yourself.

 

What do I look for?

Look for ways the design and language make a document unique. Do they have a friendly tone that reflects more personalized service? Do they look more professional than you? Why? Is it because the page is less cluttered, the colours are more toned down or some other reason? Is their website easier to navigate than your own? What do you think their reasons behind these choices were? Is there anything you can learn from them?  Most importantly, how are these competitors using their content and design for competitive advantage?

 

Turn your analysis on yourself

Now for the hard part - using the same analysis on yourself. Reassure your staff that this is not an exercise where they need to defend their work, it is merely a way of gaining useful information that could give you a competitive advantage that improves your bottom line.

 

Stay one step ahead

It is amazing how much strategic information this process can generate. It will give you new ideas and a fresh perspective that can influence the entire way you approach your marketing for the year. And considering a lot of businesses think of graphic design as an annoying inconvenience, if you are the first to use this more strategic approach you will find it is another tool to help you stay one step ahead of the competition.

11 QUESTIONS TO ASK

BEFORE YOU CREATE A WEBSITE

 

As with any marketing activity, before you rush into having your website built, you should know why you are doing it. Answering the following questions may help you clarify your objectives.

 

  1. Have you conducted a thorough review of your competitors’ websites to see what you like and what you don’t like?

  2. Reality check: Given the kind of websites you like, do you really have the budget to achieve them or do you need to lower your expectations?

  3. What do you want your website to achieve for your business? Generate leads? Earn revenue? Build confidence?

  4. If it for lead generation, what sort of information do you want to capture and how automated do you want your database to be? Do you give customers a good reason (like a free bonus or incentive) to give you their email address?

  5. Do you want to feature suppliers and joint promotion partners on your site? If so, who and where?

  6. Who will be responsible for maintaining and monitoring the website within your business?

  7. Do you have all the information you need to include on the site or do you need to hire a professional to generate this information for you?

  8. How much new information will be added to the website, how often and by whom?

  9. Do you want a content management system to enable you to update information on your site in-house?

  10. Who will answer enquiries generated from the site and will the email address be monitored at least daily?

  11. Do you want people to find your website organically when they enter key words? If so, do you know what key words people use when searching for your business?

HAVE YOU GOT START POTENTIAL?

 

Photo Ready

Why do movie stars look the way they do? It’s not just genetics. It’s because they spend lots of time working out, choosing clothes and doing their hair and makeup so they are photo ready every time they step out the door. Yes, movie stars know the extra time and effort is what separates them from mere mortals like us.

 

Details Matter

It is the same in business. While some companies spend their time, energy and resources getting the hundreds of tiny details just right, others are left wondering why their one advertisement on page three didn’t make a difference to their bottom line.

 

Is something dulling your shine?

If you want to find the star potential in your business, you have to be willing to have a good hard look at where it is at right now and be prepared to go the extra mile to make it shine. Visit your website as if you are seeing it for the first time. Drag out every brochure, manual, sales docket and letter and look at it from your customer’s perspective. Look at these items as salespeople for your business and question whether or not they are doing their job properly.

 

Trust your gut

Trust your gut instinct! Your customers make most of their decisions about your business on an instinctive, unconscious level so you have to do it too. If you think something isn’t up to scratch, you can be pretty sure your customers will be thinking exactly the same thing. It’s the details that convince people to choose your business over someone else’s, so make sure they are working for you not against you.

 

Let your business shine

You need to ask yourself if your tone of voice, from the way you answer the phone to the way your website is written, is consistent and customer focused? Does the look and feel of all of your marketing materials work separately but also look like a family when placed beside its brothers and sisters? If not, it’s time to do the job properly so your business can really shine.

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