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    10 Things to expect from your seo copywriter

     

    From the perspective of a business owner, webmaster, or marketing manager, the change exhibited by the Internet is profoundly exciting, yet profoundly disturbing. The information (and misinformation and disinformation) it offers, the business benefits it promises, and the rules it is governed by change at such a rapid rate that it’s almost impossible to keep up. These changes have led to a growing appreciation of the value of quality web copy. This appreciation has, in turn, led to an influx of opportunistic ‘copywriters’ promoting themselves as website copywriters or SEO copywriters. Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few excellent SEO copywriters out there, and you should definitely shop around. The purpose of this article isn’t to scare you; it’s to help you find the SEO copywriter who’ll deliver honest service and excellent results. So with that in mind, take a look at the following ten tips. These are the things you have a right to expect from anyone wearing a name badge that reads “website copywriter”, “SEO copywriter”, “internet copywriter”, or “web copywriter”… (See also 10 Things to Expect From Your Website Copywriter and How to Make the Most of Your Website Copywriter.) 1) An understanding of SEO Obviously, your SEO copywriter must have a solid understanding of the essentials of Search Engine Optimization. They must know that ranking is essentially the result of a website’s relevance (i. e. keywords) and importance (i. e. inbound links). There are a whole lot of other factors involved, but if your SEO copywriter doesn’t understand these two basics, you should look elsewhere. If you’d like to ensure your SEO copywriter knows a little more than just the basics, take a look at SEO for CEOs, Writing SEO Copy, SEO Trade Secrets, Web Copy - How Much is Enough?, and How to Top Google by Writing Articles for some clues as to what you might like to ask in order to assess their knowledge. 2) Proven experience The proof is, as they say, in the pudding. It’s not enough that your SEO copywriter can talk the talk; they must also be able to walk the walk. Ask to see some examples of websites for which they’ve obtained some good rankings. Note that it may be very difficult to find an SEO copywriter who has actually worked on both keywords and link generation, so if you find one who has, and they write well, snap ‘em up! They’ll have a very broad and useful working knowledge of search engines. 3) An understanding of how many keywords to use You don’t want to fill every page up with every keyword you’re targeting. This simply dilutes your site’s relevance and reduces readability. Ask your SEO copywriter how many keywords they would recommend targeting on each page. Hopefully they’ll suggest no more than 3, preferably 2. By targeting 2 keyword phrases per page, you can use them a lot without impacting readability. 4) Clear agreement on who will provide keywords Someone needs to perform a keyword analysis in order to figure out what words you should be trying to rank highly for. Your SEO copywriter should be able to do this for you, but it’s quite often more cost-effective if someone a little closer to the business does it. Either way, make sure your agreement with your SEO copywriter makes it very clear who is performing this task. Don’t assume the SEO copywriter is going to do it, because they may assume you’re going to do it, and then you’ll blow your budget. 5) Keywords or keyword phrases Expect your SEO copywriter to offer some advice regarding how specific you should be with your keywords. In most industries, the competition for keywords is so fierce that you’ll be forced to target very specific keywords in order to rank – at least at the outset. For instance, if you’re in IT, you probably wouldn’t start out by targeting the keyword “IT”. The competition is immense (at the time of writing, there were approx 3,240,000,000 results for this search in Google) and the IT giants already dominate the search engines for this keyword. Instead, try using a more specific keyword phrase like “IT infrastructure consulting new york” (at the time of writing, there were only around 4,000,000 results for this search in Google). The other benefit to targeting more specific keyword phrases is that you’ll generate more relevant leads. 6) Agree on word count per page Always make sure your SEO copywriter gives you an indication of the number of words they expect to write per web page. While it’s necessary to have a decent body of words on most of your web pages, you certainly shouldn’t have too many. What “too many” is all depends on your industry, the objective of the page, and the needs of your audience. It’s always a delicate balance, but it’s certainly possible to rank highly with only 100-200 words per page. So don’t be fooled into paying for copy you don’t need! 7) Density targets & measure SEO of a web page is NOT guess-work. A good SEO copywriter will talk about density measures. This is a measure of the number of time the keyword phrase appears on the page. It’s expressed as a percentage of the total word count of the page. So if your page has 200 words, and your keyword phrase appears 10 times, its density is 5%. As a rule of thumb, your SEO copywriter should be aiming for a density of approximately 5% for your primary keyword phrase and 3-5% for your secondary keyword phrase. If your density measures are much higher than this, readability will be reduced, and you’ll risk being perceived as spam by the search engines. Make sure your SEO copywriter understands keyword density, is prepared to state the target density for each keyword phrase, and is also happy to be measured by that standard (should you decide to measure). 8) Where to place keywords The question of keyword placement has been the subject of much debate amongst SEO copywriters. While it is still unclear how much impact placement has, there is a general consensus that it has SOME impact. Be sure that your copywriter is aware of this impact. Popular opinion has it that keywords are more effective if they appear in headings, bolded text, links, and generally toward the beginning of the page. 9) Some comment on structure & links Websites are generally better indexed by search engines if their spiders can traverse the entire site using text links. This means your SEO copywriter should be linking each page to every other page using text links. If your site is complex, this may be impractical, so your SEO copywriter will need to create a hierarchical structure for your site. First, they should break your subject material down into categories. Then for each category, they should write a summary page. These summary pages should be accessible from higher level pages via text links. They should also be accessible from each other. Each summary page should link – using text links – to a number of pages discussing the finer details of the category. And each detail page in a particular category should link to every other detail page in that category (once again, using text links). This way the spiders are able to travel from the top of your hierarchy to the bottom, and from left to right across any level. 10) Don’t believe grand promises SEO copywriters can play a significant role in increasing your search engine ranking. But they can’t do it overnight. By optimizing your site for your target keyword phrases, an SEO copywriter is simply declaring the relevance of your site. If you engage an SEO copywriter to write helpful articles containing a byline with a link back to your site, you can then submit these articles for publication on the Internet, and this will steadily increase your ranking. But if an SEO copywriter tells you they can dramatically increase your ranking in a matter of hours or days, be wary. NOTE: Your SEO copywriter should be able to submit your articles to various submit sites on the Internet. These sites are closely watched by hundreds of thousands of publishers of e-newsletters and article pages from all around the world. High quality articles are quickly snapped up and published prolifically. And each time your article is published, you’ve got another link back to your site, thus increasing the importance of your site (to the search engines). If you’d like to submit your own articles, your SEO copywriter should be able to sell you a list of 50 or more submit sites for as little as USD$99. Conclusion An SEO copywriter is a valuable addition to your marketing function. But you need to make sure you choose wisely. When you know what questions to ask, the battle is half won.

         
    10 Things you should expect from your it copywriter

     

    Anyone who’s ever tried marketing IT products or services knows that it’s a specialist field. Your customers in the IT industry have very unique and specific requirements, and that means you do too. In order to write compelling copy around your offering, you need a copywriter with a solid understanding of the IT world – someone who’s not afraid to call themselves an “IT Copywriter”. So how do you know when you’ve found an IT copywriter? And – more importantly – how do you know what to expect from them? The following 10 tips will give you a good understanding of the qualities to look for – the things that make a copywriter an IT copywriter. 1) IT background Perhaps the most beneficial quality in an IT copywriter is a solid background of some sort in the IT industry. If your copywriter shares an understanding of your domain, you’ll spend far less time explaining the benefits of your product or service. Remember the last time you watched someone glaze over as you waxed lyrical about the wonders of your latest technology? You don’t want that to happen when you’re briefing your copywriter. More importantly, you don’t want that happening when your potential customers read your copy! 2) Technical writing experience Good technical writers are experienced in bridging knowledge gaps. This means they have to understand the technology, but they also have to be able to talk about it in the layperson’s language. A copywriter with technical writing experience in the IT industry is likely to have domain knowledge and an ability to hit the ground running. They’ll be quick on the uptake, so they’ll understand your product or service more rapidly than most. Of course, not every technical writer is a IT copywriter. You need to be sure they can write compelling copy – not just dry instruction manuals. Take a look at their samples and testimonials before making a decision. The other important consideration – especially if you’re after a website copywriter – is, do they have online writing experience? Writing for an online medium is entirely different to writing for print. Readers have different requirements and objectives, and reading conditions are very different. Many technical writers have written online help, so they should know how to cater to these differences. To be sure, ask them to recommend a maximum page length or word count per page. The correct answer should include some comment on the trade-off between the problems of scrolling and the need for a high keyword count for SEO. Ask them whether they prefer long sentences or short (and hope to hear “short”). 3) Further Education IT products and services are generally very complex in themselves. What’s more, the needs of the end-customer are also very complex and unique. This means there’s normally quite a steep learning curve for anyone new. Ask your IT copywriter if they have tertiary qualifications. It’s not essential, and – by itself – it’s no guarantee of quality copy, but it’s generally a good indicator of someone who’s been trained in the art of learning (i. e. researching, information filtering and modelling, knowledge retention, etc.). The flip-side of that coin is to be wary of people who are technically qualified. Don’t discount them on sight (many technical people have made great IT copywriters); just remember that technically trained people have a tendency to take a lot of things for granted when speaking to lay-people. Your IT copywriter needs to be able to understand the technology and its complexities, but still relate to the issues of the non-technical customer. 4) Management Experience Anyone with management experience – at any level – has dealt with decision makers. They may even have been a decision maker themself. In any form of promotion, you need to appeal to the decision maker. Your IT copywriter needs to develop an understanding of the needs, influences, pressures, problems, work environment, and constraints of your typical decision maker(s). The more understanding your IT copywriter brings to the relationship, the less time you’ll spend schooling them. 5) Marketing Experience Actual marketing experience is a big plus. It brings with it a broader understanding of strategic marketing and the realities of working with a range of challenging people and evolving products and services. Look for an IT copywriter with corporate experience as a marketing manager or marketing coordinator, or someone who runs a copywriting business with a heavy marketing focus. 6) Testimonials Anyone can call themselves an IT copywriter; few have the client testimonials to prove it. Testimonials are a great way to validate your IT copywriter’s claims. Ask to see some and read them carefully. Don’t just look at the company name and logo. You need to determine if the clients’ words back up the copywriter’s claims. And make sure the testimonial relates to the type of work you’re commissioning (or something with similar requirements). 7) IT Samples The proof is in the pudding. ALWAYS ask potential IT copywriters to send you samples of their work. And – as with testimonials – don’t be fooled by flashy packaging, big names, and recognisable logos. Read the words. Are they relevant to your project? Do they convey a clear understanding of the subject matter? Do they convey benefits or just features? Are they written in a style that you find easy to read, yet compelling? And after you’ve read the words, double-check exactly how much input the copywriter had in their writing. Not all copy is written from scratch. Some copywriters work in teams, and others do more editing than writing. Make sure you get a clear understanding of your IT copywriter’s abilities and experience before commissioning them. 8) Understand Benefits Your customers aren’t interested in what you do; they’re interested in what you can do FOR THEM. In other words, they’re interested in what benefits your product or service will deliver. How will it make their day easier, more enjoyable, less stressful, safer, or more profitable? Identifying benefits is one of the hardest tasks in any advertising project. In fact, many people rely on their copywriter to help them uncover the most compelling benefits. Does your IT copywriter truly understand the benefits you’re promoting? 9) Contributes value A good IT copywriter should have solid professional experience. They should bring value to your marketing push which goes far beyond the written word. Strategy, tactics, imagery, contacts, anecdotes, corporate identity… Your IT copywriter must bring more to the table than grammar and punctuation. Expect them to make suggestions, not simply take notes and say “Yes”. 10) Plus all the normal copywriter requirements… Of course, your IT copywriter must be able to satisfy all the normal copywriter requirements. Ask for a contract of works to be completed, a time estimate, a plan of attack, a CV, and SEO copy skills (if search engine presence is important to you). For more information about what to expect from a normal copywriter, see divinewrite/websitecopywriter. htm. Conclusion Traditionally, copywriters have been seen as a small cog in the big advertising machine. As a result, most copywriters have risen through the ranks of generic advertising agencies. These days, however, more and more people are sidestepping the agency and going direct to the copywriter. This approach gives them consistency across all of their written collateral, more compelling and engaging copy, and more responsive service. Within the industry, this change means that copywriters aren’t confined to ad agencies, and are able to specialise. The end result to you? While finding a good IT copywriter with an IT background is still a big challenge, it’s certainly becoming easier. You simply need to take the time to ask the right questions. Good luck.

         
    10 Things you should expect from your website copywriter

     

    As websites and electronic commerce are becoming more and more common, business owners and marketing managers are realising that quality web copy is every bit as important as impressive design. And with the ever increasing importance of search engine presence, the role of web copy has never been more critical. But in such a relatively new field, customers are still coming to grips with what they can expect of their website copywriter. The question a lot of people are asking is, “How do I know I’ll get what I pay for?” Before engaging a website copywriter for your next project, ask them whether they’re able to provide you with the following ten essentials… 1) Fixed Quote A lot of website copywriters will tell you they only work on an hourly rate. They’ll cite varying requirements, rapidly changing technologies, greater incentive, the risk of customer indecision, and a host of other reasons why they can’t provide a fixed quote. But don’t be fooled. You have a right to know what the job is going to cost you. If a website copywriter won’t give you a fixed quote, think twice… 2) Contract of Works to be Completed Just as important as a fixed quote is a signed contract. It may not be drawn up by a lawyer, but a written and signed document outlining the works to be carried out, and the cost of those works is essential. If a website copywriter is reluctant to provide a written, itemised quote including estimated number of words, you have to ask yourself why. 3) Timeframe Always ask how long your job is going to take. If you’ve already had a go at writing your own web copy, you’ll know how time consuming it is. Never make the mistake of thinking the job will be done in a day. Granted, a professional website copywriter will be very efficient in crafting your copy, but no matter who the writer, a quality product requires time. And on top of writing time, remember that you’ll have to review and provide feedback on everything they write. In a lot of cases, it’s the review phase that takes the most time, so make sure you try to set some time aside, otherwise you’ll find yourself the bottleneck! 4) Plan of Attack Try to get some idea from your website copywriter about how they plan to approach your project. Don’t be fooled into believing you have to hand over the dollars before they’ll reveal their plan of attack. You have a right to be comfortable with their approach before you engage their services. Will you receive individual drafts of every page, or a single draft of the entire site? What format will you receive the finished product in? How many review iterations do they anticipate? 5) Samples A lot of ambitious web service providers of all types are calling themselves writers these days. They offer copywriting as a specialist service, but don’t engage a specialist to complete the work. Always ask to see samples of their previous copy. Read it thoroughly and ask yourself, “Does this copy convey benefits?”. Pretend you’re the intended audience and ask “Does this copy answer the questions I need answered before I’ll buy?” 6) CV Most copywriters’ websites will give you a very high-level overview of their business and the services they offer. Some even offer samples. But very few offer a professional biography of their writers. If you’re not happy relying on their website as your sole source of information, ask for a copy of their CV. The things you’re looking for are a professional history in writing, and preferably some tertiary education in the same. 7) Testimonials Perhaps the best indication of a website copywriter’s ability is customer satisfaction. Don’t be afraid of asking for customer testimonials. A good website copywriter will be proud of their testimonials – so proud, in fact, that they’ll be offering them without you even asking. Look for testimonials from companies you recognise and/or can verify. Anyone can get their great-aunt write them a testimonial. Some will even write their own. If you really want to be sure, ask for contact details so you can give the customer a call and hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. 8) SEO Copy Skills Approximately 80% of all web traffic comes through search engines, so it’s essential that your website copywriter has proven experience in SEO copy. Ask them their general approach to SEO copy. Do they normally perform the keyword analysis themselves? How do they know when they’ve used enough keywords in enough of the right places? Can they show you a high ranking site they’ve written the copy for? What steps do they take to avoid diluting the effectiveness of your primary keyword phrases? Will their SEO copy change the text links on your pages? (It should!) 9) SEO Copy at No Extra Charge! Never be fooled into paying more for SEO copy. If you’ve already performed your keyword analysis, and you know where you want your keyword phrases used, writing of the copy should take no longer than usual. I’ll say it again… SEO copy is not an extra – it’s how web copy should be written! Do not pay extra for it! The only things you should expect to pay extra for are keyword analyses, adding the HTML code for unmarked text links, providing guidance on site structure, sourcing of inbound links to your site, etc. SEO copy by itself should cost no extra. 10) Writing Experience for Online Media Writing for an online medium is entirely different to writing for print. Readers have different requirements and objectives, and reading conditions are very different. Make sure your website copywriter knows how to cater to these differences. Ask them to recommend a maximum page length or word count per page. The correct answer should include some comment on the trade-off between the problems of scrolling and the need for a high keyword count for SEO. Ask them whether they prefer long sentences or short (and hope to hear “short”). Ask them whether they will include lots of text links within the main body of the copy, and if so, will they appear as regular links (colored and underlined) or will they be unmarked. Professionally written copy can mean the difference between a great looking site and a great looking site THAT EARNS YOU MONEY. Choose your website copywriter carefully.

         
    10 Tips for aspiring freelance copywriters

     

    Every week I receive a couple of emails from people seeking advice on how to get into freelance copywriting. While there’s no simple answer, and no answer which applies to everyone, there are a few tips which I believe will help most people make the move into freelance copywriting, and survive the first few months at least. 1) Invest in a website The best place for any freelance advertising copywriter or website copywriter to start is to fork out for a website. A website is invaluable because when you cold call and email prospects, you’ll need to direct them somewhere that gives them more information. Keep your website simple, include a portfolio page, add any samples of any sort of copywriting you've done, talk about the places you've worked, the clients you’ve written for, and include any testimonials you’ve received. Make sure you include your address and contact details as well, so people don't think you're a fly-by-night operation. Of course, it doesn't hurt to include a photo either. If you can't say much about your experience, don't say much. It doesn't even really matter if you don't say anything. Remember, just like any other form of advertising copywriting, writing about yourself requires the art of subtlety. If you lack experience, but you’re confident you can do the job, you can be very clever in what you don't say, and most people will read it the way you intended. 2) Don’t target agencies If you’ve never worked as an advertising copywriter or website copywriter before, don’t target advertising agencies and web design agencies. They know exactly what they’re after, so if you don’t have a portfolio, you won’t stand a chance. Managing an inexperienced copywriter and controlling quality takes a lot of time and introduces risk. Most agencies are too busy to give unproven copywriters a break, even if you’re prepared to do the work on spec. Target end-clients directly. 3) Cold call, cold call, cold call One of the best ways of generating business in the early days is to cold call potential end-clients. It’s hard work and very time consuming, but you can generate some very qualified leads. For more information on cold calling, take a look at divinewrite/coldcallingcopywriter. htm. 4) Use a contacts & jobs database No matter where you’re at in your freelance copywriting career, you NEED a database of contacts and jobs. Kind of a scaled down CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. Use it to record everything! Particularly names, phone numbers, and the details of any correspondence (especially phone calls). I created my own database using Microsoft Access. Visit divinewrite/downloads/contacts and jobs. mdb to download a 208KB working copy for FREE. You’ll need Microsoft Access 2000 to run it. I’m no database expert, so it’s not a work of art. It’ll certainly get you started though. (TIP: When using the database, press Ctrl + ; to enter today’s date.) 5) Write a few samples If you’re targeting specific clients or industries, don’t be afraid to write a few samples and send them through. You can offer the pieces free of charge (everyone likes something for nothing) or at a discount, or you can use it as an incentive to sign them up for future work. It all depends on the type of work and the type of client. The important thing to remember is that samples are virtually as good as a portfolio to most prospective clients. 6) Invest in an accounts package Don’t be fooled into thinking you can handle your accounts manually (or with Microsoft Excel). Even if you only have a few clients, you NEED a proper accounts package like MYOB or Quicken (they both offer small business versions). You’ll understand why the first time you do your GST reports or annual taxes. In fact, you’ll understand why whenever you need to chase down outstanding invoices 7) Give great service This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to remember that “great service” means different things to different clients. Most of the time you’ll be working with direct clients (quite often startup businesses) and agencies. Both appreciate great service, but define it entirely differently. Agencies rely on their freelance copywriters to meet strict requirements (get the work done well, get it done on time, don’t exceed the budget). They have end-clients breathing down their necks, so reliability is as important as writing quality. End-clients, on the other hand, need an advertising copywriter or website copywriter who sees their business the way they do, and can convey that vision. They’ll probably need a lot of guidance as well, particularly if they’re just starting out themselves. If you can, help them understand that copywriting isn’t just about telling people what products and services the business offers; it’s about conveying the benefits of those products and services. A good advertising copywriter or website copywriter will be able to help their client think in terms of benefits instead of products and services. 8) Expect hard times The first year or two as a freelance advertising copywriter or website copywriter will be difficult. It takes a while to generate momentum and during that time, you’ll probably find yourself wondering if you’ve made the right career choice. While it’s possible to earn six-figures each year, you have to be patient (so it’s not ideal for new or intending parents or anyone with huge mortgage commitments). 9) Don’t spend too much on training In my humble opinion, no money spent learning is wasted. However, you have to weigh up the return on investment. I don’t know much about what copywriting courses are available, but if they’re expensive, I’d think twice. In my experience, most clients (be they agencies or end-clients) value copywriting ability over training. 10) Know you can do it Confidence in your copywriting abilities is a must. If you’re not adamant you can produce the results the client is after, you’ll never be able to convince the client. Remember that everyone feels daunted at the start of a new copywriting job. There’s always a steep learning curve in copywriting, and generally quite a bit of time-consuming labour. Don’t fall into the trap of focussing on what you don’t know and what you haven’t done. Good luck, and happy writing!

         
    22 Questions to ask before you write a single word

     

    To write successful copy, you need to know as much as you can. It goes beyond reading background materials, reviewing old marketing pieces and doing some cursory research on the Web. You need to get inside peoples’ heads. Start with your clients. They know their business and their customers better than you do. (If they don’t, they should. You can help them learn more.) How? Use a marketing/creative brief to get the information you need to ace the copywriting (and marketing) assignment. (A marketing/creative brief is a tool used by ad agencies and corporate marketing and creative departments.) Following is a marketing/creative brief adapted from one I used during my stint at a Seattle ad agency. Even though I now work solo, I still use it today. (Begin form) Marketing/Creative Brief (Note: Designed for B2B; much of this brief is also applicable to B2C.) Good input is key to a successful project, campaign, or marketing program. This marketing/creative brief is designed to elicit good input. But it takes thorough and thoughtful answers on your part. Please answer the following questions carefully. 1. What is the description of the piece(s)? (Ad, Web site, brochure, radio script, direct mail, etc.) 2. What is the marketing focus? (What products or services are we telling about?) 3. What is the communications problem that the piece(s) must solve? (Awareness, positioning or repositioning, product introduction, category introduction, etc.) 4. Who is the audience? (Demographics, title, function, responsibility, etc.) 5. What is their point of view about the product, service, category? 6. Who is the secondary audience(s), if any? 7. What business problems or issues does the product(s)/service(s) solve for the audience(s)? (Efficiency issues, profitability issues, operations issues, technology issues, etc.) 8. What effect do we want the piece(s) to have on the target audience(s)? (Purchase, phone call, visit Web site, request more information, increase their awareness, etc.) 9. What can we offer to achieve the desired response? (Demos, situation evaluation, sales collateral, personal visit, white paper, etc.) 10. What is the single essential message we must tell the target audience(s) to achieve the desired effect? (Be as concise as possible.) 11. What evidence is there to support our claims? (Features and benefits, testimonials, case studies, etc.) 12. Can anyone else make a similar promise? 13. Are there any technology issues to address? (Compatibility, operating systems, hardware requirements, etc.) 14. What specific industry issues must be addressed? (Trends, etc.) 15. Are there any industry, product or competitive issues to be avoided? 16. What tone should the piece employ? (Hardhitting/serious, educational/informative, humorous, etc.) 17. What do you like about your current piece(s)? (Look and feel, tone, messaging, functionality, etc.) 18. What don’t you like about your current piece(s)? (Look and feel, tone, messaging, functionality, etc.) 19. What overall impressions (look and feel, etc.) would you like the piece(s) to make? 20. Will this piece(s) be used with any other pieces? (proposals, collateral, letters, etc.) 21. How will the piece(s) be used (online, leave behind, trade shows, mailed, etc.) and at what point in the sales cycle? 22. Any other comments? (End form) Admittedly, getting clients to answer these questions isn’t always easy. That’s why it’s best to be flexible with the use of a marketing/creative brief. You can ask the client to fill it out. You can use it to interview the client. You can fill it out yourself for the client’s review. Any sort of collaborative approach works well. In the end, stress to your clients that if they want more clicks, more leads and more sales, they need to actively participate in the input process. One you have all the information you need, you’re ready to write a winner. (c) 2005 Neil Sagebiel

         
    42 Questions for achieving optimal website writing results

     

    The foundation for creating advertising copy that floods your newly designed website’s copy with cash-in-hand ready-to-buy customers is forged from the interview process between you and your copywriter. Subsequent research and the creation of a dynamite promotion all stems from the critical information gathered about your business, your product and service, your customers and your competition. The answers to the questions below are crucial to the effective and successful completion of the website writing portion of your project. 1. What are all the product's benefits? 2. What are all the product features? 3. How is the product different and better than the competition? 4. What does the buyer expect when he spends his money for this product? Do we deliver? 5. What methods, approaches and sales techniques is the competition using? 6. How does the audience for the product differ from the general public? 7. How much can the buyer reasonably expect to pay? 8. Does your average buyer have a credit card or checking account? 9. Will the product be purchased for business or personal use? 10. Can you expect to get multiple sales from your buyer? 11. What is the logical ‘back end’ product to sell someone after he has purchased your product? [‘Back end’ refers to other products in your product line you can offer to someone who has bought the primary product featured in your ad] 12. Will I need to show your product in color? 13. What is the total number of potential customers for this product? 14. Who will buy your product, i. e. teens or seniors, men or women, executives or blue-collar workers? 15. Is there a market for overseas sales? 16. Should I offer time payments? 17. Will the product be a good gift item? 18. Should my copy be long or short? 19. What should the tone of my copy be? 20. Should I test the price? 21. Should I test copy approaches? 22. Is there a seasonal market for the product and are you taking advantage of it? 23. Are testimonials available from satisfied customers? 24. Do I need photographs or illustrations? 25. Which appeals have worked in the past for this product? 26. What objections might arise from a prospective customer? How can I overcome these objections? 27. Should I use a premium? 28. Should I offer a money-back guarantee? 29. Is this item also sold by retail? Are there price advantages I can stress for buying direct from the ad? 30. Should I consider a celebrity testimonial? 31. Can I tie in my copy to sonic news event? 32. Can I tie my copy to some holiday or seasonal event? 33. Does the product sell better in a particular region or climate? 34. Should I consider using a sweepstakes? 35. Can the product be sold through a two-step advertising campaign? [Ads generating queries rather than direct sales] 36. What must I do to convince the reader to buy your product now? 37. Can I use scientific evidence in my sales approach? 38. Have I allowed enough time to write, design and produce my copy? 39. Can I get the customer to order by phone? 40. What approaches used to sell this product have been unsuccessful? 41. Can I get powerful ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures? 42. Assuming the ad is successful, is the client prepared with orders? Copyright Alan Richardson

         
    A comprehensive guide for beginners to seo content writing

     

    : Copywriting has again transcended from its usual form and practices into the new internet era; Copywriting as utilized by the Professional SEO business is also known as Internet Content Writing, Web Content Writing, amongst other terms. This article will try to tell you about the basics of copywriting and its advanced application on the SEO aspect. This article aims to provide the beginners in the Search Engine Optimization industry, an in-depth but friendly guide to seo content writing, as well as providing the more advanced copywriters with a guide to remind them of the several tricks they might have forgotten about the craft. This guide shall be divided into the three parts of the copywriting process: the before, during, and after. This is the first part of the guide dealing with the things a copywriter must do BEFORE writing the copy. Succeeding parts shall be posted separately because of the size. Before Writing Before doing any writing you should first know the purpose why you’re writing that content. Your purpose should be clear and definite so no equivocation of ideas will exist that might confound your readers. Is the writing for sports? Is it for entertainment? Is it educational? These things should be clear on your mind before you write your copy, so a natural flow will exist as you write. Another thing to consider is to know whom are you writing for and who are the people you wish to convey the message to? Knowledge of your audience will give you many benefits: people with different cultures only respond to a specific approach you use, technical terms would be very trivial when talking to beginners while spelled out and explained details would be very time consuming for experts. The internet is used by a vast network of people and your target may only comprise a very small minority. It is important that you address your target effectively if you want more conversions (making site visitors into customers) on your web site. About the resources Knowing the right information will certainly give you the right results. Knowing what people want and what they are searching for will be one of the keys to make it big in this business. One of the things that can help you acquire this information is through case studies, surveys and polls that can be found all over the internet. Most of these studies provide general demographic information about internet users. If you’re lucky enough (since it is discouraged), you might even stumble with information regarding the searching habits of different demographics. Once you have decided to use particular information from the internet, make sure that it is from a reliable author or source. Incorrect and inaccurate data proliferates all over the internet and it happens that you may be misled by others to use them, so, see to it that the articles or studies you are about to use are made and conducted by certified educational institutions or known private companies so you will not have any problems about their authenticity. Another effective source of information from the internet are pages which rank high among search engines especially those that are related to yours. Analyze and learn the effective things they have done to increase their PageRank and apply them to your work. You could also check out the pages of your top competitors, you might learn a lot from them but be careful not to copy their stuff as it is since they will be constantly checking out their competition. Copyright guidelines are finally catching up with those who replicate content, ending blacklisted by major search engines. SEO forums are also helpful in guiding you about the latest trends in the Search Engine Optimization business. Experts usually crowd in these forums to discuss the tricks and trends of the business. Moreover, new updates and trends about Search Engine Algorithms and Technology can be found on these forums so it is highly advisable that you check out those forums. However, the forums might be a little too complicated for beginners as terms often become too technical to understand even by seasoned users. About the words Now let us go down to business! It is time to know what are the keywords and keyphrases you will use for your copy! The key words and phrases would be the ones that you will use and try to integrate throughout the whole copy. It would be the bait you place in the hook in order to attract and hopefully catch your potential customers. First of all, you and your client should brainstorm together (face to face if possible) about the keywords and keyphrases you want to use for the copy. It is important that you brainstorm together so that you will be able to stay true to the brand and have an effective choice for use in the search engine optimization efforts. You could make use of different keyword tools found in the web such as Keyword Discovery, GoodKeywords, WordTracker, Overture, etc. (issues regarding their usability and effectiveness will be discussed separately). These tools can be downloaded or used directly over the internet should you choose to utilize it. In choosing keyphrases or keywords remember to start with and use popular but “not-so-competitive” terms since it would be very difficult to compete with more established websites if you have just been starting. The above-mentioned tools will help you determine which key words or phrases you could use. One word keywords are very difficult if not impossible to compete with as it would have a more general scope compared with keyphrases. For example, if you are trying to write content for a company selling educational toys, choosing a keyword like “toys” would be a stupid idea since search engines would give around one hundred million hits for that particular keyword, while changing it into keyphrase like “toys for students” or “educational toys” would only have hits of around five million. This means that the chance that a web searcher would actually go to your website would be 100,000,000:1 under the keyword “toys” while choosing the keyphrase “educational toys” means a chance of 5,000,000:1, greatly increasing your chance of being visited. Besides, customers are more likely to refine their searches since using or typing just one word searches would mean being bombarded with a lot of unwanted information than they need, costing more time and effort. Your keywords should specifically target (1) the product or service that you are offering and (2) what people actually type whenever they use the search engines in looking for products and services like yours. A good example would be when writing content for a company selling kilns for bricks, you should not optimize for the keyword “kiln for bricks” if most people actually type “oven for bricks” when they are looking for such equipment. It is useless to optimize for the term kiln when most people opt to type oven since a few if none will be looking for the term kiln. You should also identify and discover various words and terms which are closely related to your keyword or keyphrases. Some key-terms and keyphrases are so intimately intertwined with others that one group associates it with a particular field while another choose to associate it with something else. One good example would be Cosmetic Surgery. Cosmetic Surgery is a medical procedure, so, it can be regarded as something related with medicine and surgery, while it is also correct to say that it is related with cosmetics and beauty. Since the fields of medicine, surgery, cosmetics and beauty are popular fields, optimizing for both the cosmetic and the surgical aspect of the keyphrase Cosmetic Surgery would bring more keyword hits for searches from individuals of both parts of the spectrum. Another thing to consider is to integrate local terminologies or equivalents of your products or services when optimizing with key words or phrases. An “elevator” in the US would be a “lift” in the UK, a “truck” in the US would be a “lorry” in the UK, and the list goes on. When trying to sell products or services for a huge demographically different society, you should optimize for both of the groups as each would tend to search for the more familiar local term. Better yet, you could create different sites for different demographic groups, replacing particular key words and phrases; enabling you to cater to both. Moreover, it would be wise to consider placing regional information or regional key words or phrases. Integrating regional information along with keywords and keyphrases enables users who prefer more specified searches to visit your website. You would also benefit from the limited competition because of the more specified search. Most people looking for products and services in the internet would certainly prefer to find what they need locally, so adding local regional information would definitely be of great help to you and your potential client. Another benefit is that you could add another keyword, which is the regional information to your existing key word or key phrase. For example, instead of having just “plumbing services” add “Atlanta” before ‘plumbing services’. This would give you an edge over competitors as it would profoundly decrease your competition. About the content Now that you have the key words and phrases you would need its time to plan about the general thrust of the content, on what the content should be like. Generally, the main idea of writing content is for it to be able to provide useful information for visitors in your site. You are primarily writing for the readers, the human visitors of your site, and about the products and services that you have to offer. Secondary to that idea is to provide the search engines information so they could properly and accurately index your site according to its proper category, so anyone who wants to look for something in particular, through the use of search engines, would eventually find what he needs. In other words, your content should be both customer-oriented and search engine friendly. In order to do that, you need to plan properly on how to do your copywriting. The whole text should be able to give them what they need and want to know about the products and services you have. Hence, it is highly advisable that you read a lot of information about the subject product or service before you write the actual copy. The goal is to become extremely knowledgeable about the product, so you can explore all the possibilities and play with its strengths and weaknesses and write everything that is needed. One important thing to remember is to write content that is unique. Copying content is not only plagiarism and cheating but is also a serious offense that could cause painful penalties under existing Copyright laws. More and more Intellectual Property Rights watch dogs are reporting cases of content stealing and have gained some grounds over the years. Major search engines are now penalizing sites which illegally acquire content from other sources. Penalties include permanently putting sites under a blacklist, sort of a “permanent not to contact sites” for crawlers. Lawsuits and cases about web content writing are now increasing day by day, with more countries enacting laws on Intellectual Property Rights. The risks are just too great if you plagiarize and copy content. So make sure that you quote or place endnotes when you choose to use parts of other’s content. And lastly, your content should be written in plain, simple, and natural language so as not to destroy the natural flow of words as you write. Highly technical words and terms should be reserved for highly technical discussions, and should be discouraged for everyday internet use. About the mood You might be wondering what a section about mood is doing in a seo copywriting article, well, it certainly has a LOT to do about content writing. The mood of the reader would certainly affect the way he views a certain product or service. If you did not properly take care of the emotional side of your customer with your writing, consider him gone. Individual moods are affected by a lot of factors; although primarily it is internal, external factors could also affect his mood significantly and luckily what that individual reads is one of them. First of all, you should be ‘in the mood’ for writing. Good copies are mostly written by writers who are either inspired or enlightened with what they are about to write. Content writers should make sure that they are in this special mood because the consequence of the opposite would be a very bad copy. A reader is also likely to be ‘drawn’ by an emphatic copy written superbly which would eventually end up making the reader get what you are offering. One thing you could do to achieve that is to utilize emotional appeal to the reader. Try to integrate personal articles like “you”, “we”, and “us” more often; try to get your visitors as involved as possible. Avoid being too passive as it would prevent you from establishing a connection or a relationship with your target reader. Keep your readers or customers engaged with your site. Make them think and interact by asking questions, giving riddles or trivia. All these create an air of friendliness for potential customers, and once you’ve made them comfortable reading, they are more likely to respond positively to you. As much as possible make them do all their transactions within your site, give out all the details about what you are offering so that can know everything they need to know. Trying to get online visitors ask questions and product or service information offline will be too cumbersome for them so be as accessible as possible.

         
    A copywriting lesson from dr. seuss

     

    : Looking for inspiration for your next marketing communication? Try the children’s bookshelf. Dr. Seuss has entertained young (and old) audiences for nearly 50 years with titles such as The Cat in the Hat, Hop on Pop and Green Eggs and Ham. The reason why his books remain so popular says something about what makes for good writing (and reading), no matter who or where the audience is. Nouns and Verbs Nothing keeps readers moving like strong noun-verb combinations. If the sentence were a train, nouns and verbs would be the engine. Adjectives, adverbs and the other parts of speech make the train longer and slower. Dr. Seuss' sentences have strong engines pulling light loads to keep readers moving down the tracks. Lots of Periods A byproduct of eliminating the extraneous words is shorter sentence length. Lots of periods. Paradoxically, more sentences of shorter length increase reading speed and comprehension. Dr. Seuss, as are many children's authors, is a champion of the short sentence. Imagination Albert Einstein said, "The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." Were it not for imagination, there would be no Cat in the Hat and no Dr. Seuss. Imagination is the beginning of copywriting because first there must be an idea or concept. Fun Dr. Seuss' books are fun to read. They're funny, too, but that's not the same thing. Fun to read is material that's entertaining and effortless for readers, an excellent standard for all writing. Lyrical Dr. Seuss' books are written in verse. Of course they're lyrical. However, this goes beyond silly rhymes. There are a sound and rhythm to the words that, like a favorite tune, you don't mind hearing over and over. Good writing of all varieties is pleasing to the eye and ear. Economical Children have short attention spans. Dr. Seuss knows how to tell a story without unnecessary detours. Every word counts. That's good advice for all who write copy because children aren't the only ones with short attention spans. Memorable This is the litmus test for all writing. Did readers take something away? Was their time well invested? The Cat in the Hat is a story about having fun, even on a rainy day. Now that's worthwhile reading. (c) 2005 Neil Sagebiel

         
    A day in the life of a freelance copywriter

     

    Ever wanted a job where you could spend all day, every day, writing clever and inspiring prose? Yes? Well don’t become a freelance copywriter! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great job, and for some of us it’s a calling that won’t be denied. And you definitely do get to write clever and inspiring prose. It’s just that you don’t do it all day, every day. In fact, when you sit down at the end of the day and think about what you’ve done, the percentage of time spent writing is surprisingly low. So what does a freelance copywriter do other than write copy? Well, basically, they run a business. This article discusses 11 daily rituals involved with running a freelance website copywriting or advertising copywriting business (other than writing). It also provides some tips for performing them successfully. 1) Quoting Freelance copywriters serve many masters. They generally have quite a few clients, and spend quite a bit of time quoting on new jobs. When you quote, you’re calculating how much to charge for the job. For a freelance copywriter, there are a number of important factors influencing quoting. You need to have some way to accurately estimate time. Generally the best way to achieve this is to be diligent in your tracking. If you know how long past jobs have taken you, you’ll be much more confident and accurate in your estimates. You need to know how much time you spend not writing (as you should try to cover as much of this as possible). You need to have a feel for what the client is prepared to pay (are they a big or small company, how highly do they seem to value copy, etc.). You need to know how much your competitors are charging for the same thing. You need to understand what differentiates you from your competitors. You need to think about how badly you want or need the work. And, of course, you need to estimate how time-consuming the client will be. 2) Submitting Proposals A quote is not the same as a proposal. A quote is generally contained within a proposal, but it’s not the same thing. When you submit a copywriting proposal, you’re marketing your skills, your solution, your work ethic, your customer service, your commitment, and your experience. Basically, you’re justifying your price, and differentiating yourself from your competition. And it’s not just about WHAT you say. It’s also HOW you say it and how you PRESENT it. Everything about your proposal plays a part in the client’s decision! If possible, include additional helpful information. Use a title page, a table of contents, headers, and footers. Introduce at the beginning and summarise at the end. Include your price, but call it an “investment”, not a “cost”. Show the client you’ve thought their job through by summarising their requirements. Outline your proposed solution. And most importantly, give the client a clear call to action (“Where to from here?”). 3) Chasing reviews The freelance copywriter is almost never the bottleneck in a copywriting job. In 99.99% of copywriting jobs, the bottleneck is the review process. Most clients take a long time to review. In fact, about a third of clients need to be prompted at least once before they’ll get back to you with their changes. It’s not uncommon for a one-day writing job to take a full month to reach sign-off – or longer. Some clients will put the copy review on the backburner for months (just another reason to request a deposit before commencement of work)! As a result, freelance advertising copywriters and website copywriters spend a lot of time chasing reviews. Make sure you factor the delay and the chasing time into your quotes as best you can. And always record which clients take a long time, so you can be prepared when discussing deadlines on the next job. 4) Project scheduling & tracking No matter whether you work on big projects or small, project scheduling and tracking are vital. You need to know the exact status of all work in progress (tracking), and you also need to be very aware of what’s coming up and how you’ll manage it (planning). If you’re doing it right, you should be using your tracking and planning tools several times a day. In fact, they should be the hub of your business. TIP: A good way to track copywriting projects is to use a job (and contact) tracking database. I created my own database using Microsoft Access. Visit divinewrite/downloads/contacts and jobs. mdb to download a 208KB working copy for FREE. You’ll need Microsoft Access 2000 to run it. I’m no database expert, so it’s not a work of art. It’ll certainly get you started though. (TIP: When using the database, press Ctrl + ; to enter today’s date.) 5) Accounting Issuing invoices, processing payments (and part payments), chasing outstanding invoices, recording expenses, managing bank accounts, putting tax aside… It all takes a lot of time. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can handle your accounts manually (or with Microsoft Excel). Even if you only have a few clients, you NEED a proper accounts package like MYOB or Quicken (they both offer small business versions). You’ll understand why the first time you do your GST reports or annual taxes. In fact, you’ll understand why whenever you need to chase down outstanding invoices 6) Visiting clients Although the wonders of modern email let a freelance copywriter get through about 95% of their work without ever leaving the office, it’s sometimes still a good idea to do things the ‘old-fashioned’ way – especially if you expect to work with them quite a bit. Shake hands and put a face to a name. And remember, everything about the meeting reflects on you and your business. As with your proposals, think about WHAT you say, HOW you say it, how you PRESENT. Always organise the meeting with plenty of notice, confirm the day before the meeting, be on time, summarise the meeting, and provide a call to action. (Try to do these last two both at the end of the meeting and via email after the meeting.) 7) Office admin Even for a low overhead business like copywriting, there’s always something! Changing phone plans, upgrading/fixing computers, your internet service is down, your website is temporarily unavailable, you’re enhancing your data storage procedures, you need new printer or fax ink cartridges… Office administration takes up a surprisingly large chunk of your day. Make sure you allow for it. This means allowing time to do the work, and factoring that time into your quotes. If you don’t, you’ll be continually working into the wee hours and/or losing money. 8) Marketing strategy How do you generate business? Cold calls? (See divinewrite/coldcallingcopywriter. htm.) Website? (See divinewrite/articles. htm for numerous website & SEO articles.) Networking? Word of mouth? Repeat business? Agencies? (See also divinewrite/freelancecopywriting. htm for some tips on succeeding as a freelance copywriter.) No matter what your strategy, you need to give it the time it deserves. It’s a good idea to average around an hour a day to thinking about and implementing marketing strategy. 9) Industry research Stay up to date on the latest copywriting industry research. Read research on usability, readability, and scannability (visit useit or goodexperience and subscribe to their newsletters). Read up on search engine optimization (see divinewrite/SEOCEO. htm or try subscribing to a newsletter from webpronews or site-reference). Try to track how day-to-day language is changing (what buzz words to use, what buzz words to avoid, what rules are being overlooked in spoken English, what sounds make a positive impression on people, etc.). Know the difference between writing for the web versus writing for print versus writing for search engines (see divinewrite/articles. htm for some relevant articles). If you want to scratch the surface, spend 10 minutes every day. 10) Subject matter research Whether it’s website copywriting or advertising copywriting, to do a good job, you need to know a lot about your subject material. This means both specific knowledge about the client’s product or service as well as more generic ‘domain’ knowledge. Clients have a tendency to not supply enough information. Make sure you interview them thoroughly. And then let them know you’ll probably need to ask further questions. Even then, you may find yourself doing a bit of independent research. The Internet is your saviour, but always run any information by your client before publishing. When you’re quoting on a job, try to figure out how much detail the client will be able to supply. You can even ask them to estimate how much they’ll supply (i. e. All, Most, Some, or None). This is a good technique as it gets them thinking about your requirements while at the same time giving you some idea how much time you’ll spend researching. 11) Planning In one important respect, website copywriting and advertising copywriting are no different from any other form of writing; planning is vital. For more specific planning information, see divinewrite/benefits. htm and divinewrite/webbenefitwriting. htm. Happy writing!

         
    A novice guide to become an effective content writer

     

    If there is one role to be filled in the Internet which matters most to a website, it is none other than content writers. Of course we could not ignore the fact that web designers and programmers are also important in giving a good website. However, it is the content that matters to the audience. Contents are the traffic producers of a website. In this age of information technology, almost everyone needs to get some information. Likewise, it is always a must to hire content writers to fill in the page of a website. The website might have a good design. It might also be interactive, however without something to read on it, the website is as good as nothing. Being a content writer does not only entails that one knows how to write. It also means that one knows how to keep in touch with millions of audience worldwide. Here are some good tips for an emerging content writer who wants to pursue his profession in Internet writing 1. Write Clearly and Direct to the Point If a content writer would consider the millions of audience who will be reading his articles, the important goal for him is to communicate to his audience in simple and understandable words. Some audience are not native English speakers, likewise, local slangs should be avoided. Standard English must be the language to be adopted for content writers While some writers has the habit of writing long paragraphs just like a treatise, in content writing, this is one of the pitfalls the article would not be read by the audience. The audience does not care about explaining further just like in a term paper. They need to know the facts directly. Writing straight to the point is a must for content writers. 2. Know The Purpose of Writing One mistake most content writers have in content writing is the inability for them to stick on the bread and butter of the content. The basic rule of content writing is to know the purpose of what a content writer needs to write. The ideas must be centered on that purpose. Some content writers are take so much time in the fancies to the extent that a reader will be detoured on the its purpose. If one would like to sell a product, a content writer must write something that would make it sell a product. If promoting an event is necessary, a content writer must write something interesting to the audience that can help promote an event. 3. Style of Writing One of the most important aspects of a content writer is his style of writing his piece. Some writers are just contented enough to write anything about the subject matter to the extent that coherence and transitions are ignored. While content writers might have different style of writing, it must always take into consideration the organization of the written piece. In this way, the audience can better understand if the written piece has the form and the substance. Most of the content writers in the Internet are writing in a conversational tone. Indeed, this is very helpful to readers. However, personal clichйs and expressions must be avoided by the content writers. In this way, the written piece can be understood universally. Perhaps, these three guides will help a content writer in his profession of pursuing his writing career in the internet. But the most important thing a content writer must possess is his passion. It is passion that drives him to do his thing. One’s creativity is crafted because of the passion for the thing. Likewise, it is a must for writer to have be passionate in his writing endeavor.

         
    Ad copy sparklers 10 ways to spark interest in your customers

     

    : Add a little sparkle to your ad copy and increase your sales. Get started today with one or more of these tried and true techniques. 1.Hand Written Letter. Write your ad on a piece of paper scan it, optimize it, then publish the ad on your web page. Your sales will always increase when you add a personal touch. 2. Publish Famous or Respected Customers. Listing famous or respected customers who have purchased from you on your ad copy spark interest and trust. Others will think that if these people bought from you then they should also trust your business and purchase your products.

    Make sure you get permission from your customers before listing them on your website first. 3. Show Before and After Photos. First show the problem picture. Besides this show the picture which show how your product solves the problem. 4. A Review. Including a review about you, your business and or your product will instill respect for you with you customers.

    Increasing credibility increases sales. 5. Show Value. When offering free bonuses in your ad copy also list the dollar value beside each bonus. 6. Hire an Endorser. Hire a famous person to endorse your product or service.

    Make sure the person is well known to your target audience. Include their picture along with their statement on your ad copy. 7. Include Your Picture. Showing people that you are not hiding behind your ad copy will increase their trust. Also include your contact information below the picture and a brief statement or quote.

    8. Donate Percentage to Charity. Tell your potential customers on your ad copy that you will donate a specific percentage of their purchase to a specific charity. Doing this will show them you care about people. They may just buy your product to donate to that charity.

    9. Ask Yes & No Questions. Ask potential customers plenty of yes and no questions in your ad copy. The questions should remind them of their problem, show how your product solves their problem and make them think what will happen if they don’t purchase your product. 10. Offer a Prize. Tell your potential customers they will receive a free prize if they find the five words in your ad copy that are misspelled or spelled backwards.

    The longer you can keep someone reading your copy the greater chance of them purchasing

         
    Basic web copywriting checklist

     

    Copywriting is one of the most important parts of internet marketing. Once you get visitors to your site, you must depend largely on your sales copy to convert the visitors into customers. Sadly, many webmasters neglect the art of web copywriting. Copywriting truly is an art, but have a checklist of important points is also helpful. Here are some of the major components of good web copywriting. 1 – Your Headline Does your headline grab the readers' attention and compel them to read further? It is essential that your headline do that. Web surfers generally move about on the internet very quickly. Research says that you have a matter of seconds to catch your website readers' attention, or they will move on. That is why your headline is so important. 2 – Your Introductory Copy Do the first few paragraphs of your sales copy reinforce the headline, and convince readers to continue reading? 3 – Benefits Does your sales copy sell the features or the benefits of your product or service? For example, does your site try to convince your readers that your vitamin C product is the best, or does your site try to convince your readers that your vitamin C product will give them the most health benefits? 4 – Call To Action Does your sales copy clearly and compellingly tell your customer what action they should take after reading your website? (usually the desired action will be to buy your product) 5 – Assurances Your prospects will only buy if they feel comfortable doing so. There are several things you can do to make them feel more comfortable buying from you, such as: A: Displaying your picture B: Displaying your contact data C: A membership with the Better Business Bureau, etc D: A Guarantee E: A secure server logo These 5 points are only a few of the most important parts of web copywriting. If you want to convert as many of your visitors as possible, study the art of copywriting and learn how to become a master copywriter!

         
    Business to business copywriting secrets

     

    If you want to increase your marketing results and get more qualified leads, you will need to improve the effectiveness of the copywriting on your website, print ads, emails and direct mail. This is vital because copywriting is your “salesperson in cyberspace, in print and in the mail” … and great salesmanship produces great sales … average salesmanship gets only average or worse results. Here are the copywriting tips that will improve your marketing results. These are proven based on our copywriting work for over 450 businesses since 1978. This is a list of what your prospect is thinking as he reads your marketing copy. It’s important to make sure everything is addressed on this list. If you do this, your marketing results will improve dramatically. 1. You’d better have done your research to know what benefits I want most from your type of product or service. If you don’t, I won’t even notice you, and if I do, I won’t even give you a hearing. 2. What do you do? How will it help me? I need to know “what’s in it for me” instantly or I’m gone. 3. Why should I believe you? 4. I already have a supplier for that – why should I listen to you? 5. Make it easy for me to read, understand, navigate, and “scan” your marketing material. 6. I want a specialized expert in your field for my situation or my needs or my type of business. 7. Don’t bore me! I’m sick of corporate talk, business buzz terms and mumbo-jumbo. Almost all business marketing is very dull and boring and I won’t read it. 8. I want ALL the details and specs, including product information, product applications, CAD drawings and plans, costs and shipping. A ThomasNet study finds a very large percentage of buyers say these details are not readily available. 9. I want to read copywriting from a real live person talking to me person to person, and not from some emotionless corporation. 10. I won’t admit it on the record, but I make purchases based on my emotions. Sure I need logic and features for verification, but if you can touch my emotions, I’m much more likely to buy from you. 11. I badly want more from my life than just work. I’m very interested in saving time, work and stress. 12. Make it easy for me! You list many different things I can do and I’m confused. What one thing should I do now and why? 13. Don’t overload your website or brochure with fluff – stick only to relevant and helpful information I need. I’m tired of all the irrelevant “filler” information on the web and I won’t read through it anymore. 14pare your product or service against your competitors for me if it is really as good as you say it is. Be honest, as I’ll see through any favoritism. 15. Be specific; generalities go right into my garbage. 16. What’s your guarantee? 17. How can I test your product, service or company first, in a low or no cost way, before I make a large commitment? 18. Help me justify the investment to my boss on an ROI basis. These copywriting secrets applied properly are a main reason one website, direct mail piece or ad can pull 2 to 3 times the response as another for the same product or service. This is why the most successful marketers hire the best outside freelance copywriters they can afford.

         
    Choosing a great copywriter

     

    No two copywriters are the same. So how do you know you're getting the best writer for the job? Unless you know what to look for, choosing your copywriter can be a bit of a lottery. The truth is, copywriters range from the great to the not-so-great. Just like any other profession, there are high flyers, under-achievers, rogue traders and young pretenders. And even if you bag a top banana for your project, who's to say they'll gel with you? Or your product? Your style? Your chosen media? The answer, of course, is research. Knowing what you want and sniffing it out is wiser than saying yes to the first person with a ready typing finger. But remember, a copywriter is someone who can - and should - do more than write. Their greatest asset is curiosity. Copywriters want to know the ins and outs of every little thing. They're fascinated by human nature, knowing how to capitalise on motivations and get inside the consumer’s head. A good copywriter will research your market inside out, then look at you critically through your customer's eyes. It's their curiosity - not their way with words - that finally helps them see your business in a whole new light. Whatever your project, this is the first quality to look for in your copywriter. Curiosity is the key to persuasion. And persuasion is the only reason copywriters exist in the first place! So, your copywriter needs a way with words - fairly obvious! And they have to tick the curiosity box. But you still need to whittle down the field and find the one you can spark off. Try asking yourself a few of these questions when you're weighing up a candidate: Who's doing the talking? Are they listening to you or talking about themselves? How quickly have they grasped your business? Not just your products, but also your marketplace? Can they write passionately? About anything? Even the dullest product? If they get you excited about sprocket valves, hire them on the spot! Have they worked in your industry and chosen media? If not, does their other work show they have a grip on your marketplace? When you’ve chosen a suitable copywriter, you'll know you've made the right choice when you start offering feedback. Professional copywriters thrive on constructive criticism - it’s a surefire way of knowing they’re heading in the right direction. That doesn't mean they'll roll over and accept any changes you make, but they will keep an open mind and listen to every point of view. When you offer feedback, however, you should see it as a two-way street. You may have to let go of some of your preconceptions. Great copywriters can realise why your current marketing isn’t working, and won't shirk from telling you. They'll be cruel to be kind. But for now, these small measures should protect you against hiring the wrong person. Of course there's no guarantee - creativity by its very nature demands that element of uncertainty. But if hiring a copywriter really is a lottery, you should be pretty close to scooping five numbers plus the bonus ball...

         
    Copy makeovers made easy

     

    Copy makeovers can work magic. Perhaps all you need is a little medicine... and not major surgery. Take whatever sales copy you have now and modify it. Recast, rework and repackage what you've got. Chances are you’re sitting on some solid (yet hidden) sales material. Often simple copy makeovers can work wonders in terms of response. So, before you crumple it up and toss your sales letter in the trash, try tweaking it first. You might be surprised at the result. Here are 3 simple steps to complete copy makeovers... Copy Makeovers -- Strategy #1: Create A More Compelling Headline. This is critical. The headline is the first thing your audience sees. It either "grabs" prospects by the jugular... or it doesn't. If the headline fails, nothing else matters much because it won’t even get a fair reading. Make your headline and/or sub-heading alluring. Talk to your prospect about what is most important to her. Think in terms of the BIG BENEFIT your product offers and deliver it in a captivating and compelling way. Craft a handful of words that attract attention, identify specific target markets, and deliver enough interest and intrigue to pull true prospects inside. If you’re struggling with your headline, just think about the greatest advantage your product offers and promise it right up front. Copy Makeovers -- Strategy #2: Take The "YOU" Point Of View. You're weight-loss story might be admirable, but what does it mean to your reader or prospect? Talk about yourself and the audience turns off. Talk to your reader one-on-one about something important in her life… and you’ve got her undivided attention – at least momentarily. If you could re-shape your story... if you could express it in a way that was more meaningful to your individual readers, you'd quickly capture their interest. There's a difference between telling your audience that you lost X number of pounds... and telling them how they can lose X pounds, enjoy the process, and feel terrific about their slim, new look. Remember the old marketing phrase "What's In It For Me?" Everything your prospect reads gets filtered through this frame of reference. With each statement you make, your audience is thinking... "So What? What does this have to do with me in my situation? How does this help me?" If the answer isn't obvious immediately, off they go and you lose the sale. Many times the decision to stay or go is made in the blink of an eye – and often unconsciously. Copy Makeovers -- Strategy #3: Turn Your Bullet Points Into Irresistible, Benefit-Packed Mini-Headlines. Make each bullet a "grabber" in its own right. Prospects tend to scan certain segments of an ad or sales letter, to determine if it offers something they really want. While many marketers use bullets in their sales letters, most settle for weak bullet point copy -- copy that lacks enthusiasm and passion. If you’re going to employ this powerful sales tool, you might as well make the most of it. Craft your bullet points with the same emotion and magnetic appeal, as you’d inject into a major headline. After a while, this gets easier to do. Bullet points are one of those sales letter components that have the power to quickly stimulate intense reader interest. Use them for all they're worth by making each point justify itself. Each and every bullet point should be capable of compelling the reader to read on -- with heightened desire and interest. Before you do anything else, try implementing these simple copy makeover strategies. You just might notice an immediate improvement in your conversion rate. More Resources at makeyoursalessoar

         
     
         
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