Why Long Copy Sells More

writing words

by Maja Nowak

A general belief circulating around claims it’s short copy that sells more, and not long. The dispute even came to the point where many marketers dismiss long sales letters, saying no one ever reads them. While this statement is applicable in some cases, more often than not, however, it’s long copy that actually sells more.

Of course, everything depends on the product and the service sold. Generally, more valuable products require longer copies to convince the reader because, let’s face it, no one needs three pages of text to be convinced to buy a candy bar.

So two most important questions a marketer has to answer before he even begins writing are: who is the target audience and what is it that is being sold? Answering these two questions will help the copywriter craft the copy accordingly.

Let’s start with the first question.

Narrowing Down The Audience

If the target audience is broad and the product relatively cheap, there’s absolutely no need to write a long copy; however, if there’s a $1,000 product or service on the line, there’s obviously more explaining and persuading a marketer has to do to convince a potential client to purchase it.

This, of course, involves more text. Can you imagine someone investing $1,000 in a service which description has only 50 words? No matter how well written, 50 words aren’t enough to successfully convey the desired message. That said, longer copy is essential for technical products or complex services where potential clients, in order to believe the copywriter, need to have a number of details laid out and explained.

Which brings us to the next point:

Formatting

Long copy should always be formatted in a way which makes it easier for the reader to pick out the essentials and, when interested, read the body. Formatting the copy according to the Internet standards (bullet points, headers, sub-headers) guarantees the reader will get the message regardless of his patience and attention span. Interested readers will eagerly go over the body of the text, and those less patient will cherry-pick the facts from sub-headers and from the beginning of each paragraph.

But not a single reader will read anything if you don’t…

Draw Attention

Dull headers, weak paragraphs, too many adverbs, and usage of passive voice will kill your copy. Thus, to maximize the marketing effect of your copy, you need to grab the reader’s attention with the very first word and hold it until the end. Like in movies where every scene matters, in a copy, every word matters and has selling potential you need to take advantage of. Keep that in mind especially when writing long copy, and be aware that bad writing discourages potential clients like nothing else.

Building Bond With The Reader

Alright, so the audience has been narrowed down, and you have the first draft of your copy ready, waiting for revision. Now the time has come for the potential client to believe your story, and for this to happen, both of you need to connect.

Any form of bonding cannot happen with one short paragraph because it’s simply not possible to bring all of the elements necessary for the reader-writer bond to work in mere few sentences. For a reader to trust the writer and believe the product is good and worth the reader’s money, the writer has to get a little personal in his writing, share a story, or even crack a joke, and again, this requires more words.

The Art of Selling

Let’s say you have a brand new model of car to sell. Your main target audience are males between 30-40 years of age both single and married with kids. So how do you convince a bachelor to buy a car which is also a good choice for a family guy? Of course, you describe the features, but that’s still not going to make the bachelor think ‘I need to have this car’. What will convince him, however, is a story where he can imagine himself as a protagonist with no kids to spoil his fun.

Say, the car is 4×4 SUV; the family guy is already hooked because of the car’s safety, storage capacity, features, etc. In short, his story is marked as done. Now your job is to ignite the bachelor’s passion for the SUV. To do this, you have to make him believe that he just can’t do without the SUV. He needs to know that with this awesome car he can bash the dunes across the desert, conquer barren marshes, and drive up to the ski resort without the wheels ever loosing grip. The moment he sees the more aggressive potential of the SUV is the moment he  starts seeing it as his next car and not a mere family ride.

Incorporating the promise of adventure in a copy will not only further convince the family guy that the SUV is a real piece of art but also it’ll make the bachelor perceive the vehicle as something exciting, as something he wants and needs to have.

But there’s no way in the whole wide world you could paint all of those images in the reader’s mind without resolving to long copy, now is there?

Short copy with clever words might increase the sales of new generation of sanitary napkins but will never convince the reader to buy an expensive product, much less an SUV. Successful copywriting is all about breaking the protective barrier in the potential client’s mind and planting a seed of want therein in his brains. This copywriting gardening needs plenty of words to grow and bring the fruit of sales. Appealing to reader’s emotions, making him believe we share the same story all take pages to work.

Before you even begin writing a copy, know your product and target audience. Avoid bad writing, and entertain the reader by sharing something that creates reader-writer bond, but remember not to be boring while you’re at it. Use the potential of each word, and you’ll see that well-written long copy with balls sells more than the shorty.

 

References

  1. http://www.iacquire.com/blog/conversion-optimization-long-copy-vs-short-copy
  2. http://www.businessinsider.com/if-you-think-short-copy-sells-more-think-again-2013-5
  3. http://www.quicksprout.com/the-definitive-guide-to-copywriting-chapter-8/
  4. http://draytonbird.com/long-copy-sells-better-short-copy/
  5. http://www.melissadata.com/enews/marketingadvisor/articles/0910c/1.htm

Image credit: Writing Words by Fabio

Content Is King & Context Queen, but Relevance Reigns Forever

Royal_flush

Is it still true that content is king and context queen? Yes. But before 2015,a Higher Power reigned supreme (and will continue to reign forever).

Here’s a challenge for you clever copywriters (be ready, because it’s a fast one). What do you think of when you read the word relevance?

If your answer is profit, success or payday… then you’re all set. But if your first reaction was a definition—or a blank stare—then we’ve got news for you. Good news. Because learning how to spell “success” with different letters (r-e-l-e-v-a-n-c-e) will rank you among the most successful copywriters in 2015 and beyond. It isn’t an option in our industry. Relevance is what drives our reader. Understanding its rule over your content and context will take you right to the top.

But isn’t content king? Long live the king!

Content is king but it wasn’t always this way, and moreover kinghood isn’t what it used to be. The interwebs are saturated with content and it’s been almost 20 years since Bill Gates first placed content on the throne with his broad but prophetic article. That’s where the “content is king” thing started. Since 1996, his prediction on how money would be made online has been proven more-or-less correct (even though paywalls are breached or just avoided).

So content may be the “stuff” of the web but it’s a means to an end, not an end in itself. Irrelevant content misses the point and you can be sure that the relevance hungry pigeons at Google will be full from ranking other pages above yours. Here’s a hint: if you’re looking for your content to be the first course, write for the reader not Google. When you write relevantly, you’re writing for your reader. But remember, content’s presentation has just as much to do with keeping relevant as the content itself.

Is context still queen? What about “the medium is the message?”

Queen context still rules and if you need any proof of that take a look at the print industry. Context is about meeting your reader where they stand (or where they sit) and doing it better than the next guy. If you fail to deliver information in the ways your reader prefers, then it’s off with your head. Understanding how to present your copy is just as important as the copy itself.

So how do I create content, in the right context, centered on relevance? Well, here are 3 awesome tips on how to do just that:

1. Write up a generic “bio” of your desired reader (and don’t publish it).

Creating a reader’s persona will help you center your copywriting. Include sections in the bio like: “How Do I Like To Get Or See My Information?” and “What Industry Am I In?” or “What Am I Looking To Learn Online Today?” and  “What Are My Favorite Words?” also include “What Are Words I Can’t Stand?” These sections will help you put your reader in perspective, by getting you to see things from theirs. Do extensive research to help you answer these questions and continue to add sections and build on each one. If you have readers already subscribed to your blog, start by profiling them.

2. Keep an eye on how your competitors do context.

Use tools like Advanced Google Search to see what comes up when you search the topics your readers care about. This isn’t so you can copy your competitors’ content, it’s to critique how they present it. Quality content presented in an ineffective context won’t stay at the top for long. If you have the means to develop your context based on this research, do it. Presenting your copy in modern and digestible ways—more effectively than your competitors—will prove to be worth your time.

3. Use tools to help you understand what’s trending.

Don’t get entrenched in them, but platforms like Google Trends can help you isolate relevance. By viewing which news sources have published relevant articles on your topics, you gain further insight. If your reader persona might be a social media user, searching your topics on Trendsmap for twitter can help keep you in the know. Like content, these tools are only a means to an end so don’t get lost in them.

 

More for the nerds:

Excitingly enough, rumors of content’s illegitimate rule took off five years after Gates published his “content is king” article, and they caught on fire when mathematician Andrew Odlyzko took to the web in 2001. He insisted that point-to-point connections (things like face-to-face conversations or telephone exchanges) were always the rightful heirs, and that content would prove to be lower-ranking nobility at best. Read Andrew Odlyzko’s “Content is not king” if you’re a copywriter with a taste for treason.
Image credit: “Royal Flush” – WIkimedia Commons

Try This Technique For More Focused, Stress-Free Writing

tomato

by Katherine Mechling

Have you ever pledged to “carve out a few hours” to finish a piece of writing?

That article isn’t that long, you tell yourself. I’ll set aside some time between 2:00 and 4:00, turn off my phone, block facebook, and write ‘till it’s done. Piece of cake.

But then you check the clock and it’s only 2:05. Suddenly the reasonable two hours you allocated seems like a mountain you can’t possibly surmount; you’re expected to be productive this whole time? What were you thinking? Maybe you should just check your email for a second, give yourself a break.

Here’s the thing: the instinct to devote time specifically to writing is a good one. Too often we try to multitask, shifting between writing and checking email and brainstorming vacation ideas such that we aren’t able to focus well enough to complete any task to its full potential. Chronic multitasking is limiting our cognitive ability; to produce the smart, sharp writing you’re known for, you need to drown out the distractions.

The catch is: you also need to drop the all-or-nothing attitude. Mindless distraction will zap your focus, but taking regular breaks to let your brain reset can make all the difference. Studies have shown that “microbreaks” of thirty seconds to five minutes improve mental acuity by 13% on average.

In order to reap the benefits of microbreaks, you can’t just step away from your work at random intervals to open up Farmville. You need to be methodical. That’s where the Pomodoro Technique comes in.

The Pomodoro Technique was created over 30 years ago by developer Francesco Cirillo as a way to organize work time into short bursts of productivity followed by breaks. Instead of working for a straight hour, Cirillo divided his time into segments of a 25 minute productivity burst (a “Pomodoro”) followed by five minutes of rest. After every four Pomodoros, you take an even longer break.

Think about it: what sounds easier to you, running as far as you can in two hours or running as far as you can in 25 minutes, taking a quick break to recoup and refuel, and trying again? By breaking down your work time into manageable chunks, you can avoid that hopeless sensation that the task is too much to handle. After all, you only need to concentrate for twenty-five minutes. That’s peanuts.

Of course, to fully reap the benefits of the Pomodoro Technique, you need to make sure you’re using your breaks responsibly. Instead of opening up your social network du jour, try practicing some office yoga or cleaning off your desk.

If you want to give the Pomodoro Technique a try, the Tomato Timer will keep track of your intervals for you. And don’t be afraid to fiddle with the recommendations; there are tons of ways you can make the Pomodoro Technique your own. If the 25/5 split doesn’t work for you, play around with different intervals. A study from the productivity app DeskTime suggests that actually, 52 minutes on and 17 minutes off might be the optimal split.

Next time you carve out a few hours for writing, make sure you carve out some time for breaks, too.

Image credit: Tomato by photon_de

How to Get the Most out of Content Mills (If You Must!)

monkey

by Connor Glaze

Seen as you’re reading this article, you probably know how frustratingly difficult it is to break into the copywriting industry, and make a living doing what you love. I’ve been there, friend. I’ve spent those same nights sending out hundreds of emails to potential clients, scanning job boards until my eyes refused to open, and beating my head against my keyboard while I groan and think about the wasted hours. Some of you, if you were anywhere near as naïve as me, may have set up an account on a content mill, and began taking mundane jobs from robotically blunt clients for peanuts. You may have taken this step as a last resort, seeing how much of a scam the whole business model is, but being desperate enough for money and exposure that you didn’t care. If you find yourself in this dark, desolate corner of our industry, there are a couple of steps you can take to ensure that your time isn’t completely wasted.

My first tip would be client outreach. When I was working through Textbroker, in my opinion the best of the worst in terms of content mills, I improved my work traffic greatly by getting in touch with clients after completing a job. Textbroker offers a rating system through which clients can review your copy, but this is barely ever used without a prompt from you. After completing a job, send a short message to the client saying that you enjoyed working for them, (try to make it believable) how you hope that your work was up to scratch, that they can count on you for any further projects, and finally ask for a link to where the content will be published so that you may include it in your portfolio. Most won’t even reply, and many of those who do will refuse to link you to your article, preferring to take credit for all your hard work. This can be fairly discouraging, but keep at it and soon enough you’ll have a portfolio decent enough for you to start taking real jobs for real money.

Another pointer I can give is to keep an open mind when accepting work from content mills. While I’d never condone approaching a writing job with a lazy attitude, the clients who go through content mills and offer a penny a word are rarely expecting spun gold, and often put up jobs that require little in-depth research or strict SEO. What I’m getting at here is that if you see a job title and instantly think it would fling you completely out of your depth, you’re probably wrong. In fact, having to do a little reading on a new subject can not only show a wider spectrum of experience on your portfolio, but might just spark a passion you never knew you had in you. That shoddy first article may be the first step into a completely new niche, which you can develop over time through your work as a copywriter, and will ultimately lead to a steadier stream of higher-paying jobs.

Hopefully these tips will make your quest for copywriting success a little smoother, but that’s not to say you should be feeding pipe dreams of earning a decent living from mills; if you’re already working for a content mill, take it from me it’s not where you want to stay. More important than any advice I can offer for any specific platform of freelance copywriting is your capacity for hard work and determination, no matter how mundane the work that trickles down. Good luck!

References

Image credit: An infinite amount of monkeys… by Oliver Hammond

 

10 Ways to Reach Your Target Audience

Target Audience

by Joe Granat

Appealing to an identified group of people is the first step to getting your message out.  Those people are known as your target audience.  Think of them as the heart and soul of your marketing campaign. Without knowing your target audience, it’s very easy to get lost in the crowd.  Especially, in this day and age where information travels fast.  As mentioned by Nathan Yerian, “…consumer and B2B customers have learned to spot unauthenticity and lack of effort from miles away.”

So, how do you reach them?  Maybe send a few emails and hope somebody bites?  Put up smoke signals?  If all else fails, send a raven?  Don’t worry we have you covered.  Here are ten ways that you can reach your target audience and get the ball rolling with your business.

1. Identify Your Audience

First thing’s first, find out who your target audience is going to be.  You cannot aim at something if it’s not there.  Who do you want to connect with?  You cannot sell goods and services to a younger crowd if the marketing is geared towards people who are much older.  Advertising costs time and money so make sure this is not taken lightly.

2. Be Specific

Tailor your efforts to the type of people you want to reach.  If you try to blanket everyone with one marketing message you’ll lose over half of your audience simply because it doesn’t apply to them,” says Michael Kaleikini, founder of Business Refinement LLC.  If you want to sell fruits and vegetables, then your website should not advertise footwear.  Customers like knowing exactly why they are dealing with your business.

3. Use Word of Mouth

Spread the word!  Tell your target audience what your goals are.  Tell people about the business and why they should partake in such an idea.  Speak to your customers on a personal basis if it’s possible.  Making good relationships with customers will bring in more business.  For example, let’s assume an entrepreneur owns a sports therapy clinic.  Her clients are runners and exercise enthusiasts who are extremely happy with the service they receive.  They are very likely to refer their friends from the gym to that same business.  That is “word of mouth” marketing at its finest.

 4. Network

This is a very general term that tends to get thrown around a great deal nowadays.  In a few words, it simply means to make yourself available.  Attend events that potential clients will be at.  Speak to those within your target audience and even those outside of your market to drive in new customers.  Business cards are a quick and easy way to advertise yourself to others while networking.

5. Engage Your Audience

If you want to attract a certain group, then talk to them.  And, more importantly, have them talk back.  For example, if you run a blog and are looking to engage with your target audience, then ask questions.  Have your audience respond with feedback about the posts.  What else would they like to see on your site?  How can you better serve their needs?  Interaction with your customers is a great way to connect with them.

6. Relate to Your Audience

Jayson DeMers from Forbes said it best, “Know which benefits are the most important, and speak directly to your audience.”  What are the interests of your target audience?  What are their needs?  By relating to your audience, you become like them.  They understand what you’re offering and you have a better understanding of how to offer it to them.

7. Join Social Media Platform

Simply put, social media is HUGE.  Twitter has the capability of reaching millions of people within minutes.  Facebook has changed the way we interact with each other on a daily basis.  Even Instagram is a massive platform for photographers to advertise their business.  Creating a page on platforms such as these is a fantastic way to stay current and to be available.  Customers can contact you directly through your page before they even type an email.  It also gives them a place to offer feedback about your work.

8. Set a Goal

When starting a new endeavor, it’s always a great idea to set a goal.  By doing so, the level of success becomes measurable with actual results.  Did your goal of 50 new customers in a month get completed?  Whether the answer to that is “yes” or “no,” real numbers are being tracked and the motivation to reach them stays constant.

9. Use Team Work

Contrary to the popular belief, sometimes we just can’t do everything ourselves.  Making a business connection with somebody is completely acceptable and sometimes encouraged.  Some people may have better resources than us and some businesses may have a larger reach than we can get to.  This means more advertisement and more opportunities.  Business alliances are strong for the simple fact that two heads are better than one.

10. Meet in Person

If at all possible, a great way to reach your target audience is to meet them in person.  Set up activities such as “meet and greets” or even a public speaking event.  People love authenticity and things that they can see.  They want to put a face to a name and know that you’re real.

Image credit: Marketing segmentation, customers care, customer relationship management (CRM) and team building concepts by Jirsak

 

Don’t Shout in a Crowded Room

Douglas Fairbanks, movie star, speaking in front of the Sub-Treasury building, New York City, to aid the third Liberty Loan.   April 1918.  Paul Thompson.  (Army)
Exact Date Shot Unknown
NARA FILE #:  111-SC-16569
WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #:  515

by Jason McKay

Let’s go ahead and get the obvious out of the way. The sky is blue, water is wet , and when you shout in a crowded room, you’re just joining the noise, not defining yourself.

You will never be able to grab the attention of everyone all at once. Still, you can’t fathom the idea of stepping out of the crowd. No one will ever notice you then. Right?  To the contrary, this is exactly what you want to do. Go off into a corner and stare at something that no one else sees.  Sooner rather than later, the fringe crowd’s curiosity is peaked.  They see something new, something different, and they want to stare at the same thing you are.

Guess what?  You are developing a new crowd.  Only this time, you are in the center and everyone is discussing a subject that you engaged.  The next thing you know, your legions of followers will be asking, “Where will you take us next our faithful and fearless leader?”

Okay, maybe that is a bit of an embellishment, though the idea of drawing a crowd is entirely feasible.  If you have been sharing your thoughts, ideas, and agendas for the products and services of others through the written word and can’t seem to figure out how to increase the readership of your blog, perhaps it’s time to stop shouting at the crowd.

Know and Understand Your Audience

If you attend a social function, you aren’t going to approach a group who are sharing a laugh and start chuckling along when you obviously have no idea what is so funny.  This is the quickest way to watch a group disperse into oblivion. However, if you were to casually sidle up to the same group and listen for awhile, you could be in on the joke, rather than becoming the punch line.

This rule is as fundamental as spelling and grammar.  If you’re writing a blog article about chili cheese fries, you’ll probably not want to link references to Ireland’s great potato famine, circa 1845.  Before punching a single keystroke, determine the readers you are after and speak directly to them. No one is asking you to step into the shoes of a great method actor, though you should attempt to think like your target audience to be able to adequately address their concerns and desires.

Use their language.  Discuss their interests.  Don’t be too general.  Chief officer and Hubspot co-founder Dharmest Shah suggests, “You benefit more from using terms that resonate with your end customers…” Trying too hard to appeal to everyone will have the adverse effect, alienating your core audience.  Using their language translates into visibility and this can best be satisfied with some simple SEO skills.

SEO:  Keyword Rich Content

SEO is not pronounced See-yo and it is not an acronym for Sarcasm Education Officer.

Search Engine Optimization is a list of criteria formulated by popular search engines like Google and Yahoo to create stronger listings based on what is typed into a search bar.  SEO covers a lot of ground, so for the sake of blog writing brevity, we will be focusing only on the use of keywords and key phrases.

Every article should be informative, entertaining, fluid and conversational.  Beyond these requirements lies a very specific agenda.  That agenda? Get readers to find you who are unaware that they were even looking for you. Keyword and key phrase rich content is the most effective way to achieve this.  The craft in this logic is that once the reader finds you, they aren’t simply reading a bunch of random keywords strung together by conjunctions.  This insults the reader’s intelligence and will most likely be the last time they ever visit your blog again.

Before writing, make a list of keywords and key phrases that you’ll want to sprinkle into your article as you would a spice into a marinara sauce.  What will your reader be searching to discover your blog?  Remember, think like you audience! If your article is about baking a lasagna you’ll want to include key phrases such as “italian recipe,” and “easy oven bake.”  Keyword choices would be “lasagna,” and “ingredients.”

Are all of these food references making you hungry?

Don’t Use Gimmicks: Be Yourself

Would you approach a group of total strangers by flailing your arms about, shouting unintelligible Pig Latin, while pouring a milkshake over your head?  If your goal is to gain entry to a mental health retreat, perhaps the answer is yes.  If what you seek are new contacts and individuals in which to share your ideas, obviously you’ll want to take a different approach.

This may seem like an extreme example, though a beginner blogger has been known to try just about anything to attract attention.  Here’s the short list:  Misleading or sensationalistic titles, videos of cats being trapped in a box,  and fluff pieces about Ashton Kutcher’s new girlfriend while trying to promote an entirely different idea. Sure, this gimmick type blog may create an immediate boost in web traffic, though the desired long term result will leave you right back where you began.

Not only that, these type of desperate attempts may destroy credibility and prohibit you from ever truly building a strong and loyal following. Research what works and then place your unique spin on it. Stick with quality. It is your best friend.

Encourage Interaction: Everyone Wants To be Heard

No one likes that guy at the party who dominates a conversation with fabricated tales of his adventures.  We all know the type.  You tell a story about how your brother is in to motor cross and once jumped his bike over 10 cars.  Our faithful fool then retorts that his brother jumped 12 semi-trucks!  Astonishing.

This one is fairly logical.  We want our articles to be conversational.  If we can achieve this result, then our readership may want to respond.  In this day of social media, where everyone has a voice to comment, why should your platform be any different?

A quality blog follower will not only read you regularly, they will also engage you.  When they do, respond.  Even if they disagree, that’s okay.  Any good artist will tell you, apathy is the only enemy.  If you’ve written well, you will not only engage those who agree, but those who disagree as well.  Either way, you have caused them to feel something worthy of the time it takes to respond.

Stimulating discussion is a creative exercise that often leads to new ideas for another article.  It also provokes others in joining the conversation.  By showing the reader you care about their opinion, they’ll be more likely to refer you to others.  In the social media world we live in, this is where the “share” comes into effect.

Make It Simple To Share You Post

You’re at a company conference on developing trust in the workplace when you meet Ed.  Ed is from the Midwest and he hears you tell another that you just closed an advertising deal with Johnny’s Sub Shack who are opening a new chain in Missouri.  Ed doesn’t like subs, but his next door neighbor eats three a day. Ed calls his neighbor and informs him of the developing chain.  Ed’s next door neighbor is now camping out in front of the construction site of the new shop which is scheduled to open next month.

Word of mouth.  What a concept!  In today’s word, this translates to social media sharing. Have you included links to Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and other niche media that represents your brand?  Are the buttons easy to find? Are they way up top, forcing the reader to have to scroll all the way back to share, if they at all remembered that the links existed in the first place?

Timing is everything.  And when dealing with the written word, timing equals placement.  Those links should be nestled at the bottom of your article, perhaps with a passive and casual reminder to “share if you enjoyed this article.”

Additionally, make sure that you tests the buttons every time you post.  This may seem tedious, but a dead link does nothing to build your following. HubSpot co-founder Shah continues, “It’s a one-time investment to configure your blog to include these social media buttons–but the dividends pay off forever.”

And don’t overwhelm the reader with choices. The big three social media links, plus one or two niche media should suffice.  A good example of a niche would be using Instagram for a photography blog.

There are a lot of subtle nuances in developing a strong blog following. Keep practicing, focusing on what is working, while letting go of the things that don’t.  Like anything, trial and error is inevitable, slow and steady wins the race, and to thy own self be true. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make a lasagna.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What’s your forte? Identify your web copywriting niche/s

writer

You’ve always known that you are good with words – writing comes easy to you. The wordsmith in you knows that there’s money to be earned in the copywriting industry and is very much willing to get started. You know exactly what specialty area/s you can excel in. Perhaps it’s the fashion industry, small business ownership, fitness, or wedding, name it. It might also be that you are a generalist.

You take the initiative and start visiting various sites where copywriting jobs are posted. Now and then you see writing assignments that seem very doable. For others you just don’t have a clue.

Weighing up these considerations in your mind it becomes apparent that you need to define what type of copywriter you are and the type of copywriting you can do. After all, potential employers are also looking for a certain description/s of copywriter.

Nevertheless, it is worth noting that some copywriting disciplines have flexible job descriptions. This lack of clear-cut distinctions implies that some of the categories listed here can be used in different ways by different copywriters.

So, what type of copywriter will you identify yourself as? Clue: This can be the job title on your resume, email signature, and LinkedIn and/or Twitter profile.

1. Web content copywriter

As a web content copywriter you are more or less a jack of all trades. Typically, you are available to create just about every form of copy including website contents, articles, press releases, product descriptions, user manuals, brochures, etc. You can ably serve clients from various industries thanks to your fine research skills and the ability to use words to create engaging contents. Such versatility allows you to become suitably knowledgeable about various businesses/industries.

You, like many other web content writers, are most likely going to be a self-employed one-person outfit working on a freelance basis. Freelancing typically requires writers to secure clients on a job-by-job basis; payment is made once a job is done to a client’s satisfaction.

Satisfied clients usually contact the same copywriters for subsequent assignments. Many successful freelancers therefore enjoy steady business from just a handful of clients and this will most likely work out well for you too.

2. SEO copywriter

As a SEO copywriter you’ll be required to create contents that will both appeal to the reading audience as well as result in SERP (search engine results pages) prominence. The latter part of this description is ideally what distinguishes this form of copywriting from web content copywriting.

SEO copywriting will therefore require you to have a good understanding of technical issues including keyword density, word-stemming, heading levels, anchor text and meta tags. You will need to integrate these elements into your copy and ensure that the final text achieves a good balance between the technical and the aesthetic.

3. Academic copywriter

Academic copywriting ordinarily involves assisting students to compile research and/or write essays and thesis. To qualify for such work you need to show proof of your qualifications in respective areas of academia.

Academic copywriters are also hired by institutions to help in the creation of course materials and other academic literature.

4. Social media content copywriter

These copywriters are hired by businesses and individuals to compose content for their social media presences. Your job will typically involve regular tweeting and/or updating your clients’ Facebook statuses. Seeing as you have to engage respective audiences in the style of the individual clients, you will need to demonstrate a good understanding of each client’s social media presence.

5. Marketing copywriter

As a writer of marketing copy you’ll typically be required to create content that can both capture the target buyers’ imagination and attention, and convince them that your product/service is exactly what they need.

Creating effective marketing copy more often than not requires writers to assume the target’s persona in order to identify what their requirements and expectations are. With these insights you should be able to write copy that the target audience can identify with and that will effortlessly nudge them towards purchasing your product/service.

6. Technical copywriter

Writing technical copy will require you to have an actual understanding of the product/service and industry you are promoting. You’ll primarily be required to have an academic and/or expert background in the subject. Clients will require you to present technical information in a simple and easily understandable manner. Some of the copy you can expect to create include user manuals, technical instructions, datasheets and FAQs.

Relevant keywords: copywriter, copywriters, copywriting

References:

Image credit: pixabay

http://radix-communications.com/seven-types-b2b-copywriter-one-best/

http://www.earlytorise.com/copywriting/

http://www.abccopywriting.com/blog/2010/10/04/types-of-copywriter-and-copywriting

How Mozart Can Help You Build a Successful Writing Routine

MozartVeronadallaRosa

One of the biggest problems for writers is the struggle to build a successful writing routine. The problem is that, even in its most basic form, writing is a creative process. When you force yourself into the boundaries of a strict routine you soon find out that creativity requires freedom to thrive.

The Catch-22 of Routines

If you’re a writer, there’s a good chance that you will have attempted to fit yourself into a 9 till 5 routine, usually spending the first hour or so staring at a blank page. That strict writing routine you set yourself usually goes out of the window the moment you think “the best ideas come about when you’re not thinking about them” and you open up Facebook.

If you’ve tried it and you decided that routine-less writing is best for you then you’ll know the perils of the routine-less side of the argument too. Choosing not to have a routine and waiting for creativity to strike, means that you end up waiting a long time. Sometimes hours can turn into days then weeks – and, while your social life has had a temporary boost, inspiration hasn’t struck and in the end you still have a blank page.

Writers have a catch-22 when it comes to routines: If you have a routine, you might stifle your creativity and struggle to write. But if you don’t have a routine, there’s a good chance your work won’t even get started, never mind finished.

Some kind of routine is essential, so how can you build a successful writing routine? Well, I know it might seem strange, but the famous classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart may have the secret which makes any attempt to build a successful writing routine much easier.

Wakey Wakey, Rise and Shine!

Something which made Mozart’s routine so successful was getting up early in the morning and starting work straight away. Mozart used to wake up at 6 and start composing by half six… he also used to take 5 hour lunches with his friends, which is a lot easier to do if you’ve started work early in the morning!

Even if Mozart’s incentive for getting up early was to have free time to see his friends later on in the day, there are 2 great reasons why this will help your routine.

1. Less Distractions

“There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.” – Ernest Hemmingway

Although it is a lot harder to avoid distractions since the invention of the internet, you’ll find that other people are less likely to disturb you in the morning. For example, you’re less likely to get a call from your friend inviting you over at 6 In the morning… I suppose there’s a chance it might happen, if your friend is Charlie Sheen… but it’s unlikely.

2. Your Mind Works Differently on a Morning

“The mind is newly cleansed, but it’s also befuddled… I found that I wrote differently then.” – Nicholson Baker

When you wake up on the morning you’ll often find it easier to start writing than at any other time of the day. This is because the creative parts of the brain are more active on the morning, while the more analytical parts of your brain are more active as the day goes on.

Basically, your brain will develop loads of ideas on the morning and it’ll weed out all of the bad ones on the evening.

3. You’ll Have More Willpower

Researchers from the University of Nottingham and the National Institute of Education in Singapore reviewed 83 studies on self-control and found that: “Results revealed a significant effect of ego depletion on self-control task performance. Significant effect sizes were found for ego depletion on effort, perceived difficulty, negative affect, subjective fatigue, and blood glucose levels.”

Self-explanatory, right? OK, maybe not – basically, we only have a set amount of willpower and when we carry out one tough task, there is a psychological and physical impact on our ability to carry another task.

Imagine how your writing is affected by your willpower. If you have children, do you think getting them fed, ready and off to school might sap some of the willpower you need to get your writing done when you get home?

Make sure that the first task you complete in a day is the most important one. That way, you’ll be more likely to complete it to the best of your ability.

Conclusion

While it may sound very simple, this is the step which can make your routine all the more likely to succeed. Simply make the decision to start your routine earlier in the day, this will make it more likely that you will stick to it. You’ll have more creativity, less distractions and, most importantly, more willpower to see it through.

As much as you might like to enjoy an extra 2 hours in bed dreaming that there’s no writing for you to complete, at some point you’re going to wake up and the work will still be there! Set your alarm a couple of hours earlier tomorrow and get writing as soon as you wake up. Once your body adjusts to the new routine, you’ll be amazed at the positive impact it has on your writing.

I’d suggest thanking Mozart for helping you to build a successful writing routine by setting Requiem as your alarm tone. But no-one likes the music which wakes them up in the morning, so you might want to find another way to thank him!

Image credit: Saverio dalla Rosa [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

How to Keep up With Deadlines and Smashing the Writer’s Block

tapping-pencil

by Jake Omrod

Writer’s block is a problem that we all suffer from, whether writing creative work, critical work or online content. Alongside this comes procrastination, the boredom in what you’re writing making it easy for you to become sidetracked. However, it’s important to note that if you’re bored with what you’re writing, then it’s likely the reader will be as well.

The first thing you need to know is that by seeking out advice regarding your procrastination, you’re actively taking a step towards stopping it. This is great, showing that you truly want to keep the writer’s block out of your life and keep on writing. For some, perseverance is the key and you may find that if you just sit, remove all distractions from yourself and force yourself to write, something will eventually come. However, this can be torturous, not always working out the best for everyone.

Studies done by the University of Chicago actually showed the opposite of this, their researching arguing that those who procrastinate should work in brief bursts per day of anywhere between one hour to ninety minutes. Their research also showed that you’re best stopping after this amount of time and putting the work aside whether it’s finished or not so that you don’t burn yourself out mentally.

Some people are working to a deadline though, meaning they cannot allow themselves the same amount of time to help beat their procrastination. For those people, it’s best if they set themselves a time limit, sticking to it to make sure they get the assigned work done. It’s understandable that you’re likely to hit a wall during this time but just knowing this challenge awaits ahead of time can make the world of difference for beating it.

For the less strict of writers among you, or perhaps those who are writing more creatively than critically, perhaps you could benefit from some free writing or stream of consciousness writing. Through this practice you allow your brain to go where it wants from a single subject, a concept or maybe even just a simple object, and see where you end up creatively from there.  This can spark off many thoughts within the mind and help you out of your writing funk by helping you create a new idea.
As you continue to write throughout your life, not only will you begin to understand what leads you to procrastination but you’ll also pick up simple ways to get yourself out of the writer’s block. For some this is as simple as going for a walk, or standing and walking away from your work for a short while. Perhaps play some music in the background for ten minutes if you usually work silently, or maybe work silently if you usually have music. You’ll come to understand your own writing process the more you do it, so perhaps the best way to fight procrastination and writer’s block is to write as much as you can manage every day.

The information for this article was taken from links I have left below in the references. If you would like to do some further reading into how to stop your procrastination and smash the writer’s block, then take a look.

References

Less is More

corners

by Thomas Spencer

When it comes to content marketing, consistency is more important than frequency

Blogging is a familiar online medium for distributing content and engaging with people around a shared interest or common purpose.  However, for people who are relatively new to the world of blogging and content marketing there are lots of questions that need to be answered.

What should I write about?

How do I attract followers?

How often should I publish content?

An ambitious new blogger or marketing department may be tempted to set out in earnest to build a following, and the most obvious way to do this is to write as much content as possible as often as possible.

This is not necessarily the best approach.

The secret that seasoned marketing professionals have long since realised is that, while producing unique content may be important, the impact of each new piece of content will typically fall as the quantity of content increases.

In microeconomics they call this phenomenon “diminishing marginal returns”, which basically means that the more you already have of something (e.g. money, computers, cars, chocolates, bananas, or content) the less value you will get from having one unit more of it.

Below I provide six (6) reasons why producing less content could be the key to helping you have more impact with content marketing.

  1. Patience Is A Virtue – Writing less often can give each piece of content more time in the sun.  By allowing your followers more time to read, like, comment and share your latest content before it is overshadowed by something new, you increase the chances that the content will gain traction and generate buzz on social media.  This is important because the more people who share, talk about and link to your content the greater the impact it will have.
  2. Feed The Buzz – You can use social media management tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to distribute content through your various social media channels.  These tools are useful because they allow you to automate the process and schedule updates.  Since not every follower will see every update, it makes sense to distribute the same content multiple times rather than producing fresh content every time.
  3. Free Yourself Up – Blogging is a valuable way to build a following and engage with potential customers, but most bloggers and businesses don’t rely on blogging as their primary source of revenue.  By writing less frequently, you can free up valuable time to pursue other potentially profitable activities like consulting, coaching, speaking, or writing a book.
  4. Avoid Reader Burnout – Your followers may love you but they also have limited time and attention.  If your readers hear from you too frequently then there is a risk that they may become bored or annoyed.  By limiting the frequency of your writing you give your readers the chance to miss you, and this anticipation can increase engagement and make your readers pay more attention to your content when it appears.
  5. Quality Over Quantity – It goes without saying that producing less content will allow you to spend more time on each article.  This can allow you to do more in depth research, think more clearly and carefully about what you want to say and, as a result, hopefully produce content which is more valuable for your readers.
  6. Consistency Is Key – Publishing frequently can be effective, but it is even more important to be consistent by publishing at regular intervals and producing consistently high quality content.  If you are producing content so frequently that you can’t maintain a regular rhythm or keep the quality consistently high, then this may confuse or annoy your readers, which is a problem.

Image credit: Corners (averaged colors) by Sam Cox