As a freelance marketing copywriter, you use your skills to write the best copy for your clients. Being persuasive when promoting their products is vital for customer conversions and success.
What is Web copy?
Web copy is the core text on your website which informs readers of what they need to know about your brand. It is laid out on the main pages of your site, including your homepage, ‘About Us’ page, and ‘Products and Services’ pages. It also applies to your sponsored posts, including Email newsletters, social media ads, and PPC campaigns; it basically comprises any text you use to promote your brand and sell your products or services.
Effective web copy is meant to reassure readers about your brand and convince them to take action. By using the appropriate text, web copy will convey your story, explain your concept, and create exposure. The secret behind creating engaging web copy lies in understanding the psychology of your web visitors.The secret behind creating engaging web copy lies in understanding the psychology of your web visitors. Click To Tweet
SEO copywriting involves optimizing web pages for the purpose of generating traffic. Besides challenges in other niches like technical writing, SEO copywriters face the unique challenge of achieving optimization and getting the attention of an audience.
Optimization is important, but SEO copywriting has moved on to a more customer-focused approach. It is not enough to write content and simply put in relevant keywords in the right amount. Now you have to catch the attention of the target audience; both existing clients and prospective clients. Once your clients visit your website, you have to convince them to stay with you. [Read more…]
For more than a decade, landing pages have become increasingly popular and more widely used by just about individual and business that owns a website.
The reason for the continuous uptick is because landing pages are a stellar solution for optimizing conversions for sales, downloads, email acquisition, and various other KPIs.
Landing pages serve as a vehicle for a brand to target interested audiences with relevant offerings that are valuable to those individuals. What sets landing pages aside from most web destinations is that viewers arrive with a specific intention, as opposed to merely browsing. [Read more…]
From an outsider’s perspective, developing a sales page may look easy. Sometimes it only has a few sentences of text, a visual, and a couple of buttons.
However, as any copywriter knows, creating a high converting sales page is anything but easy. It’s actually one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. [Read more…]
We all have doubts. In an article I wrote some years ago, I mentioned one reason writers might feel self-doubt more than others.
Everyone experiences self-doubt now and then. It’s part of being human, and writers are not exempt from this. In fact, I would go as far as to say that writers probably experience self-doubt more than other people. This is because we create things by transforming abstract ideas into concrete, readable words; and this makes us prone to criticism – whether constructive or not.
(You can read the full article here.)
Part of the challenge of being a professional writer is always being “on.” In other words, when you write for six, eight, or 10 hours per day, how can you continue to pump out quality content that’s both engaging and error-free? It’s difficult, for sure. However, it’s also incredibly important if you want to have a healthy and profitable career. [Read more…]
Crowdfunding is a popular activity these days, thanks to the success of platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The premise is simple and taps into one of the essential characteristics of human beings: helping out others in small ways and also receiving some sort of benefit, emotional or tangible.
On the practical side, freelance writers have a stake in the crowdfunding niche as well. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’ve regularly included ads for crowdfunding copywriters in the daily job leads. As far as I’m concerned, this is one evidence of just how critical crowdfunding pages are, and crowdfunding copywriters have to be cutting edge when it comes to their writing.
If you are looking to take advantage of the crowdfunding hype by seeking out copywriting gigs in the nice, here are three effective tips that you will want to bear in mind. [Read more…]
Time for another lesson in copywriting! Today, you’ll learn a critical element of every copywriting project you take on that you should memorize and never forget — when it comes to making purchase decisions, consumers care about themselves.
When I teach copywriting to business owners, I always start off this section of the lesson with a sentence that quickly catches their attention, “No one cares about you.” They don’t like to hear this news from me, but if they can’t understand it, their marketing messages will fail to deliver the results they want and need.
So how does this apply to the copy that you write for clients (or to market your own freelance writing business)?
It provides you with a very simple rule that you should always follow: Your copy should include far more references to ‘you’ than ‘we’ or ‘me’.
Let me explain.
When a consumer reads copy, they want to hear how the product or service being marketed will help them. They need to understand that the money they pay for that product or service will make their lives better or easier. In other words, they need to believe that the product or service will benefit them in some way that is worth the monetary investment and time required to make a purchase. They don’t care about the fact a business is a member of the local Chamber of Commerce. No matter how proud a business owner is about his longstanding membership, that piece of information is not going to close a sale. When a business has limited space or time to communicate messages to consumers, that space needs to be used as effectively as possible in order to compel consumers to action.
Bottom-line, don’t clutter copy with references to ‘me’ and ‘we’ (i.e., the business talking about itself). Instead, fill your copy with references to ‘you’ (i.e., the consumer) so they can relate to the messages and apply them to their own lives. Following are two simple examples for a computer retailer to help you understand this concept:
- We or Me Copy: We offer low prices and our employees are experts in the computers we sell.
- You Copy: You’ll get low prices and personal service from a staff that’s ready to help you find the computer that’s right for you.
As a consumer looking for a computer, which of the above copy examples is more compelling to you? The first is loaded with references to ‘we’ while the second is all about ‘you’, the customer. Clearly, the second example would be more effective at moving consumers to action.
The rule-of-thumb that I suggest following is the 80-20 rule of marketing that tells us 80% of a company’s business comes from 20% of its customers. By applying that rule to copywriting, 80% of your copywriting should refer to ‘you’ while just 20% should refer to ‘we’ or ‘me’. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but follow this guideline to achieve a good balance, and your copywriting will improve. You can read more about the you not we rule in my book, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps.
If you missed them, follow the links to read earlier parts of the Lessons in Copywriting series:
Part 3 of Lessons in Copywriting teaches you how to make sure the marketing copy you write is succinct using a tool I call the Red Pen Rule, which I discuss in detail in my book, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps.
Let’s take a step back first.
The most powerful copy is clear, concise, and leaves no room for confusion. We’ll talk more about that in Part 4. Today, you need to understand the importance of not getting too attached to the copy that you write. Chances are, a third of it could go and you’d actually have a much better final piece.
And that brings us to the Red Pen Rule.
The Red Pen Rule states that once you have written your copy, edited it, and believe it is complete, perfect, wonderful, and ready for the world to see, you should delete at least 30% of it.
Remember, succinct copy is more powerful than wordy copy. It’s is very likely that at least 30% of your copy is not necessary in terms of driving home your core messages. In fact, at least 30% probably clutters your core message. Don’t hide your core messages behind clutter! Instead, take out your red pen and start deleting words, phrases, sentences — whatever it takes to cut that copy down and make it more concise and powerful.
Keep in mind, 30% deletion is not required, but it’s a good goal to try to hit. The point is to delete more than you think you can bear to see on the cutting room floor.
If you can’t step back far enough away from your copy to be able to clearly judge what parts can be deleted to make your copy tighter, ask colleagues, friends, or family members for their opinions. They might not be copywriting experts, but they’re consumers. Their thoughts might help you look at your copy from another angle and suddenly the parts that can go without being missed will jump off the page at you.
Avoid offering too much information (TMI) and show no mercy for filler words! These are some of the first things that have to go. Stay tuned for future Lessons in Copywriting where I’ll talk more about TMI and filler words and why they can kill even the best marketing copy.