Jenny, it’s very nice to have you on the Smartdog blog as a guest today, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. For those who don’t know myself and Jenny used to work together at a previous agency based in Harrogate, Jenny has since gone on to found her own freelance copywriting business Call Me Copy.
Copywriting Tips and Insights:
Q. What do you think the most important aspect of copywriting is?
Great copy should cause a reaction. You want your reader to do something after reading your copy – whether that’s to buy a product, fill in an enquiry form, subscribe to a newsletter, or simply agree with you. The key to producing the right reaction is to understand your audience and then communicate your message in an interesting way.
Q. How important do you believe content is when it comes to improving your authority in the search engines?
It’s very important. However, well written content should be just one part of a wider SEO strategy. Content alone is unlikely to achieve a first page ranking but high-quality web content, properly optimised can be incredibly effective when combined with other SEO techniques.
Illiya – To add further to Jenny’s points here. Other SEO techniques include building authority inbound links to your website which include your keywords. Your keywords should always be included in the anchor text of your link. Having effective quality content can also allow you to re-use your content for blogging, articles, press releases or to be shared through social media channels such as Facebook & Twitter.
Q. What must a good copywriter do to avoid the mistakes you see others making regarding writing copy for lead generation?
A big mistake that people make is that they talk about themselves rather than focussing on their customer. If you can show that you understand what your customer needs and explain the benefits that your product or service gives them, this will generate more leads than if you simply talk about your company.
Q. What tips do you have when it comes to writing good web copy?
Get to the point and be interesting. When it comes to web copy, people’s attention spans are incredibly short. So you need to capture your visitor’s interest as quickly as possible. It’s also important to have clear calls to action – think about what you want people to do after reading your web copy and then tell them how to do it.
Illiya – Clear call to actions can be highlighted more visibly in the design of a web page by good use of typography and colour choice. Strong call to actions are usually emphasised by buttons or other web design elements.
Q. What do you do daily/weekly/monthly to keep your copywriting as sharp as possible?
I read as much as possible and include a wide range of books, blogs and articles to experience different styles of writing. As I specialise in online copywriting, I read lots of articles about online marketing and talk to other people in the industry. Online marketing is constantly evolving and so it’s important for me to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques.
Q. I know that most great copywriters read a lot of great writing and articles. Who is your favourite blogger, fiction author or writer, and why?
I read a lot of blogs about writing and my favourite bloggers at the moment are Jon Morrow and Johnny B Truant who regularly write for copyblogger.com. They both write in an entertaining style and often spark new ideas for me to try in my own writing.
Q. From a marketer’s standpoint, is it better to work with a copywriter by the hour or by the project?
It depends on each individual project and the client’s requirements. For one-off jobs I find that by the project works best but for on-going work, such as writing regular blog posts or articles, clients sometimes prefer to bank a certain number of hours per week or per month.
Q. Over the years working in the website industry, I have always found that most website launches stall because the developer or designer is waiting on content from the client. Why do you think so many companies struggle to write good content? Is it a time issue? Are there other factors involved?
I’ve seen the same thing and I think it’s due to a combination of factors. Clients often plan to write their own content either because they believe it will save money or because they feel that only they know their company well enough to be able to write about it. But a good copywriter can write content for any industry and by hiring a copywriter the client will quickly see a return on their investment. They’ll save time which they can then invest in getting on with their day job and the new website will be up and running and making money for them much more quickly.
When clients do write their own copy, they often find that it’s not as effective as they had hoped. Often they are too close to their own business to be able to write copy that customers can relate to or they make the mistake of cutting and pasting from existing marketing materials to try and save time. This results in copy that hasn’t been tailored to an online audience and isn’t optimised for search engines.
Q. Are you finding clients coming to you to write their content for their corporate blogs? What tips would you offer to clients looking to improve the content of their blog?
Yes, more and more clients are seeing the benefits that a blog can bring. The key to writing a successful business blog is to be useful. If you can provide people with helpful, interesting information, then they will keep coming back for more. Be original. Try to be different to the other people in your industry and don’t be afraid to be controversial.
Flickr Photo Credit By Keith Williamson
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