After Website Copywriting – Think ‘Content’… and Think ‘SEO’

As a highly experienced website copywriter who’s written hundreds of websites for clients, it may come as a surprise when I say that very few want to follow-on with supporting content to boost their link building and SEO.  “We just want a brochure website,” is a typical cry.  “Our industry is too competitive to bother with SEO – it would be a waste of time and money,” is another common line. Oh dear!  These are wasted opportunities to dramatically improve the returns on what are often substantial investments in design and copywriting.  I do point out to them that a completed website is just the beginning of making a real impact with a business’ online marketing. In some cases, of course, the client has obviously pushed the boat out financially, so the last thing they want to talk about is spending more money – especially if it’s a regular monthly retainer fee. What many people don’t realise is that supporting content in the shape of articles, regular blog posts and online news releases (to name just a few!) are all skill-sets that fall within a website copywriter’s domain. Regular, well-written blog posts, for instance – on your own website or as a guest post on another site – will not only build up a regular following of readers who will keep returning to your website. The original and industry-relevant content will also provide Google with exactly the kind of quality content it needs for its search strategy.  This content will, in turn, be rewarded with higher rankings for the web pages and key phrases concerned. Surely, this is what investing in... Read more...

Offline vs Online Copywriting

Embracing offline copywriting may seem a little counter-intuitive in these days of online copywriting and digital marketing. And yet: there really is no substitute for ‘getting up close and personal’ if you want to maximise returns on your investment. Increasing numbers of people are realising that we neglect offline marketing at our peril. Since Google started playing God with SEO last year, we should all bear in mind that when we’re reduced to relying on Google’s rules, we’re throwing away our marketing independence. By having another string to your bow – i.e. offline marketing – your business will never be over-reliant on Google’s whims. ‘Offline’ never really went away, of course. Major money is still spent on things like events and exhibitions, seminars and conferences, press and broadcast advertising, media relations, brochures, posters… the list is long. There’s a danger that the online digital world can blind us to the possibilities of the more ‘traditional’ marketing techniques. It’s true that ‘online’ is now a well-established part of the marketing mix that’s impossible to ignore. To many people, online marketing has quasi-magical properties in its geographical reach, quick turnaround and cost-effectiveness. The drawbacks of course are that clients tend to pigeon-hole suppliers or agencies, putting them in the boxes from whence they came – and leaving them there (on the assumption that they can’t do other things). The contrast with the offline world couldn’t be more stark. In general, clients tend to allocate more time to ‘offline’ and discussing the bigger picture. Almost inevitably, the discussion will come round to the possibility of introducing complementary online techniques. These will occupy... Read more...

Advertising Copywriting – Talk Your Client Through It

In the maelstrom of marketing activity with which we’re all bombarded on a daily basis, it’s hard to believe that advertising copywriting was once a lead creative skill in what was the most dominant aspect of marketing. Clients of a certain age would be forgiven for being confused by the range of techniques that now contribute to sales success.  We’re talking here about things like social media and blogging, SEO and the multifarious forms of online copywriting. They would probably identify with some of the themes of this article – but what about today’s younger generation of marketers and copywriters?  Are they missing a trick by overlooking the proven skill-sets of advertising and direct response – in particular, the value of the creativity that advertising copywriting brings to the party?   Nostalgia – or Amnesia?  There’s a general feeling around that advertising copywriting isn’t what it was: to wit, the nostalgia surrounding the ‘Mad Men’ phenomenon.  In the 1970s and 80s when Saatchi & Saatchi reigned supreme in the UK, advertising was definitely at the ‘sexy’ end of the marketing spectrum.  Today, it’s seen as a bit player in the marketing mix and, when it comes to ‘digital marketing’, advertising barely ranks as an ‘extra’. Back in the day, to win your metaphorical ‘Equity Card’ (Equity being an actors’ union for all you non-UK readers) you had to have ad agency experience and know how to master the art of ‘creative concepts’.  As that usually entailed working with an art director, there really weren’t too many entrees into the business other than securing a job in an ad agency. ... Read more...

Is Your Copywriting and Marketing Too Dependent On Google?

Has your business become over-reliant on Google when it comes to online copywriting and marketing?  Should you be shifting some of your online focus and re-balancing it with more offline activity? With all the changes that have taken place at the search engine over the last 12 months – we’re talking Penguin and Panda again! – you’d be forgiven for being a little uneasy, especially if a large percentage of your orders or business enquiries are generated through the use of search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques. Massive investments of time and money have been undone for many thousands of companies who’ve fallen victim to Google’s kaleidoscopic changes in their approach and responses to SEO.  We all know how important it is for website pages to rank highly with the search engines, with Page One ranking being the Holy Grail. Imagine the feeling – if you haven’t experienced it already – of waking up one fine morning to discover that the pages on your website that once ranked highly and generated lots of traffic have suddenly plummeted in the rankings!  Imagine the horror, the realisation, that your once-cushy cash-cow is now a dead duck! How could Google do this to you?  After all, you or your SEO people had followed all the Webmaster Guidelines in great detail to make sure you didn’t fall foul of their strictures.  Like a headless chicken, you’d be running around wondering what to do.  Sue Google? Sack your SEO advisors?  File for bankruptcy?  Slit your wrists – or worse? You’d given up on all that old-fashioned offline stuff two or three years ago.  ‘Online’ was where... Read more...

Website Copywriting – A Street View

If the way websites work is totally alien to you – worry not, help is at hand.  And if you know next-to-nothing about website copywriting, this article will provide a good starting point for you to turn things around. Whilst it’s true that website copywriting may seem like an obscure topic to many people, there may come a time when you need to know more – or even get involved with the writing process yourself! That’s why it makes sense to find out what website copywriting involves.  Whether or not you want to become an exponent yourself is very much a personal choice.  Speaking as a freelance copywriter, I have a somewhat weighted view of the whole subject. Ironically, it’s the very skills I acquired over many years of copywriting that have convinced me everyone in business should at the very least understand the principles of web copywriting and its potential as a marketing tool. As with any learning curve, it’s important to start with a general overview of the subject and then drill down to the specifics.  In this case, you’re looking at the context in which websites operate, together with the influences that affect their success, or otherwise. When it comes to using actual copywriting techniques, it’s important to bear in mind that – almost more than any other marketing tool – websites do not work in isolation.   To begin at the beginning… Online marketing is complementary to offline marketing.  That much is obvious.  How online marketing skills are deployed depends on how responsive the market is to the overtures that online marketing makes.  In general,... Read more...