Friday, August 19th, 2011
As a copywriter, I deal with a lot of projects that involve SEO copywriting. On these projects, the client will typically send over a sitemap that includes a list of keywords to target on each page. Pretty standard stuff at this point.
However, I occasionally get clients who insist on incorporating misspelled keywords in their copy because they get a good amount of search volume. And I refuse to do it.
For example, let’s say I’m doing copy for a website that sells daiquiri mix. “Daiquiri” is a word that’s commonly misspelled in a number of different ways, and I’m sure those misspellings garner some decent search volume, but that doesn’t mean you should incorporate them into your website copy.
Why not? I’ll give you a couple of reasons.
First, let’s look at it from an SEO perspective. The whole idea behind targeting misspelled keywords is to drive traffic, right?
Google’s main initiative is to improve the quality of their search results. They’re trying to get rid of shady, low quality websites, and you can bet that, sooner or later (if it doesn’t already), Google (and the other search engines) will see websites that are full of misspelled words as low quality and spammy.
But that’s not even the most important reason to avoid incorporating misspelled keywords into your copy.
Think about your visitors. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely would not feel comfortable doing business with a company whose website was full of typos. It just doesn’t look professional. It makes your company look amateurish, careless, and possibly sketchy. And in a day and age where consumers are less trusting than ever before, you can’t afford to give them another reason to distrust your company.
Do you target misspelled keywords on your website?
Friday, July 1st, 2011
In most cases, if you want to sell something, you’ll need to write up some compelling sales copy for the prospect to read. Whether it’s a landing page or a direct mail sales letter, there are certain steps you can follow that will help you create copy that’s focused, effective, and error-free.
- Create a plan—Before I start writing, I like to have an idea of where the piece is headed. I don’t create overly-detailed outlines, but I do like to make a list of things that will help me stay focused and on track, such as identifying the main problem, outlining a solution, addressing objections, making an offer, and having a strong call to action.
- Let the writing flow—I like to crank out the initial rough draft for the copy in one sitting. I find that my copy flows better when I write it all at once, rather than taking breaks and putting it together piece by piece. This allows me to get into a zone, and often times, new ideas will pop up as I write.
- Leave your copy alone for a day or so—Never finalize copy that you just wrote. You need to step away from it for at least a day so that you can come back and look at it with a fresh set of eyes. I promise you’ll see mistakes that you didn’t notice before.
- Edit for maximum impact—When you come back to edit your copy, don’t worry about grammar and typos just yet. The most important thing is the effectiveness of the sales message. Is it clear? Does it really speak to the reader’s problems? Does it answer their questions? Is any critical information missing or have you included things that don’t need to be there?
- Proof for errors—After you’ve fine-tuned the sales message, now you can proofread your copy for errors. Check out these 5 tips for proofreading your copy more effectively.
What’s your writing process? Share it with me by leaving a comment.
Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
I’ve often said that great copy creates a conversation with the reader. It doesn’t speak at the reader, it speaks with them. There’s a difference.
Conversational copy gives the brand a distinct voice that consumers can connect with. It engages the readers and speaks directly to the issues they’re facing. As a result, it keeps them on your website longer and leads to more conversions.
But how can you create a conversational flow in your copy? Here are 5 tips to help you out.
- Learn your target audience’s language—Your target audience will determine the style of your copy. For example, 14 year old girls speak differently than 40 year old men. You need to study the way your target audience speaks and do your best to create copy that captures that style. Simply put, speak to them in a language they can understand.
- Keep sentences short and clear—Long sentences kill the flow of your copy. They instantly make you seem boring, and they just appear intimidating. Keep your sentences focused on one thought. And while you’re at it, make sure your paragraphs are short too.
- Ditch the big words—Big words don’t make you sound smart, and they don’t make your product sound more impressive. The average person doesn’t speak using 15-letter words. Clarity is key.
- Read it aloud—After you’ve written your copy, read it aloud. Does it feel authentic? Are there any parts that don’t feel conversational?
- Use contractions—Contractions help to make your copy feel less formal and more conversational. Most people use contractions when they speak, so it just makes sense to use them in your copy.
What are some of the things you do to make your copy more conversational? Share your best tips by leaving a comment.
Friday, February 25th, 2011
You might think that copywriting is subjective…that there’s no way to deem one piece of copy good and another piece of copy bad. And to an extent, that’s true. But there are some undeniable traits that good copy has. A good piece of copy will always do these 5 things.
- Good copy captures the attention of the reader immediately—The average person is bombarded by hundreds, even thousands, of advertisements and marketing messages every single day. Most of these messages are ignored, and it’s your job to find some way to grab their attention. Great copy makes the reader stop and look. It immediately sucks them in and forces them to keep reading.
- Good copy is clear—If your copy lacks clarity, it’s never going to get results. Good copy speaks to the audience in a language they can easily understand. It doesn’t contain a bunch of corporate jargon and fluff that confuses the message.
- Good copy answers questions—Customers always have questions that arise during the buying process. Good copywriters address these questions and concerns at just the right time, knocking down any objections customers might have.
- Good copy builds trust—Today’s consumer is savvy and hesitant to trust any company. It’s your job to earn the trust of your target audience. Good copy builds your credibility and allows you to make customers comfortable with the idea of doing business with you.
- Good copy motivates readers to take a specific action—At the end of the copy, you can judge a copy’s worth by the response it gets from your target audience. Good copy motivates readers to take a specific action—buy now, fill out a contact form, call for a free consultation, etc. If your copy doesn’t get people to do something, it’s not doing its job.
What are some other things that good copy does? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
Despite people constantly writing it off and viewing it as spammy or ineffective, article marketing is still an effective way to increase your search engine presence, build links, and even establish yourself as an expert. Of course, the keys to an effective article marketing campaign are both quantity and quality. In other words, you need a high quantity of quality articles to get the best results.
Unfortunately, too many marketers only pay attention to the quantity part of article marketing. They think that quality doesn’t matter because they’re only after getting the back links. So what do they do? They hire writers from other countries to write their articles for pennies. And at first glance, it seems like a good idea. Why pay $25, $30, or even $50 an article if you can pay some writer to crank them out for $1 or $2 each?
The problems with going cheap with your article writing are:
- You get what you pay for—If you want to pay only a couple of bucks for an article, you’re going to get an article that’s poorly written. The cheapest writers typically aren’t native English speakers, and a lot of times, they spin or straight up copy/paste other people’s content. Is it really worth saving a few bucks?
- Your reputation can get damaged—Remember, your name is attached to these articles. Article marketing can be a good way to position yourself as an expert. But if your name is attached to poorly-written, nonsensical articles, what do you think that will do for your reputation? I know there are some article marketers who think that nobody reads the articles and that it’s just about linkbuilding, but you can’t be that careless with your brand.
- You’ll likely have a lot of articles get rejected at quality directories—The better directories have higher standards for the articles they’ll accept. So if you’re submitting articles that are written in broken English or are copied/spun versions of other content on the web, you’ll end up getting rejected at these good directories. And as a result, your articles will only end up on low-quality sites where the links won’t count for much.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stretch your marketing dollar. I get it. But you also have to realize that cutting corners and being a cheapskate will almost always come back to bite you in the butt eventually.