- Write the way you talk
- Don’t just copy what everyone else in your niche is doing
- Always proofread your posts
- Do your best to respond to comments in a timely manner
- Don’t fight with commenters who disagree with you. Respect their opinions.
- Optimize your posts for maximum search engine performance
- Create a strong internal linking structure
- Link to other blogs as well
- Focus on writing headlines that beg to be clicked
- Always deliver on the promise of your headline
- Hold reader interest by posting on a regular basis
- Have a place where you jot down ideas for new posts so you never suffer from writer’s block
- Make sure every post is the best work you’re capable of producing
- Don’t ignore proven formulas like top 10 lists and how-to posts
- Make your posts easy to scan by using bullet points and numbered lists
- Fact check your content before posting. Failure to do so could cause a permanent loss of credibility.
- Spend time promoting your blog. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they will automatically come.
- Give and receive guest posts
- Don’t overlook the design of your blog. People do judge a book (your blog) by its cover (its design).
- Place a subscribe link above the fold to attract more blog subscribers
- Use pictures to spice up your posts
- Break really long posts into a blog series whenever possible
- Never stop trying to improve your blogging skills
As a freelance copywriter, I’ve worked on several projects where I was hired to clean up the mess left by the last copywriter. For one reason or another, the copy they wrote wasn’t working, and of course, the client wasn’t happy with it.
Most times, this happened because the client tried to save money on hiring a copywriter. They hired the cheapest copywriter they could find, and as a result, they got what they paid for.
When cleaning up the mess left by rookie copywriters, I’ve noticed there are 3 common mistakes they tend to make.
- Rookie Mistake #1: Focusing on the wrong benefits—My good friends over at The Write Blog, wrote a post a while back titled “Don’t sell the car. Sell the Nissan.” The title sums it up perfectly. You need to write copy that focuses on the benefits specific to your products and services. It’s all about identifying your unique selling point. Like Wintress says in her post, you wouldn’t sell a car by telling the reader that “it’s a faster way to get around town than riding a bicycle.” Instead, you would probably focus on the miles per gallon the vehicle gets and the unique features specific to the vehicle (and more importantly, the benefits of said features).
- Rookie Mistake #2: Not asking the reader to take action—At the end of the day, the success of the copy depends on whether or not the reader takes action. All copy has a purpose. It could be to close the sale on the spot or to get an email address to gather leads. Identify the purpose of your copy, and ask the reader to take the action you desire. If you don’t ask for an action, your readers will never snap out of their passivity.
- Rookie Mistake #3: Using too much fluff—I’ve seen some copywriters make a living out of saying nothing at all. Oh, they write a lot of words, but they aren’t actually saying anything. Their copy is nothing more than a bunch of fluff that takes up space but never gets results. Here’s a tip. Print out your copy, and cross out non-essential content that doesn’t add to your main message. Just be careful not to go overboard as you don’t want to strip the personality and conversational tone from your copy.
Which rookie copywriting mistakes would you add to this list? Leave a comment with your thoughts.
Routine website maintenance is essential for making sure your website is up to date and functioning properly. Unfortunately, website maintenance is something that often gets overlooked, and as a result, companies aren’t getting everything they should be out of their website. Here are 8 essential website maintenance tasks you should perform on a regular basis.
1. Test your forms—Contact forms have a nasty tendency to suddenly stop working. That’s why it’s important that you test them out as often as possible. If you notice a sudden drop in email list subscribers or other conversions, immediately test out all contact forms to ensure they’re working as they should.
2. Check all links—Check out all of your navigation links as well as internal links throughout the body of your website copy and blog posts. This will help to make certain your visitors are able to go down the path through your website that you want them to travel.
3. Ensure contact info is up to date—Over time, phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses might change. Visit your contact page to double check that all info is accurate.
4. Make certain the search function works—Today’s internet users are in a hurry. That’s why many people immediately use a website’s search function as soon as they land on the page. This allows them to find the info they’re looking for as quickly as possible. Use your website’s search function just as a normal visitor would to make sure it works properly.
5. Update your copyright—Your copyright should technically be updated any time new content is added to your website. Beyond protecting your content, updating your copyright lets your visitors know that your website is current and active.
6. Keep product descriptions and prices accurate—Have you changed your products or services in any way? Have your prices been altered? If so, update your website to reflect these changes.
7. Test your checkout process—The worst possible scenario is for a visitor on your website to decide to become a customer only to be denied by a shopping cart that doesn’t work. Check your shopping cart and overall checkout process regularly to make certain your customers are able to get in and out quickly.
8. Check your search engine rankings—It’s a good idea to check your website’s search rankings at least once a month. Don’t panic over tiny month-to-month fluctuations, but be on the lookout for developing trends. The sooner you can act on drops in search rankings, the less damaging they will be.
Would you add any tasks to this list? Share your thoughts in the replies.
Getting interviewed on a blog, podcast, radio show, or even TV show is an excellent way to gain exposure and to build your authority. But being a great interviewee is often easier said than done. I listen to talk radio quite a bit (mostly sports talk), and I’ve heard my fair share of interviews that made me cringe for the person being interviewed. Nervousness and unpreparedness can turn this golden opportunity into a damaging situation for your company.
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to prepare for a media interview. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Know your s*#!—Showing up to your interview unprepared reflects poorly on you and your business. You need to be ready to answer every question the reporter throws your way, but at the same time, if you truly don’t have an answer for a question, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Do your research and have some statistics and facts ready to support your answers.
2. Learn about the interviewer—First, learning about the interviewer is important because you don’t want to call the host Jim when his name is Tom. But that’s not the only reason it’s important. You need to understand what type of podcast, blog, or show the interviewer runs. Who is his target audience? What do they care about? What’s the tone of his content? The more you know about the interviewer, the better you’ll fit in.
3. Practice key points of your message—Make a list of a few (3-5) key points you want to address during your interview. Simplify them as much as possible, and practice talking about them so that you’ll be comfortable addressing them. Crafting your message can help you stay in control of the interview, making you appear calm and confident. (more…)
A growing number of businesses are using podcasting as a means to increase brand awareness, to connect with their target audience, and to grow their online presence. But to get the most out of podcasting, you need to make sure you’re doing all of the right things to give your audience a professional show every time. Here are some easy things you can do to improve your podcast.
• Get a decent microphone—Let me first say that I’m not an audio geek by any means. However, I will say that a cheap mic can make your entire podcast sound unprofessional and difficult to listen to. You want to find a microphone that cuts out a lot of background noise and eliminates static. In short, you want your listeners to be able to clearly hear you without getting distracted by other noises. Visit your local music shop or electronics store to find a good microphone for your podcasting needs.
• Add intro and outro music—Whenever you listen to a talk show on the radio, each segment always begins and ends with about 10 seconds of music. This is called bumper music, and it can add a professional, finished touch to your podcasts. You can easily find royalty free music online that you can use in your podcasts.
• Speak clearly—Recording a podcast isn’t as simple as plugging in a microphone and blabbing away. There’s something known as “proper microphone technique.” This includes everything from properly positioning the microphone to speaking clearly. Speak slowly, and make sure not to mumble. Enunciate every word properly, and always have water on hand so that you can stay hydrated. Always go back and listen to your podcasts before publishing them to make sure every word can be clearly heard. (more…)