all about blogging

How to nail your blog posts in 6 easy steps

Part of what I do as a copywriter is write blog posts. I’m not solely a blogger though. Both share the same concept – they involve crafting words web and social media marketing. As a copywriter my role is to entice, inform and firmly nudge readers to become customers/clients through eye-catching headlines, clever straplines and copy that persuades its audience to take action. I tell stories lure readers, to keep them engaged and to build trust in the businesses I write for. Every sentence is crafted for maximum effect to make you want to buy something, or to lodge in your brain for a future purchase.

A blogger’s role is to inform and impart knowledge about a particular subject. A blog post needs to engage with its readers, to educate, and almost always has a call-to-action – this might be to download white paper, sign up to a newsletter etc. A blog is essential to driving traffic to your website and highlighting your brand, but it can do it in a relaxed form of writing.

So how to write a great blog post? All marketing, of which blogging is a part of, needs to form part of an informed strategy, where you have planned to content to be written:

  1. Plan
    What is your target audience interested in? Can you provide a solution to a problem they may have? Consider how to make your expertise shine through. Ensure your content is relevant, that it is concise and above all useful. Plan what titles you are going to cover over the 3-6 months as this helps you maintain consistent content with a clear schedule.
  1. Heading
    If your heading is not going to grab attention, then no-one is going to read your blog. It needs to be appealing, explain what your blog is about and above all, engage the reader to read on.
  1. Content
    Make your first paragraph powerful and engaging so that your audience wants to read on to find out more. Don’t ramble – introduce your content; deliver informative information; and finish with a clear call to action so that the audience is not just left hanging. You can invite them to comment, to download more information or to get in touch with you – use anything you can to get them to engage with you.
  1. Keep it simple
    Make your blog easy to read. Keep your sentences short. Use sub-headings to break up the text. Use bullet points/numbering to highlight lists of information. Add quotes or statistics to support your words. Add links to pages on your website or to other useful resources.
  1. Images
    Images are so important for a blog – they are what catches the eye of the reader and help set the tone. Use them to break up text into smaller pieces and to add some context to your words.
  1. Check, and check again
    – Read your blog through for coherency – does it flow?
    – Check your grammar, spelling and punctuation.
    – Is your heading enticing?
    – Does it make sense – check your facts and statistics
    – Does it answer all questions a reader may have?

What else do I need to know? Some extras you will find useful …

Google Algorithm
I will write about this as blog post in itself, but in short Google in 2020 wants you to write blog posts that are expert, authoritative and trustworthy.

Keywords
Google likes a blog post to focus on around a key search term. Help your keyword rankings by showing your content is relevant and use related words throughout your blog that relate to the specific search term. Do not just repeat the same words over and over.

SEO
In addition to using long-tail keywords targeting your reader, make sure that you fulfil the SEO fields in your website’s backend. Click on this link for more information about blog SEO https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/blog-search-engine-optimization

If you have found this useful, why not check out my website and get in touch with me today to see how I can help you with writing your blog posts.

What you need to know?

What you need to know about hiring a copywriter

Unfortunately I can’t just jump straight in and write dazzling copy for you without some background knowledge! Here are some ideas to the type of information I need to know …

  1. Do you know your business inside and out?
    As a copywriter I need to know all about your brand so that I can create the right tone of voice for your business, or to ensure that I am writing in your established tone of voice. You need to be crystal clear on who your business is targeting, what your business really does and why it matters so much. It is so important for me to understand if your brand is elegant, reserved, smart or funny so that the content I write is targeting your ideal target market and engaging them appropriately.
  1. Do you know your audience?
    I referenced this above, but who your customers and clients are inform all the copy I write from the tone of voice to the specific use of words. If you can provide me with as detailed a persona as possible then I can write the content your business needs to persuade them to engage with your brand.
  1. Do you know what you want me to do?
    I always take a brief before taking on new work. By completing this, it helps direct you and therefore me to get a clear idea as to what you want. For example, I do a lot of website content, so I’ll be asking you to think about the pages you need and what the key messages are that you want me to get across. Add to this I’ll be asking you to consider SEO keywords. Copywriting is collaborative – we work together, but I can’t deliver what you want without you telling me in advance your aspirations and goals.influencer-4081842_1920
  1. Be realistic
    It takes as much time to create a strap line as it does to write a blog – it may even take longer. My point is that copywriters need time to let words and ideas evolve and develop. Churning work out only leads to mistakes and it is imperative that I understand all the background about your business to fulfil any brief properly.

There is a reason we call in experts for certain jobs, and copywriting is just the same. I can bring lots to any particular project:

  • Save you lots of time by taking this on for you
  • Help you sell more goods/services
  • Make your brand stand out from its competitors
  • Make your business connect better with is customers

But I also need all the help you can give me regarding the above information. Sharing your insights and knowledge enables me to write copy that exceeds your expectations.

If you know your business inside and out, know who your target audience is and where you want to take your business forward, then get in touch with me now to discuss how I can help you.

Social Media

Social Media Made Simple

Ok, I am going to confess up front that although I am a copywriter, I don’t always practice what I preach. WHAT?!! I’ll explain. Even after all these years of copywriting, I still have a fear of all things social media – and that’s ok, there are people out there far better skilled than I to plan and run your social media campaigns. I actually know lots about social media, I just need to follow my own advice and stick my head above the parapet a bit more than I usually do, and I’m getting there. So what I can I tell you? Here goes …

Blogs are great, but they are not the fastest route to SEO success
Yes, content is king. Yes, you need engaging content, and yes, why not use a copywriter who can save you precious time to write and edit a fabulous blog post. You should absolutely write blogs that are helpful, engaging and will get you noticed and beef up your content on your website, but there are faster ways to get your business noticed and to improve your SEO rankings

I have to break it to you, it’s all about video
You need to up your personal branding and shout out to everyone who you are and what you do. You need to build up your branding and get it everywhere on social media and the quickest and smartest way to do this is by posting video. Read on …

Facebook live
I know, I need to practice what I preach and I’m almost there. It is really very easy for people to like a post without even reading the content past the title or even the first paragraph. Facebook Live is great at promoting engagement and you can do so much with it too once you have made one. Remember it’s a bit like talking to yourself (and you can do that can’t you?) … except it’s not. BUT once done, you can download it, upload it to YouTube, embed it onto your website, and edit and share bits elsewhere too. What’s not to love about that?

Your cat gets more likes than your business
You know it’s true – you labour to write a succinct, compelling piece of content, and you are lucky if a few colleagues and friends like it. Post a picture or video of your cat and you’re inundated with comments. Here’s the point, social media is about being personal, being human and relatable. Share and post light-hearted material to help show the person behind the business. If you do what comes naturally, then it doesn’t undermine you in anyway – people enjoy it and they see a different side to you.

Share your content everywhere.
Don’t assume that you need different content for different channels. It’s more than ok to share the same content everywhere you are. This creates consistency with your tone of voice and will reach a wider audience. Do be careful though that your content is relevant – I would not suggest posting a picture of your cat on LinkedIn …

Be present regularly
Getting content out on social media on a regular basis is important. If you don’t have something of your own post, sharing someone else’s post is just as important – it shows you are present and connecting with your audience. If you haven’t got anything to share, then comment on something instead. These small ways help to boost your social media presence. If people find and see you, they remember you. A continuing presence enables them to trust you and turn to you when the time is right.

Scheduling
Have a social media plan – it doesn’t need to be detailed but know what you are posting every month and on which social media channels, will not only save you time in the long run, but ensures you are delivering consistently. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to the plan when circumstances dictate otherwise, but you’ve got your back up even if you happily mess with your own scheduling once in a while!

I’m off to follow my own advice … I just needed to write this to give me the confidence to get going!

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Is your Messaging right for a Post Covid-19 World?

Everything has been turned on its head recently, and we’ve all had to scrabble around and reconsider our business strategies amongst all the commercial carnage of the last few months. But here’s an opportunity to re-evaluate whilst you are in a different headspace, to take advantage of the current situation and to redefine your purpose for a post Covid-19 world.

What is your Purpose?
We know our businesses back-to-front and understand the reasons why we chose our current profession or business initially. It is our reason for being and what drives us onwards. This is an opportune time to look at your mission statement and clarify if it is still right for the time we are in.

As a copywriter I help my clients to write their mission statements and their strap lines, and I push them to really consider the ‘why’ not just the ‘how’ or ‘what’. Questioning why they work as they do opens up the discussion and provides a far more inspiring mission statement. Concentrating on simply your benefits and services narrows the field and makes any statement restrictive rather than aspirational. A mission statement should inspire readers to want to join you, help you, buy from you and get involved.

More space to grow and evolve
When a mission statement is all encompassing, it gives you the space to move, grow and adapt in while remaining focused and motivated. This ability is vital to us as we work through and emerge from Covid-19 and all of its ramifications.

Consider this
You are a photographer. Do you specialise in wedding photography? Or do you capture the absolute essence of someone in beautiful, natural photographs?

Both of these could be true, but the latter enables that business to adapt to any and every situation where a photographer adds value and joy to an experience.

This broader statement allows this photographer to pivot and reinvent themselves, no matter what the world throws at them next.

We don’t know what other changes we’ll have to be making further down the line, so why not take a look at WHY you run your business and feel free to get in touch to discuss what your message is to your customers and clients, so that they will hear it loud and clear and respond accordingly.

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Website Content made Easy

You’ve written a lovely piece of content for your website, but how do you know that it is going to convert visitors into customers? Can you be sure it won’t simply turn them away? Before you publish, take a look at these suggestions on how to ensure your website content is the best it can be.

Do you have a clear call to action?

Right from the get-go, you have to be really clear as to what it is you want your visitor to do once they have landed on your website. A clear call to action (buy now, sign-up, download, comment, etc.) has a direct impact on your conversion rates: it will attract a visitor’s interest and focus their attention, guiding them along the way.

Detailed content

Consider the journey your ideal customer takes when landing on your website – what is it that they want to know? Address this in your content.

  • Do they want to build a greater awareness about your product/service? Think about having blogs that explain or detail how to do things; consider including video and infographics.
  • What makes your products/services better than your competitors? Look to use comparisons, testimonials and case studies.
  • If you are selling goods, then have specific product pages and provide trial offers, etc.
  • You want to retain your customers, so think about providing regular blogs, newsletters and other social media content linking back to your website to keep your customers engaged with your business.
  • Keep your content local. Consider where your clients are based and include content that is relevant to your local area and if possible, provide links to other local businesses.

Don’t be boring

  • Keep your copy simple and to the point – don’t use jargon or be too technical.
  • Be concise – if you can get your message across in fewer words then do so! Read it through, get others to proofread and give feedback on the content so you can edit and improve it before your website goes live.
  • Short sentences, short paragraphs, headings, bullets, white space – these are all essential to a user-friendly website.
  • Use images to bring your pages to life and complement your copy.
  • Check that your website is mobile-friendly.

Use clear concise language

Write content with your ideal customer in mind. Talk direct to them in a language they understand. This is your business, so make it personal and use your text to speak directly to them. It is really powerful if you can add in some real-life examples to help make your content real.

SEO

We all know this is important, but if we are not experts what can we do? Here’s a few pointers to consider when looking at your content.

Longtail Keywords: This is a phrase rather than a single keyword. If someone types in ‘silver jewellery’ then they are likely to be browsing. If they type in ‘Where can I buy an engraved silver pendant locket’, this is a longtail keyword and the person is looking to buy. Consider the keyword searches that relate to your business and that will attract people to your site.

Blogs: Blogs are all about customer engagement. Having fresh, interesting blogs to read adds new content onto your website. These need to include keywords and be of a decent length, but the focus should be on the needs of the reader. If you put keywords in the title and initial paragraph this will help with your SEO. Remember to optimise your images and reference others with links. Use your blogs in your social media to broaden your reach …

Voice Search: We are increasingly using voice search functions to answer questions, so consider providing answers to specific business questions within your content.

User Experience: Capture your audience with the content on your website and encourage your them to remain on your site for longer, reducing your bounce rate. A good way is to use your blogs to provide links to the relevant pages on your website which will encourage them to browse further.

Use Google’s tools:

Google Trends – identify the popular searches around your business to create content. https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=GB

Google Analytics – track the performance of your website. https://analytics.google.com/

Google’s keyword tool – helpful when planning the most important keywords to use on your website. https://ads.google.com/intl/en_GB/home/

At is all about the Client

Avoiding the Ultimate Copywriting Mistake

What is the most common mistake a copywriter might make? No, it is not bad writing though that is, without doubt, inexcusable.

The worst mistake to make is not knowing exactly who your audience is and ensuring that you write for them.

Hold on! I know that we are all experts in content marketing and we all understand how critical it is to really understand the consumer we are selling to. Yes, shame on the copywriter who does not research and write directly to the core group they are looking to connect with.

But I am not talking about them. You may know your target audience perfectly, but if you do not write content to please your CLIENT, then whatever you write is worthless. I can write the most inspired copy that I know will sell a product or improve performance, but if my client does not agree with me, then my copy is utterly worthless.

  1. Know your client and follow their brief. Never deviate and always provide what they want. As a copywriter, I need to write great copy in my client’s opinion – not in my opinion, but theirs. My clients, whether they are business owners or marketing agencies trust me to write well. This trust is built over time, so that eventually I might be able to query a decision they might make and they may listen to me and take on board my suggestions as an expert in copywriting.
  1. Don’t work for a client until you understand them, and feel confident you can deliver what they want. When I take on work with businesses and agencies, I ensure I take the time to understand who they are and all about them; who their target customer is and what they are looking for in me as a copywriter. It is important to immerse yourself to understand your client’s business in these early stages and build trust (as mentioned above) and for both sides to feel confident and comfortable in the working relationship. If a client is happy to take the time to fully answer the questions in my brief, then I know they are invested in building a good working relationship with me.
  1. Write great copy, no matter what. So what happens if I write some great copy and my client decides to make changes? Well, it could be I haven’t followed the brief, but providing I have followed point 2 above then this is not going to happen. Maybe now is the time to respectfully push back a little and recommend my version over theirs. After all, I am the professional copywriter, so calling out my experience and expertise is justified, and given the groundwork of trust already established, I should be able to gently persuade a client to my point of view.

Ultimately though, what client wants, a client gets. If they want their version, then it is their decision to take, despite any recommendations by me – they may be paying for my expertise but it is their business and it is my job to give them what they want.

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Winter Wings

The sun was breaking through the remnants of the soft, buoyant and wispy clouds, to reveal that a beautifully crisp and clear day was on its way. The air was sharp with a faint hint of frost but with a promise of late autumnal warmth.

Outside of the town down by the river, the water was flowing smooth and calm, rippling and eddying around a dusky, undulating mass of movement and life sitting atop it. A resting point for sustenance, well over a hundred gently honking geese sat bobbing, waiting on the water: a dark gaggle of sleekly feathered birds floating and drifting aimlessly … until at some unseen signal to the human eye, half their number rose in flight as one.

With a squawking discourse they rose on the breeze, silhouetted against the morning sky. By shifting the angle of their wings they transformed briefly from black shadows, to show the white of their breast, then back to black as they turned direction again; a swarm of dark moving in formation and pouring forth across the sky.

This manoeuvre accomplished, the second group rose in a flurry of wings to take to the air, performing the same synergy of movement as the first company, swiftly weaving and turning in a tight body with exquisite grace. Long skeins of black unfurl brilliantly against the sky, moving wider and higher in a fluid sweep through the open space.

Spain

It is too Spanish in Spain!

The receptionists spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish, and there were too many foreigners!

I get this, no I really do – sometimes you want to go away on holiday, but you don’t want to be too far away from home. For some, having a holiday is not about soaking up another culture, trying a new cuisine, visiting historical sites: you might want the warmth, you might want the sangria, you might even want to hear a smattering of another language – but want you really want is a not too unfamiliar situation: you want to be able to read the menus to find food you like, you want others to understand you if you need to ask for something, you want to find brands you trust in the shops. It is not for anyone to judge is it? We all pay our money for hopefully the holiday we want and expect. Some of us are just like that and it all boils down to good research at the end of the day. If that is what you want, make sure you pick a resort where you can be confident it is little Britain in Spain, and lets face it, we know that in Spain it isn’t too hard to find that small piece of home. What you can’t assume is that all of Spain will be like that … it does have to cater for those who do want to experience the real Spain.

Recently I read another complaint about Spain suggesting the siestas should be banned, and that the local shopkeepers are just too lazy when they close for a few hours in the afternoon! IT’S HOT in the afternoon in summer, who in their right mind wants to work then if they don’t have to! Listen, they stay open much later than they do in the UK so there is always an upside to a perceived downside. Ok, so they have heard of air conditioning and they could open, but why do so if the market doesn’t dictate that they should?

You get siestas in Spain, and of course in other countries. Haven’t we all be frustrated to find we want to buy something but have had to wait until the shop has opened? I’ve gone out hoping the siesta time has finished, only to find I am still too early and need to return later. The great thing is that it really doesn’t matter if you need to wait a bit – no one is going anywhere, you can always go for a dip in the sea, have an ice cream or drink while you are waiting. Oh yes, and you could try a siesta yourself – wonderfully restorative! When in Spain, be like the Spanish …

Marketing Tips

10 Expert Travel Marketing Tips to Attract Visitors and Make Sales

  1. Ensure your Site is optimised for Mobile Devices
    Travellers use their mobiles when planning where to go, as well as on the road. An easy to use, accessible website will keep them with you at all times.
  1. Attention-grabbing Headlines
    If your headline does not immediately grab a reader’s attention, they won’t bother to read the rest of the copy. Make your headlines count and hook your readers from the go. Use them to boost the most compelling thing about your blog, site, hotel etc., encouraging them to read on.
  1. What’s your Personality?
    It is not about you – every word must resonate with the travellers and visitors most likely to book with you. Think about who you are trying to attract and ensure your copy relates to the type of person they are – don’t lose them by using the wrong tone of voice. Your copy should have a compelling and authentic story combining your USP, history and vision that talks and resonates directly with the customer.
  1. Be Inspirational
    Your copy has to benefit your target customer and engage with them. You need to provide inspirational copy to pique their interest and excite them about their visit, so they know their holiday/visit/experience is going to be exceptional. Think about what your images don’t communicate, and tease out the compelling details in your copy to create a striking visual image.
  1. Use Enticing Verbs and Vivid Adjectives
    Avoid clichéd adjectives and dull verbs that smother all life from the copy. Used wisely, verbs can bring copy to life creating memorable images, while key adjectives will help to engage the reader’s senses. Remember to maintain your style and tone of voice in all your marketing.
  1. Be Practical
    It may be obvious to you, but your customers need to know as many details as possible, so that they feel they know you before even visiting: how to get there, what’s nearby, what the opening hours are, what kind of facilities you have – providing this, gives peace of mind beforehand.
  1. Be Unique
    Don’t do what all your competitors do and write about all your distinguishing features, sell the experience instead! Why are your customers coming to stay with you, eat with you, take a tour with you, book a holiday with you? Find your niche, and market your copy accordingly to capture their feelings and motivations.
  1. Guide your Customer’s Expectations
    Remember if a customer is looking at your site, it is because they want you to make their life their life easier. Keep in mind that less is definitely more, and this should make your site inherently useful to web browsers, while at the same time establishing you as an authority.
  1. Capture Information
    You not only want travellers to book with you, you want them to return because they trust you. By encouraging them to sign up to your newsletter, or receive notifications on offers available, you will keep your brand in their mind and be able to capitalise on this.
  1. Offer Value
    While travellers are always on the look out for a great deal, they honestly care more about the value they are getting. If you market yourself as the best, illustrated with the proof of why this is so, it goes beyond what your competitors offer, and people will pay a premium for this.

My take on the Henley Royal Regatta

Don’t worry, all these striped blazers do not mean you have wandered inadvertently into the world’s largest barber shop quartet convention … this is the Henley Royal Regatta! It is a veritable feast for your eyes, where an elite group of extremely well-honed young men clad in lycra, compete in frighteningly slim boats to see who can row the fastest down a set course of the Thames. The races are held over 1 mile 550 yards (2,112 metres), taking approximately only 7 minutes to complete. Only 2 boats race in each heat – this is a knock-out event. You lose, you’re out.

Rowing in Henley is a serious business, with up to 90 heats a day, with races started at 5-minute intervals. Crews consist of Eights, Fours or Pairs with Sculls, Coxed and Coxless events (essentially, and very generally: 8, 4 or 2 in a boat, with either 1 or 2 oars, with or without someone to steer the boat). Many of the Royal Regatta visitors do indeed take the rowing very, very seriously – this is the utmost pinnacle for many a rowing club, with over 200 races held over 5 days.

Henley Royal Regatta is an indubitable part of the English social calendar, alongside tennis at Wimbledon, and horse racing at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood. The crowd themselves show every bit of determination and dedication to enjoy the day whatever the weather. Of course the Henley Royal Regatta is about watching world-class sport at its very best, where die-hard rowing aficionados and Olympic champions share their sport in an atmosphere of flamboyance, but it is also about schmoozing and socialising with plentiful Pimms and Champagne and top-class food.

Of course, no other sporting event in Britain can boast the quirky dress code that can be found at the Henley Royal Regatta – where for once the men’s colourful clothing undoubtedly upstages the women’s. The dress and feel of the event is of a glorified yet quintessentially British garden party: yet it is much more than that for its heart is firmly in top-class racing of the highest quality, with the best in the world competing at this one event.

To the detail then:

In a nutshell, the best enclosures are the Steward’s, Leander, Phyllis Court or Remenham Club. However, unless you are a member you have no chance of entry. The Steward’s Enclosure is the golden ticket event, accessible only to members and their guests, with a 10-year waiting list for membership and a rigid list of rules to boot. You might be able to get in as a guest if you have the right connections. Leander – forget it unless you are a member of the club itself. You might have better luck however, getting in as a guest of a member of either Phyllis Court or Remenham Club.

The good news is that further downstream, the rest of us can more easily purchase tickets for the Regatta Enclosure, a much more relaxed affair and just as convivial.

Some points to remember:

Do remember that dress code is strictly enforced in the elite enclosures and much more relaxed in the Regatta Enclosure. Blazers or jackets are required with a tie or cravat. Boaters are allowed providing they are the genuine article.

DO wear your Blazer with pride but remember that there is a clear jacket hierarchy and your plain navy blue blazer is close to the bottom. It is however, still higher up in the rankings than a garish shop-bought blazer or a suit jacket. Your tie matters: if it is not a rowing tie, keep it bland.

DO wear dresses that fall below the knee – no flashes of thigh are allowed. You don’t have to wear a hat but it is customary to do so, but DON’T wear a large Ascot type.

DON’T forget that while most do dress up, unless you are in the enclosures mentioned above, the clothing etiquette is much more relaxed.

DO consider wearing smart, sensible shoes – boring yes, but heels are no good in mud or on soft grass and the terrain is at best slightly uneven.

DO consider bringing binoculars if you want to see the rowing.

DO remember that the crews are assigned to row on either the ‘Bucks’ (Buckinghamshire) or ‘Berks’ (Berkshire) side, and that Bucks is the Henley side – don’t worry at all that Henley-on-Thames is actually in Oxfordshire ….

DO listen to the Regatta Radio – it is invaluable in following the races and keeping abreast of the rowing news.

DO know that the ultimate prize is the Grand Challenge Cup for Eights, dating from 1839.

DON’T miss the opportunity to walk down to Temple Island to see the start of some of the races (wear comfy shoes as it is over a mile to get there).

DO go on any of the days, but Saturday is the semi-finals day with more entertainment as well as the rowing on offer – it’s more of a family day with fireworks in the evening.

Finally, remember that you don’t have to get all dressed up and pay a lot of money for the experience of enjoying the regatta, there are plenty of places to head to in Henley and along the river where you can relax and watch for free.