What A Blog Will Allow You To Do

Whether you're looking for a way of engaging your website visitors or boosting your search engine rankings, it would be well worth building a business blog. This could be the place that you discuss your thoughts about the recent industry happenings, or keep customers updated about the development of brand new products. Build a blog today and begin enjoying the kinds of benefits outlined in this article.

Establish A Sense Of Community

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Those of you who are new to the world of blogging may well be tempted to write highly specific content that can only be understood by other industry professionals. What you should actually be doing is writing pieces that appeal directly to your customers. If you're in any doubt then have a look at the articles that are liked and tweeted on competitor websites.

Blogs that appeal to wide target audiences will become the topic of online and offline discussion. You may well find that visitors are happy to divulge their thoughts in the comments section. By taking the time to write detailed responses, you will establish a two-way communication. Visitors will therefore feel highly valued.

Differentiate Your Business

From the customer perspective it can be very difficult to differentiate companies that operate in the same sphere. They are unlikely to be interested in the superior machines or transportation methods that your company employs. However, they are likely to take a greater interest if you are able to create distinctive blogs about the life-changing benefits of your products or services.

You could establish a competitive edge by developing a distinctive company voice to be used in all of your literature. Think up blog post titles and use words that are an essential part of your customer's vocabulary.

Achieve Higher Search Engine Rankings

It is well known that websites with regularly updated good quality content rank highly in the search engines. It is also important to note that Google, Yahoo and the other engines take account of social media signals. So you should ensure that you're blogs are shareable by integrating tabs for Facebook, Twitter and the other social networks.

You might well have heard that it's important to include your prime keywords for the maximum SEO benefit. This is true to an extent. However, you should stick to reasonable keyword limits if you want to avoid penalisation. You should aim to create easily readable blogs that keep your website visitors engaged.

Market Your Services And Products Cheaply

It doesn't cost anything to open an account with a blogging platform such as Blogger, Tumblr or Wordpress. You will then have the option of customising your blog, through the use of different fonts and image layouts. You might even be tempted to pay a relatively small amount to integrate your blog into your main website.

If you don't have enough time to regularly update your blog then it would be well worth hiring a professional blogger. Take a look at the reasonably priced Writespot packages today!

The Writer's Playlist

Music is one of my greatest passions. I absolutely love to listen to the latest tunes by big name bands such as Kasabian, The Stereophonics and The Arctic Monkeys. However, I've found that it's difficult to concentrate at the same time as listening to their uptempo rock and roll sounds. It's for this reason that I've created a writer's playlist. Here are some of the standout tracks:

Cinematic Orchestra - To Build A Home

This song is sung by the highly talented lyricist, Patrick Watson. His atmospheric vocals interweave with the gently flowing piano and violin music. The song gradually builds to a great crescendo, which should leave you feeling suitably inspired.

Rodrigo Y Gabriella - Stairway To Heaven

Stairway To Heaven is a modern masterpiece, originally created by Led Zeppelin. It has been covered by other musical stars such as Dolly Parton and Rolf Harris over the years. However, Rodrigo Y Gabriella's latino version is the best in my opinion. The interplay between the two guitarists is absolutely breathtaking.

Air - La Femme D'Argent

There are plenty of downbeat electronica tracks that may be played as you write. This stripped back tune is a prime example. It was created by a French ensemble known as Air and it features a magical blend of bass and synth.

Ludovico Einaudi - Una Mattina

This Italian composer has produced a number of exquisite piano based tracks over the years. Many of them feature on his best selling album Una Mattina. The title track is subtle, refined and emotionally laden. It is the perfect track to play during the creation of deep and meaningful texts.

Michael Nyman - The Promise

I was reminded of this track while watching Jane Campion's television drama, Top Of The Lake. She also directed The Piano, a highly dramatic film featuring a superb Micheal Nyman soundtrack. The Promise was the standout piece in the film and it has stood the test of time. I often play it when writing blogs and articles.

I hope that you enjoy listening to the tracks that I've mentioned in this blog. You might even like to log on to Spotify and listen to the full writer's playlist.

Please feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments section below!

Writing An Effective Call To Action

A call to action is designed to encourage the reader to respond in a predefined manner. Companies may place a call to action on their websites, or within their brochures, as a means of persuading the consumer to buy their products. Charities might use this technique to encourage monetary donations. Whatever the reason for using a call to action, you can maximise the chances of success by adopting the following strategies.

Harness The Power Of Persuasion

It stands to reason that a call to action which directs attention to an outstanding benefit is likely to elicit the desired response. The prospective customer may be enticed by a free trial or subscription to an informative newsletter. A business person may be persuaded by the opportunity to get ahead of the competition.

People will be more likely to take advantage of a special offer or discount if they are expressly asked to do so. Forceful imperatives such as ‘stop’, ‘act now’ and ‘do it’ are likely to prove particularly effective. Not only will these demands give your prospective clients a push in the ‘right’ direction but they’ll also reflect upon the authority of your business. However, you should be careful not to scare your customers away by using heavy sales tactics.

Understand Your Customers

It is worth looking at your call to action through the eyes of a typical customer. If they are unlikely to understand the technical jargon related to your product or service then don’t use it. If they are interested in luxury and extravagance then adapt your linguistic choices accordingly. The more directly that you appeal to your target audience the better.

As any good freelance copywriter will tell you, one of the best ways to hook the reader is to appeal to their sense of envy. People don’t like the thought that they are using inferior products or services to those used by their friends. If you can persuade your audience that your offerings are top of the range then your sales prospects will increase significantly. You may even be able to stimulate a buyer frenzy by giving the impression that your stocks are dwindling and special offers are set to continue for a limited period.

Listen To The Experts

There’s no point in employing these sales techniques unless your call to action can be easily seen. For maximum impact you may want to use a bold and coloured font. You could even add an exclamation mark for added emphasis. Jake Thomas summarises the importance of design by saying that the best ‘calls to action are simple, eye catching and positioned within the logical flow of information on the page’. You may reinforce the sales message with calls to action on multiple pages of a website, brochure or newsletter.

If you don’t have the time or skills required to design and write a hard hitting call to action then you should enlist the help of a graphic designer and freelance copywriter. Many such professionals work in partnerships, and therefore enjoy a creative synergy from the conceptualisation stage through to production of the finished article. They may even develop numerous calls to action, which you can trial to see which has the most impact.

What Is A Blog?

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Do a search for the word blog on Google or Bing and you will see a wide range of definitions. Wikipedia informs us that a blog is ' a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called 'blogging'. Individual articles on a blog are called 'blog posts.' Unfortunately this doesn't tell us about key aspects of blogging such as the suitable frequency of posts, subjects discussed or layouts.

Key Features

There have been millions of blogs written on a fantastic range of subjects during the last 30 years. They are all bound by a common set of features. Each blog is written and published in chronological order, just like a diary. The popular blogs are also updated on a fairly regular basis. Power bloggers may publish content 3 times a day, while busy business people may only find the time to blog once per week. Visitors are usually able to leave comments, which are then verified by the blog owners.

A Personal Publishing Platform

The earliest blogs were written by individuals as a means of keeping friends and family updated. They featured stories about weddings, births and other important personal occasions. The bloggers also chose to include images and use snazzy designs. The personal blogs were typically published via popular platforms such as the Open Diary, Live Journal and Blogger.

Business Blogs

It didn't take long for business owners to catch on to the benefits of blogging. They were keen to position themselves as industry experts by writing informational blogs on the latest happenings in their respective industries. The business bloggers have been able to build a sense of community by generating content that is of direct interest to their website visitors and engaging in online conversations about the different blog topics.

Further Information?

If you're keen to learn more about the history of blogs or the importance of hiring a professional blog writer then please leave a comment at the end of this post. I will do my very best to answer any questions that you pose!

Image Under Creative Commons License From Sean MacEntee (Flickr)

Do Copywriters Really Lie?

Copywriters, they’re an ethical lot, aren’t they? This question is almost bound to be met with a hushed silence, followed by a slight snigger and finally a cacophony of laughter. You might be told about the Lynx Copywriter, who attempted to persuade the men of the world that one spray of the deodorant would make them absolutely irresistible. Or perhaps you’ll be reminded of the L’oreal copywriter who led a number of women to believe that they could make themselves look far younger by applying hair colourant. Some people’s distrust of copywriters runs deep, and is to some extent well founded.

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Questionable Quotes

The gurus of written marketing may choose to tell porkies as a means of securing employment and maximising their earning potential. By promoting the idea that copywriting is a mysterious art rather than a straightforward job they can persuade their clients to pay a high premium. Companies can guard against this practise by asking for rates before hiring the services of a promotional content writer.

Making An Impression

After obtaining a few quotes, a marketing department may well narrow their selection down to a couple of highly suitable candidates. Being eager to work on the project these wordsmiths may well say that they have experience in a relevant field. Such claims shouldn’t necessarily be taken at face value. The copywriter who tells you that they have experience in the motoring sector may have produced promotional material for a manufacturer of road bollards. The expert who says that they have an excellent understanding of modern music theory, might have promoted the album of a 1970s folk singer. As the client you are encouraged to closely inspect your chosen copywriter’s portfolio and verify any testimonials provided.

The Client Knows Best

At the end of the day it is the business owner and not the copywriter who should have ultimate authority over the handling of a project. Although the writer may argue that the only chance of success is to use the copy that they produce, it is entirely the client’s choice whether to make amendments. It is the client who has the best understanding of their target market, the client who possesses a knowledge of the inner workings of their company and the client who must make the final marketing decisions.

Using Exaggeration To Sell

Experienced copywriters continue to stick by the claim that winning copy should outline the major benefits and unique selling propositions in such a way as to make products and services seem utterly irresistible. However there have been repeated instances of skilled writers using myths and lies to sell. In some instances the untruths have been so blatant as to be comical. In others the copy has been designed to mislead even the sharpest minded consumers. It’s a good thing then that in today’s technological world we can turn to trusted review sites before making big purchases.

The Honest Copywriter

For those of you eager to encourage people to buy your wares it is important that you find a trusted copywriter who won’t produce ethically questionable marketing material. It is worth looking for an experienced professional who can back up their claims with verifiable references. The best copywriters, aim to keep their clients happy and not necessarily for the top dollar. They make the most out of the truth and only resort to white lies when there is no other choice.

Image Under Creative Commons License From jepoirrier

Successful Email Marketing

Email marketing is said to be a cost and time effective means of targeting business prospects. It is a sound alternative to sending promotional letters and using mobile marketing methods. Whether you rely upon a web copywriter, or take time out of your busy schedule to create targeted emails, the aim should be to maximise the possibility of success.

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Stepping Up Your Marketing Approach

While you may be tempted to take the ‘shit against the wall’ approach to email marketing, decent results can only be achieved through the development and application of a detailed strategy. The modern consumer is constantly bombarded with direct sales literature, and it will take some effort to ensure that your message stands out.

If you don’t want your email to be relegated to the spam folder then you should make your identity clear to the email recipient. It is also worth avoiding phrases such as ‘dear friend and ‘extra income guaranteed’ when it comes to the message header. Your email will stand a good chance of being opened if it grabs the attention and appeals to the interests of the prospective customer.

Tailoring Your Marketing Message

Marketing expert Andy Maslen suggests that the purpose of the headline is to ‘make the reader want to read the body copy’. The purpose of the first line of body copy is to make people read the second line, and so on. This theory applies equally as well to marketing emails as it does to press advertisements. Once the reader has clicked on the email they should see a powerful headline. This should be followed by some clear and persuasive body text.

The web writing that you produce should be tailored around the wants and needs of your target audience. Readers should be addressed by their first names or surnames, depending upon the context of the email. It is also important that you write in the appropriate style and tone, taking core demographics into account.

Web users will appreciate the option of whether to opt in or out of the email marketing list. Those who say yes to future correspondence should be made to feel as if they are part of an exclusive and highly valued club. These are the people who will be most receptive to your sales messages and most likely to form a close relationship with your brand.

Expert View

Matthew Keheler – Commercial Director of RedEye – “Your opt-in email list is a list of your customers and/or your best prospects who have said to you ‘Yes, I am happy for you to contact me’ … These are the people you want to invest in, where investment has a longer term value than simply the sale.

Content Is The Key

To keep your customers on-side it is absolutely essential that you produce a steady stream of valuable content. The best emails will contain links to informative and up to the minute articles. Customers may also want to be kept in the loop regarding the latest and most fascinating company news.

As with other forms of marketing, it is essential that you put the customer first. They should be regularly reminded about their importance to the continued development of your business.

Finding Creative Inspiration

By thinking creatively we are able to find new and occasionally even revolutionary answers to problems. Freelance copywriters have to use their imagination when developing stand-out promotional material for their clients. Sports people must find creative means of beating their rivals. Without creativity the world would be a very dull and boring place. So how do we harness the power of the creative mind?

Ideas Never Run Out

Work With The Music

Music can be a great source of inspiration. World famous physicist Albert Einstein claimed that his accomplishments wouldn’t have been possible if he hadn’t listened to J.S. Bach’s classical works. Renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso and Hieronymous Bosch also placed great value in the music played by their contemporaries. Today’s creative types might draw inspiration from tunes such as Bonobo’s Kiara or the XX’s Intro.

Be At One With Your Surroundings

Some people believe that music acts as a distraction in the workplace. Such individuals may even seek plain and quiet surroundings. Others find that their output increases when they’re in the company of other ‘creatives’. The ideal working environment will vary depending upon the nature of work and the personalities of the workers. However, Doctor Ulrich from the Texas A & M University points out that ‘decorating a work environment with flowers increases the generation of new ideas by 15%’.

A Welcome Break

Although you might be loathe to take unscheduled breaks, this might be the most effective means of resolving difficult problems. While you feed the ducks at the local pond or stroll along the city streets your subconscious will be ticking away in the background. By the time that you return to the desk you may well have had that magical eureka moment. As Roopa Patel informs us ‘All great works of art, literature, and scientific inventions and discoveries are made when the subconscious mind is activated.’ There can be no better excuse for leaving that horrible administrative document on your desk.

Answers At The Bottom Of The Bottle

Some of the most famous literary and scientific figures claim to have tapped into the power of the mind through the use of recreational drugs and consumption of alcohol. Eighteenth century poet William Blake claimed that ‘the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom’. Writer Anthony Burgess may well have shared this sentiment. In theory, mind altering substances will allow you to let go of your natural inhibitions and explore possibilities outside of the metaphorical box. However cult film Withnail and I reminds us that drinkers and drug takers often have delusions about the significance of their thoughts.

Effective Writing For The Web

Whether you are in the process of establishing a new business, or looking for some means of sharing your thoughts with the world, it would be a good idea to develop your own website. This might be the place where you outline the major benefits of a new product, or interact with similarly minded web users. No matter what motivates you to start writing for the web, it is absolutely essential that you generate the ‘right’ kind of content.

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Focussing Upon Your Audience

Any blogs, articles or promotional pieces that you create should be focussed upon the interests and desires of your target audience. As internet usability expert Jakob Nielsen recently said, “Web users have always been ruthless and now are even more so.” People will only be prepared to devote their time and attention to websites which answer their questions and address their core concerns.

The individuals who visit your website, either directly or via the search engines, are fairly unlikely to have any affiliation with your company. If they struggle to find what they’re looking for then they’ll have no qualms about moving on to a competitor’s site. Therefore it is absolutely imperative that you fill your website with relevant and easily accessible content.

The Importance Of Design

The layout of your website is arguably as important as the information contained within it. Instead of bombarding your site visitors with great walls of text, you should make full use of subheadings, bullet points and user friendly fonts. Another great way of capturing the interest of your audience is to feature some intriguing full colour pictures.

Fascinating Facts & Figures

Recent studies have shown that web users are typically loathe to spend great deals of time on individual website pages. They skim textual chunks and hone in on the most pertinent points. However, it is worth bearing in mind that people are generally quite interested in facts and figures. It would be a wise choice to include some well researched statistics within your written content.

Help Is At Hand

If you’re struggling to develop punchy and persuasive writing for the web then it may be best to hire a professional freelance copywriter. Such an individual could inject some much needed personality into your existing copy, or write completely original and engaging pieces, tailored around the specific wants and needs of your target audience.

Top 5 SEO Techniques

A successful SEO campaign will result in the improvement of a website’s visibility in the search engine results pages (SERP’s). There are a wide variety of techniques and strategies which can be employed in order to achieve this end target. The best of these methods are relatively easy to implement and are sure to have the maximum impact on the performance of your website.

SEO Blocks

Competitor Analysis

Given that the primary objective is to make your website more prominent than those of your rivals, it pays to closely analyse competitor tactics. By researching the methods of optimisation employed by competitor sites it is possible to develop a strategy that will make your site stand out from the crowd. You can discover what works and what doesn’t when it comes to SEO in your particular market. And by constantly monitoring and adapting to industry changes you will boost your chances of remaining at the top of the pile.

Keyword Research

As part of your competitor analysis it is important to find out which keywords have been employed by your rivals. It will prove much more difficult to gain a high ranking for words and phrases which have been used by thousands of websites, than those which have been used by a few. By conducting thorough keyword research you will be able to identify terms which are likely to convert your site visitors into customers.

Content Development/Enhancement

It is important to use your keywords during the content development and enhancement stages. You should ensure that the selected phrases are integrated within the website body copy and meta tags. The search engines will take consideration of these various elements when establishing the authority of your website. You should produce unique and insightful web copy, which will persuade potential customers of the merits of your products and services. Regular updates should be made in order to ensure that Google and other search engines rank your website highly for relevancy and consistency.

Link Building

Apart from the information contained within your website, the search engines will also take account of links from external sites. Establishing such links should be one of the primary aims of your SEO campaign. You may build reciprocal links with websites that share some common theme with your own. However, it is worth remembering that the search engines consider one way links as being of considerably greater value. To acquire such links you will have to create content which is of particular interest to the online community. This might be in the form of ‘How To‘ guides or informative blogs.

Social Networking

It is possible to raise the profile of your website by interacting with customers and fellow industry professionals via social networking websites, such as Twitter and Facebook. The importance of this marketing method was made particularly clear when the major search engines announced that they would factor social media activity into their algorithms. In this personal sphere you can interact directly and build extremely strong relationships with your target audience.