How's your direct mail program working? How are your response rates? In this two-part article, you’ll pick up a handful of hints and tips that will make all the difference. Say a big ‘hello’ to the most powerful instance of copywriting you’re ever likely to use. The Sales Letter. What? More potent than web copy? Yep – most certainly.
Oct 5, 2020
Did you know? There's a simple trick you can use to double or even treble your website's engagement rate. Zero effort. Zero expense. All it takes is a scintilla of original thinking. I'll leave it to the 13-year-old boy to explain ...
Sep 14, 2020
4 answers to 5 questions Here are five questions I’ve asked of ‘experts’ in recent months? How big does my turkey need to be to feed a family of 16? Why won’t the lawnmower start? What’s the best way to get moss off my roof? For how much longer do I have to keep taking this medication which makes me so sleepy all day? Are you sure it’s my turn to take the bins out? Straightforward questions to which there are straightforward answers - but how about this one? What is the ideal word count for a web page?
Sep 7, 2020
You? A copywriter? Forget it! Only the uniquely gifted possess the rarefied talents required to become copywriters. Only the chosen ones can even dream of attaining the almost super-natural skills required to make words do the business for their business. Right? Wrong – very wrong.
Aug 24, 2020
“Look – I’m a technician. I haven’t a clue about words. It’s your job to come up with all the flowery language.” These were the words of Bob, my lovely new client from a few years ago. You'll appreciate I've had to let Bob down gently. I quickly reminded him that, of the many services offered by Copywriter Pro, being the purveyor of ‘flowery language’ isn’t one.
Jun 30, 2020
We often hear about the importance of writing with empathy - of making our readers feel we’re ‘with’ them. All the best writers manage this. No more so than Maya Angelou. She famously wrote about using words to express empathy. “I’ve learned that - people will forget what you said. people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So, we all know the value of writing with empathy - but how to do it ... that's another matter. One sure-fire way is to use three common, yet exceptional, words.
Jun 29, 2020
Apparently, I'm awesome. No - really. I must be. Well, at least that's what some clever marketing whizzo thinks. I've rarely felt so insulted.
Jun 22, 2020
Using empathy to engage your readers. Remember those heady days when mail merge was first available for PC users? You do? I’m not sure I believe you. No matter. If you truly are that old, you’ll recall the excitement. At last you could write 'personal' emails ... or do I mean 'personalised'? Is there a difference? You bet there is.
Jun 21, 2020
This moggy's curiosity may place it in great danger but your curiosity is the one trait that will make or break you as a writer. No - I'm not suggesting you have aspirations to be the next Tolstoy, J.K. Rowling or Jeffrey Archer (Forgive me. I don't know where that last one came from). Rather, I was thinking about your approach as you write your blogs, your newsletters - even your everyday emails.
Jun 14, 2020
Features & benefits Putting the ‘why’ before the ‘what’. Yes - it’s that old chestnut - The Tweedledum and Tweedledee of commercial copywriting - features and benefits. I can hear the collective groan - “Oh not that one! Everyone knows the difference.” But do they? Some have a funny way of showing it.
Jun 8, 2020
Bite that bullet - One of the easiest and most effective ways to encourage your reader to stick with you
Jun 7, 2020
Have you noticed how some businesses cram bucketloads of testimonials on a single web page? It all looks over the top, don’t you think? Be honest – do you ever trudge through them all? I don’t – not ever. My response is usually, ‘OK – I get it. You’re brilliant. Let’s move on’. So - for testimonials to be effective, how should we use them?
May 24, 2020
Isn't it great news? At last, you can get rid of that massively overpaid word nerd. You've always known you're a great copywriter. From today, you can prove it once and for all. With uncharacteristically selfless generosity, I'm going revealing to you a wonderful little tool that's available to us all, but is usually tucked away where we can't find it. Five minutes from now, you'll know how to test everything you write - every blog, every web page, every email, letter, press release, case study or white paper - the lot. You'll be able to check them for readability ... in just seconds.
May 23, 2020
Press Releases - possibly better to call them Media Releases these days, as they're used across all kinds of communication format. Some say these little nuggets are a thing of the past. They're wrong. Look at Press Releases as free advertising - but without the dubious odour of commercialism. They're a great way to communicate a piece of news about your business - expansion - a new appointment - an exciting contract - an acquisition - a major investment. Press Releases are also a vital tool for putting a positive spin on bad news. Whatever the function of your Press Release, you need to follow a pattern.
May 16, 2020
Typos - aren't they shockers? Who occasionally makes these annoying errors? Well, you do for a start. And, as long as you promise to keep this between us, I'll confess - I've been known to commit the odd erratum too. Of course, we all do. Often our little mistakes have little or no consequence. On other occasions, the impact can be somewhat serious. Here's a salutary tale -
May 16, 2020
Back in 1974, American songwriter, Billy Swan, released his only hit. I've a sneaking suspicion that, as he penned the lyrics, the last thing on his mind was pitching for business. Yet, the title of the one-hit-wonder seems to be used by almost every business in almost every marketing pitch. And the song is - I Can Help .
May 12, 2020
Shout it loud. Did you know that Monday of this week is - wait for it - World Ego Day. So - what better opportunity to talk about the worst word in copywriting - I - while at the same time celebrating the finest - You! Let me tell you about my daughter, Hannah. This young lady would have made a great copywriter. What do you mean, “How do I know?”? It’s in her genes of course! But no - it’s true. She has all the right instincts. And this is how I know ...
May 10, 2020
Shops. Remember them? Their fascias - the signs above the door - were always reckoned to be pretty important. It's just the same with your Home Page banner. Design it with care. Make it attractive. Make it relevant. Remember - your banner serves one single purpose - to persuade your visitors to explore your wonderful website.
May 2, 2020
Last Tuesday's heart attack came as a bit of a shock. In the great scheme of life (and, I guess, death too) - heart attacks are not unusual. They happen. Although, for me, I suppose this was a first. The unhappy event came as a particular surprise. You see, my family basks complacently in a history of hale and healthy hearts. Going back generations, ancestor after ancestor has successfully defied the odds of coronary mortality. My lot simply live a long, long time. A fact freely acknowledged by friends and business associates who forever remark (usually when they think I'm out of earshot) upon my ability to 'go on and on'?
Apr 18, 2020
Do you care about grammar? I'd hazard a guess that Catherine Tate's redoubtable character, Lauren, almost certainly doesn't. But when we write copy, should we slavishly follow the rules of grammar? Are you sure?
Mar 23, 2020
Every other Thursday, I enjoy the great pleasure of an hour or two in the company of a man called Martin Beckley. There’s plenty to admire about Martin. Not only is he splendid networking company. Not only is he a terrific graphic designer. Martin also happens to be a speaker worth listening to.
Mar 9, 2020
In recent blogs, we've been looking at writing your own web content. We've already covered - what your website is for - What do you want it to achieve? and - who it's to - Who’s your reader? In this and the next couple of blogs, let's look at the final pieces in your preparation jigsaw. Your web pages - their structure and how to organise them.
Feb 24, 2020
In the last article, we looked at the importance of preparing your web copy before launching into the creative part. Here, we'll examine a vital, but so often neglected, aspect of effective copywriting - thinking about who your website is for . Who are you trying to attract? Yep, I know. It sounds pretty obvious, but, you'd be astonished how many copywriters give this essential part of their preparation so little thought.
Feb 11, 2020
So. You're thinking of having a crack at writing your own website copy? Good! But hold on just one second. As with any craft worthy of the term, preparation is all. Well, maybe not quite all, but it matters more than you may realise. Ask any craftsman - a chef, a DIY expert, a mechanic, an artist, a fisherman or, yes, a copywriter. The reply will be the same. (unapologetic cliché alert) Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail. Fail to step back and consider the fundamentals of your website project before you start, and you’ll be wasting your time.
Jan 26, 2020
It's odd (and a source of considerable dismay to professional copywriters) how the value of words in business, and the skill required to craft them effectively, so often goes unappreciated. Yes - we copywriters feel unloved. Our products (words) and our skill (putting them in the right order) are the sad, neglected, Cinderella of marketing.
Jan 13, 2020
Those witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth sure knew a thing or two about writing great copy - particularly when it came to that all-important Call-To-Action. They knew that, to get someone to do something, it's no good pussyfooting around. Just tell 'em!
Dec 9, 2019
...of being scary. After all - it's Halloween! It's true. I'm an old grump. But just for once, I'll park my traditional curmudgeon and invoke the nonsense world of spooks and ghouls. Believe me - I don't find this easy. This post is all about scaring your newsletter readers into action. Why? Because it's the best route to newsletter success.
Oct 14, 2019
Fonts - why they really matter Have you ever visited a website and been totally turned off by the font style? The words may be elegantly and succinctly crafted. The website itself might be the work of a graphic genius. But … if the font makes the reading experience like a trudge through sticky toffee pudding, then – what’s the point?
Oct 13, 2019
“Look – I’m a technician. I haven’t a clue about words. It’s your job is to come up with all the flowery language.” These were the words of Bob, my lovely new client. Once I’d stopped smiling, I had to let Bob down gently and remind him, that of the many services offered by Copywriter Pro, being the purveyor of ‘flowery language’ definitely isn’t one.
Sep 29, 2019
Ernest Hemingway - now he knew a thing or two about Copywriting In spite of what you might have heard, Copywriting isn’t easy – not even for an experienced copywriter. But boy it can be tough for a novice!
Sep 22, 2019
When going through one of his demented, delusional, yet piercingly insightful phases, Shakespeare's King Lear, once intoned threateningly, "Nothing will come from nothing!". Was he right? I guess he probably wasn't referring to the art of effective business writing. But if, by chance, he was, then he was surely way off the mark. Because, in all kinds of business writing, plenty will definitely come from nothing.
Aug 31, 2019
So many of us start our blogs with unbridled enthusiasm, words tripping gaily from finger-tip to web page. With manic diligence, we regularly dispense morsels of knowledge to our fledgling audience.
Aug 23, 2019
Don't you just hate it? Several years ago, I produced the very first Copywriter Pro leaflet. The design was great - thank you Mark Coster from Pixooma . The print quality was the best (fine work, The Braunston Family from Braunston Print ). OK - enough plugs for these wonderful people. What about the copy? Well, it was, of course, almost perfection itself! Almost - but not quite ...
Jul 24, 2019
Once upon a time, there lived a young, ambitious, better-than-averagely-good-looking politician. One day he stood up in front his audience and promised, “When I become Prime Minister my 3 main priorities will be education, education, education.” His early years as Prime Minister went rather well. It was only towards the end of his term of office that things went somewhat awry for Tony Blair
Jun 15, 2019
"Be yourself - everyone else is taken" This saying is attributed to Oscar Wilde - the chap in the photo. But this blog is really about a gentleman who's nothing like the Victorian man of letters. It's about writing in a natural, conversational way. But first, I'd like to tell you about Sean.
Jun 10, 2019
... small is beautiful Was it Winnie The Pooh who once said - "It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'What about lunch?'" Imagine the scene - You’re writing a Sales Letter, promoting your latest widget. So – what’s the most important thing? 'Being professional?' Well that's arguable. What do you mean by 'professional'?
Apr 28, 2019
That Usain Bolt - he certainly knows a thing or two about going flat out, but when we're writing, isn’t pace more subtle than that? You’ll have noticed that I’m always banging on about the virtues of keeping things short. Short words, short paragraphs, short sentences … but hang on a minute. Does this always have to be the case?
Apr 26, 2019
It's all about clarity Some of the biggest brands ignore this one. When you write your domain name, either as your email address or your web address, always capitalise the first letter of each word - like this - www.CopywriterPro.co.uk. It makes it so much easier for the brain to take it in.
Apr 24, 2019