writing about us for a website

Writing an About Us page for a website that converts

Many companies make the mistake of talking all about themselves on their About Us page. It’s an easy mistake to make given the title of the page, but it’s not about you. It’s about what benefits your business can bring to your customers.

So, if your About Us page shouldn’t just be a long history of the company, your staff and your experience, what should you do instead?

Create your best first impression!

Until they land on your website, it’s entirely possible that your prospects haven’t heard of you before, so there’s a lot of work to do with your website in general, and your About Us and Home pages, in particular, to take them from ‘never heard of you’ to know, like and trust.

Here’s a handy list if you’re struggling when writing About Us for a website:

1. Answer ‘WIIFM?’

You need to answer that age-old question, “What’s in it for me?”.

writing about us for a website

If ever there was a place for your value proposition, this is it. Your value proposition is your statement on why your visitor should buy your product or your service over any other, and choose your company over any other, too, and it’s vital that your About Us page answers that question.

Given how many websites there are on the internet right now, your prospect has a dizzying array of distraction at their fingertips, along with the knowledge that you’re not the only company on the internet that does what you do.

You’re basically qualifying your prospects with this page, and your Home page. Your potential customers are trying to find out if you are for them, i.e., can you really help, and will they get the results they need?

If you don’t answer those questions to your potential customer’s satisfaction, they’ll likely disappear onto the next website along, and you’ll have lost a lead.

2. Who are you?

While your entire About page shouldn’t be an essay on you and your company, you’ll still need to tell them something about you.

People buy from people after all.

Visitors are reading your About Us page to find out who runs the company and if they like you. They want a sense of who you are, and your personality, to find out if they will like working with you.

People also buy because of their emotional response to a brand, so make a connection, be you!

Even here, however, it’s still about your customers. Yes, you formed your company in 1947. What that means for your customers is that you have 70 years’ experience and the knowledge to provide the service they need and get the results they want. Otherwise, why should they care?

Frame your company story in terms that show what the advantage is to your clients.

3. A strong hook

Attention spans are very short these days, and you have seconds to writing about us for a website grab someone, engage them, and keep them reading.

What’s special about your company that will make people want to read on? Start your page with that.

  • Is it a huge, ‘can’t argue with that’ benefit that they can’t get anywhere else?
  • Do you have massive numbers to show off – number of people you’ve helped, blogs you’ve written, sites you’ve built, traffic you’ve attracted?
  • Have you got celebrity endorsements or a huge award?
  • Do you have a strong stance that sets you apart, that’s different from what everyone else in your industry thinks?

Whatever it is, make it stand out at the top of the page to grab your audience.

4. Social proof

What can you provide to show that other clients have used your services, or bought your products, and loved the results?

  • Do you have industry awards you can show off?
  • Add some testimonials from satisfied customers. Even better if they are very specific about how you helped them and have statistics on the difference you made. ‘They increased our traffic by 200% in one week’ is far more convincing than ‘We got more traffic.’
  • Show off your own statistics if you have them. If you’re a sales guru and you’ve just hit over a million sales for a company in the space of 3 months, you can bet your potential clients want to know about it.
  • Do you have online reviews? If you do, get them on your site! “88% have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision.” – Zendesk.

The more actual facts and figures you can use to prove your value, the better, but again, don’t go overboard. Always keep in mind that this is about the customer when you write your website copy.

5. Use visuals

A wall of text is extremely off putting, and will more than likely cause your visitors to click away, but if you can add some of your statistics as an infographic, that’s much more likely to grab their attention.

Break up your text with enticing images and graphics that reflect your company personality and your brand, or try adding a couple of short videos to introduce yourself and how you can help.

Don’t forget – however much you dislike having your photograph taken – that people want to see you! They want real images of you and your team, not stock photos that might as well be cardboard cutouts.

6. Add a Call to Action (CTA)

You’ve caught their attention and managed to get them to read your About Us page, so the final thing you need to do is give them a Call to Action, or it’s all been for nothing.

writing about us for a website

What do you want them to do? Sign up for your newsletter? Look at your Services page? Ask for a quote?

Pick ONE. Only one. If you put all of your possible CTAs on your site, people will be overwhelmed and won’t know what to do. And people who can’t decide tend to do… well, nothing.

After all that work, you don’t want to send that juicy lead off to your competitors because you have too many CTAs.

Final checklist:

• Is there a strong hook to draw your prospect in to read on?

• Have you clearly described the benefits for your customer?

• Have you answered, ‘What’s in it for me?’

• Have you put across your personality and shown your likeability?

• Are you talking directly to your customer, using mostly ‘you’ and ‘your’, not ‘we’, ‘our’ and ‘I’?

• Have you qualified your prospect and show that your company is for them?

• Have you provided social proof – testimonials, awards, or statistics?

• Is your content visual, and have you included staff photographs that are full of personality?

• Do you have a clear, strong, single Call to Action at least once on the page?

If you’ve been putting off writing your About Us page because of that whole “Oh, but I hate writing about myself, and I don’t know what to say” thing, the good news is that writing an About Us for a website isn’t like that at all.

 

Main image credit: www.Pixel.la Free Stock Photos
Image credits: SandCrestSEOSteven LilleyStacie DaPonte

Read More

how to create a copywriting portfolio

How to create a copywriting portfolio

Whether you’re starting out as a copywriter or have been in the business for a long time, you’ll know that keeping a list of your previous successes to help attract new clients is a major part of the business.

What’s harder to decide on is how to create, design and maintain that all-important copywriting portfolio. In this article, we’ll share some of our top tips on how to create a copywriting portfolio, so that you can showcase your copywriting skills in a way that helps you stand out from the crowd.

Consider adjusting your rates at first

When it comes to building your portfolio, the hardest part is getting started. It’s a classic catch 22 situation: you want to fill your portfolio with examples of your work, but you can’t get work unless you have a full portfolio.

how to create a copywriting portfolio

One option is to be upfront with your potential clients and offer to work at a cheaper rate to keep you in the running for the job, even without a portfolio.

The key here is to ensure that you only do this until you have enough items in your portfolio to score jobs at the market rate, at which point it’s vital you raise your prices. Otherwise, you could lock yourself into low pay for a much longer time than you intended.

Settle on a number of pieces to include

There’s no right answer to the question of how many pieces you should include in your copywriting portfolio. Some people, like writer Eammon Azizi, say it’s a good idea to keep to just over ten.

He writes that 12 is the standard, but advises having 20 pieces that are worthy of inclusion in your portfolio, so that you can swap pieces around, depending on who your prospective client is.

This means that you should treat your portfolio as a living document, something to be adjusted or updated to appeal to whoever you’re talking to. Rather than having a static portfolio which you send to everyone, you should find a way to easily remove certain clippings and add others in as you go.

This is more difficult for a portfolio website, but you can always keep a longer list of clippings and mention anything relevant in your pitch, or while you discuss specifics with your potential new client.

Keep it relevant and up to date

You might find, as your career develops, that you want to specialise in a certain type of copywriting, such as financial or legal.

If this happens to you, there isn’t much point including lots of articles you’ve written about other niches when you’re trying to establish yourself as a specialist. For that reason, it’s a good idea to keep your portfolio as relevant as possible – and that means having the confidence to prune irrelevant portfolio clippings whenever you have the chance.

Set aside some time once a month or so to do this task. Be disciplined with yourself about it: while it may seem like a job that can wait, it’s the sort of thing that must be done in order to get yourself and your brand in top shape for scoring new work.

Optimise it both for online and print

how to create a copywriting portfolio

While it’s definitely true that many copywriting contracts are sourced and completed just using the internet these days, there are still some jobs which are negotiated in person, even for freelancers.

For that reason, you should keep a couple of copies of a well-designed print portfolio in your bag, just in case you get chatting at a networking event. This is a surefire way to mark yourself out as a committed and professional freelancer, too!

If the majority of your clients come from the web, there’s no point investing too much time or cash in a print portfolio. But it’s always worth having one on hand, and it should look professional.

Get it professionally designed

If you’re really looking to impress potential new clients, it’s a good idea to invest in a professional design for your portfolio. Instead of simply throwing it together using a plain HTML page or an automatic portfolio builder, you can really stand out from the crowd by making your portfolio gorgeous, as well as indicative of professional success.

You can hire talented designers on sites like Upwork to do this for you, if you don’t have the skills yourself. If money or time is an issue, you don’t have to abandon your dreams of a beautiful portfolio altogether. Why not use a ready-made website builder to host your online portfolio, such as Squarespace?

With easy drag and drop functions to make building a slick and attractive website a breeze, you, too, can have your very own corner of the internet in just a few minutes.

Mix things up a little

As the writer John Mello has noted, it’s vital to get some diversity in your portfolio.how to create a copywriting portfolio

Even if you’ve specialised in a certain type of content, you still need to show that you can create a wide range of formats, as well. This means you should include some longer blogs and articles, as well as short pieces, and even catchphrases or slogans, if you’ve created them.

If you have experience with non-article based formats, such as sales pages or email copywriting, that’s even better. Remember, these formats work well across lots different varieties of industries, so, no matter what your specialism is, you’ll be able to show that you have a handle on the major types and structures of writing that clients want.

A diversity of formats can also help keep your portfolio crisp and easy to navigate. If you’ve written a particularly long article, for example, you might be left wondering whether you should cut it down for your portfolio. The best thing to do is to highlight a really good section and create a small excerpt for your portfolio, then provide a link to the piece in its entirety, so that your potential client can check it out if they want to.

 

Main image credit: X Y
Image credits: Anssi KoskinenChristine H.cold rock aspley

Read More

What does a digital copywriter do

What does a digital copywriter do?

When most people think about the term ‘copywriter’, they imagine someone in an ad agency who writes those long-form sales letters and eye-catching captions for online and print ads. And for some copywriters that’s true.

A digital copywriter might specialise in one form of copywriting, or work across several different types, but basically, what they do is write words that sell something, whether it’s a product or a service.

A digital copywriter differs from a digital content writer simply by the fact that copywriters write to sell, and content writers write to educate.

While they use many of the same skills as copywriters who write offline materials, such as printed brochures, posters, catalogues and leaflets, and while there may be some crossover in their job, digital copywriters concentrate only on online content, such as website landing page copy, blog and article writing, crafting compelling social media posts, and writing emails.

You might be a technical copywriter, a marketing copywriter, an advertising copywriter, a medical copywriter… What does a digital copywriter do 1There are so many options to choose from that, whatever your background and experience, chances are there’s a copywriting job that will suit you.

To illustrate the difference between content writing and copywriting, let’s look at the role of the technical copywriter:

Technical writers put together user guides and technical manuals for products, often writing manuals that engineers will use when maintaining or repairing an item.

Technical copywriters, on the other hand, have expertise in a particular technology, science or engineering field, but their copy is written to sell an item rather than to teach how to use it or repair it.

Their knowledge is needed to put across the highly technical benefits in a clear and appealing manner so that potential buyers understand why they should purchase.

So, what does a digital copywriter do all day?

While ‘write copy’ is correct, it’s not all a copywriter does.

Whether they are freelance or they work for a company, there are plenty of other things involved in a digital copywriting job.

a) Meeting clients

What does a digital copywriter do Agency writers have to meet and deal with the clients that come through the agency, while freelance writers often meet potential clients in order to persuade them to use their service.

Either way, there will be an initial meeting, either in person or via software such as Zoom, to establish what the client wants, their goals and aims for the copywriting project, who their target market is, their brand voice and how the project will move forward.

After that, especially if it’s a large project, there are likely to be further meetings to check progress, make adjustments, if necessary, and handle edits and give feedback.

b) Managing projects

Not every copywriter has the luxury of just writing all day. Some of them have to manage multiple projects, establish timelines, ensure they can meet deadlines, and allocate work to other writers or to other creatives, such as web designers or graphic designers.

A good proportion of a typical week can be allocated to planning.

c) Research

While copywriters often have a wide knowledge of many different subject areas, everyone has their favourites, and sometimes projects require that research is done before any writing can be put on the page.

Writers may need to look up statistics, research a particular subject more deeply, look up who the experts are in a particular area, or even learn how to use a new software or product before they can write about it.

d) Interviewing

A digital copywriter might need to leave the comfort of their office, and meet experts to interview for an article. They might want to get quotes from people who use a product or service, or do a detailed interview with a company CEO.

e) Editing

No writer produces a perfect first draft, no matter how experienced they are, so editing is a vital skill. Not only that, but sometimes clients haven’t given enough of a brief or they change their minds on what they want, and edits have to be made to get the right result.

f) Sourcing images

Clients often prefer the copywriter to find and supply the perfect images for their copy. With such a huge range of stock photo sites online, you’d think that would be easy, but if the client wants something very specific, looking for just the right shot can take time, and should be factored in when billing.

g) Planning and implementing marketing campaigns

What does a digital copywriter do 2

While this might not necessarily be what you’d expect to find in a digital copywriting job, some copywriters do offer a full service that includes running the whole marketing campaign.

h) Admin, accounts and the bits that aren’t creative

Sorry to break it to you, but it’s not all sipping cappuccinos while throwing out sexy slogans and being creative. Even digital copywriters get to do admin tasks, such as organising work into files, billing, chasing invoices, dealing with clients, answering emails and other fun stuff that goes with working in an office.

What do digital copywriters write?

Whatever their clients need! Blog posts, case studies, advertorials, articles, ebooks, online magazine copy, social media content, email sequences and a whole lot more.

You can read more about the different types of copywriting in our article.

Skills needed:

Copywriters work across different industries, clients and subjects, so adaptability is a must. But what other skills might you need?

• Great writing skills (obviously!)
• Excellent grammar, spelling and punctuation skills
• The ability to adapt to different client tones of voice
• Organisational skills
• Time management
• People skills
• The ability to look at your own work from a distance and edit it
• The ability to work on more than one project at once
• Project management skills

While digital copywriting is a fun, varied and challenging job, you need to be able to keep a lot of balls in the air at once to do the job well, so one other thing to consider is that you do need to make time for yourself, and watch that you get your work/life balance right. An exhausted copywriter isn’t a creative one, and you’ll do yourself and your clients no favours by working yourself to the point of burnout.

If you think digital copywriting might be for you, it really can be a brilliant career, with the chance to manage your own time and your own projects, work with creative people and even work from home in your pyjamas, if you want to.

If you’d like to learn more, Red-Fern have a really useful article on improving as a digital copywriter and you can read our own guide on how to become a copywriter.

 

Main image credit: Tayloright
Image credits: Home ThodsTaylorightTayloright

Read More

How to write SEO content for website

How to write SEO content for a website

There’s been an awful lot written about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) on the internet, and there’s good reason for that. Optimising your site for the search engines is one of most impactful things you can do to get targeted traffic to your website that’s genuinely interested in what you do.

So that’s why you want SEO content for your website, but what is SEO content?

We’ve covered this in far more detail in our article on what is SEO copywriting, but here are the basics:

SEO copywriting is, very simply, writing for your ideal audience first, and writing for the search engines a close second.

In 2017, SEO content writing isn’t a case of stuffing your keywords into your content as much as you possibly can. You need to write naturally for your audience and give them the type of persuasive content they can’t wait to read, with the aim of getting them to take action, either by actually buying something, or signing up to your mailing list.

But in addition to that, you need to carefully use your keywords and phrases throughout your copy, so that the search engines gauge your site to be useful on your subject matter, and your audience can find you when they put those keywords into a search engine.How to write SEO content for website

Bruce Bendinger, in his book The Copy Workshop Workbook, defined copywriting as:

“Copywriting is a job. A skilled craft. Verbal carpentry. Words on paper. Scripts to time. And one more thing. Salesmanship.”

SEO copywriting is a part of your wider marketing strategy to satisfy the search engines, drive traffic to your website, build your brand, engage your customers, and persuade them to buy.

Now here are the practicalities of how to write SEO content for websites:

1. Know your keywords

Working out what keywords you want to target and why has got to be the first step, before you write any content.

Luckily, there are plenty of keyword tools you can use to find the right ones for your business.

Free keyword tool

Google Adwords Keyword Planner – This is the planner you would use if you want to create Google Adwords, but it’s free to sign up and to use, without having to create any ads.

Free to a point, and then paid

SERPS Tool Keyword Research – Another Google keyword research tool, which still gives you search volume, cost per click, and a whole list of related keywords that you might want to target, too. You can do 3 free searches before you have to sign up, but even then, there’s a 30-day free trial before you have to pay, which should be plenty to get you started.

SEMRush – This one’s brilliant in terms of how much detail you get, with related keywords, keywords for ads, long-tail keywords, analysis of what works on desktop and mobile, and even keywords in other languages from 26 countries. The downside? You can’t even search for one keyword to try without having to enter your email address, and the paid version starts at $99.95 per month. However, if you’re truly serious about getting your keywords right and you have the budget, it could well be worth it.

SERPStat – Similar to SEMRush in many ways, but if you sign up, you have 30 free searches per day, and plans start at only $19 per month. You get competitor analysis, organic and paid keywords, long-tail keywords, and cost per click.

SpyFu – Want to know what keywords your competitors use? Of course, you do! Well, here it is. SpyFu can bring you up to 11 years of data on where your competitors are on Google, the keywords they use, ads they’ve run, and a lot more. You can even export the results as a PDF. And for all that info, prices start at a pretty reasonable $33 per month.

Try using SERPstat and SpyFu together and comparing the results so you know you’re getting the best possible information.

Now you know what your keywords are, you’re ready to plan content that wows your customers and the search engines.

2. Know what your customers want

There’s no point in writing brilliant, perfectly keyworded content if it’s not going to attract and engage your ideal customer.How to write SEO content for website

If you’ve done your research and you have your buyer personas already worked out, you’re likely to know a lot about your potential customers, from their tastes and where they shop, to what they like to read.

If you haven’t done that exercise yet, here’s a fantastic article from Optin Monster on how to do just that, with plenty of examples and templates you can use.

Now you’re well on your way to being able to write perfectly targeted content that converts.

3. Create content that your customers can’t wait to read and share

Having done all that preparation before you started writing, you’re now in the best position possible to write content that hits the spot with your customers, and the search engines.

A mix of videos, audio/podcasts, infographics, short tips, short blogs and long-form content tends to work well. People learn and absorb information in different ways. Some people like to watch a demonstration, others like to listen to the information, and yet others prefer to read. A good mix of all of those formats gives you the best chance of reaching a wide, engaged audience.

Where to get content ideas

This could be an article all on its own, as there are so many sources of inspiration around, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

• Look at Quora. When you sign up, you get to choose the topics you are interested in, and there are thousands of questions being asked every week on a huge range of subject. Look at the questions being asked, and there are your topic ideas.

• Special days and events. Every year there are days celebrating all sorts of subjects and occasions. While the main holidays, such as Christmas, are obvious, have a look at these calendars for inspiration: Awareness Days and Days of the Year.

• Remember SERPstat that we mentioned above? When you do your keyword research, have a look at the search terms under Content Marketing. Why? Because those terms on their own could be great topics for your blog, and if you cross one or more topics, you can easily come up with new content ideas.

• Check your competitors’ blogs. We don’t mean that you should steal their ideas, but there’s nothing wrong with getting inspiration.

• Look at your blog comments and your competitors’ blog comments. What are people asking? What points are people raising? Those could make brilliantly targeted blog posts, too.

When you’re looking for content ideas, always go back to your buyer personas and double check that your idea fits with what you know they want.

And for more on how to write great content, check out our guide.

4. Check how you are doing

How to write SEO content for websiteThe search engines never stand still. They’re always updating and refining their results to give users a better experience. That means you can’t stand still either.

Here are a few activities you should employ to ensure your website stays fresh and relevant – meaning you stay in prime position in the search engine rankings:

• Keep reading and staying up to date on the latest SEO developments, and continuously improving your results.

• Check Google Analytics regularly to see how you’re doing in terms of gaining traffic, what terms people are searching for when they find you, where your traffic is coming from, and more.

• Keep checking SpyFu to see how your competitors are doing.

• Regularly give your content an SEO audit.

For further reading on SEO, here is a superb checklist of SEO tips from Pixel Kicks.

Getting your content right is a whole lot of work. It’s worth it, but it can take up a considerable amount of time. If you’d like those results, without quite so much effort, why not hire a content writer?

 

Main image credit: NOGRAN s.r.o.
Image credits: Perzon SEO, Elaine SmithPerzon SEO

Read More