What does a copywriter do? Copify blog

We finally answer: just what does a copywriter do?

If you’ve ever heard someone describe themselves as being a ‘copywriter’, you have probably established for yourself that their job must involve some kind of writing. But just exactly what does a copywriter do? Can anyone who puts pen to paper determine themselves as a copy writer? Do they just write legal ‘copy’ that is then copyrighted?

What is a copywriter?

Essentially, a copywriter will typically produce content that is considered to be either advertorial or promotional. That’s not to say they don’t write on any other subject, but often they will be responsible for producing the ‘copy’ (or content) that is used on websites, e-mails, advertisements, brochures, billboards, press releases, company memos, leaflets, and promo video scripts.

This is only a loose description though, and there are many types of copywriting out there. Typically, copywriters are becoming increasingly responsible for producing a lot of digital content including blogs and social media copy. As the influence of the written word continues to show itself, the copywriter role is becoming ever-more important in business. Articulate Marketing adds to this, remarking: “Not all copywriters are advertising copywriters. This in itself causes some confusion as the latter is the more famous (especially after the phenomenon that was Mad Men)… Medical copywriters have their own special niche… To be a copywriter is beyond definition, but it’s fair to say that one thing binds us together: we all work with words on a daily basis.”

As the American Writers & Artists Inc note, “Copy is everywhere — it’s part of a $2.3 trillion industry worldwide… Unlike news or editorial writing, copywriting is all about getting the reader to take action. That action might be to purchase, opt-in, or engage with a product, service, or company. That’s why a copywriter is often referred to as ‘a salesman in print’.”

What does a copywriter do?

No matter who you are working for or what type of work you are doing, there are some key responsibilities that a copywriter will take on. These are not exclusive, nor applicable to all, but typically you can expect to be responsible for:

  • Writing (obviously!)
  • Rewriting/repurposing content
  • Research
  • Transcribing or conducting interviews
  • Turning interviews into articles
  • Editing
  • Proof-reading
  • Creating a social media schedule or blog schedule
  • Sourcing images
  • Planning and implementing a marketing campaign
  • Establishing a brand ‘voice’

Direct Creative go into this in more detail on their website, with a useful overview of all the types of writing you could be doing.

What does a copywriter do? Copify blog
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As Articulate Marketing note, “What’s important to understand is that while words are the main output of a copywriter, writing isn’t necessarily what we spend most of our time doing. We have to do a lot of research and thinking, tweaking and formatting, and a bunch of other seemingly peripheral tasks.”

They continue, “In fact, we often say here at Articulate that for a writing project you should spend half your time researching, a third editing and only a sixth actually writing the thing. Despite what some people think, copywriting is a lot more than just ‘wordsmithing’.”

Copywriting vs copyright

It’s important to note that the copywriter role does not have anything to do with copyright, although these two areas are commonly muddled up by those who don’t realize the difference. Copyright is where a company or individual has got the legal rights to either publish, sell, distribute or reproduce a piece of work – either visual, musical, artistic or written.

Copyright is about protecting a piece of material from illegal use. The right to any copy will be determined either by the person who has produced it, or whoever holds the legal right to a piece of work. Often, copy that is produced by a copywriter for a business will be owned by the person who paid for it, rather than the writer, which means that it should always be unique (both to avoid infringing the intellectual property of other writers and as SEO best practice). However, this should not be mistaken for copyright as the copywriter does not create ‘copyright’ content as part of their job.

Becoming a copywriter

One of the greatest bonuses to being a copywriter is that you don’t actually need any formal qualifications in order to be able to do this role. Some people will have a variety of degrees in a range of subjects, and others will have left school with no qualifications.

Copywriting is open to all age groups from 18 to 80. Whether you’re still studying, employed by a business, self-employed or retired – there are no restrictions on who can become a copywriter. The only thing you absolutely need is a computer, access to the Internet and a love of words – or a natural ability to produce articulate, well-formed copy.

Often people hiring copywriters will look for examples of previous work, so having a portfolio can be particularly helpful. It’s always good to be able to show a range of work so people can see the full range of your abilities. Typically, when it comes to must-have copywriting skills, clients will want to see that you are versatile, a quick learner, a great writer, and consistent with meeting deadlines and quality of work.

Where does a copywriter work?

You may find yourself writing copy for a single business, who could hire you full-time to produce all of their marketing and advertorial materials. The type of client you end up working for could range dramatically from their requirements with copy to the industry they’re operating within. Typically they will be looking to push a product or service and will be expecting you to help them sell it.

What does a copywriter do? Copify blog
James Baker (Flickr)

 

Along with full-time options, you may find yourself able to work on a part-time or freelance basis. Some businesses will want to have you in the office so they can work alongside you, while others won’t mind if you are working remotely. This often suits parents with young children who have taken time off work but still want to be able to earn an income flexibly.

Alternatively, you may be interested in writing copy for an agency or a copywriting website such as Copify. The benefits of this are that you don’t need to have the stresses or hassle of finding the work yourself and building relationships. This work is all done for you, and you are instead presented with a list of articles that need completing.

You can select jobs as and when your schedule allows without any full-time commitments and can see how much you will earn at the time of writing. The money you make is guaranteed income, and you don’t have any of the hassle of having to send out invoices, chase money and wait for it to be sent over. Instead, you’ll get your earnings – often within a month – straight into your bank account. It couldn’t be easier and is a great way to dip your toe into the copywriting water.

A fantastic career choice

As the American Writers & Artists Inc. notes, “The rumours are true. A career as a freelance copywriter is a pretty cushy ‘job.’ You can work at home, take naps in the middle of the day, vacation a lot, and get paid really well… For example, one copywriter I know works decent hours, not only on copywriting, but also on the growth and development of her freelance business. She makes over $120,000 a year.”

Ultimately, with copywriting you can make it fit in around your life, or make it the sole focus of your life. It is flexible, dynamic and no two days are the same. It can be as profitable as you like, with a work flow that suits whatever you’re seeking to achieve. It’s an enviable career path to take!

 

Image credit: Giuseppe Milo, ‘Issues’

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How do you get paid by blogging about your business? Copify blog

How do you get paid by blogging about your business?

There are many reasons businesses, start-ups, freelancers and individuals can benefit from having a blog, from increased traffic to attracting and converting more customers. While the main focus of your blog will be to build your brand and gain attention for your business, did you know you can actually bring in more revenue by blogging, too?

We’re not saying it’s easy or that it doesn’t take work, but done right, your business blog can actually become another solid income stream for your company.

Here’s a statistic from HubSpot that’s an eye-opener on what having a blog can do for you: “Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads and 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.”

So, how do you get paid by blogging?

1. Plan out what you want to achieve

If you’re already blogging and it’s not working for you, then it’s time to take stock and set out a plan for what you want to do with your blog.

If you’re new to blogging, you’re in a good position, as you can make a plan before you start and decide how you want to move forward.

Carol Tice from Make a Living Writing has some straightforward and practical advice on planning your blog, getting started and being realistic about it.

Basically, you need to know why you are blogging, who your target audience is and be able to plan out an interesting and eyeball-grabbing editorial calendar that will bring in the audience you want to attract. Good, targeted traffic is essential if you want to earn money from your blog.

How do you get paid by blogging?
Perzon SEO (www.perzonseo.com)

2. Write fabulous content and be consistent

So much of the blogosphere is taken up by people writing boring, uninteresting blogs or people who blog madly every day for weeks and then don’t blog again for months.

Neither of those things will get you noticed, get you clients or bring in any earnings from your blog.

Your content needs to be highly attractive to your target market, beautifully written, engaging and with a clear call to action at the end. If you want your audience to do something, such as signing up for your newsletter or clicking an affiliate link, a clear call to action is essential.

Many people start off blogging with every intention to blog daily, but discover that it’s more work than they think and let their efforts tail off. A blog which hasn’t been posted on for months can make your business look like it’s inactive, so it’s important that you do blog consistently. Not only that, but adding fresh content regularly is brilliant for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and will help your site rise in the search engine rankings where it will gain more traffic.

3. Direct ways to make money from your blog

Here’s the nitty gritty on the ways you can bring in income streams from your blog. Most bloggers work a combination of all of these to keep money coming in consistently, and the great thing about this is that you can do what appeals to you, and change things up until you find what works.

• Affiliate marketing

As an affiliate, you sign up to affiliate programmes for other people’s products and services, and then you promote them on your blog and in your newsletter.

The way you make money is that when one of your visitors clicks your affiliate link (a link that is unique to you), the owner of the product you are recommending can track any purchases through your link and will send you a commission on an agreed basis.

It’s simple, straightforward, and easy to set up.

However, it does take work in choosing the right products and services for your blog. They must fit in with your aims for the blog and appeal to your audience, and you’ll also want what you are promoting to be of high quality, because if it’s not, it will reflect badly on you.

• Ad revenue/Pay Per Click

You can place suitable ads (also known as banner ads) onto your blog, in the header, footer or sidebar, or through your content.

Again, you need to carefully select the right ads that suit your audience. If you write about cake decorating, for example, any ads that promote sugar flowers or decorating equipment are likely to get clicks from your readers.

What is SEO copywriting? Copify blog
Perzon SEO (www.perzonseo.com)

You can take paid banner ads direct from companies you want to work with or sign up through an ad network, such as Google AdSense, BlogHer or Federated Media.

This works better for high-traffic sites, and you can certainly charge more for ads placed directly on your site if you have good traffic and an engaged community, but even a small site can earn some money from paid ads. It might start off as a trickle of small change, but as your site grows, it can add up.

• Selling physical products and services

Unless blogging is your business model, your blog’s main focus is to get attention for your business, and here’s where your blog can start making money for you by directing people to look at your product or service offerings.

You can also develop new products, based on what your audience wants, that fit in with your main business.

You might sell digital products, such as e-books, courses, audio books, or images; physical products such as paperbacks, gifts or clothing; or services like copywriting, web design or graphics.

Having an active and attractive blog is an excellent way to bring attention to what your business does, and to point people to your sales page.

And if you think it can’t be done, if your blog seems way too small and insignificant, read this interview with highly successful blogger Tsh Oxenreider on Entrepreneur who has some excellent advice: “Don’t compare your Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 20.” Tsh also offers good advice on how to start and keep blogging here.

Blogging can be hard work. If you’re not naturally a writer, it can be an increasing struggle to continually put out excellent quality content in line with your editorial schedule.

But you don’t have to do everything yourself. When you need to get writers for your blog, you could reach out to other non-competing but complementary businesses in your field and see if they’d like to do guest posts for your blog. That way, you get regular, fresh content that you didn’t have to write. Guest blogs are an excellent way to keep your blog relevant and up to date, as well as offer a different viewpoint and perspective.

If you’re not a writer but you know your business would benefit from a blog, and that extra income stream from blogging wouldn’t hurt either, then all is not lost. You can hire a writer to blog for you, while you concentrate on the aspects of running your business that you love. And, if done well, over time, the money you make from your blog will more than cover the costs of hiring a writer.

Whichever way you choose to blog, whether you do it yourself or hire someone to write for you, the benefits of regular blogging, both in extra income and increased awareness of your business and your brand, are clear to see.

 

Image credit: Tax Credits, ‘Money Plant’

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What is SEO copywriting? Copify blog

What is SEO copywriting?

Have you sat through many a meeting listening to the head of marketing drone on about search engine optimisation? Perhaps you’re confused about long-tail and short-tail keywords? Or you just don’t know your PPC from your SERP?

In fact, just what is SEO copywriting anyway?

Well, fear no more: we provide the ultimate introduction to SEO copywriting.

In a nutshell: SEO copywriting definition

SEO is the means of helping a website appear as high up as possible in the search engine results page (otherwise known as SERP), whether that’s Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other.  There are a number of web design and development factors which influence this. However, SEO copywriting involves weaving keywords and phrases that your target audience would use to find you into your website’s content.

SEO copywriting fits into the larger field of search engine optimisation which utilises a range of tactics, including link building, mobile optimisation, load speeds, and content strategy techniques to ensure your site is device and user-friendly, promotes unique and insightful content and provides essential details.

Take a look at this great SEO explainer video from Start Copywriting:

(Courtesy of YouTube/Start Copywriting)

Why is SEO important?

Whether you’re an ecommerce site or an online magazine, SEO is a pretty important piece of digital marketing you should be conducting.

Here’s why: “most people who use search engines only look at the first page or two of the search results, so for a page to get high traffic from a search engine, it has to be listed in those first two pages. If your business is selling products or services over the internet, you want your website to be listed before your competitor’s websites.” (The Balance)

One benefit of SEO is that in and of itself it’s free. Unfortunately, it’s also time consuming. You’ll either need to have a member of your team looking after your SEO, which includes optimising your web and blog content, or you’ll need to hire a freelancer content marketer or outsource your content marketing to an agency. That means there will be an unavoidable cost to you in the long run.

It also doesn’t work over night and can take months to be effective. According to Josh Steimle, “many SEO firms will tell you that it takes 4 to 6 months to start seeing results. That’s generally accurate, but bear in mind this is when you start seeing results, and SEO results grow over time. Whatever results you’re getting at 6 months should be considerably less than what you’re getting at 12 months. At some point, you may see your results taper off, and then it may be a matter of maintaining results rather than growing them.”

Where should I include SEO?

There are a few places you should aim to use SEO. Here are some:

  • Header title/page title
  • Subheadings
  • URL address for that specific page
  • Meta description
  • Alt text on images
  • Content body of your landing pages, product descriptions & blog posts

If you publish content through a platform like WordPress, you will find there are plenty of tools to help you optimise your content. Yoast is one such plugin which operates like a traffic-light system from red to green, telling you when you’ve included your focus keyword in enough places.

What is SEO copywriting? Copify blog
Danard Vincente (Flickr)

However, we recommend not going OTT. So long as you get your keyword into your content at least once and in the meta descriptions/URL/heading, you should be covered.

What makes good SEO copywriting?

You shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between good copywriting and good SEO copywriting. That’s because both should be error-free, benefits-led and appeal to the audience. The only difference is that SEO content is optimised with the use of keywords – but this should read natural, not stuffed and artificial.

According to The Balance, “Current search engine optimization focuses on techniques such as making sure that each web page has appropriate title tags and that the content is not ‘thin’ or low-quality. High-quality content is original, authoritative, factual, grammatically correct, and engaging to users.”

We’ve also mentioned that SEO copywriting goes hand in hand with quality link building with reputable sites. WordStream says that, when it comes to getting SEO, “The most important concept to understand is that, as Google says, you’re more likely to have your content rank higher for keywords you’re targeting if you can get external websites to link to you.”

Therefore, your wider content strategy needs to think about interacting with other influencers on the net and through social media, whether through networking or guest blogging.

You can also use a PPC (pay-per-click) strategy to complement your organic (non-paid-for) SEO, which means you feature an ad to a specific keyword on search engines and pay a fee each time it’s clicked. This enables you to rank on the first page of a set of results easily but is quite costly and is only effective for as long as the ad is there. Therefore, it doesn’t have the same longevity as organic SEO that is incorporated throughout your online presence.

Examples of bad SEO

The Balance notes how “Search engine optimization has evolved greatly over the years. In the early days of SEO web designers would ‘stuff’ keywords into web page keyword meta tags to improve search engine rankings”.

 

What is SEO copywriting? Copify blog
Jerry Bunkers (Flickr)

 

Thankfully, smart copywriters and business owners know how to stay ahead of the Google curve and are aware that keyword stuffing just won’t make the grade. In fact, you’re more likely to be penalised with a lower ranking or being blacklisted altogether.

What’s more, “Poorly edited articles with spelling and grammatical errors will be demoted by search engines.” And you’ll want to avoid simply buying links to back up your SEO – these are usually offered in return for payment but can come from poor-quality, spammy sites which only devalues your rating. Find out what other SEO ‘sins’ to avoid from Smart Blogger.

How do I know what keywords to use?

Starting broad, your keywords will be related to your USPs, industry field, service/product, and location. You’ll need to conduct research to see the kinds of things your customers are searching for. However, there are a number of great SEO keyword tools available to use. To get you started, here are some of the best free ones:

Short-tail vs long-tail keywords?

SEO Pressor defines short-tail keywords as comprising three words and under (e.g. ‘content creation’). By contrast, long-tail keywords are over three words (e.g. ‘SEO content creation agency). The difference? “As keywords get longer, search volume becomes lower. However, all other metrics such as conversion rates go in favor of long tail keywords.”

What is SEO copywriting? Copify blog
Traffic & Conversion Rate by Keyword Length: SEO Pressor

That’s because long-tail keywords are more specific, so you’re more likely to strike gold in the form of being matched with a customer who is looking for exactly what you have to sell. They’re particularly useful as you narrow down the focus of your website.

While a short-tail keyword is great for driving lots of traffic, it can also see a higher bounce rate, lower conversion rate, and make it less likely you’ll score a place on the first page since you’ll face stiffer competition. However, these ‘head terms’ are good for category pages. On the other hand, long-tail keywords would be better used for individual product pages to better describe what you stock/offer.

Long-tail keywords are increasingly being recommended for use by the likes of Yoast and WordStream since they’re more focused and because they’re more likely to be successful when using voice search – a popular method in the age of voice assist devices.

How can you track your SEO copywriting?

You can track the success of your SEO efforts through the usual content analytics routes. A great starting point is Google Analytics, which provides comprehensive data, including which search terms are most used. The multi-channel report also helps you to compare organic SEO and PPC to check they’re working together.

Learn how to write SEO copy

Considering taking up the challenge of writing your own SEO content? There are some great tools to help you. Medium has an easy to comprehend SEO tutorial for beginners, or there’s a more in-depth tutorial at Hobo. You can even get a handy 4-step SEO checklist from Entrepreneur to help you optimise your website.

If you’re looking to send your staff on an intensive course, or want to learn SEO from a pro, consider signing up for an online course, such as that from Success Works.

Get SEO copy

Want to get SEO content for your website or blog the easy, cost-effective way? Just create a brief with Copify and get access to thousands of copywriters.

 

Image credit: Perzon SEO, ‘Entrepreneur working on his Macbook 2’

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7 of the best copywriter portfolio websites

7 of the best copywriter portfolio websites

If you’re a copywriter, you no doubt have a growing body of work. However, in this age of sharing everything online, your web presence could make or break your career. You may be used to sharing samples of your work with prospective clients, but if you usually send links or attach PDFs to your emails, you should consider changing to an online portfolio instead.

A web-based portfolio is a lot easier to share. It also makes you look professional and can introduce you to new clients when your name pops up in search engine results. Many portfolio websites and online templates offer basic features either for free or for a relatively small sum, so it’s pretty easy to get started if you just want to test the waters.

Here are seven of the best copywriter portfolio websites to consider:

1. Squarespace

If you are willing to pay a small fee and you would like more control over your portfolio’s design, Squarespace is an easy-to-use offering. Although it isn’t solely targeted at copywriters, it’s a great option if you wish to incorporate examples of graphics or adverts you’ve also worked on. They start you off with several templates to choose from, and you can go back and change/edit your template if you wish. With drag-and-drop management, free custom URLs, the ability to link to your social media accounts and lots of other features, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs.

Prices start from $12 a month and you can stop or upgrade your subscription whenever you like.

2. Carbonmade

Carbonmade is home to over 950,000 portfolios and has been helping copywriters and creatives make their portfolios since 2005. It offers a beautiful and easy way to showcase your work. There are seven themes to choose from, which may not seem like a lot initially, but each one is very different and there’s a great selection of layout customisation options. Each major portfolio type is also available – proving that sometimes more options don’t necessarily mean better ones.

Although you are able to upload a favicon and a custom logo, font and colour options are limited. Copywriters wanting complete control over design elements like this may not like these restrictions. However, the fonts and colours available are modern and fitting. Quite simply, Carbonmade have done the choosing for you, which allows you to focus on other elements instead.

7 of the best copywriter portfolio websites - Copify blog
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If you’re after a simple, easy-to-use portfolio then you can’t really go wrong with Carbonmade. However, if you’d prefer greater control over the design, you may want to explore alternative options.

Note: prices start from $6 a month. For unlimited project uploads (recommended for experienced professionals) and more personalisation options, you can expect to pay $18 per month.

3. Journo Portfolio

Customisation is at the core of Journo Portfolio, and according to their website, the company was “founded on the principle that a platform shouldn’t hold back what your portfolio looks like or can do.”

It certainly doesn’t disappoint on this front. It offers fully customisable themes, custom domain names and allows you to group your work across different pages and sections. One of the other standout features is that you can blog directly on to the site, enabling you to showcase your current and past work all on one platform.

Unlike Squarespace and Carbonmade, Journo Portfolio has a free account option. However, there are restrictions with the free account and you can’t use your own domain name unless you upgrade to a pro package ($7.99). For those starting out, Journo Portfolio is still a great option, so don’t let this put you off.

4. WordPress

While WordPress isn’t specifically tailored towards copywriter portfolios, the great thing about the content management platform is that you can do pretty much anything you want on it. The standard WordPress themes aren’t ideal for showcasing your portfolio, but there are plenty of free and paid themes you can download that feature everything you could wish for.

If you want creative control and lots of options, WordPress is a great choice. It’s so adaptable you could easily build your portfolio into something much bigger further down the line.

5. clippings.me

clippings.me was created solely for writers back in 2011. It gives you an easy and quick way to show off as many pieces of work as you like. It’s a pretty simple offering, but it does allow you to add a short bio and your social media links. The idea is to make uploading your work as simple as possible, so customisation options are pretty limited. However, portfolios look modern and sleek and they are easy to navigate. Like Journo Portfolio, you can add PDFs, links or embed multimedia pieces.

7 of the best copywriter portfolio websites
Perzon SEO (perzonseo.com)

A free plan or ‘taster portfolio’ offers space for 10 clippings to get you started. From there, users can upgrade to premium ($5.99) or unbranded ($11.99) plans for more features and unlimited clippings. clippings.me is one of the cheapest portfolio sites available and is a popular option among copywriters and journalists.

6. Pressfolios

Pressfolios is another portfolio site targeted solely at copywriters, bloggers, reporters and media professionals. It has two key features:

1. Easily showcase your work: Pressfolios is very user-friendly and is a great option if you aren’t technically inclined. The site allows you to upload a cover picture, a bio and an ‘about’ section.

2. Back up your work: Every single piece you upload is automatically made into a PDF version and saved to the cloud. This means if the original website goes down, your piece of copy doesn’t disappear.

You can trial Pressfolios for free for 14 days. However, it is one of the pricier portfolio sites available and plans start at $9.99 per month (250 pieces of work). The pro plan ($14.99) offers a lot more options, including unlimited copy and custom domain names.

7. Writerfolio

Writerfolio is a basic and no-frills platform. It requires very little tech knowledge – all you need to do is select a template and fill in the blanks. A complete site can be set up in a matter of minutes.

You can upload unlimited samples, customise your domain name and get personalised support. There are also a number of templates to choose from. Compared to the other websites, this is a pretty basic option. However, it’s not expensive and would be a great starting point for a copywriter with a small portfolio or budget. There isn’t a free version, but a monthly account costs just $4.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to designing your portfolio. This is just a sample of the sites available online, so do your research and select a website that best showcases your body of work and is within your budget.

Want to know how to put together a portfolio? Get tips on how to create a killer copywriter portfolio.

Note: All prices are correct at the time of publishing.

 

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