examples of good copywriting

4 examples of ridiculously good copywriting

While some people may think copywriting is simply a matter of jotting a few words down any old way and hoping for the best, nothing could be further from the truth.

Copywriting is both an art and a skill, and it takes a lot of practice to get it just right. There are well over 100,000 words in the English language, so selecting the most appropriate ones for the client’s specific situation is without a doubt a huge task!

Some of the best advertising campaigns in the world, both past and present, have taken off purely because they’ve been fuelled by excellent copywriting designed to both motivate and influence. In this blog post, we’ll delve into some of the finest portfolios in the industry and take a look at four shining examples of good copywriting.

Innocent

When it comes to juices and smoothies, no brand has managed to capture the hearts and minds of British consumers quite as well as Innocent has. While that’s of course partly down to their tasty drinks, it’s also a consequence of the marketing techniques they employ – and, in particular, their excellent copywriters.

Just take a look at their page promoting the “magnificent mango” drink.

Examples of good copywriting

By being self-aware rather than sticking to the classic sales patter you find on most company websites, they immediately remind the reader that this is a friendly, honest brand – and subtly reinforce the idea that they’re different from all those other smoothie companies out there.

“Mangoes and passion fruits is one of our top three selling recipes ever,” they candidly write. “You’d probably think it was OK, and that we should leave it alone. But the good stuff needs improving too, or else it’ll end up being a bit ordinary. So we’ve made this recipe better by adding a little bit of peach to the recipe too.”

And the whole paragraph is rounded off with a nice little direct-to-reader nugget at the end: “We hope you enjoy the renovations.”

As you can see, Innocent is definitely one of the top firms out there when it comes to persuading people to buy. For a copywriting masterclass, you need look no further than the cold drinks aisle of your local supermarket!

Jack Daniel’s

You can be the finest wordsmith in the world, but if you don’t know anything about how the words you’re writing relate to the context in which they’ll appear, your efforts might go to waste.

That’s certainly the ethos motivating the copywriters who work at Jack Daniel’s, the American whisky brand whose posters are famous for captivating commuters who stand on the London Underground’s platforms waiting for their trains.

While it may seem like the golden rule of poster-based advertising is to avoid layouts which make the words – rather than the images – the dominant ones, the copywriters at Jack Daniel’s devote most of the image to gripping, long-form stories about the history of the brand.

The reason this kind of copy works so well is because, in that highly specific situation, people have the time and energy to read blocks of text. Most commuters have nothing else to do but look at the adverts, so in that context they are willing to do it.

In a context where they had somewhere to be quickly or had something else to do while they were stood still, they’d most likely ignore it. But by getting inside the heads of the readers and finding out when they would and wouldn’t be happy to read, Jack Daniel’s has struck gold.

Cards Against Humanity

If you’ve never come across this controversial card game before, it won’t be long until you do. Involving a set of funny, near-the-knuckle and often slightly offensive cards with messages ranging from jokes about public figures to humorous innuendos and slurs, it’s growing in popularity.

Based out of Chicago, the team behind Cards Against Humanity know full well that their brand is irreverent, satirical and even a bit offensive – and they love it. That’s why their frequently asked questions (FAQ) section is full of jibes at the customer.

examples of good copywriting

The question “If I email you, will I get a different answer to these questions?”, for example, gets a terse ‘No. We’ll probably send you a polite response, but we’ll also laugh at you and say, “Didn’t they read the FAQ?”‘ in reply!

They know that by being nasty to the reader in their FAQs, they’re not going to turn customers away – in fact, because the customer is looking to be ribbed, they’re going to boost their sales.

The success of Cards Against Humanity’s FAQ copywriting can’t be seen in a vacuum. Not every brand can tease their customers mercilessly, but every brand can take a leaf out of Cards Against Humanity’s book by analysing their product and working out from there what their brand’s voice should be.

Stand Up To Cancer

Top-notch copywriting isn’t just the exclusive preserve of businesses, either. Many charity copywriters are very savvy about the words they use to motivate potential supporters and donors, and the national Stand Up To Cancer campaign is a prime example.

By playing on the words of a well-known film’s title, this short and snappy piece of copywriting shows that it’s the effect and connotations of the words used – not the quantity of them – that truly matters.

But what also works well with this piece of copywriting is the set of subheadings underneath. By using the age-old power of three trick and employing powerful verbs to call the reader to action, even those who only spend a few seconds reading the advert are left impacted.

Got any other suggestions for examples of good copywriting? Why not leave us a comment below…

 

Main image credit: Guido van Nispen
Image credits: Innocent Smoothies screenshot, Cards Against Humanity screenshot

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How to land careers in writing professionally

How to land a career in writing professionally

It’s one thing writing the occasional blog or penning a witty anecdote on your Facebook wall, but it is an entirely different thing trying to land yourself one of the often elusive careers in writing professionally. The market has changed dramatically over the years, and what is now on offer varies significantly from what journalists of old used to face. Pitches no longer need to be sent by snail mail, articles aren’t always printed on paper, and newspapers don’t just report on the news.

Instead, the digital world has pioneered a new face for writing, giving everyone a voice and opportunity to speak. It’s no longer simply about talent, but also what audience you have and who is willing to listen. Printed magazines and newspapers are a dying breed, with much of their revenue now coming from online ad sales. So how on earth do you go about forging a professional writing career?

Build up your toolkit

Firstly, it’s definitely worth brushing up on your skills if you feel you may need them. The London School of Journalism has a wide selection of established courses available, including freelance classes and creative writing courseHow to land careers in writing professionallys. You can do these during the day, in the evenings or even via distance learning. They also run a four-week summer school each August. Their courses cover everything from media law to internet journalism and equip you with a wealth of valuable skills.

You can also train with the Press Association, and they offer courses on a wide variety of areas from news reporting to magazine journalism to sports reporting. These courses can often be challenging and stimulating, but offer everything needed to get your writing up to a professional level. They are also widely accredited, meaning employers and clients will value the training on your CV.

Get experience

It can often be a catch-22 situation for a wannabe writer – you need experience in order to build up a portfolio and put your skills to the test. However, people want to see experience in order to trust you. The best way you can get these much-needed hours under your belt is through offering your skills out for free for a period of time. This can eventually lead to clients when they find themselves impressed with your work.

Alternatively, you could sign up to freelance writing platforms such as Copify, in which the work is available for you to complete without the stress of needing to find the clients or prove your worth to them beforehand. This can really help you get a lot of work completed in a short space of time.

Know your speciality

You can be the most adept writer on the planet, but every writer will have some kind of strength. Whether they find themselves better at penning features or more savvy with advertorial copy, they’re able to focus on what thHow to land careers in writing professionallyey’re good at so they can get the most out of every pitch or opportunity. The better you are at something, the less time it takes, which means the more money you can make per hour.

It’s not to say you can’t generalise – you can. This is often best if you are looking at writing for local or regional publications. It will open up more doors for you in terms of assignment opportunities. However, if you want to become part of the ‘big’ names, having an ‘expert’ subject can be hugely valuable. People will start to know that they can come to you for a specific topic. For example, everyone knows that Martin Lewis is the man to head to for articles about finance. Robert Peston is the person for politics. Deliciously Ella is famous for her interviews about food and nutrition. Jamie Oliver talks about kids’ food a lot.

Never stop thinking of ideas

A good writer will always be on the hunt for content or article opportunities. From the people they speak with to the experiences they endure, there will always be an article waiting to be written. As a professional writer, you will need to generate a lot of ideas. As freelance writer Roger Morris notes for Writer’s Digest, “Ideas are the currency of freelancing, and the rule of thumb of needing to pitch five to 10 for every article you place is pretty on target for most of us.”c

It’ll always be easier to pitch your articles after you have built up a bit of a track history, but the more ideas you have, the better. Just make sure they are fleshed out before pitching so people don’t get bored of your name popping up with half-considered ideas. It’s not all about quantity but quality too. The more original your idea is, the better. Often editors will jump for ideas that go against the grain or feel controversial but don’t say something simply for the sake of it. You’ll always have that article to your name – don’t be trite.

Meet the editors

If you are serious about forging a professional writing career, you will need to start meeting with the people who publish your writing. It won’t be easy – they’re very busy people with very little time. However, the more you can get to know them and build a secure relationship with them, the higher the chances are that they will think of you when a writing opportunity comes knocking. Don’t be scared of them – even if they’re your writing idols.How to land careers in writing professionally

Send them an e-mail and ask if you can take them for coffee. Once you have managed to get their valuable time, find out what they look for in article pitches, what their focus areas are (so you’re not pitching the wrong subject matter to them), how they go about working with freelancers or hiring staff writers, what opportunities they have available, and what type of writing they really like.

You could also ask them about their journey and how they managed to get the job they did. Typically the road won’t have been straight, so it is always interesting to find out what turns in the road they have followed. Then, either follow up with a thank you note and your CV/portfolio, or apply for a job with them when it next becomes available. They’re far more likely to put a face to the name than if they were to get an anonymous application land on their desk.

 

Main image credit: Pixellaphoto
Image credits: Michael CoghlanDean HochmanPerzonSEO

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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

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copywriter portfolio examples

7 creative copywriter portfolio examples

Whether you’ve never written an article or blog before in your life, or have just dipped your toe in the freelance writing waters, you’ve probably realised fairly quickly that having a killer copywriter portfolio is a necessity. With hundreds of individuals all popping up on Google or social media with the claim that they can turn words into sales and ad campaigns into hot leads, you’re fighting against tough competition. What distinguishes you against these? How do you stand out? Quite simply, it is through your creative copywriting portfolio.

Getting started

It may feel like a catch 22 situation – you need opportunities to write in order to get work, but without a portfolio, finding those opportunities is difficult. However, there are plenty of ways in which you can master this problem quite effectively.

Firstly, you can offer your services out for free initially to see if anyone would like anything written for them. This is a great way of meeting people, showcasing your skills, building an archive of samples for potential clients, and potentially even finding new clients who will want to work with you because they are so impressed with what you have done.

In a similar vein, you could also offer people a free taster before they work with you as another way of showcasing what you have to offer – a sort of ‘try before you buy’ if you like. You could also opt to take a copywriting course, where the material you produce while studying will also double up as a portfolio for once you’re completed. Alternatively, you could start writing for a site like Copify where the work is there waiting for you without you needing to go and seek it out.

However you choose to start, you may find you really want inspiration from other writers who have tackled the portfolio challenge before you. If you search on Google you will be inundated with options. From the large sites to the independent, there are plenty of ways in which copywriters have creatively demonstrated their talents to potential clients.

Pinterest

Although this social media platform is dictated and led by images, it is a great way of also sharing your portfolio – particularly those where your work may have accompanied striking imagery – or getting ideas for how you can present yours. Whether you type in the search bar ‘Find a copywriter’ or ‘Copywriter portfolios’, you’ll undoubtedly find a lot of results that can help you. Terri Lively is just one example where she showcases her work on other websites as well as blogs she follows. Or, if you are looking to work with a copywriter, Pinterest can lead you to the right person for you. All in all, it’s a creative way to share your work with others.7 copywriter portfolio examples

Facebook

It may seem unusual to find a portfolio on Facebook – where would you even start looking? However, when we typed ‘Copywriting Portfolio’ into ours, the first person that popped up was ‘Jared Friedberg’s Copywriting Portfolio’. His clever way of using keywords in his name and description meant a writer in Toronto popped up on a feed in the UK, simply through a search term. Although Facebook is typically for socialising, more and more businesses are tuning into its marketing potential. In many respects, your page and everything you write is a portfolio in itself. If you have lots of typing errors, these will count against you if someone looking to hire you sees it.

Carbon Made

Although you will be featured alongside many other copywriters, Carbon Made is a great way of getting yourself noticed. It has a more visual feel than text but is a creative way to showcase your work. You can include both images and clear lists of who you have worked with, as well as a biography of who you are and a contact section so people can easily get in touch with you. Joshua Allen, for example, has worked with the likes of Groupon, IBM and Dell – and this can all be seen in his portfolio.

7 copywriter portfolio examples

Contently

You can find hundreds of creative copywriter portfolios on Contently. The platform has specifically been developed to showcase the work completed by writers, journalists and copywriters. You can directly link to all your projects, meaning it is very easy for people to read your work. It’s also free to use, meaning little investment on your part other than maintaining your feed. It is possible to filter by clients and include details about who you are, including a link to your website and description. Sharon Hurley Hall, for example, has written 881 projects for 81 clients so far, and Contently provides her with a fantastic place to track all of this.

Evan Benner

Evan’s website is a visually led copywriting portfolio. He clearly lists all his featured projects down the side to give a clear overview of who he has worked with. You can then see images that connect with these on the right-hand side with dates for when he completed each project. Evan’s portfolio arrived as a Google result, showing just how valuable it can be to have your own website when showcasing your portfolio.

Clare Barry

Another creative copywriting portfolio comes from Clare Barry, aka Copy Clare. Like Evan, Clare has used her personal website as a way of showcasing her work. Her presentation of her portfolio is simple but direct. Her URL title is quite striking: ‘Warning – I don’t do boring’. Then, when you land on her page, the headline is simple and to the point ‘I write down ideas for money’. Her website is an advertisement of her writing style in itself for those looking for no-nonsense content.

7 copywriter portfolio examplesShe also has a page named ‘Hire me’. Her about section is likewise witty and honest – ‘People pay me money to think of attention-grabbing ideas and fearless concepts for big named brands.’ She has a blog on her website, in which she can share her thoughts, improve her site’s SEO ranking, but also give readers a chance to get a feel for her writing and what style she adopts. Her portfolio is a mixture of images and words, showcasing how what she writes can evolve into fully designed adverts.

Stephen Marsh

Another great copywriter portfolio comes from Stephen Marsh, whose website is clear and direct – ‘Read less of what I say. See more of what I’ve done’ his headline reads. You can open his portfolio or download it as a PDF, which is a handy way of being able to make an impact with big clients who will often print off your portfolio so more than one senior team-member can take a look. He has also produced numerous case studies to detail his work, which adds a further description on each of the projects beyond just giving the final text.

 

Main image credit: barnimages.com
Image credits:  Terri Lively, Joshua AllenClare Barry

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