What is content writing - Copify blog

What is content writing?

Content writing can be a very powerful part of any business’s marketing plan, with many benefits for companies, including the ability to attract their ideal customers and better rankings in the search engines.

If you needed any more proof of the value of quality content, DemandMetric states that “Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.”

Definition: What is content writing?

Content writing is a particular form of writing online, which has very specific aims. As part of an overall content marketing strategy, content writing is web writing which is focused on engaging an audience and retaining their attention to sell or raise awareness about a product or service.

What is content writing - Copify blog

Well-written content will almost always involve search engine optimisation (SEO), with the writer adding keywords and phrases that the company wants to rank for in the search engines. And it will usually be written to fit the client’s brief, which defines the aims of the content, the target audience, suitable keywords and other information the writer will need to produce a successful piece of copy.

What content writing can do for your business

Let’s start with some statistics:

According to Social Media Examiner, “58% of marketers said, ‘original written content’ is the most important type of content, outdoing visuals and videos.”

KEY Difference Media, meanwhile, affirms that “78% of consumers will trust your brand if you create more customised content”.

Well-written, properly targeted content can be the difference between a business getting the exposure it deserves, being found easily within its niche market, and not even registering a blip on the radar of Google.

Here’s how you can ensure you fall into the former camp:

1. SEO

Excellent content that contains your keywords and phrases will always do well in the search engines and get your business found. The point of content writing, though, is that it must be engaging – written for people, not for search bots. Natural, entertaining writing will get people reading, keep them on your website for longer, AND build your search engine rankings.

2. Traffic

Following on from optimising your content for the search engines, well-keyworded content can also drive traffic to your site and increase your visitors over time, allowing new audiences to find you who wouldn’t otherwise have heard of you, and bring repeat readers back over and over again.

What is content writing - Copify blog

3. Social sharing

Good content on your site is ripe for sharing, and that solves one of the biggest problems businesses have with doing social media well – what on earth do you post? If you always have fresh content on your site, you’ll never run out of things to say on social media. You can share your posts regularly using Hootsuite, Buffer or similar apps, take quotes out of your posts and make memes to share, use Canva to create infographics, and much more.

4. Gain expert status

If your blog is always full of brilliant content that’s really useful to your target market, over time, you’ll become known as an expert in your field. And what could be better when you’re trying to make your company distinctive and unique, compared to the competition, than to be seen as the go-to expert?

That’s guaranteed to get you more customers.

5. Build your tribe

Another excellent way to stand out from the competition is to build a community around your blog and your social media. Good content writing is a vital part of community building, engaging and entertaining your viewers and allowing them to feel a part of something. If they can interact with you and feel heard, enjoy your posts and feel that you really care about them as customers, why would they shop anywhere else?

Types of content writing

Content writing doesn’t have to be used just for blog posts on your site. There are so many possibilities that can build your business in different ways:

1. Lead magnets

If you’re trying to build your email list (and you should be – it’s one of the best ways to market to your audience), having an enticing lead magnet to get people to sign up is essential.

What is content writing - Copify blog

Write something with an eye-catching headline that people can’t resist and outstanding content that makes your readers wonder how amazing your paid services must be if your free content is this good!

2. Case studies

What better way to show people what you can do before they buy than to put together a case study showing off your testimonials from actual clients, with the juicy details of all the results you got for them.

Highlight the benefits and the bottom line results, talk about how you work and your quality systems to reassure potential clients that you know exactly what you are doing, and you could have them queuing around the virtual block for you.

3. Ebooks and printed books

It’s easier than ever to self-publish a book. Still, ‘author of…’ still holds a certain cachet that you can’t get from anything else.

Having a book out can take your business to the next level, establish your reputation and even get you speaking gigs. Who do you think potential customers are going to pick? ‘Joe Who Knows What’ over there, with no content on his blog, no reputation and no reasons why his business stands out, or you with your thriving blog and your published book?

4. Reports and how-to guides

Well-written guides can educate your clients on how to make the most of your services, what you actually do for them, why they need you in particular, and why they should buy.

A good report can also demonstrate your knowledge, build trust and give your readers a reason to stick around and sign up to your newsletter, so you can continue to market to them.

A high-quality, targeted content marketing plan ensures that your content writing is always on point, hits your specific aims for your business and contains enough variety on a consistent schedule to keep your ideal customers coming back for more and keep the search engines happy.

There’s no doubt that content writing can make all the difference for your business, but it is a lot of work. Perhaps you simply don’t have the time to continuously generate good content for your site, and you certainly might not have the time to write a whole book. Or maybe writing simply isn’t your strong suit?

All isn’t lost, though. Hiring a professional content writer can still bring you all of the benefits of a good content marketing plan, while you focus on your core strengths and building your business.

 

Main image credit: Nathan Oakley, ‘Typewriter’
Image credits: Ryo FUKAsawaPatrik NygrenSteve Johnson

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How to be a better copywriter - copify blog

How to be a better copywriter

There is a certain amount of natural skill involved in being an excellent copywriter, but the skills for writing well can be learned, and this really is a case where practice makes perfect.

If you’re just starting out, our guide to becoming a copywriter will be helpful, and if you’d like to learn how to be a better copywriter, read on:

Why copywriting?

Here are a couple of statistics that might give you an idea why people need good copywriters:

The Demand Gen Report states that “47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.”

HubSpot, on the other hand, reported that “B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month.”

That’s a whole lot of content that needs writing, and somebody’s got to write it. And get paid for it.

Why not you?

Know your audience

One of the most basic mistakes new copywriters make is to ignore the audience they are writing for.

When a company asks you to write copy for them, they will probably give you a brief, describing what they want, in terms of word count, tone of voice, keywords to include, subject matter, aims for the piece and audience.How to be a better copywriter - copify blog

Take the time to read and understand the brief, and write for the audience listed on the brief, in the tone of voice you are asked to use.

There’s a massive difference in approach, language and tone between writing for retirees and writing directly to another business to sell a product. If you’re clear on who you are writing for, you can target your copy to better suit your audience and the goals for the copy.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

We’ve seen some extremely poor briefs that pretty much consist of ‘Here is a topic. Write about it.’

While you could indeed pick an angle and an approach and write something from that, what you can’t do is get out your crystal ball and see what the client really wants.

The only way to find out is to ask clear questions, and don’t be too shy to do that. You’ll benefit from far less editing and rewriting, and the client will get what they actually want the first time.

Great questions to ask your copywriting client include:

  • What are the goals for this piece?
  • What call to action do you want to include?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Can you send me a copy of your target market personas?
  • What tone of voice would you like me to use?
  • Are you aiming to target particular keywords, and what are they?

All of those will get you far closer to delivering an excellent article that the client can practically use than writing blindly, without asking.

Productivity and getting the work done

Being an excellent copywriter isn’t just about the writing. You also need to be able to organise yourself and ensure you hit those all-important deadlines.

When you work from home on your own schedule, it can be hard to avoid procrastinating, and watching just one more cat video on YouTube.

Here are some practical tools that can get you moving:

Planning

How to be a better copywriter

Trello is wonderful for planning out your deadlines and listing tasks that you need to complete to get your copy done.

If that one doesn’t work for you, try Asana, which is brilliant if you work with a team, or even Google Calendar.

All of them are free, but they’ll enable you to plan things out more clearly and get more done.

Productivity

If you’re prone to editing too much when you’re simply trying to get a first draft out, try the fabulous Write or Die tool, which allows you to set how many words you are going to write, with a timer counting down to make sure you keep adding words rather than going back and editing what you’ve got.

Back to those cat videos – if you really can’t make yourself leave Facebook alone while you’re writing, try Cold Turkey, which will block access to your social media and eliminate distractions while you get your work done.

The Pomodoro Method is well-known for allowing people to improve productivity, by working in bursts of so many minutes and then taking a break. Try the Tomato Timer and see if it works for you.

Improving your writing

Every word you write adds to your experience, and the more you write, the better you get over time. If you don’t believe that, try looking at the way you wrote ten years ago compared to now. We’ll wait until you’ve finished cringing!

One of the best ways to get better at writing is to read. And by that, we mean fiction, non-fiction, blogs on writing – the lot. As you read, you unconsciously absorb new ways of expressing yourself and different points of view, gain access to new ideas and increase your vocabulary.

Recommended blogs

• Sophie Lizard’s Be a Freelance Blogger is excellent for the practical side of blogging. You’ll learn the nitty-gritty of starting up as a freelance blogger, from how to write to what to charge. (Disclaimer: The language may not be to your taste, but you will learn a lot.)

• We can’t produce a list like this and not mention Copyblogger. Here’s a blog from them on different styles of writing, but seriously, read everything they produce. Sign up to the free My Copyblogger and benefit from amazing lessons that will bring your writing on in leaps and bounds.

• Jon Morrow is a very smart man and an amazing copywriter. Try his free Headline Hacks, to help you write viral blog posts.

The Write Life also has everything from posts on improving your writing, to marketing your work and getting clients. It’s an invaluable source.

Proofread and proofread again!

Nobody writes an immaculate piece of copy on the first draft. Nobody.

If you have the time before your deadline, put your finished writing away at least overnight and then look at it with fresh eyes the morning after before you send it off. You’ll probably spot typos that you missed on your first read through.How to be a better copywriter

Read your copy aloud. You’ll spot awkward sentences, unfinished thoughts and more errors than you will by reading to yourself.

Run a spell check within your writing software. You might think you’ve caught everything, but one last spell check is never a bad idea.

If you know your grammar isn’t the best, download the free app from Grammarly to check your work.

With writing, you’ll never reach perfection. That can sound incredibly daunting, but it’s not. What it means is that you’ll never stop learning, improving, and finding new and better ways to produce copy. And that’s the fascination with a writing life. You’re not competing with other writers; you’re competing with who you were as a writer yesterday.

 

Main image credit: ‘Woman Working’, Thoroughly Reviewed
Image credits: dotismJonas Bengtsson; Mark Hunter

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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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