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

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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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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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