Archive | Writing Without Waffle

“Good writing works!”

Daniel was a delegate on the ‘copywriting for recruiters’ course I run every month or so with Mitch Sullivan. Here’s what happened next:


A LinkedIn post for a Business Development Manager on 14/12/16 (edited on the course) got 900+ views = a personal record
We had multiple approaches direct and to the hiring manager
This resulted in 11 applications
Arranged 8 first stage interviews
A shortlist of 3 for final presentations
A verbal offer made on 12/12/16 and accepted 14/12/16.

Cost = £0 ( apart from time and resource)
Time = 4 weeks
Start date = 23/1/17

Notably, a high quality / calibre of applicant; some active and some passive.

Thank you again – this course has completely reinvigorated my general attitude to my job!

Daniel Grinsted
Recruitment Manager
KR Group

1

Beginner’s guide to WordPress

wordpressAccording to Wikipedia, WordPress was used by more than 26.4% of the top 10 million websites by April 2016. That’s more than a quarter of the world’s websites, including this one.

You can use it to run a blog or even a whole website, whether or not that website includes a blog.

In WordPress jargon, ‘posts’ go on your blog (one long page with the most recent post at the top), and ‘pages’ are static.

There are thousands of options so you can make your site look and behave exactly as you want. But it’s a target for hackers. If you don’t want to unexpectedly find your site selling Viagra or promoting the Bristol Gerbil Society, it’s wise to do regular updates that add the latest security patches.

There are two flavours of WordPress. Both are free. Yes, free! Confusingly, both have the same name.

Continue Reading →

0

Are you writing for humans or spiders?

People or spiders

Who’s your reader?

Human beings search the internet for specific ecommerce products, information and/or entertainment.

Search engine spiders crawl the internet looking for content to match the search phrase that has been typed in (because it’s the World Wide Web, ha ha!).

Before you write each blog post, you need to decide on your objective.

Are you trying to demonstrate expertise and add value for human site visitors, or are you writing in the hope that your content will be found (and ranked highly) by Google?

The art of a professional copywriter is to craft words that influence, persuade and change behaviour e.g. making someone click a ‘buy now’ or or ‘subscribe’ button.

The art of an SEO copywriter is to help a webpage or blog post appear in the organic (aka natural or free) search engine listings.

I can do both, but if you’ve read my articles before, you’ll know I prefer writing for people than for machines.

Read my SEO articles to find out more:
http://jackiebarrie.com/tag/seo/

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

0

The day I went to an improv workshop and fell in love.

heartIt was December 2014. I was at PSA London. And John Cremer was running an improv workshop.

At the start of the session, he said something like: “At the end of the session, four people will improvise a play, totally unscripted, and it will be brilliant and hilarious.”

I thought to myself: “I’d never do that in a million years.”

We played some improv games including one-word storytelling and three-line scenes, and I was thoroughly enjoying myself. “I can do this,” I thought. “This is just like the games we play as a family every Christmas.”

How restful and relaxing it was to turn off the bit of my brain that edits everything I say and do. What a joy to unleash the playful part of myself. What a delight to let go and laugh and have fun in a completely professional setting.

We got to the end of the session, and it was time for the play. I’d completely forgotten about that.

Three volunteers sat on the chairs John had placed at the front of the room.

I was stunned when my legs disconnected from my brain, and walked me up to sit on the fourth chair. My face was frozen with fear. My mind was shrieking: “What the f*** do you think you’re doing?!”

Continue Reading →

0

Homepage headlines

GrabTranscript from a 5-minute speech

I could grab you with my first few words – or I could lose you.

With a website you have less than three seconds to grab attention and make an impact.

But what impact do you want your website to make? What’s the objective of your website? What’s the point of having one in the first place?

Most of my clients tell me it’s to be found on search engines, and/or to convert site visitors into enquirers or clients. And how do you do that?

Continue Reading →

0

4 x 4 x 4 approach to enhancing your homepage

4 objectives for your homepage, 4 words NOT to use, 4 elements to include

In the Lewis Carroll book ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’, Alice fell down the rabbit hole, where she met the Cheshire Cat.

‘Pray, tell me, where should I go from here?’ she asked.

‘That very much depends on where you’re trying to get to’ he replied.

‘I don’t really care where I get to’.

‘Then it doesn’t really matter which way you go’.

Marketing is all about objectives. That’s so important I’m going to say it again: marketing is all about objectives. If you don’t know where you’re trying to get to, it doesn’t matter what you do; it doesn’t matter which way you go.

The main objective of your homepage is to get people to click the ‘buy now’ button or contact you. (Top right is the standard place for contact details, as that is where people will look.)

Aside from that, here are four more key objectives.

Continue Reading →

2

How a call to action saves lives

In Kenya, you take your life in your hands when you travel between towns in a matatu – a small bus or minivan. They are notoriously driven fast and furiously, contributing to one of the highest road death rates in the world.

The Kenyan government tried a number of expensive options, including:

  • lowering speed limits
  • repairing damaged roads
  • encouraging the use of seat belts
  • installing speed bumps
  • cracking down on drunk-driving

Then two economists came up with an ingenious solution.

Continue Reading →

0

“Oh f***!”

Teapot

Keep calm and have a cuppa
photo credit: Hot tea at The Pizza Express via photopin (license)

That’s what many people were posting on social media when we woke up this morning to the news that the UK has voted to leave the EU.

But why did they use the famous four-letter F-word (in full) instead of Fiddlesticks, Fridge magnet, Gerbil, or any other word from our vocabulary?

When we are young, we are taught that certain words are ‘bad’, so we store them in a different part of our brain – the amygdala, sometimes called the reptilian brain, responsible for the fight-or-flight response. It’s where we find the language we use when we are most in shock, which is why people swear when they stub their toe or bang their head on an open cupboard door.

For more on this, see the language of swearing videos below.

Design Continue Reading →

1

So you want to be a copywriter?

Having been doing this for over 30 years, aspiring copywriters often ask me to mentor them.

Here are some of the questions they ask (including my answers, because this article would be pretty useless without them):

Q. Do you have any advice for a marketing strategy, when a new freelance copywriter has little or no budget?
A. When you have time but no money, focus on social media, including blogs, guest blogs, newsletters and guest speaking. When you have money but no time, try advertising.

Q. How did you go about meeting new contacts and potential clients, when you were first starting out?
Continue Reading →

2