In a crackly old recording, the grandfather of advertising praises direct response copywriting. (BTW, that’s the kind of copywriting I do.)
If yes, it might be a good time to double-check why, and make them work harder for you.
One of the criteria Google uses to rank websites is freshness, so regular blog posts are a good way to nudge your way up the search engine rankings.
They can also be optimised as landing pages for SEO or AdWords. Once readers are on your site, they might be persuaded to buy from you.
Most importantly, blog posts are great for demonstrating expertise and adding value for site visitors.
But it doesn’t need to stop there.
Every article you write can be used in a multitude of ways. Here are some (mostly) free ways of leveraging your blog posts.
I currently have a iMac, an iPad and an iPhone. I love the way they seamlessly connect together, and I use at least one of them every day. I also have an old MacBook (the white one – remember those?) I’m currently editing my new book on that, to keep it separate from my day job.
As you probably know, Apple products are the norm within the creative sector. We love the simplicity, and the shiny logo. Mac products are so beautifully designed that we don’t care they cost more than the equivalent functionality of a PC or Android device.
But we do know the rest of the world hasn’t taken to Apple as much as we creatives. So we adapt. We (literally) buy adapters. We use different versions of common software, and don’t complain (much) when things don’t perform quite as they should.
Until recently, I’ve managed to find a workaround for everything I’ve needed to do. But technology is beginning to defeat me. Here are some examples:
It’s important to have the right tone of voice for your copy. (Warning: Video contains swearing.)
I was asked to do a five-minute talk recently.
“Great”, I thought. “I can practice my stand-up comedy skills.” (I’ve only done one stand-up performance before).
Then I discovered it was a Petcha Kutcha style talk. Turns out that it’s a Japanese phrase meaning ‘chit chat’ and is pronounced pCha kCha.
It’s a rigid discipline.
It meant using 20 slides (I hadn’t planned to use any) that automatically advance after 15 seconds each (traditional PK is 20 seconds). That means a maximum of 45 words per slide at a normal speaking rate of 3 words per second. That’s about 3 or 4 sentences. Not allowing for breathing, pauses or laughter.
I usually allow about one hour of preparation for each minute of speaking.
For this talk, it was at least double that. I workshopped the content with three or four people to polish it. They all added immeasurable improvements that I would never have achieved on my own. (Thank you Julie, Janice, Mitch and Fripp for your insights).
You might wonder how it went.
It wasn’t perfect. But it was far better than I expected.
I got amazing feedback (people laughed loads, told me it was brilliant, highlight of the night, and more of a performance than a speech).
Watch it below: Why your job ads don’t work
But there’s more to it than that.
I put it in a lot of effort upfront to get a good brief, so that I can do a great job. It’s a bit like decorating a property – the secret of a fabulous finished product is all in the preparation.
It’s tricky to give even a ballpark figure until we have an initial discussion.
A quick conversation would therefore be really useful for both of us – for me to understand exactly what you’re looking for, and for you to get an idea about how I work and the value I can bring.
These are some of the issues we’d explore: Continue Reading →
When I left corporate life, I launched my freelance copywriting business under the brand Comms Plus. “It’s communication,” I thought, “with added positivity and results”. I even registered it as a trade mark.
But, when I went out networking, with ‘Jackie Barrie Comms Plus’ proudly displayed on my name badge, everyone thought I was in telecoms.
I soon realised that clients book me because I’m me, not because of what I call myself.
My official entity for legal and accounting purposes is still ‘Jackie Barrie T/A Comms Plus’. (T/A stands for Trading As.) But
I now market myself under my own name, with a matching professional headshot photo on my business cards, website and social media.
Think of the objective of your business name, and your route to market. As with all experts, it’s most likely that you’ll win business via word of mouth and networking. Once they’ve met you, why should prospects have to remember a business name as well as your own name? Don’t make it difficult for them to track you down.
Search my name and you’ll find me all over Google.
Also, I write in the first person, and share maximum personality online (although I rarely share my personal life online). Because I found this works better than writing in the third person and pretending to be bigger than you are.
Another advantage is that you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to use your own name as your business name.
If the URLs are already taken, you have a common name, or your name is the same as someone famous, you might have to add ‘writer’, ‘copywriter’ or ‘wordsmith’ to differentiate yourself.
Finally, I win business because of my slogan, ‘Writing Without Waffle’. (In the UK, waffle means ‘lengthy, vague or trivial’.) When I give people my business card, they say: “Ooh, that’s useful, I need some of that!” Or “I know someone who needs some of that!” And that’s what you want your marketing to do.
BTW, prospects can find me all over Google via my slogan too.