Category: Copywriting tips

Why I always brief in full….

I always do what I call a full brief with my clients. I see it as my opportunity to set clear in both my mind and my clients a clear set of parameters of what is expected before I commence any type of writing work.

I detailed my tips last time for questions to ask your client when you are preparing to write a blog for them. If you haven’t yet had a chance to take a look you can view here: https://simplyamberlou.com/2017/11/23/5-great-questions-to-ask-when-discussing-your-blog-brief/ . In any case even if you were writing an article or preparing social media captions you want to ensure you are clear on the end goal.

I have pulled together a few of my further questions to consider. These always give me assurance of clarity and understanding. They are detailed quite simply below;

1) Expectations

What do you and your client believe is the end goal? Ask them what they hope to achieve? Do you think it is also realistic?

2) I hate those words

Does your client new or old have any words that they can’t stand? Putting SEO aside it’s worth finding out if they have certain buzz words or day to do words they absolutely detest. At least if you know in advance then they’ll be no nasty surprises when your client reads your first draft.

Interestingly Sky News released a survey in July 2017 that was completed by 2000 employees through the jobs site Glassdoor. It makes a fascinating read of the 12 most complained about buzz words and phrases; https://news.sky.com/story/what-are-the-10-most-irritating-office-buzzwords-in-the-uk-10962099 . Do you have any that you can’t bear or that you use yourself? Eek!

3) Time frame

Always know how long you have, when they want the first draft. When is the publication date? If they are vague you can always suggest parameters that fit around your schedule. Only ever agree to what you know you can realistically achieve.

4) Be Honest – build rapport

Be honest. If you can’t make a deadline tell the client in advance. Also consider how you will maintain the client relationship especially if you work remotely. Building rapport is essential in maintaining good links and securing future business with your client.

5) Purpose

How do you fit within the cogs of the client’s business? Are you indispensable? If you aren’t- make yourself an asset. How can you offer further services? What other strings do you have to your bow? Offer new and improved ways of doing things, suggest solutions. If you can offer the client more than what they think they can get from you, you add weight and value to your services.

You of course will have your own suggestions and can even improve on or add to these ideas. Just ensure you are prepared and that you have a clear understanding of what is being asked of you and expected.

As always good Luck! I’d love to hear how you get on…

Do you or your business need help with copywriting?

New to this? Why not get in touch and let’s have an informal conversation on how best to help you move forward? I work on one off pieces and can bespoke packages to suit your growing needs and demands. I can also offer a Kick Start programme to new businesses. Send me a message to find out more.

You can email me at ambersmith@simplyamberlou.com and you can follow me on Twitter @simplyamberlou or LinkedIn Amber L Smith.

I look forward to hearing from you…..

5 Great questions to ask when discussing your blog brief

There will of course be many more than 5 blog briefing questions that you will be asking your client. This is a blog series looking at the varying aspects surrounding that of writing articles for your clients and the considerations you will come up against.

  • When speaking with your client you are likely to have a discussion which I like to call the brief but you may name it something entirely different. The outcome you are after is the same. In essence this is your opportunity to fully understand what your client is after before commencement of writing your blog.
  • It could be anything within the sphere namely that of copywriting that you are quantifying however I am going to home in on the writing of blogs for this particular series. You may find useful tips relevant to other industries too.

I of course write from the angle of freelance. That being said this will also bear some similarities to that of being an employee in a copywriting role and understanding what it is that your boss is requiring of you.

I have compiled a short list of 5 blog briefing questions for this week and will continue next week with other suggestions. The idea is that you have everything you need before you start typing your blog and you have full knowledge of what your client is after.

Cost and budget is not a point I am going to list here as really it is something that you want to have asked and agreed before the brief. The brief is your opportunity and the clients to get all the finer points and details clarified.

1) Who is your audience? Who am I writing to?

  • You want to know who the target audience is going to be. Your blog is likely going to be on the client’s website and shared on social media. Which channels will it be posted on? Do they already have a blog? Are you being bought on board to raise their online presence and profile?
  • Having a good idea of who you are aiming your blog at is vital in how you will pitch your blog. If they have a readership who is that and if they don’t-who are you aiming at? Likely you are hoping to drive traffic back to their site as well as building a brand online.

2) Tone

  • Fitting quite nicely after audience is the tone. What tone does the client prefer? Knowing your ideal demographic will help you in knowing and possibly recommending the tone. It’s always imperative to check. Make no assumptions. The tone is going to be how you will write your piece. Is it informative, is it witty, is it friendly? Base it on attracting your ideal. Are you talking to your average Joe? Are you talking to professionals of a certain level?
  • Ask your client exactly the style of tone they would prefer. If they’re unsure you can always ask the types of current industry pieces similar to their own that they admire or would share themselves. This will give you a good basis for what they are hoping for from you.

3) Expected quantity. How many words would you like the piece written in?

This will relate to your pricing or certainly should do. Dependent on whether or not you have agreed a package or you are pricing per word or per hour. You will have hopefully had an indication when agreeing price what ball park of wording you should be aiming for.

If not then ensure you are under no illusions how many words you are expected to write. This is confirmation to you that you have priced correctly.

  • Putting aside costing’s you want to know quantity. How many words do you have to portray the point of the client and convey it to their audience? Are you having to take into consideration SEO? Are they planning on a short or long blog article? Depends on your view and understood beliefs, and this has of course changed over the years. Neil Patel’s article on, ‘How long should your blog articles be,’ makes some interesting reading, and valuable insights https://neilpatel.com/blog/long-blog-articles/ .
  • Always check. The message from your client may well be perfectly put in 400 words or it could be well over 1000-2000 words. It’s never good to assume here what they want. However it will of course make a difference to the length of time you need to spend on your piece and how the article is ranked on search engines such as Google. This may be of great importance to your client. Ultimately it is worth asking the question.

You want to be singing from the same hymn sheet.

4) SEO content. Are you hoping to utilise words for SEO?

Is the client requiring for you to be using words for SEO? Again this helps with search engines and for some clients and industries it may be a must. If they have particular words that need to be weaved in to your blog article then you could ask for them to let you know what words should be included.

5) Layout of the piece

  • The layout of the piece helps to sell the message and tell the story. How does the client want the story to be told? How should it be sold to your target audience? Are you detailing down in bullet points no waffle and straight and direct to the point? Or are you gently selling and in doing so are you incorporating a real-life client event that has occurred in order to sell to the prospective or existing consumer?
  • Whatever you agree in your briefing you want to make sure you fully understand their wants and demands. You can back it up in email in thanking them for their time and also let them know your terms and conditions if you have any. Ask questions. No one should mind you clarifying any points.

Remember of course they’re your client and you are writing for them. Do ensure you also protect yourself and the brief matches all that you had previously agreed. This is where I stop for now. There is much to be discussed on this topic. I find smaller chunks is best when digesting information and will divulge more in my next blog to you.

Good Luck!

Do you or your business need help with copywriting?

New to this? Why not get in touch and let’s have an informal conversation on how best to help you move forward? I work on one off pieces and can bespoke packages to suit your growing needs and demands. I can also offer a Kick Start programme to new businesses. Send me a message to find out more.

You can email me at ambersmith@simplyamberlou.com and you can follow me on Twitter @simplyamberlou or LinkedIn Amber L Smith.

I look forward to hearing from you…..

As always please feel free to share my posts, visit my site and to follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn. Until next week…..

Blog smart….blog better

You need to blog smart and to blog better. There are thousands upon thousands of various different blogs out there in various fields and industries. Writing a blog for yourself personally or indeed to sell your services or product is a great way to reach your audience. You can show off skill and expertise in your given area in order to help drive more traffic to your chosen site.

Writing a blog and writing it well in order to appeal to your target market are very different things. You want to be able to capture the attention of your intended audience-your captive audience. You want to speak to your readers and to gain new ones.

Your blog can be displayed on all social sites that you exist on and help to build your brand as well as your digital presence. I have detailed some tips on how you can make your piece effective and engaging;

1) Be Creative

Be creative with your topics and the angle of your blog. What do you already know in your area of expertise? What will your audience find interesting? Rewrite articles you may have already written but with a twist. It doesn’t always have to be brand new, you can rejig another piece that is still relevant.

2) Research

If you blog about an area you already know about you may want to back it up with quotes or statistics. Ensure you research well and you check your sources. Don’t forget to cite information if you have paraphrased or quoted.

Equally if it is an area that is new to you-gain your research from a few different sources and again back it up with quotes or figures to support what it is you are trying to convey. Of course you want to write in mind of what is relevant for your audience and whether you are writing professionally or personally.

Having quotes and statistics gives weight and authenticity to your writing and if done correctly gives your brand a trustworthy edge.

3) Accuracy

It needs to be accurate and from a source you know is trustworthy. As much as statistics and quotes can help build your brand and sell your product and services if your blog is full of inadequate and inaccurate information, you will destroy what you have worked hard to build in terms of readership and potential consumers or even existing relationships.

4) Audience

It’s really important to know who you’re writing for. This will affect what you write, how you write it and how much you write. Knowing who’s likely to read your posts serves as a good place to start and should form the basis of every blog.

Write in a way that will engage with your audience and that will be of interest to them. Write with your voice and speak in a way that your readers will understand.

5) Strategy

Have a strategy. Know when and how often you will blog. Know the days that will suit your audience best. Learn what days to post and the time of day you should post. This will be guided by who you are writing your blog for.

Will you post once a week, once a day or once a month? Whatever you choose -remain consistent. This again will help to build loyalty amongst your readers.

Keep your posts innovative and true to you. Your blog should be an extension of your voice and your aim should be to utilise your blog as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Do you feel that you could benefit from a copywriter?

Why not get in touch and let’s have an informal conversation on how best to help you move forward? I work on one off pieces and can bespoke packages to suit your growing needs and demands.

You can email me at ambersmith@simplyamberlou.com and you can follow me on Twitter @simplyamberlou or LinkedIn Amber L Smith.

I look forward to hearing from you…..

As always please feel free to share and like my posts and to follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn. Until next week…..

5 Tips on how to write good copy…part 2

So, I shared some basic ideas on how you can enhance your copy work and write a good piece in my previous blog post. This one is an extension of part 1 and giving my further thoughts on ways you can write effective copy;

1) Add a pop of colour…

Breaking up your piece with some cleverly positioned subheadings is a good place to start and then by adding a pop of colour to that too can help to break up the piece into the appearance of smaller more easily digestible chunks for the reader.

Ensure the colour supports your branding, website and logo. There’s no point choosing red if every inch of selected wording on your website is blue for instance. Consistency is key. Equally choose colours that will not offend the eyes and detract from the rest of your copy.

2) Select the tone and style of voice to suit your intended audience…

You know who your audience is so write for them and to them. Are you going to write in a relaxed yet informal way, could it be that witty and informal would work better? If it is industry specific does it need to be professional and informative?

It’s worth considering before you start writing how the piece will be as you don’t want it to be all over the place and cause confusion and therefore turn away the reader. You want to capture their interest and maintain it throughout.

3) Be human

People need to be able to relate to what it is that you have written. When you capture this you’re more likely to retain readership and build a following. Remember you’re writing for another person to read. Having that human touch is what connects us all.

Creating emotion and feeling will enhance your work, mumbo jumbo is hard to decipher. Try to write as if the piece is just between you and your reader it makes it feel personalised. It builds rapport and a leaning loyalty towards you.

4) Jargon

Unless of course it is for a specific educational body or is required try not to fill your piece with jargon. It needs to have flow and overuse of bigger words where not strategically placed will make your piece seem clunky.

Knowledge is important to impart and weave in but it should be easy for the reader to make sense of. They need to be able to straight away understand what it is that you’re trying to say.

5) Size of text and font

We all love to play around with the many different choices of font but that being said it doesn’t look very professional if you choose a fancy style that no one can read. Keep it simple. Simple is effective and sells well. It is easy to read and again helps to keep the flow of your piece.

Make sure the size of the font is big enough so you don’t need to reach for the magnifying class or you don’t want the other end of the spectrum where you can only fit a paragraph on a page because it’s too big.

Finally my last and parting nugget of advice is always check your work. Remember you’re human and add that personal touch.

Hopefully blog part 1 and part 2 of the series 5 tips on how to write good copy have given you some ideas on how to create your own pieces of written work or how you can bring out the best in what you already write.

If you feel that you could do with some help with any copywriting needs in your workplace then get in touch. You can email me on ambersmith@simplyamberlou.com or visit me on Twitter @simplyamberLou and LinkedIn Amber L Smith.

If you like what you’ve read you can follow me on both Twitter and LinkedIn and please feel free to share my articles.