Category Archives: Article Writing
Normally I find the Money Saving Expert enewsletter to be a useful read, both from a personal and business perspective. Something in today’s edition however made my blood run cold.
Tucked into a section headed “30 ways to earn cash online”, I found:
Write copy. Web content brokers pay £2-£30 per piece, eg, Groupon ads and travel descriptions. Forumite Sinkorswim says: “Been doing it 9mths & made £1,000. It’s a godsend.”
Now the more cynical reader may think that I am simply being protectionist, that I can see my potential market being eaten away by people looking to make a bit of extra pocket money. Obviously the more copywriters there are in the market, the fewer jobs I can land. But if commissioning a freelance copywriter, you should be equally concerned.
Last week I completed a rush job for a client who had hired a cheap copywriter to put together a number of inbound marketing articles. The problem was that every single article was, quite frankly, awful. Writing from a personal perspective, the author openly admitted they knew nothing first hand about the topics in hand. There was no sense of authority. The articles failed in their purpose to inform or convince.
One of them also included the phrase “cutesie patootsie”, which is a crime against any language.
The writer who penned these articles had been cheap. Worse still, it showed. Poor grammar, dodgy spelling, an openly-stated unfamiliarity with the topic in hand and that phrase meant the copy was unusable.
This then left my client in a dilemma. They had saved some of their inbound marketing budget by hiring a cheap copywriter. But when the articles were delivered and it became apparent they would need to be completely rewritten, there wasn’t enough money left over to pay a “proper” copywriter. Not without breaking their budget anyway. Which they eventually did.
Are all cheap copywriters rubbish? Not at all. In fact my rates are at the lower end of the payment scale proposed by the Professional Copywriters Network. But it is essential that you carefully check previous projects undertaken by a copywriter and that they can demonstrate a working knowledge of your subject area.
Whenever you need to source a freelance copywriter do not be seduced by a low headline rate. As your grandmother used to say, buy cheap, buy twice.
If your business (or customers) need top quality web content at a price that won’t break the bank, drop us a line. And I hereby swear never to use the phrase “cutesie patootsie”.
During an interview with Radio 4 this morning, Minister without Portfolio Ken Clarke decided to drop a new word into the public conscious - eurorealist*. Despite existing in some limited circles since the middle of the last decade, eurorealist has yet to gain much traction and is certainly not yet in common usage (a quick Google reveals less than 250,000 matches).
The eurorealist example raises an important issue for businesses preparing to employ a professional copywriter. Should your web content be packed with up-to-the-minute wording?
When should you use “new” words in your copywriting?
In some circumstances, particularly when technology is involved, the introduction of new words is essential. There is just no other way to accurately describe a new product of service. But in these instances it is essential that you provide some kind of easy reference for readers to help them understand. This could be in the form of an explanation within the copy, a hyperlink to a glossary page, or some kind of mouse-over tool-tip. The presentation is not as important as making the information available though.
Occasionally it may be desirable to use “new” words to catch the reader’s attention. In doing so you may help cement your reputation as a leader in your sector. Or you may just end up confusing your reader.
When should you avoid “new” words?
The answer to this question is relatively simple – always. The goal of any copywriting project is to get your message across as quickly and easily as possible. If your aim is to reach the widest possible audience, there is even less reason or excuse for using new words which have yet to enter the mainstream vocabulary.
Your best bet is allow Ken Clarke to use new words in the media and allow other people to do the explanations. This may take quite a while – in the meantime you can focus on writing clear web content which does not require translation and is more likely to convert visitors into customers.
Need to secure the copywriting services of someone who is not afraid to avoid buzzwords, piffle and corporate junk speak? Get in touch with Tech Write today!
* “A eurorealist attempts to maintain a realistic but reformist perception of the European Union and European integration as a whole.”
Today marks the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Pride and Prejudice. The books tells the tale of a young woman named Elizabeth Bennett, who seeks to land herself a husband in the form of Mr Darcy.
Pride and Prejudice remains one of English literature’s most popular tales, and has been dramatised for TV and cinema many times over the past two centuries (as technology developed of course!). These days, the quest for a husband as a way to better oneself is an alien concept – so what makes the story continue to be so successful?
The fact is, Pride and Prejudice is predictable. It is a love story which, right from the start, the reader knows will have a happy ending. The challenges faced by Miss Bennett may remain a mystery, but there is no doubt whatsoever that she will end the book as Mrs Darcy.
For the copywriter, Jane Austen’s example shows two important traits:
1. Sometimes it pays for the reader to know how your story ends
What is the point of knowing how a story ends? People often resist the unknown so giving them answers early provides some comfort and confidence. It also helps your readers decide at the start of your article whether the rest is relevant to them or if they should move on to something else. No one likes wasting time reading irrelevant copy because they end up feeling cheated. Don’t cheat your readers!
2. You don’t have to say how you will reach the end of the story
You may know upfront that Elizabeth will marry Mr Darcy, but you don’t know how their relationship will develop. When copywriting, your own readers may know the destination of your piece, but you don’t have to lay out a reading road map in advance. Surprising your readers with a dash of creativity in the middle of a journey adds delight for them and helps keep them engaged throughout.
So after 200 years, Jane Austen continues to educate her readers in more than just in social mores, regency England and husband-hunting. Taking a leaf out of her storytelling style will also ensure any copywriting you undertake will be of interest to your own readers.
This year International Education Week is being held between the 12th and 19th November. But what does a celebration of international education and web copywriting services have in common?
The answer involves considering what your own website is trying to achieve. What are most people looking for when they surf the web? What are you looking for as you trawl websites? For some it will be entertainment but for most it will be information. Some will even be looking for entertaining information.
But when you read useful information, you are of course being educated in the process.
However, unlike International Education Week, the content on your website has to last longer than seven days. In fact it probably needs to be added to at least once every week to keep visitors coming back. Why? By providing genuinely useful information on your website you can:
- Encourage visitors to come back and visit your site, hopefully converting them into customers in the process.
- Establish a reputation within your industry or sector for expertise and generosity.
- Attract the attention of search engines who will direct more visitors to your site once they have indexed your content.
This copywritten content can take the form of new web pages, blog posts or even articles submitted to publications or guest posts on other websites. The key is to ensure the information you produce is genuinely useful to your readers – try to educate and inform rather than just writing for the sake of it.
So why not get your business involved with International Education Week by engaging in some creative web copywriting? Your readers learn, your company prospers and the world becomes just that little bit better educated!
If you need help, Tech Write offer a number of very affordable web copywriting services designed to give your website the content it needs and that your readers deserve. Alternatively drop us a line using our contact form to find out how we can help.