Many online businesses know that high quality writing is essential for the success of their business, but they may not know where to start. If you are not already a professional writer, it can be confusing to know what to do and why you are doing it with your web copy.
Your words matter on your website and in your marketing strategies, but there are simple ways to be as effective as possible without having to have a degree in writing.
Writing It Yourself versus Having Someone Else Write
The first thing you need to ask yourself right now is whether you are the best person to write the copy for your business. If you already know that you are a decent writer, you might be able to do the job for yourself. But if you are concerned that your writing is a little less than extraordinary, you might want to talk to a professional.
Why Write Copy Yourself
You might choose to write your website copy and blog entries yourself because of a number of reasons.
- It's cheaper. You do not have to pay for the work.
- It's faster. When you have an idea, you can get it on your site or blog immediately.
- It's a learning experience. When you are doing the writing work for your site, you will be learning from the responses that you get, what works and what does not.
- It's changeable. Because you are the one with the access to writing, you will be able to make changes as quickly as possible.
That said, there is a downside to writing copy for yourself - time. You will probably need to take a lot of time to write the copy for yourself since you might not be comfortable writing in a sales sort of way. If you do not feel that you have the time to devote to your writing at first, but you have the money to pay for professional services, it might be a good idea to seek professional help.
Why Hire a Professional Copywriter or Ghostwriter
For many online businesses that would rather focus on customer service and on product development, a professional copywriter or ghostwriter may be a better choice.
- They have experience. When you work with a professional writer, they already have the experience that you need to get the best possible response from your writing.
- They can offer free consultations. Often, experienced copywriters and ghostwriters will tell you when something does not seem right for your site and they can give you advice on the right direction to take.
- They can work on your deadline. If you have a pressing deadline for some web copy, there are writers who can meet your deadlines. Just ask and you might be surprised at how fast you can get a draft.
- They will do revisions until you are happy. Professional copywriters will continue to revise the copy (at least a few times) until you are happy with the final product.
- They can become a part of your team. If you have certain writers that you work with again and again, they will begin to understand your company and they will be able to create better and better copy.
Professional copywriters are also not going to take credit for the writing they do, unless you have that as a part of your agreement. If they are acting as ghostwriters, no one will know that they write your copy unless you decide to share this fact.
With all of this, professional expertise does cost more money for your company, but the returns for your investment are well worth the cost. You can expect to pay professional copywriters anywhere from $25 to $150 an hour, depending on their experience levels and what you need them to do.
Where to Find Professional Writers
Because so many people do seek out the services of professional writers, writers are found in many places.
These sites allow you to post your project needs, receive bids from writers, review their qualifications, and then choose a writer that suits your needs best.
You may need to pay a small fee to post projects on these sites, or you can review the profiles of the writers and try to contact them outside of the site.
How to Choose a Professional Writer
Of course, choosing the best professional writer is essential when you want the best results. Here are some quick tips for making sure you get the best writer possible.
- Be clear in what you need. When you post a project that is unclear, chances are good that you will find writers who apply to your job and they are not a good fit. Make sure you are clear about what you want or that you create a budget to allow for consultation time with the writer.
- Review their resume. Ask for resumes and review them carefully. A writer should have at least some experience in your market or related markets.
- Look at reviews and feedback. Since some ghostwriters might not be able to post the projects they have worked on, it is a good idea to look at feedback and reviews of the writers.
- Ask for a sample. Most writers are happy to write up a free sample when requested by a new client.
- Request references. Ask for references and then talk to these people to see what they thought of the writer.
Most of the time, you will find a solid writer easily when you follow these rules. However, if you have troubles with a writer, make sure to find someone quickly to replace them. It is better to work with a good writer than to manage a bad one.
Creating Powerful Copy
The copy that you write for your website and blog needs to be powerful, but what does this mean? Powerful copy can be described and defined in a few words.
- Clear. The message that you put through with each article or blog should be as clear as possible. The reader should have no trouble figuring out what you are trying to say to them.
- Concise. Say what you mean in as few words as possible. This will ensure that you can maintain the attention of a reader.
- Emotional. Whenever possible, try to appeal to the emotions of the reader so that they are more likely to keep reading to see what else you have to say.
- Call to action. One of the things that is often missing from copy is a call to action, or a description of what you want a customer to do with your information. Whether you want them to buy something or to call a number, your copy needs to include this detail.
- Targeted. When you know who your target audience is, you will know how to talk to them and how to create the best possible message for their needs and for their goals.
Powerful copy can seem like a trial and error process, and it often is. When you look around the Internet, try to find other copy that appeals to you and try to emulate it (not plagiarize it, of course).
Types of Writing to Use for Your Business
You might not realize just how many types of writing can be used for your business.
- Articles. Articles can be a part of your website or they can be used on other websites to drive traffic to your business.
- Blogs. Blog entries allow you to connect with your audience on a more personal level.
- Press releases. You can create press releases that detail a new product or a new innovation at your business, and that release will then be distributed to press release companies to publish.
- Landing pages. Landing pages are smaller websites that allow you to direct readers to a mailing list or to a special that might pique their interest.
- Books and eBooks. You may want to offer eBooks as a marketing tool or as a product on your website. These books can contain supplementary information that your audience wants to know.
- Reports and white papers. Shorter than books and eBooks, reports and white papers are informational pieces that you might want to offer for free to anyone who comes to your site. These pieces will include information that allows customers to make the best decisions.
- Web pages. Your website will have a number of web pages that need to be written to inform and engage readers.
- Sales letters. You can also create websites that are sales letters to audiences, helping to create an emotional response for readers, and they include a call to action for a certain product or package.
There are many more pieces of writing you might use for your business, but this basic list gives you a good starting point.
Just when you thought your marketing strategy was done, there are even more ways you can spread the word about your online business. The more you can get your name into the eyes of your audience, the more likely you are to have a strong presence online.
In fact, it is a good idea to spread the word as much as possible at the beginning of your marketing campaign. This will help to create a sort of viral marketing effect in which one person tells two people, who tell two people, and so on.
When you are online, your message can be spread quickly and widely, but you need to give it a "push" first.
Creating an effective email campaign can, not only help you draw in new customers, but also it will help to keep you in touch with your loyal customers.
You might want to create one of these sorts of email campaigns.
- Newsletters. When you create a newsletter that is sent out to your mailing list once a week or month, you will create a special way for customers to interact with your business. In addition, they will then be able to share the newsletter with anyone they think might be interested in it also.
- Regular product updates. You can send out emails that update customers about your products, when they are updated, or when they might be going out of stock.
- Upcoming product announcements. If you have a special product coming to your store, you can use your mailing list to tell others about it before anyone else.
The great part about email campaigns is that it is relatively simple to create a mailing list and to grow it. The more people sign up, the more you will be able to create an ongoing discussion about what your company is doing and why others should become customers.
In addition, people who sign up for a mailing list feel like they are a part of a special club and are more likely to take advantage of the offers that you promote.
How to Create a Mailing List
While there are books written about how you can generate a large mailing list, here are the basic ways that you can add email addresses to your list.
- Give people something in return. If you want people to give you their email address, they are likely going to want something from you in return. Make sure that you let people know what they are going to get in return for their email address, and what they are NOT going to get.
- Make unsubscribing easy. When a person on your mailing list sees that it is easy to unsubscribe from the mailings, they will not feel like they need to commit to your mailing list for a long period of time, which can boost your mailing list numbers.
- Make your mailings worth the readers' time. Each of the things you mail to your customers need to provide value. If you do not have something important to share, then maybe it is a better idea to not share anything at all.
- Offer free items. You can offer free books or reports to your readers in exchange for signing up.
- Offer mailing list only specials. Let those who sign up for your mailing list know that you will be offering mailing list only specials. This will encourage people to sign up and to stay signed up.
- Create a mailing list form on your site and blog. You will want to include a link or a form to sign up for your mailing list on your website and on your blog. Make it simple for people to sign up with just a name and their email address. This will not take up much of their time and that also increases the likelihood that more people will sign up.
An Email Campaign Plan
While there are many possibilities when it comes to your mailing list, it is a good idea to have a plan when you start out. Here are a few basic plans to help you out.
- Monthly mailings. Offer a mailing once a month on the same date each month.
- Weekly mailings. On Mondays or Fridays, send out a message to your mailing list.
- Quarterly mailings. This might be a slightly longer email, but sending out less than frequent mailings helps people appreciate your words more and they will not think that you are trying to fill up their mailbox all the time.
Also known as Really Simple Syndication (or Really Simple Stalking), RSS feeds are an often used tool by those who like to keep up with their favourite blogs. By adding this technology to your blog, your readers can subscribe to the RSS feed and receive the updated blog posts as soon as you put them on your blog.
This allows people to organize their favorite blogs into one place on their browser, and it can increase the likelihood that your blogs get read.
All you have to do is add a widget, extension, or a plug-in to your site or blog to add the orange and white button. This will be posted on your site, people just need to click it, and then they will get the links to your site when it is updated.
Writing Articles for Sites
Although this might sound like more work for you, writing articles to be posted on other sites on the Internet is a great way to increase the visibility of your online business.
In addition, many other sites are also available for you to post articles. When you post articles, you will not only be able to spread the word about your site (as you will include your online business website in your bio), but the writing content you share will help to boost your online reputation.
When people see your expertise in your subject matter, they will begin to realize that the value you offer them though your company and your products.
Try to post articles regularly and then post them on your blog, your website, and on your Facebook, and Twitter accounts as well to get the most exposure.