“All external SEO efforts are counterfeit other than one: Writing, designing, recording, or videoing real and relevant content that benefits those who search.”
— Ken Krogue, Forbes Magazine Contributor
This from Anecdotage.com:
“Ttlly Brllnt!” mobile marketing idea from the 1940’s.
“The famed florist Max Schling once ran a brilliant ad in The New York Times: The copy, entirely in shorthand, was clipped by thousands of curious businessmen who naturally asked their secretaries for a translation. The ad – addressed to these very secretaries – asked them to remember Schling when the boss wanted flowers for his wife!”
What language do your customers (or their employees) speak? Are you using it to get their attention? I immediately think of IM and text message shorthand when I read the story above. A message to parents of kids (marketing something relevant) would be great in that text-message slang. The parents would take it to their kids for translation and you’ve advertised twice for the price of once. Crafty.
Content development takes time and effort. You need to come up with ideas, shape them into quality articles, and actually write them out. But there’s more to it. You also have to maintain practices that help you ensure quality writing standards. Here are 17 quick content development tips for the stage that comes after your ideas have been captured and most of the heavy lifting is finished.
Go through these after every article is written, and you’ll improve your writing quality immensely.
One last note about SEO. While your articles should be checked for optimization (Is your keyword phrase in the title? H1? The URL? In the body copy at least once or twice? In the meta description?), I would advise against obsessing over it. Intense focus on SEO tends to make articles unreadable by humans, and if you start producing content from this perspective, you risk developing content that penalizes your site via Google updates like Panda and Penguin.
A more sane approach is to create content that’s useful to humans then share it consistently on social networks. This approach is much more useful than trying to game Google and hoping for that elusive, magical SEO bump.
Sean D-Souza has a great article on writing for PowerPoints. And it applies equally well to marketing copywriting. Here’s the author’s site: http://www.psychotactics.com/artpowerpoint.htm
Some highlights.. “Step 1: Kaboom Them Into Waking Up!
Ever noticed how most presentations start with, “Welcome to this presentation…blah, blah, blah.” You don’t see too many TV ads do that. They slam into you at a zillion miles an hour and make sure you’re paying attention.
So How Do YOU Do That When You Don’t Have A Moving Picture?
The trick is to start with something that’s totally disconnected with the presentation. For instance, you could be selling cars yet you could start with, “One day in heaven…” That’s a good wake up call for an audience that’s half asleep.”
Step 2: Always Tell A Story
Step 3: Use Suspense, Not Mystery
Step 4: Don’t Bore Them with Your Solutions. Bring Up the Problem!
Paint a gory picture. You might want to read my article: Is your solution your biggest problem? Only after you have made them feel the pain, should you bring out the solution. The best TV commercials always make you feel the pain.”
There are 8 steps total.. enjoy.
“Giving up the illusion that you can predict the future is a very liberating moment. All you can do is give yourself the capacity to respond. . . the creation of that capacity is the purpose of strategy.”
— Lord John Browne
This quote applies to a lot of things. I couldn’t help but think about marketing projects and small business in general, though.
When you’re in the writing and/or marketing business, you have to adapt to so many different people and projects. Only the flexible – those who respond positively despite what came before – keep getting good work and building business.
Don’t you love it when people sprinkle the words “honestly” and “frankly” into their conversation? It sounds like rookie car salesman banter.
When written in marketing copy, the effect is even more disturbing. It often shows up in these forms: “in truth,” “truthfully,” “to be completely frank,” and “quite frankly.” It’s supposed to sound conversational, but ends up arousing suspicion.
On further examination, these words often point to areas in the text where confidence is lacking. Go back and purge them from your copy and try to figure out what’s bothering you about the promises you’re making.
Cut the conversational salesman speak and just make claims that you know your products and services will back up. It’s easier that way. If you follow my advice, your writing will connect with readers a bit more. If you don’t, well, frankly I don’t give a damn.
How do you market to Generation Y – a class of texters, Twitterers, Tweeters, Twits and Facebook / Pinterest junkies?
Sarah Perez does a great job uncovering the issues and delving deep into the behavioral trend that typifies this elusive demographic in her article titled: Why Gen Y Is Going to Change the Web
To me, it’s difficult to imagine how to reach an audience with an important message in 144 characters or less (a la Twitter). However, with a link, a tweet can be treated just like an AdWords ad with a landing page.
It’s a lot like the headline->deck copy->subhead->body copy “hook and entice” practice that’s dominated journalism and direct mail for decades. Some people refer to it as the “bucket brigade” method. Same general idea – hook, press on, hook again. Movies work this way, too. Those in the biz say you need a new hook (intense drama, action, comedy, intrigue) every 5 minutes or so. I read somewhere recently that screenplay teachers instruct their students to watch the Lethal Weapon movies to understand the concept in action (literally). I think I read this in either John Forde’s newsletter or Psychotactics (Sean D’Souza).
1. Find someone who knows marketing writing, not a manual writer, a programmer or a graphic design firm. (If you hire a design firm that provides writing, make sure that their writers are professionals with skills that demonstrate a high level of ability and experience.)
2. Find a marketing writer that knows your industry. Go even further, and see if your prospective writer can get technical and speak with your employees and product managers. Get a specialist.
3. Find a writer with EXPERIENCE. The best way is to ask for clips. Good writers/geeks should have a Web page, with links to pdfs and writing samples.
4. Determine whether the freelance writer you want to hire is truly professional. Don’t waste time on hobbyists who may or not be around when you want them in on conference calls, interviews or meetings.
5. Get a marketing writer with good people skills. Even if they’re not going to be working on site, people skills count. Oftentimes, individual writing projects turn into larger projects which require project management skills and team-oriented organization.
Economy of Words
Everybody says this… but it bears repeating. If you reduce the number of words your readers have to endure to get your message, you’re way ahead of the game.
It worked for Hemingway, and it works for advertising and marketing writers. When you simplify, you not only communicate better, you make your readers think you’re *smarter*. Stanford University did a study on this, in fact. Those who write with both shorter sentences and shorter words are perceived by their audiences as more intelligent than those who use more elaborate and sophisticated means. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true.
Write short and reap profits. That’s communication.
A lot of people come to my site (via Google, Twitter and elsewhere) for information about marketing writing and freelance copywriting pricing. These include people in the market for writing services and freelance professionals that need guidance with respect to specific projects. I usually direct them to Steven Slaunwhite’s resources. He’s considered the pricing guru in the biz and does a lot of research to back up his info and reports.
I recently came across a great comment thread about freelance copywriting pricing, however. And it’s a useful eye-opener for anyone involved in this trade – buyers and sellers. Ignore the obnoxious headline and read the thread below that. There are a lot of gems in there (along with some duds and silliness). The range of pricing discussed is huge, but you can get a sense for what the more serious companies pay when they’re looking for quality writing.