Categories
Marketing

4 Easy steps to help you write for any business or promotion. A copywriter’s guide.

Updated for 2019. A guide for all new copywriters or anyone that needs help writing for a promotion, website, blog, event, email or social media.

These simple steps have helped me get results for myself and my customers.

1. Get to know the scene.

Get started.

Starting any writing job can be daunting. Be clear on your brief. I like this one.

Define who your customers are, what you need them to do, and what you need to achieve.

Look at your competition and similar businesses.

Go on Twitter and other social media, scroll through timelines, sign up to newsletters, and read through websites and blogs.

It will give you a head start.

Knowing what your competition and other businesses are doing will give you more options.

Everyone is feeding from social media. Ideas, trends and language are borrowed and adjusted to suit.

You can still be original and break a few rules, but it will save you time and give you confidence in your writing.

This will also help you get to know your customers. Read all the comments and reviews and do as much research as you can.

2. Write for your platform.

Are you writing for a website, social media, a blog, email or print?

How will the end result look?

I will mimic what I’m writing for as much as possible because the layout can affect what you write, and images can change the whole feel and meaning of a promotion.

So for example, if I’m writing a blog I will alternate from a Word doc and WordPress. I’ll write the headline, the sub-headings, add the images, and then I’ll start on the content.

I frequently preview the blog to see what it looks like.

Many customers will view the content on a phone.

Always break up long paragraphs with sub-headings.

Whatever you’re working on, send a copy to yourself via email and look at it on your phone. You’ll be surprised how different it looks.

I sometimes leave it until the next morning so I can look at it with a fresh pair of eyes.

If possible send a test email or use a programme to view how your content will look on different devices and browsers.

Tactics and techniques for every platform.

Get to know each one.

Updating a website

A big job for anyone. A copywriter has the advantage of seeing a business through fresh eyes and will be tuned into defining the benefits and organising the job.

Be clear on the brief, do lots of research and get to know the business as much as possible. Here’s a helpful, step-by-step guide. Copywriter’s Guide to Rewriting Web Content from Gemma Hawdon. When writing for a website make sure you read up on the latest SEO.

Social media

Instagram is growing in popularity for small businesses. I prefer it to Facebook. You can reach a new community locally and beyond. It’s easier to build up followers and get your posts seen.

Instagram and Facebook will prioritse posts that have the most comments and interaction. So ask questions, use competitions, videos and interesting or entertaining images.

Twitter is all about the chat. It’s also good for event updates and trending hashtags.

LinkedIn is great for business-to-business. I’ve found many customers this way.

Buffer has some good blogs. How to create a Social Media Marketing Strategy for 2019  

Blogging

Good for helping customers, improving SEO and enticing target customers to your business.

Video blogging is big in 2019/20. But the written blog is by no means dead! People want answers, information and insight.

A blog can match you to your perfect customer.

Find blogs that you enjoy and can relate to. It will help you develop your own blogging skills. I like Medium.

What can you pass on to your customers? How can you help or entertain them?

Email marketing

Talk to new and existing customers through newsletters, and create build-up campaigns for events and product launches.

The key is to build a steady database of customers making sure the email addresses are clean and up-to-date.

Use incentives and promote your newsletter wherever you can.

Mailchimp make it easy.

Here’s my own beginner’s guide to email marketing.

Print marketing

Surprise your local community and reach out to the masses. It may be exactly what’s needed to give you the edge over the competition.

Try a creative mailing piece, press release or magazine article.

I found some excellent tips on PR, writing articles and press releases with Soulful PR with Janet Murray.

Help customers find you. Learn about SEO. 

Google is intuitive and will recognise an informative and helpful piece of content.

If you use the right keywords you will be picked up in searches. But that’s just the basics.

Give yourself a better chance of getting found by your ideal customers. Beginner’s Guide To SEO in 2019 by Moz.

3. Keep it simple. Keep it sweet.

4 tips to help you write for any business or promotion. A copywriter's guide.

Keep it simple

The best results I’ve had (in terms of sales, website views or responses to content) are from short and well-structured pieces of writing.

It’s really tempting to write about every fantastic thing your business or promotion has to offer.

Most people won’t read long pieces of content.

Apart from a few exceptions like informative website pages, a blog, complex or luxury products. Stick to a few key benefits and add natural links to more information.

A short, targeted and confident message will encourage people to take action.

An example event email layout that got results for me.

  1. An enticing or emotive subject line. Step away from the computer… the first drink is on us!
  2. Headline. Copywriting event of the year 2019.
  3. An image.
  4. A benefit driven introduction. Join us for a day of marketing chat and advance your writing skills to compete with the best.
  5. Content.1-2 paragraphs or a bullet point list.
  6. A testimonial from a champion in your field or a happy customer. This could also be the headline.
  7. A strong call to action. Book now to receive your 20% early bird discount.
  8. Contact details and a link to your website.

Keep the structure simple and content short.

Keep it sweet

Write in a positive frame of mind and in the active voice.

You’re not writing a report. You’re talking to people.

Create a sense of action. I found a great blog to help you with this from Copy Octopus.

Be clear on your benefits and what you’re offering.

Ask the questions “So what? What’s in it for me?”

Some useful advice I received when I started out.

Show with an image or testimonial, or blatantly say what the benefits are. A financial saving, piece of mind, enjoyment, the problem you are solving with your product or service, knowledge to help you move forward etc.

Always include a strong call to action.

I found some businesses are reluctant to add one thinking it’s too pushy, but it’s not. It’s giving people the option to take up what you’re offering.

Be bold and confident. If you avoid giving people the option I would wonder why?

Grammar and spelling are important.

You will be judged on it.

4. Keep the customer at the heart of your marketing.

Get to know your customers.

Talk to regular and past customers, read reviews and comments, go to events, speak to customer services or staff on the ground level.

“Get a quote not a quiz” – Aviva. They’ve tapped into what customers find annoying and used their simple approach as a sales pitch.

I moved to marketing from a customer services background. It seemed like the marketing team were oblivious to what customers really needed and wanted.

We were constantly sorting out invoicing issues, delivery or transport mix ups, confusion over prices and details, the list is endless.

And then I moved to marketing and did exactly the same.

It’s inevitable. It’s easy to forget the whole customer process and just focus on what you’re doing.

Know what’s important to customers and clear up any problems. You can then concentrate on the benefits.

Why do people go to you? What makes you unique?

Do you have a particularly smooth buying process, do you give customers piece of mind with your tight security checks, or get through the jargon and do the hard work for customers?

Maybe you have friendly, experienced staff who know their products inside-out, nice comfy arm chairs and calming surroundings, or offer an Eco friendly approach (high on the agenda at the moment).

Whatever your business, find out why customers like and respect you. 

Use what you find to promote yourself.

A final note.

It is difficult to know what people will respond to. Sometimes it’s the least likely promotion that will get results.

Like a two line, plain text email with a link to your website, or a heartfelt or funny blog on your website that’s not really related to your business but helps you gain trust with your customers.

If you’re working on a campaign use a variety of promotions on different platforms. And if you use the same promotions all the time, it might be worth shaking things up.

Rules are there to be broken and change will make people look.

Useful blogs and websites.

I hope you enjoyed my blog.

I am freelance copywriter in Pembrokeshire.

If you would like me to write for you, please do get in touch.

Vanessa

Categories
Music reviews

Looe Music Festival.

A fantastic, friendly, folk, rock and indie inspired music festival, in the calming harbour town of Looe, Cornwall.

Looe is satisfyingly far down on the south Cornwall coast. The journey is long, but you will be rewarded.

Cocooned in a bay, this pretty and vibrant, old harbour town is surrounded by high, lush green woodland. Many of the buildings date back to the 16th and 17th century.

Its fascinating history of smuggling, shipping and fishing, is kept alive by way of preserved landmarks, charismatic locals and historic buildings throughout the town and coastline.

It’s busy now, with the festival in full tow. The setting is perfect. Cobbled streets, a sparkling river, venues to suit all genres of music, and plenty of eateries and pubs to amble in-between acts. Folk, fun and frolics here we come! Looe Music Festival.

A cool, Cornish welcome.

Headline acts this year include Brian Ferry, Alabama 3, Fun Loving Criminals and Craig Charles DJ (my fave was Craig Charles), but at the heart are the smaller acts and buskers who play in various locations around the town – in old pubs, small bars, huge tents, the beach main stage, the streets, the harbour, on top of a big van..

Everyone from locals, festival goers, folk lovers, families, bearded hipsters and pirates alike, are out enjoying the music and warm September heat.

Some music highlights

Gilmore and Roberts a folk/indie duo, charmed us with storytelling tunes, seamless harmonies, gorgeous guitar and violin playing, and quirky, funny chats in-between. I liked the one with the guy with an amputated leg or arm…

I caught a rare jazz act – Louise Parker in Zute Bar. Her strong, soulful voice filled the room with some old classics and lively clap along jazz numbers. She sang to our small crowd with ease, and got everyone involved.

Accompanying Louise was a piano playing feind. I didn’t catch his name, please do comment if you know it.

I enjoyed a captivating performance from Elliott Morris. Folk, pop with a rock edge.  A strong and calming voice, each song was heartfelt and warm. His superb, lively and edgy acoustic guitar playing added an extra dimension to his performance.

Musician-by-harbour-in-Looe
Busker on the harbour

Main-Stage-Looe

Choose if you want, to avoid the ticket cost. You could happily amber round the numerous side streets on both sides of the river, explore and catch some great buskers.

There was some bellowing didgeridoo playing, a folk style ukulele Sia tribute, some mythical story telling, and a host of very good traditional folk singers, to name a few.

Food-stall-@-Looe
Enticing food around every corner

Good food is never far away. Street food vendors, venues and pubs offer an array of cuisine from classic Jamaican dishes to freshly caught seafood platters.

Sample some Cornish pasties (they are lovely), sip good quality coffee or herbal tea, or a cool beer. Eat chips, relax in a plush restaurant or chill in a pub of your choosing. I spotted some locals crab catching. They had a bucket full!

After 3 days of glorious music, exploring cobbled streets, some unexpected company from Australian Jess, and many a Cornish treat, I ended the festival on a high and made my way to the last couple of acts.

girl-writing-@-LooeOne of the best things about this festival… big enough crowds to create a great atmosphere, but small enough venues so that you can get up close, if you want.

I caught the start of Fun Loving Criminals with Huey and his no pulling any punches chat, and strong rock performance. I heard good reviews of them, but with a dance head on me, I made my way to see funk and soul connoisseur Craig Charles, with his boundless energy and a funktastic funk & soul DJ set. It was superb.

A good dance finale from myself and a few hundred revellers to round the festival off nicely.

Thank you Looe. I will be returning for sure. 😍

About me

I hope you enjoyed my blog.

I am a freelance copywriter.

If you would like me to write for your blog, publication, or business, please do get in touch. Visit my website to find out more.

Vanessa

Categories
Music reviews

Summer 2016 Music Festivals And Gigs In Pembrokeshire

2016 will see Pembrokeshire host some fine music.

From World renowned musicians, new up-coming acts and a host of local talent.

We have a new Arts festival The Edge. A performance from the great jazz/blues musician Courtney Pine at Aberjazz, and an intimate set from ‘Welsh Tornado’ guitarist Gareth Pearson in Caffe Vista

If you’ve not ventured out in Pembrokeshire recently, you may be pleasantly surprised. 

Gone are the 90s, grungy, grubby, pubs (I know I miss them!).

Music venues have been revamped and re-energised. More musicians are finding their way down and enjoying what’s on offer.

Cosy, friendly music cafes/bars have emerged.

Try Cwtch Coffee Shop and Art Gallery in Pembroke Dock, a welcome burst of culture to the town, or Tenby’s Caffe Vista, a stones throw away from Tenby’s north beach,

Or the lovely French/Welsh inspired venue of Ffwrn in Fishguard, where you can enjoy a freshly baked pastry and an ale of your choice.

Go on your own, go with friends. Explore Pembrokeshire and enjoy the music.

July 2016

Tamsin Waley-Cohen. 2016 Music festivals and gigs in Pembrokeshire.
Tamsin Waley-Cohen.

The Fishguard International Music Festival Thursday 21st July to Tuesday 2nd August. 10 days of song, music and verse in some picturesque and atmospheric locations in Fishguard, St Davids and around Pembrokeshire.

Acts include The Welsh National Opera Orchestra, clarinetist Michael Collins, and violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen.

Kadia a folk inspired trio from Dorset, perform Friday 22nd July in Cwtch Coffee Shop and Art Gallery Pembroke Dock.

Enjoy their unique take on some modern classics, jazz, Irish and traditional folk. Also on Friday 22nd July through Span Arts in The Queens Hall Narberth is Edd Bateman’s West African Love Affair.

Influenced through his experiences touring and performing in Africa, Edd Bateman, a talented bassist, along with his all-star West African band, deliver their unique blend of rhythmic and intoxicating West African inspired music.

On Saturday 23rd July in Caffe Vista Tenby, experience an acoustic performance from Gareth Pearson.The influential and successful Welsh jazz/blues guitarist dubbed ‘The Welsh Tornado’ known for his fingerstyle guitar.

Pembs Fest Music Festival Friday 29th to Saturday 30th July is held inside the castle walls in Haverfordwest. Saturday’s headline act is Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles fronted by former lead guitarist of the BRIT award winning Welsh indie rock band Catfish and the Bottlemen.

Support acts include hip-hop reggae maestros Regime. For the ravers, on the Saturday in the castle’s ‘prison vaults’ over 28 DJ’s bring you drum & bass, dub step, house, hip-hop, electro and techno vibes. It’s hyped to be a night to remember.

Pembroke Beer and Cider Festival Friday 29th July to Sunday 31st July. In conjunction with CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) sample from over 25 ales, including brews from Pembrokeshire (there are many), Wales and beyond.

Enjoy music, dancing and singing on the Friday, with duo Lighthouse on Saturday and Al Davy on Sunday.

August 2016

Monday 1st August Roxy Musique The Queens Hall Narberth. A fantastic tribute act to one of the most influential bands of all time. Go back in time and explore Roxy Music’s daring and creative repertoire from 1972-75.

And of course you’ll be treated to many of their classic hits such as Virginia Plain, Love is the drug and Angel Eyes.

Friday 5th August to Sunday 7th August The Edge Festival, Solva harbour. A new event on the circuit. Inspired by the filming of ‘Under Milk Wood’ on location, an Arts festival was born. A celebration of music, literature, film, food, craft, sport, with coastal outdoor activities.

Live music plays throughout including a performance from Ragsy, who’s recently collaborated with Caroline Harrison on new single My Love – Bring out the Guards. Local talent including the Pembrokeshire Ukulele Pirates, Welsh singer/songwriter Meic Stevens, and a host of local acts in a Battle of the Bands on the Saturday.

Tuesday 9th August. A live broadcast of Glyndebourne Opera:Béatrice et Bénédict by BERLIOZ in The Torch Theatre Milford HavenWith the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Chorus. Sung in French with English subtitles.

The Hot Seats. Summer 2016 music festivals and gigs in Pembrokeshire
The Hot Seats

Wednesday 24th August 2016 The Hot SeatsBurnett’s Hill Chapel Martletwy, Narberth. 

Five hillbilly virtuosos from Richmond, USA perform in the charismatic and old chapel not far from Narberth town. (The chapel has more great acts like this throughout the summer).

Aberjazz jazz n blues festival. Thursday 25th August to Monday 29th August. Over 50 superb acts, in an array of venues around Fishguard and Goodwick.

Be it traditional jazz n blues, ska, roots, country, rock, folk, gypsy jazz, dance, you are likely to find something to satisfy your ears and eyes. Venues range from art galleries to cafe/bars, to old traditional pubs.

Highlights include Courtney Pine in the Theatr Gwaun on Thursday,  The Jasmine Power Quintet in Peppers on Friday, and Tipitina in Ffwrn on Saturday.

Friendly and welcoming music and dance workshops are open to everyone. Try the Blues Harmonica Workshop with Rick Asherson in Ffwrn on Sunday.

Aberjazz is by far the biggest festival in Pembrokeshire. One not to be missed.

The relaxed feel, the calmness of Cardigan Bay, intimate venues, the end of summer, it all adds to the good feeling Aberjazz creates.

Other music venues in Pembrokeshire.

Food at Williams Pembroke, a warm and tastefully decorated cafe with gourmet food. Friendly hosts with a communal guitar on the wall.

They occasionally have music events in their garden. Cromwells Bar and Tavern in Pembroke (opposite the castle) host music from local bands and a weekday open mike night.

Pembroke Castle hold large music events in the castle grounds.

The magnificent St Davids Cathedral hold events throughout the year.

Try the Castle Inn in the beautiful coastal village of Newport, North Pembrokeshire. A relaxing pub with a nice outdoor space where they often showcase local music.

Narberth has an independent and family-friendly vibe.

By day it’s a foodie, craft and boutique hub, by night there is a friendly vibe with a foray of locals and musicians coming together to talk music and enjoy the creative atmosphere.

Explore and enjoy Pembrokeshire. A warm welcome and live music awaits!

*Feel free to comment, and promote your venue or music gig/event

Vanessa

About me.

Categories
Marketing

Fifty Shades of Grey. Take inspiration and boost your business’s marketing.

Earlier this week on a dreary February evening I broke my usual weekday routine to see movie of the moment Fifty Shades of Grey.

Despite the bad reviews I enjoyed it. It made interesting conversation and debate with a friend, her teenage son and girlfriend.

What’s the secret to this film’s success? 

Curiosity and the focus on raw human emotion?

A gap in the market?

This subject is not often broached and used as a main story-line for a major film. You’ve also got the build-up and fan base. It was huge. Millions of books have been sold across the globe.

Love or hate it, you can’t deny that Fifty Shades of Grey is a marketing triumph.

What can you do to give your marketing campaigns a boost?

1. A bold and noticeable campaign.

For a while now the trend in marketing has focused on subtle ways to promote a business through content marketing and social media.

All good, but maybe a bold and out-there campaign is what’s needed to jolt people away from their routine and take notice.

Break the mould and surprise your customers.

I’m thinking real life models (in place of manikins) in clothes shop windows – it would get people looking.

A coffee shop revamp that introduces 20 new teas and a free salsa lesson with every 20th coffee bought.

Or a performance from a local group in a electrical shop, showcasing the latest amps and speakers.

2. Jump on the bandwagon.

As per this blog talk about what’s current. Put your own spin on news and local issues. Blog and use social media to express your thoughts.

Views, likes and shares will draw people to your business and website.

Google favours a popular blog or social media post.

Do this regularly and your website hits and ranking will soar.

3. Go back to basics.

Remind people what you do.

When promoting your own business, it’s easy to get side-tracked and miss out important details in promotions.

Everyone’s in their own world, and new customers follow you on social media.

Show how your service or product will benefit them.

If you need inspiration on what to talk about, get out there and talk to your customers. 

You could hold a workshop, event or inspirational talk, give away free samples etc.

Take feedback on what people like about you and use the answers as a basis for a blog, social media update, newsletter, email or marketing campaign.

4. Timing.

Valentine’s Day was an obvious date to release the film but, it’s also that time of year when everyone needs a boost.

Can you take advantage of up-and-coming local and national events?

Or special occasions and times of the year?

Start planning. Draw up a promotion plan for the year ahead.

You can build up the momentum with teasers on what’s coming up, or for an event, offer incentives like early-bird offers and extra benefits for booking early.

Plan promotions across a variety of platforms.

A well thought-out, creative campaign can perform better than lots of one-off promotions.

Also by planning in advance you get everything done in good time and allow for distractions and delays.

I hope this blog has given you some ideas for your business.

Good luck with your marketing projects.

Vanessa

My service.

Categories
Marketing

What does a copywriter do?

I recently received a call from someone who wanted me to copyright their newly written children’s book.

It’s misleading but a copywriter has nothing to do with copyright law.

We have the almighty task of writing for business.

We wear many hats.

We could be a journalist one day, writing a blog the next, and then move onto writing for a website and doing all the research, SEO and behind the scenes tasks that you don’t think about.

The exact role of a copywriter varies.

Some will have a specific job within a company, or if you’re a freelancer every job is different.

Many will have a background in marketing or journalism, and some are skilled in writing for a specific audience such as the medical or law community.

It’s hard to define but we are all writers.

We aim to find the most effective way to connect with the audience and achieve the desired outcome of the job.

Whether it’s to sell, promote a brand, or move up the pages on Google.

Today’s copywriter.

Before online marketing, a copywriter’s role was to research and creatively write for various types of media such as magazines, newspapers, flyers, posters, radio etc.

We still do the above but the role has evolved to writing for and competing in the online world. 

We now

Write with SEO in mind.

Essential to get found by the target audience.

Write for various online platforms.

Such as websites, blogs, emails and social media. There are techniques, tactics and behind the scenes tasks for all.

Develop an all-round marketing strategy.

Looking at each business type, target audience, goals and tactics.

Effectively write for print.

It’s still a good option. It will help compete with online marketing.

Copywriting and marketing go hand-in-hand.

A good copywriter will ask lots of questions.

Be up to speed in the latest SEO techniques, and have experience in writing for different audiences across different platforms.

Example questions a copywriter will ask.

  • What would you like to achieve by hiring me?
  • Tell me about your customers, who do you want to target?
  • What do you want customers to do?
  • What’s your background and what inspires you?
  • How do you differ from the competition?
  • Describe your brand.

I might encourage you to build-up your reviews and testimonials online to help with your SEO and building trust with your customers.

Or suggest trying a print or email campaign for customers what are not on, or responding to social media.

It’s also about knowing when less is more.

Where a few words or decisive sentence is all that’s needed to entice action.

Or when a lengthy blog piece will benefit.

Who can benefit from hiring a copywriter?

Anyone that needs help finding the right words.

If you’re struggling to find the right approach, pondering on how to connect with your customers, or if you simply need some tips on how to write successfully online, a copywriter will cut through the confusion and guide you in the right direction.

A marketing company or a graphic designer.

A perfect combination. Copywriters can write for individual pieces or help out on large marketing projects.

Publications.

A copywriter writes to attract, humour, provoke, gain attention and is well suited to write for magazines and newspapers. Many copywriters are journalists.

Direct with a business.

You could be a small business looking to improve your marketing and attract new customers, or a large established company looking for someone to take a new approach with campaigns and projects.

Whatever your needs, a copywriter will rise to the challenge of the job and help you achieve your goals.

I hope you enjoyed my blog. 

I am a freelance copywriter.

If you would like me to write for your business or publication I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch.

Vanessa

My service.