Monthly Archives: November 2014

Sussex copywriting

Before you start writing, you better read this.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] The first 3 things you must do before you start writing your content or blogs – Part 1 of SC’s foundation level copywriting skills.

So you’re going to write your own content and that’s great. But like most skills, it’s important to bear in mind that the success and flair of any skill is very much founded in the preparation and the practice. But while I can’t help you practice your writing, what I can do, in this first of my foundation series of posts about the basic skills of copywriting, is remind you of some of the many factors that you need to research and investigate before you even get close to putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard.

1. Aims and objectives.

Whilst writing meandering prose for the sheer delight of expressing your inner thoughts and desires, can be an unmitigated pleasure in its own right, it rarely has a place in copywriting or content for your business. So before you start writing your content have a clear notion of what the aim of this particular article or page is, whether that’s driving traffic to your website or a landing page, wanting people to call you or just building on your client engagement, your authority and your reputation.

Your writing needs to have a purpose. It all should form part of your overall marketing plan and strategy and knowing your objectives will help keep your writing focused and will help you formulate a strong and clear call to action (and no that is not the same as being pushy or salesy and no I’m not telling you to spell out your aims in your writing).

2. Your audience.

Imagine your copy is a conversation. Think how hard it is to hit the right tone and topic if you have no idea who you are talking to. And bear in mind how you feel when you pick up the phone and an unfamiliar voice asks for a moment of your time. Are you suspicious, wary and on your guard? Or perhaps, like me, you quickly hang up if you suspect it’s a cold caller.

Like a phone call or conversation, your copy has got to instantly resonate with the people you want to read it and how do you do that? By knowing as much as you possibly can about them of course. How old are they, where do they live, what do they earn, what do they do at the weekend, what do they eat, where do they go on holiday and what keeps them awake at night? The more you know, the more you can fine tune your writing so when they click on your content, it’s like a familiar friend talking to them about something they care about. Use social media, surveys, comments or paid methods but whatever you do, spend time gathering information about who you’re talking to. And you may find it helpful to create a person or avatar out of the information you collect and give it a name, so that when you write, you write directly and personally to that person.

3. Your voice.

As part of your overall business plan and marketing strategy, you should have already identified your business brand and identity, or in other words your voice and if you haven’t, well it’s time to do so now. Your voice is of course likely to be intrinsically linked to the information you’ve gathered when identifying your target audience and it’s very important to have a united voice, if more than one person is writing your copy.

Now imagine for a moment having a conversation with your grandmother, a toddler and your teenage son. You’ve all been to see a film and you’re discussing it. What granny found funny was probably wasted on tiny toddler Tom and Tania teenager may have thought the film was “just lame”. The tone of your voice and even the aspects of the film that you focus on will differ with all 3 of these family members and your copy needs to do the same. That said, do bear in mind that the different nuances in our many conversations are quite subtle so whatever you do, don’t try be too own with the kids if you’re not!

 

Thinking about your aims, your ideal target audience and your voice should be foremost in your mind whenever you approach your copywriting and are an intrinsic part of everything you write, from your website, your sales letters to your social media posts. And whilst this part of the process may be time consuming, the more you invest in it, the better your content will be. But don’t think you’re ready to start writing yet because you’re not and in part 2, I’ll be looking at keywords and SEO and you don’t get much more important than that!

Want a professional to check over your existing content and give you some constructive feedback about how you’re doing? drop me  a line and take advantage of my feedback package. It’s free for websites with less than 7 pages and is a great way to start your 2015 marketing strategy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Free cntent health check

A week of launches, content health checks and cold feet.

Launch of my new product – the free website health check.  

As we watch Autumn take its final gasps and the last few leaves tumble down, I thought I’d cheer you all up with the launch of my new website content health check. I often get asked to look at websites and evaluate them, so I thought I’d trial this new service. It’s free for websites with less than 7 pages and I’ll evaluate your website  in respect of 6 important components, namely content, SEO, headlines, structure, call to action and tone. And for websites of 7 to 12 pages, the review is still available at only £45, which is not only amazing value but will be fully set off against any services you engage me for as a result. So far, it’s been amazingly popular and I’m only running it at this stage until the end of the year, so if you want a professional opinion of how your content is doing, just drop me a line.2014-11-24 10.53.01

Another fantastic launch – The Good Life France magazine and it’s free too.

And as the weather finally turns cold rather than wet (and we at SC HQ get out our fully functioning “dog foot warmers”, what better way to snuggle down than with the newly launched Good Life France magazine. Again it’s free and I’m delighted to be a contributor, so do check out my features on Christmas events in the Vendée. I love being involved with the team at TGLF and this new magazine is a thoroughly indulgent read and a great addition to their portfolio. Comments on a postcard from Paris please!

And two more launches for good measure.

2014-11-24 16.19.24I’ve held off writing a blog here at SC due to my commitments to other blogs, but I have finally decided to launch what I’ve called a resource page. You could probably call it a blog because there will be regular posts and lots of useful tips and I thought I’d kick off by doing a series of the copywriting basics that you just have to get right if you’re writing your own copy. I’ll be launching it very soon, so look out for that one.

I’ll also be announcing the date for the first FW event which I’ll be hosting in January. So all in all, watch this space and don’t forget, if you’re stuck for inspiration, a brisk walk will keep you warm and refresh that part of your creativity…well, you get the point.

 

 

Talk about writing copy!

Horsham speakers Success at the Horsham Speakers.

Last week was a busy one. I’m delighted to say I kicked the week off with success when I passed my level 2 at the Horsham Speakers. It was the first time I’ve deliberately set out to try and deliver a funny speech and with some really experienced speakers going for before me, there were a few moments when I nearly bolted out of the door. So I was particularly happy that not only did people laugh at my very dead pan delivery, but I also got awarded speaker of the evening again. This public speaking malarkey could certainly get addictive.

More Fabulous Women

On the subject of public speaking, I was also delighted to spend a morning last week with the fabulous women (I will get them to change the name) of Reigate (and a few men too). I hope and believe they all found it useful and because we had plenty of time, Sharon Curry our host, was happy for me to take lots of questions. It’s a great way to network and I’m thrilled that they have asked me back in February to talk about blogging.20141117_084508_Android

What else?

Well two of my blogs are out this week, namely the latest instalment of the Mayhem Mothers, always guaranteed to make any parents amongst us feel better and a quick trip to La Rochelle at Lucy’s Glance at France, which might cheer you up on this dreary November day.

 

Apart from the usual copy, this week I’m also working on a new product which I’ll be launching soon, namely a free copywriting audit of your website. So I’m off to work on my landing page and CMS amongst other things but I’d love to know your thoughts on what services you’d find really helpful, so do feel free to drop me a line at lucy@stroodcopy.com

 

Sussex networking

News, opportunities and lots of other things!

A new newsletter.

This week is set to be another exciting and busy one and I’ve started by hitting the send button on my very first newsletter. Actually I’d rather call it a copywriting update than a newsletter because in typical copywriter style, my aim is to keep the focus on you and what you may find useful, rather than just focusing on my news. But am I the only one who gets really nervous when it comes to finally and irrevocably hitting send?

A new networking event!

I’m also delighted to announce that as of January, I’ll be running the Horsham branch of the Fabulous Women networking group. Don’t be fooled by the name – this is a serious group of professional women and men (yes men are very welcome) and combines effective networking with informative talks and advice. In additional to the monthly meetings which take place throughout the south east, they also have a dynamic and effective website so be sure to check it out. At the moment the Horsham group meets on the 3rd Friday of the month at the Boar’s Head, Horsham at 10am and if you’d like to know more, email me at lucy@stroodcopy.com

And on the subject of Fabulous Women…

On Thursday the 13th November (later this week), I’ll be giving a talk about copywriting and how to get it right at the Reigate meeting of FW at the Jolly Farmers at 9.30am and I’d love to see you there. And preparation for that is going hand in hand with my level 2 HSC talk tomorrow night – this week I’m doing a humorous talk about breaking down in France – I’ve never done “funny” before so fingers crossed that my talk doesn’t completely pan!

Finally, (and I did say it was a busy week) my recent blog for Sussex Pages is up, following the theme of my newsletter of updating and refreshing your website! I’d love to know if you found it helpful and do drop me a line with any feedback! That’s it for this week, time to get my head down and get on with some work.

 

Last week – a whirl wind trip to France, lots of inspiration, a visit to the London Excel and something fluffy!

Some French inspiration.

I’m back from another fabulous trip to France with lots of material and ideas for some great articles. I cant wait to start researching the background to some WWII graffiti which I was shown in an old barn deep in rural France and the towns of La Rochelle and Parthenay of course provided plenty of food for thought.

I rounded off the trip on Monday with a flying visit to the World Travel Market where I met up with the inspirational, powerhouse of an editor, Janine Marsh of The Good Life France. Not only a talented writer but with boundless energy and enthusiasm I remain in awe of her but love being part of The Good Life France writing team. Somehow a couple of hours with Janine and my urgent to do list, doubled in length.

Lots coming up, lots to do and one large furry distraction.

how to distract a writer The next few months are busy for every one and certainly here at Strood Copy, it’s not exception. I’m hoping to finally launch my newsletter in the next week, I’ve got the next  Speaker’s Club level to complete, a proofreading assessment to submit, a couple of talks to give and all with one very large, fluffy, new puppy to distract me! Happy days.