‘A brilliant writer can take the bland and make it tasty, the pale and fill it with colour, the hackneyed and reimagine it into something new.’
Allow me to tell you a story… these simple words have motivated and inspired the human race for centuries and continue to do so today. Why? Because we all want to be entertained, amused and informed.
For online businesses seeking to establish credibility or raise their profile above the competition, there are very few tools at their disposal. Those tools they do possess, however, are two of the most powerful motivators known to mankind – images and the written word.
Perfect the combination of these two powerhouses and you can capture the attention of your online traffic, engage their interest, gain trust and alliance and finally motivate them to an action. In real terms, this can be simply stated as – influence them to buy and keep them buying.
Sounds straightforward but the reality is not quite so simple; as many businesses have found to their detriment. One badly worded sentence, misspelled word or poorly researched fact, can undermine a thousand well-written ones.
Enter the talented freelance copywriter.
While William Shakespeare was arguably the greatest writer in history, it is doubtful he would have made an effective copywriter. Pretentious, flowery or ambiguous writing has no place in online copy. Conversely, dry facts and statements are wasted if nobody wants to read them.
Look for a writer who possesses the flexibility to write in the ‘everyman’ voice which will complement your brand and establish lasting client relationships.
An exceptional copywriter identifies their audience’s demographic; tailoring language to be both digestible and relatable. They relay their message succinctly, cutting through to the essence without losing the tone of a piece.
An example of this tone could be the parlance and terminology used on a technical website whose audience includes industry professionals and experts in a given field. Light-hearted, irreverent or vague language can erode reader’s confidence in your authority and understanding of the subject matter.
Conversely, using technical jargon on a website aimed at selling baby products to new mothers, will result in the same consequences; undermining the sympathies and ultimately the engagement, of readers.
The true value of an articulate and masterful copywriter is enormous. They have the capacity to:
- Intelligently research, digest and relate information
- Seamlessly incorporate links to relevant, reliable sources to add credibility to content
- Write engagingly to capture and influence an audience
- Write to maximise hit ratios through such tools as SEO and keywords
- Create a buzz around a brand
- Build an irresistible desire and/or need for a product or service
- Motivate consumers to action.
Having established the vital job a copywriter performs in brand promotion and relationship building, it begs the question: how can a business identify the best copywriter to obtain the highest return from every marketing dollar they spend?
Know your writer
Many unsuspecting businesses are entrusting this vital component of their marketing to third-party agencies who, in an attempt to maximise profits, are enlisting overseas writers to complete the assignments. Unfortunately, in the world of content and copywriting, you usually get what you pay for.
English is a language full of nuances, humour, and subtleties, many of which are foreign (excuse the pun!) to non-native English speaking writers.
Work with agencies who can guarantee their copy is completed by writers whose first language is English and can quickly provide you with pitches or samples of work. This gives you the power to select the voice most compatible with your message.
Signs which can hint at non-Australian based writing include:
- Relatively long turnaround times
- Improper use of grammar and pronouns
- Forced or unnatural use of colloquialisms
- Generic or vague understanding of the subject matter
Australian freelance writers have a range of tailored online services of which they can avail themselves to hone their craft. The Australian Writers Marketplace is a unique resource for these writers, providing them with the ability to widen their networking base, share information and develop and enhance their skills.
In the Spotlight – SEO
Writing copy without utilising SEO is a little like fishing without bait. There are millions, nay billions of other hooks sitting in the water – how do you make yours the one which captures the fish? Through strategically placed lures and tasty and effective hooks!
Put simply search engine optimisation is creating strings of search words to improve the chances of online searchers locating your business. Google uses a priority algorithm to obtain the best matches for a search and savvy writers understand how to best exploit this tool.
By identifying those common words and phrases and weaving them subtly into text, a writer can promote and raise your online profile, providing your business with the best chance of being found.
With over a billion pages on the internet and counting, having the skills of a knowledgeable and talented SEO operative writing your copy is a substantial competitive advantage.
Engaging and Connecting
A copywriter is a salesperson through the medium of text and as such needs to be able to get the proverbial ‘foot in the door’ using well-crafted words.
Writing should touch a spot within the reader, evoking feelings of connection or ‘that has happened to me’ – to have them nodding along. This is of particular relevance for a website’s homepage which is often the first point of contact with potential customers.
An authentic tone and familiar language combined with a professional, insightful and intelligent copy will showcase expertise, promote brand awareness and foster fidelity.
Reading something which touches you can be likened to a romance where each party gives and receives and from that, respect, affection and loyalty flourish.
Psychology for Marketers, an online site which monitors consumer behaviour in the marketing arena, points out that humour used appropriately, can differentiate a business from its competition and make people fall in love with a product. Laughter is a powerful motivator!
Eliciting a Response
The bottom line for any online copy is to motivate readers to commit to an action; signing up to a membership or email list, making a purchase or reaching out for a service. The first point of contact is generally a website’s homepage and this is where copy needs to:
- Set the tone and personality of the business
- Clearly outline your products or services
- Identify key benefits e.g. price, quality, service
- Communicate unique selling points
- Encourage further investment
- Inspire readers to click on other pages within the site.
This is a fragile process and one false step can turn away potential customers in droves. A condescending tone, grammatically poor sentence or uninspiring text can tip the balance and the reader can quickly move on.
Ideally, your writer should understand the specific message you wish to convey. Titles, keywords and links to other online resources or related articles can provide guidance to your scribe but ultimately copywriters must be stringent researchers.
Your content represents your brand so it needs to be credible, reliable and relevant. Facts should be backed up with references and link building should be current and country specific.
Locating a Skilled Copywriter
So where does one find this combination of intelligence, (good looks, cough…cough) wit and cleverly devised text who can play such a pivotal role in influencing your online traffic?
Look for dedicated writing agencies which specifically promote themselves as only using Australian writers.
Be aware that digital marketing and ad agencies often see copywriting as a sideline to website design, promotions and branding. They generally have a production line of overseas writers generating copious amounts of online content and copywriting, with more interest in the turnover than the outcome.
Spend Money Wisely
A number of companies are paying in-house writers substantial salaries along with the associated costs which accompany a full time employee. By utilising a trustworthy writing agency which has a strong stable of expert freelance writers, the same results can be achieved without the financial commitment of an ongoing salary.
Freelance writing rates in Australia are surprisingly affordable – more so when you consider the valuable service they perform.
Utilising the services of a talented, influential copywriter, who understands and can implement techniques to exploit the potential of the written word, can be a magic bullet for businesses and industries across the board.
Copywriting may have existed for over a hundred years but this online resources’ full potential is yet to be realised. An adept copywriter has the power to spotlight and showcase even the smallest businesses – furnishing them with an arsenal which can enable them to compete and often win on the global stage.