Tag Archives: website content

Top Tips for Super-Sticky Landing Pages

If you’re using pay-per-click advertising, there’s not much more important than your landing page. And it needs to be that’s less trampoline and more like super glue. That is to say, it needs to avoid bounce (i.e. users clicking away) and keep people on the site, moving through to purchase. As copywriters we’re often asked, how do you do that? Well, there’s no magic wand (sorry). But, like everything, there are some must-haves that will make a big difference.

Please don’t use glue on your screen. This is NOT what we mean by super-sticky landing pages.

Any good freelance copywriter knows you’ve got to consider both design and copy, and how they work together. Have a look around at successful competitors; how do their pages look? How simple/complex are they? What are they doing right? How frequent are their calls to action (buttons with where to go next etc.)?

Research is key but the most important thing is to get your offer right and communicate it effectively. Easy for me to say as a professional copywriter, I know. So, here are our top tips, to help avoid common pitfalls and create something that can turn clicks into customers…

Plan your content
Be strategic about what you include – but keep it simple. Use one main message and back it up with a few evidence bullets – these are your reasons to believe. How will you move users through? Is it clear and logical? As with all copywriting, you must be clear on what your product/service is – and who it’s for. Does the user know what to do ‘next’ and feel a sense of urgency? Consider your calls to action; make sure they’re right there after your most persuasive points.

Order… ORDER!
A professional copywriter will always check that everything is in the right order. You should do the same. Consider your hierarchy of information. Are you starting with your main offer? Does the flow of information lead users through the offer? Does it direct them to calls to action?

Check your layout
Look at your page. Is it clean, clear and simple? Whether they’re a London-based copywriter or a copywriter working from Goa, a professional writer always tries to cut page clutter. Confused people aren’t patient, and competitors are just a click away. Does your make it easy and reassure the user that they’ve arrived in the right place? You can do this through consistent branding and echoing a statement/offer from the advert that sent them to the page.

Punchy Headline
Is yours big and clear? Does it explain the product/service? Does it let the user know how it helps them? Headlines (and images) are the vital attention-grabbing elements of the page. Any creative copywriter will tell you that without a strong headline the rest of the content is irrelevant because people just won’t read it.

Are you reflecting user needs?
Has the copy pinpointed what users need? Your page must mirror what readers want/need. If it’s not doing that, it’s not doing its job. Highlight a user problem and show you can solve it! And once you’ve done that, don’t forget to tell them where to click next.

Questions and answers
As a professional copywriter we always ask whether the copy is answering all the user’s concerns. The landing page must pre-empt any questions the reader has about the product/service. This helps them to feel you know them, understand them and can help. And don’t forget your call to action, once you’ve given your answers.

Benefit-driven copy
Is your copy focused on what your product/service does for the user? A good professional writer will talk less about its features and more about how it helps the reader. Think about the practical and emotional benefits, these will sell your offer.

Consider customer objections
What are the reasons people might not buy? Freelance copywriters specialise in putting themselves into their audiences’ shoes. You can do the same. Make sure you address objections in your copy. Your benefits must be powerful enough to overcome them. The persuasiveness of your content plays a big part here.

Powerful imagery
Much as any freelance copywriter loves words, they also know the value of images. Make sure you use eye-catching images. They should back up your offer and re-enforce your messaging. They must always be relevant. They’re not just there to look nice – although that’s important. Images (and headlines) are the most important attention-grabbing elements on the page.

Ready, steady, TEST!
A/B testing is a great way to check what’s working and what’s less effective. Create two versions of your page and on one, change something you’re not sure about, maybe the main headline, maybe a key image, maybe the information hierarchy. Testing is a powerful, low-cost way of making your page work better.

Apply all of these tips and you’ll be on track for a super-sticky landing page that adds real value to your site.



The world is changing. Keep up to stay connected to your audience.

Male? Female? Or…?
I was shopping at the weekend. My wife was in the changing room. So, my 4-year-old daughter and I were outside entertaining the shop assistant, ‘Raz’ who was (of course), far younger and cooler than me. About 6 feet tall, with a broad, typically masculine figure, long dark hair and purple nail varnish, so not someone easy to place as male or female. I don’t know. I didn’t ask, it was and is after all, not my business. But I was about to get involved, like it or not.

Grabbing the baton
I was away for a few minutes and on my return I took over a story my wife had started, to entertain our little one. It was about a monster and a brave warrior who, my daughter had decided, should be our new friend Raz. Usually that’s a fun situation for a copywriter that doesn’t take too much effort. But this time it was different.

Our star and extra audience member was listening and possibly wondering what they might end up doing. As a professional writer I felt an added responsibility in how I described Raz. If they were non-binary (didn’t identify as one particular gender), what I say might make them feel validated and acknowledged or potentially ignored and hurt. And of course, everything you do as a parent is lesson to your child. No pressure, then!

Making grey matter, matter
So, I engaged my freelance copywriter brain and made small changes throughout the story. Just tiny things really, saying ‘they’ and ‘their’, rather than ‘he/she’ and his/her’. “As Raz mounted their horse, they felt ready to take on the monster.” That sort of thing. It’s slightly tricky at first but you get used to it quickly. I think that’s always the way with something new. But it’s amazing how fast it becomes second nature, especially when you’re offering copywriting services.

George Washington never said ‘OMG!’
As society evolves, so does language (just ask someone from 1925 what a ‘selfie’ is). So, we can choose to ignore it, because change can feel hard (even when it’s not) or we can adapt, to communicate more successfully. I think it’s a simple choice.

As freelance copywriters, my team and I spend every day working hard to make people click, swipe, buy and, sometimes, even think differently. We know how hard it is to pick the right words, whether that’s for blogging, website content or script writing. But we also know that doing so means we’ll continue to be mindful, empathise and stay connected to our audience; whoever ‘they’ are.

 



10 Grammar Rules It’s OK to Break

Whether or not you’re a professional copywriter, you’ve probably had to choose whether to follow the grammar rules we all learned in school or go a bit rogue. It’s something we get asked about a lot in the world of copywriting; so how do you decide?

With language constantly evolving, many grammar rules have fallen by the wayside or can at least be ignored to suit the context. That isn’t to say they don’t still have a place within copywriting, but sticking rigidly to them can actually harm website copy and other SEO content, such as blogs. So how can you change it up?

 

Good. Old. Evolution

The way we speak has evolved (how many people said ‘selfie’ in 1926?) and online content needs to reflect this. Look at the work of anyone offering content writing services – they try to engage and appeal to the audience by echoing how they speak, rather than using the dusty grammar manuals of bygone years.

As most of those rules were developed over a century ago, they tend to formalise language, so are a teensy bit outdated. This is especially true in the digital space, such as mobile apps, SEO website content and blogging, which tend to be more colloquial and informal.

 

Go on you rebel BREAK SOME RULES

So, let’s get our professional writer hats on, and look at some rules it’s OK to break.

1. Don’t start a sentence with ‘And’. One of the first grammar rules we all learn is not to start a sentence with a conjunction such as ‘and’. But (there’s another!) this is often ignored in good copywriting. You’ll see most copywriters using ‘and’ or ‘but’ at the beginning of the sentence, as it’s a good way to break a long sentence and can also add impact. Breaking this rule is a great way to make sure you’re writing effective website copy and making blogs easier to read.

2. Don’t us slang. With formal writing, it’s best to avoid colloquial language and slang terms wherever possible. But, good copywriting connects with the audience by ‘speaking’ as they do. Slang is one of the best ways to connect to readers in a friendly and natural way. A great example of this is Barlcays Bank renaming the ‘Cashpoint’ the ‘Hole in the wall’.

3. Avoid one-sentence paragraphs. When writing for a digital audience, you’ll want your SEO content to be easy to read. Audiences often skim-read for quick answers and important  information. One-sentence paragraphs are a useful way to make key points stand out in your copywriting, especially in SEO content.

4. Don’t miss out, ‘that’. Missing out words in your copywriting isn’t going to work if no one knows what you’re talking about. But sometimes it’s useful, especially in website content or blogging, where shorter sentences are better. It’s perfectly acceptable to miss out words if the meaning of the sentence remains the same. For example: ‘Ann was sure that she’d win…’ works just as well as, ‘Ann was sure she’d win…’.

5. Use commas ‘properly’. Most of us, freelance copywriters included, were taught to use commas sparingly and in specific circumstances, such as to create lists or join clauses. But it’s fine to break this rule by using commas more often. As a copywriter, using commas is a way to set the flow and interpretation of a sentence. Here’s an example, a comma can dictate a pause.

6. Never split infinitives. We all know not to split infinitives right? Wrong. This is another grammar ‘don’t’ freelance copywriters often ignore. But it’s not about making a hard and fast rule about whether it’s okay to make like a banana and split, especially in their website content or blogs. Most copywriters look at the sentence structure and decide based on what sounds best in each case.

7. Don’t swap ‘whom’ for ‘who’. Knowing whether to choose ‘whom’ or ‘who’ has baffled even some professional writers for years. These days it’s more common to swap ‘whom’ for ‘who’, though ‘whom’ is still used in formal writing. A lot of freelance copywriters use ‘who’ instead’, depending on the audience, the tone of voice and of course subject matter. A good copywriter is led by context, rather than pre-conceived rules and ideas.

8. Don’t finish with a preposition. Allowing yourself to end on a proposition will help avoid awkward, overlong sentence structure, so freelance copywriters often break this rule. Instead of focusing on whether or not a sentence ends with a preposition, think like a copywriter – about how the sentence reads. This is far more important when it comes to engaging readers and creating a tone of voice, key concerns for SEO website content and blogging.

9. Always use ‘correct’ personal pronouns. He. She. Him. Her. For a long time these were all you needed. But with more people identifying as neither male or female and a wider awareness of gender fluidity, we need another term. So, if you’re writing about someone who’d rather not be classified or who you’re unsure about, the best approach is to use ‘they’. For example, “Sam is a pilot, they’ve always loved flying.” See? Easy.

10. Do not use contractions. Though it’s best to avoid them in formal writing, it’s okay to use contractions with an informal audience. Generally, people want to read stuff that sounds like they speak. And most people don’t speak formally (lawyers, the Queen and her corgis aside). Most writing, including SEO content such as websites and blogging works best when it sounds natural and engaging, and contractions really help.

 

Breaking grammar rules, rather than landing you on the naughty step, can make a step change in the effectiveness of your copywriting. Using your judgement, based on context, will help make sure your tone of voice suits the brand and subject – as well as creating that all-important connection with your audience. So, whether you’re a freelance copywriter who wants to make their work more effective or another professional keen to write better, remember, some rules were made to be broken.



Squeak. Squeak. ROAR. That’s the sound of copywriter having an idea

Sometimes copywriting is about crafting the right words. Sometimes it’s about shuffling the old grey matter, to create ideas. Sometimes copywriting is about bring it all together, for the greater good – or search engine rankings.

 

Tiny = Enormous. Really.

Everyone keeps telling you to make an impact on social media. But who has something interesting to say, week-in-week-out? Something that doesn’t make you sound desperate? That’s where a good copywriter can help, with some awesome ideas. Ideas are great. They’re small. But powerful. Tiny little things with enormous consequences, especially on social media.

 

It’s easy to be hard to ignore

A good copywriter can create a content calendar of ideas for industry/area-specific subjects write about on social media. And of course a good freelance copywriter will be able to write those smart Facebook posts and super-snappy tweets, which pique interest and get you the shares you need.

 

Look left. Look right. What’s coming?

But when you’re looking for copywriting services, you want to make sure your copywriter or copywriting team is the full package, and can give you everything you need. That’s why Alex Genn Copywriting isn’t just about ideas. We know social must drive web traffic, and that’s our focus. Our content calendars are also blog calendars. And our copywriting team is expert in writing original, search engine optimised (SEO) blogs that help push your site up the search page rankings. This turns the copywriting we do for social posts into perky little teasers that link to the blogs. Original, interesting and fully SEO blogs that people love to read – and share.

 

Beyond blogs

Of course once you get people onto your site, through your blog, you’ll want to direct them through your sales journey. And a good copywriter will have you covered there too. Not in a gun fight sort of way though. More in a, making the language work to move people through, with clever, short sentences, snappy little paragraphs headings, and punchy calls to action, sort of a way. A good copywriter can review the whole site, from content strategy to tone of voice, to terminology and even images. Clever huh?



We’re not all superheroes with odd backstories. And that’s good. Obviously.

Usually, copywriting and tone of voice are things entrepreneurs don’t think about until after the company is established. That makes sense, you’re far too busy making the business work. But talking to a freelance copywriter sooner can help you establish who your brand is early, so all your marketing is consistent. Which means you won’t be spending money re-writing your website, mobile app or offline communications later. It might not seem like it, but when it comes to starting up your company there’s little more important than getting your copywriting right; your website, social or blog are the first place most customers will meet your company and your words are their first experience of your brand.

Consistency counts; BIGTIME

A good freelance copywriter can take the content and copy of your blogs, website or social and make it really connect with your audience. It’s not just finding the right words or getting the grammar right. It’s about creating a consistent tone of voice that establishes the brand as something the reader can trust. It’s that word ‘consistent’; that’s what counts. By making sure the language (or tone of voice as your clever-clogs copywriter will call it) is consistent all over the website and your other communications, your customers will always recognise your brand.

So who are we?

It can be great fun working out who your business is and how it talks (and so how it writes). Authoritarian expert? A chatty mate in the pub? Or a superhero with an odd back story? All companies have a different brand personality and need a different tone of voice. Of course, no one knows your company better than you. So our copywriters work with you to help define the brand personality of the business.

How do we decide?

We can help through onsite sessions or remote surveys, whatever’s easiest for you but you’re a key part of the process. And of course once it’s all locked down, expert copywriting brings it all together in consistent collateral. From the words you use, to the length or your sentences, to the frequency of your communications, a good freelance copywriter will help make sure your brand is ‘someone’ your customers really relate to, who’s always reliable and consistent, just like your products.

Whether you’re writing web content to push yourself up the search page rankings, creating fascinating blogs that give you something interesting to talk about on social media or developing a killer app, your copywriter will make sure that what you say is made even more powerful by how you say it.

 



Collaborating? Who do you listen to – and when?

Copywriting and collaboratiohn

Advice, collaboration, feedback, input. Whatever name it goes by, it can be tricky. But like everything in life, it’s about balance. If you have no single vision for what you want to achieve, all the advice, feedback and collaboration in the world won’t help. At the same time if you bullishly follow your vision, ignoring any input at all, that isolation may cost you.

It’s about time. It’s about you.

It’s important to know when to open yourself up to feedback. And that’s quite personal. Some people may find it more useful to request it early, at ideas stage – and then maybe again later, to help finesse the end copywriting product. Others prefer to work collaboratively throughout the process, taking feedback at each stage as they go; so work out what’s right for you.

Keep it positive

How you perceive feedback is important. And will make a huge impact on your blogs, social, website content other copywriting. You can chose to see it as an external source, judging your finished work as right or wrong. Or you could view it as valuable input into a work in progress. This is the approach I take personally with the copywriting work we do and that I share with the writers I work with. It keeps us open minded and makes us more likely to take input as inspiration. But it’s a choice you need to make.

Pick your collaborators

As a freelance copywriter it can be hard to collaborate, partly because we often work in isolation. But also because there are specific types of copywriting feedback you need at certain times. For example you might want input on tone of voice but not on content structure because you’ve already locked this down with a client. So you need to be able to ask for exactly the input you need, whether that’s on tone of voice creation, scriptwriting, blog writing or something else. As a result who you ask is key. Of course you’ve got to be confident in their copywriting expertise and experience but most of all, in their honesty. As with some many things, it’s about knowing who to trust.

The right type of collaboration

Different copywriting work needs different styles of collaboration. For blogs and articles, short reports and website re-writes, collaboration may mean a quick check of the brief by another copywriter, a read through and a few small suggestions. For more complicated work, such as content strategy, tone of voice and brand personality development the process is richer.

In these cases our copywriters are collaborating with the client too, which makes sense as they know their business better than us. We have a fun way of teasing out their feelings about the company, which we use to build our work on. At each stage of the development we take client feedback before we move on, so the client is genuinely involved in the creative process. Then throughout the content creation process we work together on how the new personality and voice are operating. And then it’s back to the client for more feedback – so really, nothing happens in isolation.

Feedback or die

I love feedback. Frankly, I’d have no copywriting business without it. It’s integral to how my business model works. Mostly, when people want a freelance writer, they hire one. And that’s what they get, one freelance copywriter. With us, they still have one main copywriter but they also have the brain of another senior copywriter, to sense check, feed in new ideas and even challenge the main copywriter’s approach. So that feedback and re-thinking is a big part of what makes our work effective.

A final word from Gran

I know there are many examples of strong loners, such as Elon Musk, who’ve had great success, despite ignoring advice. But I’d guess that while they ignored the voices saying they’d never do it, they paid close attention to people with cool ideas for how to do things better. My Nanna once gave me the best piece of advice she had ever been given: “Take advice”, she said. And I do.