Friday, February 1, 2019
Monday, January 14, 2019
You can read this sentence.
The sentence is short, it uses simple words, and the subject is toward the beginning. These three components make any sentence extremely easy to read.
I know this is a simple example, and I don’t mean to insult your intelligence.
But here’s the deal:
Readability is essential to writing clear, concise, and compelling content.
Your content can wax poetic.
You can write complex, long sentences.
You can even write long-form pieces to tell a captivating story.
But if your content is confusing, complex, or long-winded, you’re missing the point.
Writing online is not like writing in your journal.
You’re writing for a public audience—not yourself.
As a copywriter, your goal isn’t to woo readers with your mastery of the English language.
Your goal is drive results with your words.
Said another way, your words must compel your target audience to take a specific action.
To capture the attention of your audience, you must write readable content. Content your target audience can easily understand.
What this means for you and your business can be completely different from someone else.
What readability means for the healthcare industry versus content marketing can vary widely because the target audiences are different.
For the sake of this post, let’s assume you’re writing for the average adult.
The average adult in the United States reads at the 9th-grade level. In this example, your writing must be readable by someone in the 9th-grade—not a graduate student.
To save your copy from the curse of knowledge, there are four practical ways you can may your content readable. Here are they are.
#1. Use simple words
Big words have two big problems:
- Most people can’t read big words.
- Most people don’t want to read big words.
If you’re writing for the general public, then your words shouldn’t exceed the 9th-grade level. If they do, then you run the risk of losing your readers attention.
Besides, most people don’t want to read what you write online.
People read online much like animals’ forage for food.
They’re hungry and in search for something to eat.
The key to satisfying your readers is to use simple words.
What makes a word “simple” depends upon the context.
But here are three guiding principles:
- Use short words
- Use familiar words
- Use words with 1-2 syllables
By using simple words, your copy will be easy-to-understand.
#2. Begin sentences with subjects
Grab your readers attention with right-branching sentences.
These magical sentences are easy to read, minimize passivity, and they fuel your writing with action.
To write a right-branching sentence, you need to describe your main subject first and then modify it afterward with additional information.
Jordan Loftis, a ghostwriter and the former marketing automation lead at CoSchedule, suggests placing the subject and verb as close together as possible to create more movement in your writing.
To see what I’m talking about, here are several right-branching sentence examples from Roy Peter Clark’s Writing Tools:
“A writer composes a sentence with subject and verb at the beginning, followed by other subordinate elements, creating what scholars call a right-branching sentence.”
“Rebels seized control of Cap Haitien, Haiti’s second largest city, on Sunday, meeting little resistance as hundreds of residents cheered, burned the police station, plundered food from port warehouses and looted the airport, which was quickly closed” (Lydia Polgreen).
“He didn’t need a clock. He had been working in a tidal partner so long that he could fee a tide change in his sleep” (John Steinbeck).
#3. Write to be scanned
Focus on your readers by making your copy easy to scan.
People frequently read online in an F-shaped pattern. They scan the page horizontally from left-to-right, and then they scan the left side of the page in a downward vertical movement.
Here’s a visual illustration to show you what I mean:
Help your readers by accommodating to their reading habits. Here are some easy ways how:
- Bulleted lists
- Numbered lists
- Block quotes
- Pull quotes
- Bold or italicize content
The key to writing scannable content is to use short sentences.
In this post, my average sentence length is 9.7 words.
Some people recommend 20-25 words per sentence. I don’t have a hard rule I follow. Honestly, I just eye the format to see if my sentences are short. If I see a long sentence, then I make it shorter.
As you write, be sure to format your content with your readers in mind.
Writing readable content
Readability is about focusing on your readers.
Your goal as a copywriter is to connect with your audience and move them to action. The best way you can accomplish both of these goals is to write readable content.
These tips will help you to get started.
Apply these lessons.
See what resonates with your readers.
Observe your results.
If you’re like me, you’ll need to continually revisit these lessons and improve upon.
The post Write Like Your Readers Are The Laziest People on Earth appeared first on Copybot.
Monday, December 3, 2018
Writing for the web is different from writing for newspapers, magazines, or books.
The difference is not in the words you write. But in the way people read, which makes all the difference in the world.
When it comes to reading online, most people will not read what you write word-for-word. They will scan your post in search of what they are looking for. If you don’t satisfy their appetite—quickly—then they’ll move on.
For bloggers, this means that you cannot be like an abstract artist who splashes paint on a canvas in the hope of creating something compelling. There is an art and science to using words to communicate, engage, and persuade readers online.
What follows are nine tips to writing a blog post people will actually read. Use these principals as proverbial bumper pads for your writing to help you stay on course and hit your goal.
The post 9 Tips on Writing a Blog Post People Will Actually Read appeared first on Copybot.
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Friday, October 26, 2018
Companies routinely have Revenue Blind Spots that cost them 20-60% of their revenue. It is like revenue that disappears without you knowing it or seeing it. It is like heat escaping from a poorly insulated home or water leaking from an old bucket. Or like the daily death by a 1000 cuts (think Sears). There are really small ones like a paper cut and others that run much deeper.
Here is an example:
Jeffrey and I are wrapping up a new keynote/workshop for 2019 titled, Revenue Blind Spots: Increase Your Sales with the Persuasive Momentum Framework. We are looking for two associations to deliver this keynote at in 2019. If you know an association that would benefit from this message please connect us.
Smart leaders like you instinctively know they have a blind spot and the miracle of breakthrough is usually hiding in the center of it. Systems and processes that were once true and reliable no longer serve you.
Don’t feel bad. If there was any way you could see your blind spot they wouldn’t call it a blind spot.
Every company has blind spots. Blind spots are the disconnect between customers’ expectation and their actual experience. Are brains are designed to create these blind spots to handle all the information coming at us. In today’s world of increasing velocity of messaging and data we need solutions to recover these Revenue Blind Spots that cost companies between 20-60% of their revenue. Everyone knows what it feels like to make changes that make customers happier and increase sales. The challenge for companies is to pinpoint how to connect with customers. How to position their products and services in ways that sustain engagement.
Most companies don’t have an awareness problem. Their challenge is sales conversion. They attract potential customers, but fail to identify obstacles in the funnel. They also fail to motivate customers, in the proper context, to propel customers through the customer journey. This has only become more challenging as consumers and companies move between channels – offline to online and back. Customers expect seamless and consistent positioning, messaging and engagement. Companies struggle to provide this at any individual stage, much less through the entire lifecycle of a customer.
The Eisenbergs provide keynotes, workshops and consulting that help reveal the blind spots and how to fix them. The Persuasive Momentum Framework anticipates then provides solutions for those blind spots. The Framework provides action plans for products, positioning, sales copy, promotion, content, user interface, testing and measurement. Teams use these action plans, innovating customer experiences to increase sales. Frameworks are also easier to implement than finding superstar talent.
- Discover the single perspective that sales leaders share
- Explore the two dimensions you can use to improve sales
- Learn the three simple questions that speed the persuasive momentum of your entire sales system
- Align your teams for better execution around the four pillars of success
- Identify what your customers want so you can provide it
Monday, September 24, 2018
Blogging isn’t dead.
Blogging is still alive, and it can …
- Drive traffic to your website.
- Generate new leads.
- Establish your business as an authority.
But if you’re like many business owners or marketing leaders, your blog is probably lifeless. It no longer accomplishes the big goals I just mentioned. It’s just sitting there dormant on your website, haphazardly groaning for attention.
Before you give up hope or take your blog off life-support, there’s one tactic you should pursue to increase your blog traffic.
It’s a tactic that’s often overlooked and rarely discussed, and it could quickly and legitimately boost your blog traffic.
What is this magical tactic?
It’s republishing your old blog posts.
I know this doesn’t sound promising on the surface. But I’ve used this tactic on several different sites with similar positive results.
And this is the tactic I used to increase my blog traffic to one post month-over-month by 1,548%.
Let me show you:
This screenshot, which compares monthly traffic in March 2018 versus August 2018, shows the increase in monthly traffic before and after I made changes (no, this post did not receive a boost from social media or elsewhere in August).
This increase in blog traffic didn’t happen overnight.
After optimizing this post, it took a couple of months for it to begin ranking for a variety of keywords.
Here’s a bird’s-eye view of how this post started to increase in traffic after I implemented the changes:
This post was republished at the beginning of May, which led to the short spike that month. You can see a small dip in traffic in June, a slight increase in July, and a big leap in August as the post began to rank higher for additional keywords.
As you can see from this example, the traffic had previously plateaued and remained relatively the same month after month. After optimizing and republishing this postl, it went from receiving around 200 pageviews per month to nearly 3,300 pageviews per month!
Before you get too excited and start republishing everything on your site, I have some good news and bad news to share.
Here’s the good news:
Optimizing old posts on your site can increase your blog traffic.
But here’s the bad news:
This tactic doesn’t produce the same results for every post on your site.
Since I don’t want to end on a negative note, I’m going to walk you through the process I used to identify this post (and many others) to republish, and the steps I took to optimize it to increase its ranking and traffic.
Click here to read the entire post at Stillhouse Marketing.
The post 1,548% Increase in Blog Traffic: 1 Proven (Yet Overlooked) Tactic appeared first on Copybot.
Monday, September 3, 2018
There are times when little decisions lead to extraordinary results.
I’m not talking about the little decisions you need to make every day toward building a successful career, business, or fulfilled life. I’m talking about the times when you make a seemingly small decision for your business, and it ends up having tremendous results.
This is exactly what happened at Tithe.ly.
Like every business, we were exploring ideas to increase our leads and boost our conversion rate. During this same time, we were also identifying ways we could better serve our customers with timely support.
After spending a few months reviewing a variety of solutions, Frank Barry, Tithe.ly’s COO, decided to add live chat to our site. He knew by adding this service to our site and adapting our team to this new tactic would be helpful. But it’s safe to say that all of us were blown away by the results — especially regarding the increase in our conversion rate.
As it turns out, after adding live chat to our site and making a few internal changes, our conversion rate skyrocketed 155% month-over-month.
Take a moment to let that number sink in.
Before diving into the steps we took to increase our conversion rate with live chat, I’d like to start off by sharing more context about why we implemented this service in the first place.
The post How Tithe.ly’s Conversion Rate Skyrocketed 155% Month-Over-Month with Live Chat appeared first on Copybot.
Monday, August 6, 2018
Looking for ideas for your next blog post?
You should try writing a product comparison post.
It’s basically just an article where you compare two (or more) popular products against each other. And it works like a charm in virtually every field.
Are you a travel blogger?
You could compare hotel chains, airline credit cards, or pit Airbnb against VRBO.
You could compare blenders, weight loss programs, and recipe books.
Digital marketing blogger?
You could compare courses, website plugins, and SaaS tools.
As you can see, writing a product comparison post works in basically any niche.
And here are three reasons why I think you should give writing product comparison posts a try:
1. Product comparison posts are super helpful for readers
As bloggers, perhaps our biggest job is helping people save time by making the information they need more convenient.
In a crowded Internet, people have shared many ideas. But we can make readers’ lives better by presenting content in a convenient format.
Product comparison posts are a great example. By providing the information readers need all in one place, we can help them skip or reduce the tedious work of researching various solutions.
2. Product comparison posts are a great way to educate yourself
We all know using the best tools is essential. But finding the time to research different options is tough — and usually gets pushed to the back burner.
Writing a product comparison post allows you to kill two birds with one stone. You get a great blog post you can proudly share and a chance to become more knowledgeable about products that can help you and your readers.
3. Product comparison posts can make money
Many companies have affiliate programs bloggers can join that pay you for generating leads. If you write a definitive product comparison post about two relevant products and share it with your readers, you might convert a few people into paying customers — and earn a commission for yourself.
So, now that you’ve read about the benefits of these articles… want to give it a try?
Here’s how to write a definitive product comparison post
Follow these 4-steps to write a product comparison post that will convert massive amounts of leads:
Step 1: Pick two products or services your readers are interested in
Think through these questions to find the best products to compare:
- Think of a problem your readers might face, and two solutions they might consider.
- Think of a tool your readers might already use, and an alternative they might like to try.
- Think of a tool you currently use, and some alternatives you’d like to try.
Step 2: Pick some facts about the products to highlight
As the name implies, your goal in a product comparison post is to highlight differences. One of the biggest mistakes you can make with this type of article is writing general product reviews and never pointing out any key distinctions.
I’m not saying you have to pick a winner or make a one-size-fits-all recommendation. On the contrary, it’s usually a game of pros and cons.
For example, one product might have more features, while the other product is cheaper. Which is the better product for the reader? It depends on what they value more: Features or cost savings. Your job is merely to point out these differences.
Here are some areas you can highlight:
- Key features
- Regions where the product is available (when applicable)
- Reviews (if possible)
There will also be some topic-specific differences you’ll want to highlight.
For example, this review of Daily Harvest and Green Blender, two popular smoothie delivery services, points out the differences in the size of the smoothies; whether the recipes are organic, gluten-free, or vegan; and whether the ingredients are shipped fresh or frozen.
Step 3: Do your research
Now that you have a good idea of what areas you want to cover, you can go on a scavenger hunt to find the answers. Company websites are where you’ll probably want to start, but Google is a big help too — if you know the right tricks.
When you search a keyword followed by the name of the product’s website (“keyword” + “product’s website”), Google can often point you to the best pages for answers faster than you can find them by browsing.
A side-note about finding product reviews:
Reviews and ratings are an incredibly valuable data point to include in your product comparison posts because they quantify how satisfied customers tend to be with a product. However, finding scores to share can sometimes be difficult‚ especially if you don’t know where to look.
Food Delivery Guru has a great post comparing Blue Apron against Hello Fresh (two meal kit delivery services that send customers pre-portioned ingredients for cooking easy homemade meals.) Since retailers like Amazon don’t sell these meal delivery subscriptions, you might think there would be no way to show reviews. But Food Delivery Guru gets around that by featuring the companies’ Trustpilot scores.
Trustpilot is a website where customers can post reviews for products they’ve tried. There are many sites like it, and you can find these sites by Googling what you’re looking for—i.e., “Hello Fresh reviews”.
Look for a reputable site that has a considerable number of reviews for both of the services you’re comparing. For example, if one product has a terrible rating but only three reviews, it would probably be unfair to use those metrics as the basis for a comparison.
Step 4: Write the post
You can be creative in the outline you choose to use, but remember, your job is to make the information easy to find and understandable.
Here’s a basic outline I’ve found to be useful:
- Acknowledge the problem the reader is facing
- Mention the tools that could solve the problem
- Quickly explain how the post will help readers pick the best option for their unique situation
- Offer a side-by-side comparison chart for an easy overview
- Write a short review of product 1 highlighting unique features
- Summarize the pros of product 1 using bullet points
- Write a short review of product 2 highlighting unique features
- Summarize the pros of product 2 using bullet points
- End with a conclusion that suggests which product is better for specific groups of people based on their circumstances (e.g., “If you’re looking for the cheapest option…”)
Do I have to limit myself to only two products or companies?
Kindlepreneur has a great article that helps aspiring authors pick the best book writing software for their needs. Although the name doesn’t explicitly say it, this blog post is really just a definitive product comparison post. In the write-up, the authors actually compare five different tools you can use to write books.To keep the post from becoming overwhelming, the authors do a few things really well:
- They highlight mutually exclusive differentiators (like which book writing software works for which device), helping people quickly narrow down their options.
- They keep their overviews for each of the five products short.
- They use a lot of bullet points to communicate important facts with less text.
Over to you
Now you have some great reasons to consider giving a product comparison post a try, clear steps for how to write one, and several examples of great articles you can reverse engineer.
If you have any questions, be sure to post them in the comments!
The post 3 Reasons Why You Should Write Definitive Product Comparison Posts appeared first on Copybot.
Monday, July 30, 2018
Making mistakes isn’t fun.
They can cause setbacks, result in financial loss, or cause bad blood with your team. Thankfully, you can learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others. Or, in this case, you can learn from my content marketing mistakes.
Over the past six years, I’ve had the opportunity to work for some fantastic companies and provide content marketing support for a variety of product launches, including:
- Serving as the senior content marketer for a fast-growing SaaS company
- Directing the content strategy for a popular faith-based organization (1.2 million pageviews per month)
- Launching dozens of book marketing campaigns, including several New York Times best-sellers
- Overseeing the content strategy for best-selling author Jeff Goins
- Providing content marketing support for national events, online courses, and albums
After reflecting on my experience, I wrote 6 Most Devastating Content Marketing Mistakes to help you avoid the big mistakes I made. This guide will help you steer clear of those mistakes and chart a course to help you maintain momentum.Don’t feel like you’re alone in your work.
You don’t have to figure everything out yourself.
Take a few moments to read this guide, digest the short lessons, and make sure you’re not wasting your time or money.
Thursday, July 26, 2018
The following is a conversation I had with Abby Wolfe from The Muse about my transition from working in a call center to serving as a content marketer.
“I always struggled tremendously with reading, grammar, and writing,” Wisnewski shares. “I just didn’t apply myself. I actually did so poorly in high school English that I had to take a remedial course when I started college.”
After graduating college, he spent a brief time training to sell insurance before deciding he wanted to be a pastor. He resigned from the insurance industry, relocated to take an unpaid internship with a church, and then he started grad school for religious studies.
It was during his masters program that he really developed a passion for writing. But even this didn’t make him consider a career in content. Instead, while still going to school part-time, he took a call center position for a communications company until something he was more interested in came along. He ended up being there for nearly three years. It was a tough time for him emotionally, as he was tired of spending time at a job he didn’t love. But with a wife and four kids at the time, he couldn’t leave—he had to help pay the bills.
In an effort to help, a friend told him about a job opening at a church that seemed right up Wisnewski’s alley. But when he looked at the job description, it didn’t really interest him.
“Another opening did catch my eye, though,” he shares, “A staff writing position. I realized this was exactly the type of work I wanted to do.” Going with his gut, he applied. And since he’d been writing on the side, he got the job.
Since then, Wisnewski has held a few different content jobs, such as marketing manager and account manager at a few different publishing companies. In early 2018, he launched his own content marketing agency, and, most recently, he landed his current gig at Tithe.ly, an online and mobile-giving company for churches and ministries.
“When I saw this opportunity—the chance to pursue the type of work I love at a company whose mission aligns with my values—I knew it was a match made in heaven,” he shares.
To hear more about my journey into content marketing, click here to keep reading.
The post I Was Able to Combine My Passion for Religion and Content Into a Job I Love appeared first on Copybot.