Category Archives: Copywriting and Content Writing Tips

Writing Happy New Year greetings for your business

How to write a happy New Year greeting for your business

How to write a happy New Year greeting for your business

Almost every business sends out new year greetings to its customers and clients. Being a professional content writer, I write new year greetings for my ongoing clients.

Here is a quick tip when writing a new year greeting for your business:

Really mean it.

Why am I saying this? Many businesses send out new year greetings just to promote some products or services.

For once, greet your customers and clients just for the sake of greeting them. Send them genuine messages. You have an entire year to promote your business.

When I’m creating email messages for season’s greetings such as Christmas, New Year or Diwali, I write contextually as well as emotionally.

What is contextual in this? Take for example the Covid-19 pandemic. Everyone is worried. Over the past two years it’s been coming and going. People are unsure both emotionally and economically.

There are thousands of other problems in the world.

No, I’m not saying that fill your messages will doom and gloom. But certainly empathize. People live in a realistic world, and they don’t want to be talked down to. Talk like an adult.

Yes, there are problems. Yes, we need to deal with those problems. Despite those problems, we must wish each other happiness, gratitude, prosperity, health, safety, and love.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating a new year message or a seasonal greeting message for your customers and clients:

Don’t worry about writing earthshattering sentences

Plain sentences will do. A simple “A Happy New Year to you” is far better than writing a convoluted sentence very few people understand. You don’t always have to use that big giant dancing man to attract people to your message.

Keep it short

It’s new year. People are busy with their families. Even if they are not busy with their families and friends, since most of the people are reading your messages on their mobile phones, it is better to keep them short. It is easier to read them.

Formulate the message

Here is how you can formulate the message:

  • Thank him or her for doing business with you.
  • Wish: May you and your loved ones prosper, become or remain healthy, get lots of love, and contentment in the coming year. May all your wishes come true this coming year.

Include your signature at the end

The signature will tell the recipients of your message what business you are in. Again, don’t go overboard. Use your usual signature. Stay away from pushing your marketing message.

Different marketing experts may have different take on how to write new year greetings, but my approach is quite straightforward. When you are writing New Year greetings, stick to greeting them. Don’t insert your marketing messages. Don’t use double entendre. Don’t use it as an opportunity to push your business agenda. You can push your business agenda all the year.

Can you publish high quality content on a shoestring budget?

How to write high-quality content on a shoestring budget

How to write high-quality content on a shoestring budget.

Yes, you can.

When it comes to publishing high quality content on shoestring budgets, I have experienced two types of clients:

  1. Those who have a genuine problem with cash and right now, really cannot spend much money on my content writing services.
  2. Those who think that spending money on content writing is not worth it, and they must squeeze as much content as possible with as little money as possible.

The focus of the current blog post are the clients of the first category – who really need to publish high-quality content on a shoestring budget.

Frankly, if you want to publish a 2500-word blog post that is well researched, you will need to spend money on a content writer.

It is like, when you go to the Domino’s and you want to order a large pizza, you are going to have to pay for it. Cannot pay? Too bad. Find alternatives. Go for another fast food that may be equally yummy and appetizing.

When my clients do not have enough money, I don’t cut corners.

I either don’t take the assignment because sometimes even I cannot afford to work on lesser paying assignments, or I offer an alternative.

The trick is, publish as much high-quality content as possible. Do not, do not compromise on quality even if you get to publish less content. Less content does not mean bad content. It simply means less content. There is nothing wrong in that.

This is how you can publish high-quality content on a shoestring budget

Publish small blog posts and web pages

In my previous blog post titled How to start blogging right now I have written that most of the clients think that if they need to publish their blogs, they need to publish at least 1000 words.

Yes, there are definitely benefits of publishing longer pieces of content. The advantages of long form content are well proven. Long form content enjoys better search engine rankings, and it also gets shared more compared to shorter pieces of content.

But right now, in the beginning, when you are working on a shoestring budget, do not worry about publishing long form content. You cannot afford it and you don’t want to compromise on the quality of your content.

The benefits of publishing small blog posts and web pages is that you can publish them almost immediately. Instead of worrying about the number of words, you focus on the message and the quality of your content.

Deliver the central message and then be done with that.

Even if you need to pay your content writer, since your content writer will be writing smaller pieces of content, he or she will not charge much, and you will be able to collaborate with him or her within your shoestring budget.

It is not like once you have published web pages and blog posts you cannot come back to them and expand them. You can go on adding new content as and when you can afford.

For example, in the beginning you publish a blog post of just 200 words. You publish it and then submit it to the Google Search Console. It will get crawled and indexed. One important job is done.

After a month, you can add another 400 words and then resubmit your link to the Google Search Console. Now you have 600 words, and the content is crawled again.

Publish content iteratively

I have covered this topic in the above-mentioned point. Publishing content iteratively means publishing it in stages. You publish the bare-bones version for the first time and submit your link to Google.

Then you can go on visiting the link and keep on adding new content to it.

Please remember that the problem is not with how much content you have, the problem in the beginning is the lack of it.

If you keep on waiting for the time when you will be able to publish blog posts and web pages of thousands of words, you will either compromise on quality or you will go on waiting, and this will cause harm to your business.

Instead, publish module, smaller chunks of content and then let them grow over time.

Re-purpose existing content

Have you already got a few web pages and blog posts? Maybe you can take out some chunks and reuse them?

These days when I don’t get time to add new content to my blog, I randomly pick up (relevant & useful) paragraphs and sentences, make them into a quotable image, and then share the image on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Curate useful content

This was the initial essence of blogging I remember. Someone posted something, and then scores of people linked to the original piece and shared their own opinion on it. This is how blogging grew and millions of blog posts got interconnected.

There are many content segregation platforms and apps you can use to gather useful links in your industry.

I use them for gathering high-quality updates on content marketing, content writing and SEO from other blogs and websites.

I choose a link, link to it from a new blog post, and then write a few paragraphs either explaining the contents of the original link, or expressing my own opinion.

You do not always have to agree to the link that you have found. You can also disagree. For example, recently I found a link extolling the benefits of long form content and according to my experience, sometimes you can achieve the same results by publishing shorter blog posts. I wrote about that.

Just make sure that when you are disagreeing, you have a valid reason, otherwise, it becomes counter-productive.

Share quick tips and tricks about your business or expertise

Again, these tips and tricks don’t need to be very long and comprehensive.

Take for example this blog post – Content writing advice: In the beginning it is important to associate your name with what you do or offer.

I was having a conversation with a client, and it occurred to me that the advice that I was giving to him, I could also write and publish on the blog. I did. It hardly took me 10 minutes.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this blog post, some clients are simply miserly and don’t appreciate paying for good content, and some clients have a real problem. These clients know the value of high-quality content. They wouldn’t mind paying for it. It is just that right now they need to work on a shoestring budget.

 

How to define your KPIs for targeted content writing

How to define your KPIs for targeted content writing

How to define your KPIs for targeted content writing?

KPIs stand for key performance indicators – they “indicate” whether your efforts are performing in the right direction or not.

Your biggest key performance indicator is the increase in your sales. But this KPI is made of scores of smaller KPI’s and this KPI cannot be attained unless you focus on numerous smaller KPIs.

Many content writing efforts do not pay off because people want to achieve everything with a single piece of content. They want to publish a few web pages or blog posts and then they want to generate business.

Surprisingly, every person who knows a thing or two about doing business knows the importance of lead nurturing – how you bring your prospective customer in your sales funnel and then, systematically, you lead him or her to the final act – purchasing.

But somehow, they tend to forget this when writing (or getting written) and publishing content on their websites.

When writing a particular web page, the focus should be on the immediate objective – what do you want to achieve by publishing this particular piece of content? What singular action do you want people to take after reading your web page?

Recently I published a book titled This Is How I Built My Content Writing Business; if I write about this book on my blog, do I just focus on prompting people to read the preview, purchase the book, or if they need to, they can also hire me as their content writer?

If I try to pack everything into a single blog post, it dilutes the focus and, even if the readers do not realize it, ends up confusing them. They may read the blog post, but a majority of them will leave without doing anything.

Continuing with the example of the book, if I decide to write a blog post on my book, what could be the key performance indicators?

  • Purchase my book
  • Read the preview
  • Download a free copy

There can be many more KPIs, but let us focus on these three KPIs.

I should not try to club all these three KPIs in a single blog post.

If I want to encourage people to read the preview, I should just talk about the benefits of reading the preview. I should talk about what the preview contains and how they are going to benefit after reading the preview.

rEAD THE PREVIEW OF MY BOOK

Read the preview of my book

When I am trying to convince people into reading the preview, I do not need to pressurize them into considering the option of buying it. If they want to buy it, they are going to buy it and I do not need to tell them. There is a “Buy” link on the preview page.

Therefore, if my KPI is getting the maximum number of people to read the preview, I must focus on that.

Similarly, if I want the maximum number of people to buy my book, I need to write in such a manner that I convince them into buying. I shouldn’t mention the fact that they can also read the preview.

Top image source: Shopify

7 things about content writing your schoolteacher never taught you

7 things about content writing your schoolteacher never taught you

7 things about content writing your schoolteacher never taught you.

In the beginning itself I would like to say that content writing is not taught in schools, at least not in normal, conventional schools. What I’m writing here is about “writing” and not necessarily about content writing. But, since content writing is mostly writing, they can be interchanged without losing the meaning.

I was just out of college and my first article was just published in a local newspaper. It was a humorous piece on how I kept falling at very odd times.

My early schooling was done in a special school for children with disabilities (I have cerebral palsy) and due to the emotional and social connections that I had made over there with other students and teachers, I regularly visited my school even when I had started my business after completing my college.

When I bumped into my old English class teacher, she exclaimed, “Hey Amrit! This is not the English I taught you. Where did you learn to write like this?”

There was a look of pride in her eyes. One of her students was writing for a newspaper.

Ever since then I have come across expressions such as, people saying that the stuff they are writing, they never learnt in school.

Though, this can be applied to any field. Unless it is a professional course, the schooling never teaches you things that can actually make you money. Can you mention something that you learned in school and now it helps you make money? I guess not.

So, what is there in content writing that you never learned in school. I can think of 7 things. I explain below.

1. Avoid using difficult words when writing content

It is difficult to define difficult words. It depends on what is the state of your vocabulary.

For example, a word that is difficult for you may not be difficult for me. Maybe the word you have never used I come across it daily. That’s a different issue.

In school they always liked it when I used words that are not used in day-to-day language.

I remember whenever I used a new word that nobody else in the class knew, my teacher, knowing quite well that it was a new word I had used, would draw a smiley nearby. I felt more encouraged.

In real-world, difficult words, or the words that are not used frequently, put people off. Using difficult words can be counter-productive when you are writing commercial content.

The purpose of commercial content is to make people understand what you are writing as clearly as possible. They shouldn’t have to refer to a dictionary to understand your copy or the content you have written.

Though, I don’t completely agree, it is recommended that you should write for grade 6 kids when writing content for business websites.

2. Come to the point as fast as possible

In school you are encouraged to go on and on about a subject.

Something that you can express in one sentence, they expect you to express in 10 sentences. If you can express something in 10 sentences that you could have expressed in a single sentence, you attract praises, and your grades improve.

This is not good when you are writing content for websites and blogs. Although you are advised to publish very long blog posts and web pages, this length is regarding the content and the coverage of the topic, and not about prevaricating on the main message.

When people read web content, they are in a hurry. Yes, even if they are luxuriously lying on a couch, they are in a hurry. They may not be running around doing their chores, it’s just that there is so much content on the Internet that they want to browse through as much as possible.

Hence, by the time you come to your main point, they may already leave your web page or blog post and the entire purpose of writing that web page or blog post is wasted.

This is more important when you are writing sales copy or website content for business websites. Yes, to entice people to read further, you don’t show all your cards but as far as your message goes, come to the main point as fast as possible.

This is good for people, and this is also good for search engine crawlers.

3. Write search engine friendly content

Search engines were unheard of when I was in school. The only engines we knew of were the rail engines, and that too, steam engines.

Even if you belong to generation Z, it is highly unlikely that your schoolteacher taught you how to write essays and reports so that they rank well on Google.

As a content writer you need to write content that is search engine friendly. Your content is supposed to help your clients improve your search engine rankings and get them targeted traffic.

Writing search engine friendly content isn’t a separate form of writing. It is just that you need to be able to write in the language people use when they use search engines.

You need to be able to strategically use the keywords without overly using them or without seeming as if you are trying to “optimize”.

Most importantly, you need to write relevant content in a friendly language that is easily readable on all devices.

Every word you use, every sentence form, must make it easier for search engine crawlers to make sense of what you are saying.

4. Write short sentences and shorter paragraphs

Shorter sentences and paragraphs are not just easier to read, they are also easier to interpret by search engine algorithms.

Though, I have seen that on many blogs and web pages, people get carried away with the concept of writing shorter paragraphs, but however much possible, use simple sentences. Express one thought in one sentence, and just a couple of thoughts in a paragraph.

In school you were taught totally the opposite, although, this might not be the case with all the teachers. In school you were taught to write complicated sentences. Therefore, there is a concept of compound and complex sentences in which, multiple thoughts or multiple inferences are included in a single sentence with lots of conjunctions.

A complicated sentence may have lots of “ands”, “ors”, “buts”, and other types of conjunctions. I’m not saying avoid them altogether, but use them only when they are unavoidable.

5. Write to convince, not to impress

In school, you are supposed to impress your teacher with your writing. When you are writing content for your website or blog, you need to convince the readers into taking an action.

When people come to your website or blog, they don’t come to be impressed or to be blown away by your writing prowess. For that they would rather read the New Yorker or a novel by their favorite author.

They are reading the web page or the blog post to get informed, to get educated, and to get convinced. Yes, they are looking for you to convince them into acting.

How do you do that? There are many emotional triggers that you can use. You can use a sense of urgency. You can use the fear of missing out. You can cater to the lazy or greedy sides.

The moot point is, when you are writing professional content, you need to sell. Hence, avoid words and expressions that may confuse people or prevent them from understanding the advantages of buying that product or service.

6. When writing professional content, you need to fight for people’s attention

Isn’t it totally the opposite of your schoolteacher who may had been chasing you around to submit your assignments?

People hardly care about you on the Internet unless you are an influencer, or a celebrity, and people read you just to get associated with you. You need to fight for people’s attention.

How do you get their attention? By using attention-grabbing headlines. By making sure that every sentence they read encourages them to read the next sentence and every paragraph they read, encourages them to read the next paragraph.

You want people to open your email marketing campaign? You must come up with a compelling subject line. Most of the email messages are lost because the subject lines fail to inspire them.

Hence, when you are writing content as a professional content writer, you are not just writing, you are writing in a manner that people are drawn to your writing, and they are captivated by its style and content.

Also, as explained above, people are always in a hurry when they are reading your web page or blog post. They are either in the middle of something – watching a Nyan cat rip off – or hundreds of notifications are distracting them away from you. If despite all these distractions and stimulation if you are able to hook them to your writing, you are a talented content writer.

7. Write in a conversational style

When you are writing content, you are talking to people. When they read your web page or blog post, they must get a feeling that someone is talking to them.

In schools, this is often discouraged. Your writing must sound pedantic. It must sound “scholarly”. It must contain long-winded jargon, phrases, and expressions that are difficult to pronounce if you need to read them aloud. People don’t hold conversations in such language, and those who do, are often ridiculed.

You must be easily able to read aloud web pages and blog posts.

The best way to find out whether your content writing is easy to read is to read it aloud and see if you can read it smoothly or you need to halt repeatedly. If you need to halt repeatedly, rewrite it.

Over the years, I have learned to adapt my writing according to different industry needs. I can write conversational, market-side language, and I can also write pedantic language.

As I have often written on my blog, more than a content writer, I am a writer, and most of my clients appreciate this.

It doesn’t mean I always do my own thing and don’t care about the concerns that my clients have. Their websites need to convert. They need to improve their search engine rankings. I deliver on both the fronts.

Other than that, whether it is web content or scholarly content, I think as a writer, you should write in your own style. Yes, cater to the conventions as per required by the institution for which you are writing (web or otherwise), but ultimately, once you have mastered the art, stick to doing your own thing.

How to keep visitors longer on your website with your content?

How to make people stay longer on your website with content writing
How to make people stay longer on your website with content writing

It is important that when visitors come to your website, they spend longest possible time there. This is important for lowering your bounce rate as well as increasing your conversion rate.

Studies have shown that the longer people stay on your website, the greater are the chances of them becoming your paid customers and clients. This is because they become familiar with your presence and grow comfortable with what you represent.

In different forms I have explained on my website how to lower your bounce rate, which means, how to keep people on your website longer. How long people stay on your website or how fast they leave your website, is a reflection on the quality and relevance of your content. The quality and relevance of your content and your lower bounce rate go hand-in-hand.

It’s very easy to bring people to your website. Any SEO company or content marketing company can help you with bringing as many people as possible to your website. The real feat is turning those people into paying customers and clients. The content that you have published on your website accomplishes that, or must accomplish that.

The fact that people stay on your website, explore various sections, and go through your web pages, means that they are interested in your proposition. Here are a few things you can do to keep people longer on your website through your content.

Provide definitive answers to definitive questions

Your bounce rate will be higher if people feel that they have been misled into visiting your website. Suppose they come across your link on Google, click the link, come to your website, and then, after feeling dissatisfied, leave within a few seconds. Why does this happen?

Take your own example. You are moving through an arcade of shops and there is a gripping banner offering you something that you have been looking for, for ages. With great excitement you enter the shop but to your dismay, it’s nothing like that. They are offering something completely different. Something that you don’t need. Disappointed, you come out of the shop. If possible, you may also give it a negative rating if it is listed somewhere.

Exactly this happens when people come to your website through a link they have found somewhere, expecting something, and then not finding it. They immediate leave your website. This is neither good for your conversion rate, nor for your search engine rankings.

All this while Google is quietly observing how people are reacting to the search results its algorithm is throwing up. If the search results don’t come up with the right answers, its performance deteriorates. In retaliation, it takes it out on you. It lowers your rankings.

Hence, when you are publishing content, make sure you are delivering exactly what is being displayed in the title and in the headline. Stick to the point.

Internally link to other web pages and blog posts

Even if somehow, your visitors are unable to find what they’re looking for, maybe they will find some useful information on another link within your website. For example, when writing about SEO content writing, I may have also written about SEO copywriting. Since you are searching for SEO copywriting, but you enter my website through something related to a SEO content writing, you might as well check the SEO copywriting link too, just in case. This increases your chances of staying on my website longer.

Make your content easier to read

Despite finding something valuable, just because you have grabbed everything in a single, large paragraph, your business may get frustrated and leave your website in a hurry, without reading the entire web page or blog post.

Use shorter paragraphs. They are also convenient to read on mobile phones. They also help your readers focus on singular thoughts. Don’t try to express a lot within a single paragraph. Whenever there is an excuse to create a new paragraph, create a new paragraph.

Use headings, subheadings, and bulleted points to succinctly explain complicated topics. This also makes your content easily scannable. Without reading the whole thing, if people simply go through your headings, subheadings, and bulleted points, they should be able to understand what you’re trying to say.

Use relevant and attractive images

Although images are not a part of content writing, they can keep people on your website for a bit longer because even if they are not reading the text, they may like to go through the images, and this increases the time they spend on your website. Even if it doesn’t help you with your conversion rate, it may send a signal to Google that you are providing good content and as a result, your search engine rankings may improve.

Use conversational style of writing

Everyone likes being talked to. Have a conversation with your readers. Use lots of “you” and “me” and “I”.

The good thing about writing in a conversational style is that you write as you speak. You use smaller, direct sentences and expressions. You don’t sound pretentious. Even you yourself feel as if you are in a positive flow of and this reflects through your choice of words and phrases.

Tell stories

Just like people like being talked to, they also love reading stories. This is because it is easier to relate to the characters in a story, whether they are anthropomorphic animals or human beings.

Stories also provide ready-made templates. For example, if a character is going through certain circumstances, one or the other reader too has gone through somewhat similar circumstances.

If I tell you the story of Peter who was reluctant to use content writing to improve his search engine rankings and due to that, he went through extreme hardships. It was almost too late when he decided to give quality content writing a chance, and that too, cynically and reluctantly. But then, he was swept off his feet when he began to experience the results after four months and by the seventh month, his business had taken a U-turn.

In the story you learn that just like you, there is a person Peter who doesn’t understand the power of quality content. He cannot figure somehow that content writing can improve his SEO. When he has tried everything, in the end, before completely giving up, he decides to give content writing a try. The story also tells you that the results aren’t immediate. In four months his search engine rankings begin to improve and by the seventh month, the fortunes of his business had completely changed.

Hence, these are some solid ways you can use content writing to keep people on your website for longer. Keeping your visitors on your website for a few minutes isn’t as easy as it sounds. As I have mentioned in the beginning of the blog post, it’s quite easy to bring people to your website. Simple SEO hacks can achieve that for you. What’s important is, for how long people stay on your website and how many of them convert due to that.