Category Archives: Uncategorized

What do I deliver through my content writing services?

What do I deliver with my content writing services?

What do I deliver with my content writing services?

I have been telling my clients increasingly that when they are paying me, they’re not paying for the words and sentences that I write. They are paying for the value that I deliver.

I’m gradually shifting away from the messaging that conveys that I deliver content writing services. Of course, I write content and hence, I deliver content writing services, it isn’t just the writing that are offered. Through my writing, my clients benefit because

  • Their search engine rankings improve.
  • The quality of their interaction and engagement elevates.
  • They communicate their proposition clearly.
  • They establish themselves as an authority.
  • People stay longer on their websites and blogs.
  • They generate more leads.
  • Their business grows.

One may say that these are standard benefits that are assumed delivered when someone writes content, and I agree.

Every content writer must talk in these terms. Every website thrives on the shoulders of its content. Without content, a website has no meaning. Just imagine, you go on a website, and you find just images and graphics. Will you do business with such a website?

Or say, there is written text on the website, but it is uninspiring. It uses staid language. There are grammar mistakes. There is no flow consistency. The inherent narrative is missing. Most of the time the readers leave midway, forget about doing business.

Quality content writing is invaluable. Everyone, including content writers and people who hire them, need to understand that without written content, without content that convinces and converts, the website holds no meaning.

Do I get the writer’s block when writing content?

How to deal with writer's block as a content writer?

How to deal with writer’s block as a content writer?

Content writers are considered more as service providers and less as writers or artists. Hence, when your clients are paying for every assignment, every blog post and every social media update, getting writer’s block seems like a luxury you can ill afford. Your clients are going to demand a refund if you tell them that sorry, I’m going through writer’s block and hence, for the time being I cannot work on the project.

Although I’m writing blog posts for day care centers, blockchain developers, business process automation developers, peanut snack makers, and wall décor retail stores, deep down somewhere, it is a writer who is doing all the job and just like any other writer, this writer to goes through all the travails that other writers go through, such as having writer’s block.

As a content writer who gets paid for every write-up, how do I deal with writer’s block?

What causes writer’s block when you are writing content

Writer’s block is mostly psychological. When a hodgepodge of thoughts invades your brain, it is difficult to think about the topic at hand.

It can be a depressing article you just read. It can be your frustrating social media timeline. It can be heated discussion you had with one of your family members. It can even be some old memory that resurfaces and takes over your thought process. It can be the constant disturbance in your writing environment. Sometimes even physical discomfort throws you off the path. Too much procrastination definitely triggers writer’s block.

As a content writer you are constantly dealing with topics that stump you.

Recently I had to turn down a couple of assignments because the topics were completely out of my league. I could have worked on them, but I knew that the client wouldn’t be paying me for the time I needed to research and educate myself. Hence, if it is a topic for which you need to tax your mind a lot, sometimes it triggers writer’s block.

How to deal with writer’s block when writing content?

I will share my personal experience. You may have your own experience but I’m sharing mine hoping that it may help you. Here are a few things that I do.

Don’t get alarmed by writer’s block

Having a writer’s block doesn’t mean you are a lousy writer, or your imagination has gone for a toss. Even Olympic level athletes don’t feel the same physically every day. They too have their ups and downs. Your brain is after all a muscle. Sometimes it gets tired. Sometimes it gets jolted out of its state of being.

Have confidence in yourself. Tell yourself that this writer’s block is temporary, and it will go away.

Figure out the source of your writer’s block

Sometimes it may not even be a block. Maybe it is a distraction. Maybe, unknowingly, you’re doing something that is stopping you from writing.

Are you hungry? Are you feeling unwell? Is there too much noise around you? Are you having relationship problems? Is there a trigger that sets off your writer’s block?

When you try to analyze your writer’s block dispassionately, it often recedes.

Take distractions seriously

Are you checking Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn repeatedly?

Are you repeatedly checking how many people have liked or responded to your post?

Are you needlessly reading blog posts and articles on other websites?

Are you getting obsessed with repeatedly checking news updates?

People are constantly coming in and going out of your room?

Are you constantly getting notifications on your mobile phone?

Worse, are you constantly responding to those notifications?

Studies have revealed that once you are distracted, on an average it takes you 25 minutes to get your mind focused on the present task.

Eliminate as many distractions as you can. Keep your phone away. Block social media websites using a tool like Cold Turkey. Bolt the door from inside. Keep everything you need – water, coffee, snacks – on your table so that you don’t need to get up.

Go through your previous successful content writing projects

This is to give you a mental boost. When you have writer’s block you begin to doubt your abilities. Going through your previous work reassures you that when push comes to shove, you can do your stuff.

Visit the websites and blogs you have previously written content for. Go through different folders on your computer where you have stored client work. Read your own blog posts and articles. Marvel at your talent.

Recall your previous behavior whenever you have writer’s block

If you have been writing content for some years now, it is not the first time you are having writer’s block. You must have had it multiple times. You came out of it. How?

In my case, I just start working on the project. Often, I know that it is just a matter of writing a few sentences. This is the most difficult thing to do when you are having writer’s block: starting.

Therefore, whenever I’m having writer’s block, I tell myself, look, I just need to start.

Just jot down information without worrying about writing

In many cases writer’s block hits you because you don’t have the needed information with you.

Right now, I am experienced enough to know whether I can work on an assignment or not. Still, sometimes, it is just a matter of collecting my thoughts in front of me. Once I have written the first sentence, once I have jotted down a few facts and figures about the piece of content I need to work on, things begin to flow.

Start writing in monosyllables. Sometimes just a single word. Your sentences don’t need to be grammatically correct. They don’t even need to make sense. Just start writing.

Change the font in your word processor

Sometimes, simply by changing the look of my word processor, my writer’s block goes away.

I love trying out different fonts. Ostentatious fonts can be distracting so I don’t use them, but if a font looks new and elegant, I definitely give it a try. Google Fonts has excellent fonts. There are even websites offering you free fonts.

Although I avoid doing this as much as possible, sometimes I even change my word processor. For example, for a few months I have been working in MS Word (I have been using Word for two decades now, but I keep switching). Before that I was working in Ai Writer without word processing capabilities. In between I have also worked in Sublime Text. I have written complete articles and blog posts on my mobile phone. Occasionally I also work in Google Docs.

Having a writer’s block is quite common. People needlessly attach too much importance to it. Sometimes you don’t feel like getting up in the morning. It is the same thing. Sometimes your brain doesn’t want to use its writing muscle.

Of course, you can’t tell this to your clients. If you have committed a blog post on Wednesday, you must deliver it on Wednesday and you cannot tell your client that you’re going through a writer’s block and hence, you’re going to deliver it on Thursday or Friday. It doesn’t mean there are never delays. But you cannot tell them that the delays are because of writer’s block.

 

How to run a successful email marketing campaign with effective copywriting

Successful email marketing with effective copywriting

Successful email marketing with effective copywriting.

These days I’m getting lots of queries from clients who want to run successful email marketing campaigns and they need my copywriting services.

According to Statista, an estimated 306.4 billion emails travel the length and breadth of the web every day.

The graph below shows the trend over a period of 2017-2023.

As you can see, the number is projected to reach 347.3 billion emails by 2023.

Graph of number of emails being sent during 2017-2023

Graph of number of emails being sent during 2017-2023

It is not just the number of emails being sent and received that excite digital marketers and general clients.

It is the ROI in the stats.

This is a slightly old finding, but on an average, for every $1 that you spend on email marketing, you get a return of $38. Some even claim $40.

Here is another pleasing graphic that I found on this link.

The highest ROI is in email marketing

The highest ROI is in email marketing.

Of course, you may look at these numbers cynically because at personal level, you may not have experienced such a startling success with your email campaigns.

The problem is not with the numbers, the problem is with the implementation.

When people claim that you can earn $38 for every dollar you spend on email marketing, you must do whatever is required to make your email marketing effective.

What makes your email marketing successful and how does copywriting contribute?

Email marketing is not about sending emails to a group of subscribers or email ids though, it is a big part.

Successful email marketing is about active engagement.

Here are some attributes that enable you to call your email marketing successful:

  1. A greater number of people open your email messages.
  2. A greater number of people read your messages.
  3. A greater number of people respond by either replying or clicking the call-to-action button or link.

All these three points are very important to make your email marketing successful.

If people are just opening your message and do nothing else, you aren’t achieving much.

Recently a client told me, with a touch of pride, that his open rate is 22%.

Marvelous, I said. Then how do you want me to contribute?

I’m not getting any business, he replied with a subdued tone.

Unless people open your messages, read them, get affected positively and then contact you to do business with you click the link to buy from you, you cannot call your email marketing successful.

Everything needs to work in tandem.

The success of your email marketing depends on the following factors:

  • The quality and growth of your email list.
  • The trust factor enjoyed by your email marketing service provider (so that your emails are not redirected to the spam folder).
  • Your reputation – are people familiar with you? Do they know what you represent and why you are sending them emails? Do they trust you?
  • Your subject line – no matter how familiar they are with your name or brand, unless the subject line compels them to open your message, they are not going to open it.
  • The main headline – this is going to be the biggest work. Only if the headline captivates them, they’re going to read the rest of the message.
  • The convincing copy that keeps them engaged, excited and leads them to a culmination.
  • The most appropriate call-to-action.

Effective copywriting for email marketing

My clients often hire me for my content writing services but when I’m writing marketing emails, I provide them my copywriting services.

You may like to read this: Difference between copywriting and content writing.

Copywriting informs, educates, influences and sells.

Content writing informs and educates.

Marketing means selling.

When you’re sending out emails wanting people to buy from you or do business with you, you’re selling an idea.

They have a problem, you offer a solution.

For example, if I send you an email marketing campaign with the subject line “Better conversion rate for your email marketing with my copywriting services” I am assuming that you are worried about your conversion rate.

Problems may include…

Not many people are opening your messages.

Even if they open your messages, they don’t respond to them.

Even if they contact you, there is some communication gap and they don’t become your paying customers and clients.

The gist is, you’re looking for a solution that can help you improve your email marketing conversion rate and I’m offering you the solution.

Frankly, without effective copywriting, there is no email marketing.

The communication dynamics are different in email marketing.

You need to be bang on the main message of the email.

People don’t want to read long messages unless they are reading some scholarly discourse on a highly technical B2B product.

They have a problem.

You offer a solution.

You offer an irresistible proposition.

You convince them, without making them feel vulnerable or defensive, what a great loss it is going to be not doing business with you.

For such a message, you need copywriting.

You need a copywriter who can write convincingly and persuasively.

The copywriting in your email marketing campaign must be able to directly talk to the recipients with zero distraction.

Remember that most of your recipients will be reading your message on their mobile devices.

They may be in a highly distracted state.

They may be travelling.

They may be in a meeting.

They may be standing in a queue.

They may be sitting on the toilet seat struggling with constipation.

Amidst all this, your copywriting must ensure that the message gets across.

Some tips for effective copywriting for successful email marketing campaigns

Here are some tips to follow when writing copy for your email marketing campaigns.

There are no hard-and-fast rules because every audience is unique, but you can apply the general template that works pretty much for every audience.

Then you can make small tweaks here and there for better conversion rate.

Another thing you must keep in mind is that there is no magic wand.

You will have to experiment.

You will need to gather data and allow your email marketing service (MailChimp, for example) to analyze your campaigns for at least a month to give you some usable insights.

Anyway, there are some things you can do for effective copywriting for successful email marketing campaigns…

Create a killer subject line

As mentioned above, your subject line is very important.

As a copywriter, coming up with the most compelling subject line is one of your greatest challenges.

If the subject line is not great people don’t open your email message and if they don’t open your email message, no matter how great your email message is, everything will go down the drain.

Hence, spend a lot of time coming up with the most appropriate subject line.

It doesn’t have to be out of this world.

There is no need to say something earthshattering.

You don’t need to shout “Earthquake!!” just to get their attention.

Just mention something that will make them open your message in a relevant frame of mind.

Offer something they need, in a clear language.

Make better use of the preview text

These days, many email clients such as Gmail show a small preview text in the inbox even when you haven’t opened your message.

This is another opportunity for you as a copywriter to convince people into opening your message.

Write for easier reading

More than 100 characters in a sentence including spaces?

More than a sentence in a paragraph?

You have already lost most of your audience.

Write very short sentences so that they are easier to read and comprehend on a mobile device, probably while the hand is shaking.

Represent one idea through one sentence.

Use simple sentences, avoid compound sentences.

As far as possible, make sure that your message is not more than 200 words.

Lay everything down for them as clearly as possible.

Never use words and expressions that can be confused or mixed with other words and expressions.

Preferably, write in the first person

It also means that you must know the name of the person to whom you are sending your email messages, but that’s a different issue.

Email messages written in the first person elicit better response compared to email messages that read like as if they have been written to a group.

Again, this is not a hard-and-fast rule – it depends on your audience.

Your copywriting style must reek of enthusiasm

If you don’t sound enthusiastic, how can you excite your audience into taking an action that requires them to go to the trouble of entering their credit card details and buying your product or service?

But make sure that your enthusiasm is not fake.

Remember you’re offering them a solution to their problem.

You are feeling good about the fact that after buying your product or service, their lives are going to be easier or enriched.

Feel good about providing them that solution.

When you feel good while writing the copy, it will show through your writing style and then it will get conveyed to your audience.

Don’t refrain from using persuasive language or power words

Of course, don’t overdo.

Remember you are not writing a Shakespearean play.

Your protagonist is not going to be stabbed by his own supporters.

On the other hand, unless you tell them to do something, how do you expect them to do it?

Hence, tell them that it is a bargain.

Let it be known to them that it is a never seen before offer.

It may even be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Can my copywriting quadruple your email marketing conversion rate? Heck, why not?

Is it a limited offer available to just the first twenty responders?

Cater to their greed.

Invoke their insecurities.

Just make sure that you don’t trigger a “flight, freeze or fight” response with too much aggression or assumption.

Most importantly, don’t lie.

Always mean what you say.

Write email copy with a specific goal

Don’t have multiple objectives for a single email marketing campaign copy.

Focus on one thing.

Let the objective be just one.

If you have multiple objectives this will stop you from effective copywriting and you will also end up confusing your readers.

So, if you want people to download your white paper after reading your email campaign, just talk about the benefits of downloading the white paper.

If you want them to download and install your mobile app, just focus on that.

Avoid messages like “Although I’m asking you to download my e-book, now that you are reading this message, here are the services that I offer…”

They will neither download your e-book nor contact you for your services.

In conclusion, I have observed that the best copywriting for successful email marketing campaigns comes from the heart.

Mean what you say.

Come to the point as fast as possible.

Give your email is enough time to evolve.

 

Following SEO Guidelines Still Matters For Quality Content Writing

Follow SEO guidelines along with quality content writing

Follow SEO guidelines along with quality content writing.

Do you often wonder why your blog or website doesn’t rank well despite continuously publishing quality content? Why doesn’t quality content writing improve your SEO the way it should?

Just now I came across this wonderful and comprehensive post on Content Marketing Institute about why it is important that you follow SEO guidelines and don’t assume that just because you are publishing great content, Google is going to rank you well.

The post explains, with examples, some websites having high quality content but not ranking well for the target keywords and some websites with low quality content ranking well.

Why does this happen?

Following SEO guidelines while writing quality content makes a big difference

You may also like to read 10 fundamental qualities of effective SEO content writing.

I have often written on my blog that you should never compromise with quality because ultimately, it’s your quality that sustains and improves your SEO.

But, how do you get your content indexed and ranked in the first place and why is it necessary to get indexed and ranked in the first place?

I will share my personal experience and I have made this observation with multiple websites, blogs, web pages and blog posts.

In the beginning when you publish a blog post or a web page Google crawls it, indexes it and then ranks it according to its analysis.

For this, it uses SEO guidelines. I will come to these SEO guidelines later.

Then, when your content has begun to appear on search results, with the help of its users, Google begins to evaluate your quality and thereupon, it’s your quality that decides whether you’re going to maintain your search engine rankings, improve them, or lose them.

Why following search engine guidelines is important while writing?

The above Content Marketing Institute blog post gives examples of websites that rank well despite having low quality content.

Just an extra remark: the “low quality” websites used in the above example don’t necessarily have irrelevant or misleading content; it is just that, the quality of the written content is lower compared to high quality content on their websites that are not ranking well.

These websites make strategic use of their keywords in the title, the headline and the subheading.

Your keyword must be in the HTML title tag.

Then, your keyword must be there in the headline.

Then your keyword and its various combinations must be there in the subheadings.

Then, of course, there must be a careful sprinkling of your keyword and LSI alternatives throughout your text.

This is the standard SEO guideline that I follow.

Google has published its own search engine optimization guidelines, something straight from the horse’s mouth.

I follow these SEO guidelines along with ensuring that I write quality content.

Following these guidelines in the beginning helps your content get crawled, indexed and ranked for the first time.

Despite what Google says about only quality mattering, in the beginning, I have observed, it does not.

Quality begins to matter afterwards when your content is already indexed and the search engine users have begun to interact with it.

Why following the SEO guidelines matters in the beginning?

Google needs to make sense of your content before it can index and rank it.

Kindly note that this is not a hard and fast rule because sometimes websites and blogs randomly get ranked even without mentioning the search query being used even once.

Anyway, in the beginning, the keyword in your title (the keyword can be a phrase or a search term targeting an audience) appears as a hyperlink in the Google listings.

It has been observed that if the search term that the search engine user has just used appears as a hyperlink in the search results, there is a greater probability of her clicking the link.

This shows how important the text appearing within your title tag is – Google uses it as a hyperlink.

In fact, every search engine, and even social media websites, use the text in your title tag as a hyperlink.

Then, Google evaluates your headline to see what it contains to make further sense of your content.

Then, it begins to analyze your whole content and then uses its algorithm to index it and rank it.

This is one part of the story.

How quality content writing impacts your SEO

Once your content begins to appear in search results, people begin to react to it.

Suppose, someone searches for “content writing service to improve my SEO” and comes to my website.

She finds lots of useful information and consequently, she spends some time on my website exploring it further.

Since it’s only the quality and relevance that can keep her on the website, quality content writing plays a very important role here.

If she comes back to Google after a few minutes and carries on with the same search, Google assumes that although my website contains some useful information on the search she just carried out, she needs more information.

It may or may not improve my rankings for “content writing service to improve my SEO”.

Instead, after visiting my website for the first time if she comes back within a couple of seconds or a few seconds, it sends signals to Google that my website does not contain relevant content for the search term she just used.

Google takes it as an indication that my website shouldn’t be ranking at this particular spot for the search term just used, and hence, lowers my rankings for at least this keyword.

Quality content doesn’t mean you ignore SEO guidelines, and vice versa

Google is an algorithm, after all.

It often comes to light that Google uses human evaluators in many cases, mostly, but when it comes to processing millions of web pages every hour, it is the algorithm that analyzes your content and ranks it.

After that, how humans react to your content begins to either pay off or take its toll.

Hence, when writing content, you need to pay close attention to both its quality as well as SEO guidelines so that it becomes easier for search engine crawlers and ranking algorithms to make sense of your content for the first time, and each time your content is crawled, indexed and ranked.

How to strike a balance between SEO guidelines and quality content writing

It isn’t very difficult, actually.

Publish as much topical content as you can.

What is topical content?

Topical content is content that talks about a topic: for example, my this blog post talks about why it is important to not to neglect SEO guidelines even when you are writing quality content.

To my utmost knowledge and effort, I’m paying very close attention to the quality of my writing.

I have used the keywords “SEO guidelines” and “quality content writing” at all the necessary places including the title tag, the headline and all over the body text.

I follow this template for my own blog posts, my own web pages and also, when I’m writing for my clients.

Most of the clients, when they decide to hire my content writing services, don’t know how my process flows to accommodate both the search engine whims and the expectations of human visitors.

They just give me the topic. Or just a random list of keywords.

Then, I make sure that when I’m writing quality content, I also organize the content keeping the search engine guidelines in mind

 

Factor in machine learning when content writing

Content writing for machine learning and AI

Content writing for machine learning and AI.

The search engines are increasingly being powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence, according to this interview of Fabrice Canal, Principal Program Manager at Bing, Microsoft.

So, keywords are not important?

For a few years, keywords are going to be important because to be able to ignore the keywords completely and just focus on what your message intends to deliver, the AI will need to be much smarter.

Nonetheless, even at this nascent stage, your SEO depends more on factoring in machine learning and searcher intent and less on the keywords and the search terms.

When you genuinely want to improve your search engine rankings – mostly customers come to your website and not random searchers – you need to know the intent of your average visitor.

I will give you my own example: I publish content for two reasons:

  1. Attract people who will pay me for my content writing services.
  2. Attract people who would like to link to my content, share it on their social media profiles, and in general, help me spread my content as far as possible.

I keep it 60:40 – 60% of my content is for spreading information and 40% is to tell people what I can do with my content writing services.

How important is searcher intent for content writing effectiveness?

The term “searcher intent” was introduced in the wake of the BERT update from Google. It stands for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers”. It is a deep learning algorithm related to natural language processing. It not only helps the machines to understand what the words in a sentence stand for, but also the context and the nuance.

Neil Patel on his blog gives very good “Before” and “After” examples of how the BERT update affects the search results.

The point is, the search intent of the search engine user is carefully analysed by the background AI to show appropriate results.

After all, people should be able to find information they are looking for instead of what search engines like Google and Bing think people are trying to find.

Therefore, Fabrice Canal says that the ranking algorithms at the search engines are constantly evolving and the machines learn on their own what people are searching and what search results they need.

What is search intent?

I have explained it multiple times on my website, but I will quickly recap.

Knowing the searcher intent means knowing exactly what your target audience is looking for. The search terms need to be interpreted according to their need and not according to just the words being used.

Thanks to BERT when you search for “the benefits of apple” the search engine completely ignores the Apple company which, previously, it did not. All the top results are about the benefits of eating apples.

On the other hand, if you search for “I have an apple” Google gets confused and starts showing results from various “Apple” products and reviews. It is not taking an inference from my previous search and then sticking to the fruit instead of the tech company.

Anyway, knowing the searcher intent during content writing keeps you focused and helps you write content your target customers and clients are looking for.

You may like to read: Why searcher intent is most important when writing content for your website.

Again, I will come back to my own example.

Suppose someone searches for “need a content writer”.

This becomes confusing for the search engine. Is the search about the qualities that are needed in a content writer? Does it mean “I need a content writer”? Does it mean “do you need a content writer?”

Big difference. When someone looks for “I need a content writer” it is a person who needs a content writer.

When someone looks for “do you need a content writer?” question is being asked whether someone needs a content writer.

These are very subtle things, but they can have a big impact on your search engine rankings. Even if the rankings of your core content pieces don’t fluctuate much, the sort of traffic that you get may not generate you much business.

What do I do to solve this problem?

I solve this problem by writing highly targeted pages. For example, instead of trying to target something like “need a content writer” or “I need a content writer” I try to write about “content writer needed for a web design agency” or, “looking for content writer for the real estate company”.

This brings us to the discussion of using longtail keywords. These keywords or search terms may appear long, and you may think that very few people may use them, but at least these people will be clearheaded and precise.

For example, when someone searches for “looking for a content writer for email marketing” and then comes to my website, I know that the person is actually looking for someone who can write email marketing campaigns.

You will get higher conversion rate.

The topic of this post was content writing for machine learning.

Search engine engineers at Google and Bing suggest that don’t worry much about keywords. With every new update, keywords begin to matter less. What matters more is the essence of your message.

Hence, focus on quality. Focus on relevance. Focus on searcher intent.