30 March 2009

What is Copy writing?


Copywriting is one of the most essential elements of effective online marketing. The art and science of copywriting involves strategically writing words that promote a person, product, business, opinion, or idea, with the ultimate intention of having the reader take some form of action.

So, whether you’re looking to sell something or to build traffic by earning links from others, you’ll need to tell compelling stories that grab attention and connect with people so that they’ll respond the way you want.

The #1 Secret to Writing Great Copy Is…


Using words that have been proven to work.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Study and draw inspiration from great copy that works
.

I’m not talking about copy that you personally think is great. It’s a mistake to judge advertising like regular people do – as entertainment. Madison Avenue has a great gig producing short entertainment pieces called commercials that often don’t sell much of anything.

I’m talking about drawing inspiration from advertising copy that has demonstrated its effectiveness by actually working as intended. Like a direct mail piece that has raked in millions and millions of dollars in sales.

Why Professional Copywriters Use Swipe Files

A copywriting “swipe file” is a collection of winning ads. Sales letters, space ads, headline collections, plus bits and pieces of copy that have been marketplace proven to make big money. A carefully collected swipe file is the essential starting point for most new copywriting campaigns.

It’s a bit like why lawyers begin with a basic form when drafting a new legal document, or why web designers start with a basic code structure. Start with something that has proven efficacy, and customize from there.

The problem with the swipe file approach is context. Many new and inexperienced writers (and often many pros) will miss the mark when trying to adapt past copy to a new situation.

Yep… the winning formula becomes a bust when inappropriately applied. What’s needed is a smarter approach that evaluates winning words within the exact context of your particular offer or content.


Can Copywriting Software Help?

Glyphius is a simple-to-use piece of Windows software that allows you to statistically calibrate your writing against a huge database of successful ad copy. In other words, the software is like a massive automated swipe file that lets you see the effect (good or bad) of using certain words in the specific context you are writing about.

There are plenty of other software packages out there for copywriting, but they are mostly scams. In fact, I was extremely leery of Glyphius when I first came across it.

Why the strong reservations? Well, mostly because copywriting software typically promises to “instantly generate” a killer sales letter for you. That’s just not true; no software can do that.

When I looked a bit closer though, Glyphius wasn’t making those types of bogus claims. The software is promoted as exactly what it is—a tool for optimizing copy. Your own brain is still a crucial element of the equation.

Why SEO Copywriting?
If all that the search engines are looking for is relevant, subject-centric content, why do you need SEO copywriting and why SEO copywriting is being offered as a separate service and not as normal online copywriting service? A big reason is the rampant competition on the Internet.

There are hundreds and thousands of websites vying for that coveted place on the first page of the search results and some of them have excellent copies. So why do some appear in top twenty or top ten results and the rest languish in lower rankings? SEO copywriting makes the whole difference.

How does SEO copywriting make the difference?
SEO copywriting not only involves writing great copy, it also involves writing your copy strategically. You need to use your tags correctly. You need to put the right keywords at the right places, and, even if some disagree, there is a keyword-to-text ratio that makes a crucial difference.

Then there are different tags to consider. With what tags should you use your keywords? How many times should you highlight/bold your keywords and key phrases? How to optimally use your anchor text (text that comes between <"a"> and <"/a">)? Who to make use of the list tags for SEO copywriting purposes? How you should organize your key phrases and scatter them in a manner that your text sounds perfectly normal to your human readers despite being written for the search engines?

SEO copy writing takes care of all these things. Along with the viewable text SEO copywriting also optimizes other on-page elements for the targeted search terms. These include the title, description and keywords tags, headings and alt attribute of the image tag. But the most important aspect of search engine optimization is your web page copy. It’s often been observed that even if the meta tags and other things are left untouched, and only better SEO copywriting is done, the web pages begin to rank higher on the search engine result pages.

Does SEO copywriting always get you high rankings?
SEO copywriting is not your ranking universal remedy because lots of factors are taken into consideration when the search engine algorithms evaluate your website. Your ranking also depends on how many websites are linking back to you, how you have organized and interlinked your overall content, how much content you have and what SEO practices your competitors are practicing, and even the age of your website. For good search engine rankings you have to pump in lots of effort and SEO copywriting is a major part of that effort. SEO copywriting is one of the steps you take towards search engine optimization that results in higher rankings. It gives you a sure footing. It is the beginning of the end.

Difference between copywriting and content writing:-I’m often asked what’s the difference between copywriting and content writing. So here’s my take on both the topics...
CopyWriting:-In the context of the Internet, copywriting (or copy writing) is mostly termed as online copywriting and that means copywriting for websites. Copywriting is a term derived from advertising. It basically means writing promotional literature whether it’s an advertisement, a sales copy, or a website’s home page prompting people to buy something.

As I mentioned, it’s promotional literature and it contains lots of action words such “do”, “buy”, “contact”, “earn”, “get well”, “hire us”, etc. Copywriting highlights the benefits of a product or a service in order to sell it. Copywriting is highly interactive; it directly talks to the reader and it involves lots of emotions (buying, most of the times, is an emotional action).

Content writing
:-Content writing means writing to inform, educate or interact. Although you can write content to sell products and services, content writing doesn’t always involve promotional literature. Some pages on a website might be promotional, and some might exist just for the purpose of educating the visitors.

Blogging can be termed as content writing. You are constantly generating blog content to establish your authority and spread awareness regarding your subject. If you provide insurance, then, whereas the main page, and a few other pages may try to sell various insurance policies, there will be scores of pages that will be there to explain various insurance-related things to the visitors. Content writing generates such page.

Conclusion regarding copywriting and content writing:- Many people tend to mix copywriting and content writing, and I too don’t differentiate much on my website, but if you really dig deeper, copywriting is a speciality and not everybody can pursue this vocation. It requires special talent. You need to have a knack for marketing and advertising. Content can be written by anybody who can write well.

Why you need an SEO copywriter
?
An SEO copywriter has the required experience to write and arrange content on your web pages in such a manner that it becomes very convenient for search engine crawlers to index and rank your web pages for the keywords that can generate you the maximum relevant traffic; after all if you want to compete on the Internet you do need lots of relevant traffic from as many search engines as possible.
An SEO copywriter can help your content talk properly to the search engines. It’s not that an SEO copywriter conjures up some magical content that attains you top spots on all major search engines. He or she knows how to convey the central message of your web page to the search engine algorithms so that your web page gets ranked, possibly higher, for the keywords and expression most appropriate to your web page.

How can and SEO copywriter help you generate relevant traffic?
Actually getting on the first page of the search engine results is no big deal; the big deal is getting there for the right keywords and expressions, getting ranked higher exactly for the words your visitors should be using in order to find your website on the search results pages. How does an SEO copywriter achieve that?

A well-trained SEO copywriter never stuffs your web pages with your keywords needlessly. An SEO copywriter is a highly versatile writer first and only then he or she is a copywriter. he or she knows how to use words without sounding "spammed". He or she knows what all tags should be used to highlight your main keywords. An SCO copywriter not only gives you compelling content for your human visitors, he or she also gives you compelling content for search engines. There has to be a balance. If your website content simply caters to the whims and fancies of search engine algorithms without taking into consideration the content need of your human visitors it doesn’t make any sense and all their traffic will generate very little business for you.

On the other hand if you are copywriter is a marvelous writer but has no experience writing for the search engines very little traffic will be generated and this too will result in very little business for you. The balance lies somewhere in the middle when both the aspects of SEO are met with. That is why, if you want to succeed on the Internet as a business you need an SEO copywriter, and not just a copywriter.
SEO tips for online copywriters
Here are a few SEO tips that an online copywriter can use to create search engine friendly content.
Create a powerful, compelling title
The title of your webpage or your blog post can draw lots of traffic from search engine result pages as well as from social bookmarking websites. Your title tells the search engine users exactly what to expect when they visit the link. Make it as compelling as possible. The title should represent the essence of your content. Make sure that your title does not mislead people into visiting your webpage; this may bring them once but when they realize that they have been misled they will make sure that they never visit your website again, at least consciously.
It makes a big difference if your title contains the search terms being used by the search engine users. This can be achieved by creating content for specific search terms. Of course this means extra work but this also means that your website or blog will get relevant traffic for all possible keyword combinations.

Make ample use of headings

Organise your content under various headings. Headings make it easier to scan your content with ease and speed. Headings also act as teasers; they keep your readers engaged and interested. Make your headings forceful and relevant. The best way of formulating strong headings is picking up the central point of the section and then expressing it in the headings.

Search engine crawlers pay special attention to what you put in your headings. Without obscuring the meaning try to use your keywords and key expressions in your headings. Also try to maintain a hierarchy of headings. For instance the main heading should be enclosed within <"h1"> tag and other subheadings should be enclosed within <"h2"> and <"h3"> tags. This tells the search engine crawlers what to take more seriously on the webpage or the blog post being crawled.

Create a well-defined top navigation

Your top navigation should link to all the important sections of your website or blog. Your top navigation is like the mini site map. Use all your important keywords in your top navigation as anchor text. For instance "online copywriting services" is far better than "our services". If you’re using images in your top navigation then put your keywords in the alt attributes of the img tags.

Organize main points using bulleted lists
Search engine crawlers also go through bulleted lists in search of the main points existing on a webpage or blog post. When you are organizing your main points using bulleted lists try to use your keywords and key expressions in those lists.

Interlink to your other web pages and blog posts
Whenever you get a chance always link to other pages and blog posts through your current webpage or blog post. This not only sends direct traffic to other pages, and sometimes less important pages, it also paves the way for the search engines to reach those pages easily through the pages that get more traffic. When you are linking to other pages make sure that you use the anchor text that correctly represents those pages. For instance if you are linking to a page that talks about your SEO services the anchor text that you should use while linking to that page should be "My SEO Services".

Keep your important points at the top
Search engine crawlers very often skip reading the entire pages or blog posts; sometimes they just analyze the first 250 to 300 words and decide what your webpage intends to convey. So, express your central idea as soon as possible. Use your main keyword in the first paragraph at least once and if possible highlight it.

Frankly the list of such SEO tips can go on and on but these are the main points that you should keep in your mind while creating content that should be good for human visitors as well as the search engines.

Golden Rules of Copywriting:-
Keep It Simple- Good copy uses simple words to make a great impact. The greatest things ever spoken were all made of simple words. Whatever you write, keep it simple. The last thing one expects of a sales promotion message is confusion. If you let your hair lose, unleash your wild stallions of creativity, and write something that can only be understood amidst the upper echelons of the intellectuals, you may create a literary masterpiece, but not a sales copy for which your client plans to pay you.

Cut To The Chase- Always keep in mind your audience constitutes of people who don’t have much time to read. If you have something to tell them, something that is useful to them, just say so and be done with it. It is somewhat similar to keeping simple, but what I mean here is, don’t prevaricate when you want to say something specific. Come to the point in the first sentence itself so that the reader can make out as soon as possible what lies ahead and decide accordingly whether he/she wants to read.

Study Your Market- You can write much better if you know for whom you are writing. It is like doing a research on the company before going to an interview for a job there. If you know there nuances and habits, you can tailor your message for maximum impact.

Indulge In Conversation- "Cutting to the chase," is not tantamount to being so drab and straightforward that your message looks more of a command and less of a request. Strike a conversational tone. Use words, tone, and phrases as if you are talking to the reader, and he/she is the only person you are talking to at that time.

A conversational message puts your reader at ease and prompts him/her to read further.
Make Your Message Customer-Centric- I mentioned above, "talk to the customer." Use as many "I’s, me’s and you’s" instead of "we and us." Avoid going on your own trip and talk on-and-on about the company or the service. Tell the reader how he/she benefits instead of what a great offer is being made to him/her.

A good copywriting will identify the features of a product or service and write about the benefits.
Be Perceptive
You should always be open to learning new concepts and changing the older ones. Sometimes, you need to understand your client’s business more than your client does.
To be able to write well for a product or service, you need to know it; may be not inside out, but you should have a fair idea about it. The more you know about what you are trying to promote, the better you can convey your message.

Sincerity Gives You Strength
Sincerity gives you an inexplicable high. Your confidence level increases. Your creativity begins to flow like a feral stream of water. Always take up assignments that are in no way detrimental to the well-being of your audience. Never promote shams and rackets no matter how talented you are when it comes to fabricating grand messages.

Avoid Superlatives - You must have come across claims like, "Be a millionaire in a few weeks by using our marketing formula!" or "The greatest phenomenal product ever to hit the market!" and so on. These claims, as they are rampant on the Net, can easily put-off your readers even if you are telling the truth. Always make realistic claims because they sound closer to the real world.
contributed by, ABHISHEK the SEO Guru

1 comment:

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