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6 self-publishing tips for authors

By | editing, publishing, self-publishing, Writing tips | No Comments

The book industry is experiencing a self-publishing revolution. With the rapid growth of digital technology, it’s never been easier for aspiring authors to self-publish their stories. If you’re  wondering where to start with self-publishing, you’re not alone. Here are 6 tips for authors who want to self-publish their book.

 

What is self-publishing?

Self-publishing is where an author publishes their book independently on a digital platform (such as Amazon or Apple iBooks Author) instead of using a traditional publishing house.

What are the advantages of self-publishing?

Traditional publishing involves getting an agent to pitch your book to a publishing house and fighting to get your manuscript approved by said publishing house. It’s a long-winded process over which the author has little control. In contrast, self-publishing is completely independent. It encourages a greater diversity in the literary world and what’s more, because there are no agent or publisher fees to pay, it allows authors to earn more from the sales of their book.

How much does self-publishing cost?

Self-publishing isn’t free, so you’ll need to consider several factors when planning your publishing budget. For example, you’ll have to pay for an editor and invest in a good cover design for your book. There may also be costs associated with advertising and promoting your book. To boot, if you want to print your book, the length of the book will affect the price. So, take the time to investigate all your options and the costs involved before you start the self-publishing process. That way, you can plan accordingly and avoid any unexpected bills that could delay your book.

 

6 tips for self-publishing

  1. Manage your own expectations

Before you start, decide WHY you want to write a book. Are you an entrepreneur looking to build your brand, or a storyteller who wants to share their tales with an audience? Once you’ve decided this, consider your goals in terms of sales, impact, brand growth etc. The self-publishing revolution has resulted in a constant flood of content onto the market, that’s on top of all the books already released each year by traditional publishers. What we’re saying is, be realistic. You’re unlikely to become a millionaire or a New York Times bestselling author overnight. Remember, success requires right mix of dedication and business savvy, so set thoughtful goals, and put the steps in place to achieve them.

  1. Write with discipline

Writing is a creative process, but it requires huge amounts of discipline and organisation. You need to develop good writing habits. Remember, Olympic sprinters don’t just arrive at the track when they feel like it and bust out a world record time, they train day in and day out. Writing is no different. You can’t just sit around waiting until you feel inspired – you need to write, every day, at the same time. Do this, and the writing process will become automatic. You can help yourself by using a calendar to plan daily and weekly writing goals and create the outline of your book BEFORE you start. If you don’t have a plan, writing is like driving a car without knowing where you’re going – eventually you’ll get lost.

  1. Hire a professional editor

There’s a difference between publishing a best-selling book and publishing a mediocre one, and that difference is your editor. Everything from creative writing to factual, non-fiction content requires professional editing to produce a polished publication. Remember though, editing is a complex process, and there are different stages to that process. For example, developmental editors check your book for plot development, character building and the strength of your argument, whereas copyeditors finetune spelling and grammar. Read up on the types of edit first, so you hire the right editor for the stage your book is at.

  1. Design a cover with impact

Whoever said “don’t judge a book by its cover” was lying to you. The book is a powerful marketing tool that helps your book convert into sales. It’s the first thing potential readers see, and it helps them decide whether they want to read your book or not. So, it’s worth investing in professional cover designer. With impactful design and top-end print quality, your self-published book will stand its ground against traditionally published works.

  1. Purchase your own ISBN for your book

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. This number provides important data about your book to those in the book supply chain – such as publishers and internet retailers. More importantly, purchasing your own ISBN labels YOU as the publisher, giving you control over your book. In contrast, allowing a publishing services company to assign you an ISBN means THEY are classed as the publisher.

  1. Market your book

Are you a celebrity or prominent public figure? – great, there’s probably a waiting list for your book already. But for those who aren’t public figures, it’s unlikely that people will just stumble upon your newly published book. You need to promote it. Book promotion is something that traditional publishers usually handle on behalf of their authors. Their marketing team will devise a seamless, multi-faceted marketing campaign for your book launch, that covers everything from writing press releases and designing adverts, to booking interviews and engaging with influencers.

When you self publish your book, you must do all your own promotion, or hire a digital marketing professional to do it for you. Book launch campaigns have many moving parts, and you need to plan your launch strategy carefully, getting everything in place before you start. You’ll need a strong online presence, including a website, social media, and an email list, where you can promote your book, build a connection with your audience, share positive reviews of your book. These digital platforms are also where you’ll keep your eager customers up to date with key information such as release dates, public appearances, and any interviews you may do.

 

Wordsmiths is a British editing company that offers a variety of services for non-fiction and children’s authors seeking to self-publish their books. We provide:

  • Developmental editing
  • Line editing
  • Copyediting
  • Proofreading
  • Social media strategies for book launch campaigns
  • Copywriting for promotional material
  • Illustrations and cover designs (through our partner, Azzouz Illustrations).

 To get in touch and discuss your needs, you can contact us via email at info@wordsmiths.org.uk, or WhatsApp us on 07743 518681. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for writing tips and updates from the publishing industry.

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7 revision tips for university students

By | postgraduate advice, revision tips, Student advice, studying | No Comments

The United Kingdom, spring 2021.

Cafes and restaurants are open again, people are booking those long-awaited holidays, and exams are cancelled! Time to kick back and plan the best summer EVER, right?

No. Not for university students anyway.

Whilst GCSE and A-levels are cancelled (for this year), the higher education summer exam season is very much on. This means that undergraduates and postgraduates alike have a LOT of revision to get through before beach and BBQ season.

Revising effectively over the next few weeks will make all the difference to your final grades, and to your prospects in the competitive, post-pandemic job market.

So, in this month’s article, we share 7 of our top revision tips to help university students revise effectively (and make some time for self-care too).

  1. Study past papers

We’ll say it louder for the folk in the back…when it comes to exams, technique is crucial, even more so than knowledge. It doesn’t matter if you memorise the entire syllabus – if your exam technique is poor, your score will suffer.

So, as we enter exam season, your first step is to download and print every single past paper available, even if the syllabus has changed.

Completing past exam papers allows you to refine your exam technique and timing.  What’s more, by reviewing previous papers, you can get an idea of which questions come regularly, which means you can structure your revision plan to focus on key topics and revise more effectively.

For more detailed guidance on using past papers, see our study skills course – the link is at the end of this article.

  1. Eat well

Get your revision diet right, and your brain will receive all the nutrients it needs to help you revise  effectively, get it wrong, and your performance will suffer. The taditional reveision season diet of university students is caffeine, energy drinks, and processed foods. These may give you a quick energy burst, but they won’t help your cognitive functioning. There are plenty of guides to eating sensibly during revision season, but here are some key tips:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of plain water and eating fluid-rich foods such as soups, fruit, and vegetables
  • Minimise caffeine
  • Avoid cooking with salt as this will leave you more dehydrated
  • Choose nutritious foods that are easy to digest
  • Exercise portion control and don’t over-eat, because being too full brings on a state of extreme drowsiness that makes studying harder
  • Have plenty of healthy snacks available
  1. Get organised

Organisation is the key to effective revision, and the first thing you need is a revision plan. Revision timetables help you structure your workload and prioritise key topics, leaving you well-prepared for whatever the exam papers throw at you. It’s easy to become stressed and overwhelmed when you’re revising, but having a plan puts you in control of your learning. Learning to work in a disciplined, efficient way is a skill that will serve you well even beyond university, so think of planning as an investment in your future self.

  1. Identify your optimum study times

“One hour of 7pm is not the same as one hour of 7am”.

 – Dr Salah Sharief, Wordsmiths Director.

 

There will be times of day when you learn more effectively, and times when you don’t. Dr Sharief’s most productive study time is the early morning, whilst Liz, from our digital content team, is always more focussed in the evening. You’ll achieve far more if you study when your focus is highest, so identify when those times are, and plan your revision timetable accordingly.

  1. Take a break

Taking a break is important. Research suggests that employees in the workplace perform most effectively when they work for 50 minutes, then take a break of around 17 minutes. That’s true of university students too. So, split your revision into 50-minute sessions, taking a 15–20-minute break in between each session. You could use the break to practice a bit of self-care (such as meditating or having a long shower) or simply rest and refocus your brain for the next session.

  1. Get active

Fun fact: exercise helps you learn more effectively. That’s because the physiological effects of exercise can improve various cognitive functions, including such as memory and attention span.

The gyms are open again, but don’t worry if you’re not an exercise junkie – a gentle walk and some simple stretches will keep your brain primed for effective revision. You could even try doing a bit of cleaning (our Mothers made us write that). Leaning is a well-known work avoidance tactic – it’s no coincidence that student’s rooms are never tidier than when they have a deadline! We don’t mean a full spring-clean, even doing a bit of vacuuming will get you up and moving. Plus, if your workspace is clean and tidy, you’ll be more relaxed and less distracted, so you’ll learn more efficiently.

  1. Plan something nice

Much as it’s important to stay on-task with your learning, treating yourself matters too. So, practice self-care and plan a treat for yourself. You could meet a friend for lunch, book a hair or beauty treatment, or go get a takeout coffee (and maybe a cake, we’re not judging).

Planning a treat has two benefits: it lifts your spirits whilst also making it easier to stick to your study timetable. after all, it’s easier to say no to spontaneous invites if you’ve already got social plans booked for later in the week.

Looking for more in-depth advice on revision?

Wordsmiths has you covered. Our downloadable study skills manual – Mastering Study -was designed with university students in mind. It contains extensive advice on using past exam papers, refining your exam technique, and getting prepared for exam day itself. When it comes to exam technique, one size doesn’t fit all, so the manual includes differentiated exam guides for STEM and humanities students. What’s more, for those who also have end-of-term papers to submit, there’s a handy guide to essay writing.

Wordsmiths is a UK-based editing company that provides comprehensive academic proofreading and editing services. If you have end of year assignments or a dissertation to submit, why not let us help you? Our editorial team can refine your document and get it ready for submission, leaving you with more time to focus on the all-important revision. To book an editor, contact us on info@wordmsiths.org.uk.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive more of our tips on writing and studying. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram.

Outsourcing your editing work – how can freelance copyeditors help you?

By | business advice, editing, publishing | No Comments

 

Outsourcing your editing work to a freelance copyeditor can save you time and money. It provides access to an experienced professional who can deliver top-quality work, without the costs and responsibilities of maintaining an in-house editorial team.

Freelance copyeditors work with a diverse range of industries to deliver accurate, effective written content. Smaller organisations often don’t have the budget to retain a full-time editor on their team. Even larger organisations are increasingly using outsourcing to acquire specialist editing skills for specific projects, or temporarily increase their capacity.

In this article, we explain what a copyeditor does, what outsourcing is, and identify some groups who may outsource their editing work.

What is copyediting (and what does a copyeditor do)?

According to the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading:

‘Copyediting focuses on the detail of a text: agreeing final content, making sure it reads well for its intended purpose, and applying consistency to the language and formatting.’

More intensive than proofreading, copyediting involves a sentence-level review of written content, checking for errors and inconsistencies, improving readability and style, and raising any queries with the client (or the author).

The CIEP website provides a comprehensive list of copyediting tasks.

What is outsourcing?

Essentially, outsourcing is the practice of obtaining goods or services from an external supplier. The practice has broadened over the last 15 years to include the hiring of freelance professionals to work on specific projects. It gives businesses and organisations access to expertise and knowledge that they cannot afford (and do not need) to retain on a full-time basis.

In-house teams will be familiar with the structure and practices of their organisation, but outsourcing brings a fresh perspective. Plus, an experienced copyeditor who has worked across a variety of projects will be able to provide valuable input regarding your overall editorial management plan.

Outsourcing makes economic sense. Yes, it costs to hire a professional copyeditor. But you will not need to fund pension contributions, salary, paid leave, sickness pay, or any expenses except those directly associated with the project. There are also time considerations. It can take well over two months to train an in-house staff member to edit to the required standard. This training will require a considerable investment in terms of training materials and salary. It could also reduce your overall capacity as the staff member cannot work on other projects while they are training.

There is also the matter of consistency and workflow continuity. If your in-house editor becomes unwell, leaves, or takes a holiday, their work must be covered, or key projects will grind to a halt. If you outsource to a copyediting agency that works with a regular team of freelance copyeditors, they can guarantee that your editing work will continue uninterrupted, even during peak holiday periods.

Which industries use freelance copyeditors?

In short, any business, organisation, or body that produces written content could outsource their editing work. We’ve listed a few below, to give you an idea of the scope of a freelance copyeditor’s work.

Medical communications agencies

Medical communications agencies (sometimes called ‘medcomms’) work with healthcare companies to produce and distribute information to different audiences. These could be healthcare professionals (Doctors, nurses, pharmacists), statutory and public bodies (like the NHS), and patients.

Medcomms agencies produce written content in a variety of formats. This includes e-learning platforms, conference documents, educational texts, and printed materials such leaflets. The aim is to engage the audience, convey the client’s key message, and improve the healthcare experience of patients. The material needs to be pitched at wildly differing levels – think information for doctors on the pharmacological mechanisms of a new drug vs a leaflet on diabetes for younger children. Also, the information given must be clear and accurate. False claims of effectiveness or ambiguous instructions for medication can be dangerous. They can also incur steep costs for the client, financially and reputationally.

Medical editors support medcomms agencies to deliver written content. Although many agencies have an in-house editorial team, they frequently outsource to freelance copyeditors. This often happens when large projects necessitate a temporary expansion of the workforce but can also occur when pitching content to a new or niche audience. For example, delivering information that effectively promotes uptake of the covid-19 vaccine amongst marginalised communities will require a medical editor familiar with the culture and customs of those communities. It may also require an editor who is multilingual.

Publishers

Obviously, most large publishing houses have an in-house editorial team, but they will outsource to freelance copyeditors to ensure that they meet strict deadlines. This often happens in the case of typesetting deadlines and unexpected rewrites. They may also outsource to freelance copyeditors where the editing of a text requires a specialised knowledge base – for example, the correct use of Islamic terminology.

Publishers don’t just print books and pay authors. They also promote the books and create the marketing materials to promote those books. The promotional material will be in a range of formats – including letters, leaflets, digital articles, and social media posts. A team of copyeditors and copywriters work together to ensure consistency of style and message across the promotional campaign. Working with this material requires a different skillset to editing a manuscript. The copyeditor must understand SEO and the functions of social media, and how these impact upon the language and style of written content. For this reason, publishers may outsource the editing of promotional material to a copyeditor who is experienced at working with digital marketing content.

Digital news outlets

There’s no such thing as a slow news day. In the digital world, news moves quickly – think up-to-the-second, not up-to-the-minute. In this fast-paced environment, competition for readers is fierce, and delivering relevant, compelling content is key. Digital news outlets are in a never-ending race to break key stories and developments before their competitors do. If they fall behind, their content becomes irrelevant, and their search engine ranking suffers the consequences. That means reduced online visibility, less readers, and loss of income from advertising and subscriptions.

Clearly time is of the essence, but so is precision. Typos and inaccuracies in reports will damage the reputation of any news outlet and undermine the credibility of their journalism. Outsourcing to a copyediting agency allows digital news outlets to deliver on speed without compromising on quality and accuracy. The agency has a pool of freelance copyeditors available to deliver articles to the tightest of deadlines. This leaves journalists free to concentrate on writing and investigating the stories that matter.

Translation services

In the ideal world, a translator would be a native speaker of both the source language and the target language. That’s because, when it comes to translation, the meaning is more important than wording. Good-quality translations should retain all the meaning of the original text but read as though they were written by a native speaker of the target language. In short, they should be idiomatic, not literal.

However, translation work is often done by native speakers of the source language who have variable proficiency in the target language. As a result, the texts produced often read awkwardly, and fail to convey the author’s original meaning. For that reason, many translation agencies outsource to a freelance copyeditor who is a native speaker of the target language, but who also has some familiarity with the idiosyncrasies of the source language.

Academic Researchers

The global Covid-19 pandemic has been a powerful reminder that research is an international effort. The success of the vaccine development programme relates in part to the prompt and open sharing of ideas between researchers from across the globe. To be effective, the information shared needs to be accurate, reliable, and clear. That’s not so easy if reports are written in a hurry, in the researcher’s second (or third) language, or if the usual peer review process has been bypassed for the sake of speed (as happened often during pandemic).

In lieu of peer reviews, researchers are increasingly outsourcing to academic editors to revise their papers and expedite their publication. An academic editor will ensure that the papers adhere to academic conventions in terms of language, style, and citations. They also make sure that all findings are explained clearly and succinctly, and that any ambiguities or inaccuracies are removed.

Charities

Charities can produce a lot of written content – from information leaflets, to fundraising content, to annual reports. This material is predominantly for public consumption, and in the case of accounting reports it may be subject to a great deal of external scrutiny. For these reasons, the information contained needs to be accurate. It also needs to be engaging – especially where content for fundraising campaigns is concerned. Fundraising campaigns make heavy use of written digital content that involves elements of SEO such as readability and keywords. SEO is vital to maintain online visibility and keep donations flowing.

The budget of many charities doesn’t cover the costs of maintaining a full-time in-house editor. So, outsourcing to a freelance copyeditor ensures effective, top quality written material for specific campaigns or high-profile documents.

Wordsmiths provides a professional proofreading and copyediting service to meet all your outsourcing needs. We have extensive experience of working with researchers, charities, publishers, media groups, translation agencies, and the healthcare sector. Our editors deliver accurate, effective, high-quality work, and we guarantee a fast turnaround time to help you meet even the tightest deadline. To talk to us about your outsourcing needs, email us at info@wordsmiths.org.uk, or call us on 07743 518681. You can also get in touch via our social accounts on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Remote Learning – 5 tips for University Students

By | Dissertations, postgraduate advice, Student advice | No Comments

Schools are back, exams are cancelled, and the UK government have a roadmap for exiting lockdown; everything is getting back to normal, isn’t it?

Well, yes, but not for everyone. The newly announced plans for re-opening education settings in England didn’t mention universities. So, although schoolchildren can return to the classroom on 8th March, university students will continue to learn remotely. What’s more, the university exam season is going ahead, and dissertation submission deadlines are looming too.

After months of isolation and remote learning, it’s natural for students to experience zoom-fatigue. The easing of restrictions means that the chance to resume your social life is tantalisingly close. which makes the prospect of more online learning even more onerous. However, these new freedoms come at a key point in the academic calendar, with dissertation deadlines and the university exam season fast approaching. The world may be re-opening, but the pressure for university students remains very much on. The work you do over the next few weeks will make all the difference to your final grades.

So how can you stay motivated for remote learning when the wolrd around you is reawakening? In this article, we discuss 5 ways to keep your studies on-track, whilst also making time for some self-care.

Clean and declutter.

It’s no coincidence that student’s rooms are never cleaner than when they have a deadline! Cleaning is well-known as a work-avoidance tactic, but a bit of cleaning and de-cluttering is no bad thing. We don’t mean re-paint the house and empty the attic but tidying your work area and giving it a thorough wipe-down can help you study. If your workspace is neat, clean, and comfortable, you’ll be more relaxed and less distracted, so you’ll learn more efficiently. Plus, you’ll feel as though you’ve achieved something, which can give you an important boost on those days where studying feels like an uphill struggle.

Write a study timetable and stick to it.

Study timetables are essential for any student. They help you keep track of deadlines, so you get work done in good time, and they allow you to plan your revision and make sure you’re well-prepared for whatever the test papers throw at you. Having a plan puts you in control of your learning and can be useful for those times when you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to do.

So, write a study timetable and stick to it, especially as your social calendar starts to fill up again (more of that later).

Identify your best learning time.

 

“One hour of 7pm is not the same as one hour of 7am”.

 – Dr Salah Sharief, Wordsmiths Director.

 

Those are wise words from our director (and no, he didn’t pay us to say that), but what do they mean? Quite simply, there will be times of day when you learn more effectively, and times when you don’t.

In Dr Sharief’s case, his most productive study time is the early morning, but that won’t be true for everyone. For example, our Creative Content Editor prefers to use mornings for physical and practical tasks (such as exercise and cleaning) before settling down to work in the afternoon when she’s more focussed. You will achieve far more if you study when your focus is highest, so identify when those times are, and plan your study timetable accordingly.

Stretch and move.

The lockdown has drastically increased the amount of time we spend staring at screens, and there are health costs to this shift. Extended periods spent staring at digital devices can cause eye problems, while a recent survey found that 89% of remote workers report musculoskeletal pain. If you spend a lot of time hunched over your laptop, it’s vital that you take regular movement breaks. Being active is important for learning too – research has shown that exercise can improve various cognitive functions such as memory and attention.

Now if you’re not an exercise junkie, don’t worry – this doesn’t mean you need to do vigorous exercise. A gentle walk and some simple stretches will help keep the aches and pains at bay, and keep your brain primed for effective studying.

Plan something nice.

With key deadlines and exams approaching, life can feel stressful for university students. That’s especially true if you’re spending most of the day stuck in your room alone. Much as it’s important to stay on-task with your learning, treating yourself matters too. So, plan something nice – meet a friend for a walk, go get a takeout coffee (and maybe a cake, we’re not judging). Planning a treat has the double benefit of lifting your spirits whilst also making it easier to stick to your study timetable -it’s easier to say no to spontaneous invites if you’ve already got social plans booked in.

Wordsmiths is a UK-based editing company that provides proofreading and copyediting services to publishers, media groups, and academic researchers. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive more of our studying and writing tips – you can also find us on Facebook and Instagram.

5 reasons why copywriters should charge per project (not per word)

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Should copywriters charge per word or per project?

This question is hotly debated. With the huge growth in internet use and content marketing, more people than ever are seeking to hire a professional copywriter. Businesses and organisations who lack the time and skill to write their own content understandably want assurances that they’re being charged fairly. Yet with so much conflicting information and a lack of standardised charging across the copywriting industry, it’s easy to become confused.

 

The simple fact is that copywriting involves a lot more than throwing words onto a page. It requires research, marketing skills, word craft, and sometimes specialist knowledge of a particular subject.

 

In this article we’ll explain the terms “per word” and per project”, and list 5 reasons why copywriters should charge per project.

 

Per word

Per word payments are simple – the copywriter is paid for every word they write. So, at 50p per word, a 1000-word article would cost £500. The per-word charging system makes it easy for customers to compare copywriting quotes. What’s more, the per-word price can also indicate the likely quality of the finished product. (Pro tip: a skilled copywriter is unlikely to charge 10p per word).

But here’s the problem: higher word counts usually mean more waffle.

So, a copywriter could produce a more effective article in 500 words, but they’d be paid more for padding the article out to 100 words.

 

Per Project

There is a growing recognition among writers that they need to be paid for their knowledge, skills and experience. An effective landing page for your website could persuade consumers to buy your products, poor-quality content will send those customers running elsewhere. For these reasons, the copywriting industry is moving towards a per-project charging system.

 

Under pay per project, the copywriter charges a flat rate fee for a specific piece of work. The fee includes their research time, knowledge, and word craft. Look at it another way: if you order fries from McDonald’s, you don’t pay for each individual fry, you pay for all the work and resources that go into producing those fries.

 

It’s the same with copywriting – charging per-project recompenses the copywriter for every element of the work that goes into producing the words on the page. Experienced copywriters produce high-quality content that converts, and per-project charging reflects the value that copywriters bring to their customers.

So now we’ve covered the differences between per word and per project, here are 5 reasons why your copywriter should be paid per project.

 

  1. Copywriting is marketing.

 

Consider the taglines used by famous brands, such as “I’m loving it” from McDonald’s or Tesco’s “Every little helps”. They may be short, but have a huge influence on brand image and consumer perception. This type of creative content adds massive value to brands, and they pay their copywriters a lot more than 50p per word to write them. In the digital world, every piece of content – from website homepages to social media posts – must be marketable. That involves the judicious use of keywords and style to please the search engine algorithms and boost SEO. It also requires the writer to engage the audience and create the desired response, to buy a product, subscribe to a newsletter, or donate to a cause.

Copywriters use word craft and marketing skills to create great copy, and that’s a lot more involved than simply putting words on a page.

 

  1. Fixed wordcounts restrict quality

Sometimes, a piece of content does have a set wordcount, for example, an advertising article destined for a print magazine. But generally, copywriters use as many words as required to get the job done. If a compelling article can be produced in 600 words, then “padding it out” to 1000 words will dilute the quality and effectiveness. Charging per project allows the copywriter to use as many (or as few) words as necessary to produce the best-quality content.

 

  1. Copywriting involves more than just writing.

A copywriter does a huge amount of work before they even begin to put fingers to keyboard. The copywriting process can include market research, SEO research, interviews, industry trends and more. These elements help the copywriter to understand your target audience – what appeals to them and what motivates them – and produce content that is genuinely relateable. They also have to fit their words into your overall content strategy to keep your brand “voice” consistent. This process takes time and charging per project allows copywriters to be compensated for that time.

 

  1. Being concise takes skill.

Producing lean content that adds value to a business is harder than you think.

For example, writing a high-converting 300-word article for a firm that sells lab equipment to the pharmaceutical industry is tougher than producing a 1000-word blog about cats.

This is because the short-form pieces have to deliver a lot of detail. They must include technical information  highlight the product’s key features, explain the benefit to the customer, target the right audience, and persuade them to buy. All this in 300 words. In truth, producing short-form content takes time and experience, and per-word charging simply doesn’t reflect that.

 

  1. Copywriters can have specialist knowledge.

Many copywriters tend to specialise in certain niches, such as education, or technical subjects. This means they can focus on researching a specific subject, and abreast stay abreast of key industry trends and developments. With this expert knowledge, the content they produce will be accurate, detailed, and relevant, and ultimately more effective.

 

And finally…

We hope this article has helped you understand how much goes into producing great quality content. If you’re looking for a professional copywriting service to add value to your business or organisation, contact Wordsmiths. We currently have availability for copywriting projects, so get in touch to talk about your needs. You can contact us by email at info@wordsmiths.org.uk, or WhatsApp us at +44 7743 518681. Follow our social accounts at Facebook and Instagram to keep up with our latest news and writing tips.

What pages should my business website include? (6 must-haves for every business website)

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“What pages should my business website include?” That’s a question all business owners ask at some point. From startup firms building their first website to established companies who are rebranding, getting your website content right is key.

Research from the Welsh government suggests that over 90% of all purchases now begin with an online search. That’s a lot of potential sales leads.

To capture some of those leads you need a website that tells potential customers what you do, who you help, and why they should choose YOU over the competition.

This may sound daunting, but don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of the 6 must-have pages that every business website needs.

1 Homepage

Your business website is your shop, and your homepage is the window display that draws customers inside. It’s the most important page, and usually the one that most people see first. Crucially, the homepage is also the page that everyone links to, meaning it usually receives more traffic than any other part of your website – so you’d better make it good!

Internet users have a short attention span – some studies suggest that firms have less than 3 seconds to convince customers to stay. The content on your homepage should be intriguing enough to capture the attention of your visitors and encourage them to stay a little longer.

It’s tempting to start telling your business story in the homepage, but control yourself. New visitors don’t want to trawl through 6 paragraphs of your firm’s backstory, no matter how compelling it is. That information goes on the “About” page (see below).

So, what SHOULD the homepage include? All you really need is a short, clear description of who you are and what your company does. Keep it customer-focussed by adding some quick details about how you can help your potential customers, and possibly add a brief summary of your services and products. Clear, concise, and catchy content wins every time.

 

2 About page

The about page is the second most-visited page on most business websites. It’s also the most awkward one to write, and as a result it’s the page that most business owners shy away from. That’s because it’s hard to strike the right balance between talking about yourself and maintaining focus on the customer.

Yet sell yourself you must. Modern consumers are savvy, and they usually want to know a bit more about who they are buying from before deciding to make a purchase. So, your about page needs to give a brief summary of who you are, your company history, your values, and what sets you apart from your competitors. You could also include a profile of your staff team (with photos and biographies of key employees), and highlight any notable awards or accolades you’ve received

Whatever you write, keep it jargon-free, natural sounding and make sure that the tone matches your overall branding. Consistency helps develop a positive business persona and the consumer trust that goes with it.

3 Products and Services pages

If the homepage is your shop window, the products and services pages are the shelves where customers view your stock. These pages tell visitors a little more about what you provide, so they can decide whether what you’re offering is right for them. And for those visitors who are already committed to buying from you, it’s where they get to choose which of your items they actually want.

If you’re an e-commerce or product-based business, begin your products page with a short summary of your products before listing them. Then give a brief description that explains what the customer can expect from each product

“our Bodyboost shampoo adds volume to fine hair”.

If you have multiple products, divide the information into categories and put each category on a separate (linked) page, exactly as you’d see in a traditional catalogue.

Service-based firms should also begin with a summary before outlining their individual services in more detail. You don’t need to list every single task that you’ll complete, but clients do need sufficient information to decide whether your service can solve their problem. Try using bullet points and short explanations, as we’ve done in the example below.

“Our editing service:

  • Corrects spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors
  • Rewrites problematic sentences and re-orders paragraphs
  • Improves the readability and flow of your content.”

If your service portfolio is extensive, consider dividing it into sections and assign a separate, clearly-linked sub-page for each section. This gives interested customers the chance to learn more without overwhelming those who are still at the browsing stage.

4 Contact page

The easier it is for customers to contact you, the more likely they are to buy from you. That’s especially true if your business model involves fact-finding discussions and quoting for services.

Your contact page should show potential customers all the ways they can get in touch with you. Include your mailing address, phone and fax number, and even your business hours. Spam emails are a problem for many companies so consider using a contact form instead of listing your email address. Don’t forget to include links to all of your social media accounts too – if customers follow your social profiles, they are more likely develop trust in your brand and buy from you.

As we mentioned above, internet users have a short attention span – not everyone has the patience to click through to the contact page. So, include your contact details on all of your business website pages, on a footer, side bar, or in the top right corner.

Essentially, you should aim to give your customers every opportunity to communicate with you on their terms. Don’t lose a customer just because it was hard for them to get in touch with you.

5 Customer testimonials

Strictly speaking, customer testimonials don’t need a page to themselves. They can appear anywhere on your business website – in a footer or a sidebar, or as a highlighted feature on your services page. But they DO need to appear somewhere. That’s because feedback from other customers encourages potential customers to build trust in your firm.

Think about your own purchasing behaviour: you check the reviews of a product before buying it, you ask for recommendations when choosing a service provider. Your new clients will do the same, so highlight the positive feedback your company has received. If possible, add authenticity to this feedback by including a photo, screenshot, or link to the customer’s social profile. Authenticity is fundamental to your credibility, and feedback that can be traced to an actual source helps establish trust.

Some firms include case studies on their website. These studies provide detailed account of how a firm works with their customers, and offer businesses the chance to showcase the results that they deliver. Case studies aren’t essential though, and customer feedback doesn’t need to be long to be effective. A short paragraph of praise, or even a sentence or two is enough.

6 Blog

Anyone who says that blogging is dead is lying. In fact, a well-written business blog is one of the most lucrative marketing tools out there. HubSpot suggests that 57% of businesses who blog have generated a lead from it. A blog gives your company a voice, it creates a place where you can tell your company’s story, share your expertise, and engage with your customers. It can also drive traffic to other pages on your website and improve your ranking with search engines such as Google.

Content matters though. Low-quality, irrelevant articles won’t attract new customers. Think about why you’re writing the blog, and who you’re writing it for, and be careful to strike the right tone – not too stuffy or informal. Readability and relevance are the bedrocks of successful business blogging. Check out our handy guide for more tips on what to include (and what NOT to include) in your business blog.

And finally…

Why not let the professionals write the pages for your business website? Wordsmiths provides paraphrasing services to rebrand your website content and boost its SEO. We also offer SEO copywriting for solopreneurs and startup firms. To get a free, no-commitment quote, DM us at Facebook or Instagram, WhatsApp us on 07743 518681, or get in touch via our website. 

What are the benefits of therapeutic writing (and where do I start)?

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Therapeutic writing is a great way to improve develop your writing skills and improve your emotional wellbeing. It helps you to process your experiences, it teaches you to understand your reactions.

In the UK alone, 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem each year (McManus et al., 2009), and 1 in 6 report experiencing a common mental health problem each week (McManus et al., 2016). As we live through the Covid-19 global pandemic, more people than ever are facing isolation, uncertainty, and financial pressures. Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes, but therapy can be expensive, and waiting lists are growing by the day. Therapeutic writing offers a free, creative, and constructive way to work through your feelings. Yet even for experienced writers, the very idea of therapeutic writing can be overwhelming: where do you start with something so big? In this article we explain 5 benefits of therapeutic writing, and offer some handy prompts to help nervous writers get started.

  1. Therapeutic writing promotes thankfulness 

Count your blessings…

(John Charles Earl, 1878)

Writing with gratitude isn’t a new concept, but it’s an important one. In essence, writing with gratitude means recording the things that you’re thankful for – experiences, events, people in your life, the little things you observe. Having this positive focus doesn’t mean you’re ignoring reality. Rather, it keeps fresh in your mind the things you DO have to be grateful for. Imagine a squirrel, gathering nuts for the long winter ahead: writing with gratitude allows you to harvest a rich supply of positive experiences and memories to warm and sustain you when life gets tough. And what’s more, training your brain to seek out the positives in every situation will boost your overall sense of gratitude and make your more aware of everything you have to be grateful for.

  1. Therapeutic writing helps your mental health

The benefits of writing for mental health have been much chronicled. According to Scott (2018), writing can improve your cognitive functioning, reduce rumination, shift your perspective, and even strengthen your immune system. Writing offers you a safe daily outlet to explore your emotions, release tension, and process your experiences. It helps you leave behind the things that bother you and hastens your recovery from the stress of daily life.

The psychologist Barbara Markway once said:

There’s simply no better way to learn about your

thought processes than to write them down.

She’s absolutely right: to understand our problematic thought patterns, we first have to identify them. Writing is a great way to draw out negative automatic thoughts and reach the root cause of your stress, anxiety, or low mood.

Writing about your struggles (and your wins) helps you explore your experiences, so you better understand what caused your challenges and how to tackle them. Through writing, you can develop self-awareness, identify your triggers, let go of stress, and release those negative thoughts that you’ve kept bottled up. All of this will have a positive impact on your mental state.

  1. Therapeutic writing aids trauma recovery 

Writing can help you heal. That’s a bold claim, but it’s true. Whether you’re reeling from a traumatic event, processing a bereavement, or battling addiction, writing helps you to process your emotions and experiences.

If you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience a traumatic event, writing can even help you to see the positive side of your experiences. That might sound strange, or even insulting, but it’s part of the route to mental and emotional recovery. Think of Mr Rogers’ advice:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news,

my mother would say to me: “look for the helpers,

you will always find people who are helping”.

Focussing on the positives, however small, reduces the fear and pain associated with traumatic experiences, even in the midst of all the painful, negative emotions. In short, writing aids recovery by providing a safe, cathartic way to relive your experiences and memories, set them into context, and develop control over your responses.

  1. Therapeutic writing promotes learning and problem solving

Writing can help you learn; anyone who’s ever re-written a set of lecture notes can tell you that. But the educational benefits of writing extend way beyond the classroom – it can facilitate personal growth and self-awareness too. Therapeutic writing creates a record of your shifting thoughts and altered perspectives, charting how they change over time and why. It helps to solidify what you learn, so you can recall it more effectively in future times of struggle. What’s more, therapeutic writing can help you visualise your goals and solve challenges. Through assessing the possible outcomes of a situation and evaluating your options, procrastination is reduced, and positive actions are promoted.

  1. Therapeutic writing improves your writing skills.

As you’d expect, therapeutic writing helps you develop as a writer. That’s true whether you’re a fiction author or a medical researcher. By reflecting on your thoughts, actions, and experiences, you become more observant and better at critical thinking. More than this, therapeutic writing helps you to develop your sense of self, giving you greater confidence in asserting your feelings and experiences. This is invaluable for those who lack the confidence to assert themselves in personal and professional relationships.

So that’s how therapeutic writing can help you, but where do you start?

If you don’t write regularly (and even if you do), the thought of sitting and committing your innermost thoughts to paper (or keyboard) can be intimidating. So here are some prompts to help you get started with therapeutic writing.

  1. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and write whatever is in your head. Describe the computer you’re staring at, write about what you last ate – anything. Just start write down your “stream of consciousness” and keep going till the timer is finished.
  2. Write with your subdominant hand. You’ll be amazed how quickly focussing on the act of writing helps you forget about the stress of setting your thoughts down.
  3. Practice thankfulness. Keep daily record of the things you appreciate, even the little ones. A compliment, a smile, an unexpected act of kindness. You could even include uplifting quotes you’ve read, and explain why they made you feel good.
  4. Keep a log of your successes, no matter how small. Write about what you did, and why it matters to you.
  5. Write a playlist of your favourite or most meaningful songs. Do you have a song that makes you want to get up and exercise? Is there a tune that evokes string memories of your childhood? Discuss the memories that each song holds for you, or how you feel when you hear it.

Don’t be afraid to reach out

Writing helps, but it can only do so much. If you’re struggling with your mental health, then you must reach out to someone. Don’t suffer alone. Whether it’s a trusted friend or family member, or a professional support service, you must seek help. Your GP can usually direct you to the most appropriate mental health service, and you can also contact the Samaritans on their 24-hour support line – just call 116 123 from a UK phone number.

And finally,

Some people go on to share their therapeutic writing with a larger audience, through self-published life coaching books or articles in print and digital magazines. If you’re considering self-publishing or submitting an article, get in touch with Wordsmiths. We offer a professional editing and proofreading service to polish your words and prepare them for publication. Your emotions may be raw, but your draft doesn’t have to be. You can get a free quote by emailing us at info@wordsmiths.org.uk, or messaging us through our social accounts at Facebook and Instagram.

References:

  1. McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey.
  2. McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds.) (2016). Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult psychiatric morbidity survey 2014.
  3. Scott, E. (2018). The benefits of journaling for stress management. Very Well Mind.  https://www.verywellmind.com/the-benefits-of-journaling-for-stress-management-3144611
editing, proofreading, difference

What’s the difference between editing and proofreading?

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“Originality is simply a fresh pair of eyes.”

– Thomas W. Higginson

 

Originality and quality give your writing impact. And hiring a professional editor to review your writing is a sure-fire way to ensure that your writing stands out. Thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to hire a second pair of eyes to check your written content. But the most important question isn’t “should I hire someone?”, it’s “which service do I need?”. Many people use the terms editing and proofreading interchangeably, but they are totally separate services, delivering very different results. Hiring a professional editor can be costly, and it’s easy to waste money on the wrong service. So, we’ve listed 7 key differences between editing and proofreading so you can decide which service is right for you.

 

1 – Editing is performed on the first draft; proofreading is performed on the final draft.

Editing and proofreading are different, but connected. They are actually different stages of the same writing and editing process.

The writing process begins with planning, then writing, then editing. Finally, proofreading is performed on the final draft before it is submitted or published for its intended use. Proofreading only happens once, but a document may be edited several times before the final draft is produced. It’s also worth noting that the proofreading should be performed by a separate professional. That’s because fresh eyes detect errors more easily, and they avoid the typo blindness that comes from overfamiliarity with the text.

2 – Proofreading is a surface-level check, editing addresses core issues.

Proofreading rectifies problems such as misspellings, errors/omissions in punctuation, and inconsistencies in terminology and numbers. It’s a surface-level check. In contrast, editing addresses issues with the core features of writing such as sentence structure, clarity, and tone. A thorough editing service will leave your document with a smooth, coherent narrative that is persuasive and – above all – readable.

3 – Editing takes longer.

Editing is usually more time consuming than proofreading. That’s not because that proofreading is a simple process that can (or should be) rushed, far from it. Proofreading requires focus, diligence, and exacting standards. But editing involves collaboration, research, and rewriting, and these features are simply more time consuming. It’s worth remembering that when you discuss your deadline with your editor.

4 – Proofreading will not reduce your word count.

Proofreading corrects the errors in your existing words, but it won’t remove them, rewrite them, or reduce your word count. Those are editing tasks. There are many reasons why reducing your word count is important. You may have a set word limit, e.g. for an essay or article. It could also be that the sheer volume of words makes your document harder to read. Either way, your editor can address this. It is also possible to expand your word count, although expansion is a writing task, not an editing one. If your document needs to be longer, your editor may offer suggestions on sections that could use more detail or explanation. You could also consider hiring a professional copywriter to write additional content for you.

5 – Proofreading and editing have different goals.

If you still aren’t sure which service you need, this key point should help you decide. Proofreading removes the errors from writing that is already good, whereas editing improves the overall quality of the writing itself. Put more simply: proofreading removes unsightly smudges from a nicely-painted wall, editing repaints the wall.

6 – They look different.

Any decent proofreading or editing service will use software such as Microsoft track changes to make alterations. They do this so that you – the customer – can clearly see where your document has been altered. That’s important because not only does it provide evidence of the service you’ve paid for, it can also help you develop your writing skills.

A document that’s been proofread will contain changes to your individual words, and punctuation marks may have been added or removed. But there is usually no change to your original wording. Edited documents contain sentences and paragraphs that have been crossed out and restructured, and the overall structure of the document may also be different. Some phrases and sentences may have been totally rewritten from the original. Your editor may also have left notes, questions, and suggestions throughout the document, this is part of the collaborative editing process.

7 – Editing requires specialist knowledge of your subject and subject-specific conventions.

Proofreading requires an eye for detail and a comprehensive knowledge of grammar. However, editing may require a deeper understanding of your specialism and the associated subject-specific conventions. For example, imagine that your document is an article on biochemistry for a science journal. Your editor would need an understanding of the sciences and scientific writing conventions, along with a more general understanding of the style conventions required for article publication.

So, which service do you need?

Proofreading:

Your document has been edited, and you’re confident about the language and structure. Now you want a final check to eliminate typographical errors, punctuation errors, and misspellings.

Editing:

Your document require revisions for clarity, readability, and flow. You want to collaborate with someone to refine your writing style and develop your argument.

Wordsmiths offers a comprehensive range of services, including proofreading, editing, and copywriting. We also offer a business content paraphrasing service that rewrites every word and sentence of your existing content. This makeover service retains your original message, but delivers it in a way that fits perfectly with your brand image. You can find out more about our services on our website, so get in touch if you’d like to chat to us about your writing project. You can contact us via email on info@wordsmiths.org.uk or WhatsApp at 07743518681. Don’t forget, you can keep up with our latest news and offers through Facebook and Instagram, and by subscribing to our monthly newsletter.

7 common writing mistakes that could harm your business

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Writing mistakes in your business content can damage your brand. That’s because your written content isn’t just a marketing tool; it’s part of your brand identity. Great content improves your standing in the eyes of your customers, but error-strewn content, be it printed or digital, will drag your reputation down.

In this month’s article we identify 7 common writing mistakes, and examine how avoiding them can help your business to:

  • Showcase your expert knowledge
  • Provide proof of your attention to detail
  • Reassure customers
  • Boost your SEO

So, what are the common writing mistakes that so many businesses make?

  1. Spelling mistakes

Spelling mistakes look sloppy and careless. That’s especially true in this digital age where automated spelling checks detect most of the errors for you (although not all of them – more of that later). Beyond the reputational damage, spelling mistakes can affect other aspects of your marketing such as SEO. When the search engine algorithms analyse your documents, one of the things they look for is keywords. So, if you misspell those keywords, your articles and web pages won’t feature in search results.

Consider a keyword from our industry – copywriting (the act of producing written content). If a web page or article misspelled it as copyrighting (a legal action that grants the creator of intellectual property exclusive rights over its use), the visibility of the page/article would be diminished. And even if the article appeared as a result under copyrighting instead, anyone who clicked on it would swiftly realise that the content was irrelevant, and would click away again. If this happened too often, the algorithms would bury the article, causing disastrous results for online visibility.

  1. Punctuation mistakes

Punctuation mistakes have been blurring key messages ever since the famously un-punctuated zoo sign “eats shoots and leaves” transformed a gentle panda into a gun-slinging restaurant diner. Funny as that image is, punctuation mistakes can harm your brand image. We once walked past an organic deli who had listed their daily specials on a large board, complete with unnecessary apostrophes:

Pasty’s, Artichoke’s, Yoghurt’s, Aubergine’s, and local craft beer’s.

Not only is the possessive apostrophe incorrect (you don’t need an apostrophe for plurals), seeing the mistake listed over and over in large lettering made the business look careless and slapdash.

  1. Grammatical errors

Much like punctuation errors and spelling mistakes, the effect of grammatical errors is twofold. Firstly, it distracts your readers and secondly, it gives the impression that your content is shoddy and poorly-written. This translates into a negative perception of your products or services.

“Try our red velvet muffins, there delicious.”

“You’re garden will look great with our artificial grass!!”

If you work in a sector where expertise and precision are key – such as dentistry – shoddy writing gives the impression that your services are equally slapdash, which can be off-putting to potential customers.

As a side note, the automated editor for our word processing programme picked up the error in the second example sentence above, but not the first. Which leads us neatly to our next writing mistake…

  1. Word substitutions

Word substitutions are a common mistake in business content – especially so in these days of automation. That’s because predictive tools don’t always select the right word, and when they do select the wrong word, automated spelling checks won’t necessarily pick up the mistake.

Why? Well, using the wrong word doesn’t always render your sentence nonsensical; instead, it can alter the meaning of your words entirely. Imagine if a portrait photographer posted the following caption under one of their recent baby portraits:

“We think baby Jeremiah looks adorable!”

No harm there, just a sweet and inoffensive caption.

Now imagine if the same photographers posted the following caption instead:

“We think baby Jeremiah looks adopted!”

Predictive text often substitutes adopted for adorable, and as you can see, the substitution gives the caption a totally different meaning. One that could potentially cause huge offence to the customer.

In short, the implications of word substitutions can be seriously problematic for your business. Beyond making you look careless and unprofessional, these writing mistakes can cause real damage to your customer relationships, so avoid them at all costs.

  1. Factual errors

We’ll say it louder for the folk in the back….FACT CHECK YOUR CONTENT.

We shouldn’t need to say this, but: if you’re going to share information with your customers, PLEASE make sure the information is correct. Nothing damages customer trust like giving out the wrong information. In fact, it’s one of the worst writing mistakes you can make. Sometimes, factual errors can be minor, such as your website bio stating that your business opened in 1983, instead of 1984. Other times, factual errors can have more serious consequences. For example, making claims about the efficacy of a product or ingredient that simply aren’t true, or listing the wrong opening times and significantly inconveniencing your customers. Your customers make decisions based on the information you give them, and when that information is wrong, it can be hard to regain their trust.

  1. Typesetting

Typesetting errors aren’t, strictly speaking, a writing mistake, but their consequences can be disastrous. Wordsmiths once proofread a diary that was due be printed and distributed to eager customers. A diary that was impeccably designed and thoughtfully laid out, with crystal-clear fonts.

Unfortunately, during the typesetting process, the dates and days from February onward had been misaligned, rendering the entire document (save the 31 days of January) useless. Had this error not been detected before printing, the entire stock of diaries would have been wasted. Our unfortunate customer would have incurred hefty additional costs in refunds and/or reprints, not to mention significant reputational damage. The moral of the story is this: invest in a professional proofreading service, especially if you supply printed products.

  1. Style

Effective business content isn’t just about precision and accuracy, it’s about style. To convert your ideal audience, into paying customers, you need to deliver information in a relatable way. Take the following examples:

“Yo fam, our roasted turbot with samphire mousse is peng!!”

“Behold our sumptuous repast, comprised of a triumphant combination of ingredients, not the least of which are our golden chicken nuggets, glossy ketchup sachet, and crispy fries served in our distinctively-branded    cardboard container.”

Teenagers may connect with the street slang in first sentence, but if you’re trying to attract an older set of diners, the writing style is all wrong. Equally, the pretentious description in the second example is unlikely to appeal to the target audience of a local fast-food franchise. Style matters, which is why so many businesses invest in a professional copywriting service for their websites, brochures, and digital articles.

And now for the good news about writing mistakes.

You can avoid the first 6 writing mistakes by using a professional editing service. Wordsmiths offer editing and proofreading services tailored to the needs of business customers. So, why not get in touch to talk about your requirements? And if style is your issue, our experienced team of copywriters can create original SEO-friendly content from scratch. To ask about any of our services, drop us an email at info@wordsmiths.org.uk, or call us on 07743 518681. You can also keep up with our latest news and special offers on our social accounts at Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to receive our articles and discounts first.

 

What is SEO copywriting (and how can it help your business)?

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SEO copywriting is an essential marketing tool for your business. But many business owners don’t understand SEO copywriting and the value it brings to their marketing strategy.

Great original content helps your website stand out from the crowd and rank higher in search engines. This gives your business increased online visibility, which is more important than ever as the already-crowded digital marketplace has grown exponentially during the Covid-19 pandemic. There’s no two ways about it – a robust digital marketing strategy is a must for your business in 2020. SEO and SEO copywriting are a key part of this strategy.

To fully understand the value that SEO copywriting brings to your business, you first need to know how it works. So, we’ll explain SEO and SEO copywriting. And as a bonus, we’ll list 5 ways that SEO copywriting can boost your search ranking and your business.

1. What is SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimisation”. It’s a way of tailoring your digital content to the search engines so it ranks higher than content from other sites that use similar search terms. In practical terms, SEO includes things like mobile optimisation, structured data, link building, user intent, and – of course – high-quality SEO copywriting.

But what does that all mean?

Imagine that you’re cooking a meal for a vegan friend. You open Google, type “vegan recipe ideas”, and hit enter. The search engine presents you with a list of results – e.g. recipes, cookery videos, vegan blogs – that are relevant to your search terms. These results are listed in rank order by the search engine, and the ranking is based on search engine optimisation.

Search engines want to please their users and keep them coming back for more. So, the engines reward authoritative content that fully answers the readers’ questions and stands out from competing content, by giving it a higher ranking.

In a nutshell, SEO helps persuade the search engine that your content is worthy.

Ok, so what is SEO Copywriting?

You may be familiar with traditional copywriting: the art of creating written content (“copy”) that persuades the reader to buy a product, subscribe to a list, or take another action that will benefit your business. Traditional copywriters create compelling content to nudge your readers and convert them into paying customers. SEO copywriters create the same compelling content, but they use keywords and phrases in a way that appeals to the search engines as well as human readers.

In the early days of search engines, “keyphrase stuffing” – simply cramming an article with as many keywords as possible – could get you a higher ranking. Thankfully, today’s search engines are more advanced: they rank content based on the QUALITY of the writing. This means that SEO copywriters have to constantly refine and update their technique to keep up with the algorithms.

As a rule, high-quality SEO copy is GOOD writing. Readability and accessibility are key: copywriters should produce natural-sounding content with minimal repetition and a logical structure that educates, entertains, and enlightens your target audience. When SEO copywriting is done right people won’t just read your articles – they’ll love them.

So how can SEO copywriting help your business?

  1. It increases visibility and website traffic

The overall goal of SEO is to improve your search ranking, so your website is visible to more people. It aims to place your website at the top of the first search engine results page (SERPS).

Why does this matter?

Quite simply, when people look online for products or services using a keyword search, they mostly click on one of the top 3 articles listed and they rarely, if ever, click beyond the first page. That’s because these “top” results are seen as the most relevant and reputable. So even if a keyword search yields several pages of results, your website HAS to appear near the top of page one for people to visit it.

SEO copywriting increases your website´s search ranking, and drives more traffic to your site, meaning that more people will read and share your content. Along with other digital marketing strategies, makes your readers more likely to convert into paying customers.

  1. It earns trust and R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for your brand.

In the modern world, trust and respect are everything. Today’s media savvy consumers will usually research a company before purchasing from them, so readers need to trust your brand.

SEO copywriting makes your website sound more trustworthy and professional. High-quality, well-researched content adds a sense of authority and expertise to your business which is attractive to new customers. As an added bonus, if you’re just launching your business, compelling and informative content provides an eye-catching introduction to your brand.

SEO copywriting gives your business the opportunity to engage readers and educate them. The result of good SEO copywriting is great content and a loyal, solid audience, both of which add value to your business.

  1. It saves you valuable time

Setting up an online marketing strategy is expensive, so it’s understandable if you decide to handle some aspects of marketing yourself to save money. When you’re looking to outsource the various marketing activities, weigh the financial costs against how much value – growth, exposure, reputation, leads – they bring to your company. Many business owners start off doing their own copywriting through their social media accounts and business blogs. After all, the internet is full of information about SEO and writing tips – how hard can it be?

The truth is that SEO copywriting can fast become overwhelming. Researching your articles and blog posts, choosing keywords, drafting, re-drafting, proofreading… the whole process takes up valuable time that could be better spent on developing your business. Even if you’re only producing short articles – say 400-500 words – there’s a knack to writing efficiently. In fact, shorter articles are often the hardest to write! Professional copywriters can produce quality content efficiently, often to short deadlines, leaving you free to focus on running your business.

  1. It targets your ideal audience

So, your Gran and her 35 friends read your first business blog post? Great. But if your business sells make up for teenagers, your Gran won’t be buying it. Remember – the ultimate aim of your content is to convert readers into customers. An experienced SEO copywriter knows how to target different demographics effectively, creating content that’s tailor-made for your dream audience.

  1. It defines your brand identity

Don’t underestimate the power of words. Yes, the appearance, speed and usability of your website affects the overall image of your business: but ultimately, you sell your brand with words.

Professional SEO copywriters deliver original content that dovetails with a clear content marketing strategy. They produce natural-sounding copy that attracts potential customers and reinforces the values that your business represents. When it’s done right, SEO copywriting helps define your brand’s identity and the values it holds dear.

And finally…

Great SEO copywriting needs great SEO copywriters. If you’d like to outsource your business copywriting, contact Wordsmiths. Our experienced copywriting team deliver content tailored to your business goals, targeting your ideal audience and delivering the results you need. To discuss your requirements, email us at info@wordsmiths.org.uk. You can also get in touch and keep up with our latest news on our social accounts at Instagram and Facebook.