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Lauren Jefferson

Lauren Jefferson is the Co-Founder and CEO of FocusCopy – a full-service copywriting agency. She loves everything copy, digital marketing, and coffee!

Imposter Syndrome

Tackle The Lies Imposter Syndrome Tells You

Why don’t you write more value-added content for your audience?

It’s not because you don’t know how to write in a specific format. 

And it’s definitely not because you don’t have the knowledge. After all, there are plenty of resources out there for you to use and learn from – including a bunch from FocusCopy!

The reason why many people – maybe you – tend to get stuck when writing content is because they are battling a little thing called… Imposter syndrome. 

Imposter syndrome is when a person doubts their accomplishments and skills, and as a result, becomes afraid that they aren’t good enough.

This is one of the most common roadblocks that prevents entrepreneurs from being consistent (especially in their content production). They fall into thinking they are not smart enough to be an expert in their story and become frozen with fear of being inadequate or being called out as a fake.

I’m a young copywriter, have only been in the business for just over a year, and are working with 30+ year old businesses. By all means, it would be easy for me to see myself as an imposter – except that I know my skills and what results my skills they can provide my clients. 

We all experience imposter syndrome at one point or another in our careers. But if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, face it head on and defeat it before it defeats you!

Practical Methods to Defeat Imposter Syndrome 

Here are some practical methods to defeat imposter syndrome, so you can start regaining your confidence to write more content consistently.

1. Identify What the Lie is

The first step to overcoming imposter syndrome is to identify what the lie is. What is the lie circling your thoughts that is holding you back and making you feel like an imposter? 

These can be thoughts like…

  • “I’m not the best [insert your profession].”
  • “Who am I to say I’m an expert? I’m not an expert.”

Figure out what you’re telling yourself, and write it down. 

2. Figure Out If That’s Truth

Once you’ve identified those imposter thoughts, interrogate them! Figure out if there is any truth in them.

For example, my lie could be… “I am not really a copywriting expert.”

Yes, there are thousands of copywriters around the world. However, I’ve been studying copywriting for 5 years, digital marketing for 6 years, business for 7 years, and have loved writing since I was in elementary school. I also know that my clients are pleased with my work and my team’s work. In client meetings, I’m able to give advice without struggling to find words to say. 

There will always be people in your field that are “better” than you; however, your experience is yours. No other person can buy your experience and use it as theirs – it’s yours and yours alone. That’s what makes you an expert.

Ask yourself: 

  • Do you have clients that are paying you right now? 
  • Are you working hard to improve your skills?
  • What does your client expect from you, and are you meeting those expectations?

The truth is, most of the time, your clients don’t need you to know everything. They just need someone to listen and give them a solution. 

Look for examples of how you have done that in the past and how you continue to put in the work to improve those skills for the future. Then you’ll have the evidence you need to know that you’re not an imposter. 

3. Preach To Yourself The Truth

Now that you’ve unveiled the truth behind those pesky imposter syndrome lies, you’ll have to make sure that you don’t forget it. 

Write it down on a post-in note, and stick it to your computer monitor. 

Recite it to yourself every morning and every time those lies sneak into your mind. 

Ask your colleagues, friends, or family to remind you of the truth. 

Over time, you won’t need that post-it note; your success will reinforce that you are not an imposter. You are the real deal.

Tackle The Lies Imposter Syndrome Tells You

So now that you practically know how to defeat imposter syndrome, it’s time to tackle the lies imposter syndrome tells you. 

Other People Have Had More Success. 

Yes, other people may have had more success than you. But you don’t know the number of failures they worked through to get their success. You cannot compare your story to another person’s story. 

Instead of comparing successes, compare your personal and professional growth. Where were you a year, 5 years, 10 years ago? Have you grown? 

Truth: Our success comes from our ability to overcome our failures.

Think about Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb… Few people consider Thomas Edison to be a failure. But when asked how he felt about his lightbulb tests failing 1000 times, he simply retorted “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The lightbulb was simply an invention with 1,000 steps”. He didn’t consider test failures as a reflection on him and his work, simply as steps to the final solution that worked.

Do People Really Want To Hear What I’m Saying?

One of our clients built an incredible digital course in the health and wellness arena this year. There are many other courses in her specific arena, yes. But I kept reminding her that her background is so unique and she has a message she needs to share with the world.

Truth: Someone wants and needs to hear your story; no one else can copy your stories. 

There are 7 billion people in this world!! Not everyone is gonna click, but SOMEONE will. YOUR approach to it and the knowledge you bring is completely different and unique!

What If Something Bad Happens?

Something bad will happen. Already in 2020, we’ve experienced (and are still experiencing) a pandemic, a social revolution, and a hurricane season that’s ravaged many communities. 

In all these “bad things”, you may also respond wrongly. You’re going to respond poorly at something. No one is perfect. And as long as you release those perfectionist tendencies, you’re going to break free of your imposter syndrome. 

When those moments happen, are you willing to own up to your mistakes and right your path forward? 

Truth: Bad things are gonna happen, but it’s how you respond that’s going to make an impact. 

People don’t necessarily want to see people who have it all put together. They are tired of the put-togetherness social media paints for them. They want to see the carpal tunnel from writing too much, bags under eyes, owning to up mistakes, and messy buns. That stuff is inevitable and REAL. For even more tips, check out my blog post on how to ease anxiety during content production.

Above the Fold Website Copy

How to Make a BIG Impact on Your Conversion Rates By Including These 4 Requirements for Above the Fold Website Copy

Is your website leaving the right first impression with your audience? 

First impressions are the key to sparking interest in your brand. When potential customers stumble upon your webpage, their decision to stay or leave will happen in seconds… And it all relies on your above the fold website copy. 

In this blog, I’ll go over what needs to be above the fold on your site to grab your audience’s attention, make a great first impression, and increase your engagement and conversion rates.

Above the Fold vs Below the Fold

The concept of above the fold website copy stems from the pre-digital era of communication – back in the days when everyone bought newspapers. Since newspapers were folded in half and put out for sale, passerbys would only see whatever was above the fold. The content above the fold had to entice people to buy the paper, without even picking it up. It had to convince people to buy with just a quick glance.

Above the Fold Definition

So what is considered “above the fold” when it comes to your web content? Above the fold website copy is any content that appears on the top half of your website when someone first arrives at the URL, without any scrolling or clicking. 

Here is an example of what our website looks like above the fold:

Above the Fold Website Copy

As you might imagine, what content falls above the fold depends on screen size. Not everyone has the same sized computer monitors. Plus, people are accessing the Web through tablets and smartphones now too. 

Here is what website visitors see above the fold when they are viewing on mobile:

So how can you figure out what falls above the fold on your website?

Above the Fold Website Copy

You can get a good estimate by using your website’s analytics program to find out what the most common screen dimensions are for your visitors. Then, you can use the average screen height as a guide for where the website “fold” is.

Below the Fold Definition

The majority of your website is below the fold. This is anything that is not initially visible when someone first arrives at your site. Visitors will only get to see it once they start to scroll down the webpage. 

For instance, everything that is below the red line here wouldn’t be seen unless the visitor was curious enough to keep exploring the webpage.

Above the Fold Website Copy

Since a majority of your content may be below the fold, you want to lead your customers there! Let’s talk about how you can take full advantage of your above the fold website copy to do just that.

4 Requirements for Above the Fold Website Copy

To capture your audience’s attention, the above the fold copy on your website needs to: 

  1. Target the customer
  2. Identify the problem
  3. Introduce the major benefit
  4. Call to action

1. Target the Customer

When it comes to making a powerful first impression in the real world, eye contact and addressing the person by name play a huge role. To achieve the same effect virtually on your webpage, make sure your above the fold copy targets the customer.

So what does copywriting that targets the customer actually look like?

Call them out. The most straightforward way to target the customer is to acknowledge them by name in your copy. For example, Scalable opens with “Attention all Founders & CEOs”. 

Speak their language. Use words and phrases that your target audience is familiar with. Don’t be afraid to use jargon or slang if your target customer knows the terms. It shows that you’re speaking directly to them in their own language. For example, Wilson Murphy Law’s about page perfectly addresses what her audience knows – that they don’t want copycats or poachers. This isn’t language that you would see leaving an attorney’s mouth. And that’s okay. Speak your audience’s language. 

Focus on them. Make sure your above the fold website copy is focused on the customer rather than your business. To check how well your copy does this, see if you use “You” about twice as often as you use “We”. Notice how Elementor doesn’t talk about themselves – they talk about “you”. 

2. Identify the Problem

Targeting the customer will grab their attention. After that, you’ll only have a few seconds to engage their curiosity by identifying a problem they are experiencing. 

Sometimes, your customer won’t even realize they are experiencing a problem until you bring it to their attention. Once the customer realizes the problem (and if the problem is important enough to them), they’ll continue to scroll down your website to find your solution.

What kinds of problems is your target customer experiencing?

According to Harvard Business Review, customers have 4 main kinds of problems they need solutions for. Let’s talk about the two major problems most businesses should address in their above the fold website copy: functional and emotional problems. 

Functional Problems

Functional problems are the most common type of challenge your customers will experience. These are problems that have an impact on their practical day-to-day functioning.

This can include things like:

  • Not having enough time to accomplish a certain task
  • Not making enough money
  • Something is too complicated or unorganized
  • A product or service they currently use lacks quality or variety

Emotional Problems

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that your customer is human! It may seem obvious, but so many businesses overlook this crucial fact. Because you’re writing for humans, you can also address emotional problems that they might be experiencing, like:

  • Experiencing heightened anxiety
  • Missing the past or feeling nostalgic
  • Feeling exhausted or burnt out

Now, your above the fold copy doesn’t have to include every problem that your target customer is facing. In fact, it shouldn’t! You only have a limited amount of space and a short amount of time when it comes to above the fold content. Instead, your above the fold website copy should highlight the main problem that is most disruptive for your target customer. Then discuss the solution your company offers. 

3. Introduce the Major Benefit

Once you’ve targeted the customer and identified their problem, you can’t stop there! The next piece you have to include is an introduction to the major benefit your company offers to solve the customer’s problem.

Here are some strategic ways to introduce the major benefit to your customer:

  • Stand out among competition. Introduce a benefit that is unique to your company by creating a unique selling proposition. What does your company offer that others don’t? 
  • Use your brand voice. When you’re introducing customers to the major benefit, you’re also introducing them to your brand. Make sure your above the fold copy reflects your brand’s personality by creating a brand voice.
  • Show the stats. Quantify just how much time and money they’ll save, or how much variety/quality they will gain. Try using infographics that are eye-catching and easy to read at a glance.
  • Tap into emotions. Think about how you want your customer to feel after they have access to your product and reflect that in your writing.

4. Call to Action

Finally, your above the fold website copy won’t be complete without a call to action.

If you’ve structured your above the fold content with everything we’ve discussed so far, your target customer will be ready to (at the very least) learn more about your products and services. 

Make it as easy as possible to do that – without any scrolling or navigating by adding a call to action button above the fold.

Here are some call to action ideas to include above the fold:

  • Free offer. Offer free content, sample products, free trials, or consultations in exchange for an email sign-up.
  • Learn more. Link to a page where customers can learn more about your products or see a demo of your services. 
  • Get started. Lead your customers directly to your product/service description page where they can sign-up, enroll, or make a purchase.
  • Let’s talk. Take your customers to your contact page or a place where they can schedule an appointment with someone from your team.

Feel free to get creative with the words you use in your buttons/links/call to actions.

When choosing a call to action, keep your website visitors’ familiarity with your brand in mind. If you’re a new company and visitors might not be familiar with your brand, opt for a free offer or a link to learn more. 

On the other hand, your call to action should look different if you’re a well-established company and a majority of your website visitors are already familiar with your brand. In this case, you’ll do better to have a call to action that gets customers started or puts them in touch with your team.

Start Writing Your Above The Fold Copy

With all of these guidelines in mind, remember that the space above the fold on your website is limited. Many companies struggle to fit in all of the key elements without overcrowding the space. If you want help writing clean and effective above the fold website copy that reflects your brand, FocusCopy can help with that! We help businesses increase their conversion rates just by adjusting their copy. For more copywriting tips, subscribe to our Insider’s List here.

Lessons We Learned In Our First Year in Business

FocusCopy Turns 1 Years Old (6 Lessons We Learned In Our First Year in Business)

Over the weekend, FocusCopy celebrated its 1 year in business (August 15, 2020). 

And it’s been one heck of a year! 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 20% of entrepreneurs fail in their first year of business. If it’s a first-time entrepreneur or a woman-owned business, then the success rate dwindles even further. Additionally, COVID-19 has put many companies out of business (over 60,000).

Theoretically, it should have put us out too.

But with the odds stacked against us and with our incredible clients and partners, we’re standing here today – stronger than when we started and looking to grow further. 

If you’re a first-time business owner or a serial entrepreneur, don’t be bound by those statistics.

6 Lessons We Learned In Our First Year in Business

Here are a few lessons that we learned in our first year of business that are too good not to share with you. 

1. Surround Yourself With Other Entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurial loneliness is a real thing, and I’m so thankful that I learned that lesson during my time in the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship. Very quickly after launching FocusCopy, I surrounded myself with clients and partners that were truly invested in my and FocusCopy’s success. It made all the difference in the world. 

When I had a question about anything, they had answers. 

They found opportunities for us that we didn’t know existed. 

When I needed emotional support, they encouraged me. 

They wanted to see me and FocusCopy grow and succeed. 

2. Celebrate Every Win.

At every milestone (even the most seemingly insignificant ones), we celebrated. Because I acknowledged and celebrated every “win”, I woke up more energized to surpass my client’s expectations. It made working 12-16 hour days a walk in the park. Celebrating every win allowed me to be grateful and sustain ourselves in this marathon that is being an entrepreneur. 

What were some of our wins? 

  • Signing the first client
  • Seeing that first check hit the bank account (even if it was only $50)
  • Closing our first out-of-state client
  • Having to order more business cards because I ran out of the first 1,000
  • Seeing one of clients have their 2 best months ever in business after their worst month ever due to COVID
  • Hiring our first employee

Find it. Mark it. Celebrate it. 

3. Say “Yes” Then Figure It Out Later.

From the very foundation, this was one of our company values, and it still rings true today. When a client asks for something, always always say “yes”. You never know what it’s going to lead to – a bigger deal, a lesson learned, a new business partnership. 

Create a willingness to just say “yes”. Yes, it will be scary. Yes, you may be in uncharted waters. 

But if you never say “yes”, then you’ll never know what could have been. 

4. Hire a Bookkeeper.

Thanks to one of my favorite “bosses” and mentors Jim Wilkinson, I learned the importance of accounting early on in my career. Our bookkeeper has been the biggest blessing to FocusCopy’s growth (and to my sanity). Find a bookkeeper – no matter what your size – they can help you keep your books clean, help you celebrate your growth, and find your opportunities to optimize your financials. 

If you aren’t an expert in a particular area, outsource it. Just like a bookkeeper isn’t an expert in copywriting, a copywriter doesn’t need to be an expert in or do their own bookkeeping. In the same way, a copywriter doesn’t need to be a graphic artist or vice versa.

5. Work With Clients Who Want To See You Succeed.

We have the best clients! I say it all the time. One thing that I didn’t expect starting my own business is that my clients would be as invested in my business as I was in theirs. 

Every meeting, my clients would ask (and want to know) how business was going. 

They would even refer business to us because they knew the value we bring and they wanted both their colleagues and us to succeed. 

To my clients, thank you for your unending support and love! It means the world to me and my team! 

6. Listen Closely.

Keep your ear to the ground and listen for what’s happening – in the world, with your clients, and with your client’s clients. 

A mentor once told me to look in the most unlikely places to find what you need to be a great entrepreneur. 

This advice is what I attribute our ability to pivot so quickly after the quarantine to hit. As a result, we were able to not only grow ourselves, but help clients come back from their worst month ever in business or come back from what should have looked like bankruptcy. Every single one of our clients are not only surviving, but truly thriving! 

It’s been an absolute blessing to be part of that. 

Year 2

We’re so excited for what the next year holds for FocusCopy. Plans are in place; now we need to execute them!


Be In The Know.

Starting August 24, 2020, FocusCopy will be sending out a bimonthly newsletter with what we’ve learned, what we’re seeing in the marketplace, and copywriting tips that will be a game changer for your sales growth. 

Ease Anxiety During Content Production

7 Strategies to Ease Anxiety During Content Production

Putting your name out there can be scary. 

Whenever you publish content, you’re putting your name on the line. And there’s no guarantee that your audience will love it. 

For your business to thrive, you must improve your visibility and audience engagement through content creation and publication. Digital marketing is more effective now than ever, and there are many, many types of content you can create and use.

But how can you ease your anxiety during content production so you’ll be excited to create more? 

Let’s start by facing the fears head-on. 

Why Content Production Can Increase Anxiety

Has this ever happened to you? You’re talking with a business associate or friend, on your morning jog, or in the shower, when suddenly inspiration strikes. You arrive at the perfect idea for a new piece of content. You’re excited! You keep the idea swirling in your thoughts, but soon… weeks pass, and you still haven’t published yet. 

If this sounds familiar, you might be grappling with content production anxiety. 

Producing content is really exciting. But on the other hand, it can also be anxiety-inducing (maybe even a little frightening) – making it difficult to hit “publish”.

When producing content, anxiety can increase for any of the following reasons:

  • Getting started. For some, there is nothing more intimidating than staring at a blank page. When our content ideas are big, just getting started can be daunting. 
  • Finding the time. If you’re like most business leaders and entrepreneurs, your schedule is packed to the brim with meetings and urgent tasks. It can feel overwhelming to have another huge item added onto your list.
  • Making mistakes. What if you say something in your content by mistake? It can be scary to make a mistake that will be online for everyone to see.
  • Judgement or criticism. After you put all the work into finally putting your content out there, what if nobody likes it? 

If you’ve had any of these anxious feelings around content production, you’re not alone. So many content creators struggle with these things all the time. 

7 Ways to Ease Anxiety During Content Production

The good news is, there are ways you can ease anxiety during content production. Here are 7 different strategies to try out:

  1. Exercise your content production muscle
  2. Voice record your stream of thoughts
  3. Break up your content production in smaller subtasks
  4. Hire an editor
  5. Schedule the content to auto-publish
  6. Focus on the end goal
  7. Celebrate your wins

1. Exercise Your Content Production Muscle

Getting started on something new can feel daunting. When you start a hard workout or a new sport, your body needs to get used to that exercise. Writing is the same. You need to train your brain to produce content every single day. 

Here are some training exercises that you can implement in your daily routine:

  • Write for 30 minutes a day – everyday
  • Read blogs (or whatever type of content you are producing) for 20 minutes a day
  • Carry a notebook with you to jot down any ideas, sentences, or phrases that come to you spontaneously

If you feel like you’re running into writer’s block, try one of these 11 tips to break through

2. If You Can’t Type It, Talk It

Most people can talk faster than they can type. If you want to make even more use of your 30 minutes of content creation a day, speak your ideas instead of typing them. You can record your thoughts on a voice memo or brainstorm about them with someone on your team. 

In an hour, I can crank out content for about five full blogs when I’m talking about my ideas instead of typing them. And then, it’s time to finally put thoughts on paper, you’ll be able to listen back on every detail. 

3. Break Up Your Content Into Subtasks

If you’re anxious about finding time to create content, you don’t have to stress any further. It can be easy for an entrepreneur, business owner, or marketer to keep up with a weekly content creation schedule! 

Break up the content production into subtasks. For example, here are subtasks we use to create our blogs: 

  1. Outline blog
  2. Draft blog
  3. Edit blog
  4. Check SEO 
  5. Finalize blog
  6. Schedule blog

These 6 simple subtasks can even be done on different days. This allows the content production process to happen in bite-sized pieces, not overwhelming the writer at any point in time. 

(We’ve created this process to catch all the potential risks, ranging from not sounding professional to releasing something that isn’t valuable. When approaching your subtasks, make sure you avoid these 8 major oversights too.)    

4. Hire an Editor

The next way to ease your anxiety during content production is to hire an editor – whether that’s someone on your team or someone like us that you outsource. 

An editor can take on 3 of the 6 subtasks listed in the previous strategy. That way you can create your content quicker with less stress. 

If you can, have not just one, but two other people review your content before publishing. They can check for the overall quality and value of your content. You’ll be able to avoid anxiety around errors or audience scrutiny when your content has already faced constructive feedback from an editorial team.

5. Schedule The Content to Auto-Publish

Once you have the content written and edited, it’s time to press “publish”. This is where we commonly see authority leaders pause. They begin to question if it’s valuable enough, clear enough, fill in the blank enough. That’s why we schedule our content and our client’s content out. It takes the anxiety out of seeing it go live immediately. If you use WordPress, learn how to schedule a post on WordPress here. 

6. Focus On The End Goal

If you don’t know where you’re going to end up, it’s difficult to know when you’ve got there and how to tie a bow on the content. You need to define an end goal before  you start to write the content. 

For this blog in particular, we know that our clients experience anxiety when producing content. Some of our clients have told us that they spend over 8 hours on a single blog (and are still not pleased with the content). So, it never gets published. 

We help our clients skip through that by ensuring that every piece of content we write for our clients is valuable, and we both know the end goal before we start writing. 

7. Celebrate Your Wins

Finally, you need to celebrate your wins! A mentor told me when I started FocusCopy that I needed to celebrate every win – somehow. The first dollar, the first hundred dollars, and so on. We even celebrated the first blog, the first comment, and the traffic that we’ve gotten from our most popular blogs. You, too, need to celebrate your wins – including publishing content. Instead of it being a fearful task, it becomes an exciting task that you want to complete. 

Ease Your Content Production Anxiety About Outsourcing

Like we previewed in strategy #6, we encounter a lot of stress when we talk with prospective clients. Producing content can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. FocusCopy partners with entrepreneurial companies, just like yours, to produce your content and save your time. This allows you to stay on top of your content schedule while managing a more-balanced workload. Learn more about our copywriting services here.

If you have any questions, drop them in the comments section. We are here to make content production a more joyful and beneficial process. 

Different Types of Top of Funnel Content

29 Different Types of Top of Funnel Content To Offer

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for content marketing. 

The type of content your website should provide to your customers should depend on what they want to buy and how much time they want to spend reading your site before they buy or move on. 

In today’s digital age, the opportunities to sell are endless. There are so many different types of content that you can create and offer to your audience. In this blog, we’ll focus on the content that targets individuals or businesses that…

  • May not be aware of their need for your product or service 
  • Need to engage more with your brand before they click “buy”

But first, let’s talk about how this audience is different from others you market to and why they require different kinds of content.

Why Offer Different Types of Content For Each Stage of the Sales Funnel

Each customer that will eventually buy your service or product has their own journey that starts at awareness of your brand and moves to being an active promoter of your brand.  

In marketing, this customer journey is called the sales funnel. It has three stages:

  • Top of funnel
  • Middle of funnel
  • Bottom of funnel

Top of Funnel (TOFU)

Top of funnel (or TOFU for short) is the stage where prospects become aware of their problem and your solution.

They must become aware that you exist. 

You want them to engage with your content. 

And to get them to do that at this stage, your content should be freely available. 

In other words, it should be ungated – while still having the option to provide their email for more information. 

Middle of Funnel (MOFU)

Middle of the funnel (or MOFU for short) is the stage where prospects become customers. It’s all about conversion here! At this stage, content might look like providing a free resource in exchange for your customer’s email or selling your customer a product or service.

Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)

Bottom of funnel (or BOFU for short) is the stage where customers become excited about working with you. By this time, they will:

  • Ascend through your different offerings
  • Be ready to buy higher-value content
  • Advocate/promote your brand to their network

The Purpose of Top of Funnel Content

The value and purpose of content needs to change at each stage. And the first stage, TOFU has the widest audience. The goal of top of funnel content is to build, connect, and interact with your audience.

In dating terms, this is making eye contact and asking that person out for coffee. It’s safe and non-committal. It’s just expressing interest and seeing where it takes you! 

Different Types of Top of Funnel Content To Offer

Here are some different types of top funnel content that will help you make a great first impression with your audience.

Blog Content

Highly competitive companies in nearly every industry incorporate blogging into their overall marketing strategy. Although it’s not an exact science, you can follow these simple guidelines to make very effective blogs. Plus, blogs are one of the most versatile examples of TOFU content. Here are some blog content ideas. 

1. Company News

Your company is accomplishing amazing things that set you apart from your competitors. Blogs are the place to show that off! Celebrate your hard work, explain difficult decisions, and discuss your growth and major milestones.

If your audience is captivated by your story, they’ll want to learn more, engage, and cheer your company on.

2. Product Announcements

Speaking of company news, blogs are a great way to announce the launch of new products. This might include: 

  • Software announcements
  • New updates
  • Added service offerings

A blog post lets you go beyond a general product description. It gives space for you to tell a story with more detail. How did you identify the need? What inspired its design? How will/have customers’ lives changed because of the new product? 

3. Cornerstone Blogs

Cornerstone blogs are articles your audience will want to refer back to time and time again. Just like we pin important posts to the top of our Facebook pages, cornerstone blogs are substantial and noteworthy.

A great cornerstone blog will be:

  • All-inclusive of your entire process
  • Approximately 3 times the length of a normal blog (2,500 or more words)
  • Filled with crosslinks that lead customers to your other content

For an example, check out Digital Marketer’s cornerstone blog on the customer value journey.

4. Comparisons

Everyone wants to use the best products and services possible. But the average person will not have time to do all the research themselves to find the right solution for them. Save your audience time (which they’ll appreciate) by doing a comparison blog. 

For example, to write about “what’s the best project management software?”, you could: 

  • Pick 2 of the most popular contenders
  • Compare and contrast product features
  • Note their reviews
  • Talk about ease of use and customer support

This is extremely common for software. 

5. How-Tos

Comparison blogs aren’t the only way to save people time. How-tos are also really valuable for this! Give a quick and easy tutorial on how to do something. To make your post even more valuable, include screenshots or photos of the process and mention anything your company offers that can make it even easier.

6. Quiz or Survey

Nothing says engagement like an interactive blog post. Include a quiz or survey in your next blog. Here are some ideas for making it fun and useful:

  • Keep it short and sweet with 10 questions or less and 3-6 options per question
  • Include a text box on surveys where your audience can ask questions
  • Make it easy to read by pairing text responses with images
  • Provide a next step by including a call to action at the end

With a quiz, you’ll increase engagement and learn more about your target audience. It’s a win-win!

7. Q&As

Another type of blog that has lots of value is a Question and Answer (Q&A) post. This is where you go over questions your customer asks (or what you think they’ll ask). Here are a few ideas: 

  • After you’ve collected survey results, duplicate that content by turning the responses into a Q&A blog
  • Create a Q&A blog from frequently asked questions about products or services – “6 Questions We Get About [Your Product]”
  • Conduct an interview-style Q&A with an expert from your team

Q&As help resolve common questions and draw awareness to your products and services. 

8. Wikis

Wikis are a straightforward repository of useful information that your audience can turn to for facts and definitions in your company’s industry. While every type of blog content we’ve discussed so far should be written with your brand voice, Wikis should be written with a more logical tone. WikiCFO is an example of a wiki from The Strategic CFO.

Audio Content

Some people prefer listening over reading – they may learn auditorily. That’s where audio content comes in. 

9. Podcasts

Podcasts are quickly gaining popularity and are a great way to fit lots of information into an easily digestible format. 

Check out one of our client’s newly launched podcasts here!

Email Content

Every email on your email list is not created equal. Some people who are in the top of your sales funnel might not make it to the middle. Email content helps you rebuild your targeting list by pulling in possible leads. 

10. Email Newsletters

Keep your company visible by showing up regularly in your audience’s inbox with a roundup of content. Here are some best practices for making an email newsletter your audience will look forward to:

  • Don’t spam their inbox
  • Have an eye-catching subject line
  • Highlight your other recent content
  • Give email-exclusive offers

Well-crafted email newsletters have the power to bring people from TOFU through MOFU to BOFU.

Images

You know what they say… “An image is worth a thousand words”. Image content can communicate so much about your company with just one glance. Plus, get double the visibility by reposting images from your blog onto Pinterest. Here are a few kinds of image content. 

11. Photos

It’s time for a brand photoshoot! Photo content can give your audience greater insight into the personality of your company. Take photos to:

  • Display a product
  • Demonstrate a process
  • Introduce members of your team

(If you’re searching for some talented corporate photographers, reach out to us here to connect with our photography partners.)

12. Quotes

Try overlaying an image with an inspiring quote – especially ones from your own brand! Your audience will start to picture you as an authority figure and leader. If you’ve been quoted, you’re legit and on a fast path to becoming an authority leader.

13. Infographics 

Reading through a long detailed process description or trying to visualize complex stats is confusing and boring. Don’t be boring. Keep your audience’s attention with clear infographics instead. They’ll be engaged and ready to learn more. Here is an example of an infographic we created. 

Learning Content

Does your company have expert knowledge that your audience will benefit from? Turn it into learning content through webinars or a video series.  

14. Video Series 

Create a company YouTube channel! There, you can post a series of videos where you teach your audience. To get the most out of a YouTube video series, include links to your other content in the video’s description and embed those videos into blog posts.

15. Webinars

Webinars are a more interactive type of learning content. Your audience will be able to tune in live, ask questions, and get specific feedback. Increased engagement means more opportunities for you to show the value of your products or services.

Video Content

Aside from learning content, video can also do so much more for your marketing strategy. Here are some different types of top of funnel content to create from videos.

(We have a number of incredibly talented videographers that we’ve partnered with. If you’re looking to up your video game, reach out to us here to get connected to our partners.)

16. Short Video (< 10 minutes)

In 10 minutes or less, you can: 

  • Demonstrate a problem that your company solves
  • Flaunt a product or service
  • Show a compilation of testimonials

17. Long Video (> 10 minutes)

Use videos that run longer than 10 minutes for more detailed story-telling like:

  • Vlogs (video blogs)
  • A case study or success story
  • Behind the scenes footage

To keep your audience’s attention, your video should get more interesting as it gets longer. Introduce at the start that something exciting will be revealed at the end. And then deliver on that promise.

18. Interviews

Channel your collaborative side by recording an interview with a team member or someone from your business network. Also look out for opportunities to be interviewed by other companies to get even more visibility.  

Outside Content

Diversify your reach with outside content like magazine articles, press releases, and Q&A forums.

19. Magazine Articles

Being featured in a magazine article will build trust and recognition for your brand. Identify some popular magazines that get a lot of traffic, and then pitch your story! 

PLUS since most magazines also publish their articles online, you’ll have the added benefit of growing your back-link network to increase your website’s SEO.  

20. Press Releases

Need some help pitching your story to magazines? Press releases can help grab the attention of journalists and media outlets so you’ll be more likely to get on their radar. Press releases spark curiosity in a broad audience and give them a reason to visit your website, find your other content, or try out your products. 

(We’ve recently partnered with an incredible boutique PR agency that customizes solutions for each of their clients. If you’d like a warm introduction, reach out to us here.)

21. Q&A Forums

Establish your credibility as an expert and grow your community by answering questions in Q&A forums. Try out these 2 forums: Quora and Alignable

Social Media 

Now more than ever, people are spending an unprecedented amount of time on their social media. Take advantage of their undivided attention by showing up regularly with awesome content in their feeds.

22. Social Media Posts

Each social network has their own content style. With all that variety, you can post about the same topics on different platforms while still making it look like different content.

23. Facebook Group

Leverage Facebook groups to engage with your audience on a whole new level. Being part of a Facebook group helps people feel more connected to your brand and each other – making them one step closer to reaching the BOFU.

24. Facebook or Instagram Live

Interaction gets even better when the experience is happening live. Your audience doesn’t even need to leave their home to have face-to-face access to you. Show a live demo, interview, or Q&A! Host the live content with collaborators in your network to reach an even broader audience.

24. IGTV (< 5 minutes)

Instagram introduced IGTV last year, making it a hot new avenue to post your content. The best part is, you don’t need expensive professional equipment to shoot your content. The platform is meant to be made right from your phone.

26. Social Media Advertising 

What most people don’t know is that when you do social media advertising, your ads can appear outside of social media networks. When you take out a Facebook ad, it can appear in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Take advantage of this extra visibility! 

Website Content

Finally, there are different types of top of funnel content that can exist right on your website and require little to no updating. These are things like online calculators, product or services pages, and microsites. 

27. Calculators

One kind of TOFU website content is a calculator – like the calculators found here. Many mortgage lenders have calculators on their websites. If done well, it can act as a lead generator to get a mortgage quote. 

(HAR.com)

28. Product / Service Pages 

Does your website have seperate pages for each of its products or services? This is a great way to expand your content and make it easier for your customers to find you online. Check out FocusCopy’s tips for updating your website copy to make your products and services pages work well at the top of your marketing funnel.

29. Microsites

Microsites are great ways to capture more attention and direct them to your website. It’s usually a single page or cluster of pages meant to complement a specific activity.

One of our favorite recent use of microsites is Tulsa advocating to Tesla to build a plant in their city. So they created TulsaSaysYes.com. 

(TuslaSaysYes.com)

While that’s enough to at least put a case together for Tesla to consider Tulsa, they took it one step further. They created AustinSaysNo.com. 

(AustinSaysNo.com)

The results… Elon Musk himself said this:

While this campaign only had a target audience of one, it was extremely effective and targeted. 

What Types of Content Are You Working On?

These 29 different types of top of funnel content are just the start. There are so many varieties of content for different stages of the sales funnel. What kinds of content is your company working on now? Creating content consistently can be a lot to keep up with. If your team is looking to grow your visibility by outsourcing your content writing, FocusCopy can help.

SEO Copywriting Tips

12 SEO Copywriting Tips You Can Implement Without An SEO Specialist

Right now, your company needs to invest in SEO – especially if you’re struggling.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. And SEO is what improves your ability to grow your traffic organically (free traffic). After you have your traffic on your website, then it’s only a matter of converting that traffic into customers. 

You don’t need to be an expert to start making improvements! In this blog, I’ll go over 12 tips for great SEO copywriting that you can implement without an SEO specialist.

What is SEO Copywriting?

SEO copywriting is a style of writing that prioritizes humans, while still keeping SEO in mind. SEO copywriting seeks to achieve the perfect balance between writing for visibility and writing to create genuine engagement with your audience.

SEO Copywriting vs. SEO

Why does SEO Copywriting beat out SEO when it comes to writing strategically online? 

When writing purely for SEO, you will sound mechanical. It sends a message that you’re writing for an algorithm that places your copy higher in the search list rather than engaging with and selling to your audience. 

Remember, Google doesn’t pay you – humans do!

Why SEO Copywriting Needs to be a Bigger Priority

So, if humans are the priority, why do we need SEO at all? 

The truth is, well written content still needs to be found by search engines. And in order for that to happen, SEO should still be kept in mind while writing. Striking a balance through SEO copywriting will ensure that your content is valuable for your audience and easy to find. 

Before we get into tips for SEO copywriting, let’s go over a few SEO strategies to keep in mind.

Types of SEO Strategies

SEO copywriting usually refers to on-page SEO; however, it would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the different types of SEO strategies that companies need to pay attention to.

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO refers to the things that you include on a web page to drive organic traffic and increase visibility. This helps your audience find you more quickly through a Google search.

Strategic on-page SEO can help your web page rank high on a search engine results page (SERP). And there are two philosophies for getting there:

  • Black hat – stuffing keywords in a nonsensical way into your content just to rank. Avoid this like the plague
  • White hat – including a typical amount of keywords into your content, but not overdoing it.

As the names suggest, white hat is the ethical approach to on-page SEO. Black hat methods might help your page get a higher SERP ranking, but your audience won’t stay on your page long if your content is nonsensical keyword soup.  

On-page SEO requires extra copy development time to achieve and maintain consistency. If you’re starting from scratch, expect 3-6 month time lag before you see results. The best way to get started is to write content – like blogs – on a regular schedule (weekly or bimonthly). 

Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to your website’s backend settings that make it function optimally for the user. This ties into the overall experience that your audience has when interacting with your content. You are trying to make it easy for your audience to navigate your website

If you ever clicked on a link because the headline seemed spot-on for what you were searching for, but then the website…

  • Took forever to load
  • Wasn’t optimized for mobile viewing
  • Was difficult to navigate
  • Seemed like spam because of the URL

… You probably left within seconds. The average user’s attention span is under 5 seconds per click (unless they find what they are looking for).

Even if the headline of a web page is a perfect match for your search, you’ll only stay if the website looks safe, easy, and organized.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to the things you do outside of your website to draw attention to it. It helps your audience decide if they can trust your website and determine if it is an authority among its competitors.

Think about how you approach hiring talent for your company. Many people might apply for the position with the skills you’re looking for. But an applicant with several beaming references and a successful work history will stand out the most, and you’d be more likely to trust them than Joe Schmoe. 

Similarly, off-page SEO is like having “references” for your company’s website that helps build trust online.

12 Tips for Great SEO Copywriting That You Can Implement Without An SEO Specialist

Now that you have several SEO strategies you can implement without an SEO specialist, let’s talk about how to combine them with copywriting for an optimized SEO copywriting approach.

1. Genuinely Communicate With Your Audience

Prioritize a strong connection with your audience by writing genuinely – not robotic. Not only will authentic communication provide better value for them, but it can be beneficial for your company’s SERP ranking too…  

“When you’re writing for humans, search rankings will rise because bounce rates will be lower and time-on-site will be higher. It’s all about the user experience.”

Dan Moyle, Impulse Creative

It’s a win-win. Search engines use metrics like bounce rate and the time spent on a given page in their algorithm to rank your website. 

2. Don’t Be Spammy

If it sounds like spam, it probably is. Avoid writing content that looks like spam. If your content looks like spam, people will be less likely to stay on your site. Avoid using…

  • Black hat SEO approaches. Don’t stuff your content with keywords. Your audience can spot unethical approaches from a mile away (even if they don’t know what they are looking at), and this will reflect negatively on your brand.
  • Stock images in your blog posts. Instead, opt for images that are uniquely yours (e.g. photos of yourself, your products, or services). You can even include your own screenshots for how-to’s. Schedule a brand photoshoot to create your own photos.

Above all, if the copy sounds or looks spammy, change it.

3. Use Practical URLs

Another way to avoid having your content mistaken for spam is to use practical URLs. Best search results have URLs between 50-60 characters long and a top-level domain (TLD) of ‘.com’. Bypass gibberish symbols and letters; they can imply there is something shady or you are trying to hide something. 

Instead, include logical, intuitive URLs that are associated with the content of your webpage. Not only will this help your website look more legitimate, but it will also portray your company as being logical and organized.

For example, the slug – the phrase that follows the domain in the URL – for this page is https://focuscopy.com/seo-copywriting-tips. You can expect to learn SEO copywriting tips in this blog. But if the slug was https://focuscopy.com/6&sct12, you would have no clue what to expect. It may be exactly the same as the first page, but it may also be a scam – you can’t tell.

4. Have an SSL Certificate

While we’re on the topic of URLs, another great SEO copywriting tip is to have an SSL certificate. 

Users will see “https://” in the URL, which lets them know your website is safe with:

  • Secured user data
  • Ownership verification
  • Website authenticity

Plus, it might hurt your SERP ranking if you don’t have an SSL certificate. Google is about to stop ranking non-SSL sites and may flag them as “Not Secure”.

5. Cover Topics Comprehensively

Another way to practice effective SEO copywriting is by covering topics comprehensively. It increases the quality value that your audience receives from your content, helping you stand out among the competition.

Try using content splintering to be more comprehensive in your writing. When you’re more comprehensive about a specific subset of a topic, you will be more targeted and have more opportunities to crosslink to other blogs or pages. 

Don’t worry – you won’t have to post everything back-to-back. In WordPress, use categories and tags to cross-link related content. This will logically organize your content together, even if they aren’t published one after another. 

6. Use Keywords that Resonate With Your Audience

Ideally, you should use keywords that are broad enough to reach your target audience and specific enough to stand out from the crowd. Above all, make sure your keywords resonate with your audience.

For example, suppose you’re a CPA based in Boise, Idaho who wants to start marketing your services as tax season rolls around. Here are two keyword approaches you could take:

  • SEO: “tax CPA boise idaho”
  • SEO Copywriting:  “tax and accounting help in boise”  

SEO alone includes long-tail keywords with the goal of ranking top of an SERP.

On the other hand, the SEO copywriting approach includes keywords that your target audience would actually use in a search. You’ll maximize visibility while centering your audience.

7. Incorporate Relevant Headers

Relevant headers are a staple of SEO copywriting. They make your page easier for your audience to read and enable search engines to readily parse (understand) what your page is about. Make sure your headers are relevant by…

  • Incorporating keywords or keyword synonyms
  • Including calls to action
  • Making them readable 

8. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Viewing

Today, many people access web content through their smartphones. Ensure their mobile experience is as effortless as possible by making your site mobile friendly. You don’t want your audience to lose patience trying to find what they need. 

Optimize your website for mobile viewing by… 

  • Resizing text and images
  • Restructuring page formats
  • Creating an easy-to-use navigation bar

9. Make Your Content Easy to Share

Make your content easily shareable to social media platforms with a customized preview image, SEO title, slug, and meta description. This is what it looks like when you use the Yoast SEO plugin. 

For example, here’s what it looks like when someone shares a FocusCopy blog on their Facebook page.

10. Establish Backlink Equity 

Backlink equity is an SEO Copywriting approach that leverages off-page SEO. It helps your site establish trust and authority online. Build a variety of backlinks. Examples of potential backlink opportunities include:

  • Articles on Medium
  • Interviews on Voyage or a local news channel
  • Publications on reputable .gov, .edu, or .org website 
  • Press releases

11. Build a Backlink Network 

Don’t stress out if you can’t get published on a large, reputable site. Try creating partnerships with other companies and build pages or posts to refer traffic to them. It’s all about building a backlink network.

Since COVID-19 has been difficult for many of our friends and clients, we wrote several blog posts to create backlinks to their websites. Check those posts out here:

12. Cross Link Your Posts or Pages

Linking isn’t just an off-page SEO strategy. It’s also fantastic for on-page SEO copywriting too. Here’s how cross-linking works…

Imagine you have a huge mansion with many bedrooms, ballrooms, and more. But you walk in and realize there are no doors. You can’t explore the other rooms. So you turn around and walk right out – there is nowhere for you to go! The mansion is useless.

But you’re a smart person and put doors between each room. So your guests can come into your fancy mansion, go from one from one room to another, and get lost in the beauty and splendor of your palace. 

The same is true of your website. Google and your audience needs to be captivated and get lost in the different sections of your site. Cross link your pages or posts so they can move around and even go back to places they’ve already been.


So there you have it – 12 great tips for SEO copywriting that you can implement without an SEO specialist. However, we understand that writing isn’t for everyone. If you’d rather hire an expert to do your content writing for you, reach out to our FocusCopy team


8 Major Oversights Content Writers Should Avoid When Blogging

Blogging isn’t just for beauty influencers and foodies. It’s 2020, and the most competitive companies in all industries have blogs associated with their businesses. 

Never considered blogging before? Well, you might be missing out on some major growth opportunities! 

If you feel behind in the blogging scene, don’t worry. I’ll go over the 8 major oversights content writers should avoid when blogging, so you can start blogging like a pro. 

PLUS right now is an optimal time to invest in a blog for your business.

Why now?

Because many of us are at home, tuned into our preferred devices. Your audience is at attention. Strategically, if you’re looking for growth in the next 6 months, you need to start working now by investing in and increasing your organic traffic. 

What is Blogging?

Before we get into the 8 major oversights content writers should avoid when blogging, let’s break down what blogging entails. 

A blog is a collection of content available on a website or social media profile (like LinkedIn). It’s a log of a company’s insights, knowledge, experience, and tips for readers. 

Blogging as a practice: 

  • Helps your customers find you more quickly and easily on the Internet – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Encourages your customers to realize that you have something valuable to offer – Value-Added Information
  • Drives new customers to your company without paid advertising – Organic Traffic

Why is Blogging Important for Your Overall Marketing Strategy?

Whether it’s a written, video, or visual log, a blog is important for your overall marketing strategy. At its core, marketing is a way to warm up your prospects in order to convert them into sales. In the digital world, marketing is also what  converts leads into customers. 

A strong marketing strategy cultivates a relationship between your customers and your company. And this is essentially what blogs are built to do! They create trust and familiarity through consistent and valuable communication. 

And it’s not just a one-way street. Blogging doesn’t just create an opportunity for your company to share insights and stories with prospects; it also allows your customers to share their stories and experiences too – through comments. In other words, you have the ability to advertise and conduct market research, all in one place. 

8 Major Oversights Content Writers Should Avoid When Blogging

Now that you understand the value blogging will have for your business, let’s talk about how you can approach it like a professional. Here are 8 major oversights content writers should avoid when blogging.

1. Not Breaking Through Your Writer’s Block

Most clients come to us for 1 of 2 reasons:

  1. They hate writing. Writing well can take time, and not everyone has the patience for it.  
  2. They take forever to write. Some people get stuck staring at a blank page or writing and rewriting things to no end.

To start a blog, you’ll have to write regularly. Many content writers don’t expect to run into writer’s block. If and when it hits, they’re stuck! Don’t give up. Breaking through writer’s block is a key skill for successful content writing.

Need some tips on overcoming your writer’s block? Click here to read our blog about it.

2. Not Editing And Proofreading Work

Although it might seem obvious to some, many content writers take editing and proofreading their work for granted. This is a major oversight that can reflect negatively on your brand.

Having content that is free of grammatical and spelling errors helps show that you care behind your content and ensures you’re communicating effectively.

Check out our blog post filled with proofreading tips, so you can edit your work like a professional copywriter. 

3. Not Outlining BEFORE You Start Writing

Some writers just write in a flow. That’s alright, but if you want to write strategically, always start with an outline. 

Creating an outline before you start writing will help you…

  • Write faster. Once the structure of your blog is there, it’s easier to fill in the blanks.
  • Organize your thoughts. You’ll avoid veering off course from your intended topic and ensure you’re not covering too much in one post.
  • Increase your SEO. When you have structured headings and subheadings for your blog posts that use similar keywords or SEO synonyms, it’s easier for search engines to detect the topic of your blog and direct people to it based on their search. 

Here’s an example of what an organized outline can do for your final product.

The outline:

 Major Oversights Content Writers Should Avoid When Blogging

The final product:

 Major Oversights Content Writers Should Avoid When Blogging

4. Not Showing Some Personality

A blog post isn’t a formal document. People don’t want to read something dry– even if the topic is “boring”. They want to read something entertaining! 

In the past, I’ve written blogs for CFOs about financial forecasting using an example of Hooters girls. Show some personality in your writing. It breaks the ice. 

5. Not Narrowing Down Your Focus

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Likewise, a single blog post cannot be all-encompassing. Don’t try to solve every problem or address every topic in your individual blog posts. Pick one small topic and cover it extremely well. This will have more value for your audience and encourage them to come back and read more…

If you envision your company’s blog covering several topics, you can create a tagging system. This lets you cover a range of topics across several blog posts in an organized way.

First, identify one major-topic. Narrow down that topic even more. Then get even more specific. You cannot provide real value on a given major-topic with just one blog – there’s simply too much information for a reader to digest at once; therefore, you need to get specific. Remember, blogs are not novels or dissertations, they are intended to be relatively small, quick to read, and easily absorbed by their audience.

 Here are a couple of topic progressions to get you started. 

Overarching TopicKey Areas in Major TopicSub-Topic of Key AreaSpecific Detail Related to Sub-Topic
CoffeeWays to make delicious coffeeFrench PressFrench Press Best Practices
Content MarketingBloggingLaunching a BlogOversights Content Writers Make When Blogging

6. Not Using Research To Defend Your Claims

An entertaining blog on its own might give your company some visibility. But when it comes to converting to sales, you’ll want to leverage some research in your writing. 

As the saying goes, people tend to buy on emotion and justify the buy with logic. Compelling evidence to support your claims will underscore both the emotional and logical aspects of your pitch.

These can include…

  • Published studies
  • Striking statistics
  • Case studies
  • Testimonials
  • Easy-to-read charts and graphs

7. Flat Out Plagiarizing

This goes without saying – don’t plagiarize. Cite all quotes and sources. No one wants to come off as unoriginal or deceiving. Your company will lower its credibility when your plagiarism is discovered (and it will be!).

Giving others credit where credit is due is the right thing to do and can be really helpful for your SEO! Include outbound links to sources in your blog posts. 

8. Perfecting It So Much It Never Gets Published

A “perfect” blog post is never published because it’s never done. At some point, you just need to press “publish”. If you ever want to change anything, all you have to do is edit that content and update it. 

Put yourself out there and see how your audience responds. Remember, your audience is looking for consistent and regular communication. Don’t trade perfectionism for building a relationship with your customers. They’ll be happier to hear from you regularly. If you don’t include something in your current blog, you can always write about it in the next blog. Just keep the content and communications flowing to your followers and customers.


Looking for help launching your blog or increasing your number of subscribers? FocusCopy can do your content writing for you and even craft newsletters that go directly to your customer’s inbox.

Avoid Business Burnout

Avoid Business Burnout by Communicating Your Boundaries

Back-to-back Zoom or Teams meetings. No boundaries between your home office and your home. Heightened stress due to uncertainty or overwhelm. It’s no wonder that I’ve encountered so many entrepreneurs who confess… 

  • “I’m exhausted.”
  • “I’m tired.”
  • “I just need a minute.”
  • “When will this be over?”
  • “I need a break.”
  • “I’m spent.”

Burnout is a real thing, and it’s rampant among business owners right now. So we partnered with one of our friends Chelsie Ward of Chelsie Ward Wellness to discuss how to avoid business burnout to protect your health and how to communicate your new boundaries. 

What is Business Burnout? 

Burnout is emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged or persistent stress

If you’re a business owner experiencing burnout, you probably have trouble finding the energy to complete and oversee normal business procedures – despite your best efforts. As a result, your company could be underperforming, causing even more stress to fuel the burnout fire.   

Why Burnout Is More Common During a Stay-At-Home Order

Many business owners and entrepreneurs are not quick to admit when they are experiencing burnout. Afterall, we know what we signed up for! We didn’t decide to start our own businesses because we thought it’d be a walk in the park. Our work is constant and demanding, but we are committed to giving it our all because we are passionate about what we do.

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.”

Simon Sinek

However, no matter how passionate you are about your company—the people you work with and serve—these unprecedented times can cause anyone to burnout. It’s not a sign that you don’t care, but rather the opposite. 

As a business leader, many people depend on you. You’re responsible for livelihoods. Maybe you’re someone who is typically able to cope well with business-related stress because you have in mind a certain path forward to help others. 

However, burnout is more common during a Stay-At-Home order like the one we’re currently in because things are so uncertain. This pandemic is a prolonged stressful event where solutions are not always clear. Guidelines and best practices for conducting business are constantly changing. An olympic athlete wouldn’t have enough stamina to keep pace with it all! It’s no wonder, entrepreneurs just like you are experiencing quicker rates of burnout.

So what can you do to avoid  burnout without sacrificing productivity during a Stay-At-Home order?

Two words.

Create boundaries.  

Boundaries & Their Health Benefits 

Before we get into how to communicate your boundaries to avoid business burnout, let’s talk about the health benefits of boundaries. 

Better Routine → More Productivity

When things are going well, it is easier to stick to a routine. We feel confident that things are on-track even when we decide to take breaks to…

  • Workout for an hour
  • Meditate for 20 minutes
  • Spend time with family
  • Practice a hobby we enjoy

We can incorporate these things into our routine because we know from experience that at the end of the day, everything that was pressing can be accomplished.

But, once we start to feel overwhelmed, it can be hard to justify taking even a 20 minute break. When we’re stressed, the first thing to breakdown is our normal routine. You might think that skipping out on these small breaks will give you more time to spend working on increasing demands. 

In reality, routines with more scheduled breaks lead to more productivity. For instance…

… A few moments of meditation each day can improve your focus and concentration.

… Daily exercise circulates blood and releases endorphins to boost your energy and mood.

… Task-switching or doing activities outside of your normal work can help you overcome blocks by promoting creative problem-solving.

Be willing to create a routine with structured breaks, so you can take care of yourself and efficiently serve others.   

Better Rest

Have you been burning the candle at both ends? Stress can lead us to let go of our boundaries that let us rest. But sleep is incredibly important for our cognitive functioning and mood regulation. 

If staying up all hours of the night seems like your only option lately, have you heard of Parkinson’s Law?

Use Parkinson’s Law

According to Parkinson’s Law, work expands to fill the time available for its completion. In other words, if you give yourself the whole day to work on a one-hour task, it will take you the whole day to complete it.

If you’re not strict about your boundaries around work hours, you’ll end up spending more time than you need to on certain tasks. If you’re working until the eleventh hour day in and day out, you’ll eventually lose steam! 

Instead, use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage. Set tighter timelines for your tasks, and be strict about them!  If you know you only have a certain amount of time to complete something, you’ll find a way to do it more efficiently.

This will help you get more rest, so you’ll be better prepared to tackle the big things each day.  

Less Stress Due to Unmanaged Expectations

Success in any relationship—professional or personal—comes with a level of  expectation. When expectations aren’t met, disappointment, frustration, and stress tend to rise to the surface. 

Now is a good time to ask yourself whether your expectations for yourself and others are realistic. And no, I don’t mean realistic for a month or a year ago. I mean are they realistic for right now

Give yourself time to reassess your expectations in light of current events. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop pursuing big things! It might just mean it’s time to pursue different things, or approach them from a new direction. 

Setting clear boundaries around what you can and can’t accomplish is critical to reducing stress.  

Communicate Your Boundaries to Avoid Business Burnout

Once you’ve established which boundaries you’re ready to set, it’s time to communicate your boundaries to avoid business burnout.   

Tell Everyone What You’re Doing

Setting boundaries doesn’t mean you have to drop off the face of the earth without a word. In fact, you should do the opposite!

It might seem counterintuitive to talk about setting boundaries when we all feel like we should be doing more. But by being transparent about your approach, you can help others do the same. 

Tell everyone what boundaries you’re setting and why you’re setting them. Highlight all of the health and productivity benefits that your non-work activities are affording you. When they recognize the value in these boundaries, they’ll be able to respect them and might adopt them themselves.

Block Off Time On Your Calendar

Don’t be afraid to block off time on your calendar. Seriously! 

Even for companies like FocusCopy that work remotely 100% of the time, it can be very easy to flirt with the line of burnout.

A couple of weekends ago, we had a lot of client work to produce. Knowing that my team would be spending the weekend writing over 20 deliverables, I blocked off my calendar on Monday and Tuesday so that no one could schedule a meeting with me. I know what you’re thinking…

Lauren, that seems silly. You may be throwing away sales opportunities. 

Maybe so. But, if those opportunities aren’t willing to respect what I need to be healthy now, then think about how they’re going to be when they are clients.

Establish New Standard Operating Procedures

As your boundaries and expectations change, you’ll want to keep your standard operating procedures updated too. This will minimize miscommunications and help establish routine to increase the wellness and productivity within your company’s community. If you’d like some tips about stages of SOP adaption, development, and implementation, check out this blog.

Take the steps to avoid business burnout, so you can continue to do what you do best during these stressful times. 

Meet Chelsie Ward of Chelsie Ward Wellness

Chelsie Ward of Chelsie Ward Wellness has a background in applied behavior analysis. Her study of the psychology of the mind has helped her devise successful behavioral intervention techniques to help others succeed in reaching their health and wellness goals. Her career as a nurse (BSN, RN) has given her extensive insight into the conventional Western approach to health care and see firsthand the negative, systemic effects to our bodies caused by the food industry and big pharma. If you’re an entrepreneur, business leader, or just a busy professional who is struggling with some facet of your health, Chelsie can find the root to your problem and build a solution to heal yourself. Learn more about her coaching programs here.


Communicating Your New IT Solutions

Communicating Your New IT Solutions During COVID-19 with Brooks IT Services

If you’re a regular around here, you know we usually talk about copywriting tips to help your business better communicate how it transforms your customer’s lives. Today, we’re taking a different direction to tell you why communicating your new IT solutions is critical for your business’ well-being. 

COVID-19 has been top-of-mind for many businesses lately. 

But the pandemic isn’t the only war we need to be fighting. Hackers are capitalizing on these unprecedented times to steal your information and compromise your security. Our friends at Brooks IT Services have put together these tips to help you avoid security threats and make sure that your genuine communications aren’t mistaken for spam.

3 Ways to Combat Cyber Threats

There are several measures all companies can take to avoid cybersecurity breaches. Here are 3 ways to combat cyber threats that can be quickly put into effect.

1. Watch Out for Phishing Emails

In the era of social-distancing, our inboxes contain more email than usual. It’s 2020, and email remains at the center of vital business communications. Unfortunately, it is also at the center of countless cybersecurity breaches. We must be more guarded and suspicious of emails and watch out for phishing email scams. Brooks IT Services has seen an increase of 680% in phishing emails since the COVID-19 lockdown started.

What’s a Phishing Email?

A phishing email is an email sent by a cybercriminal to convince you to reveal your sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or banking details. They do this by pretending to be a representative of a trustworthy company or someone you know. 

Hackers have caught on to the copywriting techniques that well-meaning companies use everyday and use them to craft their phishing scams. This makes it extremely difficult for people to know what is spam and what isn’t.

Can you spot the subject line that’s spam?

Not as easy as you’d hoped, right

Signs An Email Is A Phishing Scam

So how can you tell a phishing email from a legitimate one? Phishing emails…

Appear to be from a company you trust. Cybercriminals take advantage of the trust companies have with their clients. They’ll even include a company’s name and logo or attach a fake invoice. 

Notify you of fake suspicious activity. Hackers will scare you into providing your login information. They may claim there’s an issue with your account information or that there have been several login attempts. 

Include a “special offer.” They’ll offer coupons for free products or say you’re eligible for a free service. 

Have generic language and/or typos. When phishing emails are sent out in mass, the greetings are typically generic (“Dear Customer,” or “Hi Dear,”). Cybercriminals intentionally include spelling and grammatical errors in their emails too. They assume people who overlook these errors will be more gullible, and it’ll be easier to steal their information.

Be More Suspicious of Emails

Trustworthy companies will never ask for your personal information via email. Never download non-secure attachments. If you receive a suspicious email from a company you trust, double-check the sender’s email address. If it looks genuine, contact the company directly with a phone number or website you know is legitimate. 

Now that you know what phishing emails look like, how can you make sure your business communications don’t look like spam? 

Tips to Avoid Sending Spammy-Looking Emails

Familiarize clients with your email address. If you send emails from a marketing automation software (Infusionsoft, Hubspot, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc.),  let your audience know what to expect. Say what the email’s sender address will be and what the contents will look like.  

Minimize poor grammar and spelling errors. This may seem like a duh moment, but there are many professional emails littered with grammatical issues. Proofread your emails and send a test email to confirm there aren’t any mistakes. 

Provide secure downloads. Establish trust with your audience by hosting your downloads in a secure place like Google Drive, WordPress media, or Amazon S3. If you’re sending secure information, always make sure the emails are encrypted. You don’t want someone to steal that information while it’s navigating to the intended inbox. 

2. Use Work Computers

Another simple way to combat cyber threats is to have employees use work computers. With Stay-At-Home orders, non-essential work is being conducted from home. It might be tempting to switch over to personal computers, but this is incredibly dangerous. And no… we don’t mean dangerous for your work-life balance (although it might be for that too!).

Companies take several measures to ensure their computers and networks are secure and protected from cyber threats. These protections aren’t guaranteed on personal devices. If employees access a company network from a personal computer, malware can enter the network and compromise company security. 

To avoid this, provide secure company computers/laptops for employees’ at-home use. And if they aren’t already, have employees use a VPN to connect to business networks from home too. 

3. Improve Your Password Strategy

It’s tempting to set a simple password that’s easy to remember and saves you time. 

But hackers can crack a simple password in a matter of seconds. 

Your time is expensive, but security breaches are too. The good news is you don’t have to choose! You can improve your password strategy in little to no time.

The song lyrics strategy. Song lyrics are long, but easy to remember. Set your password as the first letter of each word in a song lyric. It will be nonsense to anyone else, but you’ll recall it quickly. For example, a password using the starting lyrics of the national anthem would be “Oscysbtdel”. This would take 20 octillion years to break using a PC; but many hackers access multiple computers so this likely break time is much shorter! Add in a symbol or two for even more protection.

Use a password manager. Most business owners have numerous login credentials. Using unique passwords for each one provides maximum security, but remembering them all can be grueling. Password managers are a great solution for setting and remembering highly secure passwords with minimal effort. You’ll just have to remember one password, and the rest is done for you.  

Change passwords regularly. Hackers use computer programs to test every combination of characters your password could be. This means it is only a matter of time before they crack even the most complex passwords. Set a recurring reminder in your calendar to change your passwords regularly so you’ll have new security details before they finish hacking. 

Communicating Your New IT Solutions During COVID-19

The pandemic hasn’t only impacted cyber security. It’s pushed many companies into remote work requiring new technology. To make this transition as smooth as possible, keep these things in mind when communicating your new IT solutions during COVID-19… 

Communicate Often 

The most predictable thing about our current situation is that it’s unpredictable. With each coming day, there’s something new we need to protect ourselves from – either physically or virtually. Shortly after Zoom’s rise in popularity, Zoom-bombing became an issue. Now we know password-protecting calls is essential. As technology and current events change rapidly, keep your employees informed through frequent communication.  

Become a Valuable Resource 

Don’t assume your audience knows the technology. Take time to make sure your communication is extra clear and your audience knows how to protect the application and information they access. The last thing you want is to be bombarded with a bunch of people asking how to get onto Zoom

Be a Person First 

This is something that we preach all the time… It’s not about your company. It’s about the customer. And when you’re dealing with your customers, you have to be a person first. Bryan Brooks affirmed, “they may be your employees, colleagues, and your clients. BUT they are people first.”

Stay Informed But NOT Obsessed

Trying to stay up-to-date on all the latest news is exhausting and unrealistic. With today’s 24-hour news cycle, you could be caught up for hours on end and still not get to everything. You’ll lose valuable work-time and gain more anxiety than benefit. 

So how can you stay informed without getting obsessed? Try signing up for an email newsletter that highlights important tech news. You’ll get straight to the important news, without wasting your time and energy. 

The experts at Brooks IT Services find the most relevant news stories in tech for you and deliver it to your mailbox each day so you can spend less time worrying and more time doing. 

Meet Bryan Brooks of Brooks IT Services

Bryan Brooks is the President and Founder of Brooks IT Services – a managed service provider for small to medium sized businesses. They are currently working hard to secure at-home offices and protect their client’s most valuable asset – their information. If you’re still wondering whether you need more security, download their 12 Little-Known Facts Every Business Owner Must Know About Data Backup, Security, And Disaster Recovery here. 

Updating Your Website Copy to Increase Conversion

Updating Your Website Copy to Increase Conversion & Engagement (Even When Your Business Has Been Put on Hold) in 7 Simple Steps

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has impacted businesses all over the world. I talk to at least 5 business owners a day that have either had to put their business on hold, are overwhelmed with growth, or are somewhere in between. If you’re one of the companies in limbo, this blog is for YOU. Downtime can be discouraging. But, it’s so important to stay positive and keep the ball rolling! One way to do just that is by investing in your marketing. That’s why we put together this guide on updating your website copy to increase conversion and engagement (even when your business has been put on hold). 

What’s Website Copy? 

So, what’s website copy? Website copy is all the words on your site. But more than that, it’s what communicates to your audience what their need or problem is (if they didn’t know already), your solution, and why you’re the right decision for them. What does your customer need to hear to make a buying decision?

Now more than ever, a majority of the interactions clients have with your business will be through your website. Well-written website copy ensures your site is helpful for existing clients and makes a great first impression with new ones.

Why Update Your Website Copy?

A website should be 100% organic – that means it should change, evolve, and be updated as time goes on. A hard-coded website or one that is difficult to change in a moment’s notice is going to lock you into something that’s not working for you. 

So why update your website copy? 

We see lots of companies who put up a website home page and then never invest in their marketing again. After 10 years, it’s still the same home page. Their business has changed over that decade, but their website copy doesn’t reflect the changes. 

It’s stagnant. 

Keeping your website organic will encourage your clients to engage with your business more, and help convert those engagements into successful transactions.

How Website Copy Impacts Engagement & Conversion

How can updating your website copy impact engagement and conversion? Here are a couple of examples…

It Conveys Reliability

Suppose you used to offer a service that you no longer do. You’ll want to reflect those changes on your website. If clients who visit your site discover the information isn’t up-to-date, they’ll get the impression that your company is unreliable and engage with it less in the future. To encourage engagement, offer updated website copy.

It Makes It Easy For Clients To Find What The Need

Has your business started to offer new products or services since your last website update? As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind”. Your clients can’t buy your new services or products if they don’t know you’re offering them! Conversion rates will grow if you make it as easy as possible for your audience to find what they’re looking for and convince them your solution is the best.

If your business has had to slow down in the past month, take advantage of the downtime to rebuild engagement and increase conversion by updating your website copy. 

Determine If You’re Doing Minor Changes or A Massive Overhaul

Updating your website copy doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. You can make minor changes or get creative with a massive overhaul. 

Minor Changes

Even minor changes to your website copy can go a long way! 

Refine Your Headline Keywords

Are the keywords on your website specific enough to help your clients find what they need? Something as simple as re-phrasing your headlines to target your audience can help increase traffic – and eventually engagement and conversion rates.  

Make Small, Regular Updates

Are you keeping your clients in the loop about how current events impact their access to your business (especially in the midst of COVID-19)? Adding regular updates to your site will keep clients informed about how to continue to use your services or buy your products – in times of a pandemic or otherwise!

Massive Overhaul

When business is busy, marketing often slips by the wayside. If you haven’t had the chance to update your website copy, it’s not too late to get started on a massive overhaul! 

Does your website reflect your company’s values and brand? Does the copy highlight your current products and services? Can clients request them online? Is your website optimized for mobile viewing with easy-to-use navigation?

These are all places to look for opportunities to improve engagement and conversion. 

Updating Your Website Copy to Increase Conversion & Engagement in 6 Simple Steps

Whether you’re gearing up for major or minor updates to your website copy, it’s important to keep in mind both what to improve and how to improve it. Here are 6 simples steps to start updating your website copy to increase conversion and engagement.

1. Build a Brand Voice Guide 

Updating your website copy doesn’t have to be time-consuming and you don’t have to be a gifted writer either! When you build a Brand Voice Guide, you’ll be able to let someone else do the heavy lifting for you. In your Brand Voice Guide, you’ll outline which emotions and tones writers should use to update and edit your website copy. That way, you can rest assured that everything on your website is aligned with your company’s brand. 

Creating a Brand Voice Guide streamlines the copywriting process and fosters familiarity with your brand to improve conversion and engagement. You’ll get more growth with less effort. Check out our blog for more on why having a brand voice is critical to business growth

2. Record Your Baseline Metrics

After building a brand voice guide to expedite the copywriting process, where do you start making improvements to your existing copy? You can evaluate where changes should be made by taking down your metrics. 

Are You Reaching Your Audience?

Your engagement metrics tell you how good your website is at reaching your audience. This includes how many visitors your website typically gets per month, how many of these are new visitors, and how long each visitor spends on each page. 

Do you have many visitors to your homepage but not nearly as many for your services page? This doesn’t necessarily mean that visitors don’t want to engage with your services – they might just have a hard time finding them! 

Take note of which pages of your website have low engagement metrics so you can create a strategy to improve them. 

How Often Are People Taking Action (Buying, Subscribing, or Enrolling)?

Your conversion metrics tell you how often a client takes an action that you recommend to them. How often are clients buying your products or services, scheduling a consultation, or signing up for your newsletter? You’ll know that your copy needs improvement if your website has a lot of visitors, but few are following through with these actions. 

Don’t worry – low conversion metrics don’t necessarily mean clients aren’t interested in what you’re offering. A lot of the time, it simply means you need to update your copy to better communicate to clients how they’ll benefit from your offers.

3. Save Existing Copy Into A Blank Document

Storage is cheap, but your time isn’t! Before you dive into making any changes to your website, be sure to save the existing copy into a blank document. While some of your content might be new, a lot of it can be updated from what was already there before. It’ll also show you where you’ve been and where you don’t want to go again.

4. Write Emotionally With Benefits Taking The Lead

Your company offers valuable services and goods. But how can you express this value to your clients? Keep your audience at the forefront by writing emotionally with benefits to your client taking the lead. 

If you ask Harvard Business Review, people find the most value in products and services that serve their functional and emotional needs. Companies that address these in their writing have greater customer loyalty and growth. 

What does your client need practically and emotionally when they seek out your business? Address these needs, and offer a solution in your copy.

5. Review It Thoroughly

Next, you need to review the copy thoroughly for grammar, syntax, flow, and clarity. At FocusCopy, we always have at least 2 sets of eyes on each piece of copy we send out. Usually, we have 3 sets of eyes – 2 sets that haven’t worked on the development side. 

Check out our proofreading tips that we use to review every single piece of copy.

6. Update the Live Page

Before you update the live page with your newly written and thoroughly reviewed copy, take a before photo. You can add extensions to your browser that take a full screen capture – taking a photo of the entire page without you having to merge multiple screenshots of it.

Once you have the before photo, reveal your fresh look to the world. If your remodeling included major changes, send out an email to existing customers to highlight what your exciting new site features make easier for them! 

7. Test & Continue to Refine Copy

Remember, great website copy is truly organic. Continue to take down your metrics, compare them with old metrics, and refine your copy accordingly. You can also take advantage of split testing of headlines or landing pages to see which keywords and images resonate the most with your audience. 

Your company may be experiencing downtime, but there’s always a place to move forward and grow with your online marketing.

Looking for some help getting started? We write copy that communicates how you (the company) transforms your customer’s lives. When a customer feels heard, they are much more likely to engage with your brand and ultimately convert. Learn more about FocusCopy’s copywriting services here.