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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!

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.

Experiential Branding

Experiential Branding with Go Savvy: Building Brand Equity

ALL businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, the impacts have been minor. But for others, there is major interruption of normal business practices driving the need for dramatic shifts in event plans and innovative financial strategizing. 

How Can Businesses Persist Through The Pandemic?

If you haven’t been impacted in a major way by the current state of affairs, you probably know someone else who has. 

My good friend and referral partner Savannah Becerril is the founder of Go Savvy – an experiential event planning company known for its savvy organization of creative and memorable events for businesses in the Houston area. As you can imagine, she orchestrated several swift shifts in event plans in the past couple weeks due to coronavirus. 

We’re all doing our part to flatten the curve. COVID-19 is a serious public health threat. It’s essential to respect federal, state, and local mandates by putting a pause on public gatherings (at least for the next 1-2 months). But for many, in-person events are the cornerstone of their businesses. 

So how can businesses host safe and successful events in the midst of social-distancing? 

Postponing is one option. Thankfully, Go Savvy works with a network of supportive vendors, sponsors, and speakers, so they were able to successfully postpone all the events that could be postponed. 

But what about the majority of businesses who don’t have the same level of support? Many have taken on financial losses and/or are experiencing setbacks in their company goals. 

This past week, Savannah and I put our heads together to talk about ways we could help companies persist through this pandemic. 

If your business or a business you know is looking to generate positivity and persistence, then there is no better time to start experiential branding. This creative marketing approach can help businesses make a positive post-pandemic comeback. 

What is Experiential Branding?

Experiential branding (a.k.a. engagement marketing) is a relatively new marketing term. Typically, when we think about company events, we imagine things like networking events or trade shows – events where sometimes the only thing enticing members to attend is the alcohol, evening networking mixers, or parties. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum is experiential branding – it provides meaningful brand-centered experiences for attendees. While it sounds like event marketing, the experience doesn’t always have to be at an event. There are ways to create experiences without gathering in-person!

Now is the perfect time to spark your creative energy and make an experiential branding plan. 

Capitalize on Your Down-Time

American business leaders constantly race to meet deadlines. Now that we’ve been forced to slow down, we are quickly becoming professional couch potatoes. Put down the remote. Take a break from Netflix and Disney+ to take advantage of that time instead. Don’t let the opportunity of time pass by!

Here’s how you can start capitalizing on your downtime to recover your business.

3 Steps to Recover From Coronavirus-Impacted Events

There is a light at the end of this coronavirus tunnel. In these uncertain times, you can still take certain measures to recover from COVID-19’s impact on your business. 

1. Piece Together Your Path Forward

First, determine whether your events should be postponed, canceled, or moved online. Here’s how to decide on the best path forward.

When To Cancel

Although Go Savvy prefers to postpone events, they understand it isn’t always a wise or cost-effective decision. 

Was your event seasonal-themed? 

If so, it might not make sense to postpone the event into a different season. A Spring Fashion Showcase wouldn’t have the same allure for attendees in August when they’re already anticipating Fall looks. It’s better to cut your losses. 

When To Postpone

When your event isn’t centered around a time-sensitive theme but gathering in-person is still essential, postponing is in everyone’s best interest. 

Speakers, sponsors, staff, vendors, and attendees who were excited for your event will be thankful they can still attend later. Your event could fare the same or even better a couple months down the road when public gatherings resume.

When To Go Virtual

If your event was going to happen in-person, but the theme of the event wasn’t tied to a specific time or place, going virtual is a very lucrative option. 

You’ll be able to bypass any uncertainties in rescheduling with venues and expand your audience to a larger geographic area – world wide if you choose! 

At any other point in history, being together while being apart would be an anomaly. But modern technology has made it possible. We have an array of free and fun online platforms at our disposal. Put them to use!

2. Communicate Event Changes Effectively

After you’ve decided on your event changes, you’ll need to create a plan to communicate them effectively. 

The way you communicate with your community will make all the difference in your recovery success. For tips on this, check out last month’s blog post on communicating through coronavirus. In order of importance, communicate with your planner, vendors, and then finally the attendees. 

Reach Out To Venue & Vendors

Review your venue and vendor contracts. Make sure there are options available during emergency and global situations like COVID-19. If not, take this as an opportunity to work with your venue and vendors to renegotiate terms that can work well for all parties.

Have A Sensitive & Strategic Refund Policy

If you cancel your event, make sure to offer a refund to all parties involved. Even if you decide on postponing, you should offer this option too. Offering a refund provides more transparency and trust for your brand – building brand equity. 

However, in the case of rescheduled events, the key is to offer a refund but not to streamline it. This will make it clear that you’re still excited and positive about hosting the future event while still being sensitive to attendees and vendors’ financial circumstances. Most people who truly support your event will bypass requesting a refund and wait for your event’s new date.

Keep Attendees In The Loop

In the case of canceled events, keep your community in the loop about what factored into your decision. They’ll be grateful that your business is committed to taking public safety seriously. Spin the situation as positively as possible by directing them to other events that you have on queue in the future.  

For rescheduled events, you’ll want to keep your current audience and grow it before the new date. Keep the excitement and anticipation alive! Social media and web presence are key here. That’s why now is a crucial time to invest in your business marketing.

Traffic & Conversion Summit postponed their annual summit for entrepreneurs and digital marketers to later in the year. BUT they also put together a virtual summit (which you can still access on their Facebook page) for everyone to view. They already had the content from years past; they just had to package it to build even more hype for the postponed event. 

3. Improve Event Experience

Seeing the good in this very grim situation isn’t easy. But here’s a silver lining: this situation presents an opportunity to improve your event experiences

Think back to when you first started planning your event. Was there something you initially expected to include that didn’t make the cut? Did you discover something exciting to add to the event, but it was too late? Well, now is your opportunity! 

And one of the most optimal ways to improve your business events during these uncertain times is through experiential branding.

Why Companies Need to Invest in Experiential Branding in 2020 and Beyond

Experiential branding will undoubtedly be a useful tool to help businesses persist through the pandemic and recover after the smoke has cleared. Here’s what it will empower you to do…

Grow Client Relationships Through Digital Interactions

What many businesses don’t know is that they can grow their client relationships without a physical gathering. 

You can do this through digital interactions – and not just virtual events. Think hashtags, brand-themed social media camera filters, or virtually-driven community challenges. These are all ways to create digital experiences around company products, services, and values that will get your clients involved.

A creative digital interaction that provides your clients with a meaningful experience will grow their affinity toward your brand and make them more likely to spread the word to others.

Encourage Emotional Engagement With Your Brand

What kind of emotion do you want people to associate with your brand? If you haven’t considered this question, you’re missing out on a vital way to engage with your audience. 

The right experiential branding experience can encourage your audience to feel happy, motivated, relieved, empowered, or inspired.

The more emotionally engaged your clients are, the more memorable your brand will be. If the emotional experience is impactful, you’re on your way to fostering brand loyalty. 

Gain Media Momentum 

Experiential branding can often take the form of public art installations or stunts –  either in the real world or online. If your business is looking for a way to generate buzz, this is a great way to get people talking!

The more creative your experiential branding event is, the more buzz you’ll generate. With the right experiential event planner, businesses can maximize this approach to keep anticipation high for rescheduled events or to introduce new products and services in the future.


Meet Savannah Becerril of Go Savvy

Meet Savannah Becerril, founder of Go Savvy. She is a dear friend of mine, a graduate of the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship (the same program I graduated from), a client, and a referral partner. We do a lot together, and there is no one I would rather trust with my event planning and experiential branding than her. Please check out her site at gosavvy.biz and follow her on social media. 

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter| LinkedIn


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Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis

Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis

March 18th, 2020… The rapidly spreading coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) led to countless local and national events to be cancelled. Major events such as the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, to MLB spring training, and NBA March Madness came to a stand-still and halted the community spirit they engender. Churches, universities, libraries, and school districts rapidly followed suit. Suddenly, virtual classrooms were hurriedly created, parents had to become homeschool teachers, and homes became offices.

Even today, there continues to be a lot of uncertainty surrounding coronavirus. Will what happened in Italy happen in the United States? How long will this pandemic last? How will it impact my business?

When there’s uncertainty, people either make rash decisions (AKA taking more than their fair share of toilet paper and water) or don’t make any decisions at all.

Take a deep breath…. In… Out…

Let’s talk through one of the most important decisions your business should be making right now: communicating through the coronavirus crisis to your community about your company’s plans.

2 Camps for Coronavirus Business Communications

There are 2 camps for coronavirus business communications: those which require immediate communications with customers or vendors (urgent) and those whose business has not been impacted dramatically (non-urgent). It’s critical that you figure out which camp your business is in. 

There are 2 audiences for business communications, audiences that:

  • Urgently need information (i.e. staff, customers and vendors or suppliers)
  • Can wait or don’t need explicit communications about what you’re doing 

You should communicate with both audiences, but your immediate priority audience should be staff, customers, and vendors/suppliers. This is especially important regarding the highly volatile and troubling COVID-19 pandemic.

Companies That Require Urgent Communication

If your business primarily depends on customers and workers being physically present in your place of work, it is essential that you communicate as soon as possible with your customers, employees, and vendors about your plan regarding the coronavirus pandemic. 

Here are some examples of companies that require urgent communications with employees, vendors, and customers:

  • Restaurants / Cafes / Coffee Shops / Bars
  • Fitness Centers / Gyms
  • Businesses whose supply chain has been disrupted (how many of your goods or components are sourced from China?)
  • Retail stores
  • Event planning companies
  • Entertainment
  • Face-to-face contact

Companies That Do Not Require Urgent Communication 

Businesses and people that you work with, but don’t necessarily have to be in the same room or building with them to conduct your business, should be considered for non-urgent communications. Why? Because they only need to be kept informed about what and how your business is operating under current conditions as it may affect how you continue to work together.  

For example, if your key personnel are now working from home, they may need to offer their cell phone number or clients or set up call forwarding to their cell phone. 

That’s why you won’t see an email about how FocusCopy is reacting to the coronavirus pandemic. Our clients already know that we can do everything remotely and that we are able to deliver our services to them – business as usual.

Here are some examples of companies that you may consider for non-urgent communications:

  • Companies that already work remotely
  • Coaching or consulting businesses

Identifying What Coronavirus Means For Your Business

To communicate effectively with the community regarding your company’s plans, you should first identify what the current state of affairs means for your business.

Create a Business Communications Plan Before You Need It

Most days, I check the weather before I leave the house so I know whether to pack an umbrella – I don’t want to get caught in the rain. 

If the coronavirus had your company blind-sided, let’s talk about ways you can regularly tune into the forecast of your business network to anticipate major events and be prepared for an unexpected storm.

Pay attention to your employees, vendors, customers, and customer’s customers.

One of my mentors once told me to ask every business I come in contact with, “How’s business?”. Whether it is before the close of a meeting or at the end of a quick phone call, it’s one of the best pieces of advice that he ever gave me.

Asking this one simple question will give you a regular update on the economic climate and keep you tuned in to challenges that might soon rise to the surface. When issues arise in other businesses, vendors, customers, or employees, you can anticipate the impact this might have on your business and start preparing your communication plan, well in advance.

Always Defer to Reliable Sources For Guidance

It’s so easy to get caught up in pseudo-reliable sources or believe compelling news trends that pick up in your social media feeds. However, before you put out any business communications, defer to the legitimate reliable sources of information – the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). 

While we could go into everything you need to think about when it comes to COVID-19, we’ll defer to resources that the CDC has put together for businesses.

Tips for Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis

Here are tips for communicating through the coronavirus crisis.

Keep Messaging Clear & Concise

When public health officials release new information, they aim to be consistent, accurate, clear, and concise. You should do the same thing. The last thing that you want to have happen is have a wave of customers responding with clarifying questions. 

If there is any vital information that your audience needs to hear, don’t withhold it. If you don’t know what’s going to happen, then state it. 

Many businesses in the service industry (restaurants, cafes, bars, etc.) have created a separate COVID-19 response page on their websites to explain how they are helping to maintain cleanliness and how they are going to serve their customers despite ever-changing demands from public health officials. 

If your normal services need to be adjusted to protect your customer and your staff, consider creating a COVID-19 web page of your own, or devoting a post on your social media page explaining the change(s).

Be Positive

Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis
The College Planning Center Example

There is a balance between being serious (not joking) and remaining positive. It’s a fine line to dance, but we always err on the side of caution especially with something as serious as a pandemic. Acknowledge the challenges of the situation, and offer ways that your business can provide some solace or positive distraction. 

One of our clients forwarded us this great email – full of empathy, positivity, and opportunity. It acknowledges the situation (lack of college guidance while schools are closed) and a perfect solution to make their readers not waste this extra long Spring Break.

Leave Email Blasts for Essential Communications

Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis
Postmate Example

Leave the email blasts for essential communications. Here are some companies that sent really well put-together emails about their response to COVID-19.

Postmate has direct contact with their consumers; therefore, it makes total sense to send out an email to their customers. One thing that we really like about this email is they include everyone – customers, fleet (their “employees”), and vendor (restaurants) in one simple to read email. It’s clear and concise. Bullets are your best friend here!

Unfortunately, my inbox has been flooded with non-essential emails. These messages aren’t communicating useful information about changes in a company’s normal procedures or access to their services. Instead, they are sending out messages solely because they have hopped onto the bandwagon and think that they need to address the world news via an email blast. 

To protect the following perpetrators, we haven’t included any examples. But I can almost guarantee that you have some in your inbox. Read through a few of them, and while reading these, ask yourself… Did these communicate anything valuable? 

Remember, if your customers already interface with you digitally or have little in-person interactions with you, do them a big favor and spare their inbox by communicating with them using  other mediums instead. Your community will respect your ability to be thoughtful and intentional about your communication.

Reinforce Safety & Priorities

Southwest Example

While you’re communicating through the coronavirus crisis, it’s important that your reinforce safety and state your priorities. Your customers need to hear that you’re taking care of everything.

Southwest Airlines put together a great email outlining the biggest concern in the airline industry right now – cleanliness. They expressed that while they already have an extensive cleaning process, they’ve upped their game to protect their customers.

Letting your customers and employees know what your company is doing to ensure their health and safety will put the community at ease, and help business run as close to normal under unusual circumstances.

Get On It Early

It’s no shocker that things change on a daily if not weekly basis. In the span of just 2 days, Harris County shut down all bars and clubs and closed all restaurant dining rooms. In the food and beverage industry, that’s a rapid and radical change! Successful transitions into these changes relies on a company’s ability to adjust early.

When first hearing news about health and economic troubles in other parts of the world or even local companies outside of your industry, it’s only natural to want to keep hope that these misfortunes will not come your way too – that things will not get as bad here. But like the old saying goes: better safe than sorry. It’s better to prepare a plan you may never have to use, than to be forced to react last-minute without one. 

Another benefit about planning an early response is that it allows you to create your own narrative rather than allowing the media, the government, or competitors to write your storyline for you.

Support Other Businesses 

Bottom line… Every business has been impacted by COVID-19. In times like these, there is power in numbers. We are stronger together. Support other businesses by…

  • Engaging with their brands on social media
  • Sharing offers from other companies
  • Partnering with a company for a joint product/service
  • Referring business to those other businesses

Offer Free Value 

If you have not been impacted, then I encourage you to offer free value to your followers. Don’t be afraid to give value, even if it was once behind a paywall. Here is a list of free value you can offer your followers, prospects, and customers:

  • Free Facebook Group
  • Access to normally paid content (see below for an example from Digital Marketer)
  • Webinar training
  • Instagram/Facebook/LinkedIn LIVE content
  • New blogs
  • Guides (see below for what Jenna Kutcher put together)
  • Podcasts 
Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis
DigitalMarketer Example

All of these options are social-distancing proof, can be extremely valuable, and help build relationship equity.

For example, DigitalMarketer just offered its DM Lab available for free. This is a subscription that has helped me as I built my career. Again, they’re building relationship equity. 

And they didn’t send an email about how they are reacting to COVID-19.

Extend Grace to Your Vendors & Customers

Everyone reacts differently to stress. Some become very quick decision makers. Others lose their cool or shut down. So in all your communications – digital, written, verbal, etc. – extend grace. You don’t know what unexpected challenges others are dealing with, how they react to stress, or how they’ve been treated by others. 

Thankfully, this isn’t the first pandemic of our time (last one being the 2009 H1N1 pandemic). For some of us towards the end of the millennial generation or in Generation Z, that memory may be vague. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask more experienced colleagues. This isn’t their first rodeo, so you may learn something that will help you not reinvent the wheel.

Give large amounts of grace. Be quick to forgive. And forgive often. 

At the end of the day, your vendors and customers are human beings. I know I say that all the time, but we often forget that we’re working with emotional beings. They have basic needs, just like you. 

Ask For Help If You Need It

Finally, ask for help if you need it. Small business communities are stronger than ever. People are willing to fight for you, but they can’t give you what you need if you don’t ask for it. Common things to ask for are:

  • Copywriting for websites
  • Online shops
  • Process flows for product delivery
  • Other revenue streams
  • Social media management
  • Childcare (so you can focus on your business)

Whatever it is, ask for it. If you’re having issues finding a solution, please tag FocusCopy at @FocusCopyLLC to let us know or send an email to info@FocusCopy.com. We made it our mission to be our clients’ strategic partners in all their business communications. So let’s partner together and get through this!

If your company needs help with COVID-19 messaging, we are offering 2 hours of free consultation with me –  co-founder and CEO of FocusCopy. With over 4 years of copywriting, digital marketing, and entrepreneurship experience, I want to help you navigate these uncertain times. No gimmicks. No up-sells. Just pure and sincere help from a fellow business owner. Click here to schedule your consultation.  

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11 Tips on How To Overcome Your Writer’s Block

Picture this. You sit down at your computer, knowing you have to produce a 1,500 word blog for your marketing team. A blank page stares back at you with the blinking cursor taunting you. Nothing. 

The time ticks by… It feels like it’s been at least 20 minutes. 

Nope, only 30 seconds. 

Writer’s block is a real thing that destroys productivity and confidence. When we experience this, we start to believe that we are not the experts in our field, we don’t have anything valuable to say, or our story is not worth hearing. 

No, no, and no. 

The #2 reason why people come to us is because they love to write, but it takes them an entire day to write that same 1,500 word blog post. Or sometimes, it just never gets done. They are plagued with imposter syndrome and don’t believe that others will see them as the experts they really are. 

The main reason for this is… Writer’s block. 

What is Writer’s Block?

Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “the condition of being unable to create a piece of written work because something in your mind prevents you from doing it”.

Writer’s block occurs when you have this overwhelming amount of work to do but the motivation or inspiration isn’t there. Nothing happens when you sit down to write. It’s largely defeating and can destroy the momentum you once had for a project, a goal, or to complete a given task. 

It’s a creative slowdown. 

Why We Get Writer’s Block

So, why do we get writer’s block? There are many reasons why we get writer’s block.

Often, the biggest reason for writer’s block is the lack of inspiration or distractions in other areas of your life. When a person is experiencing a life-altering event (i.e. marriage and wedding planning, death of a loved one, physical illness, lawsuit, etc.), it can stunt our ability to process and be creative. We are in the fight or flight mode – just trying to get through the day. If that’s you, give yourself grace. Try some of the tips below to help you overcome your writer’s block and improve your overall headspace. 

In addition, the pressure to produce content or copy can often result in writer’s block. We get fearful that we’ll never accomplish it, so we submit to that fear and give up. 

Mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, makes it difficult to form complete thoughts in writing. Producing written material – even as short as a blog – is stressful to some. When that stress reaches a particular level, the brain goes back into that fight or flight mode. 

Sometimes, we experience physical damage (i.e. a stroke, brain injury) that results in writer’s block. This extreme version of writer’s block – agraphia – makes it almost impossible for the brain to translate thoughts into writing. 

11 Tips on How To Overcome Your Writer’s Block

When I get writer’s block (even a writer gets this), here are a few things that I do to move past it and overcome writer’s block.

1. Sit Down When You’re Most Creative

Sit down at your desk (or wherever you type) at your most creative time – for me, it’s in the morning (preferably before 8am). I love love love to write even before the sun comes up because everything is still, and my productivity is at its highest. 

If I have a big writing day, I’ll try to wake up between 4-5am to start writing. When you know you’re going to write early in the morning, your brain actually prepares to write. 

In addition, I even block off hours or days where I do not allow any phone calls, other tasks, or meetings to enter that time. But, I’m too busy Lauren, and people demand my response all the time. Me too! But if you are writing a blog, a book, or an online program, it needs to get done. You need to prioritize your schedule – not let others dictate what it’s going to be.

2. Put Pen To Paper

If the keyboard isn’t inspiring you, get a notepad and sit in a comfy chair. Then write on that notepad. 

You can refine your ideas when you type them back into the computer. There’s something magical about putting a pen to paper. Plus, you get away from that blue light emitted by your computer screen, phone, or tablet for just a little while. Again, it helps to break up your regular pattern – and consequently, improves your creativity. 

3. Get Outside

Overcome Your Writer's Block

Get outside and in nature – even in a city environment. There are so many benefits to getting outside, including the following:

  • It boosts your energy
  • You are more likely to move your body – increasing blood flow to your brain
  • The sun gives you Vitamin D which is essential for your bones, immune system, and blood cells
  • It reduces any anxiety that you may have over the writing process
  • It improves your sleep, helping you to wake up early easier
  • You focus more easily as greenness is proven to help improve your concentration on any given task

We could go on and on… But if you’ve been locked up in a room for days trying to write, get outside. 

4. Change The Scenery

Change the scenery that you’ve been surrounding yourself as you’ve built up your writer’s block. For me, coffee shops give my spirit so much energy, and I’ll type up several blogs in a few hours. Additionally, I’ll change what I’m sitting on and what I’m writing on (see tip #2 on putting pen to paper). 

Can’t change actual locations? Then it’s time to change up the mood. 

At a marketing internship, we often would pour a glass of red wine before writing the weekly blog. That was our creativity session!

When I am writing a lot of deliverables for clients later in the day, I’ll even light a candle, put on some cool jazz music, and put on my favorite sweater (as long as it isn’t a 100 degrees outside). 

5. Play Some Music

Put some music on in the background. You can search for writing or coffee shop playlists. Those are usually chiller playlists that don’t distract you with fun lyrics. Instead, they’ll inspire you and keep a rhythm for your writing pace. 

Often, I’ll listen to movie scores as they have an ebb and flow – allowing for my brain to breathe during slower sections then speed up during the quicker sections. In college, I learned this practice very well; I listened to the Interstellar film soundtrack on repeat for hours and hours. 

6. Walk Around And Talk

Walk around and talk into a voice memo. You’ve got the content in your head; it just needs to come out. 

When I used to ghostwrite for an entrepreneur, the “author” used to get in his most creative moments after lunch when he was sucking on a Starburst. He’d walk around the office talking, while I madly wrote down notes. I also recorded his 5-minute brain dumps – many of which you can hear the smacking of the Starburst.

The act of walking helps improve blood flow to your brain, gets the oxygen where it needs to be, and often lets you essentially walk through and overcome your writer’s block.

7. Skip and Keep Writing

If you get stuck on a section, make a note of it then move on. It’s better to keep the flow going then get stuck on a particular section. When you’re out of the writing flow, that’s when you can come back to work on that section.

Most of the time, the reason you are stuck is because you’re missing a fact or point. Be sure to read tip #9 to solve that issue.

8. Drink That Water

Be sure to drink that water. This seems so simple, but I’ve learned that when I’m hydrated, and my body has the things it needs to operate, I write more efficiently and effectively.

Did you know you should be drinking half your bodyweight in ounces? It sounds like a lot, but your body needs that amount of water to operate effectively. Sure, you may have to visit the restroom a couple of extra times a day, but that too gives you much needed time away from “the screen”.

9. Do Your Research Before You Write

To overcome your writer’s block, you must do your research before you write. If you research while you write, it’s so easy to get distracted. Eventually, you’ll end up on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram, and you’ll have no clue why or how you even got there. 

Do the research beforehand. 

Like planning your day or for a big client meeting, you need to have a game plan with everything you need before you start the day or meeting. Likewise, you must have your research completed and organized before you start writing. 

10. Put The Phone Away

Simply put, put the dang phone away. Phones, to say the least, are largely distracting.

Put on the Do Not Disturb setting on your phone and your computer. You don’t need to hear the dinging or vibrating of your phone while you work. Your spouse or kids need to reach you? You can allow them to reach you even with the Do Not Disturb setting on.

Employees need to reach you? Send automated emails and/or texts that let them know you’re in a writing session. They will only have to wait for a couple hours (if that) for you to return their message. 

11. Ask Questions

Finally, one of the best ways to overcome your writer’s block is to flip the script. Instead, ask questions about what your intended audience is asking. What do they want to know most? What are their big questions? Write a whole list of questions, then start answering them. 

How did we come up with this blog? A client had a bad case of writer’s block, so I answered them with my biggest tips. 

Overcoming Writer’s Block Is More About Unblocking Your Brain

Listen closely. Writer’s block isn’t a physical block; your brain unconsciously applied the brakes to your creative thinking. Often, it’s because you are not creating an environment that will facilitate creativity and productivity. Your brain needs you to take care of it well so it can release the brakes for you – that’s why much of this blog wasn’t about writing; it was about taking care of your body. 

We have to do what’s best for our brains for it to produce our most creative and inspiring work. 


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Brand Voice is Critical to Business Growth

Why Developing a Brand Voice is Critical to Business Growth

Have you ever seen a company whose copy was just all over the place? Better question… Have you ever seen a big brand publish something that seemed entirely off-brand with the voice they used?

Probably not.

Because those companies have developed what we call a brand voice. But you don’t need to be a Fortune 1000 company to have a brand voice! You can start it now. Today.

In this blog, we’re revealing 4 reasons why developing a brand voice is critical to business growth.

What is a Brand Voice?

A brand voice a set of emotions, tones, and descriptions that describe how you want to communicate to everyone who comes into contact with your company. It’s like an external culture.

We help craft brand voices for companies in what we call a Brand Voice Guide. This guide allows for anyone to read and use to write for the brand itself.

It’s not what you say… It’s how you say it.

Why Companies Needs a Brand Voice

Often, the CEO or the founder is the face of the company – meaning their time becomes more limited as their company grows. They cannot spend the time they used to commit to writing blogs, articles, website copy, or social media posts.

There are two options here: 

  1. Wait until the CEO or founder of the company has time to write
  2. Hire someone else to write in place of the CEO or founder

The problem with option #1 is that the copy or content that needs to be written almost never gets done in a timely manner, or at all. It also sometimes creates friction within the organization because the marketing department is trying to adhere to a content schedule. The marketing department then finds themself in a catch-22 – following a schedule vs. annoying their employer (which is something that we do not suggest doing). 

Option #2 can go one of two ways. 

First, it can look sporadic, unprofessional, and messy because the ghostwriter doesn’t fully understand the voice they are mimicking. Additionally, the customer or subscriber will immediately be able to tell that it’s a different writer – losing trust and credibility. No one wants that. 

The other way option #2 can go is… 

The CEO or founder appears to be active, personal, and trustworthy to their customers without ever touching a keyboard. How can you accomplish this? By documenting your brand voice guidelines.

4 Reasons Why Developing a Brand Voice is Critical to Business Growth

Not convinced enough that you need to develop a brand voice? Here are 4 reasons why developing a brand voice is critical to business growth and your success.

#1 It Streamlines Your Editing Process

Who doesn’t need more time? Oftentimes, the most time is spent in the editing and proofreading stages of copywriting and content production. 

If we take an average blog length (1000-1500 words or 2-4 pages) with a light edit, it will take approximately 30 minutes. This of course assumes that the writer is an excellent writer and nailed down the brand voice. 

Using the same number of pages or words for a heavy edit, it will take over an hour to edit the same exact blog. 

And that’s just an average technicality.

If your blog is significantly technical, you’re going to find the editing process is a lot longer. The most common reason for this increased time is not because the writer is trying to perfect the copy. It’s mostly because they have to completely rewrite the piece because they didn’t get the brand voice across originally. 

When you create a brand voice, it streamlines your editing process by removing one less thing you want to worry about when editing. A brand voice guide decreases the number of edits or complete rewrites. 

#2 Your Customers Need to Recognize and Remember Your Voice

A consistent voice builds a recognizable voice that your customers will remember. The goal is for your customers to think of you as many times as possible. How do you accomplish that? You make it easy for your customers to remember you – even if they are just scrolling through Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. 

Examples of Memorable Brand Voices

Let’s take a couple of examples… Can you guess who they are before checking out the link? 

Brand Voice is Critical to Business Growth

“We know men have thicker skin and luxurious facial hairs to grow classy mustaches and thick beards if they so choose. We built our products uniquely for your face, the face of man.” (Hint: men’s grooming.) 

Did you guess it right? 

“A top-shelf grooming routine. Personalized for you. No two people are the same. Tell us what you like so we can pick the right products.” (Hint: they changed this industry.) 

“For a pop of color to brighten any palate, go floral. Our in-house artists hand-painted a variety of beautiful floral prints for this collection, and we think you’ll agree—they’re the perfect nod to spring. (These amazing vases start at just $14.) And for an even more lush look, layer in faux greenery or delicate dried stems.” (Hint: a girl’s favorite hangout.) 

“It’s finally happening. Buy one [burger] and get another for just $1 when you place a mobile order. This is one of those rare cases where the sequel is better than the first—because this sequel has six more strips of bacon for one dollar more. So good you’re gonna wanna see it again and again.” (Hint: we’re big fans of their social media team!)

Now, this may be a little harder to get…

“Love, for all the right reasons.” (Hint: it’s a car company.)

How’d you do? A brand voice helps your customers remember you and think of you the next time they’re looking to buy. 

#3 It Improves Customer Engagement and Conversion.

People don’t change overnight – they evolve over time. So when a prospect feels like they know your brand like the person in the cubicle next to them, their best friend, or even their family, they are more likely to engage. 

The higher engagement rate, the higher conversion rate. 

Think about the coffee giant Starbucks. When you look at its 18.4 million followers on Instagram, you see at least 110,000 likes and comments – translating to an average 0.78% engagement rate (last 3 posts as of January 5, 2020). While that rate seems low in our brains, it’s consistent with their social presence and they are engaging hundreds of thousands of people every single day – even if they don’t like or comment. 

Top of mind. 

How does social media engagement translate to conversion? 

Go run by a Starbucks sometime today. Every table is taken, the drive thru line is long, and the baristas are pushing our drinks as fast as possible. 

While Houston’s coffee scene is on fire right now, many people often go for the easy route when scheduling a coffee meeting – Starbucks. They will always know what to expect from a Starbucks. That starts with the very foundation – the brand.  

#4 More Writing Projects Can Get Done

Because your company writing process has already been streamlined because of the brand voice, your writers can work on more writing projects. Thus creating more opportunities to increase revenue. 

Additionally, the company’s founder or face doesn’t have to write everything. No one would ever know unless you revealed that yourself. 

What type of writing projects can you get done with a brand voice guide?

The possibilities are endless when you have a brand voice guide because anyone will be able to use it. 

Develop Your Brand Voice Today

If you need help developing a brand voice, learn more how you can access a Done-For-You Brand Voice Guide here. 

Building a Unique Selling Proposition

During the holiday season, we are bombarded with advertisements, sales, and deals. It can be overwhelming and just plain annoying. This year, I received a staggering 238 emails about Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone. 

As a copywriter, I usually read every email to see what other companies are doing; however, this influx of emails beat me.  

All that being said, there’s a lot of noise. And you have to do something different if you want to stand out from the crowd. Cue today’s topic… You need to start building a unique selling proposition. 

First, what is a unique selling proposition?

What is a Unique Selling Proposition? 

A unique selling proposition or USP is a statement of what makes your business unique and ultimately valuable to your prospective customer or target audience. Essentially, it answers the questions… How are you better than your competition? Or Why should the customer choose you over your competition? 

This is the secret weapon that a lot of marketing strategies forget about or don’t spend enough time on. 

Think of building a unique selling proposition as laying the foundation for your entire business.

Unique Selling Proposition vs Value Proposition

Before we go any further, let’s clear up a few things when it comes to the difference between a unique selling proposition vs value proposition. 

A value proposition describes what your company is offering, to whom you are offering it to, and how it solves your customer’s problem. For example, you can use the following framework to build your value proposition.

We sell [your product or service] to [your customer] to solve [their problem]. We solve this problem by [your solution with the big differentiators].

In comparison, a unique selling proposition is a statement that explains how your product or service uniquely solves your customer’s needs. It is a specific statement that can vary slightly between landing pages, offers, and promotions. It is meant to “move the masses” because it is uniquely better than the competition. 

Although the USP isn’t necessarily “copy”, we do use it as a framework to base our copy around. 

Components of a Unique Selling Proposition

Take your target audience, figure out their big problem, explain how you solve their problem, highlight the big benefits of your solution, and finally define your promise. You’ll want to combine all of that, rework it, and turn it into an easy-to-digest proposition.

You can use the following framework to build your USP. 

Our [company / product / service] is the only one that helps [your customer] solve [their specific problem] by [unique promise or benefit].

Where To Use Your Unique Selling Proposition

Before you start building a unique selling proposition (USP), it’s important to know where and when you can use the USP. Copywriters use USPs on each advertisement, promotion, or sales letter. In short, your USP is the reason why the customer needs to buy the product or service for a very specific benefit. It helps the copywriter keep focused on that benefit as they are writing the copy. 

Although the USP isn’t necessarily “copy”, we do use it as a framework to base our copy around. As a result, you will see a lot of USPs in the headlines or at least the first few lines of copy.

Examples of Well-Executed USPs

Here are a couple examples of well-executed USPs. 

TOMS Roasting Co. 

You thought they only sold shoes! TOMS has been a long standing, philanthropic company that believes in One for One®. Their roasting company is no exception. Their USP is that in return for your coffee purchase, they provide safe water. Can you name another company that is doing that? It’s unique and admirable. 

Building a Unique Selling Proposition

Away Travel 

Away luggage creates suitcases and other travel products. This USP doesn’t directly talk about what they do in addition to creating these products – “building peace in areas of conflict around the world”. But they are unique in that they see travel as something greater.

Building a Unique Selling Proposition

ClickUp

“One app to replace them all.” It’s unique. It’s a huge selling point because if you’re anything like me, you are trying to simplify how you work – and consequently, the number of apps you use. 

Building a Unique Selling Proposition

Steps to Building a Unique Selling Proposition

Building a unique selling proposition (USP) may not be easy. It needs to be strong enough to influence a large number of people, but specific enough to be consumed in one bite. It’s the framework for an entire piece of copy. In this blog, we’ve broken down the steps to help you get started. 

1. Who Is Your Target Audience?

This is always always always our number 1 question… Who is the customer or your target audience? If you don’t know that, then you need to figure it out. 

Remember, there is no business without a customer. It’s imperative that you do not skip this step. 

For a wellness coach, it could be a college student that is experiencing new pain and wants to find a solution. 

For a corporate event planner, it could be a real estate broker that sells luxury condos and wants to woo his clients. 

Whoever it is, know who that person is. It will not be everyone, and that’s totally okay. You can scale later. 

2. What Is Their Problem? 

Now that you know who they are, it’s time to assess what their big problem is. What is the one thing that they are missing or gripe about?

For example, a real estate brokerage firm targets first time homeowners. New home buyer’s big pain points are that they have no home buying experience and fear they may invest in a bad property. That fear is crippling, so they don’t buy at the right time or at all.

3. How Does Your Product / Service Solve Their Problem? 

Next, assess how your product or service solves that problem. In the same example above, a real estate brokerage firm could have a program specifically tailored to educating first time home buyers. 

What features and benefits help you solve that problem? 

4. How Are You Unique?

The key of a USP is the unique aspect. Your competition must not offer the same benefits as you because you’re… Unique! Why are you different? How are you special? These questions are helpful when defining your uniqueness.

5. Combine Those Answers In An Easy-To-Digest Sentence

You may be thinking… How am I going to combine all of this into one sentence? You’re killing me, Lauren. Okay, I get it. I said that too when I developed my first USP. But the big reason why you need an easy-to-digest sentence is because you want anyone in your company to immediately recite it without tripping over words. 

Employees Need to Memorize the USP

You also want your customers and prospective customers to buy-in quickly and even memorize it themselves. 

Customers Need to Memorize the USP

Think about it this way… Your customer isn’t that valuable to you unless they’ve bought from you two, three, four, or more times. Right? The more they buy from you, the more valuable they are to you because your customer acquisition costs are decreasing. 

The relationship goal all companies want to reach is when your customers are advocating for you and eventually promoting your product or service. This is GOLD. Your customer, when they reach this stage, are your free promoters. PLUS their network are more likely to buy from your company because they trust that person. 

That’s why it has to be digestible and memorable.

Conclusion Building a Unique Selling Proposition

Every company has a unique selling proposition – whether they have defined it yet or not. If you need help building your unique selling proposition, we just released a 1-hour Brainstorm Session that includes an entire action plan based on our conversation. And it’s completely customizable. Take advantage of this offer here.

Improve Every Web Page

10 Ways to Improve Every Web Page

Your website is your best sales page. It’s what gets people to click to another page, even purchase something directly from your site. People either do one of two things to find what they’re looking for – get referrals or go to Google. If you do not answer their question when they find you through search engines (or social media, advertising, etc.), then they have millions of other results to go to. Our goal is for your prospect to never leave and to take the next step in the customer value journey.

Before we get into 10 ways to improve every web page, I do want to put this little caveat here… If you are just starting your website, the most important thing for you right now is to get the website up and running so it informs your prospective customers. It will not be perfect; if you make it perfect, it’d never get published. Take these tips and know it’s going to be an ever-evolving process of improvement. Get that mud up on the wall.

If you already have a website and want to improve it to result in higher conversions, you’re in the right place.

10 Ways to Improve Every Web Page

As you go through your website, here are 10 ways to improve every web page:

  1. Make it easy to understand (readability)
  2. Write clear and captivating headlines
  3. Have effective call to actions (CTAs)
  4. Include images and videos
  5. Make site mobile responsive
  6. Make it skimmable
  7. Benefit, Benefits, Benefits
  8. Center your site on the customer
  9. Check your readability (passive vs active)
  10. Use the right keywords

So let’s get into how to put these 10 items into action.

1. Make The Copy Easy to Understand 

There’s a reason why our mission is to bring clarity and focus to all business communications. Frequently, writers and companies alike get wrapped up in pretty language that looks and sounds good, but it isn’t always clear and to the point. The copy is full of verbose language that may paint the picture clearer, but the picture was clear without all those words. 

The goal here is to make the copy easy to understand in as few words as possible. In other words, get to the point.

Now for those that are raising their hands… What about SEO? They want you to have a certain number of words on each page. You’re exactly right. Include additional sections to the page; however, don’t just add words for the sake of adding words. Each word must have a purpose.

2. Write Clear and Captivating Headlines

In addition to making the copy easy to understand, check to make sure your headlines are both clear and captivating. Some good questions to ask yourself when assessing headlines include:

  • Can I identify the problem immediately from the headline?
  • Does it make me want to read more about that section?
  • Could to be clearer or more captivating?
  • Does the headline set expectations of what that section will include?

3. Use Effective Call to Actions

Another thing to look at is if your site has effective call to actions (CTAs). For example, you want people to inquire your services through your contact page – simple right. When your customer gets to that page, it’s a blank canvas. If they are anything like me, they probably don’t even know what to put in the message. Help them out. 

Instead of saying “Contact Us” on the button, you can spice it up by providing an action or something unique:

  • Send Us Your Availability
  • What’s your biggest question about ______?
  • Ask Your Big Question
  • We’re Waiting
  • Invest in Yourself

One of the great things about CTAs is that you can test them over and over and over again. Here a few tips if you want to take a stab at it yourself: 

  • Convey value
  • Keep it short (the description above is where the detail is)
  • Command, don’t demand
  • Urgency 
  • Specificity (they want to know exactly what’s going to happen)

Examples of Call to Actions

Here’s an example of how we used the first example on our own site. Speaking of this CTA, I want to connect with you and grab coffee if you’re in Houston or enjoy a cup of coffee virtually. Send us your availability to talk and if you’re in Houston, TX.

Ways to Improve Every Web Page

Your call to actions need to fit your voice and brand. Dare to be a little adventurous. It does not hurt to be a little different; in fact, a little attention may do you some good. Here are some of my favorite CTAs that I’ve seen recently.

Ways to Improve Every Web Page
Hannah Brencher Creative

“Pour the Coffee” – love it! It’s completely different from the usual “buy” or “get started”. It’s a command to take action, hinting at scarcity as coffee gets cold, and it’s short.

“Ask Your Question” is a great variation for “submit” or “contact”. In addition, it is paired with their FAQs. Short and to the point. Plus, there’s a promise of value because what comes after a question? An answer.

Can you say benefits? Who doesn’t want to save time and grow? A call to action is a great place to put another benefit, especially if the prior copy is feature focused.

In this call to action, DigitalMarketer gives the problem (“suck at marketing“) then provides the solution (“Become an Insider for FREE”). For someone who sucks at marketing and wants to get better, this is going to be a no-brainer to click and at least learn more.

American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI) is obviously great at writing effective call to actions – they invented copywriting. Both call to actions on this one section are different and also generate a little curiosity. My eyes immediately went to the CTAs. “You’ll love this.” Well, what’s “this”? So I went back and read about how the writer’s life just got easier.

Hey! Are you in our Insider’s List? I send a weekly email with our latest blog, copywriting tips, and things happening in the digital space… And it’s completely free to join! Click here to get on the inside.

4. Add Images & Videos

Always tie in images and/or video that connect the copy to a visual aid. Although you can get away with zero images, video, or even color when you have incredible copy, most companies need the visual aids to add to the copy. It can add depth and variety to your website copy.

Don’t be afraid of color, photos of people, or even animation.

5. Mobile Responsive

If you’re reading this on your phone or tablet, then you’re part of the 45% of my traffic that uses mobile devices. Depending on your business, it may be less or more. However, if you assume that 50% of your traffic is mobile, that means your site needs to be mobile responsive. Have you ever navigated a site that wasn’t responsive? It’s a nightmare.

Take a look at the two screenshots below of how different our homepage looks on tablet and phone. While we’ve worked hard to ensure that all pages are mobile responsive, some page builders do not make it obvious or easy to manipulate. Work with your web developer to make sure it looks good on desktop, tablet, and mobile.

6. Is It Skimmable?

Time is the one valuable asset people have that they will never get back. There’s no re-earning time – unless you’re a time traveller. If so, do share! As a result, we’ve become master skimmers. 

Read through each page on your website and try to skim it. If you have issues skimming and understanding what’s going on, then it’s most likely not skimmable. Add is headlines, break up long paragraphs into smaller sections, and change up the typography (size, alignment, font, and color). A reader should should be able to get the gist by just reading the headlines.

7. Benefit, Benefits, Benefits

While people do use logic (i.e. features) to back their decision, people want to know how working with your company is going to benefit them. It’s all about benefits, benefits, benefits. Surround the features with benefits or turn them into a mixture of benefits and features.

Take a look at Apple’s learn more page for the new MacBook Pro. You see the features of the storage, core processor size, memory, sound system, etc. You also see “power through intensive workloads” and “dramatic sound and super clean recordings”. If you work in graphics, video, or audio, these are HUGE benefits. 

If you’re having problems finding the benefits, we ask the question “so what?”.

For example, take a look at the new iPhone 11 Pro with their triple camera system… So what about that camera system? They could say to a parent or grandparent that they can use the iPhone 11 Pro to capture every family moment just as you saw it and treasure those moments forever. Instant benefit that doesn’t talk about the camera system and it’s emotional.

8. Customer Centricity

Another thing to check on is if your site is customer centered. I once had a conversation with a company that wanted to redo their website to position it for investors to invest. Because their goal was focused on the investment not the customer, they lost sight of this one fact… By changing the copy to be investor centric, they risked losing all their customers. 

I might add they were an e-commerce business. Yikes. 

If your company’s website is directed to anyone other than your customer, then it’s not a working asset. No customers = no sales = no company.

9. Passivity vs Active Language

This has been a hot topic in the FocusCopy team this week especially. Why? Because people continue to write passively. Remember those boring textbooks in college? Yep. The author almost exclusively wrote in a passive voice because it’s supposed to be informational. 

I’d like to argue that anything can be both informational and active. It’s also a lot easier to read. Get me? Read this blog if you want to check more readability tests you can use to measure passive vs active language.

10. Right Keywords

Finally, you need to think about your website’s SEO. As a former SEO specialist, I totally understand the need to have long-tail keywords (i.e. best lawyer for trial in houston tx). BUT when we are talking about your main pages (home, about, services, etc.), you need to select the right keywords that do not sound so stuffy and unnatural. 

People can sniff that out so easily now. Remember… People do business with people they like, know and trust. Sound like a human while adhering to SEO guidelines.

Improve Your Website’s Copy With FocusCopy

If you need help improving your website’s copy, we are standing by to convert your prospects into your buyers and to build your company’s brand. The first step… Fill out this form and be sure to send us your availability so we can schedule a call to discuss your specific needs. 

Any other suggestions? Comment below.

How to Write a Golden Thread

Have you ever heard a TED talk that just took your breath away? Some of my favorites are Brene Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability and Robert Waldinger’s What Makes a Good Life?. It’s incredible how they wrap up their talk so eloquently, so perfectly. You didn’t know where they were going with the story when they started and then BAM! It hits you like a ton of bricks. 

I want to let you on a little secret… That bam-effect is the result of a well-executed golden thread. 

One of my favorite TED talks is below… Be prepared to laugh!

Besides this talk being absolutely hysterical and discussing something that we’ve all been tempted to do – reply to your spam emails – it’s a perfect example of a golden thread. 

You see, James Veitch begins acknowledging that we want to respond to those ridiculous spam emails but don’t. He actually does. Then he spends several minutes covering the correspondence between him and “Solomon”. Finally, he comes back to the thread – we all want to respond to those spam emails. 

So he gives another, much shorter, and slightly less funny example of spam emails. 

Besides the Giant Gummy Lizard and hilarity, he continually weaves back in the problem (we receive ridiculous spam messages) and the desire to respond. 

Let’s get into what a golden thread is and how to write a golden thread into your copy.

The Golden Thread

A golden thread is an idea or feature that is present throughout a company’s messaging or a single piece of copy that holds it together and ultimately is what makes the copy so valuable. We define it as a promise or central theme that is threaded through the promotion and keeps the reader interested.

American Writers & Artists Inc. (AWAI) defines the golden thread as, 

“The manner in which a copywriter connects core desires to the sales pitch throughout a promotion. Usually, it’s in the form of a promise or central theme that runs through the entire promotion and keeps the reader from losing interest by reminding him or her of the benefits offered by the product or service.”

AWAI

How the Golden Thread Works

The goal of copy is to get the reader to take the intended action on a specific webpage, video, sales letter, etc. When you break that goal down into smaller chunks, you’ll find that how you meet that goal is to engage the reader and get them to move from the first line to the second to the third and so on…

If the copy isn’t engaging, then your prospective customer isn’t going to be prompted to do business with you. They will move on to the next potential partner. 

As you weave a golden thread throughout your copy, it reengages them and reminds them of the promise you are making. The golden thread is what gets your prospects to nod their heads as they track with you. Then clicking the “buy” button becomes a no-brainer to them. 

With the TED talk above, that promise is to show you what happens when you respond to a spam email. You can see the audience nodding their heads, laughing in agreement, and ultimately cheering James Veitch as he closes his talk. This is exactly what every piece of copy should be doing for you.

How to Write a Golden Thread

In 3 simple steps, you’ll learn how to write a golden thread that converts your prospects into customers. 

1. Write Your Big Promise

First, you need to figure out your one big promise or one big idea. Ask some of the following questions to see if the promise or idea is big enough:

  • Does this idea expire or is it evergreen?
  • Does it fit into your marketing strategy?
  • Is this big promise unique and special to your company? 
  • Does it hit the nail on the head?

In the TED talk, James Veitch’s big promise is to show you what happens when you respond to a spam email. It’s evergreen – we’re always going to have spam emails unfortunately. It fits into the TED Talks’ agenda to “make great ideas accessible and spark conversation”. This talk is very unique to Veitch and special to what he’s done over the last couple years. Has anyone else invested weeks of their time corresponding with spammers? And it hits the nail on the head.

2. Focus on Your Major Benefit

Then you need to figure out the major benefit for that big promise. Now, a big benefit is basically the benefit of the benefit of the benefit. It’s BIG! 

For example, we work with a lot of professional services that offer leadership coaching. A benefit for leadership coaching may be feeling more confident in leadership coaching. But what’s the benefit of that? Perhaps, it may be no second guessing yourself in your decision making or leaving the office everyday knowing that the company is growing in the right direction

There may be a ton of benefits that you can list, but the golden thread is all about one BIG promise and its BIG benefit. You can sprinkle in a couple other benefits; however, don’t let them distract your reader from the golden benefit. 

Need help to develop the big promise and big benefit of your product or service? Our copywriters are standing by to help you convert your prospects into customers. Click here to contact us.

3. Weave Golden Thread Throughout Copy

People buy with emotion but need logic to back up their decision.

Lauren Jefferson

Weave in the golden thread throughout the case for the product or service. People buy with emotion but need logic to back up their decision. 

That being said, tie the emotional tugs into the logical side (i.e. features or logistics). 

Example of Leadership Coaching Program:

Feature: Weekly Check-Ins with Coach & Participants
Emotional Tug: Develop relationships with your coach and other participants so that you’re never alone as your lead your organization

Where the Golden Thread Goes Wrong

Like all threads, the golden thread FAILS when you forget to tie it off. Don’t leave it hanging in the middle of your copy! You must continue to weave it through the copy, the call to action, guarantee, offer, upsell, and order form. In a longer piece of copy, it’s easier to break the golden thread. That’s why it’s super important to read know what your golden thread is before you start writing so you can identify where and if it breaks in your copy. 

We freely admit that writing with a golden thread does not always come easily. If that’s you, go back and weave it through again. 

How to Write a Golden Thread

Don’t overlook headings, subheadings, and the call to action. These are generally known as beads throughout your thread. Remember that while many people use logic to back their decisions, most buying decisions are still made on emotion. 

(Even if you are selling something not emotional like an O-ring, you can make the copy emotional! For example, you could write trust that our O-rings are malfunction proof because our quality inspection ensures each O-ring is perfect.)

Your prospects will ask these questions…

Can I trust this company? 

Do I know this company and their product? 

Do I even like what I’m buying and who I’m buying from?

It goes back to the age-old rule: people do business with people they like, know and trust.

If you need help strategizing what your golden thread is or writing your copy, we would love to help you.

Content Splintering to Maximize Content ROI

Over the last couple weeks on the FocusCopy blog, we’ve talked a lot about this one fact… There is an obscene amount of information and competition out there fighting for your prospective customer’s attention. It’s tough. We get it. We see it. 

So how do you make your content stand out and become the authority for that topic? The strategy all comes down to content splintering.

What is Content Splintering?

So what is content splintering? 

Often when we talk about blogging, the intended author says something along the lines of “there is too much to unpack in just 1000 words” or “there’s no way I can write all about this topic in one blog.”  

The answer is similar to that given for the question,

“How do you eat an elephant?” 

One bite at a time.

It’s too large to eat in one mouthful!

Cue content splintering.

This is when you take a big topic and splinter it into smaller, bite-sized topics that you can actually tackle. It also helps you get super specific on your post and create solutions that your readers can implement. 

For example, you own a coworking space where you lease offices to companies. Coworking space is a really big topic to cover… So break it down into the following:

  • Benefits of coworking
  • When to move into coworking
  • Warning signs to look out for when signing for an office
  • Difference between coworking and office space

Then take those big topics and either write in a series (i.e. 5 benefits for non-profits, 5 benefits for SMB, etc.) OR splinter it even more (i.e. moving from a remote work environment to coworking, moving from an office to coworking space, etc.).

Hopefully, you get the picture. If not, comment on this blog, and we’ll answer you right here.

How Does Content Splintering Maximize Content ROI?

Content splintering maximizes content ROI because… 

  1. It’s simply taking a bigger piece of content, slicing it up into smaller chunks,  refreshing it, then republishing it. When companies create a cornerstone post (i.e. a massive piece of content that everything else derives from), it becomes so easy to take any topic discussed and blow that up into a standalone piece. 
  2. You are also stretching the amount of times you can discuss any given topic. There’s so many angles that you could take to produce a brand new piece of content – making your time go that much further. 

One company that I worked with was in the financial consulting space. One of the topics we wanted to write about was accounts receivable. Whoa! That’s a mighty big topic. 2/10 net 30, collections, reconciling, etc. Obviously, you can’t cover everything about accounts receivable in one blog or even in one book (unless it’s going to be 1000 pages long). But did you see what I did a sentence ago? 

Yep, that’s right. I splintered a massive topic into small topics. I would even argue that those topics were too big for a blog or piece of content, so I continued to  break it down even further to – you guessed it – bite-sized pieces.

More variations or angles on a given topic allows your company to grasp a larger share of the market. 

Content Splintering Methodologies

One of the books in our current stack is Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. We love it because it talks about getting more done in less time AND how to use your brain to its full potential. Hello creativity! In this book Pang claims that “new ideas are created in a two-step process: first, the brain generates lots of ideas, and second, it evaluates them” (page 44). So how does your brain, creativity, and rest relate to content splintering methodologies?

Glad you asked! All the methodologies that we mention follow this 2-prong approach. Brain dumping first then sorting through the chaos later. This is by far the most effective way to find the best content for your readers. They need what you have to say. You need to get access that creative zone to answer their request

Splintering Methodology #1: Mind Maps

I’ll start with this content splintering methodology first because it is my FAVORITE! You see I wasn’t the best student… I studied all the time and worked into all hours of the night; however, when it came to take the test, I wouldn’t be successful. 

My co-founder, Stuart Broderick, introduced me to mind mapping (invented by the late Professor Tony Buzan in the 1960’s) when nothing else was working. Whether you are a visual person or an analytical person, this simply works.

Start by putting your big topic in the middle of a blank page. It can be anything – vague, specific, etc. Whatever. Just write it down.

Hint: This works for more than just content splintering. If fact, we used a mind map when founding this company, FocusCopy, to gain clarity on what we wanted to accomplish. Oh, there I go again. Clarity, Focus, Execution – our company mantra.

Then write down topics that are related. Again, it doesn’t need to be super specific, but it needs to be big enough to “splinter”.

content splintering

For example, if my topic is content marketing… I’ll write publishing, types of content, scheduling, splintering, etc. Those are all related to content marketing. You may offer executive coaching, so some of your branches may be: how to reach your audience, what makes your audience tick, who is your audience, what times you should send topics… The key is to just start writing subtopics.

After you have those big topics, start breaking apart those topics. This is where the real magic happens. Do not worry about if it’s a good idea or a bad idea. Just write it down! You can make that decision later. This is your brain dump!

Once you’ve finished mind mapping, it’s time to filter it and create valuable content around those splinters. I promise you there is enough content for each of those subtopics.

Now, on to the next content splintering methodology!

Splintering Methodology #2: Excel Spreadsheets OR Word Documents

content splintering

Beyond mind maps, we love lists and organizing lists. We’re weird, but those frameworks (like our CFE Framework) help us maintain quality, pump out high-quality content/copy quicker, and please our clients. So it’s a no-brainer than our second content splintering methodology uses excel spreadsheets or word documents.

First, write a list of topics in one column. Keep writing until you cannot write anymore.

Then start writing specific segments of that big topic. For example, writing a landing page has multiple angles… Unique selling position, writing a hook, creating a golden thread, and design. Write it down.

Finally, you need to identify what you’re actually going to talk about in that piece of content. So write those subtopics!

Now here is where this methodology may be better than #1…

You can schedule out the blogs or pieces of content. In the same spreadsheet, literally put dates in. This will help you to create series (i.e. a month of landing page copy) or create variety. 

On the other hand, sometimes working with technology can mean more work than good. It’ll slow down your creative thought process.

Improving Your Content ROI

The key to improving your content ROI is to make it super specific and highly valuable. If you are writing about a big topic (i.e. water consumption), you aren’t going to be able to reveal secrets, how-tos, or specifics in a blog post. But if you write about a splinter of that big topic (i.e. how increased water consumption helps your gut), then you are more likely to see a return on that piece. 

Remember, specificity is key to improving your content’s ROI.

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Content Is NOT King In Marketing

In accounting, we hear the phrase “cash is king”. And in marketing, we hear “content is king.”

I’d like to challenge that premise with content is NOT king in marketing.

Okay, that’s a pretty big claim, but I have reasoning! 

You see there will be more pieces of information produced in 2020 than in all history before (TechJury). Consequently, there will be so much content that competition for eyes to read it will become increasingly more difficult. Marketing should not just be about content marketing or producing content. 

But digital marketers are continuing to advise companies to work on their content marketing strategies to reach more leads. Let’s get into why content is NOT king in marketing.

Why Content Is NOT King in Marketing

Content is not king in marketing because content alone does not address this one thing… Your customer! 

In fact, your content is just information clutter in the space of overwhelming data. It’s absolutely useless, time-consuming, and a waste of money… if it isn’t about your customer.

Your customer is and must be king.

Customer centricity in your business is the difference between a flourishing business and a bankrupt business.

Making Your Customer King In Your Content Marketing

If your customer isn’t the center of your business, then you have no business – or at least it won’t last much longer. They have to be the center of your business life – marketing, processes, accounting, sales, operations, etc. 

If one area of your business does not serve your customer, then you are either not making it easy for your customer to do business with you, or you are not adding the value you should be. The customer, more than likely, has dozens or hundreds of other options to choose from. If they realize this, they’ll leave you high and dry. 

We are a firm believer of putting the customer first. Before we even start discussing the product, we talk about the customer. Your product must solve your customer’s problem.

Examples of Companies Making Their Customer King

I could tell you over and over again that you need to be customer centric, but what does it actually mean? 

We’ve compiled a few examples of companies or organizations that are in completely different industries with different products. I’m a fan of all these organizations because they make their customer king!

Google

Every year, Google makes approximately 300 adjustments to their algorithm. Heck, SEO companies have a completely different job every two years because the algorithm is completely different. Why does Google do that? They listen to their customers. 

They act as a thought leader and standardize what is quality, relevant and trustworthy. Why do you think that Google is an adjective, noun, and a verb?

In the same way, you cannot remain the same. Your customer sure doesn’t stay the same. If you haven’t changed, then you need to adjust yourself.

Costco

Costco – the member warehouse club – scores big on being all about the customer. heir mantra for operations is: “keep costs down and pass the savings on to our members” (Costco). If that doesn’t scream customer is king, then nothing does! 

Facebook

Facebook has recently changed their algorithms to put more posts and groups in front of users. Although this may hurt advertisers, Facebook is putting their users first – even if they aren’t spending money on the platform. If Facebook doesn’t have users, they offer zero value to their advertisers.

Chick-fil-A

“My pleasure.” This organization has a product so simple that it should be so easy to sell – chicken sandwiches. But Chick-fil-A takes their customer service to a whole other level. They greet you, thank you, serve you faithfully, and make your experience top notch. There’s been stories of team members jumping out of the drive through window to help a choking patron, restaurants opening outside of business hours to serve communities destroyed in natural disasters, and going above and beyond.

“We should be about more than just selling chicken. We should be a part of our customers’ lives and the communities in which we serve.”

S. TRUETT CATHY

That’s customer focus.

Houston Astros Baseball Team

I once heard Reid Ryan, the President of Business Operations for the Astros, speak at a luncheon. He said something that spoke to the very customer-centric culture built in to their organization. They take all their analytics and have crafted specific “nights” for their different customer personas. As a result, they have…

  • Tuesday Dollar Dog Nights ($1 hot dogs) 
  • Friday Night Fireworks
  • Saturday Kroger Family Nights (with food specials)
  • Faith and Family Nights

And that’s just them serving their ticket holders! The players add to the customer experience by going out into the community, interacting with fans, and creating an experience for fans (hello World Series!). 

Go ‘Stos!

via GIPHY

Making Customers King In Your Company

Your company may be different. I want to challenge you today to write 5 areas where your customers interact with your company. Then for each of those areas, write 5 improvements you could implement. 

Start by asking questions like…

  • Does this add value to my customer?
  • Why do my customers keep coming back to me?
  • How does this impact my customer? 
  • Does my customer even care?

If you need help transforming your perspective and becoming customer centric, click the button below to get connected with your full-service copywriting team.

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