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Business

Copywriting Help Your Business

How Does Professional Copywriting Help Your Business Grow?

You have your product, a clear idea of what it does, how it helps people, and the price of sale.

And you have all the numbers, figures, facts, and marketing strategies all brainstormed and laid out. 

Even though you keep seeing recommendations to hire a copywriter or are studying writing techniques yourself, you aren’t placing too much stock into the idea. 

After all, words are just words. Right? They’re easy enough to put down. Even though it’s been a while since high school English and freshman composition class, you send texts and emails every day. So putting together a few sentences about your product and uploading them to your website should be plenty. 

You’ve also budgeted for social media ads that you’re feeling confident about writing yourself. After all, isn’t it really the product that matters most and not the advertising attached? 

So, you move forward with your launch. It’s an exciting moment! You’ve been working your way up to this point for quite some time, and you’re ready to help people and change the world. 

However, after a few months, you aren’t making many sales. In fact, it doesn’t seem like your web traffic is even breaking more than a few visitors a day. Or maybe you’re having the opposite problem. Maybe your ads are getting a lot of clicks, but no one is making the purchase.

What gives? 

It’s Not What You’re Saying – It’s How You’re Saying It

Believe it or not, you do need more than a few sentences on your website or advertisement to actually convince people to buy your offer. 

Now, you’re spending extra hours in the morning and late into the night learning about copywriting because it keeps coming up as the missing piece to your success

But, “what even is copywriting? Isn’t that like a trademark?” You think to yourself. 

Copywriting is a powerful form of marketing that has been used for more than two centuries. Even if the practice has looked different throughout the passing of time, copywriting’s goal has remained largely the same. 

The end goal? To close sales, of course! But when done well, copywriting can even position your business and brand as leaders in your industry – making you stand out from the competition and rise to the top. Your customers’ problems are solved, and your dream of having a successful business is accomplished. 

Therefore, it’s really no surprise that copywriting can help your business thrive. Because no matter its form, the aim is always to move prospective customers closer to hitting that “Order Now” button on your website. 

4 Ways Professional Copywriting Can Help Your Business

Copywriting – not to be confused with copyrighting – encompasses many different parts of a marketing strategy. So, it’s easy to understand how you might feel a little unsure at first how it can actually help your business. 

At the most basic definition, copywriting is any piece of writing or content you might find on a website, billboard advertisement, newspaper ad, and even a flyer you receive in the mail. 

Copywriting is also part of commercial advertising (if you’re still watching cable television these days), as well as slogans, catchphrases, and infomercials. 

Really, copywriting is everywhere, and has been for quite some time!

Nowadays, thanks to so many businesses moving online, it’s especially beneficial for businesses both new, old, large, and small. In the digital realm, copywriting takes the shape of sales letters, email newsletters, social media posts, blog content, video scripts, and more. 

From coffee roasters to law firms, no matter your industry, product, or service, copywriting acts like support beams to your entire foundation. It helps you solidify your mission and message, connect with your audience, and grab the attention of those who’ve never heard of you. 

1. Copywriting Improves SEO & Increases Organic Traffic

Recently, you’ve been looking for new desks through Google. So, you’ve been searching for things like, “best desks for home office” and you immediately have a wide variety of beautiful desks in front of you. 

You click on one of the first few websites that come up because they grabbed your attention. 

Well, that’s copywriting (and a little SEO strategy) in action. Not only does copywriting help your website actually show up in search results from Google, but that brief little description underneath the website link was written by a copywriter. You knew almost exactly what you would find before you even clicked on the link. 

But, maybe you want to learn more about this specific brand’s furniture. You might not find it featured prominently, but if you dig around a little, there’s a good chance you’ll find a section dedicated to Blogs. 

Why is that, you might wonder? Well, blogs are a form of copywriting that actually serve two big purposes. 

Blogs Offer Free & Valuable Information

First of all, blogs are a way for brands to provide valuable information to their customers – which often leads to better B2B or B2C conversions. 

Maybe you want to know how the desk you’re thinking about buying was made. Look through their blog, and find the piece that covers their whole assemblage process! 

Maybe you care about the environment and you want to be sure the desk is constructed with sustainable materials. In their blog section, you’ll probably find articles detailing their commitment to sustainability. 

See what’s happening here? You had questions and their blog has already provided you with the answers. So, essentially, the goal of blogs is to address your questions, needs, and concerns in greater detail. 

What kind of business would you most likely purchase a desk from? The one that has a lot of information available about their desks and products? Or the one that has nothing but a desk and a check-out button? 

This example can be applied to a lot of different kinds of businesses and industries. 

Need to schedule a dental appointment but you can’t choose between two different offices to call? 

While one has good reviews, you can’t find anything about their services, pricing, or commitment to providing you a good, pain-free experience. The other office, however, has full-on articles and FAQs about ways in which their dentists help you through dental anxiety – which, (we know the feeling, believe us) is something you’ve struggled with since you were a kid. 

So which office has closed the deal and earned your call? I’ll let you decide! 

Blogs Boost SEO 

The value of blogs doesn’t end with informational content for your customers. You see, the only reason you clicked on that website with all the desks in the first place, was because of a little thing called SEO

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is like putting up highway markers leading to your business. Picture the interstate highway system lined with every furniture store on the internet. If you just type in “furniture store online” into Google’s search bar, you’re going to find a lot of results. 

That’s because all of these businesses have put up signs that say something like, “This is a furniture store. We sell furniture here.” 

But let’s say you type in “furniture stores near me.” Now, your search is going to be more localized. You may have fewer results, and the stores will specifically be in your area. 

Can you guess why? 

The furniture stores near you have indicated to Google that they sell furniture in a certain area. They probably have a physical storefront, as opposed to furniture stores that sell exclusively online. 

But how did they get Google to register their business in a certain area, and understand what it is that they sell? 

For this part, look through their website! 

What words do you see on their page? If they have a blog, what kind of topics are they writing about? 

When a business wants to show up on search engines for certain phrases or search queries, they use copywriting to incorporate those words into their web pages or blog content. 

This signals to Google to show their business for the keywords people are searching for. 

Simple enough, right? 

Well, good SEO doesn’t quite end here. 

Word Count & Quality Content 

You see, the more content a business uploads each month, the more web traffic it generally will receive – which makes sense if you think about it. 

The more signs they put up on the highway, the more road trippers start to recognize their brand and offers. 

We won’t get too technical here. Generally speaking, blog content with a word count of a thousand words or more is thought to be “quality content” in Google’s eyes. While word counts of two thousand words or more will yield even better results for your website. 

In fact, there have been several studies from notable content marketing agencies over the past two years that have done deep dives into the correlation between word count and SEO results

However, the content must be quality. This means well-researched, well-formatted, and well-written! You shouldn’t expect grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or incomplete thoughts to bring in much organic traffic. 

Additionally, you should never copy and paste someone else’s entire work onto your website or blog content. Seriously, don’t. 

Google has ways of recognizing bad content that’s just trying to game the system and will punish your website link by making it more difficult to find or remove it from its results completely. 

Ready to have a steady stream of quality content up on your website? Schedule a discovery call with FocusCopy, and we’ll take the content process off your plate. Freeing up your time to focus on your clients, business, and personal life. 

2. Copywriting Builds Relationships With Your Audience & Fosters Community

Brands and businesses benefit a lot from having an active online community. 

For example, do you want constant feedback on your offer? Having an online community to engage with on social media allows you to easily take stock of customer opinions. 

Additionally, you can get to know your customers on a more personal level, which helps you better serve their needs (more on that later). 

Copywriters can help your business build an online community by creating email newsletters, content pillars, and by giving away free information such as the content on your blog. 

Content pillars are like ebooks or in-depth articles about specific topics in your industry. The goal is to provide value to customers even if they don’t all make a purchase. 

Encouraging visitors to sign up for your newsletter allows you to communicate directly with your customers through their email inboxes. But you need a persuasive subject line and copy to really convince customers to take action on your promotion or offer. 

3. Copywriting Speaks To Your Customer Needs 

Understanding your customer needs is a big part of having a successful business. And it can mean several things. 

For example, your customers are more likely to respond to brand voices that they connect with or relate to. Copywriters are effective at capturing brand voices and speaking your customer’s languages

And once you’re speaking your customers’ language, you know their goals, problems, and where they are mentally and emotionally. 

Because even though copywriting is about closing more sales – it does this by solving customer problems. Effective copywriting does this by making your customers feel heard, understood, and that your business cares about helping them. 

Let’s solve problems together. Schedule a discovery call with us, and we’ll help you make your business vision a reality.  

4. Copywriting Strengthens Your Power Of Persuasion 

The purpose of copywriting is ultimately to drive customers and users to action. 

Whether that be signing up for your newsletter and email list, following you on social media, or of course, choosing to buy one of your products. Good copywriting leads your customers through a funnel. Until, eventually, you close a sale! 

The more effective your copy and research, the more likely you are to generate revenue. However, good copy still needs a quality product or service to offer potential customers. 

The most persuasive copy won’t help you if customers are leaving bad reviews about your product and telling all their friends and family about their horrible experience. 

Increase Your Conversions With Focused Copy 

Your business deserves to be on your customers’ radars. You’ve put time, money, and a lot of effort into making a service and product that actually helps people and improves their lives for the better. 

Don’t you want the best team of copywriters at your side, supporting you each step of the way? Contact us today, and together, we’ll develop a plan to tackle each one of your business’s objectives.

Focus Your Copy On Conversation & Conversion

Let’s Grab A Virtual Coffee With Us To Discover How To Boost Your Words
Productivity Tips For Entrepreneurs

4 Productivity Tips For Entrepreneurs To Accelerate Marketing Results

Maintaining daily productivity is a delicate balancing act. Between your personal life, mental and physical health, and all the daily tasks involved in building your business, learning how to keep everything straight is a bit of a curve. 

But once you have a foundation for managing every little detail, you’ll find that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to doing. 

And your business will grow as a result! 

So to help you start tackling your ever-growing to-do list, keep these productivity tips for entrepreneurs in your bookmarks for a reference guide, and you’ll see your marketing results catapult! 

Accelerate Your Marketing Results With These Productivity Tips For Entrepreneurs

If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “there has to be a better way to do everything,” it’s time to lay down a foundation that will catapult you to success. 

Most productivity tips for entrepreneurs are like habits. They will take time to apply and implement. But if you practice patience as you’re trying new things and keep showing up each day, these habits will eventually stick.  

Does your business need website copy that connects with your audience? Feel like you’re wearing too many hats? FocusCopy brings clarity and engagement to your B2B marketing so you can close more leads. Want to get started? Schedule a call so we can talk about your goals

1. Find The Routine That Works For You 

If you don’t feel like your current routine is serving you and your goals, it’s time to reassess. Routines are the most crucial, make-or-break component of your productivity. 

Working at different times each day will drain your energy fast – not to mention waking up at different times or going to bed at different times. 

A routine is what keeps you on track. It’s what guides you through each hour of the day. It helps you stay focused. And most importantly, it is what tells you when it’s time to step away from your desk

A good, consistent routine will improve your productivity significantly. A bad, chaotic routine will leave you feeling drained all the time and like nothing is ever getting done. 

While it can take quite a while to find a routine that works for you and make it stick, once you find your groove, you’ll find you’re able to produce results on a consistent basis.

Don’t be afraid to experiment a little when creating your routine. While it’s common advice to start work early in the morning, we all have different biological clocks. 

If waking up at 4:30 every morning isn’t your cup of joe, think of your ideal wake-up time and when you feel the most focused. Then, build your schedule around those hours. When you wake up matters much less than how consistent you are with your schedule – which brings us to our next productivity tip.

2. Stay Consistent

Consistency can be a bit of a double-edged sword. When you consistently practice good habits, your productivity will soar. But the more that harmful habits start to creep into your daily routine, the more your productivity will suffer. 

All those little short social media scrolls can start to add up. And before you know it, you’ve lost an hour to distraction. 

Start by tracking your time! We are habitual time trackers. Every single task we have in our process is timed. It holds us accountable and helps us focus on the task at hand. We track all our time inside ClickUp (affiliate link here), but we also use Flow (a Pomodoro timer app) if we need to be seriously focused.

At first, building consistency is difficult. I’m not going to lie to you. It takes time, patience, and diligent effort to put good habits into practice. 

However, consistency begets consistency. The more you do a certain habit, the faster you will be consistent. This doesn’t mean that some days aren’t going to be slightly harder. Whether you’re feeling more tired than usual or just not feeling it at all, it’s normal to have off days. But consistency is what helps you show up anyway. 

And remember, what you put into your business is what you will get out of it. So as you might imagine, putting in the effort every day will start to add up. 

3. Take Breaks Seriously

Breaks are huge. Even though it can be difficult to designate a stopping point when it feels like you have so much you want to accomplish, even entrepreneurs need rest. Remember, we’re humans – not machines! 

And in reality, long workweeks can actually cause us to see diminishing returns on the time we put in. And since time, not money, is the most valuable investment you can make in your business, use it wisely. All of this is to say: quality, not quantity!

Pro tip: it is okay to take breaks in your marketing. This is your permission slip to take a break when you need it most. Can’t handle the amount of business you have? Turn back your marketing.

4. Find Your Flow 

The structure of your schedule acts sort of like a predictor for the success of your day. In other words, you cut out unnecessary distractions that go into making multiple decisions when you have a clear idea of what you’re going to be doing and when.  

It might not seem like making decisions can harm your productivity, but you would be surprised! 

Did you know that high-performing entrepreneurs and leaders often talk about wearing the same thing every day? That’s because they’re cutting out the number of decisions they have to make (and thus, the number of distractions). As it turns out, more choice isn’t always a good thing. 

And while it might sound extreme, some researchers have recently estimated that we make thousands of choices in our day-to-day lives. The exact estimation? 35,000

Can you imagine how much extra fatigue builds up as a result? From choosing what and when and where to eat, to our clothing for the day and the tasks we set for our business – try to make fewer choices, not more! 

Time-Block Your Emails & Meetings 

Speaking of decisions, think about creating a time block for responding to your emails or taking meetings over Zoom. 

Designate a time in which you will have your inbox and Calendly open, and then do your best to commit to that timeframe. In a way, time-blocking is kind of like setting healthy boundaries. You need them. Your emotional health, your relationships, and of course, your productivity all benefit from boundaries.  

Because pausing your work to respond to messages or meet with clients can slow down your work significantly. Every distraction or notification you switch your attention to can cause you to lose focus and steam on the task at hand. And once you stop working on something, it can be much more difficult to get back into the groove. This also means…

Avoid Multitasking

You’ve probably heard talk before about “being in the zone” or even felt like you were in the zone yourself while you’re working on something engaging. And that’s actually because “being in the zone” is a real psychological phenomenon! 

It’s called “Flow”. And when we enter a flow-state by eliminating distractions and focusing our attention on one thing at a time, we can actually produce a lot of results in a shorter period than if we were constantly switching our attention from one thing to another. 

A good way to keep your focus on a singular task is to turn your phone onto airplane mode, mute notifications on your desktop if you’re working on your computer, and then set a timer! 

Try to work on just ONE THING for as long as the timer is counting down, and see how much you accomplish. Setting a timer is also a great way to help you get out of a slump on a particularly low-energy day. 

Looking for more helpful content for your entrepreneurial journey? Stay up to date with our newsletter and content for tips and tricks, marketing advice, and support. Sign up for the FocusCopy Insider’s List

Delegate Tasks

Similar to cutting out distractions, if you have a team, delegate tasks so that you can focus your attention on other priorities

Your team is a group of people you should trust – so you know that by delegating them an assignment, they will be able to rise to the occasion. 

Additionally, if you don’t have a team yet, think about forming one if you’re at that stage of your business. Having a group of people you can depend on is huge for a business owner’s productivity. And feeling like you’re supported can help you combat feelings of imposter syndrome that so many entrepreneurs face today.

“Eat The Frog” 

Speaking of sayings… Have you ever heard the advice, “eat the frog”? This means that before you do anything else on your to-do list, you tackle the thing that is giving you the most anxiety or that feels the most daunting. 

When we get the harder things out of the way first, we actually help our productivity because we gain a sense of accomplishment before we even take lunch. 

This can boost our motivation and help our minds stay clear and focused because we aren’t distracted by all that dread building up in the back of our minds. 

While it’s perhaps the most difficult time-management skill to put into practice, (and can certainly be the most intimidating!) with all things, we get better the more we do something. And adopting this habit early in your entrepreneurial journey will help you see incredible results. 

It’s okay if you have to season the frog a little first, though. No judgment here!

Want To See Your Marketing Results Catapult? 

The life of an entrepreneur and business owner involves wearing a lot of hats. But connecting with FocusCopy for all your copywriting and content marketing needs allows you to hang up your writing hat and focus on other parts of growing your business. We want to help you succeed by converting your prospects into long-term clients, as well as offer you support on your entrepreneurial journey. Find out more about our services and let’s hop on a call! 

Focus Your Copy On Conversation & Conversion

Let’s Grab A Virtual Coffee With Us To Discover How To Boost Your Words
mistakes business owners make

Top 10 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Copywriting Themselves

As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. But avoiding inevitable mistakes business owners make when it comes to copywriting is essential. While writing for your business may seem like a small task and the least of your worries, it affects how people view you and your services.

Ask yourself… How many times have you come across something poorly written or executed, and you simply want to give up on the entire purchase? 

Whether you were looking at a menu at a restaurant or a website for a service you need, you likely didn’t stay long enough to see more. Every day, spelling mistakes, errors, funky layouts, and so much more cause readers to move on to a company’s competitors. If your business has old copy full of misinformation and mistakes, you could be losing out on revenue.

While it may not feel fair, people turn elsewhere because they don’t take businesses seriously when business owners make mistakes within their copywriting.

We’ve got the art of writing for websites, blogs, and numerous other assets down. But we realize not everyone knows what to avoid.

Read on for more information about mistakes business owners make when writing their own deliverables.

Too short on time to write for yourself? Give us a shout and get started right away.

Top 10 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Copywriting

Some of your most prized characteristics as a business owner can end up being your downfall when it comes to copywriting. Whether you’re a perfectionist or focused on being super-efficient, it may not be the best approach to take when writing. 

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true! 

We’ll walk you through each step and talk about the things that could get in the way of your writing.

1. Proofread Or Don’t Publish At All

We know we sound like a broken record, but it truly is important to proofread and pinpoint any errors you can find.

It helps to read your own text out loud and see if you can find any common mistakes business owners make along the way. Remember when we mentioned people judge your business based on the way it presents itself? According to RealBusiness, nearly three-quarters of web users pay attention to the quality of copy on a business’s website.

What To Look Out For:

  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Flow
  • Incorrect use of capitalization
  • Punctuation
  • Sentence structure
  • Acronyms not easily recognized by your audience

While not everyone reads with thorough deliberation, people are still paying attention. Proofreading is especially important if you’re passing along information that requires it to be correct. This means, being one digit off on your contact number or a period mark shy of a complete email address could set your potential customers into a frenzy of confusion when trying to reach you.

Could they look it up elsewhere and find the correct information themselves? Sure. But they shouldn’t have to when they’re relying on you to give them the information they need. They may start to think that if you can’t be trusted to offer the right information, why should they trust you with their business? 

Don’t leave it up to your customers to decide whether your company can be trusted and proofread before hitting publish on your marketing assets. 

2. Bring The Focus Back To The Customer

Oftentimes, we notice that businesses get so excited about what they have to offer, that they forget why they’re in business in the first place. And with a whopping 63% of consumers (76% for B2B buyers) who expect your business to know their unique needs and expectations, there’s little room for error.

But it’s my business. So shouldn’t the writing be about me and my business? Isn’t that what my customers care about?

No, not really. This can be one of the toughest realizations business owners have to deal with, but it’s important to say. 

Your customers care about what you can do for them. Talking about yourself, your story, image, and even community involvement are going to be pretty useless in the long run if you don’t remember to think about your business as serving others.

Too much of you isn’t always a good thing. You’ll bury your customers and lose your initial goal.

If you’re reading your existing or drafted copy and start to think it’s looking a little saturated with your business and less about your customer, take a step back. This doesn’t mean you need to scrap everything you’ve written. You can use that information for newsletters, email updates, and other marketing materials. 

But if you know you need to pull the focus back towards the customer, try these few steps and ask:

  1. What do you do?
  2. Why do you do it?
  3. What’s the reason someone should care?
  4. Why again? (Yep, repeat the above step.)

It’s easy to lose focus when writing material for your business, but do what you can to bring it back to your customers.

Need help revising and reaching the main goal? We’re the team with the know-how to help.

3. Features Are Not Benefits

Like focusing too much on yourself, writing about the features of your business can cut into how it can benefit someone. 

For example, if you’re a brand new hospital opening in a busy neighborhood, you may be inclined to say things like:

  • Large Parking Lot
  • Plenty Of Staff
  • Daily Appointments Available
  • Fully Staffed Cafeteria
  • Innovative Machinery

All of these things don’t sound horrible. But they also don’t map out the genuine benefits to someone who may need to go to this hospital. All of these things are features rather than benefits.

A few ways these can transform into benefits include saying:

  • Easy Access And Private Parking Lot Off I-72
  • 2:1 Patient Ratio With Friendly Staff
  • Short Wait Times For All Appointments
  • Healthy And Affordable Food In A Fully Staffed Cafeteria
  • $80 Million In Updated And Innovative Machinery

With these examples, you’re giving your readers details about your features combined with benefits without bogging them down with too much information. Take a look at your writing and see if you can spruce up any of your features and transform them into benefits.

4. Look At The Big Idea

Your benefits, business plan, and everything in between includes great information. However, try to avoid getting distracted from the bigger picture. What is it that you want to accomplish? Stick to your end goal and ensure you have Call-To-Actions (CTAs) throughout your writing that match your goal.

Before writing, consider your big picture. Some examples of this could look like the following:

  • Are you looking for more social media followers? 
  • Do you want to inform people about who you and your business are?
  • Is there a product you’re pushing that you want people to buy?
  • Are you attempting to establish a voice?

Whatever your goal is, it should reflect in your writing. This leads us right into one of the next critical mistakes business owners make when copywriting.

5. You Forget One Or More Call-To-Actions

If your writing doesn’t include Call-To-Actions (CTAs), you’re missing out big time. According to Wordstream, “Emails with a single call-to-action increased clicks 371% and sales 1,617%.“

What Is A Call-To-Action?

A Call-To-Action, or CTA, is a button or clickable link that says “Buy Now” or “Call Us Today”. They’re buttons that inspire your reader to take action right away. Without them, you’re forcing your reader to search further to take action with extra steps. Customers want their experience to be as easy as possible. If you’re asking them to do it on their own, they may talk themselves into taking action later, compare by going elsewhere, and so on. You want them to have the option to make a decision right away after they’ve read your compelling copy.

6. Avoid Hitting Publish And Forgetting About It Altogether

Once you choose to publish your copy, you may think you’re good to go for many years into the future. This is just not true. You need to tap into engagement and get feedback from your audience to find out if there is room for improvement.

Don’t get us wrong, publishing your copy is a big step and is a huge cause for celebration. Especially if you have copy you’ve been working on for a long time, trust us, we’re toasting with you on finishing! But don’t forget to check back on it every so often and ensure the messaging, Call-To-Action, and everything else still rings true.

If you’ve changed your business model in a significant way, have new products available, or anything else that needs to be addressed, do so in your copy by updating it regularly. Revisit your copy if it’s been a while and you feel it may be outdated. Finally, double and triple-check to ensure everything looks good and is mobile friendly. 

7. Perfectionism Kills Potentially Great Copy

As a business owner, you’re probably a little bit obsessed with perfection. And there’s nothing wrong with that! When it comes to running your business, having a type-A tendency is a must. But when it comes to copywriting, it can be an absolute nightmare.

Why? Because when you keep writing, saving, going back to writing, and so on, expecting it to be perfect, you’ll never get it done! And you’ll have likely missed your window for getting your message out there at the right time.

We know it’s easier said than done, but let go a little and get your copy out there once you’ve hit all of the important aspects of your bigger picture.

8. Keep It Simple

You work within your industry, but chances are, most people reading your copy don’t. They may even know nothing about your business, who you are, or what you do. So it’s important to write as if you’re speaking to someone who knows little to nothing, which may mean cutting out complicated text or technical jargon.

We get it! You don’t want to have to feel as though you need to “dumb down” your copy because you believe your audience is smart. And that may be true! But for someone who is new to your business or may not be within the same industry you are, too much high-level text can be intimidating and throw someone off from reading what you have to say.

In addition, making the text too complicated can lead your audience to your competitors. Keep it simple and make it easy to follow.

9. You’re Keeping Your Copy Too Top-Secret

In other words, don’t be shy about your copy! Give it to a second pair of eyes to take a look at and make sure you’re moving in the right direction.

Similar to perfectionism, you may be hesitant to share your copy with others until it’s done. But additional members of your team can help identify errors and make suggestions.

Because they’re seeing your writing for the first time, they’ll be able to read it as a consumer and know if it’s sending the right message. Choose someone you trust for this task. Whether it’s a co-owner, manager, or someone else who has a little bit of writing experience. Trust select members of your team and let them help you.

Furthermore, be careful about sharing your copy with too many people. One or two opinions are helpful. Any more than that may begin to cloud your judgment and produce conflicting ideas or suggestions.

10. You Aren’t Really Proving Your Point

Here’s where your previous experience and past results come in handy. In other words, if you have a point to make, then prove it with facts and figures. This may mean you need to dig into your revenue files, ask your financial department, or search for information online. But it’s worth it if it’s impressive.

Are you attempting to convince someone to buy your start-up product? Let them know you’ve made over $5 million in sales in the past year.

Would you like people to put a little more faith in your services? Let them know you have a 4.5-star rating on Google, Yelp, or any other review sites. 

It’s okay to brag about yourself a little to prove a point and convince others to trust in your business. Feature your highlights in places like main headlines, subheadings, or callouts. Keep in mind that these are likely the areas of your writing that they’ll read when scanning your text.


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Lessons We Learned In Our Second Year In Business

FocusCopy Turns 2 Years Old

FocusCopy turned 2 years old over the weekend (August 15, 2021)! 

I am immensely proud of what my team has accomplished, how our clients have grown their businesses, and that we’re still growing.. 

How We Got Here

When I think back to when we first started, it was a completely different story. 

At the time, I was 24 years old, stubborn to a fault, and relentless to make this company work. Businesses needed better copy. And I was the woman to do it! Back then, I was doing all the marketing, writing, documentation, sales, networking, operations, bookkeeping, and working out every little detail that would arise… But it didn’t matter at that point. I loved starting my own business!  

Of course, the pandemic struck only 6 months later. 

Thankfully, resilience and fresh eyes pushed through. 

Remarkably, we grew and hit our 1 year anniversary

Starting year 2 was a different beast. 

When we began our second year, the team included my co-founder Stuart Broderick, a part-time copywriter, and myself. But within a couple short months, we added 2 full-time copywriters to the team. We started working with 30-year-old, multigenerational companies. The most incredible people were coming out of the woodwork and trusting us with their copy. It was an exhilarating ride!

In the first 6 months of 2021, we quadrupled our revenue. 

And while this is a nice story to tell, I now know why one of my favorite mentors often said: 

“Let me teach you why you should never be an entrepreneur.”

6 Lessons We Learned In Our Second Year In Business

If year 1 was exhilarating, year 2 is exhausting. However, we expect year 3 to be electrifying. 

1. Entrepreneurship Is Exhausting.

As I write this blog, I feel this in my bones. 

Entrepreneurship is exhausting. 

There’s no sugar-coating it… It’s not for the faint of heart at all. 

Don’t misinterpret that though… 

Entrepreneurship is absolutely worth it because it has provided so much purpose in my life. 

So if you’re choosing to go down this path, anticipate the exhaustion and create space in your schedule so that you are not overwhelming yourself. Breaks are critical to the success of an entrepreneur. You need more of them than you think!

To give you an example, towards the beginning of year 2, I was working 7 days a week. 

It actually wasn’t until November 2020 (15 months into business) that I took my first weekend off. My husband and I actually ended up submitting and getting an offer accepted on our first home that very same weekend. 

My next break was in May 2021 where I took 2 business days and the weekend off. But guess what? The company didn’t crash and burn to the ground. Clients still got their deliverables and were more than satisfied with them. 

Breaks provide so much clarity and much needed rest. 

Preaching to the choir here… You need time to not think about your business. 

One of the counselors that we write for recommends taking a 1-2 day “vacation” each month. It doesn’t have to be grand or extravagant. But it has to be time well spent away from the business and unplugged from the world. This is one the most important lessons I’m taking with me into year 3. 

2. Surround Yourself With Supporters.

This lesson still applies from last year. As an entrepreneur, you need to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs and people who want to see you succeed. Never before have I had so many people reach out to me… When I didn’t show up in July because we were so deep in client work… When I kept quieter than usual in virtual networking meetings… When they just had a feeling…

2021 has been rough for just about every person I’ve talked with this year. There have been multiple deaths, numerous hospitalizations, burnout beyond anything I’ve ever seen before, and of course, exhaustion – both emotionally, and physically. As a natural empath, my heart has been burdened. While it’s an honor to be that safe place people turn to for support, it’s been especially taxing lately. 

I’ve had to rely on my support system as I rely on the air in my lungs. 

So, more than ever, find people (whether they are entrepreneurs or not) that text and call you with messages of encouragement…

“God’s been placing you on my heart for some reason so I just wanted to say you’re in my prayers and I’m rooting for you sista!”

“Hey friend! Wanted to check in and see if everything is okay! You’ve seemed kinda quiet lately.”

“It’s okay to not to grow month over month. Sometimes, you need to stay the same as the previous month to catch your breath”. 

“I read this book and I think you’d find this really helpful with your growth.”

Find people that will lift you up when you need it, laugh with you about your mishaps, hold you when all you want to do is cry, and remind you that you, too, are human and have limits. 

You need support, friend. 

Emotional, physical, and spiritual support. 

3. If It Feels Off, Don’t Do It.

This. Trust your instinct! This goes with hiring, networking, clients, sales… Everything! 

It doesn’t have to make sense from an outside perspective, but it has to feel good. 

One thing we ask ourselves before engaging with anyone is “would we actually want to grab a cup of coffee and hang out with them?” 

So to my clients that are reading this… I absolutely want to hang out with you! I want to learn from you, hear your story, cheer you on, and be a shoulder when you need it. 

We use that question listed above because in our business, we see all angles of the business. It is not uncommon for clients or partners to find emotional support in our meetings because we believe in building meaningful relationships and creating a safe place for them. 

Can you imagine if we didn’t like who we were meeting with? Our response would feel awkward and inauthentic.

So lead with your gut in front. It won’t steer you wrong! 

4. Document, Document, Document.

This has become a huge part of our business this year. Documentation is HUGE in downloading the expert’s brain and replicating steps. This step is how you really scale a business. 

Plus a business is typically worth more if there is documentation compared to a company without any documentation. 

Start by looking at the most obvious tasks and goals in your business. For us, that included producing website copy and blog copy. Document each step. What do you need to do before you start working on that assignment? How do you complete the task? What happens after the task is completed? 

5. Trust Your Team & Let Go Of Control.

If you followed lesson #3 and lesson #4, then you have no excuse but to trust your team. You’ve done 90% of the hard work. Now, you have to sit back and see them flourish. 

This was a fun lesson for me to learn. It wasn’t until one of my team members told me, “Lauren, I can take this off your plate” that I remembered I hired them for a reason. They are more than capable. They are the people I trust to make it happen. 

Systems, processes, and quality checks make it so much easier to loosen your grip on the day to day operation. That also makes it so much easier to replicate your successes over and over again.  

6. Hire a Business Coach.

This was one of the riskiest but worthwhile decisions I’ve made so far. Truth was, I couldn’t rely on my memory of what my mentor told me before he died in 2017. I felt lonely. I wasn’t holding myself accountable. And my business was growing faster than I could keep up with it. 

So we set goals and I had my marching orders. 

And goals were not only met, but exceeded. 

If you need recommendations for business coaches, reach out to me. I’ve networked and worked with dozens and dozens of business coaches across the US. Here are some of my favorite people:

Year 3, Here We Come!

In my mentor’s words, let me show you why you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur so that you see the true value in entrepreneurship. It’s the most difficult job in the world, but it’s also the most rewarding job. At the end of year 2, FocusCopy is now supporting 5 families and has written for over 50 brands across the US and Canada. 

With our third year in front of us, I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead, helping even more businesses grow, and connecting with others who are on the same crazy path of entrepreneurship.

small business crisis communications plan

Why You Need A Small Business Crisis Communications Plan

You wouldn’t believe it now with blue skies and 70ºF weather, but just one week ago, Texas was covered with snow and ice.

Not only did this arctic blast cause everything to freeze, it resulted in catastrophic power outages, frozen (and burst) water pipes, and less than stellar cell service. 

All of our remote team either lost power for at least 24 hours and had very unreliable water. By Thursday, only 40% of our team had reliable Internet access – which is critical for our business. 

We don’t state this for pity, but this type of event happens all the time around the world. 

Now that we’ve defrosted, we’re here to share what we did (and wish we would have done) in regards to our small business crisis communications plan.  You too can be prepared for the next crisis – whatever that might be!

Why You Need A Small Business Crisis Communications Plan

You can’t control the crisis – whether it’s a natural disaster, local emergency, or personal crisis. It may happen completely unexpectedly or you’ll have a couple days heads up. In our case, we had a couple days to prepare. While we prepped by acquiring enough food and water for a couple days, we didn’t anticipate losing power or cell service for several days. 

Instead of thinking on the fly, read on to discover 4 reasons why you need a small business crisis communications plan. 

It Shows You Are Proactive

Your clients want to know that you’re looking out for their best interests. That means seeing what is coming at them! They too may be stressed about the upcoming storm or emergency, or they may be oblivious to what’s going on in the world. 

Give them one variable they can control by controlling it for them. Send communications to display your proactive approach. They’ll not only appreciate that, but they’ll begin to associate proactiveness with your brand. 

It Communicates Why You’ve Ghosted Them

There’s nothing like losing power and not being able to get in contact with your clients or the people you were supposed to meet with that day. Instead of being in that position, give them an explanation ahead of time if you cannot attend the meeting. They are much more willing to be forgiving if they know what’s going on. 

Don’t be the person that stands them up! 

P.S. If you don’t have cell signal, you can say “no” on the calendar event and put a short note. That seemed to work when text or email wouldn’t. When you regain signal, then send them an email to reschedule and apologize for your absence. 

It Preps Them For The Worst Case Scenario 

Just in case your entire electrical grid shuts down, you’ve already done the work to prepare your clients on the worst case scenario – not being able to deliver or communicate with them. 

It Helps You Identify Who You Need To Contact

When you have a plan, you are less likely to forget anyone you need to contact. Those individuals may include:

  • Clients
  • Vendors
  • Employees
  • Community
  • Management

What You Need To Include In Your Small Business Crisis Communications Plan

So while there are some emergencies that you cannot anticipate (i.e. volcano eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.), there are others that you absolutely know are coming. Days ahead of the winter storm Texas experienced last week, meteorologists tried their best to let everyone know it was coming. 

We stocked up on food and water, wrapped our pipes, and got all our blankets out. While we thought we had prepared, we didn’t anticipate widespread power outages. 

Client Alert

This is something that we personally failed to do with our clients before the storm rolled in (and something we’re mitigating for next time). But alert your clients of what to expect over the next couple of days. That may include what to expect, what you’re doing to be prepared, next steps, and well wishes. 

If we were to do it all over again, we would have sent out the email below between Friday and Sunday – before the storms rolled in Sunday evening. This allows them to expect that our company is going dark during the crisis. 

Dear Valued Clients,

Over the next few days, our remote team in Texas is hunkering down for the “winter storm of the century”. While we don’t know what that actually entails, we fully anticipate our response time will be delayed (due to us being frozen, of course). If the storm results in a worst case scenario – i.e. power outages – we will update you on your revised deliverable schedule.

If you do have an emergency or need to get in contact with me, please text me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX. Our connectivity may be limited with potential power outages. I will do my best to respond as I am able to.

Thank you for your understanding and patience during this storm.

Stay warm and safe out there!

If things aren’t as bad as the weather reports said it was going to be, then you can come in and surprise them!

AutoResponders To Personal Emails

The next thing you need to consider putting in your small business crisis communications plan is an autoresponder. Have your entire team set their out of office notifications to indicate the same message that was sent out to all of your client base. 

Here is what I sent out: 

Thank you so much for your email!

Due to the extreme weather in Houston and the rolling black-outs, our response time may be delayed. Thank you for your patience as we wait to get back online.

If you need immediate assistance, please text me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX. Otherwise, I will respond to your email as soon as possible.

Stay warm!

Client Warnings

After losing power and cell service for 22 hours, I got antsy. I knew we were fast approaching deadlines and I could do nothing about it. So the very next day when I got power back (at 3am), I rattled off several client emails warning them that this may happen again. 

Dear Valued Clients, 

You may have seen it on the news or be experiencing it for yourself, but the winter storm impacting Texas (and especially Houston) has greatly impacted our team’s ability to work on your deliverables and be in contact with you. Our entire team has either had no power or unreliable power over the last 48+ hours. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we navigate this unusual occurrence. 

Once we are out of this storm, I’ll provide an update on your deliverables.

If you do have an emergency or need to get in contact with me, please text me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX. Our connectivity is limited, so I will do my best to respond as I am able to. 

Stay warm and safe out there!

Start Preparing Your Small Business Communications Plan Today

While this is not an exhaustive list or may not address the crisis you anticipate undergoing, we do hope this was helpful to put into your communications arsenal. Send us a note if you have any questions or comments at info@focuscopy.com.

Until next time… Enjoy this beautiful weather!

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. 

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. 

Copyright vs Copywriting

Copyright vs Copywriting: What’s the Difference?

We’ve been excited to write about this topic for a while. When networking with business owners, the question usually asked after “what do you do?” is… “So do you protect what you write?” Of course, we then actually spell out RIGHT vs WRITE to start explaining what we do. So what’s the difference between copyright vs copywriting?

Difference Between Copyright vs Copywriting 

Copyright vs copywriting… 2 words that sound the same when spoken have completely different definitions and purposes. We’ll try and keep this explanation as simple as possible.

When you strip the terms down to fundamentals, they are both processes. 

Copyright protects an item of value. It’s usually common with authorship of website copy, novels, or music.

On the other hand, copywriting is the process of creating something of value that an organization can use to promote the product/service, grow the business, and/or even make it more efficient or business-optimized. 

Let’s dive a little deeper…

What is Copyright? 

Copyright is “the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (such as a literary, musical, or artistic work).”

Merriam-Webster

In the U.S., Copyright law has its foundations in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, granting Congress the power to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”. The first original works protected by copyright were in 1790. Copyrights were later registered with and monitored by the U.S. Library of Congress. The federal Copyright Office was established as a separate entity to the Library of Congress in 1897.

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, a copyright provides legal protection for works of original authorship which are “fixed in any tangible medium of expression.”  This means that the work to be copyrighted must be in a form in which it can be perceived by others, either directly, or with the use of a device.

(If you need an attorney to help you with copyright or trademark, we have trusted individuals that can help you out. Contact us to connect with one of our trusted referral partners.)

So there it is… 

In layman’s terms, this means that if an organization wants to keep legal ownership of something it has created that is “fixed in any tangible medium of expression”, they must copyright it. Essentially, this means going through a registration process – similar in principle to registering a patent for intellectual property.

What Copyright Protects

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright covers both published and unpublished works. So, FocusCopy holds the copyright to this blog!

A copyright is a legal device that gives the creator of a literary, artistic, musical, or other creative work the sole right to publish and sell that work. Copyright owners have the right to control the reproduction of their work, including the right to receive payment for that reproduction. An author may grant or sell those rights to others, including publishers or recording companies. When someone violates a copyright, it is an infringement.

  1. Copyright protects the expression of an idea or vision, not the idea itself. In legal terminology, this concept is called the idea-expression dichotomy. It has been an important feature of legal reasoning related to copyright. Ideas, procedures, processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles, and discoveries are not within the scope of copyright protection work.
  2. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed. 
  3. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment someone creates the work. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. copyright.

Copyright vs Trademark

So what’s the difference between copyright vs trademark? Isn’t copyright a trademark? 

No, copyright protects original works of authorship. Whereas, a trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.

What does this mean for you?

Again, in layman’s terms, any documents, website design, website content, sales materials, internal procedures, etc., that your business creates are wholly owned by you. No other party has any implicit rights or ownership of the material. So your organization can and should copyright your material.

(We are not attorneys or qualified to provide a legal opinion. If you need an attorney, we have several that we can introduce you to.)

How to Copyright Your Materials

So what should you do to copyright your materials as defined previously? Quite simply, unless you think you are likely to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. copyright against someone, include a copyright symbol © and copyright ownership statement in the document (e.g. © 2020, Your-company-name. All rights reserved.).

Of course, you should secure legal advice on the exact wording for your company.  The previous text was simply provided as an example; it may not be legally sound for your location or company.

What is Copywriting? 

Copywriting is a comprehensive process from planning to conceptualization of advertisements and marketing campaigns (including text that appears on websites, in emails, internal marketing,  press releases, etc.). In the past, copywriting was a purely in-house job for a company with many companies employing gifted or highly talented writers.

However, since the tech-boom of 2000, or even a little before, the demand for tech writers and copywriters far outstripped their supply. The education system could not meet our demand for writers as many student’s focus shifted to jobs where they could make money and get rapid pay rises (i.e. technical, engineering, numerical and financial jobs). This left a vacuum.

As with all job-related vacuums, something always appears to fill the void.

In this case, outsourcers and freelancers across the globe filled the void. Some of the copy they write is terrible (just look at instruction manuals for inexpensive and sometimes even expensive electronics goods), and some copy is great. But mostly, it is average.

Today, organizations are looking for great copy.

Why?

Because they realize it helps drive and accelerate their company’s sales and growth. This is why copywriting services, like FocusCopy, thrive. It’s also why companies, more than ever before, are prepared to pay for great copy. But it doesn’t make it any easier to write!

Copywriting Scope

The scope of a piece of copy is critical to the quality, applicability, and usefulness of the copy. Often, the scope is ill-defined. An ill-defined scope for a piece of copy may result in copy being provided that is…  

  1. Not applicable to where it will be seen (i.e. in print, or on the Internet); the writers use different writing styles that work in one media but not the other
  2. Too technical, or not technical enough
  3. Inconsistent, often making the reader wonder what is going on with the company
  4. Written for the wrong audience and not providing what the real audience for the copy is expecting

These are key considerations that the copywriter (internal or external) must know prior to touching their keyboard.

Remember, contrary to many documents that organizations create, design your copy to sell. This means it should be…

  1. Concise. Attention spans are getting shorter; your copy needs to make your customer want to read more in about 8 seconds of reading time – maybe 2 or 3 sentences at most. In other words, the copy must communicate more using fewer words, yet still be clearly understandable
  2. Focused. To achieve #1, it needs a hook that demands more attention
  3. Engaging. To achieve #2, the hook must be unavoidable; if you succeed in #2, they must bite on the hook
  4. Convincing. Convince the customer to buy from YOU, not the other guys; now they are on the hook, you have more time to convince your customer and make them very comfortable with buying from you

Traditional Copywriting vs Technical Writing

Although we often link copywriting to sales and marketing activities, some copywriters, who have a technical bias, often do technical writing. What’s the difference between traditional copywriting vs technical writing?

  • Copywriters write to sell
  • Technical writers write to explain
  • Technical copywriters do both

Regardless of whether the copy author is a trained copywriter or a technical writer, neither will successfully create the document your company needs without a tightly defined statement of scope for the copy.

Copy Ownership

As stated above, ownership of the copyright on the copy belongs to the author and their employer (as this is usually a legal agreement in their terms of employment). 

So if you use an outsourcing company to create copy for you, who owns the copyright on the copy?

This can and perhaps should be a discussion you have with your legal team. 

Require the ownership of the copy to be spelled out clearly and unambiguously in the terms and conditions you sign with your outsourced copywriter/copywriting company. 

While different copywriters may have a different opinion, FocusCopy transfers the ownership of the copy to the buyer after it’s completed. But this is something you should verify with your copywriter.

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