Why don’t you write more value-added content for your audience?
It’s not because you don’t know how to write in a specific format.
And it’s definitely not because you don’t have the knowledge. After all, there are plenty of resources out there for you to use and learn from – including a bunch from FocusCopy!
The reason why many people – maybe you – tend to get stuck when writing content is because they are battling a little thing called… Imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is when a person doubts their accomplishments and skills, and as a result, becomes afraid that they aren’t good enough.
This is one of the most common roadblocks that prevents entrepreneurs from being consistent (especially in their content production). They fall into thinking they are not smart enough to be an expert in their story and become frozen with fear of being inadequate or being called out as a fake.
I’m a young copywriter, have only been in the business for just over a year, and are working with 30+ year old businesses. By all means, it would be easy for me to see myself as an imposter – except that I know my skills and what results my skills they can provide my clients.
We all experience imposter syndrome at one point or another in our careers. But if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, face it head on and defeat it before it defeats you!
Practical Methods to Defeat Imposter Syndrome
Here are some practical methods to defeat imposter syndrome, so you can start regaining your confidence to write more content consistently.
1. Identify What the Lie is
The first step to overcoming imposter syndrome is to identify what the lie is. What is the lie circling your thoughts that is holding you back and making you feel like an imposter?
These can be thoughts like…
“I’m not the best [insert your profession].”
“Who am I to say I’m an expert? I’m not an expert.”
Figure out what you’re telling yourself, and write it down.
2. Figure Out If That’s Truth
Once you’ve identified those imposter thoughts, interrogate them! Figure out if there is any truth in them.
For example, my lie could be… “I am not really a copywriting expert.”
Yes, there are thousands of copywriters around the world. However, I’ve been studying copywriting for 5 years, digital marketing for 6 years, business for 7 years, and have loved writing since I was in elementary school. I also know that my clients are pleased with my work and my team’s work. In client meetings, I’m able to give advice without struggling to find words to say.
There will always be people in your field that are “better” than you; however, your experience is yours. No other person can buy your experience and use it as theirs – it’s yours and yours alone. That’s what makes you an expert.
Do you have clients that are paying you right now?
Are you working hard to improve your skills?
What does your client expect from you, and are you meeting those expectations?
The truth is, most of the time, your clients don’t need you to know everything. They just need someone to listen and give them a solution.
Look for examples of how you have done that in the past and how you continue to put in the work to improve those skills for the future. Then you’ll have the evidence you need to know that you’re not an imposter.
3. Preach To Yourself The Truth
Now that you’ve unveiled the truth behind those pesky imposter syndrome lies, you’ll have to make sure that you don’t forget it.
Write it down on a post-in note, and stick it to your computer monitor.
Recite it to yourself every morning and every time those lies sneak into your mind.
Ask your colleagues, friends, or family to remind you of the truth.
Over time, you won’t need that post-it note; your success will reinforce that you are not an imposter. You are the real deal.
Tackle The Lies Imposter Syndrome Tells You
So now that you practically know how to defeat imposter syndrome, it’s time to tackle the lies imposter syndrome tells you.
Other People Have Had More Success.
Yes, other people may have had more success than you. But you don’t know the number of failures they worked through to get their success. You cannot compare your story to another person’s story.
Instead of comparing successes, compare your personal and professional growth. Where were you a year, 5 years, 10 years ago? Have you grown?
Truth: Our success comes from our ability to overcome our failures.
Think about Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb… Few people consider Thomas Edison to be a failure. But when asked how he felt about his lightbulb tests failing 1000 times, he simply retorted “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The lightbulb was simply an invention with 1,000 steps”. He didn’t consider test failures as a reflection on him and his work, simply as steps to the final solution that worked.
Do People Really Want To Hear What I’m Saying?
One of our clients built an incredible digital course in the health and wellness arena this year. There are many other courses in her specific arena, yes. But I kept reminding her that her background is so unique and she has a message she needs to share with the world.
Truth: Someone wants and needs to hear your story; no one else can copy your stories.
There are 7 billion people in this world!! Not everyone is gonna click, but SOMEONE will. YOUR approach to it and the knowledge you bring is completely different and unique!
What If Something Bad Happens?
Something bad will happen. Already in 2020, we’ve experienced (and are still experiencing) a pandemic, a social revolution, and a hurricane season that’s ravaged many communities.
In all these “bad things”, you may also respond wrongly. You’re going to respond poorly at something. No one is perfect. And as long as you release those perfectionist tendencies, you’re going to break free of your imposter syndrome.
When those moments happen, are you willing to own up to your mistakes and right your path forward?
Truth: Bad things are gonna happen, but it’s how you respond that’s going to make an impact.
People don’t necessarily want to see people who have it all put together. They are tired of the put-togetherness social media paints for them. They want to see the carpal tunnel from writing too much, bags under eyes, owning to up mistakes, and messy buns. That stuff is inevitable and REAL. For even more tips, check out my blog post on how to ease anxiety during content production.
Is your website leaving the right first impression with your audience?
First impressions are the key to sparking interest in your brand. When potential customers stumble upon your webpage, their decision to stay or leave will happen in seconds… And it all relies on your above the fold website copy.
In this blog, I’ll go over what needs to be above the fold on your site to grab your audience’s attention, make a great first impression, and increase your engagement and conversion rates.
Above the Fold vs Below the Fold
The concept of above the fold website copy stems from the pre-digital era of communication – back in the days when everyone bought newspapers. Since newspapers were folded in half and put out for sale, passerbys would only see whatever was above the fold. The content above the fold had to entice people to buy the paper, without even picking it up. It had to convince people to buy with just a quick glance.
Above the Fold Definition
So what is considered “above the fold” when it comes to your web content? Above the fold website copy is any content that appears on the top half of your website when someone first arrives at the URL, without any scrolling or clicking.
Here is an example of what our website looks like above the fold:
As you might imagine, what content falls above the fold depends on screen size. Not everyone has the same sized computer monitors. Plus, people are accessing the Web through tablets and smartphones now too.
Here is what website visitors see above the fold when they are viewing on mobile:
So how can you figure out what falls above the fold on your website?
You can get a good estimate by using your website’s analytics program to find out what the most common screen dimensions are for your visitors. Then, you can use the average screen height as a guide for where the website “fold” is.
Below the Fold Definition
The majority of your website is below the fold. This is anything that is not initially visible when someone first arrives at your site. Visitors will only get to see it once they start to scroll down the webpage.
For instance, everything that is below the red line here wouldn’t be seen unless the visitor was curious enough to keep exploring the webpage.
Since a majority of your content may be below the fold, you want to lead your customers there! Let’s talk about how you can take full advantage of your above the fold website copy to do just that.
4 Requirements for Above the Fold Website Copy
To capture your audience’s attention, the above the fold copy on your website needs to:
Target the customer
Identify the problem
Introduce the major benefit
Call to action
1. Target the Customer
When it comes to making a powerful first impression in the real world, eye contact and addressing the person by name play a huge role. To achieve the same effect virtually on your webpage, make sure your above the fold copy targets the customer.
So what does copywriting that targets the customer actually look like?
Call them out. The most straightforward way to target the customer is to acknowledge them by name in your copy. For example, Scalable opens with “Attention all Founders & CEOs”.
Speak their language. Use words and phrases that your target audience is familiar with. Don’t be afraid to use jargon or slang if your target customer knows the terms. It shows that you’re speaking directly to them in their own language. For example, Wilson Murphy Law’s about page perfectly addresses what her audience knows – that they don’t want copycats or poachers. This isn’t language that you would see leaving an attorney’s mouth. And that’s okay. Speak your audience’s language.
Focus on them. Make sure your above the fold website copy is focused on the customer rather than your business. To check how well your copy does this, see if you use “You” about twice as often as you use “We”. Notice how Elementor doesn’t talk about themselves – they talk about “you”.
2. Identify the Problem
Targeting the customer will grab their attention. After that, you’ll only have a few seconds to engage their curiosity by identifying a problem they are experiencing.
Sometimes, your customer won’t even realize they are experiencing a problem until you bring it to their attention. Once the customer realizes the problem (and if the problem is important enough to them), they’ll continue to scroll down your website to find your solution.
What kinds of problems is your target customer experiencing?
According to Harvard Business Review, customers have 4 main kinds of problems they need solutions for. Let’s talk about the two major problems most businesses should address in their above the fold website copy: functional and emotional problems.
Functional problems are the most common type of challenge your customers will experience. These are problems that have an impact on their practical day-to-day functioning.
This can include things like:
Not having enough time to accomplish a certain task
Not making enough money
Something is too complicated or unorganized
A product or service they currently use lacks quality or variety
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that your customer is human! It may seem obvious, but so many businesses overlook this crucial fact. Because you’re writing for humans, you can also address emotional problems that they might be experiencing, like:
Experiencing heightened anxiety
Missing the past or feeling nostalgic
Feeling exhausted or burnt out
Now, your above the fold copy doesn’t have to include every problem that your target customer is facing. In fact, it shouldn’t! You only have a limited amount of space and a short amount of time when it comes to above the fold content. Instead, your above the fold website copy should highlight the main problem that is most disruptive for your target customer. Then discuss the solution your company offers.
3. Introduce the Major Benefit
Once you’ve targeted the customer and identified their problem, you can’t stop there! The next piece you have to include is an introduction to the major benefit your company offers to solve the customer’s problem.
Here are some strategic ways to introduce the major benefit to your customer:
Stand out among competition. Introduce a benefit that is unique to your company by creating a unique selling proposition. What does your company offer that others don’t?
Use your brand voice. When you’re introducing customers to the major benefit, you’re also introducing them to your brand. Make sure your above the fold copy reflects your brand’s personality by creating a brand voice.
Show the stats. Quantify just how much time and money they’ll save, or how much variety/quality they will gain. Try using infographics that are eye-catching and easy to read at a glance.
Tap into emotions. Think about how you want your customer to feel after they have access to your product and reflect that in your writing.
4. Call to Action
Finally, your above the fold website copy won’t be complete without a call to action.
If you’ve structured your above the fold content with everything we’ve discussed so far, your target customer will be ready to (at the very least) learn more about your products and services.
Make it as easy as possible to do that – without any scrolling or navigating by adding a call to action button above the fold.
Here are some call to action ideas to include above the fold:
Free offer. Offer free content, sample products, free trials, or consultations in exchange for an email sign-up.
Learn more. Link to a page where customers can learn more about your products or see a demo of your services.
Get started. Lead your customers directly to your product/service description page where they can sign-up, enroll, or make a purchase.
Let’s talk. Take your customers to your contact page or a place where they can schedule an appointment with someone from your team.
Feel free to get creative with the words you use in your buttons/links/call to actions.
When choosing a call to action, keep your website visitors’ familiarity with your brand in mind. If you’re a new company and visitors might not be familiar with your brand, opt for a free offer or a link to learn more.
On the other hand, your call to action should look different if you’re a well-established company and a majority of your website visitors are already familiar with your brand. In this case, you’ll do better to have a call to action that gets customers started or puts them in touch with your team.
Start Writing Your Above The Fold Copy
With all of these guidelines in mind, remember that the space above the fold on your website is limited. Many companies struggle to fit in all of the key elements without overcrowding the space. If you want help writing clean and effective above the fold website copy that reflects your brand, FocusCopy can help with that! We help businesses increase their conversion rates just by adjusting their copy. For more copywriting tips, subscribe to our Insider’s List here.
Right now, your company needs to invest in SEO – especially if you’re struggling.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. And SEO is what improves your ability to grow your traffic organically (free traffic). After you have your traffic on your website, then it’s only a matter of converting that traffic into customers.
You don’t need to be an expert to start making improvements! In this blog, I’ll go over 12 tips for great SEO copywriting that you can implement without an SEO specialist.
What is SEO Copywriting?
SEO copywriting is a style of writing that prioritizes humans, while still keeping SEO in mind. SEO copywriting seeks to achieve the perfect balance between writing for visibility and writing to create genuine engagement with your audience.
SEO Copywriting vs. SEO
Why does SEO Copywriting beat out SEO when it comes to writing strategically online?
When writing purely for SEO, you will sound mechanical. It sends a message that you’re writing for an algorithm that places your copy higher in the search list rather than engaging with and selling to your audience.
Remember, Google doesn’t pay you – humans do!
Why SEO Copywriting Needs to be a Bigger Priority
So, if humans are the priority, why do we need SEO at all?
The truth is, well written content still needs to be found by search engines. And in order for that to happen, SEO should still be kept in mind while writing. Striking a balance through SEO copywriting will ensure that your content is valuable for your audience and easy to find.
Before we get into tips for SEO copywriting, let’s go over a few SEO strategies to keep in mind.
Types of SEO Strategies
SEO copywriting usually refers to on-page SEO; however, it would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the different types of SEO strategies that companies need to pay attention to.
On-Page SEO refers to the things that you include on a web page to drive organic traffic and increase visibility. This helps your audience find you more quickly through a Google search.
Black hat – stuffing keywords in a nonsensical way into your content just to rank. Avoid this like the plague.
White hat – including a typical amount of keywords into your content, but not overdoing it.
As the names suggest, white hat is the ethical approach to on-page SEO. Black hat methods might help your page get a higher SERP ranking, but your audience won’t stay on your page long if your content is nonsensical keyword soup.
On-page SEO requires extra copy development time to achieve and maintain consistency. If you’re starting from scratch, expect 3-6 month time lag before you see results. The best way to get started is to write content – like blogs – on a regular schedule (weekly or bimonthly).
Technical SEO refers to your website’s backend settings that make it function optimally for the user. This ties into the overall experience that your audience has when interacting with your content.You are trying to make it easy for your audience to navigate your website.
If you ever clicked on a link because the headline seemed spot-on for what you were searching for, but then the website…
Took forever to load
Wasn’t optimized for mobile viewing
Was difficult to navigate
Seemed like spam because of the URL
… You probably left within seconds. The average user’s attention span is under 5 seconds per click (unless they find what they are looking for).
Even if the headline of a web page is a perfect match for your search, you’ll only stay if the website looks safe, easy, and organized.
Off-page SEO refers to the things you do outside of your website to draw attention to it. It helps your audience decide if they can trust your website and determine if it is an authority among its competitors.
Think about how you approach hiring talent for your company. Many people might apply for the position with the skills you’re looking for. But an applicant with several beaming references and a successful work history will stand out the most, and you’d be more likely to trust them than Joe Schmoe.
Similarly, off-page SEO is like having “references” for your company’s website that helps build trust online.
12 Tips for Great SEO Copywriting That You Can Implement Without An SEO Specialist
Now that you have several SEO strategies you can implement without an SEO specialist, let’s talk about how to combine them with copywriting for an optimized SEO copywriting approach.
1. Genuinely Communicate With Your Audience
Prioritize a strong connection with your audience by writing genuinely – not robotic. Not only will authentic communication provide better value for them, but it can be beneficial for your company’s SERP ranking too…
“When you’re writing for humans, search rankings will rise because bounce rates will be lower and time-on-site will be higher. It’s all about the user experience.”
It’s a win-win. Search engines use metrics like bounce rate and the time spent on a given page in their algorithm to rank your website.
2. Don’t Be Spammy
If it sounds like spam, it probably is. Avoid writing content that looks like spam. If your content looks like spam, people will be less likely to stay on your site. Avoid using…
Black hat SEO approaches. Don’t stuff your content with keywords. Your audience can spot unethical approaches from a mile away (even if they don’t know what they are looking at), and this will reflect negatively on your brand.
Stock images in your blog posts. Instead, opt for images that are uniquely yours (e.g. photos of yourself, your products, or services). You can even include your own screenshots for how-to’s. Schedule a brand photoshoot to create your own photos.
Above all, if the copy sounds or looks spammy, change it.
3. Use Practical URLs
Another way to avoid having your content mistaken for spam is to use practical URLs. Best search results have URLs between 50-60 characters long and a top-level domain (TLD) of ‘.com’. Bypass gibberish symbols and letters; they can imply there is something shady or you are trying to hide something.
Instead, include logical, intuitive URLs that are associated with the content of your webpage. Not only will this help your website look more legitimate, but it will also portray your company as being logical and organized.
For example, the slug – the phrase that follows the domain in the URL – for this page is https://focuscopy.com/seo-copywriting-tips. You can expect to learn SEO copywriting tips in this blog. But if the slug was https://focuscopy.com/6&sct12, you would have no clue what to expect. It may be exactly the same as the first page, but it may also be a scam – you can’t tell.
4. Have an SSL Certificate
While we’re on the topic of URLs, another great SEO copywriting tip is to have an SSL certificate.
Users will see “https://” in the URL, which lets them know your website is safe with:
Another way to practice effective SEO copywriting is by covering topics comprehensively. It increases the quality value that your audience receives from your content, helping you stand out among the competition.
Try using content splintering to be more comprehensive in your writing. When you’re more comprehensive about a specific subset of a topic, you will be more targeted and have more opportunities to crosslink to other blogs or pages.
Ideally, you should use keywords that are broad enough to reach your target audience and specific enough to stand out from the crowd. Above all, make sure your keywords resonate with your audience.
For example, suppose you’re a CPA based in Boise, Idaho who wants to start marketing your services as tax season rolls around. Here are two keyword approaches you could take:
SEO: “tax CPA boise idaho”
SEO Copywriting: “tax and accounting help in boise”
SEO alone includes long-tail keywords with the goal of ranking top of an SERP.
On the other hand, the SEO copywriting approach includes keywords that your target audience would actually use in a search. You’ll maximize visibility while centering your audience.
7. Incorporate Relevant Headers
Relevant headers are a staple of SEO copywriting. They make your page easier for your audience to read and enable search engines to readily parse (understand) what your page is about. Make sure your headers are relevant by…
Incorporating keywords or keyword synonyms
Including calls to action
Making them readable
8. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Viewing
Today, many people access web content through their smartphones. Ensure their mobile experience is as effortless as possible by making your site mobile friendly. You don’t want your audience to lose patience trying to find what they need.
Optimize your website for mobile viewing by…
Resizing text and images
Restructuring page formats
Creating an easy-to-use navigation bar
9. Make Your Content Easy to Share
Make your content easily shareable to social media platforms with a customized preview image, SEO title, slug, and meta description. This is what it looks like when you use the Yoast SEO plugin.
For example, here’s what it looks like when someone shares a FocusCopy blog on their Facebook page.
10. Establish Backlink Equity
Backlink equity is an SEO Copywriting approach that leverages off-page SEO. It helps your site establish trust and authority online. Build a variety of backlinks. Examples of potential backlink opportunities include:
Publications on reputable .gov, .edu, or .org website
11. Build a Backlink Network
Don’t stress out if you can’t get published on a large, reputable site. Try creating partnerships with other companies and build pages or posts to refer traffic to them. It’s all about building a backlink network.
Since COVID-19 has been difficult for many of our friends and clients, we wrote several blog posts to create backlinks to their websites. Check those posts out here:
Linking isn’t just an off-page SEO strategy. It’s also fantastic for on-page SEO copywriting too. Here’s how cross-linking works…
Imagine you have a huge mansion with many bedrooms, ballrooms, and more. But you walk in and realize there are no doors. You can’t explore the other rooms. So you turn around and walk right out – there is nowhere for you to go! The mansion is useless.
But you’re a smart person and put doors between each room. So your guests can come into your fancy mansion, go from one from one room to another, and get lost in the beauty and splendor of your palace.
The same is true of your website. Google and your audience needs to be captivated and get lost in the different sections of your site. Cross link your pages or posts so they can move around and even go back to places they’ve already been.
So there you have it – 12 great tips for SEO copywriting that you can implement without an SEO specialist. However, we understand that writing isn’t for everyone. If you’d rather hire an expert to do your content writing for you, reach out to our FocusCopy team.
Blogging isn’t just for beauty influencers and foodies. It’s 2020, and the most competitive companies in all industries have blogs associated with their businesses.
Never considered blogging before? Well, you might be missing out on some major growth opportunities!
If you feel behind in the blogging scene, don’t worry. I’ll go over the 8 major oversights content writers should avoid when blogging, so you can start blogging like a pro.
PLUS right now is an optimal time to invest in a blog for your business.
Because many of us are at home, tuned into our preferred devices. Your audience is at attention. Strategically, if you’re looking for growth in the next 6 months, you need to start working now by investing in and increasing your organic traffic.
What is Blogging?
Before we get into the 8 major oversights content writers should avoid when blogging, let’s break down what blogging entails.
A blog is a collection of content available on a website or social media profile (like LinkedIn). It’s a log of a company’s insights, knowledge, experience, and tips for readers.
Encourages your customers to realize that you have something valuable to offer – Value-Added Information
Drives new customers to your company without paid advertising – Organic Traffic
Why is Blogging Important for Your Overall Marketing Strategy?
Whether it’s a written, video, or visual log, a blog is important for your overall marketing strategy. At its core, marketing is a way to warm up your prospects in order to convert them into sales. In the digital world, marketing is also what converts leads into customers.
A strong marketing strategy cultivates a relationship between your customers and your company. And this is essentially what blogs are built to do! They create trust and familiarity through consistent and valuable communication.
And it’s not just a one-way street. Blogging doesn’t just create an opportunity for your company to share insights and stories with prospects; it also allows your customers to share their stories and experiences too – through comments. In other words, you have the ability to advertise and conduct market research, all in one place.
8 Major Oversights Content Writers Should Avoid When Blogging
Now that you understand the value blogging will have for your business, let’s talk about how you can approach it like a professional. Here are 8 major oversights content writers should avoid when blogging.
1. Not Breaking Through Your Writer’s Block
Most clients come to us for 1 of 2 reasons:
They hate writing. Writing well can take time, and not everyone has the patience for it.
They take forever to write. Some people get stuck staring at a blank page or writing and rewriting things to no end.
To start a blog, you’ll have to write regularly. Many content writers don’t expect to run into writer’s block. If and when it hits, they’re stuck! Don’t give up. Breaking through writer’s block is a key skill for successful content writing.
Some writers just write in a flow. That’s alright, but if you want to write strategically, always start with an outline.
Creating an outline before you start writing will help you…
Write faster. Once the structure of your blog is there, it’s easier to fill in the blanks.
Organize your thoughts. You’ll avoid veering off course from your intended topic and ensure you’re not covering too much in one post.
Increase your SEO. When you have structured headings and subheadings for your blog posts that use similar keywords or SEO synonyms, it’s easier for search engines to detect the topic of your blog and direct people to it based on their search.
Here’s an example of what an organized outline can do for your final product.
The final product:
4. Not Showing Some Personality
A blog post isn’t a formal document. People don’t want to read something dry– even if the topic is “boring”. They want to read something entertaining!
In the past, I’ve written blogs for CFOs about financial forecasting using an example of Hooters girls. Show some personality in your writing. It breaks the ice.
5. Not Narrowing Down Your Focus
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Likewise, a single blog post cannot be all-encompassing. Don’t try to solve every problem or address every topic in your individual blog posts. Pick one small topic and cover it extremely well. This will have more value for your audience and encourage them to come back and read more…
If you envision your company’s blog covering several topics, you can create a tagging system. This lets you cover a range of topics across several blog posts in an organized way.
First, identify one major-topic. Narrow down that topic even more. Then get even more specific. You cannot provide real value on a given major-topic with just one blog – there’s simply too much information for a reader to digest at once; therefore, you need to get specific. Remember, blogs are not novels or dissertations, they are intended to be relatively small, quick to read, and easily absorbed by their audience.
Here are a couple of topic progressions to get you started.
Key Areas in Major Topic
Sub-Topic of Key Area
Specific Detail Related to Sub-Topic
Ways to make delicious coffee
French Press Best Practices
Launching a Blog
Oversights Content Writers Make When Blogging
6. Not Using Research To Defend Your Claims
An entertaining blog on its own might give your company some visibility. But when it comes to converting to sales, you’ll want to leverage some research in your writing.
As the saying goes, people tend to buy on emotion and justify the buy with logic. Compelling evidence to support your claims will underscore both the emotional and logical aspects of your pitch.
These can include…
Easy-to-read charts and graphs
7. Flat Out Plagiarizing
This goes without saying – don’t plagiarize. Cite all quotes and sources. No one wants to come off as unoriginal or deceiving. Your company will lower its credibility when your plagiarism is discovered (and it will be!).
Giving others credit where credit is due is the right thing to do and can be really helpful for your SEO! Include outbound links to sources in your blog posts.
8. Perfecting It So Much It Never Gets Published
A “perfect” blog post is never published because it’s never done. At some point, you just need to press “publish”. If you ever want to change anything, all you have to do is edit that content and update it.
Put yourself out there and see how your audience responds. Remember, your audience is looking for consistent and regular communication. Don’t trade perfectionism for building a relationship with your customers. They’ll be happier to hear from you regularly. If you don’t include something in your current blog, you can always write about it in the next blog. Just keep the content and communications flowing to your followers and customers.
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…
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.”
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?
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.
Be willing to create a routine with structured breaks, so you can take care of yourself and efficiently serve others.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).”
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.
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.
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.
Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.
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.
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.
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!
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…
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
Too technical, or not technical enough
Inconsistent, often making the reader wonder what is going on with the company
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…
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
Focused. To achieve #1, it needs a hook that demands more attention
Engaging. To achieve #2, the hook must be unavoidable; if you succeed in #2, they must bite on the hook
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.
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.
Implement Our Scalable SOP Framework & Scale Your Business Processes With Ease
become more process-oriented, productive, & focus on what moves the needle the furthest with this framework
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?)
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).
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).
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
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
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)
Guides (see below for what Jenna Kutcher put together)
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:
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!
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.
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
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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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?
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:
Wait until the CEO or founder of the company has time to write
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?
“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!)
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?