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Copywriting

how to improve your writing

How to Improve Your Writing Skills: A Guide By Professional Writers

For people who want to begin improving their writing, for personal or professional reasons, it can feel daunting sifting through all the different resources and “How-To” articles online. 

So, this guide aims to not only be useful for veteran writers who want to really hone their craft, but for entrepreneurs who want to write their business copy, and for anyone who’s just starting to put pen to paper.

10,000 Hours? There’s A Better Way to Become A Good Writer (Or How to Practice Deliberately) 

Have you ever heard that achieving mastery in a skill takes 10,000 hours? While putting 10,000 hours into anything will probably make you an expert, it isn’t exactly necessary for improving your writing skills. 

See, the quality of your practice techniques plays just as important of a role in your growth as the number of hours you dedicate to your skill. If you instead prioritize the skills that will help you see the biggest results from your efforts, you’ll become a better writer that much faster. 

Define Your Writing Goals: Get As Specific As Possible!

So, all this to say – define your goals! 

What kind of writing do you want to create? Are you just wanting to improve your email communication skills? Put together better blog articles? Rewrite your business’s website copy? Or simply learn how you’re feeling at the end of a long day? Of course, there are a lot of other writing goals you might have. But clearly defining these goals helps you create a plan of action. 

Once you have a goal in mind, try to go even deeper. For example, if you feel like you’re always looking for the right word, get familiar with a thesaurus. Or maybe you want to write stronger titles and subject lines. 

Whatever your goal may be, honing in on what you want out of your writing will not only motivate you to keep practicing, but it gives you a sense of direction. This means you can avoid the experience of overwhelm when you start Googling around. 

Are you a solopreneur looking for support in growing your business? Partner with FocusCopy! Together, we’ll explore your goals, eliminate your marketing roadblocks, and help you at each stage of your journey. Arrange to meet for a discovery call today

Adopt A Growth Mindset 

Before we go any further, let’s get the hard truth out of the way: there’s no magic bullet to becoming a master writer in a short amount of time. 

Spanx didn’t just become a $1.6 billion company overnight. It took 21 years to accomplish that. 

Like building a recognizable and valuable brand, becoming a better writer takes practice, time, and effort.

This isn’t to deter you from writing but instead is a gentle reminder that whatever you put into your writing is what you’ll receive out of it. 

So with that being said, embrace the journey! 

Try to accept that improving your writing won’t exactly happen overnight, but remind yourself that you WILL become a stronger writer as long as you keep showing up. By doing this, you’re equipping yourself with a powerful mindset – one that is invaluable for accomplishing your writing goals. 

Even though it’s discouraging at times to not progress as quickly as you’d like, that isn’t a reason to give up completely! A growth mindset acknowledges the reality that everyone grows at their own pace; and that any progress is far better than no progress at all. 

[Related: Tackle The Lies Imposter Syndrome Tells You]

It’s Better To Go Slow Than Fast 

When we want to learn a new hobby or skill, it’s tempting to dive headfirst into as many resources, learning materials, or books as we can. Eventually, your bookmark folders are so full of links and pages you don’t even know where to start. 

You load up on so much information that now it seems like there are too many paths open for you to take and it’s hard to nail the right one down. 

Well, this has a term: it’s called analysis paralysis. When you don’t know what option is best because there seems to be a plethora, your progress in the skill you’re working on slows down dramatically. 

But here’s the thing: you do want to go slow, but not because you’re spending all of your time trying to decipher what you should learn first. 

Consistent, daily efforts are the real goal here. So, try to start with a few strategies instead of many. 

How To Be Consistent

If you’re wanting to write the copy on your website, follow our how-to guide, and write thirty minutes to an hour each day for a week. 

The same goes for any form of writing, though. You’ll improve your writing much faster and more meaningfully if you choose just one thing to focus on each day rather than trying something new every time you sit down to write. While you do want to try new strategies, (more on this a little later), you need a solid foundation first. Practice specific skills every day, and you’ll see measurable results from your work as time goes on. This is another area where having clearly defined goals is also so important. 

When you try to do too much, it can feel overwhelming and impossible to get to the result you’re reaching for. Think about when you were in the high school band, played sports, or any other activity that required you to practice. 

If you were presented with a challenging piece of music, you might have initially been turned off from it completely or felt like you would never be able to learn it. But breaking the score down into smaller parts allowed you to slowly learn how to hit all the notes, tempo changes, and eventually, play the whole piece. 

Improving your writing skills is no different. 

Break it down, go slow, and you’ll be surprised how much your writing develops!  

Find A Writing Mentor 

Even if your mentor of choice is from the last century, studying the work of a writer you admire can have a profound effect on your growth. When you find a writer whose style you’re particularly drawn to, take a step back and think about what it is about their work that you find so enthralling. 

Do they make every word count? 

Can they seem to breathe life into the smallest of details? 

Does their writing light a fire inside of you? 

Whatever reason it may be, something is pulling you to their work. Try to uncover what it is, because once you figure it out, the reason speaks to what kind of writer you want to become. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing poetry, short stories, or putting together an email campaign for your eCommerce business – collecting samples of writing you love and that inspires you is key for not only your development as a writer, but for your motivation to keep showing up and putting words on a blank page. 

Understand Your Audience 

If your audience is just for you and you alone, then that’s okay! But if you’re writing for your own business, it’s helpful to understand who your audience is. Because once you know the language your audience speaks, you can write directly to them!

So, dedicating more time to studying your target audience’s problems, wants, and needs will give you a stronger foundation for writing copy that resonates.  

The Art of Self-Editing

While you could consider self-editing less important to improving your writing than, well, writing itself, self-editing is a fundamental skill every writer should hone. 

Editing your own work can be challenging. Mostly because as writers, we can be invisible to our blind spots. There might be areas where our writing falls short of our goals and expectations, or there are parts where we just aren’t as clear as we should be.

Learning how to self-edit is about teaching yourself where your weaknesses might be or showing you the places where you can improve and become a better writer that much more quickly. Because if we don’t know where we might be struggling, we could continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. So understanding where you are and where you can improve is like equipping yourself with a personalized manual on how to reach your writing success. It’s also helpful to remember that a first draft will almost always need refining. But you have to have a draft to start with first! 

How do you become a better self-editor? 

Read Your Writing Out Loud! 

Reading your writing aloud is perhaps the single best editing strategy a writer can practice. When you read your writing out loud, you catch punctuation or spelling errors much more easily, and of course, you can hear how your writing sounds. 

This is especially helpful because when you read something out loud, it’s almost as if you’re reading it as the reader and not the writer. It allows you to experience your writing with a fresh perspective. You’ll be able to catch where the writing sounds awkward or gets jumbled up or where sentences carry on far too long.

Print Out Your Writing 

If you mostly write using your computer and keyboard, try printing out your work. In the same way that reading aloud can give you another perspective on your writing, so can holding a physical copy of a document. 

Printing your work out allows you to make marks on the page, which engages your editing skills. It’s also an incredible tool for organizing your writing. Instead of scrolling up and down a page, cutting and pasting sections until they’re organized logically, being able to refer to each paragraph instantly can help you put the pieces together. 

Done Is MUCH Better Than Perfect 

Though self-editing is a great skill to pick up on as a writer of any level, try not to get too carried away with the revising process. It can be surprisingly easy to keep editing your work and rewriting sections, hoping to get everything just right – until you’ve spent much more time on the piece than you intended. 

So, all this to say, try to put in a hard deadline to finish the piece. 

That way, you’ll actually hit “Publish”! 

Write In A Different Genre Or Format

Challenging yourself to write something completely different is a great way to spark new inspiration and creativity. By branching out to different writing styles or content pieces, you could end up finding new ways to express yourself.

When you experiment with new genres, you’re actively broadening your writing knowledge. This allows you to pull from a variety of different styles to create unique pieces. And, this helps you refine your own style as well.

Need to produce a wide variety of content for your audience? From well-researched blogs to engaging email campaigns, FocusCopy can produce content that will build your community, and help scale your business. Contact us to learn more about our services

Read: The Real Secret to Improving Your Writing 

Reading is the number one habit any writer can practice to see their writing grow. No matter what kind of writing you want to improve in, there is content available to read! 

From movie scripts, literary novels, Social Media ads, promotional emails, and more, when you read the content you want to create, you’ll start to pick up on how different writers approach the writing process. You’ll also learn new words, refine your punctuation and grammar, and get a sense of how to create a writing voice. 

So, pick up a few books or start collecting pieces of writing that you like and save them for your reference! 

Hand-Copy To Learn Copywriting

When you were first learning how to draw, did you ever trace pictures? It can be a helpful tool for learning how to draw because you can get a sense of how to form shapes or lines. 

Well, hand-copying writing is very similar. When you hand-copy a piece of writing, the goal is to slow down and consider each word that the writer is using. 

This exercise is best done by hand with a pen and paper because writing by hand helps you remember the information you’re copying down. Think of hand-copying writing as a way of taking notes like you would in class.

Ready To Craft An Authentic Digital Storefront With FocusCopy?

Whether you’re building your business from the ground up or transitioning away from traditional brick and mortar to the online space, having a professional website is crucial to your success. With our website writing course, you’ll learn how to outline, brainstorm, and write copy for your website that connects with your target audience. Explore our resources here.

Focus Your Copy On Conversation & Conversion

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Write A Strong Hook

7 Steps To Write A Strong Hook In Your Copy To Keep Your Audience Engaged

Did you know your hook could be all it takes to capture your target audience’s attention, even if you don’t consider yourself a great writer?

In fact, all it takes is some creativity and keeping your readers at the forefront.

Whether you’re illustrating the pain points you can alleviate or sharing a personal story, you want to connect to your readers on a human level. This is what pushes that, “Oh my gosh, I totally relate!” sentiment to convert readers to paying customers.

Keep Readers’ Eyes On The Page With Intriguing Hooks

Writing content to promote your business isn’t always easy. But what’s even worse is if the people you’re writing for aren’t reading your copy. It’s frustrating, feels like a setback, and can get your mind spinning about what you should be doing differently. But sometimes, all you need is to rework your hook.

Need a little help coming up with the perfect hook? We can help craft a message specifically for your target audience.

What Is A Hook Anyways & Why Should I Care About It?

There’s a good chance you’ve heard the term “hook” in discussions about writing. It’s that opening line that keeps your eyes moving down the page to learn more. 

Otherwise, a swipe of the finger will have them reading or watching something else. And if they’re searching for something specific, you may have pushed them to move on to what your competitors are offering.

How To Write A Strong Hook Your Audience Wants To Read

The most important aspect in getting your message across is to write copy your audience actually wants to read. And we’re here to help you capture attention so you can continue spreading your message and growing your business. 

1. Speak To Your Ideal Clients Or Audience

Do you know who your ideal audience is?

These are the people your business is made for. 

They have problems that you can solve through your product or service. You saw a need and went into business to provide a solution. Now, all you have to do is get people to realize they don’t just need the product – they need your product. 

Suppose your business primarily targets women in executive positions. In that case, you may state, “As an ambitious woman busy crashing glass ceilings, is your life revolving around other people’s needs while you’re left with never-ending to-do lists?”

Here you’ve called out your target – ambitious women. And you’ve humanized their personal needs and let them know that you can relate. Any career-driven woman chasing ambitions on top of caring for children and running all the errands will be excited to read what life-changing solutions you are offering.   

2. Raise Eyebrows With Shocking Statistics Or Going Against The Grain

We’re not encouraging click-bait, but instead, consider how you can raise ‘brows by going against the grain. Something different, quirky, startling, or surprising that will set you apart from the tons of blogs and articles out there. 

In your search bar, simply type in your keyword + statistics (or stat or stats). Before you know it, you’ll have a variety of data to choose from. So find something relevant that speaks to your target audience, and it will lock in their attention to read past the first line of your copy. 

As an example, consider the many new, toxin-free cosmetic lines available in the U.S. Type in: toxic cosmetics + statistics = “Since 2009, 595 cosmetics manufacturers have reported using 88 chemicals, in more than 73,000 products, that have been linked to cancer, congenital disabilities, or reproductive harm.” If you were in the market for safer cosmetics and skincare, would you keep reading?

Don’t have time for research and writing? Find out how FocusCopy can take writing off your hands and help your business grow. 

3. Illustrate Pain Points That Alert Readers To A Threat Or Urgent Warning

Without realizing something was lacking in your industry, would you have started your business in the first place? The pain points in our lives are what drive innovations and new businesses. 

Don’t be afraid to push on those pain points to alert your readers to threats they need to know about. 

For instance, imagine you are selling umbrellas that wick away water and dry off quickly. Before and during hurricane season, you can warn your audience of upcoming bad weather. 

In this instance, your hook may be, “With a week’s worth of rain heading our way, don’t let a soggy umbrella soak everything in your purse and the floor of your office or home.” You are helping them with a heads up about the upcoming rain and offering a preemptive solution to their chronic, weather-related pain point.

4. Keep It Relevant & Confirm Beliefs

Sometimes with creativity also comes the need to reign it in!

You could have the catchiest phrase you’re dying to use, but if it’s not relevant – you may have fallen off course. After all, you need to keep the focus on what you’re offering and who would actually purchase your product or service.

Another proven method to make that needed emotional connection is to confirm your reader’s beliefs. Imagine you own a tire company but many of your potential customers don’t know what they need. 

You could write, “Tired of the tire salesman trying to frighten you into purchasing the most expensive set on their floor? We’re tired of watching our friends and family get scammed. That’s why we started TrustyTires. The only tire provider whose goals are to keep you safe and save you money.”

5. Factor In FOMO Worth FOMOing

The fear of missing out is such a universal feeling that the acronym FOMO caught on quickly and swept social media by storm.

There’s nothing like FOMO to get us googling. Whether or not we end up jumping on the bandwagon, we want to be in the know. 

So hit your audience with curiosity punches that will get them wondering, “What am I missing out on and how could finding out improve my life?”

Consider a super affordable wash and fold laundry service. For apartment dwellers who are paying $2-$3 per machine, this may come out to only an extra dollar or two more than what they’re spending on DIY laundry anyways. 

With so many people living in apartments, the benefits are bound to cause FOMO in jealous neighbors. Consider a hook similar to, “Are you wondering how your neighbor with kids has time to do everything and keep their house clean? Save time and your sanity by letting us take on the laundry so you can have more time to focus on what matters the most.”

Passing on the chore of laundry may be the most FOMO thing worth FOMOing about to your audience, so let them know!

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Personal & Vulnerable Through Storytelling 

Too many times, people only present the successes that came after their hardships. But that’s not the way to create an emotional connection with your audience. 

Is there a story behind your passion? Was it something that happened to you as a child? Or maybe in your previous career?

Don’t be afraid to get personal and share the vulnerabilities that got you where you are today. Whether that’s from a hard upbringing, challenges at a previous job, or just one day or instance when things weren’t great. More people can relate to your vulnerable side than your successful one. 

And maybe your story isn’t as heart-tugging as others you’ve heard, but that is ok! There are so many people in the world searching for someone to relate to their struggles. So be the voice to the voiceless and embrace how you got to where you are today.  

7. Back Up Statements You Portray As Facts

While this might be last on our list, it is certainly not the least. This is because your credibility is the most important thing you have to offer.

Shocking statements to grab your readers’ attention is great – but make sure you’re not falling away from any truths. Nowadays, fact-checkers are quick to call out anyone who even strays from the straight and narrow. 

Don’t let creativity take away from your credibility. Hook your target audience with vulnerable stories or surprising statistics. And most importantly, back up statements you are portraying as facts. Either with statistics, a quote directly from the source, or just owning your own truths. 

While this will protect your credibility, it will also help it grow. Wouldn’t it be great if your audience began using you as a source for what they need to know? Not only does this build brand awareness and loyalty, but all those extra clicks on your website won’t hurt either. 

Don’t Have The Time To Write Your Own Hooks & Copy? 

If getting into the groove of writing doesn’t fit in your busy schedule, FocusCopy can help. 

We help businesses in every stage identify their target audience. Then we craft copy to get the message across. From writing the hooks to closing the deals, your to-do list is overwhelming. Let the experts at FocusCopy do what we do best – helping businesses grow.

Ready to get back to focusing on what’s most important? Contact us today to get started.

Focus Your Copy On Conversation & Conversion

Let’s Grab A Virtual Coffee With Us To Discover How To Boost Your Words
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
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.

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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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Copy Toolkit

What You Need In Your Copy Toolkit To Write Effective Copy

If there is a process, an automation, or an easier way of doing something, then people will do it. Why? Because people naturally do not want to do more work than is required. 

Makes sense. 

Copywriting isn’t an easy task – even for us professionals. 

It requires creativity, effort, strategy, and time. 

That’s why many companies either hire a copywriting team like FocusCopy or avoid writing any copy at all. If it’s the latter, then they are usually so consumed in their business because they need to speak every word of copy. That also usually indicates that they are not able to grow their business beyond a certain point. 

Thankfully, there are a couple of tools that speed up the process (even by a couple of minutes). Before we get into the copywriting tools we use, what’s the copywriting process without any aids? 

What The Copywriting Process Is Like Without Tools

Without copywriting aids, this is what a general copywriting process looks like:

  • At least 1-2 hours of meetings per deliverable to capture knowledge and brand voice
  • High potential for writer’s block because staring at a blank page is the worst thing you can do for copywriting
  • At least 30 minutes of research for copy deliverable
  • Multiple rounds of revisions from the approver (whether that’s you or someone else)

Depending on what you’re writing and how quick you are at reviewing, the review alone can take 1-2 hours (if you stay focused).

However, once you implement a process that works and use the tools that you know can help, you’re on the right path to great copy.

It may sound more complicated than it really is.

And you may be asking, “where do I even find those tools?”

The good news is that we’ve (pretty much) tried them all over the years, and we have our favorites right here.

Tools You Need In Your Copy Toolkit To Write Effective Copy

As professional copywriters, we want to share what we have in our copy toolkit to write effective copy. 

Hemingway App

This is not your basic Microsoft Word spell check. The Hemingway App does so much more and makes it easy for you to follow along while writing and editing your work.

If you’ve ever struggled to read through and fix items in your own writing, know that you aren’t alone. In fact, we have our own internal process to ensure we’re viewing each piece with fresh eyes before hitting “Send.”

The Hemingway App helps by going through your writing and highlighting issues such as:

  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Complex sentence structure
  • Passive voice and more

You can get the Hemingway Online Editor for free OR buy the Hemingway App for a one-time purchase of $19.99.

Yoast SEO

Copy Toolkit

Writing tools are great. But there’s more to creating good content than spell check apps. Yoast SEO is a search engine optimization plugin that works with WordPress. With an estimated 64 million websites using WordPress, chances are Yoast SEO could benefit you, too. 

Using Yoast SEO helps your website show up to the audience base you really want. And it can get more viewers from Bing and Google than you would have otherwise. Also, it can help increase engagement with your audience and get more visitors from social media platforms.

There are a ton of free courses available for you to learn SEO and so much more. Yoast SEO offers a free and paid version of its services for businesses and websites of all sizes.

WordHippo

Copy Toolkit

Have you ever had a hard time coming up with a word or phrase for something you know is at the tip of your tongue? Maybe you didn’t have your morning cup of joe like you usually do. You might have even skipped out on your routine yoga session and now your whole day is thrown off. 

These scenarios make WordHippo the perfect pal to have when your brain is feeling a little on the foggy side. The best part about it? You can work off fragments of a thought, plug it in, and see what comes up. Usually, it knows where your thought process is heading and can fill in the gaps when you’re not so sure.

WordHippo is one of the best online applications to help you find the right word or phrase you’re searching for. But it’s also good for creative writing and has other useful tools, including:

  • A thesaurus
  • Translations
  • Rhymes
  • Definitions
  • Antonyms
  • Synonyms 
  • And more!

Discover more and greater words here. 

Google Docs

A tried and true classic, Google Docs comes with its own toolkit for spelling and grammar checks. It highlights and catches basic mistakes you might make as you write. This can help you clean up your writing, make it more clear, and easier to follow.

In addition, gone are the days of emailing warped or incorrect docs back and forth. You can also bid adieu to crashed servers and lost files. Google docs is a fantastic way to draft and share your docs as needed without all of the confusion. And since it lives in the cloud, it auto saves your work as you go. Features like link sharing, viewing edit history, and comments ensure your team is working in sync every step of the way.

Brand Voice Guide

When you know you need to get going on your website copy but don’t know where to start, we have just the thing.

Consider creating a Brand Voice Guide that defines the exact voice, tone, and messaging your business needs. Here’s the truth… If you have no idea how your business should sound or who it needs to speak to, you’ll never have quality copy that gets customers to your front door.

A Brand Voice Guide (which you can create yourself) is the key to producing future copy that gets others excited about what you do and why you do it. 

And hey! If you don’t have the time or don’t feel comfortable writing your own Brand Voice Guide, we get it! As a business owner or manager, you have a million other things going on and you simply don’t have anything else to give to your company’s writing. Call in the experts with the creative know-how, and we’ll get one started for you.

Other Tools

We know we didn’t list all of the tools out there to help sharpen up your copywriting skills. These are the ones we find most helpful, but we’re aware that everyone has their own style and flair for writing. Feel free to comment below ones that we should consider or others who are writing should consider.

Have a writing to-do list you need taken care of? Contact us for more information about writing for your business.

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b2b vs b2c marketing

Say Good-Bye to B2B vs B2C Marketing. Say Hello to a New Marketing Paradigm!

Recently, a student at the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship asked me… 

“How do you move a mechanical mentor relationship into a personal mentor relationship?” 

My answer was simple…. Be human. 

You see… People want to connect with other people. That’s how we were designed. We weren’t designed to be isolated and unconnected.

The same goes in our business environment. We look at our clients as businesses or consumers. But in the end, every client you deal with is human. 

That’s why I want to say good-bye to the terms B2B vs B2C marketing! 

It’s time to welcome in this new term H2H. 

Say Hello to H2H: The New Marketing Paradigm

In business writing, we’re often told to write from a business point of view to another business or a consumer. And while that’s dandy, it takes the personal touch out of the relationship. 

And copywriting is basically building a relationship between you (i.e. the writer) and your reader (i.e. your prospect)!

When I meet with entrepreneurs every day, their “why” and purpose for why their business exists isn’t to make money (although that’s part of the motivation). The purpose is so much deeper than that, and may include:

  • Creating full conversion campaigns so that you can take care of your sick family member
  • Designing jewelry that female entrepreneurs can feel confident wearing because you didn’t have that sense of confidence when you were younger
  • Documenting client’s processes because you know what’s it’s like when the founder of the company dies and left no documentation
  • Advising clients on their finances because you came from an impoverished country
  • Coaching spouses who co-own a business because you battled with your own spouse to get on the same page

This list goes on and on… And those are examples from just this past month!

B2B vs B2C Marketing

Business to business or B2B marketing is in the name itself. It’s businesses marketing their services to other businesses with the hope of solving their client’s problems, or at least making themselves appear more desirable. 

The marketing style that most people are familiar with is typically business to consumer. Ads sporting a B2C style look similar to catchy fast food billboards, quippy sparkling water ads, or even eye-catching electronic commercials. While they all may fall under different industries, they all have one thing in common in that they are designed for you – the likely consumer. 

Take a look at this chart below to compare key differences between both marketing strategies:

B2BB2C
Targets Other BusinessesTargets Consumers
Has Fewer CustomersHas a Larger Number of Customers
Effort is Often Put into Speaking to a Smaller Group(s)Effort is Put into Speaking to a Wide Variety of People
Have High-Value OrdersHave Lower-Value Orders
Decisions to Buy Take LongerDecisions to Buy Can Be Immediate
Produce Longer Lasting RelationshipsProduce Shorter Term Relationships

While this chart may not apply to every single business out there, it’s the typical pattern that we see when comparing B2B vs B2C marketing.

Why There’s Room for Change to H2H

The problem companies are running into with these two channels of marketing is that at the end of it all, there is a human behind the curtain making the important decisions. And unless you have robots for employees, there is a natural desire for copywriters to want to connect on a human-to-human basis with their audience.

Let’s put it this way… Customers can only hear the same auto reply responses and receive the same corporate-structured interactions so many times before they start to become frustrated with your intentions. And you may not even know it! 

Consider if you were your own customer… 

Do you think your business would be tackling the true pain points of your buyer in a meaningful way?

If not, there are a few things you can do to shake up the copy so that it relays a more relatable message.

Changing Your B2B Copy

The idea behind bringing up your potential customers’ pain points is to offer them a tangible solution. For businesses, pain points may look like this:

“I’m tired of using the management software I have because I feel it takes away from everyone’s productivity.”

Instead of responding or advertising something that immediately talks about your own business, think about why their problem may be frustrating to them. The reasons could include they:

  • Want their employees to feel productive and valuable
  • Would like to reduce the stress their employees feel using a malfunctioning software system
  • Would like to use a software that offers real-time human interaction when there are problems
  • Want to buy from a company they can trust because they’ve been burned before

If you truly feel that your business can give them what they’re looking for based on their pain points, feel free to tell them that rather than burying your value in the copy.

Changing Your B2C Copy

For consumers, pain points may look like this:

“I’m bored of my morning beverage, and I’m looking for new coffee blends to try that aren’t Starbucks.”

Again instead of diving into your own business right away, reflect on the customer’s feelings and attempt to get to the root of the issue. 

  • They’re bored! Maybe their morning cup of coffee gives them the jolt they need to get through the day, no matter what that looks like
  • Deep down, they may feel guilty by not supporting local brands
  • They might also want to buy from a supplier who they can connect with
  • They may want to consider eco-friendly and ethical businesses to buy from 

It’s important to connect to the human who is having these problems, acknowledge their concerns, and then offer solutions if you have them. 

Be honest. Nobody enjoys being swindled.

Let’s Chat About Your Copy

As a business owner, do me a favor, take a step back and ask yourself these 2 questions.

“How am I connecting with my clients? Is it working?”

If the answer you came up with is unclear or you’ve come to realize it isn’t working for you, then it may be time to turn to the experts. There’s nothing wrong with needing help writing for your business. In fact, we’re happy to do it! Contact us, and we’ll work together at connecting with your clients in the new way to write — the H2H way.

Focus Your Copy On Conversation & Conversion

Let’s Grab A Virtual Coffee With Us To Discover How To Boost Your Words
Creating Swipe Files

The Beginner’s Guide To Creating Swipe Files For Copywriting

Who said writing high-converting copy has to be hard? 

Probably someone without a swipe file! 

If you’re stuck in a creative block trying to write compelling and high-converting copy for your business, it’s time to learn about the shortcut you’ve been missing. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel and stand on the shoulders of giants instead. 

Here’s the secret… The most successful copywriters get on-demand inspiration from the best that’s already out there by creating swipe files for their business.

What is a Swipe File? 

A swipe file is a folder full of examples of copy that:

  • You love
  • Made you buy
  • You want to emulate in your business’s copy

The purpose of having a swipe file is to have examples to refer to when your creativity well is dry. For instance, many visual artists use an inspiration or mood board to help guide their creative process. It’s a collage of visual ideas to help guide them along as they work. Referring to a mood board can help creatives:

  • Plan more clearly
  • Save time and energy
  • Keep inspiration high
  • Remind them of the end-goal

Swipe files are the mood boards of copywriting, and they come with similar benefits.

The Most Important Rule of Swipe Files

The first and most important thing to know about using swipe files is that they are a collection of examples to work from – NOT copied. You should never plagiarize what someone else has created. Not only is plagiarism unethical, but your website could potentially be flagged for its unoriginal content.

Swipe files are a resource to learn from and to improve your skills. Many of the best artists, athletes, and business leaders learned from previous ‘greats’ to improve themselves and their chance to surpass them. Simply trying to pass others’ work off as their own wouldn’t have helped them at all. The concept is the same when it comes to swipe files.

Why Businesses Need Swipe Files

If your business isn’t using swipe files, you may be at a disadvantage. Not only will it take you more time to write, but your writing probably won’t reach its full potential for conversion and engagement.

Keeping regularly updated swipe files helps businesses:

  • Stay in the loop about the latest copywriting strategies
  • Bypass testing by using copywriting that is already proven to work
  • Produce copy that is attention-catching rather than stale and dated

The Beginner’s Guide To Creating Swipe Files For Copywriting

If you’re ready to start refilling your creative well and get to writing better copy more quickly, here is what you need to know about establishing and maintaining creative swipe files.

Understand What Types of Copy You Need

If you’re trying to build a car, looking up cake recipes won’t do you any good. In writing, if you’re trying to create copy for your website homepage, looking up examples of email newsletters can only get you so far — no matter how amazing the copy might be. In this case, if you are unsure where to start, it may help to understand that there are two kinds of copy, each trying to accomplish a different goal.

Homepage copy will be short and sweet above the fold (i.e., it speaks to either new or existing clients and will probably direct visitors to your primary services). In contrast, newsletter copy can be longer and is often used to speak to existing clients. It typically encourages your audience to engage with your latest content. Now that you know how to pinpoint your business’s goals and decipher what types of copy you need, it’s easier to get going.

Here are a few types of swipe files you might need:

To get the most out of your swipe files, include examples that: 

  • Are within a similar industry. You’ll learn about what pain points are identified for your particular audience to use in your writing.
  • Have a similar goal. Are you trying to get email newsletter sign-ups? Find some copy that made you eager to enroll in a newsletter recently!

Identify and Read Copy That You Love

Once you determine what type of copy you need and find some examples you love, the next step is to dig in and read! 

While you’re reading, keep an eye out for things like:

  • Catchy or attention-grabbing copy
  • Callouts to a problem and solution
  • How the audience is addressed
  • Placement and value of call-to-action buttons
  • Ways the copy focuses on the client
  • How it describes benefits and features
  • Word count, sentence structure, and reading ease
  • Style, format, and fonts

And these are just a few!

Pinpoint Why You Love That Copy

After you’ve given it a critical read, pinpoint what it is about the copy that you love. Ask yourself, what stood out? 

Create some notes below a screenshot of the copy in your swipe file so that you can refer back to it later or share it with your copywriting team. You can also make notes about what you would change or improve. Many businesses even use swipe files when developing their brand voice. This way, they have tangible examples and inspiration to guide them.

Organize It and Tag It

Creating swipe files works best for your business when you can quickly pull up examples when you need them. The purpose is to save you time, not waste it frustratingly searching through files trying to find that one example you love. 

The key here is to make sure your files are organized. Put all of your swipe files in one storage location. Then, use tags on each file to indicate what that file contains. You can tag each file with the type of copy and the industry. By following this method, you can easily pull up the swipe file examples you need according to your current goal.

Here are some organization platforms that have tagging features:

Experiment With Your Swipe File

Creating swipe files will help you get creative with your copy, and we all know that getting creative means being open to experimenting! 

You might not be used to writing in a specific style or using a particular copywriting technique. But there’s no better time than the present to try it out and see where it takes you and your writing.

After all, your audience is bombarded with so much content each day. You’ll have to do something new and creative to capture their attention. Don’t be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone and discover a new approach to your writing.

If you’re ready to start thinking outside of the box, subscribe to our weekly email newsletter where you’ll find plenty of refreshing, catchy, and creative copy to keep you inspired!

Creating Swipe Files
Swipe files are a resource to learn from and to improve your skills; however, you should know that they are a collection of examples to work from – NOT copied.
Above the Fold Website Copy

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

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

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

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

Above the Fold vs Below the Fold

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

Above the Fold Definition

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

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

Above the Fold Website Copy

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

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

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

Above the Fold Website Copy

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

Below the Fold Definition

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

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

Above the Fold Website Copy

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

4 Requirements for Above the Fold Website Copy

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

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

1. Target the Customer

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

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

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

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

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

2. Identify the Problem

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

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

What kinds of problems is your target customer experiencing?

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

Functional Problems

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

This can include things like:

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

Emotional Problems

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

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

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

3. Introduce the Major Benefit

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

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

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

4. Call to Action

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start Writing Your Above The Fold Copy

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

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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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Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis

Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis

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

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

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

Take a deep breath…. In… Out…

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

2 Camps for Coronavirus Business Communications

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

There are 2 audiences for business communications, audiences that:

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

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

Companies That Require Urgent Communication

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

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

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

Companies That Do Not Require Urgent Communication 

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

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

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

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

  • Companies that already work remotely
  • Coaching or consulting businesses

Identifying What Coronavirus Means For Your Business

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

Create a Business Communications Plan Before You Need It

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

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

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

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

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

Always Defer to Reliable Sources For Guidance

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

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

Tips for Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis

Here are tips for communicating through the coronavirus crisis.

Keep Messaging Clear & Concise

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

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

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

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

Be Positive

Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis
The College Planning Center Example

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

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

Leave Email Blasts for Essential Communications

Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis
Postmate Example

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

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

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

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

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

Reinforce Safety & Priorities

Southwest Example

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

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

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

Get On It Early

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

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

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

Support Other Businesses 

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

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

Offer Free Value 

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

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

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

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

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

Extend Grace to Your Vendors & Customers

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

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

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

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

Ask For Help If You Need It

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

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

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

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

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