Why hire a copywriter?

You know how important good content and communications are for your business, but perhaps you just don't have the time to put fingers to keyboard and get cracking. So what now?

If you’ve never outsourced your work to a copywriter before, it may be time to try that out. After all, what better way to make your website stand out than with the help of a professional who specialises in copywriting for businesses?

There are plenty of reasons to hire a copywriter - and I’ll be going over five of them in this blog post. Read on...

They Free Up Your Schedule

You can say 'cheerio' to your hectic schedules when you hire a copywriter. You shouldn’t have to spend hours figuring out why no one’s clicking on your website, or what the heck crawl stats are (hint: you can find out in Moz's Beginner's Guide to SEO). Pumping out engaging content takes up a lot of time, so leave that to the pros!

Copywriters will do the technical stuff you’re struggling to do and give you the time to focus 100% on your business. Rather than stressing over how to write copy that draws traffic, you’ll now be able to give your undivided attention to the things that really matter.

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They Can Really Sell Your Service

Yes, copywriters write, but they also spend time doing research that leads to richer, more vibrant content. You’ll find plenty of copywriters who specialise in an industry-specific niche. If you sell handmade baby clothes, for example, you’d do well to find a copywriter who specialises in the industry that caters to mums.

A copywriter can capture the essence of your service and sell it to your audience in a way that is both engaging and fascinating.

They Provide Consistent Content

Let’s be honest for a moment: churning out consistent, new content can quickly get tiring. It can be easy to recycle old content by tweaking a word here and there, publishing it, and hoping readers won’t notice you wrote about the same topic two months ago, but please don’t do this.

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When you have a freelance copywriter on your side, you don’t have to worry about that. They can whip out fresh, high-quality content to capture your readers’ attention like nothing else. Even better, avoiding duplicate posts will turn your site into a Google-approved page. Who can resist that?

They Know How to Speak ‘Google’

There are plenty of SEO guides out there on the Internet, but it can still be tough to learn if you’re also trying to juggle your business on the side. Rather than try to force-feed this information to yourself, hire a copywriter who’s already familiar with SEO.

Copywriters can keep your website looking up-to-date and polished. No matter how many tweaks Google makes to its search engine, copywriters will keep on top of it so you don’t have to. Leave the technical mumbo jumbo to them.

 They Can Boost Sales Organically

Adverts are important for maintaining an online presence for your business, but organic traffic is just as important. After all, you’re more likely to get legitimate, long-term customers this way, rather than hoping someone scrolling through Facebook clicks on your ad.

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Copywriters will reach out to potential clients by creating fresh, original content for your social media accounts, and then by crafting equally brilliant content on your site that will keep visitors once they get there. By going the organic route and going easy on the adverts, you could see a significant bump in your sales.

So now that I’ve given you five reasons to hire a copywriter, I’m here to give myself a (shameless) shoutout. Need a hand with your business? I’m a copywriter based in Yorkshire - but I can work on your project remotely - wherever you are in the world. Let's chat!

For updates, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Copywrite vs CopyWRONG: Dos & Don’ts for Creating Winning Website Content

I'll start by saying the title for this article is probably a little misleading. After all, who's to say what's right or wrong when it comes to your business? Aside from sticking two fingers up at your customers when you spot them in the street (clue: VERY wrong), if something's worked for you in the past, you should stick with it.

But there are certainly a few things to keep in mind when writing website content - from my own experience, at least. So, let's have a look at some of them:

Copy'writes' (or rather, 'rights'!)

Think 'You', Not 'I' - When writing your website content, it can be so tempting to talk about yourself. After all, who knows you better than you?! But the key to getting prospective clients to sit up and take notice of you (and your services), is not to talk about 'you' at all. Instead, focus on what your client needs and how your services can help. By adopting this technique, you're still discussing how you can assist them, but you're putting them - and their unique issues and challenges - centre stage.

Bearing that tip in mind (and using a stationery company as a simple example), here's a look at how the following sentence might be reworded to benefit the customer:

This: "We're a trusted supplier of pens and paper here in the UK - and our prices are low."

Can be swapped for this: "Is your stationery cupboard consistently low in stock? Never run out of office essentials again; pens, paper and everything in between can be delivered to your workplace as soon as tomorrow - if required. You can put your trust in us since we're suppliers to X, Y, and Z - and you'll save money, too, since our prices are kept low enough to meet any budget."

The first thing you'll notice about the second snippet of content is that it's longer - why use one sentence when you can let the customer know how you'll make their life easier in three?! More benefits = more chance of you becoming their new go-to stationer.

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Just Start Writing - Here's a tip the news editor of a weekly newspaper I used to write for once told me - and it stuck! Knowing full well that the headline of an article or feature is often the hardest thing about the piece to write (it needs to hook the reader from the off, you see), she'd tell me to instead write the rest of the content.

"The headline will come to you while you're typing." she once said - and do you know what? She was right! Nine times out of 10, that's exactly what happened. So why spend the best part of half an hour poring over puns? Just get something down; the rest will come in time.

The very same goes for your website copy. If you don't know where to begin, just begin! It sounds simple, doesn't it - but get everything down on paper, or on your computer to save you faffing around later making long-winded edits, and you'll have a clearer idea where to go from there. I promise.

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Add Personality

So, you sell pens and paper - and unless you consistently ace those 'flog me this fountain pen' questions in job interviews, like many things, it won't seem like the most inspiring of subject matters.

But don't let that put you off - you've followed this career path for a reason, and it's because you're good at it!

So, without being all 'me, me, me', or rather, 'we, we, we', think about how you can 'jazz up' your copy in other ways. Offices need pens - and they'll always find a way to get them. But maybe when they're idly browsing the net for a new supplier, your company will stand out - and for another reason than the price.

Get your thinking caps on as a team and consider creative ways you can set yourself apart. Develop a company mascot to use on your site (hello, Peter Pen!*) and run with it. Trust me on this; it'll work.

*you can have that one for free

CopyWrongs

Keywords for Keywords' Sake - No, just N-O! I get it; you want people to find your site - and organically, too. But well-written website copy will mean so much more than a site that's located easily but doesn't quite hit the mark when your customer lands on it - and more importantly, starts reading it.

Instead, think key'worths', not keywords. Does each and every word count? If not, go back and make sure it does.

You can still optimise your site for SEO - and do it well - without over-stuffing it with keywords for the heck of it.

Poor Grammar and Spelling - You'd like prospective customers to trust in you and your services - so if your site's filled with 'text speak' (or your social media page is left in the hands of a disinterested intern), is it really giving off the right impression?

Poor spelling, grammar and an all-round blasé approach to copywriting is just.not.on. (and I use those unnecessary full stops with every last jot of irony).

I won't name and shame (because I'm nice, me) but I've heard business owners say things like: "Apostrophes? Who cares?! The customer knows what we mean" and it makes my pedantic, grammar-obsessed self's heart sink.

The fact is, customers probably will know what you mean - but will they take you seriously?

Just the other day I saw a sign for a company offering 'delivary' for 'breacfasts'. Will I be going there?! No. Because I don't care how well they fry an egg; they didn't think it appropriate to proofread the full-colour banner they probably spent a pretty penny on. So, how much care will they put into that 'breacfast'?! Beep, beep; I'm going to McDonald's drive 'thru' instead.

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Too Much Copy - This one ties into point one on my copywrongs list - and really, there's only two reasons people waffle on their site: they don't know when to stop, or they're desperate to increase their organic reach by way of, you guessed it, a few more keywords. But we're a nation of skim readers (hooray if you've made it to the end of this blog - a full-size Curly Wurly bar to you, my friend) and who's got time for reams and reams of text? Not me. It's why I'm signing off this blog now. Ta-ra.

Like this article? Do let me know if it helped you in any way. And keep an eye here on my site for more of the same. If you think you can benefit from my copywriting services in 2018 and beyond, do get in touch and let's schedule a chat or a coffee in the diary.

Until next time...

 

Productivity 101: How I Stay Focused

 

Working from home with the option (I say, 'option' because it isn't a reality for me!) to slob around in your PJs; what's not to love? I'll start with the main drawback to my life as a freelance copywriter: staying focused.

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While I've never missed a deadline and I pride myself on the fact I 'under-promise and over-deliver', motivating one's self (oooh, I sounded like the Queen for a second there!) can be tough. And the reason for that is this: without the threat of a boss man (or woman!) hovering over your desk at a second's notice, copywriters like myself can notice that the urge to put fingers to keyboard can wane a little, with the lure of Facebook, Twitter, or even YouTube, poking its cheeky little head into view.

So, in the absence of a boss (oh wait, that's me!) and a lack of colleagues tapping away at their computers to spur me on, how do I get stuff done?

Nothing is as important to me as meeting my clients' deadlines and exceeding their expectations, so here's what I do:

1. I Work in Threes

Now I don't mean I work with two other people; rather my to-do list never contains more than a trio of items. Plenty of people will attest that this works. And hey, it works for me too - so it shall long remain one of my top productivity tactics - until someone introduces me to another one.

2. I Set Alarms

If I have more than one project on the go, I divide each into timeframes - and set an alarm on my phone to ensure I only work for, say, three hours at a time on one job. That way, my mind is clearer (better for ensuring the ideas keep flowing) when I revisit a piece of work - and it helps me keep better track of hours spent per project, too.

3. I Keep a Routine

So, the hardest part of a freelancer's life is sticking to a routine. While you may begin the day with good intentions (with plans to get up at 7am, and take the long (joke) work commute from bedroom to your study by 9am) it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes, you'll find yourself downing tools at 3pm, taking an extended break, and then working until 11pm. It isn't always the best way to work; keeping to 9-5 hours is the best thing you can do for your motivation as a freelancer - and your social life!

 

4. I Get Out of the House

Being stuck indoors and communicating with NO ONE (sob!) is no good for your motivation levels - or your soul. So, I make sure I take at least one trip out during the day - even if it's just a walk around the block. It gives me that little burst of energy when I've been staring at my laptop all day, and it's even how I formulate many of my ideas for clients' websites.

And when I'm really pushed for time...

5. I Get TOTALLY Serious About Things...

...and deny myself a tea and biscuit break, a slice of cake; even a trip to the toilet. I'll tell myself: 'no, Lauren. You're not putting the kettle on, or going to the loo - not until you write another paragraph.' It may seem harsh - and possibly even a notch crazy - but hey, being your own boss can be tough; you've got to find the motivation from somewhere.

How do you stay focused when freelancing? It'd be good to pick up some more tips here at Lauren Holden Freelance. Why not comment on this blog with your own freelance copywriting tips and we can all learn from each other, eh?

Until next time...

Thank You For the Music, Dad...

Since today's Father's Day and I don't often praise my Dad (it goes to his head!), I thought I'd swallow my pride and dedicate this blog post to the man who's responsible for my biggest love in life: music.

This piece first appeared in the My Passion slot amongst the business pages of the Yorkshire Post.

Copywriting is nothing if not fast-paced, so how better to tackle deadlines head-on than by firing up Spotify and hitting ‘Play’ on your favourite music?

I won’t go as far as reckoning I was singing almost as soon as I learned to talk, or tapping my toe in the womb, but what I will say is this: music and me go back a long way.

In the late 70s and early 80s my Dad was a DJ and, when I was old enough, I’d be by his side as he selected the week’s chart hits at an independent record shop called Ear ‘Ere. And in the style of John Cusack and Jack Black’s characters in High Fidelity, the blokes behind the counter could tell you the name of pretty much any song going. Sometimes, all they’d need is a poorly recollected hum of a lyric or two – and lo and behold, they’d be able to place the track and pop it in a plastic carrier bag within seconds.

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I have my Dad’s love of music to thank for much of my career to date; without intending to, he’d influenced my tastes – and a lot of what I listen to today is his doing. From the hits of the late, great Bowie, to Cat Stevens, Stevie Wonder, Average White Band and the less mainstream Babe Ruth (check out their track ‘Elusive’!); you name it, I knew the words to them.

Music was such a part of my life that at 21, I convinced the then-editor of a weekly newspaper I wrote for to give me a column talking about – and reviewing – some of my favourite bands. It quickly led to a stint freelancing for NME magazine and I was lucky enough to head backstage at some of the country’s biggest festivals, interviewing the likes of Stereophonics, Bloc Party and Ocean Colour Scene.

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Before long, I was promoting and organising gigs myself. And guess who’d DJ at those mini concerts in my small (but musically very happening) hometown of Lancaster? My Dad was the obvious choice, his record collection a real talking point amongst the twenty and thirty-something gig-goers who, like me, loved the chance to chew someone’s ear off when it came to their favourite bands.

While today I’ve turned to copywriting over music journalism, the tracks of my younger years still get me through the day. I rarely go a morning without logging onto Spotify – and while I love that it instantly connects you to the music you love via its handy ‘Radio’ function, you really can’t beat the sound – or the nostalgia – linked to vinyl records. Now, that’s definitely something to sing (or toe tap) about!

Like this post? Bookmark my blog here at Lauren Holden Freelance for more of the same.

Romance Ain't Dead; Here's Proof...

Has no one lavished you with flowers and chocs yet? More fool them, I say. ALL of them. Don't they realise how utterly lovely you are?!

But before you throw an almighty paddy...sit down, relax...get the kettle on. And remember that I love you. I really do.

If you've dropped by my site (even for a second), read my blogs - or better yet - used my services - thank you. It's people like you that keep a little old freelancer like myself in business. No really...cheers!

And because I want to send a little bit of love (woahhh, not like that - you cheeky scamps!) your way, I'm bringing you a special Valentine's copywriting discount*, to be redeemed anytime between now and Friday, February 17. Hey, I might be a cold and unromantic soul most of the time, but today you're in for a treat.

Enjoy 15% off any of the following copywriting services:

* Blogs

* E-newsletters

* Press Releases

* Flyers

* Proofreading

Interested in taking me up on this LOVEly, one-time offer? Get in touch at freelance@laurenholden.co.uk and quote the code 'LOVE15' in your email.

Over and out.

Right, I have a bag of chocolate truffles waiting for me (cheers - you know who you are!) and they won't eat themselves...