How to Improve Your Customers' Experience with Great Web Content

When you’re creating web content, the golden rules you read from experts all over the Internet can become overwhelming. Add to that the ever-evolving trends and changing SEO practices you need to keep up with - and before long it can all seem a little out of your control.

I always say that the most important point to remember when you’re writing anything for the web is that you’re creating it for a customer. So, when you’re writing your content, think about how it can genuinely improve your customers’ experience of your website.

Not sure where to start? Here are my tips on improving your website’s customer experience.

Write for Humans

Your customers and website visitors are humans. It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to begin to distance yourself from your audience, especially if you’re elbow deep in SEO keywords and product descriptions. Take a good look at the content you’ve created and ask yourself one thing: ‘does this sound natural?’

Of course you’ll need to take your own company’s branding into account, and what’s natural for one business might seem unusual or awkward for another.

Make it easy for yourself and put your metaphorical feet inside your customers’ shoes. Take a little browse around your site. Are there any pages that seem off to you? Could your writing use a little less jargon? Make a list and use this to inform how you amend your content.

Be Positive

You might not have noticed at first glance but you may be talking your business down. You need active calls to action in your web content in order for it to be truly functional, but increasingly savvy consumers are getting wise to this, and they don’t like it.

The best reaction to this is not to force it. Don’t try sneaking your ‘Buy it now’ links into text - and instead be upfront. Offer help, support and a friendly team member’s undivided attention to your customers  in return for a quick chat about their needs. It sounds much more positive than a fake offer or a ‘time’s running out’ deal.

Aim to make your customers happy and you’ll be glad you did.

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Offer Something Unique

Your customers are looking for value - and this is called ‘value propositioning’. They’ll understand what your company does quickly, and they’ll even grasp the basics of your products within a few minutes.

What you need to show them is why your business can offer something nobody else can.

  • How can you pique their interest?

  • How can you delight them?

  • How can you fix a problem they didn’t even realise they had?

  • What can you do that goes above and beyond?

  • Why should they subscribe to your blog?

Don’t just list your team members. Talk about who they are, why they’re great, what they can do for your customers. Use your web content to create a connection, and you’ll stand out far above the crowd.

Use More Straightforward Language

Just because you use acronyms within your office all the time doesn’t mean your customers will understand what they mean. Even if your industry-specific products come with long-winded, technical descriptions as standard, break them down so that anyone could understand their benefits and appreciate their usefulness. Think of it this way:

  • A parent could be buying this for their tech-savvy child

  • A newcomer to the industry could be looking for equipment they need

  • Acronyms could vary between countries and within industries.

Jargon can easily be misunderstood and can present a barrier through which your customers are unlikely to try and break. As long as you use the wording expected of your business and industry, speaking simply and in straightforward language will only make you seem more professional, not less.

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If you’d like to find out more about how to create great web content, or you’d like to chat about how I could support you with yours, contact me today. I’d love to help.

Until next time…

Three Resolutions Your Business Needs to Keep in 2019

It’s the start of January - and you’re probably full of good intentions and big ideas. I love the motivation the start of a new year gives me; what about you?

A new year marks a new start – a clean slate where we can forget the bad habits we accumulated over the past 12 months and dive into a year where we never forget to respond to an email, never eat chocolate for breakfast and never, ever forget our business cards.

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While some resolutions are doomed to fail (I’ll eat chocolate for breakfast if I want to, thank you very much) there are some great new year’s resolutions for your business that if you keep up, will help your enterprise grow and succeed. Here are some of the best new year’s resolutions you can make that’ll keep you motivated, bring in new customers and push your business to the next level.

Regularly Update Your Business Blog

Your company blog is vital to your success in 2019. Keeping your website updated with fresh content is essential for your search ranking, and it’s the perfect opportunity to talk about your new products, shout about your success and reveal new information about exciting plans that may be afoot.

Start off small. Setting aside half an hour twice a week to research, write and edit your blog posts means you’ll easily manage one blog post per week. Feel that achievement!

Of course, if you really don’t have the time, or you need a little support, contact me. Helping businesses out with their content is what I do best.

Keep Your Social Media Ticking Over

How’s your Twitter account doing? Are you answering all your Facebook messages?

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Ignoring your social media accounts can seem like the only way to deal with them when you’re busy but honestly, in 2019, your customers will be reaching out to you via social media more than ever. Making your accounts a priority will make them far less scary and gain you new business. I promise.

Take a look at Buffer’s useful tips on using social media to your advantage, and while you’re at it, have a gander at their post scheduling tool. I use it, and honestly, it saves me so much time.

Carry Out A Web Audit Twice a Year

Ever wondered what your customers think when they reach your website?

Take some time to walk in their shoes by carrying out a web audit. If you’re not sure what one is, don’t worry, I’ve written about them before in my blog. A full web audit means talking a deeper look at the content on your website, and running through it with a fine-tooth comb to see what needs to be amended, what needs to be removed and what could be enhanced to make your website earn its keep.

Trust me, it’s well worth doing.

Want some help getting that new year’s motivation going? I’ve got plenty to go around. Get in touch today and let’s talk about how a freelance copywriter like me can help you make the best possible start to 2019.

Until next time..

 

 

Marketing with Clout! Give Yourself (and Your Work) a Kick Up the Backside in January

Regarding this headline on this post, I bet you didn't know you could give your work a kick up the rear end, did you?! Well you can - and here are a few handy instructions:

  • Gather all important paperwork
  • Hold it out in front of you
  • Now, swing back your leg (the right one is usually the best), before forcefully swinging it forward again, catching the edge of said paperwork and sending it flying.

Et voila; you've showed your paperwork - and your projects - who's boss.

But the clue here is: don't take my advice literally. All you'll wind up with is an office covered in paper, and an even more miffed you.

So, this January, aim to give your work - and yourself - a kick up the backside in the metaphorical fashion. And here's how to do that...

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Create a Content Marketing Plan

The best way to hold yourself accountable when it comes to ticking things off your marketing to-do list, is to...err..write a list. Or better yet, create a content plan.

Excel will be your go-to tool for this, and with a little bit of consideration, you should be able to put one together that works for you. Whether you're a full-time staff member for one client, or you work for multiple companies, your content marketing plan should help you achieve all your goals - month-by-month, and longer-term - with ease. Plus, when you write things down you're more likely to do them in the first place - and that's a fact.

Want another tip? Find out how and why 'working in threes' will help you get more stuff done, by reading this blog from the Lauren Holden Freelance archives.

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Start Small

The problem with to-do lists is that you can feel like you're getting nowhere with them. But that's if you choose the bigger tasks first. After all, why opt to tackle a job that's likely to take you all day, when you can cross three or four items off your list in the same time?

Providing none of your tasks are urgent, start with the smaller ones. That way, you'll be able to enjoy a sense of achievement straight away, which will probably spur you on to rattle through your list that bit quicker.

Fake a Deadline

'What is she going on about here, then?' Well, imagine your client has given you a deadline of February 20. I say, ignore that; pretend he/she never uttered those words. Instead, trick your brain into thinking the deadline was actually February 12. Now, get your thinking cap on and crack on with that work.

This has two benefits and one is the fact that procrastination won't pop into your day; you'll simply soldier on and get the work done - more than a week ahead of time. The bonus? Your client will no doubt be chuffed that the work's in his or her inbox earlier than planned.

Reward Yourself

So, unless it's Christmas, the only reward you can probably expect from your boss - or your client - is a 'thank you very much for your hard work'. And that's absolutely good enough.

So, if you want to push yourself to get that project done ahead of time, allow yourself a reward at the end of it. A huge slab of cake, perhaps, or even a little jaunt to the cinema. Whatever works for you, do it - and I promise January will be all the better for it.

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A Problem Shared...

You've heard that old adage: 'a problem shared is a problem halved'. Well, stew on this one; I made it up myself: 'a project shared, is a project halved'.

Okay, so I ain't telling you to delegate your work and put your feet up, but what I am saying is see if you can pool your thoughts and ideas with colleagues. Or, if you're self-employed, a fellow business owner. After all, when you're struggling on a concept or campaign, who better to test it out on than someone who may well be in your target market?

Do you have your own tips when it comes to achieving your goals in 2018? Don't forget to comment on this blog, or say hello if you've enjoyed this piece.

Until next time...

 

 

 

 

Monthly Content Review: December

Get chance to read my first monthly content review last month? In it, I offer links to some handy resources and blogs small to medium-sized businesses can make the most of, for the rest of this year and beyond, to ensure things are kept ticking along quite nicely.

So, what happened in November? Here's a snapshot of my month as a freelance copywriter.

I've been working with the lovely team over at True9 for some weeks now, helping them get a long-running client's website ready for a refresh. I've been crafting some new content for all sections of their site, including the 'About Us' page, and turning some of their case studies into (I hope) sparkling prose!

I continue to write a series of lighthearted but informative health blogs for Chemist.co.uk, as well as keep the news section of the Yazz Hair site updated. On top of this, I've recently hit 'send' on another blog for the Oxford Dictionaries site, and spent a lot of the month finalising plans for a website for my other writing-related venture. It's been a busy 2017 and I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for myself and my clients

Two Go Wild on the Channel Islands!

I was in need of a spot of relaxation this month, what with all those projects on the go, so it's pretty convenient that my job sometimes allows me to jet off somewhere lovely and enjoy a trip away - completely free!

This assignment saw me writing a piece for Simply Magazines' portfolio of glossy mags, with a trip to Jersey with my Mum. Find out what happened when 'two went wild on the Channel Islands' by clicking here. Plus, you can also drool over this delicious-looking afternoon tea, below.

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Rock 'n' Royal & a Trip Down Memory Lane!

News of the Royal wedding saw me take a trip down memory lane recently, thanks to this front page scoop I scored for a paper I used to be a full-time writer on. Who knew Prince Harry was a fan of former punk band, the Towers of London?!

Apparently, he is. Or was. I posted all about it on my Instagram page (come and say hello, if you haven't already).

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Time to Plan for 2018?

If you're a small business owner like myself, maybe you're ready to get the ball rolling on a great 2018? If that's the case, you can do a lot worse than check out this blog by the folks over at Moz.com.

It features tips on building a content marketing strategy, and it offers all sorts of advice you can make use of in the New Year. One of my goals for 2018 is to get better at updating my social media pages - and it's one thing we all could try to do as January comes into view.

I'm helping myself get organised with a paper planner. I usually use Google calendar to schedule events and meetings - and I still will be doing. But for longer-term objectives, I'll be using this fun little planner I found on Amazon. Who said organisers need to be dull?

Instagram: #thanksforthememories!

If you're an Instagram devotee and you haven't yet done it, make sure you head here to discover your social media highlights for the year.

The 'Instagram Best Nine' site rounds up...yep, you guessed it...nine of your most-liked photos from 2017, creating a fun and nostalgic photo collage for you to look back on. Or wonder why you're such a narcissist (see mine, below) #slightlyashamed

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Are you on Instagram? Hit 'follow' on my business page here and I promise I'll do the same back.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone - my clients, old and new, and anyone who's stopped by and read my blog, or simply made an enquiry via my site, a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2018.

And if you think I can help you tick a few things off your to-do list in the New Year, get in touch and I'll book out some time for you in my new planner.

Until next time...

You Know You're a Freelancer When...

... despite the short commute from the shower to the study, no less than two cups of coffee are required before computer switch on commences

... you find yourself wondering if it's socially acceptable to invite the postie in for a cuppa and chat. All work and no interaction makes Lauren a very dull copywriter

... you convince yourself that 90-minute lunch break is actually conducive to a more productive afternoon...

...ditto that sugar-laced slice of Vicky sponge cake

... the prospect of slipping on yet another pair of well-worn (but oh so comfy) jogging bottoms is more appealing than it probably should be

... your parents still don't understand what you do day-to-day...

...and sometimes, you're not 100% sure you do either: SEO, ROI, B2B, GA, PPC. Acronyms are the new black, apparently.

...you start the day with great intentions (early morning gym session, anyone?), before deciding you'll go 'after you've smashed that deadline'. Only to abandon the idea in favour of Dinner Date and a second slice of sponge cake.