Copywriting Video of the Week: Do You Know These Useful Headline Formulas?

In this video,  copywriting coach Bernadette Schwerdt explains how to use question-based headlines to get attention and draw readers into your copy.

Questions engage the reader by feeding on curiosity.

No one likes to be left in the dark, so people will often read your copy to discover the answer to the question in your headline.

The video also covers some useful headline formulas which you adapt for many different products and services.

Take a look:

E-Newsletters for Beginners and Common SEO Goofs: The Web Content Roundup

WebContentRoundupThis week in The Web Content Roundup:

  • Free E-book: Email Newsletters 101
  • 1 Million Websites Ignoring Basic SEO [Infographic]
  • The 6 Key Differences Between Business-to-Business and Consumer Marketing

If you want more useful links on on creating effective web content follow @thatcontentguy on Twitter.

Free E-book: Email Newsletters 101

Email Newsletters 101 is a free 116-page e-book to help business owners improve their email marketing campaigns. It focuses in detail on content strategy, copywriting and design, and has several handy checklists to keep you on track.

1 Million Websites Ignoring Basic SEO [Infographic]

The folks over at have analysed 1 million business websites for basic SEO elements. Their findings aren’t pretty: 90% of the web pages they analysed failed to get the basics correct. You’d almost think businesses were intentionally trying to prevent Google from sending them traffic!

The 6 Key Differences Between Business-to-Business and Consumer Marketing

Many copywriters aren’t aware of the key differences between B2B and consumer marketing. In this article veteran B2B copywriter Bob Bly does a great job of explaining differences in selling to business and professional buyers vs. the general public.

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6 Inspiring Definitions of “Marketing” to Get You Motivated to Grow Your Business

“I hate marketing,” a friend of mine told me recently.

Selective focus on the word "marketing". Many more word photos in my portfolio...
Selective focus on the word “marketing”. Many more word photos in my portfolio…

Despite owning two successful businesses my friend has a vehement distaste for marketing. I’ve found this attitude is quite common amongst small business owners. Many of them think marketing is either sleazy and dishonest, or ineffective and a waste of money.

I think these attitudes arise because there’s a misunderstanding of what marketing is. Hopefully this article will help set the record straight.

Here are six inspirational definitions of marketing from some of the world’s foremost experts on the topic:

1. Authenticity + Value

“Marketing is sharing with authenticity about the value that you offer to the world”.

By Robert Middleton, the creator of InfoGuru marketing.

2. Making the Best Case for Your Product

“My definition of ‘marketing’ is putting your product or service in its best light so that it persuades others to investigate and hopefully buy it.

“I think that marketing is basically a replacement for door-to-door selling. If we could all afford to knock on everyone’s door and put forward the best case for our product then we would, because one-on-one conversation is pretty hard to beat.

“But because that’s not possible, we come up with marketing that will, at the end of the day, be a replacement for what we would have said if we were having a chat.”

By Australia’s most respect advertising expert, Siimon Reynolds, from the book Secrets of Male Entrepreneurs Exposed!

3. An End-to-End Process

“Marketing is everything you do to promote your business, from the moment you conceive of it to the point at which customers buy your product or service and begin to patronize your business on a regular basis.

“The key words to remember are everything and regular basis.”

By marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson from his seminal book Guerrilla Marketing.

4. Making the Sale Easier

“Marketing is everything you do that makes the sale easier.”

By Stephen Fairley, small business coach and author of Getting Started in Personal and Executive Coaching.

5. It’s Not Just About Spending Money

“Marketing is not about spending money on such things as advertising, direct mail and PR. Those are just tools. Marketing is about growing your business – its revenues, profit and valuation.”

By Mark Stevens, from his provocative book Your marketing sucks.

6. The Circle of Marketing

“Marketing is a circle that starts with your idea for generating revenue and completes itself when you have the patronage of repeat and referral business.”

From The Guerrilla Marketing Toolkit by Mitch Meyerson and Jay Conrad Levinson.

A Copywriting Formula That’s Easiser to Use Than AIDA

Copywriting formulas are the paint-by-numbers way to write copy. The most famous one is AIDA, which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.

I’ve never found AIDA that useful. It tells you the essential ingredients of persuasive copy. But it fails to tell you how to put them together.

Fortunately our friends at Smashing Magazine have given us an easier alternative: The 6 + 1 model. Here it is in a nutshell:

Step 1: Context

First up you need to answer the audience’s implicit question, “Who are you, and why are you talking to me?”

Step 2: Attention

Next, grab the audience’s attention with your headline or an image.

Step 3: Desire

Inspire your prospect to continue reading by describing the outcomes that they want for themselves.

Step 4: The gap

Emphasise the gap between where they are now and where they want to be.

Step 5: Solution

Position your product or service as the solution to closing the gap.

Step 6: Call to action

Ask the audience to take the single next step that you want them to take when they’re done reading.

You can read the entire article here:
Introducing The 6 + 1 Model For Effective Copywriting (Better Than AIDA!)

How to Build Community by Providing Value

Building community is a far cry from most business strategies. Sure, it includes a lot of SEO, content creation and social media marketing; however, it also involves a lot of awareness and a keenly human touch. In a word, it means providing something of value.

As Mackenzie Fogelson so aptly points out in her recent SEOmoz blog post, “Value is not all about you.” A company must focus on the customer, find out what their interests and needs are, and find a way to share value with them.

It’s a fascinating concept, really. If a company can figure out how to provide that value, they will be truly successful at building community. Find out more here: Building Community with Value

How Do You Make Your Website Credibile to Visitors?

A couple of weeks ago web copywriter Nick Usborne queried readers of his (excellent) Excess Voice e-newsletter about what makes a website credible. The question was: “If testimonials are somewhat unreliable as a means for establishing credibility, what DOES make you trust a site and believe in its integrity?”

While the results may not be statistically reliable they raise some interesting issues for web copywriters. The respondents’ biggest credibility buster was lack of a physical address and contact telephone number. This is also Jakob Nielsen’s 8th biggest web design mistake of 2005.

Even if your business is conducted 100% online it’s crucial to include your full contact details. Prospects will feel more confident about doing business with you if they know you have a brick and mortar office and you can be contacted by phone if necessary.

Other factors that improve credibility according to the survey are a guarantee and return policy, testimonials, independent product reviews, and good writing that’s not too hard sell. To that I would add professional and attractive design, good usability, complete information about products and services, a prominent privacy policy and sensitive use of email.

Read the full results of the survey

Looking For an Experienced Brochure Copywriter?

A brochure is still a valuable addition to your marketing toolbox that creates a “personal touch” and makes a solid impression on your customers.

But the success of a brochure usually rides on the quality of the copywriting – the words. An effective brochure does more than merely recite facts and figures. To maximise results, it must be both informative AND persuasive.

The copy I write for your brochure:

  • Attracts the attention of your target market
  • Focuses on your customer and answers their question, “What’s in it for me?”
  • Motivates them to take a clear course of action.

And, of course, it’s concise, reader-friendly and written in a conversational tone of voice.

100% satisfaction guarantee
I want you to be totally satisfied with the brochure copy I write for you. That’s why I offer all my copywriting clients a worry-free guarantee.

Is it time to hire an professional brochure copywriter?
Let me create informative and persuasive copy for your new brochure, that will help you attract new customers and grow your business.

Call (02) 9705 0579 and leave your contact details with my answering service. I’ll get back to within 24 hours (usually quicker!) to discuss your needs.

Still deciding?
That’s understandable. Hiring a new copywriter is a big decision. So please take a look at my brochure copywriter portfolio and check out my client list and testimonials.

Get in touch
If you would like a quote, have a question about my services, or need to discuss your project, please leave a message on (02) 9705 0579 or drop me an email.

Deep Linking

Deep linking is creating a link to an interior page of a website, rather than the home page. Deep links can be found on websites, search engine listings, pay per click ads, and in emails.

Unlike generic links to a home page, a deep link points to a page containing specific information. They are designed to direct readers to additional information that’s relevant to the page they’re reading.

For example, an article comparing various cars would link directly to each model’s information page, rather than the car manufacturers’ home pages. This linking of information is central to the philosophy of the World Wide Web.

The implication of deep linking for website owners is that visitors can enter their site on any page.

From my experience many business owners don’t realise search engines index individual web pages (not websites) and deliver a list of pages that are most relevant to the searcher’s query. Thus, a lot of search engine traffic bypasses your home page.

Culling Crap Content and Converting Web Traffic: The Web Content Roundup

WebContentRoundupThis week in The Web Content Roundup:

  • 10 Tactics for Integrating Photographs into Content Marketing
  • Why Review and Remove Are Such Critical Web Skills
  • 8 Great Articles on Converting Web Traffic

If you want more useful links on on creating effective web content follow @thatcontentguy on Twitter.

10 Tactics for Integrating Photographs into Content Marketing

Sometimes overlooked by us writers, images are a powerful element of your content, driving social media shares and activity that ultimately generates sales. Here are 10 tactics, from simple to advanced, for integrating photographs in your content to boost your success.

Why Review and Remove Are Such Critical Web Skills

Normally in these posts I write about creating content. But this item is about “destroying” content. In this article Gerry McGovern makes a convincing case for reviewing your website – especially if it’s large – and culling any content that doesn’t add value. “Review and removal of old and out-of-date content is crucial for the successful management of large websites,” he says.

8 Great Articles on Converting Web Traffic

Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg are the godfathers of conversion optimisation. Not only do they know more on the topic than anybody else, they make the concepts and tactics easy to understand – even for novices – in their many articles and books. Here’s a list of eight of their best articles on how to get more people clicking on your website.

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Breaking Away From Boring Bullet Points

Bullet statements can be highly effective and a great way to communicate key points in your copy. They’re easy to scan, easy to read, and important points can be made clearly. The problem is, bullet points can be boring.

But no longer! The Success Works blog offers some great tips on making your bullet points pop: How to Break Free of Boring Bullet Statements