Edit Like a Pro: Top Tips for Editing Your Work

Back in 2017, I graduated with my master’s degree in Historical Research, I got a Merit, but it could’ve been a Distinction if I had paid a bit more attention to editing. A lot was going on when I was doing my masters. More than anything, when it came to my final dissertation, I struggled with the cycle of perfectionism/procrastination, so I spent about a fortnight cram-writing 16,000 words. I gave it a cursory proofread, and I made the deadline with about five minutes to spare. 

Honestly, I was SO done with my dissertation that I had reached the ‘I don’t care how this does anymore, a pass will do’ stage. I wronged myself primarily by not being better organised but, the biggest mistake was not leaving myself enough time to edit. In the end, I was two marks off a Distinction in my dissertation. The feedback was that it was an impactful and engaging piece of work, and I knew the topic like the back of my hand, but they couldn’t give me a Distinction when it needed at least another round of editing. 

The moral of the story? Editing is a crucial but also such an easy step to skip over. Even if you’re a high calibre writer, there’s still going to be the odd thing that slips through the net. 

So, hands up, who’s written out a social post or a blog – whether you’ve quickly whipped it out or spent days on it – and you’re so done with looking at your work that you just send it off for approval without giving it much more than a quick skim proofread. Don’t worry, we’re all guilty of it! Or at least, as we know, I am! 

However, editing doesn’t only save you from cringing when your client or boss picks up on an obvious typo (or loses you marks!); it makes your work better. In this blog post, I’ll share some tips for editing your work, showing you how to make the process easier and more efficient.

Proofread your work to find and fix errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation

This is step one. I write in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, and I tend to fix anything the software flags as we go along. However, once I’ve finished writing, I’ll have a quick proofread. Then I’ll open Grammarly and go through its suggestions; there are a few other alternatives that do a similar job, Grammarly is just what I’ve tried and works for me.

Don’t just apply everything without checking, some of Grammarly’s suggestions can be wild! 

Use the ‘find’ function to search for specific words or phrases 

Next, I go through and double-check myself for: very, really, much. It turns out that I LOVE those little extra words to dial up the feeling, but most of the time, they detract from the message that you’re trying to convey. 

Find a second set of eyes, like another writer or editor, who can provide you with constructive feedback on your work

If you’ve got time, a second set of eyes on your work is unrivalled. Not so much for catching for grammar/punctuation but more for perspective/knowledge gaps. Some things might seem obvious to you (because you know the topic and you’re writing about it), or you’ve just gone word blind, so your brain is just skipping over any mistakes. 

Read through your piece aloud – it will help you catch any mistakes that might have been missed by reading silently 

I know that other writers love the ‘read aloud’ tool for this too, it helps you pick up on anything clunky or any double words that have slipped through the cracks. 

Ask yourself if every word is necessary – remove anything that does not serve a purpose 

Does this add to my writing/overall piece?

Does this deliver additional impact? 

Does this make it better? 

Does this detract from what I’m trying to say? 

Does this make sense? 

^All questions to ask yourself when reading through your work! 

When editing dialogue, make sure all the speech tags are correct (he/she/they said) so readers know who is talking without having to read too far ahead

If you’ve written a piece that includes a lot of dialogue, in your head, it might make sense who’s speaking next, but for readers, it’s easy to lose track or become jarring if it doesn’t flow neatly. Pay attention to your speech marks and tags to ensure all dialogue is clearly identified and flows well. 

Editing and proofing your work sounds straightforward. In theory, it is! But we don’t all have the right eye for detail or attention span for editing, OR we’re just too close to our pieces of work to see the minor errors. 

So, remember once you’ve poured your heart and soul into writing an article, email series or book, it’s time to take care of the final details. Make sure you have enough time to edit – don’t be afraid to use features such as read aloud or tools like Grammarly if they help! 

If you want to make sure that what you’re publishing is perfect, why not get a second opinion? I offer freelance proofreading and editing services for blogs and copy which can save you both time and stress in the long run! Drop me a message today for more information about how I can help with all aspects of writing and editing or book a free 30-minute discovery call here

What does it mean to be consistent in your content marketing?

I recently read a quote: If content is king, then consistency is queen.

And it’s so true! Like a little squirrel preparing for winter, going out and collecting seeds and nuts, consistency in your content marketing will set you up for success. 

We hear it all the time, right? The key to success is consistency, and I hate to be like yeah, they’re right. But er yeah, they’re right. Being consistent with your content marketing will help you reap the rewards, just like a little winter-prepared squirrel. I’m not sure how far I can drag out this metaphor, but I’m going to give it a go! 

Why is consistency important for content marketing?

Consistency is vital because it gives your audience a chance to get comfortable with you and who you are. 

If they feel like they know what’s coming when visiting your blog or seeing updates from you on social channels, that will help them develop trust in you and the content you’re providing. After all, if someone is coming to your blog or checking out your social profiles, they’re probably looking for information that relates to the work that you do. 

Therefore, being consistent with sharing content and messaging will help them feel like this isn’t just a fling – it’s something serious! And when someone feels confident in what you provide enough to return regularly, that’s when you know it’s going to stick. 

Having consistency in your content strategy will also help show your audience who you are and what value they can get from their relationship with you and the information that comes from your brand. If someone wants more than just a one-night stand, then don’t be afraid to take your relationship with them to the next level. 

So, knowing all that and why it’s important, what does it even mean to be consistent with your content marketing? Well, whether it’s on social media or blogs, there are three key areas that you need to be consistent in: 

Branding 

Branding is essential, from creating visual hallmarks of your brand with a recognisable font and logo to always writing in the same tone of voice. 

Messaging 

What are you trying to achieve?? Your content strategy isn’t a nice to have; it’s the foundation of everything you’re putting out there. Consistent messaging will help your audience to identify what your brand stands for quickly.

Frequency

Regularly showing up for your audience by sharing content is key to a successful content strategy. When someone visits your blog or your social media channels and likes what they see, they want to know that you’re active and consistently providing valuable or relatable information. 

How much is the perfect amount to show up and share? I hate to provide you with a meh answer, but it depends on your brand, industry, and capacity.

So, I will just say this: the perfect amount to share is whatever is sustainable for you. If you can show up for the ‘gram five times a week and write two blogs a week consistently, then amazing, do it. But if you can only share a blog and post on social twice a week, then that’s great too. If you can consistently manage to maintain that level of regular sharing, that’s perfect. 

What can you do to create a tone of voice that’s consistent?

You can do several things to create your tone of voice, apart from just being yourself! 

One way is ensuring that the copy on all content pieces matches and goes together. Whether it’s always writing in the same tense or using similar language throughout blog posts, consistency with this aspect creates an overall familiarity. 

Another way is by making sure that you maintain a similar style for all images and visuals used throughout whatever platform you’re sharing on. Consistency with this aspect will help tie in the overall feel of your brand’s visual presence, which helps create an identity behind it all. 

And finally, consistency with both aspects is fundamental to creating your recognisable voice online. This is because it helps you build trust and authority as a brand, which means that when people come across anything from you or about you in their newsfeeds, they know what to expect. 

It’s also important to note that if the tone of your messaging changes over time – for example, you’re writing more personal blog posts or sharing a bit lighter on social – that’s fine too. Just don’t do it for the sake of doing it. If your audience is coming to expect one thing, make sure that they continue to get what they want and need from you, even if your tone changes slightly. 

However, just because you may have gotten to know your audience and their needs over time doesn’t mean that you can take them for granted. Consistency is the key! Don’t ever underestimate what they expect from any brand or individual in terms of regularity and reliability. 

When should I share?

If you’re wondering when the best time is to share your content, then wonder no more! There are a few ways that you can go about finding the best time to share your content.  

The first way is by looking at where and how often your target audience visits social media channels or blogs during their day. You can do so using tools like Google Analytics. 

Another way is by looking at when your audience regularly engages with content you’ve shared in the past, whether through comments on social media posts and blog post shares, or even just regular email subscriptions. This will give you a good idea of what to expect from the best time for sharing! 

But I don’t have time to be consistent?!

I recently wrote a blog on how to create and streamline content, even when you’re short on time, you can look at the post here. But one way to keep up with social media, blogging and everything else is by creating a content calendar or schedule. This will help you stay on top of all that you need to do for your content marketing!

Staying organised and focused

Consistency helps you stay organised and focused in several ways:

Firstly, consistency ensures that your audience gets what they’ve come to expect from you. Whether it’s regular blog posts or IG stories shared every day of the week at around this time – if people get used to coming back for more content on a specific day of the week, for example – then that’s what they’ll be expecting from you. 

Secondly, consistency allows you to set goals and targets for yourself in content creation and distribution. This is because it helps you stay focused on your objectives as a brand or individual when it comes to sharing more regularly with people online, which can be a lot more time consuming than you may think. 

Finally, consistency helps with automation and minimising the need for extra labour or work! Choose a social scheduler that will allow you to batch your content so you can share consistently, even when you’re not actively online, therefore saving yourself a lot of time in the long run!

The importance of a routine 

Look, I don’t want to tell you how to live your life, but creating a routine is one of the best ways to ensure that you stay consistent in content marketing. This is especially true if you’re working full time or have other commitments such as studying, tiny humans or any caring responsibilities.

The first thing that I’d recommend is creating a list of blog post ideas for each week so that you always have something to write about. You can do this by looking at your previous blog posts, as well as any current events or news items that are relevant to you and/or your industry. 

If you need some help with generating ideas for content marketing, then take a look at my post about streamlining content! Once you’ve got those ideas, turn them into an editorial calendar so that you have a good idea of what’s coming up in the next few months, and you can schedule these posts accordingly. 

The other thing to consider is creating content that your audience will love reading or watching on social media! Social listening will give you great insights into who it is that makes up your target market so that you’re able to incorporate their interests into every piece of content that you create. 

You can do this by using tools like BuzzSumo to find out the most popular posts on your chosen social media channels, as well as websites in your industry! Or Answer The Public to search for what your potential customers are asking. You could then use these ideas and adapt them for your audience to fit with what you’re trying to achieve.

Consistency comes from having a routine and sticking to it. So, whether you create an editorial calendar or just have a list of your favourite blog post ideas for the week ahead, then consistency will soon become second nature! You’ll have your seeds and nuts squirrelled away for winter in no time!

It seems like a lot of work, and honestly it is to start with. But by creating routines will help you with the prep and you’ll get into a rhythm, allowing you to consistently show up for your audience. Do the work to build routines and you’ll be a happy little squirrel, all ready for winter!

Content marketing is my specialty, from creating content strategy to implementing it through blogs and social content, I know how important it is to show up regularly and consistently. If you would like to have a chat about working together, why not drop me a message or book in a free 30-minute discovery call?

Four reasons your business really should have a blog

An effective marketing strategy is comprised of several components, from paid ads to email marketing. However, one element that shouldn’t be slept on is your blog. I see it all the time, whether it’s down to time, budget or simply the misconception that a blog is a bit 2005 and isn’t worth the effort. 

Whether you’re a big or little brand, B2B or B2C, I’m here to tell you: every business should have a blog. Need more convincing? Take a look at my top four reasons why below!

Turn traffic into leads

Let’s start with the biggie, and probably the most obvious. A blog can draw traffic to your website, which can then turn readers into leads. Most leads come from prospective customers searching for the answer to a question or researching a subject matter rather than looking for a particular product or service. If your brand’s blog is answering that query, plus providing an engaging call-to-action, then you’re turning traffic into potential leads. 

Working closely with SEO and brand experts, content writers research and write about popular subject matter that interests a target audience. Thereby increasing traffic to your site and improving the user experience – which should then lead to more leads.

Prove your experience and expertise 

The main two reasons anyone is checking out your blog are: they’re looking for information or testing your business/knowledge. If you’re struggling to decide whether a blog is worth the effort, consider your blog a test-drive of your offering, where you prove that you know what you’re talking about and your service or product has value. 

From answering common questions, demystifying some of the complex processes within your business or industry, sharing insights into the industry, these are all great ways to establish your business as an authority or thought leader in your specialism. 

My advice to brands without a blog is always to start by offering intelligent insights. You’ll provide immense visitor value and build credibility and trust in your business. 

Improve your SEO

Did you know that there are approximately 3.5 BILLION daily searches on Google? Which, if my maths is correct, is like 25,000 searches A SECOND. It’s wild out there in the SERPs. 

Google’s algorithms change it up often, and they’re pretty secretive about what they like. However, what isn’t going anywhere is that relevance and user experience are a big deal for Google. Relevant to Google means maintaining regular updates with subject matters relevant to the keyword/search query. Therefore, regularly posting blog content is the perfect way to become best friends with Google. 

Obvs, it’s not as simple as posting minimum-effort blogs that are stuffed with keywords. The content must be interesting, relevant and useful. And this is where user experience hangs out; if the user isn’t having a good time on your website because they can’t find what they’re looking for, or the website is clunky etc., they will leave your website – bounce – which will hurt your SEO.

Finally, a sexy piece of blog content that has inspired the reader, answered a query or solved a problem could result in them sharing it with friends and family. Not only does this give your brand a little word of mouth boost (one of the most reliable marketing tactics ever), but it also increases your perceived authority in your industry. This creates traffic to your site, plus any links to your site from third-party sites will create ‘backlinks’ which will increase your domain authority and overall SEO (if the sites aren’t just random rubbish!). 

You own everything! 

The final reason every business should have a blog is that it’s all yours. Social media platforms are excellent, however, if they go down, your profile is removed for any reason, or trends change, and a new platform becomes the flavour of the month, you could lose the traffic stream. However, your blog is 100% your property, and you can grow it to be a steady stream of hits. 

There are so many more great reasons to have a blog; these are just my top four. If you’ve been thinking of starting a blog, my final tip is just to start now. Done is better than perfect, so start today and begin to nurture that little blog.

Do you know that you want a blog for your business, but you just don’t have the time, energy, or motivation to write the posts yourself? Recently described as the blogging queen, I’ve probably written a 1000+ blogs over the last decade! So why not drop me a message and see how we can work together to take your blog from zero to hero?

Who needs a copywriter?

I’ve been a copywriter a while, like twelve-ish years. Over that time, I’ve had many questions about why copywriters are necessary – often to my face! So, I decided it’s time to put that list of fun questions together and answer the ultimate question: who needs a copywriter? 

Listen, I’m just a girl, standing in front of a crowd like Oprah Winfrey shouting: you need a copywriter, you need a copywriter, and you need a copywriter! 

What is a copywriter? 

A copywriter is a professional writer who uses proven sales techniques to create compelling and persuasive pieces of writing to convert readers into customers. Copywriters generate revenue, crafting copy to boost email open rates and skyrocket conversions on a landing page. Not only are they a great ROI, but a great copywriter also intimately understands your ideal audience, grasping their pain points and desires. 

Copywriter vs Content Writer 

What’s the difference? It seems like there’s a lot of overlap, but it generally comes down to the purpose of a piece of writing: 

copy are words that persuade, so writing with an intent to sell and convert. 

whilst content is designed to entertain, engage and educate.

I am a hybrid and write in both spaces. 

What are the benefits of hiring a copywriter? 

In theory, anyone can write, right? So, you might be thinking, I don’t need a copywriter because I can do it myself.  

But nah, probably not. You may have a knack for writing but copywriting is an art form – it takes years of practice. And even then, there’s always room for improvement. When I’m done with your project, it’ll feel sparkly and exciting. 

The benefit of hiring a copywriter is that they will create content to meet your needs, fill in the gaps and make it all work together seamlessly. Whether you don’t have the time or the creativity, but you want results, with the help of a copywriter like me, you’ll get them a lot sooner than you might get there on your own. 

Content is king and a copywriter is what makes your content shine

A good copywriter can be your best friend when communicating what makes your company different from the competition! They’ll help you write content for everything from social media posts to blogs on your website that are engaging, interesting and persuasive.

There are many benefits to hiring a professional writer; not only will they save you time in coming up with new content ideas. But they can also take some of the pressure off by creating blog posts or social content, which leaves you more time to focus on your business. 

Here are some of the reasons why you should consider hiring a copywriter:

  • A good writer creates compelling copy which will help people understand what you do 
  • They’ll also understand the audience you’re targeting and deliver a message that speaks to their pain points or desires – so they’ll be in tune with what resonates best. 
  • Copy can help with branding by establishing your tone and voice – that thing that makes you different from all those other people doing what you’re doing. 
  • It’s more work than just throwing words out there.

So, who needs a copywriter? 

Everyone! Well, anyone who is in the business of marketing their products or services and wants to do it right. Specifically, you need one if your content is not converting readers into customers or it isn’t as compelling and readable as it could be. A good writer will make your content that much better – they understand the audience you’re targeting, so their message speaks to them. They know how to craft compelling copy that persuades and converts, so they’ll be in tune with what resonates best. 

How to find a good copywriter and what to look for 

I think gut feelings will tell you a lot about whether you want to work with a person, but there’s a few other traits and qualities to look out for too: 

  • Some demonstrable experience of ability, whether that’s a portfolio or even just an Instagram that appeals to you. 
  • Personality is important too. You need someone that can build rapport with your target audience and who speaks their language. 
  • You want to find someone you like working with so they are invested in the project and will therefore produce a great result.

Tips on how to work with a copywriter 

  • It might seem like a lot to pay someone to do something (you think) that you can do too, or just as well, but a copywriter will save you time and money in the long run. 
  • If you can’t afford a copywriter to write all your content, pick the most critical pieces that will have maximum impact. For example, your homepage, a sales landing page, or paid ads. 
  • Choose someone that you connect with. Working with someone who has a portfolio of fantastic work but there’s zero rapport won’t produce the level of results that you need. 
  • Remember, a copywriter isn’t just writing for you. They’re also strategic and creative, and they should be able to understand how content impacts conversion rates and what makes people want to read it. 

Words that play nicely with Google

So, you have fantastic messaging, clever words and a great looking site or page. Does any of that matter if it doesn’t play nicely with Google? 

Copywriting and SEO go together like a hand in a glove. Although some copywriters specialise exclusively in SEO, a good copywriter should have at least an understanding of SEO. They will know what makes people want to read something online – like being creative with headlines, using keywords that will rank higher in search engine results, or incorporating visuals that appeal to your target audience.

Are you looking for a copywriter? 

Got an exciting project that needs a copywriter? Drop me a message, and let’s see how we can work together! Take a look at what I offer, or drop me a message here

Streamline your processes to consistently create & share content – even when you’re short on time!

We would all love to be one of those magical people who never struggles to find share-worthy content or think of a blog topic, right? They’re consistently sharing content that’s on-trend and interesting. They seem to be on top of everything and never miss a beat or drop the ball. 

But it’s not magic. It’s a streamlined creative process! They’ve created a plan, established a routine and stuck to it consistently. Did you know it takes 66 days on average to build a new habit? So, start streamlining your content process today, and in two months, you could have the process down.

If you’re not sure how to streamline your process, let me break it down for you. Because the more you can quickly and easily create your content, the more likely you’ll be to keep up with sharing content consistently!

Keep a list of topics and ideas handy 

In the notes section of my phone, I have a list of topics of potential blogs and social posts that I’ve jotted down when inspiration strikes me. I use my notes section because it syncs with my phone, laptop and iMac but use any platform that works for you. 

By keeping a list, you’ll quickly have generated a list of random but valuable content ideas all safely stored away for you to access. Note down any ideas that come to mind, even if they seem tenuously linked to your work or insignificant. You can always develop a simple idea later! 

You’ll soon have a bank of topic and content ideas to choose from, which will help you loads when creating a content calendar!

Create a Content Calendar

Every content creator needs a regular, reliable and structured plan to help them create consistent posts. Content isn’t just blogs, it’s blog posts, social media posts, videos, and even podcasts. Here’s where you’ll use your ideas bank. A simple spreadsheet is enough to keep track; I just use excel. 

Create columns for:

  • Topic/Theme
  • When you want to publish
  • What channel it’ll be going on
  • Any notes or reminders 

And then rows with days of the week, or if you don’t want to go into that much detail, and would prefer an overview, then a week commencing date will work here too. 

Start to plot out your ideas against your calendar, deciding what you’ll be posting each week. Whilst I have a content calendar laid out for a year, with top-line info showing, I generally only plot three or so months in advance just because you never know what’s going to happen, and this keeps some flexibility. Plus, if you write a blog on a topic, share that same topic across your socials etc. By repurposing content, you’ll save yourself loads of time and effort! 

Don’t overcomplicate it; if you’re just starting, aim to post one new thing per week before attempting to post 2–3 items each time. After you establish a habit of weekly posting, you can move on to adding additional content. By this time, you’ll have the consistency down. 

If you’re looking to create SEO or optimised content, then I use Google’s Keyword Planner and I love Answer the Public for topics and ideas that speaks directly to the audience’s needs and interests.  

Fight back against blank page syndrome

Do you get blank page syndrome? Where a blank page leaves you shaking and feeling sick? You’re staring at a page, and you just.can’t.write.anything?? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. 

It’ll help if you’re creating or crafting content that you’re already familiar with, like if you know a topic well. But when you’re struggling to write, it helps if you have a written outline. 

A written outline is your key to creativity and can be anything from two sentences to a whole essay – just make sure there’s some sort of structure in place! You might find that after going through the steps above, outlining will become second nature. 

If I’m writing an outline, I’ll start by outlining the subheadings or talking points. This gets the creative juices going as you begin to see your work take shape. These headlines are rarely my final ones, but they’ll be a handy guide. 

Talking about getting going, if you find that you spend ages trying to craft the perfect intro, then start somewhere else. Start by writing your first subheading instead, and then work your way down. This takes the pressure off a bit, helps you warm up and get into the topic. Then you can go back to your intro once you’ve got all the inspiration and magic flowing. 

Batch Create Content

Batch creating is when you plan ahead and prep content creation so that it’s available in advance. I particularly like to batch my social media posts, sitting down to write a week or so of captions or prepping the visuals at a time. I find it easier to keep going once I’m in the zone. Plus, it keeps them all in the same tone, and I’m writing about the same topic, it keeps it cohesive. 

If you’re ever short of time, then you’re going to be grateful that you’ve batch created content! Especially since we all have those days where we are too busy or tired to do anything so by pre-creating, we’re making sure that we consistently have content to share. 

It gives the rest of your week a lot more space and breathing room so you can focus on other things like marketing or customer support. Plus, it means when you’re hit by one of those days where everything goes wrong, you’ve still got content to post!

Use Social Schedulers (or any kind of automation really)

Automation is all about making our processes effortless, so similar to scheduling your content to go live or an email to send; social scheduling tools save you lots of time. By scheduling your posts, you’ll be streamlining the process on your own time and ensuring you’re consistently sharing content. If you’re interested, I use Buffer because it’s straightforward and covers all the social channels I use. But there are tons out there! 

Simply fill and set your schedule to launch the content whenever your audience is the most active. Then in your audience’s eyes, it will look like you’re posting consistently and, most importantly, that you’re active! 

Creating content consistently is hard work, but there are ways to streamline the process and stay on top of it. The main things you can do to become a more efficient and creative content creator include keeping track of ideas, creating a calendar with your list of posts for every month or week in advance, batching your content, and using schedulers to help automate when posts go out on social media. 

However, if you really don’t have enough time to create consistent content, why not drop me a message? Whether you’d like a content calendar filled with engaging and exciting ideas for the next quarter or the next year, or write your weekly blog posts, I can help! Take a look at my services here or drop me a message.

Ethical Marketing: how to avoid being gross in the new normal

In the same way that ‘unprecedented times’ became iconic during the pandemic, as we navigate our way out of lockdowns and embrace life post-pandemic, ‘the new normal’ has become just as routinely uttered. 

I’m sure that we’re all guilty of looking forward to saying how ‘we’re looking forward to getting back to normal, whatever normal means.’ In the UK, it’s become almost a small talk topic, along with the weather, any national sports competition and if you’re going to try to go on holiday this year. 

Even before the last lockdown restrictions were lifted back on 19 July (in the UK), getting back to normal has been heavy on our minds. It’s hopeful, optimistic, and full of vulnerability. We don’t want normal as such; we want to go back to a time before a global pandemic turned our worlds upside down. But this push for normalcy is growing, and it’s powerful, mainly because it’s built on hope. 

And here is where we can avoid being gross and icky with our marketing. It’s a tough one to balance because many of us may have been ravaged financially by the pandemic, so the desire to get back to normal and sell will be strong. However, the temptation to jump on the ‘back to normal’ message should be one that brands approach with caution. 

If you’re not careful, you might end up sending incredibly insensitive messages in the spirit of: lockdown is over, buy this new dress so that you don’t look terrible when you go outside again. 

Your customers desperately want to feel good and like themselves again. As marketers, we should be in tune with finding our customers’ pain points and fixing them with our products and services. But let’s not make it a race to the land of gross marketing with a barrage of ‘normal’ messages to fix them. This feels not only gross and sleazy to me, but it’s a rabbit hole to unethical marketing. 

Let’s make ethical the new normal

When we sell something practical, we’re offering a solution to a largely emotionless problem. You know, glue, ladders, a pair of garden shears. They’re all products that fix a practical problem. 

However, when we’re selling something that fixes or touches on an emotional element, that’s when things will start to get interesting. We’ll stick to brands that we know and love because the brand also represents something. Lamborghini, Tiffany, Lego. These brands themselves mean something emotional too.  

I’m all about human, emotional connections. It’s my whole thing as a copywriter. I write empathically to connect with a brand’s audience and speak to them in a relatable and powerful way. 

As marketers, we should all be skilled at creating emotional connections, speaking to the hearts of our audience, as opposed to their minds.

However, your customer’s hearts are probably traumatised right now. They’re vulnerable. They’re hopeful. They’re sensitive. Over the last year and a half, they’ve ridden a wild rollercoaster. 

So, the most ethical thing that brands can do right now is to continue with the compassionate communications they’ve adopted through the pandemic that isn’t powered by sell, sell, sell. Fight against everything that wants to sell your customers x,y,z and get them back out in the world to show it off. A pair of shoes, a watch or a new kitchen isn’t going to fix the cracks in people’s hearts. And for some customers, it’ll be fine; for some, you’ll be preying on their vulnerability. 

So I just can’t sell anything right now? I have a warehouse full of stock and a spreadsheet of worry

Of course, you can, just with some sensitivity and compassion. 

Since the world turned upside down last March, I’m sure you’ve switched to a gentler message. Opting for a share of voice and brand awareness tact over salesy, hard-sell messaging. 

Many of us have changed our tact, instead of asking: what do my customers want? We’ve been looking for ways we can help and asking: what do my customers need?

Even though restrictions are beginning to lift globally, the last year and a half has been A LOT. Not everyone is ready to ‘get back to normal’. Not everyone is prepared to abandon the measures that have made them feel safe; not everyone is ready to go back to the pub or meet up again. After a financial wringing, not everyone can get back to normal. For many people, there’s a long way to go before they’re going to feel normal again. So, a storm of messaging and ads telling customers that you’re the fix they need post-lockdown probably won’t be received particularly well. 

However, customers know that brands must sell their products and services. They recognise that we need to sell to stay afloat and to keep our businesses alive. This isn’t anything to be embarrassed or ashamed of, and we can’t pretend sales aren’t still significant. Selling isn’t gross or icky or sleazy; it’s the way you convey you packaged up your message that matters. 

With everything to navigate, how do we sell compassionately? 

We’re all going through changes 

A crucial part of marketing is knowing your target audience well. You’ve probably got some customer avatars or segments filled with lots of info that you know about your ideal client. This info will typically be split into two pillars: 

Demographics: age, race, religion, gender, family size, income, education etc. This explains who your customer is. 

Psychographics: attitudes, interests, personality, values, opinions, lifestyle etc. This explains why your customer buys things. 

However, after a massive global event like a pandemic, many of these factors in both areas will probably have seen some shifting. Income could’ve been affected by job losses; values may have changed as lots of us re-evaluated what was important to us in a world that felt unsteady. And obviously, our lifestyles have seen a considerable shift – you know, as most of us had to stay at home. 

What happens when these factors shift, but we don’t re-evaluate our data? These changes have potentially become a pain point, and by poking it, we’re crossing a line into unethical marketing and capitalising on vulnerability. 

So, what should you do now? Look at your audience analysis, consider everything that might have changed and how this may have affected your audience’s feelings and behaviour. Once you have a list of changes, the pain points will become visible, and you’ll have a good idea of how your audience might have been affected. 

It’s ok that you need to sell. You can still sell. Just make sure you’re doing it with consideration and compassion. 

Recommendations for selling post-lockdown

I don’t want to call them rules, but recommendations and guidelines feel like a good fit here. 

Don’t celebrate the end of lockdown 

Just, don’t. Any celebration of lockdown restrictions lifting or ending preys on the hopeful optimism that gets crushed when something changes. Remember the crushing weight of the regulations easing being cancelled last Christmas? We don’t know what’s going to happen. Even though it looks like this is it, and the restrictions have continued to ease over the last month, we just don’t know. 

Plus, like I previously mentioned, not everyone feels safe with the loosening of restrictions. Not everyone is ready to go outside or ‘get back to normal’. Many people will have suffered in various ways due to the pandemic, don’t reduce their pain or suffering to a celebration that lockdown is over now. 

What can you do? 

If your product, offering or brand has nothing to do with Covid-19, just don’t mention it or lockdown at all. 

Not only because of the variety of different feelings on lockdown easing but logistically – restrictions are different around the world; if you’re a global brand, then this messaging won’t be consistent. 

Offer value

Hopefully, you’ve been creating and offering value to your customers and audience through this all anyway, this is an excellent place to continue to sit. Most brands don’t belong in the Covid conversation unless you’re an expert or a scientific leader – so just leave that alone. Posting about Covid whilst uninformed just to be included in the conversation is dangerous at best and incredibly negligent and unethical at worst, especially if you have a large following to distribute that lack of information to. 

What can you do? 

Ask yourself, how can I genuinely help right now? What are my brand’s strengths and offerings that can provide help and support here? 

If you’ve been doing that through lockdown, re-visit to ask yourself how your offering may have changed post-lockdown. 

Collaboration over competition 

This is a biggie for me. I believe there’s enough space in the world for us all to co-exist, and I think it’s so much more fulfilling to choose collaboration and community over competition. Maybe if we did a bit more of it, we’d have fewer billionaires hanging out in space whilst their employees were sleeping in their cars… but that’s just me! 

Anyway, brands that come together during this new phase of the pandemic will increase trust with their audiences. Simultaneously, brands who’ve been communicating sensitively during the pandemic will have spent a lot of effort building trust and awareness during this time. 

Now, it’s time for those brands to think about how they can use that brand power and trust to help bring communities back together. 

What can you do? 

Is there a way to collaborate with another brand to help your local community or general humanity? Do you have a skill gap that another company could fix? Do you have a competitor that you could find a way to work with for the greater good? 

At the risk of just writing this in big, bold letters over and over: focus on your customer and their needs and the value you can offer them. 

So, stay away from poking, pressing or otherwise provoking pandemic pain. Unless you’re offering genuine help, don’t even mention it. Just leave it alone.

Let it scab over, let it heal, let it breathe.

What’s the point in content marketing without objectives?

If you’re looking for the TLDR: there is no point.

Longer answer: objectives keep us on track and ensure that what we’re creating and our content marketing is worthwhile and contributes to our business goals. 

Regardless of what we’re doing, we all need an objective/s to keep us on track and to stop us from flip-flopping all over the place. Too often, brands know that they should be creating content, but they just throw out content when inspiration strikes. Without a concrete idea of what they’re working towards with their content marketing. 

Every brand is unique and will probably have its individual content marketing objectives. What works for one business may not work for another. But I’m going to take you through three common marketing objectives, how you can achieve them AND why you should want to! 

What is content marketing? 

Well, according to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is:

A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Building Brand Awareness

It’s basically the wild west out there. Did you know that Google shows about 3.5 BILLION searches every day? You need to cut through the noise, and when you stand out, you need the person who reads it to think: I want more of this. 

Firstly, you need to create consistently high-quality content that speaks and answers your audience’s pain points, thereby positioning your brand as a helpful, authoritative, and accessible expert. From here, you want anyone reading your content to become aware of your brand through the fantastic content you’re creating and for them to want more of it. 

How to build brand awareness through your content? 

C O N S I S T E N C Y

It’s not magic, and it’s not rocket science. You just need to be consistent. There’s no point just randomly churning out pieces of content; a blog every four years and then throwing out an eBook isn’t going to help you to stick in people’s minds. 

Imagine your audience are little squirrels or birds, and you’re leading them to your brand with a trail of seeds and nuts, until one day they’re eating out of your hands and they’re your best friends. 

But to get to the point where these little birds and squirrels are eating out of your hands, you need a consistent strategy for creating value-packed content. But howwwww, you ask? 

Well, like this: 

  • Content ideas pop in our minds all the time; jot them down and keep a content list on the go. I keep an ideas list of both social and blog posts in the notes section on my phone. 
  • When creating content, think about how you can repurpose it. For example, your 6/8/10 best-performing blogs could become an eBook. You could turn a whitepaper into a short course or a tutorial. The possibilities are endless, expanding your reach and the mileage of your content. 
  • Offer value to your audience, either by solving their problem or answering a question or even just by entertaining them. Prove to your audience that you’re worth coming back to. 

To craft content that will speak to your audience in a way that they relate to, always have an ear to the ground on what your audience is saying and what problems they have. Social listening, buyer insights and surveys, market research are excellent ways to listen to your customers on their terms. I also love Answer the Public for content ideas to generate based on the questions that are being asked. 

Don’t forget, your content also needs to mirror your personality, values and knowledge as well as being relatable to your audience and demonstrate who your brand is. 

What it’s realllllly all about: Leads Generation 

Being salesy for myself can feel really icky to me. But let’s be real, we’re creating content to generate leads and get people to take action: buy/engage/do the thing that we want them to. 

So, you want to get those readers into your content market funnel and gently nudge them along as you build your trust with them. 

Setting a content marketing funnel should be a key objective because it warms up the reader until they’re ready for the sale. 

At the start of the funnel is the awareness stage, which is all about brand awareness. 

This is where you want to pique their interest, solving their problems and drawing them in. Using our little squirrel and birds analogy, this is what gets them to start at the beginning of your little seeds and nuts trail. 

Content examples include: 

Blog posts
Social media posts
Whitepapers
Checklists
How-to videos
Ebooks 
Webinars

The next stage of the funnel is the Consideration Stage; this is where you nurture these leads, making them aware of your brand’s authority, impressing them with value-packed content. (The squirrels and birds are galloping through the little trail of seeds and nuts at this point). 

Content includes: 

All the content types above for brand awareness plus
Product comparison guides
Case studies
Free samples

The final stage of the funnel is the Retention Stage. This is your chance to ask for the sale and get the little squirrels eating out of your hands. In theory, your audience should be warm enough to trust you and see the value in your service or offering. 

Content includes:

Sales emails
Free trial or demo
Landing pages with conversion copy
Your website itself

Marketing funnels could have its own individual post, so if you want to know more about content marketing funnels, Hubspot has an amazing post here where you can read about it more in-depth. 

Showing up for SEO

Ahh, mystical SEO. We all know it’s important, but do we do the stuff to show up? Errr, not often enough. 

That’s why your Content Marketing Strategy and SEO Strategy should be good friends and hang out together. It’s vital for your content to be optimised and include keywords if you want it to stand a chance. You can do this through tools like SEMrush, or Google’s Keyword Planner will also help you here. This, along with something like Answer the Public, can help you identify the keywords and phrases your audience is searching for. 

Ultimately though, Google prioritises helpful and authentic content. So do not stuff your content with keywords. Keyword stuffing will only result in Google spitting on you and throwing you in the bin. So first and foremost, write for humans, not Google. You want your post to be valuable and relatable over everything else. 

SEO is a big, big topic, I recently covered Local SEO here, but some essential advice to get you started: 

  • Use the keyword that you’re targeting in the title of your content 
  • and then again in the first paragraph of your content
  • Use variants of your keyword and connected terms because Google also looks at the context

So, whatever your Content Marketing Objectives are, whatever you want to achieve by having your little squirrel and bird audience eating out of your hand and sitting on your shoulder, you need a plan and a goal to get there. 

Want to raise brand awareness? Excellent, consistently create content that’s value-driven and reflects your brand values. Conversions and leads are what you’re going for? Great, develop your marketing funnel so that you can nurture those leads. 

Don’t flip-flop. Create consistently according to what you want to accomplish and make content marketing work for you and your brand. 

You’ve got this!

This is a local website for local people: top tips for improving your local SEO

The internet is a wild ride; it can be glorious and grim. But something that the internet is great at is connecting businesses and brands with their audiences. Thanks to the internet, we can connect with people from all across the world, and many of us do.

But don’t forget about your locals; Mary & Sue from around the corner could be your biggest fans – if only they knew about you! 

Local SEO is a powerful tool for businesses to reach new customers and grow their customer base. With the right local SEO techniques, you can storm your industry in your city or town. It absolutely should be an essential part of your online and SEO strategy.

Make sure your website is optimised for mobile

How often are you out and you’re lost, looking for a place to have lunch or a nearby place to grab a piece of kit? And in these situations, how often do you turn to your smartphone and Google what you’re looking for? Your potential customers are doing the same thing. 

Making sure your website is optimised for mobile will rank better in search results on smartphones. Making sure your website is optimised for mobile includes: 

– a responsive design

– making the text large enough to read on a smaller screen

– ensuring you have image alt tags with clear descriptions in place 

– it also means choosing a URL structure that follows Google’s best practices 

– schema markup to show the location of your business.

Mobile optimisation is an important step for local SEO because it makes sure users will quickly find you when they search on their smartphone – no matter where in the world they are! If your website isn’t mobile optimised, this is a mistake that can cause you to lose out on potential customers.

Create a blog and use it to post new content regularly 

Only good things can come from a blog and regular fresh content, I promise. 

Having a blog on your website with great content ensures that people will be coming back to your site and checking for new content. This means not only are visitors are more likely to come back regularly – it can also improve the ranking of your site in search engine results pages (SERPs) because Google likes websites that keep their content fresh.

When you post new content, make sure that the title contains keywords for your business and include a brief description of what will be covered in the blog so that it’s easy to see how readers can benefit from reading this post. 

Include keywords in the title and meta description of each page on your site

Local SEO is vital because it helps you rank higher in local search results. When someone searches for your business name, these are the pages (websites) that will show up and be displayed to them when they have a matching query. Therefore, you should make sure that each page has keywords as part of its title and meta description. This includes both the homepage and blog posts.

For example, one way to optimise your on-page SEO is by including your business name in the title of a page and adding it into the meta description. This tells Google what this particular web page (website) is about so that when someone searches for you using these keywords, they find this page.

Use social media for marketing and local SEO

Social media fulfils so many different things for all of us; some of us use it to keep in touch with friends and family, others use it to learn new things, and some people use it to shop and find businesses nearby. 

Even if you’re not much of a Facebook user personally, I would recommend making sure that you have a Facebook Page for your business so that it’s easy for customers looking in their city or town to see how they can reach out to you with questions or provide feedback, or even just find your opening hours or menu/product list. It also means that when someone searches for your company, the social media page will be displayed in the search results.

The key with social media is engaging content – which can help people become more aware of your services or products. So, if you’re a restaurant, make sure to post images of what’s on offer so that you can entice potential customers in, plus they’ll know exactly what they’ll be able to buy when they come and visit your business! 

Optimise web images 

This one is a little less specific to local SEO and is great for SEO and userbility overall, but images are important. Visually they enhance your website, but they’re a gold mine for SEO opportunities too. 

When you upload an image, make sure it has a descriptive alt tag that helps the search engines understand what this particular photo is about. This also means making sure that the image file name is relevant. For example, if you’re uploading an image of your business in action at a trade show, then it’s essential not to just call it ‘image 1’ or ‘photo.jpg’. 

But just as important as SEO, by utilising your caption/alt text for images, you’re also boosting the accessibility of your website as screen readers used by blind users capture and read aloud this text. So, by writing descriptive and helpful captions and alt text, you’re improving the accessibility and userbility of your website. 

Honestly, overall, good SEO is fundamentally about being valuable and helpful. It’s about creating useful and engaging content that serves your customers and users and answers their questions. Google rewards this content with brownie points and better ranking. 

Google My Business

If you haven’t heard of Google My Business, it’s basically like the yellow pages but online, and it’s a free SEO tool that can help you get found online. A directory meets Google. 

It’s also a straightforward way to manage your business information and tell people what your business does. You can even review how your website is performing! It keeps track of the number of visitors who come through from Google search. 

Even if you don’t want another profile to manage, I would definitely recommend registering for GMB because it allows you to publish your company info, like name, address, contact details, opening times etc., directly onto Google’s SERPs. It also provides business-specific insights, such as where visitors are searching, how many customers are going to your website from Google, and what keywords they’re using.

In terms of local SEO, this tool is particularly handy for businesses with a physical location such as restaurants or shops because it allows people searching in their area using ‘near me’ to find you online.

As you can see, there are many ways to boost your local SEO. You may not be able to implement all of these strategies at once, but the more you do, the better your chances are of getting found by potential customers and clients in your local area. 

If you need some fresh eyes on your copy, you’re ready to launch a blog, but you don’t have time to write the content, or you’re feeling stuck for ideas, why not drop me a message and see how we can work together? Find out more about my services here or take a look at some of the nice things people say about me here.

Er sorry, who do you think you’re speaking to in that tone?

Scott and I are generally very easy breezy, especially with each other. We never argue, which is why when things get a bit stressy, and there is the slightest raised voice, I need to remind him who he’s talking to: 

‘Please don’t shout at me, love.’ 

There has never been an instance of shouting at each other in our entire five years, but we’re both very sensitive to even the slightest change in tone. It’s become almost a funny or an icebreaker when things are getting tense. Sometimes I accompany my request with a cushion thrown on the ground, and sometimes he’ll pick up and slam a coaster. It’s wild in our house. Truly. 

We just know each other really well, and we’re susceptible to tone. 

Do you know who else is susceptible to your tone and voice? Your ideal and potential customers. Yeah, you knew this blog was somewhat relevant to marketing and copywriting, right?!

We hear often about importance of words, but I don’t think enough attention is given to the power of tone and voice. The style of voice that you use will have a lot to do with how your readers feel about what they’re reading, which ultimately leads into how they feel about you and your brand.

If you use the right tone of voice for your ideal audience in your marketing and copy, they’ll feel connected to your brand and like they can relate to you. Use the wrong tone of voice? You’re just more noise in a world of brands shouting about their stuff. 

What tone of voice is for you? 

The tone can be severe or fun in your copy (and branding overall), cutting edge or old-fashioned. It’s important to know who your target audience is so that you speak in the right tone of voice for them. 

Do you know what vibe your business or brand is giving off with your tone of voice?  Your tone has a lot to do with people’s perception of what they’re reading. If someone feels like they are being shouted at or reprimanded, they’ll shut down and not read anything else on the page. If they read your marketing blurb and feel PUMPED, then they’re probably more likely to connect with you. 

Common tones of voice

Ultimately, the right tone of voice for your brand will get your audience all revved up and excited. The wrong tone of voice will turn them off and leave them brushing off your advances and telling you they have a headache.

Here’s just a few examples of common choices for a brand’s tone of voice:

Quirky

Light-hearted, happy and positive, I’m not sure if I would say it appeals to everyone, but this tone of voice will appeal to those who want a more positive and kinder vibe in their marketing. This type of branding goes hand-in-hand with fun photos, quirky captions and emojis. Plus, made-up words or adding on ‘-ish’. 

The best example of a brand with a fun or quirky tone of voice that comes to mind is probably Innocent Drinks.

Corporate

Straight to business, no-nonsense and very formal. If your brand has a more mature or professional target audience who wants something serious, this tone of voice will be for them. 

Some brands speak to their customers in a voice that is very instructional and functional. These brands want you to know they are your superior, so you don’t question anything. 

Knowledgeable

Want to position yourself as an expert with great information to share? Then this is the voice for you. Typically, most commonly used in an academic setting, they want people to know how knowledgeable their brand or content creators are about a topic. This tone can be kind of pretentious, but if it’s your niche, you might not care as much because this will speak to your ideal audience. 

Dreamy 

Ah, light, sweet, romantic and blissful. Dreamy works for brands selling aspirations in their marketing, such as an e-commerce site selling floral arrangements or home decor, like candles and statement pieces. 

Trendy 

Cool, sarcastic and trendy af. See what I did there? This tone might not be for everyone because we’re not all cool enough, but if you’re marketing something to a younger audience of millennials, this will probably resonate with them. This goes hand-in-hand with abbreviations like ICYMI, IRL and af. 

Apple is an excellent example of a brand using trendy tone of voice; their target audience are millennials who’ve grown up with their tech and this tone works perfectly for targeting them.

Helpful 

Light, friendly and typically educational. It kind of does what it says on the tin. This works well for service providers that are looking to share their expertise in an approachable way.  

Aggressive

Do you even lift, bro? 

I can’t think of too many brands that would want to be aggressive in their tone of voice. But I guess if you want to inspire Kitchen Nightmare USA style results or action in your audience, then maybe an aggressive Gordon Ramsey tone of voice will work for you. 

Of all the brands that probably want to be a bit aggressive in their tone of voice, it’s probably fitness brands who will want to make sure their target audience knows they’re serious about getting fit, pumping iron and taking care of themselves.

When this tone is being used, the brand might post-workout photos with motivational captions or videos of people are at a gym working out hard. They’ll use phrases like “a strong body starts with a strong mind” or something similar.

Which tone of voice is right for you? 

This will totally depend on who you’re trying to target and how they speak, respond and interact with brands. And of course, tone of voice can be a lovely little Venn diagram of overlap; maybe you want dreamy and quirky, quirky and aggressive (… sure?) or knowledgeable and helpful.

If you’re unsure about what kind of tone of voice to commit to, do some market research before you jump into your branding and copy. Maybe do some social listening and scope out where your ideal audience are hanging out to see the language, phrasing and tone they’re using. 

Most importantly, know the voice you’re using when you start building up your content so that it speaks to your audience and not at them.

Feel like you don’t even know where to start with your tone of voice or how to convey your messaging to your ideal audience? But you really want to connect with your audience and get them pumped up to hang out with you? Let’s chat! As well as writing your copy, I can help you to decide your tone and even help you create a tone of voice document that connects perfectly with your brand guidelines. Find out more about my services here.

how do you make a big four firm sound human AND save the world? work with me.

the challenge 

A Big Four Consultancy Firm have placed the climate crisis at the core of their business priorities over the next few years and have goals to not only match the Paris Agreement, but have set themselves impressive targets that go above and beyond. 

With almost half a million employees, to make real change, the company needed to get their employees from around the world onboard. Therefore, to inspire their employees to get involved, they wanted to do something totally new by creating a training program that would inspire, inform, and educate their employees. However, they were concerned that their typical corporate branding and tone of voice wasn’t going to achieve the inspirational intentions of the learning piece. 

what happened? 

Working in collaboration with We Are Tilt, my role was to use my empathetic style of writing and ability to inject personality into even the most robotic of brand voices. 

I created an emotive spoken word script that captured the urgency, unity and action needed to address the climate change crisis. This was split into four pieces to accompany the training programme. It set the tone and is the hand guiding the participants through what could’ve been another typically dry training piece. My spoken word piece/script was completed with a piece of custom music, a voice over artist and creative motion design. 

the result 

The team managing the project and We Are Tilt were blown away with the results. At the initial recording with the voice-over artist, we all got chills. It was amazing. Plus, the big four firm was delighted with the opportunity to show off a bit of their humanity and do something a bit different that was outside of their standard corporate box.

Initially, it was planned that the piece would be an internal piece of work, but they’ve fallen in love with it and are now planning multiple media campaigns around the spoken word piece globally. 

We immediately thought of Saloni for this project based on her years of poetic writing but also her empathetic style and tonality. Climate change is such a sensitive, yet vital topic and we felt that Saloni could deliver this brief exceptionally well. We weren’t looking for your usual script, we were looking for a poem that would inspire and engage its listeners to act.

Saloni was a joy to work with, her work was unique, powerful, and beautiful. It went above and beyond our expectations to create a piece that was more than we could have hoped for. Not only was the quality of her work exceptional, but she also was collaborative throughout the project, took feedback on board and delivered on time consistently. She worked with our agency team and corporate clients well. They were thoroughly impressed with the creativity of her work and her professionalism, even working varied hours to accommodate for global timezones.

I can say that I, nor the agency I work, for would hesitate in working with Saloni again. In fact, we’ve just briefed her on a new project! We wholeheartedly recommend her to anyone else in need of a talented storyteller, writer and/or poet. You won’t be disappointed.

Louise Whitfield – Senior Creative Strategist, Tilt