Posts in Copywriting

Ideas for repurposing blog content

Repurposing blog content is one of the most valuable marketing tactics at your disposal. As well as being an effective way of generating inbound leads, it gives you the ability to personalise your content and the freedom to write on a multitude of subjects from various angles.

According to research from Hubspot, generating traffic and leads is the top marketing challenge facing organisations today, and growing their SEO/organic presence is the top priority…

While over in sales, getting a response from prospects is becoming increasingly difficult, as well as engaging multiple decision makers at a company in the buying process…

Well, repurposing blog content can help with that, and so much more. And yet industry research shows that only a third of marketers say they have a systematic process in place to reuse or repurpose content. 

Here I’m going to guide you in how to re-spin, re-purpose and re-form your content to get it working harder for you, and delivering a greater overall return…

How to re-spin blog content…

Imagine you’ve written a blog about the challenge organisation’s face when they’re reliant on outdated tech or manual processes. It’s a wonderfully insightful piece that contains industry research to give context, highlights how your organisation has helped one of its clients to overcome those challenges, boosting performance and team morale. And it’s going to sit beautifully on your website where you’re going to direct people to go and read it.

For different sectors

But what if your business targets multiple sectors? Does it matter if you’re directing everyone to read the same generic post?

Your content is always going to be more engaging if you speak to people in their language. So think about taking your blog post and re-spinning it for different sectors.

For example: it might be that you keep the key messages, but you tweak certain words or phrases and include a different case study example to make it more relevant to a particular sector. These tailored blog posts can then sit on different sections of your website so when someone hits your site, they really feel that you understand their sector and its challenges, and are therefore best placed to help.

For different channels

Every marketing channel is different, so why would you post the same content on every one? It makes no sense and is definitely not going to give you the return you deserve. But taking that original blog post and adapting it for the audience and type of conversation you’re having on each specific channel, you’re going to deliver a far more compelling proposition.

For example: your company website might be the place you want to push the company voice and demonstrate how your mission, values and culture translate into what you deliver – let’s imagine your original blog post does this. But you’re looking to push the Practice Director as a thought leader so he can get up on stage at the upcoming conferences. Re-spinning the blog to write it in his tone of voice and adding anecdotes from his experience, you can post it on his personal LinkedIn profile to reach a different audience. And then what about pushing it through your PR machine to make a noise in the media? Taking the original post you could re-spin it again, adding a controversial slant to get your name noticed.

How to re-purpose blog content…

For different audiences

While you may end up needing the signature of one person to close a deal, there’s likely to be several people involved in the buying process and influencing the decision.

For example: you might need sign off from the IT manager for a deal to go ahead, but before he signs on that dotted line he might need buy-in from the IT Director or CTO, and assistance from HR to roll it out. Your blog might be enough to pique the IT manager’s interest and get then wanting to know more about your offering, but it’s not going to provide the level of detail required to get a more technical mind on board, or consider the people impact. By re-purposing the blog to focus on key themes that speak to different audiences, you’re going to help your internal sponsor to ‘sell’ you to the rest of their organisation.

For thought leadership

Perhaps you have ambitions to be seen as a leader in your industry, a ‘celebrity’ that people look to for advice and guidance. By repurposing your blog content you get to demonstrate your skills, knowledge and expertise in useful, interesting and relevant ways.

For example: by taking your original blog post, you can break it down into a number of themes, and then explore each of these in greater detail through dedicated posts. Alternatively, if you have an older blog post you could look to update it and show what’s changed over the time period and where you feel the industry is moving to now.

How to re-form blog content…

Into something bigger

Blogs are wonderful things because they give you the scope to explore different aspects of a particular topic in lots of detail. But bring these separate blog posts together, and you suddenly have a much larger, richer piece of content that’s going to command a commitment from your prospect.

For example: if you’ve written a series of blog posts about a particular cloud, data or security technology, you could wrap these up together and edit them into an ebook, white paper or guide. This longer-form content is great for boosting your organic SEO so you’re more likely to be found when people are searching online. As more valuable content, you could gate it, asking people to submit their contact details in exchange for downloading the marketing asset. Or you could even create an entire marketing campaign out of it.

Remember, a blog is never just a blog

Re-spinning, re-purposing and re-forming content is something that I’m a huge advocate of because there’s so much value to be had in every piece of content you create – whether for external promotion or internal client projects.

So next time you hit ‘publish’on your blog, take a moment to think about what else you could do with it to make it a real asset for your business.

Learn more about content strategy…


Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

5 blog SEO basics

Boosting your blog SEO is essential to increase your online presence. Now, I am not an SEO specialist – if you want one of those, I know some far more qualified people and am more than happy to make introductions. But the following are some simple, non-techie tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way that can help give your content a little bit of a boost online…

1. Pick your focus keyword

Think about the keywords and phrases that your audience would use to search. You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner to help, but Google’s mysterious algorithm looks for ‘intent’ – in other words, what the user is actually going to search for, and the information they expect to find – so trying to be too clever could negatively impact your SEO efforts.

Also, think about making that keyword as specific as you can to your business. Known as ‘long tail keywords’, it’s about finding 4+ words to explain what you’re offering.

For example: I could optimise my content around the keyword ‘copywriter‘. But that would yield several views/enquiries that aren’t relevant to what I do. Optimising the keyword ‘B2B copywriter for IT consultancy‘ is a lot more specific, so anyone searching for this is far more likely to convert.

2. Get the basics in place

Once you have a list of keywords, pick one and ensure it’s in the main title and subtitles, the first sentence and scattered throughout the body copy, as well as the URL and meta description. 

But think about mixing it up. Your content needs to be optimised for the search engines, but ultimately it’s going to be read by a human. Seeing your keyword stuffed into every other sentence is hardly engaging. So a bit like using a thesaurus, look for the connected ‘secondary keywords’ that you could use instead. 

A great tip I picked up, is to Google your keyword, and then check out the image results as this will suggest alternative searches that are closely related.

3. Get the good stuff in upfront

This isn’t just good advice for SEO, it’s good advice for your content generally. Working in PR, I was taught that you have to get the ‘who, what, when, where, why and how’ in upfront within the first 2-3 sentences so that if people only give you a few seconds you communicate the whole story to them.

In SEO terms, research from Nielsen Norman Group shows that people spend 80% of their time ‘above the fold’, so get to the point quickly, and then elaborate below. 

4. Link your content throughout

Your content should always end with a call-to-action, which usually involves a link that urges your reader to ‘click’.

But as you’re writing, make sure you’re linking various words or phrases to other related content on your website. I try to limit this to no more than 5 other related blogs per post. And if you’re citing research, ideally from credible sources, think about including external links too.

5. Post regularly

Research shows that B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not, and when you hit 400 blogs in total, your traffic doubles. 

And yet my research shows that a quarter of companies haven’t updated their blog this year. Failing to blog regularly is bad for business and your SEO. One study showed that in failing to post for 8 months, overall site traffic fell by 32%.

And because everyone loves a bonus…

Google My Business provides an instant SEO boost and it’s really simple to get started. Once you sign up, just fill in the form step-by-step and your business is automatically ‘on the map’. This means that when people are searching for you, your website is more likely to come up…

And if they’re on the ‘Maps’ view, you’ll get a nice red location finder…

Need some help?

I support several small businesses with their blogs to boost their online presence. It’s all about striking the balance between optimising the content for the search engines so you’re found, but writing in a way that’s engaging and relevant to the audience so they convert.

Read about how I helped Process Bliss…


Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

A blogging cheat sheet

We’ve all been there. You know you need to create an interesting, useful and compelling blog, but your mind’s drawing a blank. No matter how hard you try, you can’t think of a single thing to write about.

Never fear! I’ve got you covered.

This is my amazing blogging cheat sheet. I’ve been writing blogs for well over a decade, and during that time I’ve tested numerous positioning my blogging content in various different ways. Next time you’re feeling lost for inspiration, why not take a look through this list, and see if there’s anything that strikes a chord…

Start by considering the person’s frame of mind…

Depending on where people are in your sales cycle will determine the sorts of information they’ll be receptive to. In converting them down your pipeline, you need to take them on a journey that transitions them from awareness, to interest, then desire, and eventually action. 

And within each stage of that journey, you need to consider their mindset and therefore the messages that person will be receptive to.

There’s a beautiful model called the technology message matrix. It considers whether the audience has a technical or business brain, and whether they know your company already or have never heard of you:

technology message matrix

For each of these areas, consider:

  • What questions might they be asking themselves?
  • What barriers exist that they need to overcome?
  • What’s their personal ambition?
  • What common ground exists between you?

Then take a look at these blog topic ideas

Blog ideas for highlighting ‘market’ issues…

  • X things you didn’t know about [market trend]
  • Why [market trend] doesn’t work and what to do about it
  • X mistakes [audience] make with [market trend]
  • X reasons your adoption of [market trend] will fail
  • X top blog posts about [market trend]

Blog ideas for ‘company’ focussed content…

  • X hacks for [success criteria]
  • Our market predictions for [year]
  • Have a [X] you can be proud of
  • A skill every [audience] should have and why
  • X tips from our specialists about [X]

Blog ideas for the ‘technical’ win…

  • X questions you need to ask before even thinking about [technology]
  • X ways to implement [technology] right/wrong
  • X myths about [technology]
  • The alternative guide to [technology]
  • Why now is the perfect time to jump on [technology]

Blog ideas to promote your ‘product’…

  • Detailed FAQ section on website.
  • X reasons you need to be using [product]
  • X mistakes [audience] make when implementing [product]
  • Considering [product] for your business? 5 questions to think about.
  • X ways [product] overcomes [challenge]

You could always re-purpose your existing content…

I guarantee you already have a tonne of content within your business that’s waiting to be turned into interesting, useful and relevant blogs for your website.

Think about your existing white papers, case studiesarticles, brochures, guides, research reports…

And then all the documentation that you produce as part of business-as-usual – the proposals, project status reports, project completion documents, sales decks, presentations…

There’s huge value to be had in all of this. All it needs is a copywriter with the time to respin and repurpose it, and give it a new lease of life.

Read more about repurposing content…

You could be really tactical…

There’s nothing wrong with writing content with the primary purpose of giving your search engine optimisation (SEO) a boost. 

Every company has specific keywords and phrases they want to be found for when people are searching online. So why not write dedicated content around those search terms? These could be blog posts to help boost your organic SEO. Or a bit more overtly promotional if you’re looking to use something like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

I wrote a number of SEO blogs for a client recently, which delivered great results…

Or you could get some help…

One thing that using an external copywriter does for your business, is to provide a fresh pair of eyes. If they’re working in your sector, they’re going to know all about the current industry trends, what’s topical in the media, and be speaking to enough other companies to have some new and interesting ideas to bring to the table.

So why not pick my brain?

If I can’t help you direct, I’m pretty certain I know a copywriter that can help, and I’m more than happy to make introductions.

Send me a note, and let’s have a chat…


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Writing hacks from 16 of the industry’s best copywriters

With his sights set on the C-suite, my husband recently started an MBA with the Jack Welch Institute. As with any university course, there are a lot of assignments and essays to write so he asked me for some pointers.

I shared some of my top tips, such as:

  • Always write your introduction and headline last.
  • Think about the structure – state the ‘problem’, describe the ‘solution’, share the ‘evidence’, reach a conclusion.
  • When researching, always Google “[search term] + survey”to get the rich, juicy results.
  • Make sure you back your opinions with credible research.
  • Ideally sleep on it before reviewing your work.

Considering day-to-day he’s a director, in charge of managing a team of about 20 people, he’s averaging a 4.0 grade point average (the equivalent of an A-grade, or about 95% mark).

And it got me thinking…

As a copywriter, I probably have loads of these tips and tricks up my sleeves – things I don’t even think about any because they’re all things I do naturally. A bit like when you learn to drive a car, after a while you stop thinking about finding the ‘bite’ because you just know where it is.

But rather than ramble on at you, I thought I would turn to some of the incredible copywriters I know and instead, ask for their top tips, tricks and techniques…

Just start: if you wait until you’re ‘ready’ to write, it may not happen. Just put pen to paper (or get behind the keyboard) and go for it. The first draft doesn’t need to be perfect.

Credit: Michelle Garrett

Put the reader first: start with the most interesting idea to draw readers in, and make it easy to read throughout. 

Credit: Sean McManus

Write like you talk: and in a way that a 12-year old can understand. 

Please the eyes first, then engage the mind: short paragraphs, subheadings, etc. Make writing easy to skim read. 

Credit: That. Content. Shed.

Don’t try to write like you *think* writing should sound:write in your own voice, making your points as clearly as possible.

How to structure an argument:“People think X. Because of Y. And Z. But actually, A! Because B.”

Credit: Ed Callow

Think structure: mix up the length of sentences and keep an eye on structure – what information is the audience getting when? 

Use eye-catching word or phrases: when used around the main idea of the text they anchor it in the reader’s mind.

Credit: Anthony Arnott

Pay attention to sentence length:

  • No more than 20 words per sentence.
  • Try to have a mix of short and long to help it flow. 
  • Stick to one idea per sentence. 

Credit: Craig Wright

Adding a similar sentiment for paragraphs:

  • Don’t let them creep over five or six lines. 
  • Use subheadings to help.

Think about passive/active voice: put the people in your writing by letting us know who’s doing what.

Show don’t tell: don’t just say ‘you’re a valued customer’, make your customers feel valued.

Credit: Leigh James

Tips for shortening sentences and improving precision:

  • Be ruthless in cutting adverbs, even ‘very’. They can weaken rather than strengthen the point.
  • Check for and purge ‘over-extended’ words – so, don’t use ‘documentation’ for ‘documents’, ‘methodology’ for ‘method’, ‘limitations’ for ‘limits’.

Credit: anon

Use simply-constructed clauses: probably more important than sentence length.

Credit: Leonie Thomas

If you want to learn more about clauses, here’s a quick lesson…

Get a thesaurus: synonyms are your friend – but they need to be the right ones. Say you’re writing about “search rankings” repeating “search rankings” over and over starts to jar and distract. Throw in a few “search results; organic results; SERPs” etc. Keeps it interesting.

Credit:SEO-specialist Andrew Cock-Starkey

Always start sentences with ‘And’.

Credit: Alexandra Griffiths

It has such an impact on your writing, making the reader stop and take notice. I’d extend this to include starting sentences with ‘But’ and ‘However’ also.

Keep a consistent tone of voice throughout: don’t use ‘big’ words to try and sound more intelligent. Aim for clarity

Don’t be a thief: if you include anything from external sources, quote/cite them.

Credit: Robyn Santa Maria

When you’re editing your own work:

  • Start at the last paragraph and work backwards, stops you being pulled into the flow of what you’ve written. 
  • Print and edit.

Credit:Claire McCabe

Read it out loud afterwards: make sure it IS like you’d talk.

Credit: Mary Whitehouse

Practical tip for editing: before checking over your own writing, change the font and font size.

Credit: Ed Callow

Edit. Edit. Edit: take out any word that adds nothing to the sentence. I go back and strip out each “very”, “really” and “so”.

Credit: Antonia Taylor

And there you have it…

27 tips from 16 copywriters. Apply them to your writing and see the difference it makes.

And don’t forget…

I’m an open book. So if you have any another question, or want to know what the copywriting community thinks about a particular topic, let me know.


Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

A ridiculously simple guide to blogging

Written in the right way, blogging can be a very powerful tool for your business, helping to showcase your skills/knowledge in a particular area, demonstrating that you empathise with your target audience, providing insight into all the exciting activity that’s going on in the company, and creating inbound leads for your sales pipeline.

It’s tempting to jump straight into writing, essentially throwing up your words all over the page. But before you put pen to paper (of fingers to keys), take a moment to think about the following…

Set the overall goal

There’s no point in writing content for the sake of it. The best blogs create value for your customers, while supporting your overall business strategy. So think about what value you want your blog to deliver to your business.

For example:

  • Raise your brand awareness
  • Boost your SEO
  • Start conversions with new leads
  • Establish trust with prospects
  • Position you as a thought leader

Decide what to write about

The hard reality is that your customers/prospects really don’t care about you – it’s all about them. So with every piece of content you produce for your blog, think about whether it’s interesting, relevant and compelling for them.

It’s time to put on your creative hat and step into your customer’s/prospect’s shoes. Ask yourself:

  • What information would they find useful?
  • What do they need to help them move to the next step in the sales cycle?
  • How can you help them get the most from your product/service?
  • How can you make their lives easier? Or their job simpler?
  • And what can you do that’s fun to show off your personality?

Then look around for inspiration. See what your competitors are talking about, the industry analysts, the media and industry associations. Check out social media, ask your sales team, ask your colleagues…maybe even ask your customers what they want to hear about!

Keep a note of all your ideas and keep adding to it. Then start to structure it, for example:

  • A day in the life of…
  • 10 ways to…
  • How to….
  • Problem solving (can be more technical)
  • What does xx mean for xx?
  • Motivations for a career in [your industry]
  • Case studies
  • Predictions
  • Launching a survey / survey results
  • Response to industry trends
  • New applications / functionality

Create a content calendar

The key with blogging is to make a commitment, and stick to it. If you say you’re going to post content every month, every week, every day, over time your customers/prospects will come to expect it – so you better deliver. 

There’s nothing worse than visiting a blog and seeing the most recent post is from several months ago. What message is that sending?

Read more about the impact of failing to post regular content

Structure it right

Start with an attention-grabbing title and a killer opening paragraph, so they’re hooked from the outset. 

Top tip!

Make this the last thing you write – it’s a lot easier to think of the words once you’ve created the main body of the copy.

The best B2B bloggers write with empathy, addressing their audiences’ pain points and sharing how to overcome their challenges. They chuck all the business cliques, industry jargon and technobabble in the bin and speak to the audience in simple language that they connect with.

With each blog, think about the story you want to tell your audience. As a rule of thumb, I use the following structure:

  • Problem
  • Anticipated outcome
  • Solution overview
  • Evidence
  • Call-to-action

Then think about adding informative subheadings to guide the reader through. Subheadings are also important because they ensure that if someone is skim-reading the piece, they still gain value from your blog and take away the key messages. Plus they’re an opportunity to boost your natural search engine optimisation (SEO).

If you’re looking to share large quantities of information, consider using bullet points or lists to make this information easier to consume.

And then once got your first draft down, it’s time to review, review, review…..and review. The secret to reviewing is to look for something different every time:

  • The first couple of passes should focus on the main body of the content, ensuring you stay on topic throughout, the key messages are clear, it has flow and is well-written. 
  • Then review your research, checking sources, surveys and quotations. 
  • Review for structure. 
  • Review for keywords to boost your SEO and aid with organic search results. 
  • And finally, the all-important SPAG – spelling, punctuation and grammar. 

Read more about what the content community has to say about reviewing…

The best format

The beauty of the blog is that it can be whatever you want it to be, you’re not forced to stick to a specific length. So think about mixing some short, sharp pieces (500 words), with longer form copy (1,500+ words). 

Once you’ve got the words down, it’s time to think about the pictures. Blogs with no images look dull. Add visual interest to your blog through:

  • Header images
  • Graphics
  • Word clouds
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Illustrations
  • ‘Box-out’ sections
  • Diagrams

Time to post

Congratulations! You’ve finished your blog. Time to proudly publish it to your website for the world to see, before sticking your feet up to enjoy a nice cup of tea.

WRONG!

Posting your content online is just the first step. Once you’ve published your blog people don’t automatically know to go and read it on your website, they need to be told it’s there and pushed to go and read it. Think about ways to promote your new blog, for example:

  • Through your social media channels
  • Through other people’s social media channels
  • Through groups/associations you’re a member of
  • Advertising, such as Google Adwords, promoted Tweets, sponsored content
  • Email signature
  • Email marketing

Commit to your content

Creating engaging blog content is a real commitment – and the more you put in, the more your get out.

If you’re looking for a constant drip of leads into your sales pipeline, then you need to feed your content engine with a steady stream of interesting and useful blogs. 

Discover more about why people are pledging to #Write52 and give their blog a boost…


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