The Point

Archive for the ‘Best practices for copywriting’ Category

Jun

Want to Know How to Make Your Written Content Great?

Great written content
You would think everyone and every company would want to know how to create great written content. You’d be wrong. They don’t.

I believe most companies simply want to create written content—blogs, for the most part—and don’t care whether or not it’s great. And I submit, as evidence:

  • The Internet at large: It’s polluted with dreadful blogs.
  • The blog graveyard: A shocking percentage of bloggers pull the plug.
  • The proliferation of content farms: Low-cost writer brokerages continue to thrive because marketers want more pages, posts, URLs, emails… Essentially, they want more web real estate.
  • The atrophy of writing fees: Now that everyone and their cousin-in-law provide content writing services, it’s become Walmart.
  • The bell curve: As interest, and activity, in content marketing continues climbing, a normal distribution curve suggests only a small percentage will achieve excellence.

Content marketing google trendsGoogle Trends data indicates interest in content marketing has risen steadily since 2011.
I suspect a line charting content quality would look different.

It not great, then why?

I wonder if the masses that produce low or mediocre quality content understand content marketing, and in particular, the purpose of written content. It’s hard to deny many companies simply feel it’s an obligation of doing business, perhaps like getting listed in the yellow pages once was.

“The competition has a blog, so we should too.” That sort of thing.

I may fail to deliver new revelations here, but I’m going to reiterate what you can accomplish with content marketing. Understand, first and foremost, the purpose is to help get and keep customers. (more…)

May

Writing Fear (A Written List of Fears)

writing fear

Scribophobia? Keyboard petrification syndrome (aka KPS)? That’s stupid. For lack of a better name, we’ll call it “writing fear.”

Who cares what you call it. If you write, you get it. It’s frightening. Right?

What isn’t?

Quick back story…

I got to know this guy.

Jon Nastor

Jon Nastor. Good guy. Love him. He’s the host and co-host of two podcasts on Copyblogger’s Rainmaker.FM and I was asked to guest on an episode of the Hack the Entrepreneur program. Jon sent me his book, Hack the Entrepreneur.

The book’s essentially entreprenuerial smarties that were also on his show sharing their insights. I know many of them. One of them is this guy.

Jay Baer

Jay Baer. Love him too. Author of Youtility and more. CEO of Convince and Convert. Big-time in-demand speaker. And straight-up good guy. Also a friend. Jay’s quoted in Jon’s book:

“I tell entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs this all the time…
If I can give you any piece of advice, it’s to write down your fears.
People always tell you to write down your goals, and, yeah, I get that.
I don’t do that, actually. I think it’s limiting, but I do write down my fears.”

~ Jay Baer

I felt the need to try it. I did so months ago. You’ll never guess why I haven’t published it until now. Right. Scared. This little trip into my psyche is unlike anything I’ve ever shared.

WTF. Here goes Jon, Jay, Joe, Jack, Jill, Jane, or whatever your name is 😉

Sometimes I fear…

(more…)

Apr

Conversion Course: Learn How to Write Profitable Websites

Copywriting for Conversion

Presenting the Copywriting for Conversion course

Lessons to Help You Reduce Bounce Rate and Create a More Profitable Website

You invest time and money to get people to your website. Your sales suffer when they leave (aka bounce) without clicking and sticking around.

Why do new visitors to your website bounce?

  • They get confused
  • They get distracted
  • They get apathetic
  • They get bored
  • They don’t find reasons to trust your brand

The bottom line: a visitor bounces when his or her comfort level is low.

I’m going to show you precisely what to do to get your visitors into a comfort zone and take action.

Ready to capture more leads and make more money?

There’s no mystery to what it takes.

You need stronger copy—more persuasive prose. You need to understand the copywriting tactics that inspire action.

The truth is, I’ve never found a concise, affordable and truly useful course crafted to help people like you increase conversion with better writing. So I created one.

INTRODUCING THE
Copywriting for Conversion course

I’ve crammed 20+ years of online marketing and copywriting experience into a 55-minute course: Copywriting for Conversion.

The course will teach you:

  • A more effective way to approach conversion
  • The key to every significant sale
  • The 7 reasons copy fails to convert—and how overcome each one
  • The exact words your headline must include
  • A 5-step plan for keeping readers emotionally engaged
  • An exercise for writing a compelling selling proposition that works every time
  • The essential conversion formula
  • The secret to connecting with the right audience
  • Explicit instructions for crafting a call-to-action that works
  • Writing tips based on the psychology of decision making

One client said:

“In Feldman fashion, this course cuts right into all you need to know about copywriting. Words make a difference. Barry will teach you small changes to create huge results for your business!”

~ Tony Howell
GetCreativeSocialMedia.com

Another wrote:

“Barry Feldman is a true genius when it comes to creative headlines and messaging the grabs attention”

~ Janine Popick
VerticalResponse founder, Dasheroo CMO

(Janine’s comment appeared in an article on Inc.com)

I’ve created a video and page to tell you all you need to know about the course, Copywriting for Conversion.

Discover the secrets to high conversion copywriting now

New course learn more>> Learn more about the Copywriting for Conversion course here. 

>> Buy now. Get the lifetime access to the course here at a low (and limited time) introductory rate. 

Apr

The Fast & Simple Way to Increase Your Conversion Rate [An Encyclopedia of Call-to-Action Ideas]


Want to increase conversion? Duh.

Want a tedious and complex lesson on CRO (conversion rate optimization) or would you prefer to know the most simple little conversion secret in the digiverse?

Sheeshe, Barry, you ask some silly questions (he writes in a strange third person voice shift).

Okay, my friend, let’s stroll down Uncomplicated Avenue today.

If you want to increase the conversion rate of your web pages, tell your reader what to do next. Loudly. Proudly. Clearly.

The not-so-secret magic trick: the call to action

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by telling you the church that passes the bucket and asks you to put money in it collects more than the one that stashes a cash box somewhere in its lobby.

“The secret, masters-only technique to compelling your readers to act is to… Ask them,” writes Copyblogger’s Sonia Simone in How to Be a Copywriting Genius.

Sonia also says most copy doesn’t do it. And most copy gets weak results.

We’re talking about that crazy little sweetheart, the call to action, or CTA.

You need one on every page.

So if you want to increase your conversion rate, comb through your website, find the pages that lack strong CTAs, and fix ‘em.

Now.

Or after you take in the rest of this detailed look at how copywriting pros turn readers into leads and customers. (more…)

Oct

9 Unforgettable Tips for Writing Headlines that Work [Video & Infographic]

When you battle for attention in the noise fest that is the Internet, the most important skill you could possibly possess is headline writing. Your headline is going to be the make-or-break element that determines whether or not your content is read.

I want to help make you a better headline writer.

I’ve created a cheat sheet you can use to hone your headline writing. It’s ultra-simple. I spell out 9 tips based on the word HEADLINES. I’ve made it an acronym, a memory device. Each letter is one of the 9 tips… easier to remember, right?

(more…)

Aug

How to Take Advantage of the Web’s Two Most Important Words

Two most important words

Two words: how to. Simple. Effective. Foolproof. Timeless.

“How to” are the two most important words on the web. Experienced writers know it. Now you do too.

Should every headline begin with “how to?”

No. That’d be boring as the Celine Dion catalog.

Should every business blog include how-to articles?

Yes. Some blogs use the technique in practically every post. Again, snoozeville. Some bloggers purposely avoid the “how to” headline. They find it too cliché. Big mistake. Here’s the thing about clichés: people get ‘em.

You can make every post title include “how to” or never type the two words your entire publishing career. Doesn’t matter.

What does matter is your blog posts, web pages, infographics, podcasts, videos, SlideShares, and every friggen helping of content you serve should serve your audience. The sooner you start applying this principle, the sooner you’ll have an audience.

(more…)

May

Conversion Copywriting: Strategies to Create a Customer Comfort Zone

conversion copywriting

How are you feeling?

If you’ve been here before and have come to know and trust me, you probably feel quite comfortable.

Is it your first time? Now that’s an entirely different bale of hay. It’s human nature, right? When you arrive somewhere—or interact with someone—for the first time, you may be curious, but you can’t help being anxious.

Your guard’s up. Your wallet’s tucked away. Any little bump and away you go.

As you’ve surmised, I’m talking about your experience on a web page—one that until now, you’ve never before landed on.

Discomfort’s the mother of all conversion killers

Any copywriter worth his (or her) weight (or rate) needs to understand this reality and quickly wordsmith newcomers down a path to their comfort zone.

Where a web page is the terrain, the copywriter’s the tour guide, instructor, concierge, maître d’, and of course, sales clerk. If the copy can’t seal the deal, it must offer something compelling to start some sort of relationship.

Conversion, we say. Conversion, we seek. (more…)

Apr

20 Signs Your Web Content Writer Won’t Cut Through the Crap

Web content writer

I was on vacation in Vancouver with my family last week. We went to the famous public market on Granville Island. There’s a lot to see and do there. The market seems to offer every flavor of everything.

I would have enjoyed it more if my sinuses were not a stuffed-up mess. When I decided to give my throbbing head a break and sit down and listen to a busker play guitar, my family headed back into the market for tea.

When they came to rally me again, they presented me with a tea specially blended to kick colds. The concoction included ginger and cayenne pepper. I took a sip, gagged, and tossed it in the trash. The tea was nastier than my head cold.

It wasn’t the highlight of my trip, but it’s not an experience I’ll soon forget. I’ll remember where I got it and how it made me feel.

Who the hell puts cayenne pepper in tea?

The answer is a tea specialist, a tea specialist who wants to make someone feel better… a tea specialist that wants to make a bold statement… a tea specialist aiming to get a response from her customer.

For all the same reasons, I submit great copywriters mix in cayenne pepper too. They may not use pepper in every paragraph they serve. They may choose to forgo the pepper in favor of different flavor. But trust me on this: they shan’t shy away from peppering their prose with spice.

Everyone’s a web content writer now

The gold rush of 1849 produced the term 49er, meaning a person who had gone to California to mine gold.

I just did a Google search for “web content writer.” In a half-second the search engine returned 115-million results. From my POV, it seems today’s mother lode is content marketing, the treasure trove that connects customers to companies.

Will the legions of new web content writers earn the nickname 15ers?

I’ve written this post to help you understand wordsmiths are cut from different cloths. I hope to tool you with insights to spare you from the headaches symptomatic of hiring the wrong writer. (more…)

Feb

How to Move Readers to Share Stories [71.4]

Share storiesI spent some serious time messing with the headline above. It’s a good one, but I’ve done better. Keep reading and you’ll understand.

First, know this: I want a lot of people to read this blog post. Bloggers generally attach great value to the number of viewers a post earns. And a proven strategy for increasing the reach of your content is to inspire readers to share it via social media.

Also, I want you to know a version of this post was published by KISSmetrics, with a headline that earned a 75.

71.4? 75? What’s with the numbers? I’m talking about emotional value, which apparently is predictable. I shall explain.

Search engine rankings aren’t everything

Selecting the perfect keywords and optimizing your post to rank high on Google is an immensely powerful tactic for increasing your reach. It’s called SEO. (Here’s SEO, nutshellified.)

SEO is clearly one of the best ways to earn eyeballs. However, success with search doesn’t come easily and rarely comes fast. Should it happen, and your post garners a spot on the first page of a search, you’re likely to enjoy a steady stream of page views over a sustained period of time.

But today we’ll look at a different strategy.

The objective: write something to earn heaps of social media shares to deliver a sudden and pronounced spike in traffic.

The key is giving your post an emotional headline

While an 8-word headline of a 1300-word post represents less than 1% of the content, I’m 99% sure it will be the line that dictates the destiny of your post.

Whether appearing on a blog post, the subject line of an email, a Twitter update, or any of the zillion places your content may appear, your headline prompts three potential responses:

  1. Nothing. Your post is ignored.
  2. Click. Your post is presented.
  3. Share. Your post’s reach is magnified.

The combination of 2 and 3 is the goal and an opportunity to achieve a fourth potential response: your post gets read and its call to action is effective. This is called “conversion.”

Emotions drive actions. We need not do a deep dive on this. The principle’s understood by neuroscientists and marketers (nearly) universally. The subject I do want to dive into is writing emotional headlines to invoke a response from your readers.

Proof that emotional headlines drive social sharing

My friends at CoSchedule are all about helping content marketers blog smart and earn traffic via social media. They’re also insanely analytical. So they analyzed more than one million headlines in an effort to determine which are shared most and how such a thing might be predicted.

CoSchedule data

As you see, CoSchedule determined (in no uncertain terms) headlines with a higher emotional value get more shares on social media.

How to score your headline’s emotional value

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, emotional value can be measured. What can’t?. Advanced Marketing Institute created a tool: the emotional marketing value (EMV) headline analyzer.

EMV analyzer

You enter your headline, select a category, and submit. You get your score…

EMV analyer results

To demonstrate, I went to Topsy.com, a free tool that provides social analytics, and entered “Super Bowl.” Unsurprisingly, a story published on Huffington Post about a Super Bowl commercial currently ruled from a social shares perspective, having been tweeted 59.5K times over the past 24 hours.

I pasted the headline into the EMV headline analyzer and as you can see in the screenshot above, the headline was ultra-emotional: 66.67.

Copy on the results page explains:

For comparison, most professional copywriters’ headlines will have 30%-40% EMV Words in their headlines, while the most gifted copywriters will have50%-75% EMV words in headlines. A perfect score would be 100%, but that is rare unless your headline is less than five words.

Earning big share numbers with high EMV headlines

I used BuzzSumo.com, a tool featuring a search engine that finds the most shared content for any topic or domain, to validate the power of emotional headlines and show you some examples.

email marketing best practices

A recent post from the GetVero.com blog, 20 Tips for Dramatically Better Emails, by Jimmy Daly, is Vero’s most shared of the past six months. The headline gets a 50 EMV score and has earned close to 9K shares.

The EMV headline analyzer tool also reported this headline falls in an “intellectual” classification. Intellectual impact words are ideal for arousing curiosity. The analysis adds, the majority of words with emotional impact fall into this category, are the most used, and have the broadest appeal.

what not to post on social media

Among Hootsuite’s hottest stories of 2015 is What Not To Post on Social Media: 5 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before You Publish, a story by Olsy Sorokina. The headline gets a 53 EMV score and has quickly earned close to 2K shares.

The EMV headline analyzer tool classified the headline as “spiritual.” According to the Advanced Marketing Institute, spiritual impact words carry the strongest potential for influence and appeal to people at a deep emotional level.

perfect marketing plan

Everything You Need to Know for the Perfect Marketing Event (the headline differs slightly in the image they created), a story by Julie Neidlinger, on the CoSchedule blog gets a 55 EMV score. So far this year, the post is CoSchedule’s most shared.

And now back to the headline of this post

A few minutes ago, you learned I did a good amount of “messing” with the headline of this post. I wasn’t about to settle for a low score. I’ll show you what happened.

First, I tested the working headline I chose when the idea for this post began to gel. EMV scores follow each headline.

How to Accelerate the Reach of Your Content with Emotion-Packed Headlines (27)
The headline probably has strong SEO potential. Assuming “reach of your content” or “emotion-packed headlines” are keywords that get searched. But for EMV, I didn’t even achieve “professional copywriter” status.

So I wrote alternate headlines and scored them. Here’s what that exercise looked like:

Touch Readers with Emotionally Charged Headlines to Inspire More Social Sharing (36)
If Your Headline Moves Me I’m Likely to Share It (40)

Move Readers Emotionally with a Headline Worthy of Sharing (44)

Headlines that Move Readers Emotionally Move Them to Share Your Story (55)

You’ll Love the Astonishing Effect Emotional Headlines Have on Your Content” (55)

As you can see, I was catching on and making progress. I thought I might beat a 55 score with this one:

If You Don’t Care for this Headline You’ll Probably Share It
No such luck. It tied the previous one at 55. I did like where that one was going, so I tested a hunch. Would a strong emotional word such as “hate” increase the headline’s score? Maybe a one-two punch with a question…

Hate This Headline? You’ll Probably Share the Story.
Score: 75. Cha-ching.

I used that headline when I guest posted on KISSmetrics. I didn’t want to compete with them with search rankings, so I returned to the emotional marketing value (EMV) headline analyzer and tried some more ideas so this post could have a different, but emotional, headline.

The headline I settled on scored 71.4. That’s quite good and suggests you’ll share this story. Please do. I’ve made it easy for you…

How to write emotional headlines

You understand the reason behind topping your blog posts with emotional headlines and now know of a tool to assess your ideas. Perhaps the question swimming between your ears now is “how do I write emotional headlines?”

The answer: you use powerful words, words that invoke feelings.

I did some searching and clicking in an effort to provide an emo-glossary and found a great resource here: feeling words (courtesy of PsychPage). Jon Morrow, the mastermind writer of Boost Blog Traffic dedicates a post to explaining (and listing) power words here. And finally, CoSchedule created a cheat sheet of 180+ power words.

Power words for headline

Emotional headlines that touch readers make them feel various forms of pleasure and pain. Most notably, for pleasure, use words that invoke:

  • Happiness
  • Fun
  • Belonging
  • Awe
  • Love
  • Positivity
  • Strength
  • Empowerment

For pain, consider words that invoke:

  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Discomfort
  • Confusion
  • Helplessness
  • Indifference
  • Sadness

Feeling drives sharing

Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, wanted to uncover why people share information. He and his colleagues examined hundreds of brands, thousands of articles, and millions of purchases.

jonah berger

Berger presented his conclusions in the New York Times bestseller, “Contagious—Why Things Catch On.” Before the book release, in a post for the “Think with Google” blog, Berger wrote, “Our results found that articles, ads, or information that evoke emotion in the reader are around 20 percent more likely to be highly shared. What we see in these cases, and many more, is that feeling drives sharing.”Want to write contagious blog posts? Apply this idea to your headlines. Choose words that touch your reader.

And hey, obviously you didn’t hate this post. Here you are at its end. Now I’d like to ask you to share it. It’ll make me look smart.

Dec

Top Content and Lessons Learned in 2014

Top Content 2104 Feldman Creative

I want to thank you, big time. Interest in The Point, the blog here at Feldman Creative, skyrocketed in 2014. I learned a lot and I’m hoping you did too.

I checked the analytics for the top content I published in 2014 and tallied the top topics and posts for page views. I also looked at the data to determine which was the most popular eBook and infographic. So you’ve probably read some of this content. But if you missed anything you think will help you create more effective online marketing, this year-end roundup presents popular favorites once again.

I value having you as a reader and appreciate your feedback and comments. If you would, share with me, and the readers here, some of the lessons you’ve learned in 2014 about online marketing. Also, let me know if there are subjects you’d like to learn more about. I’m on it. That’s what top content marketers do: answer questions (as you’ll learn about in what proved to be our number one blog post in 2014, “The Most Effective Content Marketing Tip Ever.”

Happy reading. Happy holidays.

Content marketing

The topic of content marketing appears to have been your top area of interest. Good for you. My hope is in 2015, you’ll take it very seriously and publish great works. The following posts covered the best way to get started, how a content marketing consultant can support your initiatives, and a plan and template for creating a content marketing plan fast, efficiently and effectively.

The Most Effective Content Marketing Tip Ever

What Can a Content Marketing Consultant Do for You?

The Content Marketing Plan that Quadruples Your Leads

(more…)