How a financial copywriter can help your software company

Financial copywriter for software company

A Financial Copywriter isn’t perhaps the first person you think of to write content for a software company but read on, as you’ll find that there are some very good reasons why it makes sense.

You see you shouldn’t necessarily be writing for your own industry. (although it is possible you may want to, see below)

The people you are writing for are your customers.

It may seem obvious, but it’s actually a lesson that many people forget and they do so at their peril.

Technical feels good, but actually is bad

This is one of the main problems.

It doesn’t really matter what business you are in and we’re all guilty of this.

You see when I worked as an accountant I made the mistake of thinking that my clients wanted to know that I had completed the bank rec and that form CT600 was ready to go in…

It wasn’t until some way into my career that I realised that many of them wanted two things from me; they wanted me to tell them if things were good, or if there was something they needed to think about.

They genuinely didn’t care that I knew the HMRC code for the form I was sending in, and me telling them it was just me showing off.

Technical details interest people that are in the same industry, but they don’t excite clients to the same degree.

What interests clients is the effect that their application has on their business.

Tone of voice matters

Admittedly I am breaking my own rule here because tone of voice is a technical term used in copywriting.

It means the way things are phrased, the language used, the manner of writing.

The problem is that unless you are a member of the clan you are speaking to then you may not understand what the tone of voice should sound like.

We’re all members of clans and accountants are no different. We have a way of speaking but we are also customers.

I can promise you that if you start using IT type technical terms in a piece aimed at engaging accountants you will be wasting your time largely.


You can find out more about tone of voice by clicking on the image below

How do you choose your tone of voice
Find out more about tone of voice here

Credentials matter

So imagine this; you have an app that is designed to make running an accountancy practice easier.

You have two pieces written, one by your head of sales and one by an accountant who has run an accountancy practice.

Which one carries more weight?

Exactly. So having a copywriter who is experienced in the field as a guest blogger adds weight to your proposition.

Naturally you have to use their name and credentials and some copywriters may not be comfortable with that , but many are.

It’s not about features, it’s about effects

A technical or general copywriter can probably write a great blog all about the features of a piece of software.

But what your customers want to know is what the effect will be.

How will it help their practice?

How will it help their clients?

How will it help their staff?

If you aren’t able to articulate this in the tone of voice that your potential customer base understand then you can forget it.

Why you need a financial copywriter for your software company.

It doesn’t really matter what your software does, what matters is how you talk to your customers.

A great financial copywriter will;

  • Speak in the tone of voice your customers prefer
  • Use the language of your customers
  • Understand the effects and benefits of your app
  • Automatically understand the issues your customers are having
  • Add weight to your offer
  • Add credibility to your content
  • Be able to articulate all of this in an engaging piece of content.

So that’s it:- if you are wanting to sell into the accounting and bookkeeping space then you need a proper financial copywriter.

Now where can you find one of them?


How do you choose your tone of voice?

How do you choose your tone of voice

If you have spent any time at all thinking about marketing you’ll probably have heard people talking about ‘tone of voice’ and maybe you have wondered what this is.

Well wonder no more dear friends for in this post I am going to tell you what tone of voice is and how to choose yours.

What is meant by ‘Tone of Voice’?

Tone of voice is a concept that lives within the world of marketing.

It simply means how you speak to people through whatever medium you are using.

Tone of voice will be different depending upon what type of company you are, who runs it, the type of customer you are speaking to and what you are trying to convey.

A good analogy is thinking about speaking with your peers or your grandmother.

You use a totally different way of speaking.

Your phraseology is different, how polite you are changes and the words you use also differ.

You’ll use a different tone of voice if you are imparting technical knowledge as opposed to say writing in a lifestyle magazine and in fact, if you ever consider writing for people they will often tell you what tone of voice to use.

Tone of voice – some examples.

I thought I’d take 3 examples of different types of tone.

The first one is for a well established bank.

Barclays has a wealth management arm and this snippet is from one of their web pages.

“Whether you want to grow your wealth for a retirement income or a legacy to pass on to future generations, we can help you set goals and try to achieve them”

https://www.barclays.co.uk/wealth-management/wealth-planning/

Notice that the tone is neutral, professional, not overly ebullient. There isn’t a lot of technical jargon and there are certain phrases that shy away from being overt.

So instead of saying “we aim to make you more money than other people” They say “we can help you set goals and try to achieve them

Now compare this to a website aimed at IT professionals

“Archive Shuttle leverages the latest ingestion technologies within its Advanced Ingestion Protocol (AIP) to achieve speeds that are dramatically faster with a lower failure rate over traditional EWS methods of migration to Microsoft endpoints.”

https://www.quadrotech-it.com/archive-shuttle/

This language is very different.

They need to establish their credentials and they do this by talking the language of their target market.

I have no idea what Advanced Ingestion Protocol (AIP) is but it sounds impressive.

Of course the website isn’t aimed at me, it’s aimed squarely at people who are looking to migrate large amounts of data between locations.

Here’s my third example

We’re thrilled to be able to serve you once again and are ready and raring to help you with your online orders. Our Customer Care team are on hand, and very happy to chat you through our product range

https://uk.lush.com/article/your-questions-answered

This is from cosmetics firm Lush.

Make no mistake, they are just as keen to sell you stuff as Barclays and Quadrotech but the way they speak is as if they are your best friend.

They may be a multi-national but they are adopting a friendly, happy, positive tone that you could hear down the pub or in the gym.


The big digital marketing secret
There’s a big secret that people won’t tell you about digital marketing – want to know what it is? Click the image to find out.

So how do you choose your tone of voice?

The million dollar question!

The first thing to consider is your company.

Is it just you? one or two of you? 500 people?

The way you speak may change dependent upon the image you want to convey.

Think about your target market

Then think about your target market, what do they expect?

If you are talking to buyers of cosmetics would you use the same approach as Quadrotech? In other words, would you go into technical detail about what ingredients are in the soaps or would you talk about how it feels/smells/looks?

Then think about how your target market talks amongst themselves.

Do they use a lot of TLAs (three-letter acronyms, see what I did there?).

Are they highly professional, mums, teenagers, middle aged men?

Check out forums, message boards, Facebook groups etc, and just watch how they interact.

Adopting the language and mannerisms is important for people to like, or feel invested in your brand.

Then have a look round at websites you like.

Are there any that stand out?

Do any particular brands shout at you “This is how you should speak”?

Finding good examples of tone of voice that you think would work well is probably the best way to choose your own.

Finally think about how you are going to communicate.

Some TOVs work better in some channels than others.

In short if you have a young audience, a cool product and you are using instagram as your primary channel then this will heavily influence your tone of voice.

Using the same tone on LinkedIn may not have the desired effect!

The best tone of voice is the right tone of voice

When I start working with people to define their marketing plan they often ask what is the best tone of voice to use.

There is no simple answer.

If we think of the three examples, none of these is ‘better’ than the others, they are all examples of successful companies speaking to their customer in the right tone of voice for them.

And this is the important point.

The right tone of voice can be as individual as a fingerprint.

You need to be comfortable with it, your staff need to be comfortable with it and more importantly, your customers need to be comfortable with it.

So there you go.

All you need to do now is to choose how you want to communicate and make sure the same tone of voice is used across all of your marketing channels!

If you would like some help with tone of voice then give me a shout. I’m a nice guy honest and having a second pair of eyes usually saves you a lot of money in wasted copy!

Covid-19 – what can we learn from the last downturn?

how to survive in a time of crisis

Business in the UK suffers a recession around every ten years so what can we learn as we emerge from the Covid crisis?

Well the good news is that for businesses this time is difficult but it also a time of opportunity so here are my thoughts based on living through two previous reversals.

Tip #1 Stay flexible

This is the number 1 tip because for me it’s the most important one.

Staying flexible means making sure that you have as many options open as possible.

Being ready to change tack quickly gives you a big advantage over bigger or less nimble companies.

Now is not the time to be wedded to the old ways of doing things or dig our heels in over the way we would really like to work.

New wins in a time of change

Tip #2 Talk to people

It’s amazing that when they are facing difficulties often people try to hide it.

Amazing, but understandable.

But this is really important. If you are having problems with cashflow and you can’t meet you rent or bills then speak to your landlord and suppliers and let them know.

I know it feels uncomfortable but work with me on this.

I used to work in credit control and the one thing we always loved is when a debtor came to us early and said “look I’m not going to be able to pay”.

Why?

Well for a start it meant that they were being honest and realistic right from the start and it meant that if we got them to agree to a payment plan then they’d probably stick to it.

What we didn’t like is when people avoided us for a couple of weeks and then when we did get hold of them they made up some ridiculous story about the dog having eaten the cheque they were going to send us!

Speaking to people early, telling the truth and coming up with a workable and realistic plan works 95% of the time.

Remember, in a time of crisis there will be a lot of people in the same boat as you so your landlords and suppliers have heard this before.

Tip# 3 Understand the difference between cash and profit.

This is really important. Very good companies make sure they have plenty of free cash in a time of crisis because at least they will be able to pay the bills.

Make sure you understand the difference between what your bank account is saying and what is shown on your P&L because they are VERY different.

Tip #4 Look for bargains

This goes for supplies, advertising and even buying up distressed companies.

In a time of crisis people start to have fire-sales and this is a time you can use that excess cash that you built up to really make inroads in your cost base.

People will begin to rein in their marketing spend which will make advertisers panic and drop their rates. You can get some excellent deals at when things are bad.

Speak with your suppliers, it may well be that they have stock that they bought for normal times that is just taking up space on their shelves and they may also want to realise some cash.

And if your competitors go to the wall then see if you can’t buy them from the receiver or even some of their stock at an auction. You could also pick up their best staff!

It’s all about keeping your ear to the ground and capitalising on any opportunities.

And remember that if you don’t ask then you don’t get.

Tip #5 – don’t do what everyone else does.

Take marketing.

Everyone will start to wind in spend on advertising as they see it as discretionary spend but that is absolutely the wrong thing to do.

Marketing is as valuable as your rent because it’s the thing that keeps the lights on.

Also remember that your competitors are also going to be reducing their marketing spend.

So if you maintain your activity you’ll stand out from the pack.

You’ll also probably get a great deal for your money (see tip 4)

Tip #6 – set a budget and stick to it.

Sit down with your accountant and organise at the very least a 12 month budget. Then get them to transfer this into a rolling forecast that gets updated every month.

This will allow you to know exactly where you are and the moment that you deviate from the course you initially set out.

And don’t neglect your bookkeeping – by having accurate accounts you can tell exactly where your money is going.

Tip # 7 – reduce your expenses.

Take a look at everything.

What can be done without?

What can be reduced?

What can be deferred?

By reducing not only the cost but also the cash outlay of your expenses you can make your business stronger for the future.

Tip #8 – Let your staff in on the secret

One of the things that many people think is that tye canhide bad news from the staff.

In fact it is very difficult to do this and even if they don’t know the details, people get an inkling that something is wrong and then it’s easy for their imagination to run riot.

Let people know what’s going on and ask for their help.

You’ll be surprised with what they come up with and I can guarantee that they won’t leave.

Tip#9 – Talk to people

In a similar vein as number 8, don’t take everything on your own shoulders.

Find someone to share your thoughts with because trying to tough out difficult times is hard on your mental health.

Being able to speak to someone, especially if they are also a business owner is a very good way of relieving some of this pressure.

In summary then, don’t worry.

Things might be uncertain and at times they may look bad.

but actually it’s often our imagination that is playing tricks on us and by using sound business principles you’ll most likely to be absolutely fine.

In fact, you’ll find that your business comes out of the covid-19 issue leaner and more able to develop your business in a sustainable way.

Why is copywriting for financial services different?

Freelance financial services copywriter

Financial copywriting is something that involves a very special set of skills and experience and it would be a mistake for companies to think that any copywriter is able to produce good quality content.

There are some specific aspects that you need to think about and in this article I am going to look at what I consider to be the most important pieces of this particular puzzle.

Tone of voice

The tone of voice used in the writing is really important. It gives the reader clues as to the values and attitude of your organisation.

This has changed significantly over the last few years. Two decades ago banks and building societies would use a very conservative tone of voice designed to engender a sense of professionalism, steadiness and respectability to the reader.

However in latter years the dividing line between professional services and other copy has blurred, especially with the advent of new fintech companies.

Newer, younger companies tend to still use a professional tone of voice, but this will be more informal and will be younger in outlook.

This sense of professionalism is important, because if you are looking after people’s money then they need to know that they can trust you.

Accuracy

If you are providing information for your customers then the last thing you want to do is to make simple mistakes.

Accurate writing is important as errors can cost people money and reduces confidence in your brand.

A good financial copywriter understands this and fact-checking comes as second nature.

This is perhaps the biggest difference between a general copywriter who may be writing lifestyle articles and general blog posts and the professional financial copywriter.

Experience

A great financial copywriter will have relevant experience and will be able to add in value from their own background.

Being able to weave in real-life examples to an article is especially valuable as it add depth and richness.

For example an article from a financial software company that is written by a qualified accountant who has actually run finance departments carried much more weight.

Gravitas

Many clients prefer to have their articles prepared on a ‘white label’ basis. This means that the writer completes the article but this is posted either using the name of an employee of the company or using just the company name as an author.

However, with financial copywriting the option is available to include the name and credentials of the writer.

An expert guest writer who has relevant and direct experience of the issues at hand adds gravitas when posting for their client companies.

Clarity of language

Financial subjects can often be steeped in jargon and three-letter acronyms.

A great financial copywriter will be able to take the key points and add the kind of clarity that your customers need to fully understand the subjects that they are reading about.

This use of language, transferring complex topics into easily understandable and engaging content is a key difference between and ordinary copywriter ans a specialist.

In summary

Expert financial copywriters are experienced in taking complex models and breaking them down into their basic building blocks, then producing a clear and understandable narrative for the layman.

They understand the need for accuracy and credibility and will bring a sense of gravitas to you company.

If you would like to talk to me about writing for your company then why not get in touch by clicking the button below?

Writing a business blog? These are the 5 tools you absolutely need

I write blogs for businesses

If you are setting up a blog for your business then why make life difficult for yourself?

There are some epic tools out there that are either free or very cheap and they save you a whole heap of time and money.

So here are my five favourite tools that I swear by when I am writing business blogs for my clients. Check them out.

Tool #1 Ubersuggest

This is an epic tool that I use all the time.

Ubersuggest has a full suite of options to analyse your website and keywords but much more importantly it helps you analys YOUR COMPETITORS too!

Why is this important?

Well if you want to rank highly on search engines but your competitors are doing better than you then you can use Ubersuggest to find out why.

It’s also got the ability to track websites and keywords too so you can watch how things change over time.

Admittedly it takes a bit of time to learn how to use this properly but the investment is worth it and Neil Patel includes some absolutely epic videos and blogs that help you on your way.

The free version is pretty feature packed. Naturally as a professional writer I pay for the pro version but it’s not that expensive and it’s worth every penny in my opinion.

Find Ubersuggest here https://app.neilpatel.com/


Want to know how to go about writing a small business blog? Click the pic below!

I write blogs for businesses

Tool #2 – Google keyword planner

We all know how important keywords are to the success of our blogs so having a tool that helps you find the best keywords is essential.

Personally I use Ubersuggest to get me to a place where I understand the sort of things that my competitors are ranking for then use the keyword planner to give me stats on the various options and importantly suggest more keywords.

Much of this is available in Ubersuggest but I like using the Google console directly.

It’s not as massively use friendly as some of the tools here but it is effective and that’s what counts right?

This is an absolutely free tool that anyone with a GoogleAds account can use and you can find it by setting up your own GoogleAds account and searching for the keyword planner.

Tool #3 Answer the public

This is a pretty epic tool if you have a set of bare keywords but need to turn them into long-tail keywords for your blog titles.

You can take a simple keyword such as blog “writing for accountants” enter it into the search box and ATP will give you a full report which details the sorts of questions that people are asking about your subject.

Answering questions is a great way to drive traffic and increase your blog ranking on the major search engines so this is an absolute must.

In fact it is so good that you can devise almost an entire blog campaign based on a single report from this tool.

The basic version is feature rich and free although you are limited to numbers of searches per day. If you need more then the pro version is a bit pricey at $99 per month although if you are a professional blog writer then this will definitely be worth it for you.

Oh and I love the homepage videos they have going on too.

Find Answer the public here https://answerthepublic.com/


Struggling for subjects? Check out my post on how to choose what to write about by clicking the image below

How great content can boost your SMEs sales

Tool #4 – A great free pic site

Now look, pinching pictures off the web without permission is a bad thing to do so you have a couple of choices.

The first is to pay for a subscription to one of the stock image libraries like Alamy or Shutterstock which makes sense if you are producing a lot of content.

The other is to find one of the open licence libraries that have sprung up.

I use Pexels and Unsplash and between the two of them, they pretty much have everything I need.

The licence is open so you can use it on your blog with no legal problems and whilst the range of images is much smaller than the paid-for libraries both are still quite extensive.

You can find pexels here https://www.pexels.com/

and Unsplash is here https://unsplash.com/

Tool # 5 an awesome synonyms site

Seriously how many times have you found yourself searching for a multiple of ways to write the same word?

If you are writing your blog then I can promise there will be days when you need to find other methods of saying that something is AWESOME (Beautiful, Epic, Formidable, Impressive).

Finding a decent synonym/antonym site is a life-saver so I use thesaurus.com.

It’s no-frills, simple to use and produces a list of synonyms and antonyms with examples of usage.

It even speaks the word for you if you want!

Totally free you can find it here https://www.thesaurus.com/

Your business blog shouldn’t be hard work

So these are my recommendations if you want to write your own business blog.

They are generally free and work really well although to be fair you may need to invest a little bit of time to fully understand how to use them to their full potential.

I hope this post has been of use for you and if you have enjoyed it then please feel free to share and link as it’s all good.

And if you have decided that your time could be better spent elsewhere than writing your own business blog then why not give me a contact me and see how I can help you by writing your content for you?

Marketing in lockdown – 6 things to do

Marketing for accountants

Marketing in lockdown is something that every business needs to do and in this post I’ll give you some practical tips to let you know what you should be posting.

Lockdown is distressing for a lot of people and if you are used to being a busy owner who now finds themselves sitting at home you may well be finding it hard.

The trick in my opinion is to start to see this as an opportunity because it’s a time when we can sit down and do some of the things that we always wanted to do but never had the time.

Marketing is one of those things that often gets put on the backburner so here are 6 things you can do whilst in lockdown to revitalise your marketing

#1 – Tell people what’s happening – your customers will want to know what’s going on so write up a quick post that tells people what is happening, whether you are working or not and wishing them well.

If you are modifying your business model, maybe still working but with everyone remotely then let your clients know and ask them honestly to be supportive if your usual standards slip a little.

#2 – Review your current marketing – What has worked, what hasn’t? Is there something you do that has become a habit but has now lost its effectiveness?

A friend of mine found themselves forced to spend some time in hospital and used the time to do exactly this and realised that the time they invested in networking meetings really didn’t pay dividends, so after they recovered they scaled down the number of meetings they went to.

#3 – Make up your plan – when the current crisis has finished how will you get back to normal? Will the old normal be the new normal?

Once you have worked out how you are going to operate in the future you can work out how you are going to communicate with your customers.

The lock down is the ideal time to sit quietly and plan how your marketing will work in the future. Think about your target market, where they hang out & how and what you will communicate to them.

#4 – Find some marketing partners – once you have worked what sort of things you are going to produce then you can look for help in developing your ideas.

If you have decided that you are going to do a series of blogs or an eBook then you’ll need to contact a copywriter (ahem), or if you are looking at video then you’ll want someone who has videography skills.

You may want to find a PR expert and a social media consultant to publicise your work or maybe a graphic designer to make things look smashing. Speak to your network for recommendations or look at platforms like Peopleperhour to find professionals that can assist.

#5 – Keep producing – We know that Google loves fresh content so it is important to keep producing even if your business isn’t operating at the moment.

Look for content that will have a long shelf life and will work just as well post-lock down so that you can promote it when your company is back up and running.

#6 – Look for collaborations – who says that you can only produce content for your business?

Why can’t you produce content with your suppliers or customers?

Imagine a photographer who produces a video that shows how they chose some equipment and then used it with one of their customers. The cost of production can be split three ways and all three companies can promote the content.

So have a word with your suppliers and customers and see if a collaboration is possible.

So there are my tips.

I think the most important point is to not give up on your marketing.

You need to keep the pot boiling so that as soon as we are able to open up again you can get off to a flying start.

All the best and stay healthy.

And if you want help with building your marketing plan or producing content then why not get in touch?

Your digital marketing 5-minute guide

Your quick digital marketing guide

If you’re new to the whole concept of digital marketing then it can be a pretty daunting place so I thought I’d write up a quick guide that you can sit and read over a cup of coffee.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is anything that encourages people to buy from you. That’s the marketing bit.

The digital bit simply means that it can be delivered using a computer, phone, tablet or any other electronic means. It really is that simple.

The problem is that the internet is big, really big so you just get lost.

Imagine you have got a van

And your van is full of stuff that you want to sell.

Your van is your website but if you never drive anywhere then it’s unlikely that people will buy anything from you.

So you need to put fuel in the van, that’s content marketing.

But if you just drive your plain old van around the streets you still aren’t going to sell much.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, TikTok and all the other social media sites are your signwriting on the van that tell people what you sell

And Google is a massive bell that you ring to get people to look.

As you can see, none of these things on their own is going to sell your stuff.

Having a website without any content is going to be pointless and having great content is lovely but if you don’t bother to promote it then it is pretty much useless.

You can’t. You have to have the whole package.

What is content marketing?

Content is the stuff that tells people about you.

Typical types of content marketing include;

  • Blog posts
  • Podcasts
  • eBooks
  • Guides
  • Checklists
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • and loads more.

What’s different about content marketing?

Looking at that list you might think it’s pretty simple and largely the same as ordinary marketing but actually you’d be surprised.

You see Digital Marketing works best when you give stuff away for free.

I know, crazy right?

What you are aiming to do with this type of marketing is to get people (and Google) to believe in your brand as an authoritative source of information.

This is particularly important if you are a professional services company because your reputation is everything.


Yellow tomato - I write content for small businesses

Want to know more about how fresh content gets you business? Click the image above


So what’s all this SEO stuff then?

SEO (or search engine optimisation) is like telling Google that you want it to ring that big old bell on top of your van and get people to look at what you’ve got.

SEO is largely the practice of producing content that is valuable and structuring it in such a way as it tells Google to put it at the top of the search rankings.

Part of it is about the writing and part about the quality of your site.

That’s like keywords and stuff right?

Kinda.

You see when people search for stuff they type things into their search bar and they are the keywords.

Then the search engines go out to the web and have a look for the words that most closely match what the user types into their search bar.

But it doesn’t bother looking every time.

Instead, Google (and all the others) map the web and look for sites that are authoritative sources of information.

Then when someone looks for expenses software or will writers then it knows exactly where to go.

So you need to prove to Google that you are the authoritative site by producing content that has those keywords in it.

Incidentally Google also looks at your site and rates it based on how easy it is to use.

Do your pages load quickly?

Does it work on mobiles?

Do people read one thing or do they stick around?

Then it gets all of the information it’s found and compares your site to the opposition. Then it ranks you.

The higher up the ranking you are then the more customers you will get. These are often called SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) in the trade.

The key to digital marketing is engagement

And the key to engagement is having fresh, useful content that regularly pops up in front of your clients

Oddly most people make exactly the same mistake when they are producing content – they give up!

It’s called the cycle of despair and it’s a real thing


Yellow tomato copywriting for small bsuinesses

Want to know more about the biggest mistake people make? Click the image above


The trick is not to go off like a train for two weeks then get upset.

Just publish a small amount of stuff regularly and make sure it is all related to your keywords

Don’t forget to tell people about your content

There’s no point in hiding your light under a bushel.

Tell people what you have produced.

Post it to your insta, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn sites, do Google ads, tell your friends.

There’s a type of virtuous circle where Google ranks sites higher if more people read them and return later.

More people read the site if it is ranked higher on Google and on it goes.

Digital marketing is easy if you are organised

And if you have the time

there’s nothing hard about digital marketing, in fact I’d say most people can do it.

But you do need to be organised and you have to be in a position to want to do it.

Let’s be honest, there are 101 things you could be doing rather than stressing over your keyword map or your off page SEO right?

In fact it’s probably much more cost effective to pay someone else to do it than learn it yourself, make the mistakes and then actually do the work.

That’s where I come in.

If you want someone to help, who won’t fill you email inbox with jargon and BS, then I’m your man.

Contact me here and let’s see if I can help

Who should I get to write my blog?

Copywriting for SMEs

This is an interesting question

Because the answer is obvious isn’t it?

You need to write it yourself.

But I’m going to argue against that for four reasons.

Reason 1 – I want your work

OK let’s get this out of the way right now.

I’m after work.

I love working with SME’s and the first reason I am going to argue against writing it yourself is because I want to write for you.

If that seems a bit upfront, the fact is that I prefer to be honest and actually there’s always that elephant in the room.

So now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get onto the more important reasons.

Reason 2 – You need an expert

Now I’m a bit of a pain for tradesmen because I think I can do pretty much anything myself.

I can plumb, I can do electrics, I can decorate.

But the truth is I never do it quite as well as REAL tradespeople.

It’s never quite as quick, never quite as good quality and I never know those hidden little tricks that real professionals know that gives you an all-round better job.

Reason 3 – The money

You are going to have to pay people to write your blog.

But, here’s the thing – while they are writing your blog, you can be off doing other stuff that is probably going to earn you more money than you are spending.

Net win.

I have a client (and good friend) who always says he could write the stuff that I do for him, but what I do in an hour would take him at least half a day.

He’s right. He’s every bit as good a writer as I but he’s not as quick.

So even if we charge exactly the same hourly rate, paying me to write his blog saves him four times as much as it costs.

Reason 4 – You’re too close to it

This is a mistake I see a lot of people making.

You see you know your industry intimately.

You know all the words and phrases

You know all of those damned Three Letter Acronyms (TLAs)

So that’s what you write and truthfully anyone in your industry will love your blog.

They’ll really get it and they’ll know exactly what you are trying to say.

But your customers won’t.

And who would you prefer to understand your blog; your competitors or your customers?

You may well know your expansion tank from your PCB and your diverter valve but what your customer is asking is can you fix my boiler?

Get someone you like

Bit of a controversial one this but I’d say the first thing you need to look for is someone who you like or, more specifically, who’s work you like.

Check out their style and see if it strikes a chord.

I’m always very sceptical of writers who say they can write in any style.

Our personalities always come through in the end.

So choose a professional writer, choose someone who may well have industry experience (although this isn’t as important as you may think) but more than anything choose someone who you think will give your blog what it needs.

For the record I can write in a professional manner suitable for professional services type firms like accountants and the like, I can write fairly informally, like this blog or I can do music blogs.

But I can’t do a health and beauty blog because it just isn’t me.

So who SHOULD you get to write your blog?

Well if not me then…

Have a look at websites that you enjoy reading and ask who writes for them and if they might be available.

Bigger sites will have staff writers but SME’s will be using freelancers like me.

Check out facebook and Linkedin. Just search for copywriter, blog writer, a content marketer that sort of thing.

Check out their posts, and have a look at their website.

Ask around, do any of your business contacts have a writer they would recommend?

Get yourself down to the local networking group, there will always be one or two of us hanging around in the corner with our hunched backs and pale complexions.

And if all fails then give me a shout because I might be able to help.

Is LinkedIn the death of the personal approach?

OK so some time ago I started Yellow Tomato but didn’t tell anyone about it.

It wasn’t that I was embarrassed or anything but I just had so much on that getting the website right and sorting images and logos and all that stuff just took up all my time.

And to be frank I wasn’t chasing clients, which was nice.

Anyway eventually I got round to setting up my company page (you can view it here) and changed my profile status.

And that was it – I was officially the owner of a two-person media company and not an accountant.

Bridges burned

Oh yeah, bridge burned

So My profile change was shared on the platform and people started sending in congratulations and I noticed something interesting.

Most of them were push-button responses.

I know that we’re all busy people but the consistency in the congratulations really stood out.

I’ll tell you what really stood out

In amongst all the cookie-cutter ‘congratulations on your new role’ messages were two other types.

The worst was a lady who used the opportunity to try and sell me something that I hadn’t bought before.

Her approach was so opportunistic that she actually guaranteed that should I need her service I would NEVER buy from her.

So I learned something.

The other type of message that stood out were the ones where the person had taken two seconds to pen a short, personal message.

My instant reaction was ‘I love that guy!’ (or gal)

The difference in approach and my reaction was amazing.

So my lesson from this?

Take just a tiny bit of time to say hello.

Personalise your message and don’t try and sell anything.

It might not be intuitive but actually the push-button approach that LinkedIn promotes and encourages actually make life easier for those people old fashioned enough not to use it!

How you can get more business using fresh and useful content

Yellow tomato - I write content for small businesses

If you are anything like most small business owners then you could probably do with just a little more work – the cream off the top, the icing on the cake sort of thing.

Maybe your website is working well or maybe it’s just tumbleweed blowing across the screen but either way, an excellent method of getting more work from the same asset is to have fresh and up to date content for potential buyers.

So what you really need is a content marketing plan

It’s always good to have a plan

But don’t worry, your content marketing plan doesn’t need to be all singing and all dancing.

What it needs to do is identify the people you want to work with, where they hang out, the questions they are asking and how you are going to answer them

Let’s take an example

Imagine a business that supplies In Car Entertainment systems (ICE).

First question – Who are their ideal customers?

They aren’t selling to young mums I would suggest, or retired people or school kids.

So we know that their content probably needs to be aimed at drivers, probably 17-35 and predominantly men (I know sexist).

And this is the important point here.

I’m not saying that ICEs are ONLY bought by this demographic, but what I am saying is that this is by far the largest market.

So chase it.

Where do they hang out?

I reckon it’s largely pointless getting editorial content into the Guardian.

People that read the Guardian are less likely to be in your target market.

Where do 17-35 year old men hang out?

Youtube, Facebook, maybe Insta

So now you need to get some content up that will speak to them.

Giving something of value

What is likely to get these guys clicking away from Facebook?

Something that they need or something of interest

And so you need to look for people who maybe have been searching for new cars, or who are members of car interest groups.

These are the people who are more likely to want to buy or upgrade their ICE or want more bits for it or who want advice about it.

So you’d look to produce content on ‘the 5 best head units released this year’ or ‘About to fit a new stereo? Don’t make this common mistake’.

Promote the right content in the right place and you’ll get clicks

Get people out of a bind

So far the content suggestions have been for when people are actively searching for something they are going to do but what if they find themselves stuck?

Don’t discount the power of videos as a way to drive sales.

I recently fitted a stereo to my Jaguar (I’m not that rich, it’s a 15-year-old x-type!)

The problem was that none of the fittings were the same so I had to search for how to fit it and what items I needed.

As it was there was no provider who had put on a video and I found some guy in Kentucky who had posted a vid of him doing exactly the same thing.

Now if our imaginary ICE store had posted a video that showed how to do it and then linked to a shop page where I could have bought the DIN converter, ariel converter and trim surround then I am pretty sure I would have bought.

Here’s your homework.

So if you want to make a difference to your business with fresh content then what should you do?

Firstly sit down and write out a pen picture of your ideal customer.

Then find out where they hang out. How you can connect with them. What they are searching for.

Then plan your long-tail keywords to suit.

Once you have your keywords then get your content produced.

Either do it yourself or find an amazingly awesome copywriter or video content producer.

Now, where could you find a copywriter???

Here’s the ad

OK so copywriting is what I do.

It might be blog articles, website content, eBooks or video and advertorial scripts but if it’s words then I am your man.

I can even help you plan out that marketing and work our some suggestions for those pesky long-tail keywords.

You can find out about my services here

Contact me now and let’s see if I can be of help.