How to choose your copywriter

How to choose your copywriter

If you’ve never hired a copywriter before how on earth do you go about it?

In this post I’m looking at the way I think you should choose the best copywriter for your project.

Now this is heavily caveated by the fact that I obviously think you should choose me but we’ll gloss over that and move on

So read on and find out how you can find your ideal writer.

Personal recommendation

This is a great way to find someone and I heartily recommend it.

In fact I recommend recommendations.

Personal recommendations will tell you whether the person is good to work with, does a good job and produces their copy on time and on budget.

It won’t tell you anything about their style or whether they will get on with you or not.

So ask around amongst your contacts and see who has a good copywriter as they will be worth looking up.

Loving the style

So once you have a couple of names it’s time to do a bit of homework.

Check out things they’ve written and see if you like their style and more importantly, is it the style you want for your content?

Another method of finding a good copywriter is to find examples on the web of writing you like and then contacting the company to see who they used.

Although it might seem a bit cheeky, actually most people respond well to compliments and if you are telling them that you love their style so much you want to hire their copywriter then you’re on the right lines.

Use other networks

I belong to a fair few groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. and generally speaking if I need something I can usually find someone who does it or who knows someone who does it.

Not quite as powerful as a personal recommendation to be sure but still pretty good and if someone has been helpful, has provided valuable input to the group, has a great sense of humour or just uses a cute cat picture as their profile then I don’t see why not.

Also, think about any other networks that you may be in. Lunch clubs, sports clubs neighbourhood associations or whatever. You’d be surprised where we copywriters hang out.

What about platforms like UpWork and PeoplePerHour?

Meh.

To be honest they feel a bit like a race to the bottom.

Now I’m not saying you won’t find decent copywriters on these platforms, and they do have a rating system that helps you choose people based on the feedback you get but in general, I’m not a massive fan.

If nothing else it takes forever going through the proposals from Indian Sql programmers who would be happy to write your lifestyle blog for you.

I do have time for The Work Crowd though. I have found a couple of great people there to help me and the site seems a bit less of a race to the bottom.

Should you interview them?

Yeah why not.

I mean it’s not like an ‘INTERVIEW’ interview but in fact, I’d certainly recommend a meeting if you are close by or a zoom call if not.

I’m massively in favour of working with people you like and trust. I have found over the years that gut instinct works really well when choosing who to work with.

So if you do a call and get on like a house on fire then that’s another positive tick in the box.

Should you ask them to write a test piece?

Yes if you like.

But it should be a paid piece and you should make this clear.

I don’t think I’m the only copywriter who has had people trying to con free work out of them by saying it’s a ‘test piece’ for an eleventybillion pound mega order that’s just around the corner.

Some writers will refuse and that’s fair enough.

Some will be happy to write a test piece and you can use this to see if they deliver in terms of style, deadlines and research.

I sometimes offer to write a paid test piece but to be honest clients who have already booked a bigger run of articles or an eBook always get preference. Sorry.

Remember to choose people who are good at the thing you want

Not everyone is good at everything.

In fact, the best copywriter I ever met had an awesome reputation due to the fact that he immediately turned down things that he knew he couldn’t do. See the dunning-kruger effect for more details.

I’m very good at working for professional services firms due to my consultancy background with finance, HR and IT.

I’m useless at writing descriptions for ice cream. Useless.

Great copywriter for accountants - not so good at ice cream
I’m useless at writing about ice cream

Found a good copywriter? – Hang on to them

If you’ve found a good copywriter that you like and trust then don’t let them go.

Someone who can write exactly the sort of thing you like is worth their weight in gold so think about looking at a retainer type contract.

You have to remember that a good copywriter will be in demand so they won’t always be able to look after you if you just feed them the odd job.

Also don’t hide them.

If you have liked their work then tell people because we are business people too and we love recommendations and positive feedback.

Choosing a good copywriter is important

A good copywriter will do wonders for your business and should be pretty much self-sufficeint in an ideal world.

You won’t need to manage them and you shouldn’t need to give them too much direction.

But more importantly they will supercharge your marketing and bring an added dimension to what is already a superb offering.

OK so that’s me. If you’d like to talk than click the big blue button and if you have any questions about the process then why not drop a comment down below?

Oh and like and share!

How does the copywriting process work?

How does the copywriting process work?

If you have never engaged a freelance copywriter before then you may be wondering how the whole copywriting process works.

Well wonder no more!

This post will tell you how the process works from start to finish so that you can go ahead and commission that urgently needed piece of content.

I’ve also included a template for you to download, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s start at the beginning

Decide what outcome you want to achieve

This might sound stupid. After all you just want some content don’t you?

But actually there’s more to it than that.

The outcome you want will change the type and style of writing you need.

For example, if the outcome you want is that you need a professional website that allows people to check your credibility and qualifications, then that is a completely different type of writing to a company that needs a sales funnel filling.

By the same token, commissioning content that will boost your search engine ranking requires someone with what’s called ‘on-page SEO’ skills.

So deciding what the output is forms a key part of writing your brief.

Write your brief

I’d always suggest putting down in writing what you are after. In media terms, this is called a ‘brief’ and it simply sets out what you are wanting and when you want it by.

I’ve produced an example project brief which you can download and use as your own and you can find it here (don’t worry you don’t have to give me your email address!).

Your brief needs to set out some housekeeping like who the writer needs to contact and their email or phone number.

It will also include stuff like a project name if you have one or maybe a Purchase Order (PO) number if your company uses them.

Importantly it will include details about your project such as deadlines, what you actually want to be delivered and what tone of voice you’d like it in. (find out about tone of voice here)

You don’t have to do a project brief but if it’s the first time you have ever worked with this particular writer then it’s a good way to start.

I have clients who just send an email with what they want and this is fine where it’s a short project and you’ve worked together before.

Find your writer

I’ve written up a guide to finding the right writer (or the write righter) here but suffice it to say that this is the point in the copywriting process that you probably want to go out and find a writer.

It’s quite usual in the industry to send out a brief to more than one writer or agency but you don’t want to overdo it.

You’ll probably be wasting the writers’ time and yours because it takes time to decide.

Be prepared to meet up or have a chat on the phone/zoom. I always prefer to do this as it can often stop misunderstandings happening.

If you’d like to know how much a copywriter costs then have a look at this post here.

Once you have chosen your writer then you need to agree terms and often your writer will ask for a deposit and possibly send a contract.

This is quite normal in the creative industries and a deposit will normally be around 1/3rd to half the eventual project cost but varies depending upon writer or agency.

The message has to be – get it in writing.

If your writer doesn’t send you a precis of what was agreed then you need to send it to them. Email is fine, hard copy is fine but write it down.

Leave them alone!

This is pretty important.

When you have agreed what you want, you’ve paid your deposit and you’ve written it down then you need to leave them alone.

Don’t start to panic until the deadline arrives.

Every time you phone your writer you are interrupting their process and you’ll slow down production.

I’d say 70% of the copywriting process is actually thinking and structuring and I can promise you that constant calls and emails don’t speed this up.

In fact this morning I was working out how to structure this post on a cycle ride down to the beach!

If you have chosen a good copywriter then you’ll get a draft copy at this point.

Make amends

This doesn’t mean you have to make up for something you’ve done wrong – amends is simply the shorthand way of saying amendments.

Most copywriters will include at least one round of free amends and you shouldn’t be shy about using this, writers are used to sending out a draft and then altering it later.

Just one point, I prefer to send out my draft in a finished version. What I mean by this is that when I send out my draft the client could just copy and paste onto their website.

Other writers will send things out with spelling or grammatical errors and then only correct at final draft stage so don’t be too disappointed if your writer works in this way but you should ask them if this is how they work ahead of time.

Agree future work

A good copywriter is hard to find and if you have happened upon one that does a good job and who you get on with then you should hang on to them.

Give them constructive feedback and if you have future work that you need doing then talk about it.

Often businesses will need regular content for things like their blog or social media so agreeing a future work plan is a good move because a good copywriter’s time will fill up quickly.

The copywriting process in a nutshell

The copywriting process then is pretty simple

1 – Decide what you want

2- Write up your brief

3 – Find your writer

4 – Agree terms and pay a deposit

5 – Wait for the output

6 – Feedback your amendments

7 – Feedback and agree future work.

So that’s it. The copywriting process in a nutshell.

If there are any questions that I haven’t answered or you want something expanded then please do leave a comment below and don’t forget to share the post if you have found it useful.

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!

What happened when I bought some cheap writing

Why buying cheap copy is a mistake

Anyone who runs a business will have heard the phrase “we’ve found someone who can do it cheaper”.

It’s annoying but understandable.

After all, it takes a lot of work to earn money and you want to know that you are getting full value for your Pounds, Euros or Dollar.

But I thought I’d have a go and see what it goes like when you buy cheap writing.

I decided to use one of the most popular freelance sites (I won’t say which one) and set a project.

I posted a project that asked for people to write a 600-word blog post called “6 things to think about when choosing a payroll system” and chose three writers to work with.

The replies began to ping into my inbox almost instantly which gave me a first clue.

Not all the people offering to do the work were writers!

I posted the project and within seconds I got proposals.

From graphic designers

And WordPress developers.

Now don’t get me wrong. They might well have been cruising the site and just pinged off an application but I’m suspecting not.

In fact I think they have a really clever bot that sends a standard application the moment a vaguely matching project gets posted.

Which means that the vast majority of applications I got were from people that weren’t really writers at all.

Frankly, if I wanted to get someone to do some copywriting for my accountants practice I’d want someone who did it at least part-time!

What content did they provide?

There were three different outcomes from the people I chose.

The first guy sounded the best and so I held out high hopes for him and sure enough 600 words arrived on time.

It was well written, made complete sense and I could tell that it was written by someone who really understood the subject.

Which is understandable because he’d stolen it off a website.

I put it through my plagiarism checker and guess what? He’d not even bothered to change a word.

Imagine the damage that would do to your business if you posted this and the original owner found out.


Content marketing is like a hot air balloon
Find out why marketing is like a hot air balloon – click the image

Number 2 was a lady who looked like she knew what she was doing. I sent off the brief and then waited.

Nothing.

So I sent her a message and asked what was up.

“Oh yes, some problems but I’ll get it to you tomorrow”

Nothing.

I sent another message but got no reply. Ever.

When you are working to a marketing plan it’s very very inconvenient if copy you expected doesn’t turn up.

I had high hopes for number three. After all we can’t have three duds in a row can we?

So this guy was a day late with the work, but at least he actually did it.

It wasn’t plagiarised and I could see why.

It included such gems as;

” So before making the system fully functional it’s functionality check should be carried out so that when it gets deployed in practical there are no chances of errors the working goes smooth.”

Or this

There are a lot of advantages a Payroll system have like it gives much accuracy , saves time and all the things become automated so human resource is saved.”

What you can’t be doing is paying good money for content that you have to essentially re-write or constantly have to speelcheck (just my little joke).


Do you need a freelance financial copywriter
How do you know if you need a specialist financial copywriter? Click the image to find out

Why quality copywriting is important for accountants

Any content you produce as an accountant (or for any professional service) is designed to show your competency in a particular field.

So if you are paying for content that isn’t accurate, well researched and grammatically correct then you are becoming a hostage to fortune.

Quality content does cost more, but employing an expert financial copywriter means that you’ll get work that you don’t have to check for accuracy and that will show your practice in the best possible light.

A great financial copywriter will also understand on-page SEO, which means that your posts are more likely to rank highly on Google.

Buying cheap is rarely the best option.

Want to talk about financial copywriting?

Mail me, call me, fill in the form and let’s have a chat.

Do I need a financial copywriter for my business?

Do you need a freelance financial copywriter

Although copywriters all do the same thing, a financial copywriter is slightly different.

So the answer to the question really is “What is your business?”

Truthfully, if you want someone to write product descriptions for your e-commerce site then no, you don’t need to pay for a finance copywriter.

Sure we could do the job, but we aren’t e-commerce specialists.

But if you run a business that deals with financial things like loans, insurance, investments etc then I would say you absolutely do need a financial copywriter.

There are a number of things that you can’t do in the UK when you are promoting financial products and a good financial copywriter will know all about these.

Importantly they will also know the value of great research and ensuring that anything they write is truthful and accurate.

When you are for any finance company it makes sense to have an expert at the wheel when you are looking to put information out in the public domain and employing a proper freelance financial copywriter is absolutely the way to go.

A freelance financial copywriter isn’t just for finance companies

This is one of the things that most surprised me when I made the move into full-time marketing.

It shouldn’t have because I had been writing for years and the vast majority of my clients weren’t financial businesses.

But they were companies that liked to work with financial companies.

And that’s where a financial copywriter comes in.

Because it’s important that you use someone who is able to use language and tones that your target market understands.

For example, if you produce financial software or maybe you are an insolvency practitioner then you will want to talk to accountants.

But accountants like a certain type of language and things to be phrased in a rather understated manner. I can say this because I AM an accountant!

So for enterprises that are in an allied sector and that has a target market that is professional and somewhat conservative, it makes complete sense to find a decent financial copywriter.

Technical jargon you want to get across?

As a Financial Director, one of the key parts of my job was to explain exceptionally complex financial information to managers and directors who all had different skills and aptitudes.

When you have to do this every day you start to understand the value of simplicity.

Having these skills are important because when you have an incredibly technical subject, but your decision maker isn’t necessarily an expert themselves, then you need to be able to put your point across in a suitable way.

This is another skill of a financial copywriter that is transferable to other sectors.

The ability to take complex models and transfer them into everyday language.

So do you need a financial copywriter?

Does your business have complex technical concepts that it wants to communicate?

Do you want to talk to finance professionals?

Do you have a need for professional and accurate content?

If you answer yes to any of these then you do need a financial copywriter.

And if you need a financial copywriter then you should get in touch.

Click the button or go here to get in contact

The secret they won’t tell you about digital marketing

The big digital marketing secret

There’s a secret about digital marketing out there that people aren’t sharing and I think I know why.

I know why it’s not being shared and I also know why it is counter-productive.

It’s a secret that digital marketers and content producers know full well or, if they don’t then they ought to.

And it’s a secret that anyone embarking on digital marketing, whether it’s just for their own site or for someone else’s should know.

Marketers are great…

…at selling the sizzle.

It’s what we do.

We tell you how great things are going to be when you use our services and we let you believe that you’ll get instant results.

How often have you watched a video or read an article that leaves you with the impression that this is all dead easy and you can have amazing results really quickly?

The problem is that marketing has something called the ‘golden triangle’ which is something that project managers have known about for years.

If you want hits then you can have them cheap, quick or good but you can’t have all three.

So for instance you can get a huge number of hits by paying to always be top of the google rankings. They’ll probably be good hits and you’ll get them quickly but it won’t be cheap.

Or you can pay a link farm to get you tons of links. It will be cheap and fast but the sort of links you get won’t be particularly good.


Your quick digital marketing guide
Check out my 5 minute guide to digital marketing here

Here’s the secret to digital marketing

It takes time.

Yep that’s it.

It’s not earth shattering but it is important to know because if you think you will get overnight results and a billion hits from your single blog post then I’m sorry to say that you are going to be disappointed.

It takes time to understand your marketplace.

It takes time to find a strategy that works for you

It takes time to build up a site that has valuable content that really works for your potential clients.

You’d think this was a bad thing for someone in the industry to say right?

Well personally I prefer my clients to be properly informed from the start.

There’s no point in me promising you something that you can’t have only for you to be really disappointed this time next week when a billion hits haven’t magically appeared.

I prefer honesty.

Why don’t marketers tell clients this?

Because it’s nice to have some one tell you with absolute certainty that life is going to be wonderful and easy and that you don’t even need to think about it.

But the truth is always a bit more complicated than that.


Want a totally free guide to digital marketing for accountants?
Want a totally free guide to digital marketing for accountants? (it works for other industries too!) Click the image for you free resource

The truth about digital marketing

The truth is that anything worthwhile is worth doing well.

Like a good wine, a marketing strategy is worth taking a little time over.

Taking time to understand your clients, your market and your offer is rarely wasted.

Producing useful, good quality content, little and often is always better than paying someone to set up a big bunch of dubious links.

And making sure that your content is optimised for SEO and then shared with a relevant audience is priceless.

Take time over your digital marketing and you’ll find that it pays dividends with a sustainable community of people who like your stuff and consistently high rankings on the search engines that doesn’t drop off the moment you stop paying for advertising.

How I can help

I admit that for most people producing quality content regularly just isn’t possible and this is where Yellow Tomato comes in.

I can do a site audit and let you know where you marketing is letting you down.

I can produce a marketing plan that will show you how to start moving up the rankings

and I can write the content that will get your target market engaged.

Give me a call or email me and let’s talk.

Why content marketing is like a hot air balloon (and what to do about it)

Content marketing is like a hot air balloon

Content marketing really is like a hot air balloon.

You may think that there aren’t many things that link the two but read on and find out how this knowledge can help you with your digital marketing strategy.

In the beginning…

When you first start up a company blog you are all enthusiastic and ready to get going.

You probably write 5,6 or even seven blogs and amazingly there’s no impact whatsoever on your Google ranking and no-one visits your site.

So you stop blogging.

And this is where content marketing suddenly becomes exactly like a hot air baloon.

Keep the fire alight

Hot air balloons work on the principle of hot air rising.

The hotter the air and the more that is in the balloon then the faster and higher the balloon will rise.

But, if you stop burning gas then the air cools and the balloon starts to fall.

And so you turn on the gas again.

and the balloon rises

Content marketing is like a hot air balloon
Turning on the gas

This is exactly what happens with people’s marketing.

(Incidentally, the British Balloon and Airship club has a fascinating site that’s well worth a read here )

Content marketing needs to be consistent.

In the same way as the hot air balloon rises and falls I often see people do exactly the same thing.

They do loads of work on their content marketing at the start and the balloon rises quickly. In other words they bring in work.

But then they stop and unsurprisingly the work starts to dry up

so then they panic and do loads of marketing

And the balloon rises again.

It’s a natural reaction but unfortunately for the business it produces a ‘lumpy’ sales pipeline and makes it difficult to forecast sales and resources accurately.

Google also like sites that produce content consistently.

In short it’s better to do 8 posts over 4 weeks than do 8 on day one and then never do anything ever again!

A content marketing strategy doesn’t have to be hard

Content marketing can be fun and shouldn’t be a drag.

Consistency is the key. One or two articles every week is ample because it gives your balloon a nice flat trajectory which enables you to maintain a decent future sales pipeline.

The sort of content you produce doesn’t have to be all dry technical subjects. You can mix it up, not only to give yourself some variety but also to keep your readers interested too.

And of course consistent, interesting content is much more attractive for the search engines, which is half the battle.


Want some help with choosing blog subjects? Check out my post here

How great content can boost your SMEs sales
How to choose blog subjects

Publishing regular content isn’t always easy

Of course it isn’t. Otherwise everyone would do it!

You’re busy running your business and often you can’t find the time to sit and write a blog post or some interesting content.

That’s where I come in.

I’m a freelance writer and I specialise in content marketing.

I can help you with your marketing plan, can look at SEO on your site and can write the content for you.

If you are serious about kicking your content marketing into high gear then why not mail me and we can talk?

How to improve your blog in 5 easy steps

5 tips to help you write you blog

If you are using content marketing to improve your search rankings then a cornerstone of this is probably your blog and you want this to be a good as possible.

Here are my 5 tips to make your blog postings more effective as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Tip #1 – Have a clear plan to write to

It’s important that you don’t simply start writing and firing off blogs left right and centre.

Instead you need to think about what you are trying to achieve and set your keywords accordingly.

When you have a plan and a set of keywords then you should write posts around your keywords but I’d suggest only writing a post around one keyword at a time.

Trying to pack too much in will destroy the way the article reads and may even lead to Google thinking you are keyword stuffing, which is a bad thing.

Tip #2 – Use short sentences and simple words

You are probably going to be writing for a fairly mixed audience and Google understands this.

Short sentences are easier to read, especially on a mobile device and the vast majority of web content is accessed on mobile devices.

Google also likes you to use simple, accessible language and so unless you are writing something very technical for a professional audience then you are better off using short words.


Check out these handy tools for finding keywords and the questions your customers are asking – click on the image

% tools you absolutely need for your blogs

Tip #3 – Answer the questions that your audience are asking.

If you are writing general pages for your website then you can get away with simply writing copy that is about your company.

But if you are wanting to attract people to your site and of course rank highly on Google then you need to answer questions.

There are number of tools that will help you do this and I have done a separate post about my favourites which you can access here.

Essentially you need to find questions that people ask about your keywords and write to them.

For example, if you sell kitchen knives then you could answer the questions “What knife do I use to fillet fish?” or “How do I sharpen a kitchen knife?”.

By doing this over a series of posts Google will eventually get to think of you as a subject matter expert which helps your ranking.

More importantly if you have a wealth if information on particular subjects then your potential customers will also come to think of your site whenever they have a question they need answering.

Tip #4 – Structure your post.

I always like to use a simple structure that works really well, especially when you are suffering from writer’s block!

Start off with a striking headline

Set up the reason for your post

Answer the question you have asked

Summarise

Call to action.

In other words, tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them!

By doing this you will find that your posts are actually easier to write and fall into a comfortable rhythm that readers prefer.

Tip #5 – Don’t forget a call to action

You shouldn’t forget to tell readers what you want them to do as a result of reading your post.

“Call me for more details”

“Check this related post”

“Email me and book an appointment”

That sort of thing.

I see lots of posts that don’t include a call to action and that’s really missing a massive opportunity.

I’ve spoken to people who feel that this is somehow being too ‘salesy’ but actually when I read a post that has a call to action at the end it actually makes me feel a sense of certainty about what they want me to do.

A call to action doesn’t have to be ‘buy now’ but it can be more around giving people more related content to read or letting them know what they need to do to get more information.

Here’s your summary

So look back over this post and think about my post structure.

I’ve told you what I was going to tell you

I’ve told you

And now I’m telling you what I’ve told you.

And that’s how post structuring works.

The great thing about using this method is that if you have your keyword that you are going to focus on then the post almost writes itself.

Here’s my call to action

I’ll admit that not everyone has the time to write their own content so if you’d like help setting up your marketing plan, writing the content or you want someone to take over the whole shooting match then why not give me a call?

I’d be happy to talk over your options with no obligation at all.

If you’d like to find out more about SEO then why not check out the rather excellent Neil Patel here

Choosing your focus – Accountants need to target their marketing

Yellow tomato - content advice for accountants

One of the biggest mistakes accountants make when looking at marketing is not deciding who their target market is.

Often, when I ask people who they are targeting through a post they will tell me ‘everyone’.

The problem is that you end up with an unfocused and confusing message and when people are confused then they don’t call you.

Being an expert is a winner

I want you to imagine that you have a boiler in your office and it has gone ‘phut’!

You realise you need a plumber so you hit Google.

You find page 1, plumbers.

The problem is they all look the same.

Suppose there was a plumber near you

That’s a bit more interesting.

Suppose there was a plumber that called themselves ‘The office plumber’

More interesting?

Suppose there was a plumber that worked specifically for people like you – ‘The accountants’ plumber’.

This is, of course, a ridiculous example because I can’t imagine there is enough work out there for a plumber that just works with local accountants but it makes the point.

If you have a choice of two plumbers, one that works with everyone and one that works specifically and exclusively with people just like you who do you choose?

Focus is a winner

So having a clear focus for your marketing is a real winner for accountants.

Now I’m not saying that you change your practice totally just to do a bit of marketing but what I am saying is that you choose a section of society that you would most like to work with and then you design your content marketing specifically for them.

For example, let’s say you love inheritance tax planning.

You’d have a section on your website that is designed specifically to showcase this area of your talents (or ‘landing page’).

Then you write lots of content focusing on IT Planning.

And when you publicise and advertise this you direct people TO YOUR INHERITANCE TAX PAGE.

This page signposts to the content you have produced on the subject.

So to the people who have clicked on links or responded to emails the first thing they see on your site is that you are an inheritance tax planning expert.

Rinse and repeat

This is a simple formula and it works but most accountants don’t really want a practice that just does one thing.

The benefit of this approach is that it is a system.

This means it can be used again for different audiences.

So you may end up with several landing pages, each dedicated to different aspects of your business but each highly targeted to your market.

In this way you can use the learning and experience you have gained by doing 1 market and use this to target an entirely different market.

Need more information?

You can find more information about how content marketing can help accountancy practices to thrive by checking out my dedicated page here

Need more help?

I specialise in helping accountants with their content marketing

Drop me a line and we can have a chat about what you need and whether I can help

How an eBook can add clients to your accountancy practice

I write words for accountants

Would you like more clients?

Stupid question huh?

One of the best ways to gain new clients is to write and distribute an eBook.

You may have signed up for one of these in the past with various suppliers.

And these display the main feature of content marketing – giving valuable stuff away for free.

Give it away for free? You must be mad.

I know, crazy right?

But bear with me because this really works.

Think about how you feel about someone that gives you something for free.

You feel good about them.

And if it is something valuable that solves a problem then that’s even better.

By giving a prospective client something you begin the process of engendering trust and you need trust to be able to sell.

Solve a problem for a client and you have a friend
Solve a problem for a client and you have a friend

What kind of eBook should you give away?

Well that is entirely a matter for you but there are all sorts of clever ideas that work really well.

The trick is to give something that is useful but slightly to the side of what you do.

So, for example, I once wrote a series of articles for a client on GDPR.

Remember that!

It was a horrible time that was confusing for everyone concerned so my clients had some blog posts that explained the situation in broad-brush terms.

We then produced a giveaway which was an eBook with a template to allow the client to carry out their own GDPR survey.

They gave it to all of their client base but also offered it on sign up to everyone.

It worked really well because it did three things;

  • It showed their current clients that they really did care
  • It put them back in the forefront of their client’s mind
  • It got their current clients thinking about extra services
  • It produced an email list of prospective future clients

OK four things.

How to write an eBook

This sounds pretty stupid but there really is a process you need to go through to write the book.

It’s not just a case of sitting down one day for half an hour and blatting out some words.

The first thing you need to think of is who are your ideal clients?

You can even write a little pen picture of them if it helps.

Most importantly you need to think about what their problems are.

Because this leads you to the most important thing – you need to write what they want to read about and not what you want to tell them.

it sounds simple but in fact you’d be surprised at the blog posts I see from my clients who have written up something exceptionally interesting on FRS102.

Interesting to me because I’m an accountant.

No use whatsoever to someone who just wants to work out how to do a budget.

So you know what your clients’ problem is, now you need to write up the book.

It doesn’t need to be massive, generally,2,500-5000 words are ample.

Get it nicely designed.

Call it a ‘white paper’ if you like.

Get it proofread for spolling mistooks* and then work out how you are going to deliver it.

And if you have a PR person then get them to ping out some press releases to the local and trade press. This does wonders.

No such thing as a free lunch

People today understand that you don’t get anything for free nowadays.

The most popular way to deliver an eBook is to have a simple email sign up process and then either send out or allow download of a Pdf.

Because it’s the email address that is your gold.

Once you have the email address then you can email a few days later and simply ask if they liked the book.

But that’s sneaky and they will hate me

Nope.

I remember once I was working as an FD of a fast-growing company and was checking out software systems.

A consultant offered an eBook on how to choose your next system and I signed up for it.

I did so in the full knowledge that they would contact me and I was hoping they would because the book raised some interesting points.

It made them subject matter experts in my mind**.

So very often prospective clients will fill in their email addresses in the hope that you will make contact with them. It kind of takes the pressure off them speaking to you for the first time.

Some won’t but frankly, they aren’t a loss anyway because you never had them as a client in the first place.

You may need to send out a reminder mail a few days later because people do forget or get distracted.

Have a word with your IT guy because they can introduce you to something like MailChimp or even clickfunnel if you feel the need.

So that’s it

Writing an eBook or White Paper is an amazingly effective way to give value to your clients and get potential clients talking to you.

It works amazingly well for accountants because it gives you a chance to position yourself as a subject matter expert and to introduce new services to clients who may not even have known that you offered it.

Have a go, and if you get stuck then give me a shout.

The advertisement

I admit that not everyone loves writing as much as me so if you’d like someone to take the pain away then why not drop me a line?


*This is my most common joke so if you’ve seen it before apologies. And if you haven’t apologies because it’s a rubbish joke.

**And guess what?

They never contacted me.