Tuesday, October 22, 2019

When Do You Need a Copywriting Coach?

When you think about hiring a freelance copywriter, it's probably with a sense of relief. After all, you get to hand over that pesky writing project to a skilled professional who can get it done quickly efficiently, and with the high standard of quality your marketing requires. But did you know that some businesses hire copywriters not for their writing skills, but purely for their expertise? It's true, and in some cases, it can make a lot of sense.

Many professional copywriters, including this one, offer coaching and consultation among their list of services. This service can take a variety of forms. In my case, it involves purchasing my time in 30-minute or 60-minute blocks for open-ended discussions, critiques and advice. For example, I might go over a writing job in progress with you, pointing out issues and recommending corrective measures. Or we might discuss general copywriting practices, complete with exercises to improve their writing skills. Clients can purchase individual sessions, or they spring for money-saving packages of time. (Thanks to modern technology, I can provide these sessions remotely to anyone in the country.) But why would you want to purchase copywriting coaching/consultation instead of simply ordering me to do the work? Let's look at some compelling reasons:

You've Already Created Most of the Content

That writing project has already sapped a lot of your time and creative energy -- and it's almost there. You can feel it in your bones. The major pieces appear to be in place, and they may even be in the right order. But is your writing ready for Prime Time? Can you really know that you've created the right content to blow past your competition and grab your target audience by the lapels? You can easily find out by sending the draft to me. We'll look it over together (on our respective computers), and I'll suggest any changes that might be needed, from minor tweaks to major revisions.

You Want to Boost Your Copywriting Skills

Do you wish that you could generate that high-quality marketing content all by yourself, without having to punt the whole thing to an outsourced copywriter? Maybe you like having that degree of independence, or maybe you genuinely enjoy writing and want to get better at it. A professional copywriter who provides coaching services can train you in the finer points of the craft, turning you into your own content-creation resource. It's like adding an in-house copywriter to your organization -- without shelling out for the extra salary and benefits package!

You Don't Trust Your Ability to Judge Marketing Content

Even if you don't want to write your own marketing content, you still need to know the difference between bad content and good content -- or between good content and great content -- before you start adding text to your website, blog, or brochure. Unless marketing was already your thing, you probably haven't received any special training in this area. Many business owners who possess a jaw-dropping knowledge of their own industry don't feel confident judging a piece of marketing content according to the standards of our industry. A copywriting consultant can change that. The more skilled you become at recognizing good (or not-so-good) writing when you see it, the more confidently you can engage specific writers, review their drafts, and request any necessary changes.

Now that you see the benefits of engaging an experienced freelance copywriter for coaching and consultation, why not give it a try?  I've been writing professionally for 22 years, and I have a lot of training, knowledge and experience to offer. Let's talk!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Fear Factor: Using Halloween in Your Marketing Content


Halloween will be here before you know it. Actually, that's not true. You'll know it well in advance; in fact, you're probably already seeing evidence of it everywhere, from storefront displays to all the costumes and masks peering out ominously from supermarket shelves. If you want to promote your products and services as immediately and arrestingly as possible, it wouldn't hurt to add a touch of Halloween chill to your marketing content. Let's look at a couple of ways you can do just that.

Make Your Pain Statement Extra Scary

Written marketing content typically includes three main elements: a pain statement, a relief statement, and a call to action. The pain statement presents an irritating, inconvenient, frightening or embarrassing problem, dropping the readers right into the situation they're desperately seeking to avoid. The relief statement then allows you to swoop in like the cavalry with your problem-solving product or service. Finally, a call to action directs the readers to stop, reverse or prevent that agonizing issue right now by contacting you or making a purchase.

Halloween represents a golden opportunity for you to spice up your pain statement with some tried-and-true imagery. For instance, are your customers suffering from power-wasting "energy vampires" in the form of inefficient old electronics that need replacing? Do your customers hear things that go bump in the night -- things that could be silenced by your expert plumbing or HVAC services? Are your pest-control customers constantly fight off multi-legged "zombies" that keep coming back from the dead? A bit of Halloween can make your pain statement not only more clever, but also much more vivid.

Goof on Famous Halloween-ish Moments

Do you remember Jack Nicholson battering down a door with an axe to murder his family, a possessed Linda Blair's head doing a 180, or Bela Lugosi hypnotizing his unwary prey before unleashing his fangs? Of course you do; we all do. These moments have taken root deep in our popular culture -- which makes them ideal fodder for your Halloween marketing campaigns. They're so well known, in fact, that they lend themselves to parody. Think about how some of your favorite moments, images, and quotes from various scary movies could be put to good use in humorous TV and radio spots, direct mail postcards, email ads or blog articles. It's an easy, powerful way to connect with your audience through a shared experience.

Not all memorable Halloween tropes are scary ones. We've all seen hordes of children stumbling along the streets in the dark, bags in their hands, dressed as everything from ballerinas to frogs in the hopes of terrifying the local townsfolk. We're all familiar with the haunted house that scares absolutely no one, or the comedy of errors that occurs when you mistake someone inside a mask for someone else entirely. We've encountered our share of egg-laden windows and toilet paper on shrubbery. These images can all make their way into your Halloween marketing, setting the stage for whatever story you wish to tell your target market.

Give some thought to how you can put the Halloween holiday to work for your marketing purposes -- or hire a freelance copywriter to help you brainstorm. But whatever you do, do it soon, before the 31st rolls around and the monsters come out!