Appeal to emotions – Copywriting tip #4

An Emotional Start To The Dance!

Sometimes it pays to get emotional. People are often driven by their emotions and it’s worth understanding this when marketing your business.

Can your products allay fears or reassure the anxious? Copywriters often use envy, status anxiety and guilt to play on their audiences’ emotions.

While I don’t agree with some of the manipulative methods employed by marketers, it is still essential to remember that humans are emotional animals, and much of our decision-making is affected (if not entirely led) by emotional factors.

The lighter side of emotions

Appealing to emotions doesn’t have to involve manipulating your market. You could use brighter, bolder language that makes people smile and laugh. Use honest, emotive language as a way to engage with people.

(Picture courtesy of Drs2Biz)

Why you are not to blame when technology fails…


Donald A. Norman makes an interesting point in his book The Design of Everyday Things – that people tend to blame themselves when technology lets them down.

How often do hear people taking the blame when the printer decides to quit? Or feeling guilty because they made the computer crash? Norman suggests we should not blame ourselves – we should blame the designer.

If something goes wrong because we haven’t used it properly, the designer clearly hasn’t designed it very well. A well designed object should be intuitive to use, removing the possibility of mistakes. I think good web design follows the same principles: it shouldn’t let you make mistakes.

The picture above is only slightly relevant to this post – but it’s what made me think of Norman’s work. It shows a door that has been well-worn by thousands of hands pushing it open. The fact that the door has a push-plate made me think of The Design of Everyday Things. This doesn’t represent bad design – it’s just interesting that everyone chooses to push the door not by the push-plate.

So the next time you struggle to open a can of beans, or your computer decides to act up, blame the designer for letting you get it wrong.

Blogging all over the world

Freelance Advisor

Another misleading post title. I’ve not been blogging all over the world, but I have left the confines of this blog…

I’ve recently contributed a couple of blog posts to Freelance Advisor. You can read them here:

Freelancing – Why do I do it?

Become CEO of Youcorp – Marketing yourself as a freelancer

That is all.

Explain features – copywriting tip #5


Don’t forget to tell your customers about your products and services.

This might seem obvious but lots of people get so caught up in marketing theory that they forget to explain the features of their products and services.

Remember that your customer probably doesn’t know as much about your product as you. Explain it from the beginning and don’t leave anything out. Your customers are interested in your products and services, so don’t be shy in explaining them.

(Picture courtesy of Spoonman)

Remove jargon – copywriting tip #6

Jargon in this case means terminology that is particular to your industry. So jargon is any kind of language that might not be understood by your reader.

But, to be honest, when I think of jargon I’m really thinking of something much worse: management speak. Things like:Buzzword Burnout

  • going forward
  • deliverables
  • paradigm
  • eventualities
  • synergies
  • incentivise.

These are awful, evil words that you should only use if you want to obscure your meaning and sound pompous. Copywriting is about communicating. You can’t communicate if you hide behind indecipherable language and strange words that don’t really mean anything.

Always consider your writing from your reader’s point of view. Will they know what “offshoring” is?

(Picture courtesy of Raspberry Tart)

SEO success – climbing up the search results

As a copywriter who specialises in web copy and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) I’m pleased to be able to report that my own website has been steadily climbing up the search results.Climbing Man is now

1st for “brighton copywriter”

3rd for “brighton copywriting”

6th for “web copy brighton”

and 10th out of 479,000 results for “freelance copywriter”.

Of course, the secret to a successful SEO strategy is perseverance. So I’ll keep trying to push my website higher in the results.

If you’d like help getting your own website to appear more prominently in search results, give me a call.

(Picture courtesy of Nate C)

Who needs copywriters?

I was recently asked to contribute an article to Bizezia’s Better Business Focus magazine. I decided to adapt an earlier blog post – but ended up changing it beyond all recognition. So here’s my latest thoughts on why you might need my help:

Who Needs Copywriters? – A Quick Look at the Benefits Copywriters Deliver

Have you ever wondered what a copywriter does? Or why you might need one? I’m a freelance copywriter, and I’d like to explain how people like me can help your business. Copywriters are marketing professionals – they exist to help you sell. There are various ways they do this, but all involve putting words to work.

Writers with marketing skills

Copywriting is quite different to normal writing. So while you might be a talented poet or letter writer, you might not understand the selling and marketing principles that copywriters can use to your advantage.

A good copywriter will write with many things in mind. Copywriters must consider how to address several personality types simultaneously, how to allay fears, mention features, highlight benefits, mix in social proof (testimonials) – all while being persuasive.

An outside view of the inside

One big bonus of employing a copywriter is that you get a fresh brain thinking about your business. This fresh brain might spot something you’ve missed or something you could make better. A good copywriter will put thought into their work, looking for ways to help you communicate more effectively to more people.

Speaking their language

A common failing in business communication occurs when the people writing the copy forget that the public (your audience) are not aware of your business and your industry jargon. A copywriter writes with your readers in mind – so your copy will address their needs, in their language.

Traffic-stopping web copy

Writing for websites requires even more specialist knowledge than offline copy. Web copy requires an understanding of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), calls to action, usability, internet conventions and conversion rates, as well as the marketing and advertising principles mentioned above.

Investing in your corporate voice

Remember that words do a lot of talking for your business, so it’s worth investing in the best copy you can afford. Unprofessional communications and marketing material can actively work against you, telling potential customers things you didn’t intend to say. The right copy can work in harmony with your operations and help you to be heard in a crowded market.

Edit deftly – copywriting tip #7

Editing is a crucial part of the writing process. But editing does not just mean removing words, or attemptingSpeed 2 Movie Poster to make a piece of writing shorter. You should look to remove unnecessary words. The part of editing that requires the most thought is deciding exactly what is necessary and what isn’t.

When writing, always keep in mind your purpose. If a word or sentence doesn’t help you convey your meaning, then consider removing it. Skilfully edited copy will be easier and more pleasing to read. It will deliver the right information at the right time, and will be more effective at selling, persuading or motivating.

It’s easier to edit someone else’s work, so you might want to get a kind buddy to do your editing. However, choose one buddy, not a whole gaggle. If you start writing by committee you’ll end up with something that’s as bland as a Hollywood blockbuster, and equally memorable.

(Picture courtesy of Kaly Web Design)

A new kind of news website…

Have you got a story to tell?All the news that fits

UPDATE 15/12/09: Nyouse is all over. It was a nice idea, but rather too ambitious for a busy copywriter and a young father who has approximately 0 hours to spend on something like Nyouse.

I’m helping to create a new kind of news website. It’s called and it aims to put you back in the centre of the news. There won’t be journalists or editors. There’s just you and me and everyone else. We are the people and we are the news.

If you’ve got something you’d like to share with the world, tell us, and together we’ll tell everyone.

From the massive to the minute

Your story could be a local issue, or your opinions on a global issue. It could be a sports report, a theatre review or an expose of an outrageous scandal. It could be business, technology or science news. It could be a discussion of our recent past, or an eye-witness account of something happening now. Anything that’s of interest to someone else is newsworthy.

Kudos and publicity is a free website that wants to help people share their news. will not pay for any articles. All content remains the property of the author. All authors will be clearly credited for their work.

Making the news

You can get involved in a number of ways. You can submit an article, or help edit others’ articles, or help spread the news about Nyouse. Please contact us to find out more.

(Picture courtesy of Jurek Durczak)

Cut yourself out – Copywriting tip #8

Harsh Editing Autobiographies are fine for the famous, but for everyone else it’s probably best to cut yourself out of your copy. So if your copy begins anything remotely like:

“We at Jazzclapper Bargain Drains are the best drain supplier in the world. We offer three hundred kinds of cast-iron drain and we are renowned world-wide for our hyper-efficient supply-chain system. We offer sterling service and…”

This copy is full of “we”. The reader, or potential drain buyer, might be feeling a bit left out. If the copy was more like:

“Are you looking for a comprehensive range of cast-iron drains? Call Jazzclapper Bargain Drains today to see if we have the drain you need. If you happen to need a drain that we don’t have, our unique stock system means we can find it for you in a matter of days.”

This version of the copy puts the reader, rather than Jazzclapper, at the centre of the copy. Naturally, your customers are really interested in their own needs, wants and desires, so make sure you put them centre-stage.

(Picture courtesy of ANVRecife )

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