Why Is Copywriting Important?
Good copywriting demonstrates value and shows customers that your business is worth working with. The quality of your message needs to prove that you are trusted in your industry, and you are a thought-leader who will meet their needs. To do this, great online content needs to accomplish several essential points, including:
- Creating and maintaining a professional image.
- Address the needs of your audience.
- Focused on a particular purpose.
- Demonstrate value and converts sales.
Clarity — Consistency — Conciseness to avoid Confusion
A Content Writer can also be known to create ‘evergreen content’; articles, blog posts, newspaper pieces, magazine features, whitepapers and any other types of long-form, rich-content that is search engine optimised.
Copywriters are usually used as advertising vehicles, typically specialising in short-form copy, such as straplines, headlines or press ads. Short-form copy or storytelling, evoking emotion and a personal connection with the audience; it also lends itself to a humorous or jovial tone – perfect for straplines or headers. In fact, for a Copywriter, brevity is vital.
The Research Stage
1 Read through existing brand literature. Things like the website and blog posts help understand the tone and message to maintain in the new content writing project.
2 Researching competition will help you understand your position in the marketplace. Information about your competitors will help you find gaps in the market so you can create content specifically for the needs of your audience that is not currently being met.
3 Customer research is one often overlooked but essential component of research. Knowing what your audience is asking and the type of information they are looking for is an easy way for you to understand your audience and make relevant content based on their needs.
4 Review existing branding guidelines to ensure your tone matches their expectations. Nothing is worse than creating great content that can’t be used because the copy doesn’t match the desired tone of the company.
5 Keyword Research. Check what keyword is searched quite a bit and there are some interesting iterations of the word that could either be used for semantic SEO purposes or be topics for new blog posts.
a) Main competition around a particular keyword and topic.
b) Semantically related keywords. These keywords can be integrated into your content to help search engines find you and these keywords are an excellent way to help guide your copywriting project.
c) General stats about the length of title, copy and other recommendations. These are great to help you outline different elements of your content so you know a ballpark of what you should be aiming for.
It can be difficult to start a project, but a great tool I found to help with the content research phase is a great online tool called Article Insights. A content curation tool that will help find relevant content to reference and guide your content development process.
The first thing I do in Article Insights enter the keyword I am looking to write. Once I enter the term, I am presented with up to 75 keywords and 75 sources surrounding the topic of interest.
create a spreadsheet to outline the various terms that we want to use in the article. This can be done by creating a quick spreadsheet that outlines basic information to help guide us, including:
- The main topic to focus on.
- The primary keyword(s).
- Secondary keywords and LSI keywords to include.
- Resources, sources and references.
SEMrush – This is my keyword research tool of choice and is great for search volume. Quickly find information about search traffic, competitors, and shared keywords. The free version does most of what you’ll need, and it contains a treasure trove of information. For instance, I named this blog “Tools of the Trade by a Copywriter” rather than “Tools of the Copywriting Trade.” That’s because “copywriter” gets twice as much traffic as “copywriting.” Thanks SEMrush.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner – It’s been the go-to paid keyword tool forever and still provides great data. The Planner usually has slightly different results than SEMrush. It’s also like getting the scoop on keywords directly from the horse’s mouth. All you need is a Google Adwords account (free).
Your Competition – Scoping out your competition is the best, free-est thing you can do. Sure it requires time, but it’s the set up to a long term payoff. Your competitors all reveal their keywords, their desired conversions, and even their sales funnels if you just do a bit of digging. This helps you learn some really key information. The biggest thing you’ll be able to do after good competitor research is BE DIFFERENT. That’s a pretty important thing to be.
Google Scholar – This is my go-to for academic journals and stats. When you need rigorous, scientifically tested answer this is the place to turn. It doesn’t apply in all settings but it can really come in handy.
HitTail – A product of the ever-busy and insightful Rob Walling, HitTail is my goto long tail tool. It stores search terms used by your organic visitors to suggest keywords to you. Let’s say you sell shoes. HitTail will tell you if a searcher landed on your site for the term “custom shoe laces” and that you have an opportunity to rank for it.
Google Power Search – so this isn’t a tool so much as a class. I HIGHLY recommend this if you do any online searching whatsoever. This free class from Google shows you ways to find better information, faster.
BuzzSumo – this is the best site for learning about the most shared content on any blog or keyword. BuzzSumo will tell you not only the content that is popular, but also how popular the content is on each network. Added bonus – it also tells you who shared the content that you’re researching.
Optimizely – My tool of choice for website testing. Its drag and drop editor allows you to change text, positions, images, and more of your live web pages. The first time you use it = mind blown. Start testing your headlines, CTAs, and images in five minutes with no coding or previous experience.
UserTesting.com – Find real people to test out your website and watch them do it. Specify your test and your demographic, and UserTesting.com finds test subjects for you. The interwebs are a crazy place.
Starbucks – Similar to UserTesting.com but a lot cheaper and faster. Just go into Starbucks with your laptop, ask to buy someone a cup of coffee, then ask them to use your website. Give them a few goals and watch them go for it. Interview them after and ask them to describe their experience. Be sure to record video of them while they’re doing it (I recommend Camtasia for this).
Google Docs – Ah yes, the now-ubiquitous underdog of office software has grown up. It’s simple, easy to share, and has all of the basic web-style formatting you need. For serious word processing jobs you’ll still need Word, but Google Docs does 100% of what I need when I’m doing my biggest job: writing.
Draft – The standard in collaborative writing. Has the best versioning of text so you can compare before/after comments on one screen. Also has one-click editing: pay a few bucks and someone will read and edit your draft. Draft supports Markdown and can publish your drafts directly to WordPress – if you’re into that sorta thing.
Analytics and Behavioral Data
Google Analytics – Tried and true. It collects a TON of useful information that will teach you a ton about your visitors and email recipients. If you want better information about what individual people (and customers) are doing, check out Kissmetrics.
ClickTale – Clicktale can actually raise your temperature and make your head explode. It will actually show you recordings of how people are using your website. It also has heatmaps and click tracking. The free version does everything I described but has some limitations. Otherwise it’s expensive.
CrazyEgg – Heat mapping supreme for your website. Check out hovers, clicks, and more to see what people are doing. This is a great tool for testing your visual design.
Mailchimp – the easiest to use free email tool available. It has email testing built right in and makes it a snap to produce well-formatted beautiful emails that convert. It has great list management and customer data and connects to pretty much any platform you use on the web for anything.
Todoist – The most balanced of all todo list managers. Oh how it makes me happy. I use Chrome and Gmail for my interwebbing and Todoist plays well with both. I can create todos that link back to emails, mark web pages, and add a todo from anywhere on the web in less than five seconds. All communication happens by task, so you’ll significantly cut down on your email clutter too. This is by far the fastest and most ubiquitous of all todo lists.
Google Drive – The storage locker for my work files. It’s cheap, functional, and keeps all of my most important files in sync so I can work from anywhere on any device. That’s quite a value prop.
I use this for consults and showing clients how to structure their copy live on their own webpage. If needed you can see further instructions here.
Which copywriting tools should I use?
Like we said – there are lots to choose from. It depends on what you need it for. Do you need help with content creation, project management, the actual writing or content promotion?
Somewhere out there is a tool that will work for you, you just have to find it.
Here are our top 5 copywriting tools:
Yoast is one of the best copywriting tools out there – well, it is if you’re on WordPress anyway.
It analyses your piece as you’re uploading it, and tells you if it’s:
a) Readable – i.e. If your audience will understand what you’re saying
b) SEO friendly – i.e. If Google will understand the themes of your piece
Thanks to its traffic light system, this copywriting tool makes it easy to create effective and engaging pieces that your readers (and Google) will love.
Copyscape is a great tool if you’re worried about plagiarism – whether that’s someone else ripping off your work, or your own writing not being sufficiently different from your research material.
Simply by pasting in the URL or a section of text you’re worried about, you can determine whether your piece has been flagged as plagiarised.
3. Google Keyword Planner
Use this nifty little tool from the search giant to inform your keyword strategy.
Search for keyword and ad group ideas and see how they’ve performed in the past. Use this information to decide which keywords to target in all of your marketing campaigns.
This tool is great if you’re stuck for content inspiration. Your content should answer the public’s questions, and luckily they’re all here in this simple tool!
Simply type in your chosen keyword and see all the questions online searchers have asked about that keyword. From there you will have a great starting point for an article that is relevant to your audience and can educate them.
5. Words to Use
As copywriters we have lots of words rattling round our heads. However, we all have days where we can’t think of any!
When writer’s block hits, Words to Use is the tool you should go for. They’ve kindly separated words into industry and type so you can find a word you need or kick-start your brain into thinking up some fantastic phrases on your own. Give it a go!
Poor grammar and spelling mistakes are the worst enemies of good copy.
And, to avoid these enemies you’ll need a spell and grammar check tool. This is where Grammarly stands out. It’s an amazing, free Chrome, Safari and Firefox extension that checks your spelling and grammar on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Gmail, WordPress and almost everywhere else on the web. Also, they have an add-in for MS Office and a Windows App, too.
The Grammarly Browser Extension scans your text for all types of grammatical mistakes. It highlights the problematic words or expressions in your copy and offers you replacements and explanations for all your mistakes.
Not only that, but you’ll get a weekly progress report where you can track your progress. They also incorporate some gamification to make writing even more fun. If you use the app consistently for weeks you’ll get badges in your weekly reports with fun facts. I don’t want to take the fun out of it. So I’ll let you earn and see these for yourself.
Be careful with the browser extension because (like most add-ons) it can get into minor fights with some websites.
Having variety in your choice of words is extremely important. Yet, sometimes it’s difficult to come up with the right expression. Especially when the language you write in is not your mother tongue.
That’s when having a thesaurus by your side or in the next tab pays off. Thesaurus.com is biggest and most advanced thesaurus you can find on the web. The database is huge, and it’s easy to use.
Word Counter is a tool that counts and ranks the most frequently used words in your copy. You have to copy and paste the text you want analyzed into a box and you’re good to go. You have three basic settings:
- the option to exclude common words like it, the etc.,
- use only roots (group variations together),
- and select how many words you want listed.
This tool can help you in 2 cases:
- If you’d like to find some keywords in your copy.
- Or if you’d like to see the words you overuse.
Avoiding repetition can spice your copy. To do that, first, you’ll need to check what are the phrases you use too much with this tool. Then hit up the before mentioned thesaurus to look for some alternatives for the word in question. And voilá!
Coming up with an awesome headline for your amazing copy is not easy. Especially if you’d like that headline to drive traffic, shares, and search results. That’s what CoShedule’s Headline Analyzer promises.
The guys over at CoSchedule put a lot of resources into researching what makes an awesome headline. And put all that in one easy-to-use analyzer. You have to type or copy your headline into the field, click ‘Analyze Now’ and it gives you an easily digestible report.
At first glance you’ll see an overall headline scoreaccording to the creators this should be above 70. If your headline is close to 70 or it’s more but you’re shooting for the moon and you’d like to improve it further check out the full report to see the parts you can enhance.
As we all know list, how to, and question headlines perform the best in terms of traffic, SEO and shares. The analyzer can detect if your headline falls into one of the categories or if it’s generic. And if that’s the case think about restructuring your headline.
The right balance of common, uncommon, emotional, and power wordsis another thing that makes a headline great. And this tool analyzes that, too. Common words should make up 20–30% of a headline, uncommon words should be about 10–20%, emotional words about 10–15%, and make sure to use at least one power word.
As far as length there are two factors the analyzer detects and you should keep in mind: the character count, and the amount of words.
The Hemingway App tells you valuable information about your copy. Among basic info like letter, character, word, sentence and paragraph count it also shows you the reading time and the grade level.
BUT, the real value of this app is that it highlights common writing errors with different colors.
Yellow means that the sentence is hard to read.
Red means that the sentence is very hard to read.
A purple highlight tells you that a word has a simpler alternative.
Blue highlights adverbs and weakening phrases.“Get rid of them and pick words with force…”
And finally, green marks phrases that use passive voice.
As the name would suggest Read-able is a readability test tool that uses widely accepted readability formulas to see if your copy is up to par.
“Did you know that the average American adult reads at a 7th to 9th grade level? Keeping your content within that range is a great way to maximize your readership…”
What’s great about it is that you can run tests by URL or direct input. The latter is a text box where you can type or copy & paste and text you’d like to test.
Staying with the ‘ables’, Wordable is a tool that lets you import your copy from a Google Doc straight to WordPress.
You can write as you normally would in a Google Doc. Format it however you’d like with bold, italics and built in headings. Include images, bullets or tables. You can also use comments, track changes or collaborate. It doesn’t matter.
Wordable lists the last 10 docs you edited automatically. So when you’re ready just choose whether to export as a post or a page. Click export and it’s ready in WordPress.
By the way, I just used this tool for the first time, and it’s amazing.
Usually, I do a lot of editing in WordPress and that can be a pain in the a**.
For this article, I edited everything in the Google Doc. And all I had to do in WordPress is:
- setting a featured image,
- adding some tags,
- selecting a category,
- and setting up Yoast for the piece.
Ever had one of those tip-of-the-tongue moments? The Writers Reverse Dictionary lets you look up words by definition. So the next time you can just type in the definition, press search and you’ll have a list of words to choose from.
RhymeZone will leave your mind blown!
PHEW! That was awful, but you get the point. Use RhymeZone, because poetry isn’t the only thing that calls for some rhyming. Whenever you’d like to spice your copy up with some rhyming words give it a go.
This is great because you can show your clients how to structure their copy, right there on their website.
Writing requires nothing more than a pen and paper. And there’s a certain purity in that, I get it. Old habits die hard. But still, when it comes to copywriting digital has a clear advantage over analog.
Read-Able is a WebpageFX property that tells you the reading level of your website copy. It’s most accurate when you copy and paste the text itself directly into the tool, though the tool can scan a webpage by URL or code as well.
Read-Able evaluates reading level according to several different established formulas. In other words, you get the best possible evaluation of how difficult your content is to read. And understanding the readability expectations of your audience can help you attract and retain more customers online.
Hemingway App tells you lots of different information about what you write. The information includes grade level, word count, how many sentences are hard to read, how many sentences are very hard to read, which phrases have simpler alternatives, how many adverbs you use, and how many times you use passive voice.
That’s a lot of information from one tool, which makes Hemingway App one of the most powerful copywriting tools on the Internet.
Wordcounter is an app that tells you how many times you’ve used certain words in your text. So if you’re worried that you say a word too much — like “just” or “much” — you can check to make sure with Wordcounter.
It’s simple to use, and this tool is one of the best ways to prevent repeating yourself in content.
Thesaurus.com is the authority source on synonyms and antonyms. If you find that you use a word too often (after using Wordcounter), Thesaurus will show you synonyms that you could use to get the same point across.
Again, this is a simple idea, but it can make all the difference in your final written product.
Google Keyword Planner is Google’s free way to learn about keywords that relate to your business. It shows the search volume and potential pay-per-click value of any keyword you enter, plus keywords that are related.
If you need a topic for a new blog post or article, Google Keyword Planner is the place to start!
Are you sharing loads of content from different websited on your social media channels? Add a small pop up box with CTA button and send your readers to your site 🙂 Upu to 1k clicks — Snipply is for free.
Keyword search enginge, an interesting alternative to Keyword Tool. You can view the results visualized on a cloud or a list, download a list of keywords or browse google trends of the chosen phrase.
Another alternative to the Keyword Tool with good visualization. Enter the topic to get a circle with the most typed queries with prepositions.
All in One Dashboard allowing you to monitor.. the most popular social channels, Mailchimp, WordPress, Google Alerts, and many others.
Great site, where you will find all the current dimensions and specs of advertising posts and photos on popular platforms: FB, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, G + and AdWords.
Free tool for tracking tags on Twitter. Simply enter the hashtag that you want to track, and all tweets with that hashtag will appear in you mailbox. Daily.
This tool allows you to check the density of keywords in the provided text.
Just copy your selected text to a text box and all grammatical errors and misspelled words will get highlighted so you can easily make corrections. It works in many languages and it’s doing a pretty good job!
On Buzzsumo you can find the most shared and most popular content across various channels. Just type the keyword that interests you and a list of the most popular articles, infographics etc. will appear.
Copyscape is a free web-based tool that allows you to check the content of a single webpage and see if it contains any duplicate content found elsewhere on the web.
Copywriters might also want to check out the pay-as-you-go version, which allows you to check a section of plain text, rather than an already-published webpage, for plagiarism.
I simply don’t know what I do without Flickr. It’s the only website I use to get images for the copy I submit clients.
Finding and crediting images on Flickr is simple and painless, and the quality is unmatched.
Un-Suck It (free)
Un-Suck It is a free web app that allows you to convert words that don’t flow well in your copy (like business jargon) and replace it with fun words that do.
Mostly, it’s a great tool for you to find quirky synonyms or definitions to boring words.
No copywriter is complete without a trusty thesaurus by his side (or, in the case of web copywriting, in the next tab). Thesaurus.com is the most comprehensive thesaurus website and is one that I frequent multiple times with every piece of copy that I write.
Poetry isn’t the only thing that requires rhyme. Copywriting needs it too sometimes.
The next time you’re looking for a rhyming word to strengthen your copy, head over to RhymeZone.
Sometimes, a hand-drawn graphic is worth 2000 words while a stock image is only worth a 1000. At those times, head over to CopyDoodles.
Find high performing and competitive keywords. With this tool – you can get great keyword ideas and suggestions for your content for free!
Live Keyword Analysis (free)
Live Keyword Analysis is a quick ‘n easy SEO tool that will help you calculate the density of keywords in a sample of text. If you feel as though your keyword is too frequent or too rare within your copy, use LKA to confirm that.
EMV Headline Analyzer (free)
EMV Headline Analyzer is an extremely cool yet very underrated copywriting tool that allows you to check the EMV (emotional marketing value) of your headline.
Basically, it tests your headline to see what percentage of words in it invoke emotion. The higher, the better.
Test My Marketing (paid)
Test My Marketing is crowdsourcing with an awesome twist: a team of experienced marketers evaluating your copywriting piece.
Simply pay $69, upload your copy, and get reviews from proven experts!
Word Counter (free)
Word Counter is an advanced keyword counter. It analyzes a sample of text and gives you info as to the top 25 most repeated words in the text, excluding small words like it, the, etc.
Conversion Ninja Toolbox (free)
Conversions are a big priority in professional copywriting. The Conversion Ninja Toolbox is essentially a website with a vast library of conversion optimization resources.
It’s a great place to frequent whenever you need some CRO advice.
Zite is a nifty iOS and Android app that basically curates the latest web content for you based on your interests. It’s a great way to explore your niche and will help you to think up new topics and targeted slogans for your copy.
Bonus: Canva is a great tool to create graphics. Learn 7 ways you can use Canva to create graphics for your website today.
+ increase traffic
+ provide better ranking potential
– create original content over a mix of brand and tactical projects.
– blogs, newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, and Google search
– creative excellence
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