9 tips to get mobile optimised content

What the hell is mobile optimised content? Well, in 2016, Google announced that mobile had finally overtaken desktop with over 51% of searches performed on tablets and smartphones.

What does that mean for your website? Simply: that it needs an overhaul to ensure you aren’t unwittingly deterring potential customers.

Picture the scene

You’ve spent hours fine-tuning your web copy. You’ve enlisted the help of copywriters and web designers. You’ve plumbed money into a full SEO and PPC campaign.

But all of a sudden, your visitor numbers are dropping off and you’re failing to register on the first page of a Google search for your top keyword.

What’s happened? Many business owners are asking themselves the same thing.

Mobile-first indexing

Google recently launched their mobile-first indexing, prioritising those websites which in turn prioritise their mobile customers. To ensure you don’t lose out to your competition, it’s vital you learn how to optimise your copy for mobile.

Here’s how to get mobile-optimised content:

1. Ensure your web design is responsive

That means it has both a desktop and a mobile version. This might be a matter for your web designer, but if you use WordPress, there are plenty of themes that embrace this.

2. Use short sentences and paragraphs

Imagine browsing a website on your smartphone and seeing a full screen of text. Are you going to read it? Unlikely.

White space is key so break up longer paragraphs into smaller chunks: 2-3 sentences, 26 words per sentence. It wouldn’t hurt to familiarise yourself with your Flesch readability score either.

3. Encourage scrolling

Mobile users have a tendency to scroll more, so long-form copy works to your advantage – but only if it’s of value.

Use this opportunity to give customers insight, advice, facts and sell the benefits of your service, breaking it up with good-quality images. You also have more chance to use a variety of keywords.

4. Have a purpose…and sell it

Just because you can get away with more copy, don’t lose sight of your mission: to sell. The benefits – as always – should be right up at the top.

However, you can spread calls to action throughout your content, so that readers can move on when they feel sufficiently persuaded.

5. Speed up your loading time

Any longer than 3 seconds to load and a customer loses interest, clicking away. Your bounce rate might increase but not your conversions.

You can improve your loading time by decluttering and keeping image and graphics sizes low yet still good quality.

6. Feature videos

43% of consumers want to see more video content online. Since Google owns YouTube, featuring videos is crucial to score highly.

You don’t necessarily need to produce these yourself, even sharing video content from YouTube will help.

7. Format, format, format

Bullet points, indents, lists, colours that emphasise key sections, bold, subheadings – all help to sustain interest.

8. Clean up your links

Google will penalise you for spam or broken links so ensure they’re all in good working order and include a mix of internal and external reputable pages.

9. Ensure your copy is polished

Writing concise content that speaks directly to your demographic telling them what they want to know is crucial. Otherwise, despite your best efforts, you’ll lose them before they click ‘buy’.

Long-form copy is a bonus of easy scrolling, but since mobile users bounce in a third of the time a desktop user does, your content must be spot on.

It’s also vital your mobile copy is proofed and error-free as mistakes will stand out a mile on a small screen.

Get mobile-optimised copy

Producing mobile optimised copy can be time-consuming. Where is the fold, do you have strong calls to action, is your content scannable?

Ready to get snag those mobile customers? Contact me today to discuss your mobile optimised copy needs.

Will Trump stay loyal to his brand?

Last week I wrote about what content marketers can learn from Brexit and the US election. But in the wake of Donald Trump becoming president-elect, something quite startling has emerged. Is it me or has he completely changed tack?

Prior to his election, Donald Trump’s campaign was fought on vitriol and sensationalism. Since, there’s no denying his tone has taken on a much more sombre inflexion – it could even be called gravitas and humility. Who’d have thought?

Was he really just saying whatever it took to win? Is he truly waking up to the reality of the job at hand? Have his words suddenly become subject to the many officials now dictating (or trying to) his every move?

With suggestions he’s already looking to retain several of President Obama’s policies – flying in the face of the wild claims that were so integral to his victory – it poses the question as to how far a brand can go back on their values.

In marketing, it’s not uncommon to hear about companies that have failed to make good on their promises to the buyer. But these are usually flagged up on consumer affairs programmes and in newspaper columns for failing to meet the advertising or trading standards. The necessary measures are taken to prevent such bold claims and money is refunded where possible.

But how so for a president?

In the ordinary course of politics, we know that politicians who make claims they can’t possibly fulfil are subjected to fierce criticism. Quite often, however, there is a genuine reason behind this: lack of funds, lack of support higher up, etc.

But will such excuses rub with his supporters? There was a certainty in Trump’s promises – “There WILL be a wall”, he said – that leaves little wriggle room. What’s more, this wasn’t any old political race. It was anti-establishment feeling that bolstered support for Trump, rallying against the political elite who the electorate broadly accepts are liars and cheats (who can forget the appellation “crooked Hillary”).

So surely the man of the people will be held to even greater account since he was elected with a pseudo-optimism – quite simply the assumption he will make good on his promises – he will increase jobs for American citizens – he will make America great again?

In reality, we know it’s going to be very difficult if not unlikely for Trump to pass many of his policies, at least in the way he set them out during the campaign. The president is, after all, just a figurehead – and the world saw how Obama struggled to get many of his policies through Congress. The question is, will Trump’s supporters, the ones that put him in the White House, feel aggrieved?

More than likely. But perhaps not enough to change anything.

Rallying against the result of a vote gets you relatively little in comparison to suing a company for mis-selling in an advertising campaign. When it comes to beneficial claims made by marketers, there are more or less clear lines about the standards that should be conformed to. Not so with a presidency, short of being put on trial for war crimes.

Ah yes, but didn’t you just mention this was a different kind of election? I hear you say.

Yes. But the reality is, Trump has already served his purpose. He is the symbol of white America giving two fingers up to the PC establishment, to multiculturalism, to gender equality. So although I believe he is unlikely to be re-elected in 2020, I don’t necessarily attribute that to him betraying his brand, him deciding not to run again in 4 years time, or because the job will have ground him down (though they are all distinct possibilities). It’s because he is a temporary measure, a symbol of an aggrieved nation. He has already done enough and he isn’t even in power yet. He isn’t the next Coca Cola or McDonalds, here to stay. He is a passing fad.

At present, however, we are still trying to work out just how this anti-establishment figure (who is by his very nature so rooted in capitalist establishment) has managed to become the next President of the United States. Well, just as in marketing campaigns, testing his presidency is the only way to work out how effective his strategy has been. If Trump does indeed pursue a more moderate angle in his presidency, we will find out whether his campaign was truly won on the divisive lines of his policies by the way his supporters respond. Otherwise, we will see this event  for what it was – simply an outpouring of anti-establishment sentiment. But only time will tell.

What your content marketing can learn from Brexit and the US election

At the start of 2016, we didn’t know that the UK would vote to leave the European Union and the US would vote Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton as their new president. But it’s happened, despite these two causes apparently being the rank outsiders. So what can your content marketing learn from their campaign techniques?

The promise

When you start a campaign, your promise is central to your advertising. With the US election and the EU Referendum, this is the slogan – the chief message. It’s not only what you’re promising your ‘customer’ (or voter), it’s your lead benefit, your call to action, and if you want to know how to construct an effective call to action simply look at these two examples:

  • ‘Make America great again’ (Trump)

  • ‘Take back control’ (Leave campaign)

These slogans worked because they’re full of active, passionate, emotive language. They include the reader and they tell the reader to do something. ‘Hillary for America’, ‘Stronger together’ (Hillary Clinton) and ‘Stronger in’ (Remain) try for the same inclusivity but they just don’t have the driving will.

It’s easier to fight for change

This brings us onto the fact that it’s easier when you’re the underdog – that’s the same whether you’re a football team, a political party or a small business. You might think you’re on the losing side, but if you have the character and the initiative, you’re in luck – people’s innate instinct is to stick up for the little guy (as far as we can reasonably believe that a billionaire counts as a little guy).

Fighting for change, as opposed to preserving the status quo, has a fierce rebellious side that appeals to people’s latent sense of adventure. What will it be like? You’ll never know unless you vote Leave or vote for Trump… If you own a small business, it’s important to play up your underdog status by focusing on what you do differently to the big businesses. Handcrafted, artisanal products are huge USPs here.

Address a problem

The best way to construct your message is to start with the dichotomy of

problem : solution

Unfortunately, for the Remain campaign, they weren’t advocating change as such. Without a problem to rally against, it’s hard to drive an effective marketing campaign. It’s like trying to sell someone the current house they live in, where the owner knows all the faults, over the new flashy one they’ve only ever seen from the street, with the high-security gates and swimming pool (you’re sure you glimpsed a pool). Instead, the Remainers had to focus on preserving the same quality of life – it’s just not as exciting.

On the other hand, the Leave campaign identified a clear problem (immigration) and a clear solution (strengthen the borders – take back control). That’s not to say effective marketing should focus exclusively on negativity, but it can help to relate to your customer’s fears before knowing what the product is that they’ve been waiting for all these years – the product of their dreams that undoes all those fears. And remember, allowing your customer the chance to dream of a better future is a powerful marketing tool.

Use the language of the common people

Were you bogged down in the arguments, facts and stats of the EU Referendum? A handy fact is a great tool to persuade a buyer to purchase, but when your customer can’t see anything but complex arguments, they’re inclined to turn away.

This happened on both sides of the camp in the referendum, and Hillary Clinton has fallen prey to it in the US presidential election. We’ve heard lots of information from Hillary because, let’s face it, she’s the most experienced for the job. Yet Trump won. Have you ever heard Donald Trump utter a fact? No. He doesn’t have to because he can rely on simple, straight-forward, effective statements. And, if you don’t use facts, you don’t have to worry about being proven wrong.

‘You’ doesn’t work all the time

We’re often told in content marketing that appealing to ‘you’ is vital. Whether you’re writing a blog post or an advert – prioritise the reader. This is something the Remain campaign focused on a lot through their emphasis on better jobs.

But the exception to the rule is when you’re trying to activate the masses. Yes ‘you’ helps appeal to the individual, which is why it works well in text, where there is that intimate space between word and reader. But if you’re trying to instigate mass rebellion (or in the business sense, convert a lot of people away from a competitor and towards a new product, company or service) ‘we’ and ‘our’ is much more powerful.

Utilise social media

The Republican and the Leave campaigns have been phenomenal on social media because their simple messages can garner (often anonymous) widespread support quickly. And if they can gather it in huge swathes, people no longer have to feel like they have anything to hide, prompting more supporters to come out of the woodwork and giving credence to the cause.

For politics, social media is an easy way to reach the working classes and younger voters, but for any business, it’s a good way to connect with their customer and get a handle on their core demographic. Social media is an excellent way to distribute viral (shareable) media such as memes, videos, infographics – all of which can be used to promote the cause/business/key message of your campaign.

Always offer a softer middle ground

In all the debate over the EU Referendum and the US election, there have been many, many people expressing dissatisfaction at the lack of a third way. In this age of excess choice, people do not take kindly to having to choose between one thing or another. There is always that feeling of losing out.

In fact, when it comes to voting, many choose to express the third way by spoiling their ballot papers or simply not choosing to vote. In the EU Referendum, turnout was 72% which means roughly one-third of people chose neither to Leave nor Remain.

When you’re giving your customer a choice, such as with a subscription/membership or an offer of some kind, always make sure you provide a third option. This should be a best of both worlds – you will often find the middle choice gets the best results.

Hire a content writer

When you’re planning your next advertising campaign, bear these lessons in mind. Or hire a freelance content writer to take the burden off your hands and write your blog posts, print, social media – or other content – for you. Contact me today for your free quote and follow me on Twitter for the latest insight and offers.

Why your academic essays need proofreading

About to submit your first essay of the academic year? Spent so much time brushing up on your referencing you’re certain you’ve missed some glaring mistakes?

Why you need a proofreader

Hiring a proofreader to check over your academic essay is a great way to make sure you get the best marks for your work. When you’ve been slaving over a lengthy project, you want it to be perfect. But unfortunately, there are likely to be at least a few typos.

The reality is, your eyes are so used to reading the same words over and over, obvious errors are bound to slip through. Yes – even when you’re convinced they haven’t! Trust me, it’s only once you get your paper back you’ll see them for yourself.

To avoid that face-slap moment, hire a proofreader to look over your work with fresh eyes.

What can an academic proofreader do?

An academic proofreader can give your work a light or in-depth proofing, depending on your needs and preferences.

If you just want someone to skim through your essay, coursework, proposal or funding bid to check for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation, you can hire a proofreader to read through and mark any changes using Track Changes in Word. This way you can easily decide whether to accept or reject them.

Or, if you’d rather give your prized essay or project a little more attention, a proofreader can copyedit your work, paying attention to sense and consistency in addition to typos and mistakes. They won’t change the meaning but they’ll help you convey it in the clearest and most concise way possible. This is a great option if you’re an international student or English isn’t your best subject.

You can read more about the differences between a proofreader and copyeditor here.

Is hiring an online proofreader easy?

Hiring an online proofreader is so simple.

For starters, they don’t even need to be located nearby. I live in the north-west of England, but I’ve proofread and copyedited work by writers living on the other side of the world. In fact, I’ve spent the last 12 months editing academic textbooks for international scholars! What’s more, I copyedit texts on a daily basis for a renowned content-creation platform.

We can communicate via email or Skype, whichever is best for you. I’ll also put together a small brief and send it across to you for confirmation, so you have full control over what I edit.

If you need something proofing at the last minute, I can also help you out, depending on your project. Academic proofreading is also cheaper than you think. At least, it is when you use my services.

Get your essays proofread today

Don’t let some obvious mistakes cost you crucial marks. If you need your academic essay proofing, get in touch today and I’ll reply within 48 hours with your free quote. As soon as it’s confirmed and part payment is taken, I’ll get started eliminating errors from your essay, coursework or funding bid to ensure your hard work is rewarded.

Get 20% off your first copywriting order

The big spending holidays of Halloween, Christmas and Black Friday are looming large on the horizon, which means it’s time you were getting your marketing materials ready.

But if the prospect of writing all that copy, editing it tirelessly and proofing it is daunting, you’ll be glad to hear I’m running a 20% copywriting discount for new customers for a limited time only.

You can save 20% off your first piece of content booked with me. Whether that’s an engaging and SEO targeted About page for your website or a persuasive sales letter promoting a new product.

So what might you redeem your 20% saving on? Perhaps you need…

  • Leaflet or advert copy
  • Press releases
  • An advertorial
  • SEO articles
  • Direct mail
  • Brochure content
  • Blog posts
  • A job advert

Or if there’s anything else you need writing, simply get in touch. We can draw up a brief that gets you exactly what you need.

The process is as easy as 1, 2, 3

  1. Send me a message quoting this blog post with an overview of your business and what your content needs are. Be sure to do it by Friday 30 September 2016 as that’s when this offer ends.
  2. Your consultation and quote will be free, with no obligation to buy. It’s OK, sometimes you simply change your mind. Otherwise, we’ll agree a brief, a deadline and the final cost, minus your 20% discount as a new customer.
  3. Sit back and let me take care of the hard work. What’s more, the first revision is always free of charge.

Is there a catch?

The terms and conditions are pretty simple. You need to be a completely new customer and to place your order with me by Friday 30 September 2016.

I only usually accept one job at a time, so your 20% discount is valid for one-off orders placed at this time. However, you can book up to 4 blog posts, SEO articles or press releases as your first order (you will receive a 20% discount off the price for all 4). If after this you would like to set up a rolling contract, we can do this no problem, but your discount is only valid for your first fixed order of up to 4 posts. This offer does not include proofreading services. (Offer can be removed at any time)

Still not sure if you want to take advantage of this great saving? Find out how you could benefit from a copywriter.

Is your business ready for Christmas?

It might only be September, but this is the most important time of the year for most businesses.

Autumn is the time when everyone officially starts planning for Christmas and New Year. But before then there’s Halloween, Bonfire Night and Black Friday to get out of the way.

Thinking about your website and marketing strategy now is important. It will save you time and help spread your budget. Plus, the sooner your hire a copywriter, the more time you have to get it right, which means less stress.

Here are just a few things you might need to consider hiring a copywriter for over the next 4 months…

  1. Press releases

Is your business going all out for Halloween or are you looking to entice shoppers with an earlybird Christmas offer? Perhaps you’re running a completely different kind of Black Friday promotion this November? Whatever your activity, a press release can make sure it reaches a wider audience.

Local press loves covering topical stories, and a well-written press release could get you featured on local radio and in the regional magazines and newspapers. If you sell online, a good press release could get your business or product reviewed by bloggers and vloggers or picked up by specialist publications in your area.

  1. Promotional copy

Perhaps you’re running a special pre-holiday spa retreat for stressed out shoppers. Or you want to promote that stunning new range you’re getting in especially for Christmas. You could even have a special offer you want to give your most loyal customers.

Whether it’s leaflet or email copy you’re after, a copywriter can make your words all the more enticing.

  1. Brochure content

A new year, a new start. Many businesses want to showcase their new services, collections and events around Christmas when their traffic is at its peak. From product descriptions to welcome pages and featured items, having a copywriter craft the words for your new brochure or programme will give you a professional edge.

  1. Social media content

In the run up to the biggest shopping days of the year, having a presence on social media is a must. Many shoppers flock to a company’s Twitter and Facebook streams ahead of their physical outlets to see if they can get their hands on the latest products, competitions or time-limited discounts.

Your Twitter and Facebook accounts need to be on red alert right from October. A copywriter who is social media savvy can help compile content for your marketing strategy, making your online presence easier to manage.

  1. Web copy

If you have a website and offer any kind of service, chances are your traffic will be booming in the final months of the year. Or at least it should be.

Enticing your customers with seasonal messages and news, promotions, and well-written content is crucial to securing that all-important transaction. At the end of the day, if your content isn’t up-to-date, accurate and reassuring, your customer will have doubts about parting with their money. Think about overhauling your homepage or landing page copy and increasing your traffic with useful blog posts or strategically placed SEO articles.

September through December are the most important months of the year for almost all businesses. Start planning how you’re going to make the most of the holiday rush and hire a copywriter who can afford to spend the time crafting quality content that does the hard work for you. Contact me today for your free and informal consultation.

Could a proofreader stand between you and success?

When the words have to be perfect, it’s always worthwhile getting another pair of eyes to look over your work.

Hiring a proofreader could be just what you need to ensure that important document or piece of copy is error-free and ready to go.

Many people hire the services of a freelance proofreader or copyeditor. They include:

Writers, editors and publishing houses who want to ensure their articles and books carry authority

Authors and self-publishers who don’t want readers distracted by mistakes in their novels or eBooks

Students who want their academic essays, dissertations, research proposals and funding applications to be successful

Businesses looking for someone to double-check for potentially costly errors in their adverts, policy handbooks, website content and brochure copy

Job-seekers eager to make a professional impression with their CV, resume and/or cover letter

What does a proofreader do?

A proofreader will go through your work and check for mistakes that would compromise the quality of your work. Typically these include spelling and grammar errors. They can also check for things like consistency and formatting, for example, UK vs US spelling, capitalisation and favoured uses of punctuation.

The difference between a copyeditor and a proofreader

You might be struggling to put together a document, content for a website or even advertising copy. Perhaps you’re not sure which are the right words to use or you have the loose structure but it just isn’t quite how you want it to be. You might want someone to check it through and refine the wording to make it read more fluidly and better clarify your meaning.

If any of these apply, then you need a copyeditor.

You could also employ a copyeditor to perform a rewrite, which is a more comprehensive form of copyediting. A rewrite is recommended if you have a piece of copy that you want making unique (i.e. for SEO purposes) or if English isn’t your first language and you want someone with a good grasp of the language to improve the flow and accuracy.

As a rule of thumb, proofreading is cheaper than copyediting, and copyediting is cheaper than rewriting. However, it all depends on the word length of the document, the amount of time involved and the number of changes.

Hire me to proofread your words to perfection

Whether you have a web page, feature, academic essay or eBook you want to be proofed, you can hire me as your freelance proofreader. I work for an academic publishing house as well as a commercial copywriter, so you can rest assured you’re getting a quality service.

Contact me now for a free consultation.