The pen is mightier than the sword, they say?

I make money, a good living actually, from the pen and the keyboard. 

Far more than I made in teaching English, leading an English team or being a Director of the subject across three schools. There’s money in words and lots of it and if you’re ignoring content as a means of increasing profits, quite frankly, you’re a bit thick.

Let me explain why the pen matters

When anyone with an iota of thinking power wants to make a purchase, they head online to research it. I’ve been positively glowing with excitement over the iPhone 11 Pro’s release and got one last Friday, but not without weeks of research.

I watched YouTube speculative videos about it before it was released. I did the usual Google searches for reviews and even set up alerts online for breaking news.

Next level geekery, I know, I know.

Decision time

When I’d decided to take the plunge and buy an 11 Pro Max, I knew already what colour I wanted. I knew which case to buy and where I would get it. I’d done my homework. The place I bought it from was the same price as elsewhere (Apple price fixing). But this company had swayed my decision making by providing great content for me.

Your business, whether it’s local, national or global, should approach sales that way.

Customers may not have the OCD fastidiousness that I showed. But before any major purchasing decision – new home, new car, new kitchen, new window cleaner – you can bet your bottom Euro (Brexit RIP) that they will have Stuart Walton levels of clicking before they press Buy it Now.

How you can influence

Today, handing over a website at a local café, I was asked about the purpose of blogging. It wasn’t a riveting discussion, but it wasn’t something I’ve squeezed into this article to get some covert blogging sales message across. I said “Look. A blog gives you information to share on social media. It links back to your website, and providing it offers value and answers. Humans will look at your website when they fancy a cooked breakfast, a quick coffee and sandwich. Why? Because your blog about Gorleston beach reminds them to come to you.”

That sounds a bit scripted. It’s not word for word clearly, but the intent was clear.

Offer readers something engaging and they will come to you. It may not be tomorrow – but they will, eventually.

Mix this with social proof with active social media posts and a good review strategy and they’ll turn up faster.

Pick up the pen

If you’re stuck in a job you hate, with colleagues you dislike and a bellend of a boss, you know you have to start digging a tunnel out. Your first job is to pick up a shovel and make some tentative stabs at marking an escape route.

Ergo your business.

If you want to increase sales and engagement, footfall at your business and accelerate profits, pick up a pen and write.

If you’re no good at writing, or hate it as much as that bellend boss, outsource it to copywriters.

Same with your website.

That cannot sit in aspic, gathering dust, gaining little traffic and leave you saying “I don’t get much business from my website, so I won’t invest.” You can invest in marketing or expansion with a merchant cash advance.

Invest in your website

If your website is a museum piece, about as appealing as Miss Havisham’s wedding cake, pick up the phone and contact a copywriter, a web designer, a social media expert.

But for your sake, do not do nothing. 

If your website and business is not working for you, making you happy with a good standard of living, you need to start working on it. 

I may not be a typical consumer who researches to the nth degree – but I don’t believe I’m atypical either.

The pen is mightier than the sword – now pick that writing instrument up.

Don’t believe it works? 

Look at me: talking the talk and walking the walk with my business: Get Pro Copy Ltd and check out my portfolio and what others say about me on Google and social.

How decent copywriting can generate leads

%name blogging

When I occasionally blog on Get Pro Copy or Nest in Norfolk, one of my other companies, I see a spike in visitor numbers on Google Analytics. Makes sense, really.

What I also see longer term is a steady rise in search engine rankings. If I blogged weekly, without fail, I’m sure I’d be at the top of page one of Google and Bing Crosby for various long tail searches.

HERE’S WHY

People go on search engines to find answers. Your home page of your website may provide some solutions, but investment in a blog page will pay back more.

So will a FAQ page.

I don’t write on my own website as much as I should because I’ve become like that builder who won’t repair his own roof. I blog for others and espouse the virtues of it, forgetting that my own business, this website, needs constant nourishment from fresh content.

FRESH CONTENT

What I’ve found though is the past year is that so many enlightened businesses and individuals have cottoned on to content marketing and recognise its value.

I write constantly now for many companies on retainers, some under NDAs, but others who allow me website access to create blog posts and even allow my name on there.

Which is nice.

BLOGGING GENERATES LEADS

What is most gratifying though for me is when a company I write for sends me a screenshot of leads. My last 3 blog posts for this company generated hot leads. Now you may say PPC, Adwords will do that, and you’d be partially right.

But I’m sure that many consumers, Google searchers are like me, assiduously ignoring Google Ads in search rankings.

To generate those leads, organically, this company who pay me a monthly fee, have trusted me to write engaging copy of long form articles.

LONG FORM CONTENT IS KING

There’s little point though in adding miserly blogs of 250 words at a time. The longer the better to be honest, using the Skyscraper strategy. No one looks at the second tallest building in Manchester. All eyes are drawn to the Beetham Tower, and if you want your business to stand tall, you have to add extra storeys (or stories?) to outdo your biggest rival.

Out Beetham the Beetham.

BLOGGING TAKES TIME – TIME IS MONEY

Now you could sit scratching your head for hours thinking up ideas and then creating a post. Or you could outsource it to me. I am reliable, engaging, creative, and unlike many copywriters, know my way round a website, keywords, metadescriptions, ALT tags etc (geek alert).

I am useless at DIY.

Even something as mindless as clearing out the garage would have me make a mess – so I outsourced it to a licensed waste carrier and paid for 3 men to restore it to showhome glory. I can’t put up blinds, fix a puncture or paint a wall, without more ending up on me.

But what I can do is write and design websites.

THE INEVITABLE CALL TO ACTION

Your website is one piece of a marketing jigsaw; your social media channels are another piece. Blogging is the blue sky that you find above those yachts on jigsaw boxes in 70s childhoods. It’s hard work to put together but for the big picture, you need an expert copywriter.

Look at who I blog and manage social media for – not under NDA and you decide:

Hogan’s estate agents, Leeds

Pure North Norfolk, Fakenham

Envision CAD

Envision Engineering

PDQ Funding

and many many more under Non Disclosure Agreements.

If you want to generate website traffic and leads, through blogs and social media, contact me today.

Mobile is the quickest way to chat – 07462923476.

Do you subconsciously avoid clicking Google ads?

When I launched my first business six years ago, I was smitten by the Google ads offer of £75 in free advertising for Pay Per Click in return for a £25 investment. Seemed an absolute no-brainer back then. I sculpted an enticing advert within the set Google parameters, paid my money and watched as the business (an independent estate agency) appeared at the top of page one for various search terms for over a month.

The £100 quickly expended and we had the grand total of one fairly pointless lead from a couple who’d viewed a bungalow in nearby Lowestoft and wanted us to drive to Ipswich to value theirs. We didn’t as it’s too far and Ipswich was never our Google PPC target. It taught me back then that, in my experience at least, PPC for an estate agency was fairly pointless.

I know too that as a consumer, when I’m surfing Google, I don’t click paid ads – along with most other people it seems. My subconscious somehow kicks in and nags “don’t click”.

Don’t get me wrong – I have connections who swear by PPC and its success, but it hasn’t worked for me and I’m reluctant to spend money on it again, as I’m not sure I’d get clicks for “web design Norwich”, “web design Great Yarmouth” even when sitting above the big web design agencies in Norwich.

I prefer the organic growth of blogging and social media, providing answers and value in a series of researched (and sometimes random) articles that take more time to generate than a Google ad and yet seem a better proposition long-term.

Content marketing should be high on your business priorities, along with an inventive social sharing strategy, so people recognise your brand, begin to trust your advice and when the time comes for them to buy a product or service they pick you.

Because of the information you’ve provided consistently, and not simply through a 50 word Google ad, you get selected in front of others. 

In theory at least.

In my own freelance web design business, I always advise this strategy.

Create a blog / news / information page and write articles on there – not for the sake of it, or to kill time, but because Google rewards fresh content and customers love reading new stuff.

If you’ve not got the time or ability to write, there’s legions of copywriters out there, able and willing to craft engaging, optimised copy.

Like web designers, some take the piss with price, but most have a reasonable hourly rate that shouldn’t cause too much financial strain on a business. Mine is here. Discounts too for bulk orders. 

If you don’t want to succumb to PPC, invest in a company blog which can go in your newsletters, email campaigns and printed literature, as well as across social media channels.

Trust me, it works.

Google rewards fresh content and here’s how yo can do it.

Copywriting, blogging or sharing stories; informing, entertaining, prompting and challenging is one major factor that could make or break your business.

In grand terms, it’s called content marketing.

Which means providing content that is not sell, sell, sell, but help, help, help and which people read and feel compelled to share.

Share triggers – built into your blog post as icons at the end – or within Calls to Action in the post, means your content gets seen by more, leading Google to give you a virtual pat on the back or high five and push you from invisibility on search up through Page Rankings.

There’s no silver bullet for SEO or SMO but copywriting, in terms of your website content, and regular blogs, will make an impact.

It’s what I do at Get Pro Copy Ltd.

Google rewards fresh content and here’s how you can do it.

Let me expand – like my waistline does daily.

Producing and providing great blogging content is a 33% operation, or one third, if you’re old skool.

66% is promotion, or two thirds.

Think about an extended blog – spend a week crafting it and 2 weeks sharing it on social media, Quora, StumbleUpon etc, What’s App and messaging to get your content clicked and shared.

Blog posts need compelling titles, a minimum word length of 300 words and calls to action, inbound and outbound links woven throughout the copy, with those pesky CTAs.

You will notice many of the 107 websites I’ve designed have blog posts as a tab.

This is deliberate.

A blogging tab, fed weekly or monthly, marks you out as different to your rivals and people love reading great content and hearing stories, though not being sold to.

My own website has such a menu and you can rest assured that this is not aesthetic frippery but an integral part of my SEO and SMO strategy.

I can do the same for you – build that Blog tab, add posts, dependent on packages you choose and let you take over, or you can pay us to do it.

Open and transparent – my web design packages are here and my copywriting charges are also clear.

So why is a blog post such a great idea?

Here’s 10 reasons:

  1. Cost-effective: with a single one-off SEO researched post starting at £50, you can generate clicks and enquiries with a well-worded blog post.
  2. Quick: a weekly post doesn’t require hours of expended time. Click Add New Post on your dashboard, write the content and publish and share.
  3. Thought leadership: a blog post differentiates you from your rivals, showing that you know your onions and when someone comes to buy, the chances are they’ll pick you.
  4. Loveable: people do business with people they like and if your blogging strategy is informative and warm, with a real voice behind it, you will become liked and hopefully loved.
  5. SEO: Google loves fresh content and a weekly blog post is one of the best ways to climb those Larry Page Rankings organically.
  6. SMO: good blog posts, shared on your Social Media platforms, can generate other likes and shares and direct customers to your website.
  7. Bounce rate: the time people spend on your site before bouncing off. Regular blogging encourages repeat visits and new visits and keeps these potential customers on there for longer.
  8. Dynamic: once a website is built, the initial dynamism of people looking can quickly fade. Repeated blog posts makes your website appear refreshing, on a weekly basis.
  9. Multi-functional: a blog post can also be copied into printed documents like newsletters, brochures or email campaigns. That initial  spend could reach hundreds or thousands of readers.
  10. Brand voice: a great blog can be crafted in the tone and register you want for your brand, increasing your authority as a leading company.

Keen to know more about how Google rewards fresh content?

Contact this freelance copywriter and Norwich web design expert today.

Area guides for estate agents – prove you know your stuff

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Area guides for estate agents – prove you know your stuff

As leading Great Yarmouth estate agents, we know this part of east Norfolk well and what surprises many visitors in the spring and summer months is just how affordable the area is.

The most expensive part of the borough lies 4 miles inland: Burgh Castle, pronounced Borough, named after its Roman fort perched loftily above the Norfolk Broads, in splendid scenery, yet with the town only a 10 minute drive away (traffic permitting). Burgh Castle does lack amenities though like schools, but many families living there choose to send their children to Hillside Primary in Bradwell, which sits very close to the village border. There’s a choice of three high schools too: Ormiston Venture and Cliff Park Ormiston Academy in Gorleston (about four miles away) or Lynn Grove Academy in Bradwell.

Bradwell is another popular area for families, as it is not as remote as Burgh Castle, and does have shops, a petrol station and supermarkets as well as a range of schools. It straddles the Beccles Road, the A143, with its oldest part being near Green Lane and Sun Lane, but largely characterised by 1930s homes on Claydon Grove and Lynn Grove (the road leading to the high school) and ending with brand new Persimmon builds, at the Belton end of the settlement, called Bluebell Meadow.

Belton is another popular suburb of Great Yarmouth and it has a size somewhere between Burgh Castle and Bradwell, with its own range of small businesses and some prized addresses of its own, like Sandy Lane and Station Road North.

Heading north of Great Yarmouth, there is Ormesby (St Margaret and St Michael), Rollesby, Martham and Filby. Each has its own property microclimate and these villages are a little bit more accessible for commuting to Norwich.

Acle makes the perfect halfway point between Norwich and Great Yarmouth, but property there is not cheap and it climbs even more as you travel along the A47, passing hotspots like Blofield, Blofield Heath and salubrious Brundall and Strumpshaw, which are not part of Great Yarmouth.

Great Yarmouth is a typical seaside resort. It has a fantastic seaside and property prices here are amongst the lowest in the east of England. Regeneration work is underway for the town and it may become like its near neighbour, across the river, Gorleston, which has seen rejuvenation and property price growth.

Gorleston has one of the best beaches in Norfolk, with golden sand that stretches to Lowestoft. Its town centre has one of the busiest high streets in Britain and has seen a new cinema open as well as restaurants open. Gorleston has property prices ranging from £100,000 to above £1 million, with its most expensive areas clustered on or around Marine Parade, known locally as the Cliffs area, as well as Warren Road and Yallop Avenue at its southern extremities.

Great Yarmouth, as a borough, has lots to recommend it.

In summer, it is thronged with holidaymakers and day visitors, but in winter, it can be equally as alluring, with those cloudless skies and empty beaches.

If you need any more advice on buying or selling in Great Yarmouth, contact us today.

Start a freelance business, live and breathe again

%name Norwich

I’d little intention of becoming a teacher when a child, but I fell into it, a rut I kneeled in for the best part of 30 years. I was held there partly because I like teaching, the students, but mainly because of salary security. I should have left to start a freelance business.

Yesterday though I realised again how misguided that career longevity was.

Read moreStart a freelance business, live and breathe again

How to increase sales with a blogging strategy

%name business

Companies have at last latched on to the value of a blogging, or content marketing, strategy.

Visit 10 websites at random, go on, of various small businesses and count how many have a news or blog tab. There may not be 10 but there will be a few, I guarantee, because blogging is a great way of getting website traffic and increasing sales.

If you’re cynical, like I am, you may say, “Stuart you would say that, you’re a writer, you’re not going to say it’s a waste of time and money.”

Read moreHow to increase sales with a blogging strategy

Ditch that SEO monkey in the corner

%name monkey

If you’re looking to be found on search engines for certain terms, don’t be too broad, aim to be specific, but make sure it’s being searched for.

I’d like to be found on page one of Google or Bing (Crosby?) for Copywriter UK but it’s a bit of a pipe dream. Copywriter UK is too broad, as is Freelance Writer, Property Writer or Social Media Expert.

I could spend hours optimising my search terms to make it regional: Copywriter Norfolk, Norfolk Freelance Writer, Norfolk Social Media Expert and Norfolk Property Writer – but, believe me, Google suggests no one is searching for those terms.

Read moreDitch that SEO monkey in the corner

Stop being a washing machine with your boring blogs

%name washing machine

I remember becoming a father 16 years ago for the first time and eagerly listening to ways to get our new-born son to sleep as we felt like we’d been through a proverbial hundred year war.

Don’t get me wrong, the pregnancy was easy (for me at least) and the delivery quicker than Amazon Prime, but we did not anticipate the fatigue.

Read moreStop being a washing machine with your boring blogs

Shopping habits have changed – so your business habits have to

%name shopping toys

Poor old Toys R Us, you might say, going bust.

With my usual cynical head on, I could see it coming. M and S will be next, I reckon, with its clothing side going to the wall – there’s only so much beige and grey us old people can tolerate.

B and Q too, perhaps.

Asda is feeling the strain, as is Morrison’s, I believe.

I think I know why – not as some fancy dan business analyst with 8 letters and LION after my name – but as a consumer and keen observer.

Here’s why.

Read moreShopping habits have changed – so your business habits have to

Repeat after me: “It’s all about the content.”

I’ll keep this blog post deliberately short as I have a message that could fit in a tweet.

“Google rewards fresh content.”

There, you have it – in just four words.

If you want to be found online and given a virtual fist-bump, or high-five by Google, get writing fresh content.

And if you can’t do it, invest in a content marketing writer.

There’s lots of us around – and long term it will lead to organic growth without the need for PPC steroids.

1,2,3, go:

“It’s all about the content …

It’s all about the content …

It’s all about the content …”

To the rhythm of Dorothy’s dreamy musings in “The Wizard of Oz”.

Property content marketing – all I ever do and I love it.

%name property content marketing

Do you remember when Kevin Keegan (fellow Doncaster lad) went on a meltdown when Sir Alex Ferguson started playing his famous mind games?

King Kev, as Newcastle boss, in the days before Mike Ashley owned the club, repeatedly spouted “I’d love it …” and was mocked and admired in equal measure.

Well, I’ve been spouting, I love it (present tense, you notice), all week.

It’s because I genuinely now love what I do: property content marketing has made me content.

Why?

Read moreProperty content marketing – all I ever do and I love it.

Elephants (and car buyers) never forget.

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It’s a strange idiom, isn’t it, elephants never forget?

Are elephants’ memories remarkable or is it just a human assumption based on their size and expected longevity?

Have any elephants ever recounted to a human very early memories of life in India or a zoo?

The elephant in the corner is another one that we use.

But are we as humans any different?

Read moreElephants (and car buyers) never forget.

Why you should use a copywriting expert in life.

%name copywriting expert

It’s Monday.

Weekend over.

Spare a thought for the estate agent today.

That estate agent staring at screens, enthusiasm dimmed by the peaks and troughs of the industry, the vagaries of a malevolent office boss, working like a cockroach, not a unicorn, to find property listings, good at many things, excellent at others and rubbish at some of the 7 skills needed, often not a copywriting expert.

It’s only Monday too.

Read moreWhy you should use a copywriting expert in life.

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