Author Archives: Rewan Tremethick

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What’s the difference between a proof read and a copyedit?

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When it comes to design, we all know there are terms we don’t understand. Kerning, litho-printing, iFrames, payment. Just what are these designers on about? Well copywriting is not without its terminology either.

With us at least it’s a lot easier to understand. Kerning is presumably how much something…kerns? Copyediting, on the other hand, is nice and straight forward. It’s where you edit copy. But what does that actually entail? And isn’t proof reading editing, too?

Understanding the role of a copyedit

Copyediting is the middle ground between proof reading and copywriting. It involves looking closely at the text and making structural changes – sometimes small, sometimes big – in order to improve the general readability of the piece. It could be as simple as changing the wording of a few sentences, or as complex as cutting out entire paragraphs, jiggling the order, switching prose to bullet points, or changing the language to Japanese (although probably not).

Where a proofread just takes out the obvious errors – spelling and grammar and so on – a copyedit is concerned with making the text as easy to read as possible. It ensures that your key messages aren’t being buried under poor sentence structure or useless information. It can transform 2,000 words of boring text into 500 words of killer copy.

A copy edit is a good way to strike a compromise between having a professional writer create your content whilst still having a strong input yourself. If you really can’t step back and let them do what they do best, this allows you to put your words on the page for the writer to transform into something that wins business, without losing your personality or voice.

Copyediting services also include proofreading, whilst copywriting services include a copyedit and a proof read.

There’s a contact form in the footer of this page. Why not scroll down and get in touch with me to have a chat about supercharging your marketing copy for maximum results?

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About to publish your new blog post? Stop!

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DSCI0198A blog is supposed to make your company look fun, sexy, and interesting. A lot of company blogs do the opposite, however. Grammar errors, indecipherable sentence structure, and bland text are all common. They drive customers away.

It happens because people don’t take a few minutes after finishing their blog post to run through some simple checks to make sure that it actually works.

Bookmark this page, and the next time you go to post your latest blog, make sure you’ve done all the things below first. Trust me, you’ll get better results because it.

Read it aloud

You’ll be amazed at the difference between reading aloud and reading in your head. Not only will you pick up errors you didn’t previously notice, you’ll also get a better understanding of your writing style. If you find yourself struggling, then maybe your sentence structure needs a bit more work. Common errors include overly long sentences, punctuation in the wrong places, and starting a sentence intending to make one point, but ending by making another. The problem with this is that your customers and then the aeroplane will crash. That’s an example.

Does your title titillate?

The title will be the first thing that most people will see of your blog post. Whether they are subscribed to receive updates, or they follow you on social media, they will see your title and decide whether to read your post based upon it. So does it do a good job of representing the post? Does it raise an issue, ask a question, suggest a solution, promise knowledge or new skills? In short is anyone actually going to want to read the post?

Have you started as you mean to go on?

Your first paragraph has to draw people through the rest of the post. Think of it as building momentum. At the beginning your audience is likely mildly interested (thanks to that title) but is largely unresponsive. They are a large heavy boulder and it’s your job to give them a push to start them rolling. Some social media previews of your blog post will also include the first few lines, making it even more important that your first paragraph is as enticing as a sign outside a shop which reads ‘free chocolate bar with every half price cake purchased’.

Will your audience be able to finish it before they die?

A common error is overly long blog posts. Gargantuan essays that run to thousands of words that are not only physically difficult to read, they’re all so mind numbingly dull. If you have a lot to say on a single topic, create a series of blog posts in which you break the issue down into easily explainable or debatable chunks. Or create an eBook. You can give it away for free as an incentive to collect email signups. Click here and download my content strategy guide as an example. The better you are as a writer, the longer a post you can get away with, because you will be able to keep the audience hooked throughout. However, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. At least if the problem is that it’s too short your audience is left wanting more.

Have you included a call to action?

And just as importantly is it varied? Personally, I think one of the things that can often put readers off is ending your blog post with the same call to action each time. You need to tell your readers to do something though, otherwise they won’t. Tell them to share your post, invite them to comment, or get them to email you their feedback. A potential customer who gets all the way to the end of one of your blog posts is someone you want to hold onto. Excluding the use of nets, tranquilliser darts, and electronic tagging, don’t let them get away.

What’s your pre-posting blog routine? Do you even have one? Let me know your process in the comment section or tweet me @TheHyperteller.

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Is social media the death of the website?

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Photo Credit: Kencf0618, Wikimedia Commons

There’s an emerging belief amongst certain social media gurus that websites are fast becoming obsolete. The opportunities offered by social media platforms – they claim – eclipse the need for a dedicated company domain.

But is this new belief a passing eccentricity to give self-proclaimed gurus something to say, or the beginning of a new development in internet marketing?

Social pros

With the vast range of platforms available to you – mostly for free – there are certainly plenty of opportunities to reach your target market and distribute your brand content to a range of different audiences. Different platforms give you different ways of isolating and engaging your target market: from LinkedIn’s groups to Twitter’s hashtags.

It’s true that social media has eclipsed the website in one way – in that the former has now become the default ‘must have’ for businesses. Ten years ago, your business had to have a website; now, you have to have social media, or so it seems.

Websites are now as obsolete as radio

Proclaiming the death of the website at the hands of social media has a certain ring of déjà vu to it. It happens with every new technology. Cinema was meant to kill radio, television was to be the end of cinema, CDs would make vinyl redundant…

It’s very easy to get overexcited by new technology and go around proclaiming it the best thing since sliced bread (which, incidentally, was surely invented at the same time as bread itself. Isn’t bread the more impressive invention of the two?). It is, after all, the role of every innovator and early adopter to sing the praise of their latest discovery.

Don’t delete your domain just yet

As with all marketing tactics, there are no absolutes. What you should do depends on what works best for your business. But there are a lot of questions that need to be answered regarding the loss of a website. You have to be confident you can communicate the benefits of your company and product in a few characters or sentences. You need to be sure your customers will find you before your competitors. You have to ensure you aren’t alienating significant portions of your target market who might not use social media, or who don’t want to use it for interacting with brands and companies.

It’ll take a few people to try it first before we know for sure. The rest of us will just have to sit in our comfy chairs and let time decide whether they were being savvy or rash.

Have you ever considered a social only policy? If not, why?

Photo Credit: Kencf0618, Wikimedia Commons

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Do you look for instant gratification from your marketing?

At a recent Hall For Cornwall networking event, John Harvey from 3B International gave a talk on networking and how it can grow your business. John has a very genuine approach to networking, and believes that spending time building relationships today will lead to more business tomorrow.

His ideas of attending a networking event solely with the aim of getting to know people might sit strangely with some business owners. The thought of going to an event that is all about getting new business, and not actively trying to get new business can seem rather uncomfortable.

In fact it’s an attitude that applies to pretty much all kinds of marketing. Some business owners believe that only channels which offer a direct return are effective. The number of Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, as well as blogs, which have been operated enthusiastically for a week or two before being left to contribute to the internet marketing graveyard is testimony to how many people see marketing is an instantaneous process.

Is your short-term focus losing you business?

Considering how fast paced today’s world it is, perhaps it’s not surprising that business owners occasionally believe in instant return from their marketing. Twitter is instantaneous, so why shouldn’t getting business on Twitter the instantaneous too? If the benefits of blogging include more customers, increased number of e-mail signups, more social media shares, and a higher number of website views, why don’t all those things appear the second the first blog is posted?

It’s a well-known business fact that people buy from people. Relationship, as John rightly said in his talk, is vital to entice people to buy. When you have a potential new client, you spend all the time you can building that relationship. You might travel to meet them several times, supply them with all the marketing literature they could want, and have detailed and in-depth phone and e-mail conversations, all to put their mind at ease and convince them that you are the person to do business with.

It’s exactly the same online. Blogging, as well as social media, allows you to do this on a large scale. Every one of your readers is a potential customer; a potential customer with whom you have a chance to develop a relationship through social media accounts and your writing.

Selling online is no different to selling in the real world. Your customers and clients have the same concerns and requirements. Where the difference comes in is the quantities. There are a huge number of potential clients out there, and blogging is your chance to attract them to your site, educate them about your business, and build a relationship. Yes, it takes time to get going. But so does a business. Blogging is an investment, just like any other aspect of your business. The businesses who are patient and committed to blogging are the ones who are enjoying the benefits. It is not a short-term solution, and the businesses to give up on it too soon are missing out on a world of potential.

Have you tried blogging? What are your experiences? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Tips for speed networking

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I went to an event organised by The Hub the other night. Apart from trying to catch a non-existent bus and nearly getting lost in the wilderness outside St Agnes, it was a great night. I met lots of friendly people, connected with some useful businesses, and took the opportunity to hand out some marketing materials for my upcoming novel while I had an audience who couldn’t run away.

And I must just take this moment to say a big thank you to Danielle, the lovely lady who stopped and offered me a lift. I never got your card in the end, so I can’t get in touch personally, so I hope you read this.

This wasn’t my first experience of speed networking, but it was the first time I have attended an event solely focused on this activity. During the course of the night, several things became clear to me. I’ve presented them below as tips.

1. Bring your business cards

It might seem obvious, but sometimes people forget. Plan far ahead if you know you’re going to be pressed for time getting to the event. This is especially unfortunate at speed networking, where you don’t have time for a full conversation. The whole idea is to get people interested so that they want to have a longer conversation at a later date. They can’t do this if they don’t have your contact details.

2. Practice your elevator pitch

As the name suggests, at speed networking you have a very short amount of time to converse. Therefore it is vital that you can pitch your business quickly. Make sure you know how to sum up your business in a couple of sentences; whilst still getting people interested. It’s useful at any networking event, but ten times more so when speed is key.

3. Expect to meet a competitor or two

It happens. Sometimes you’ll turn up and there will be someone else there doing what you do. Don’t panic – they might have a different specialisation or target market. The businesses in that room might be too small-fry for them, or too large, where they are just right for you. If anything, knowing you have a competitor in the room makes you work even harder to sell yourself more effectively, and that can’t be a bad thing.

4. Bring a pen

If someone is interested in you, they might invite you to call, email them portfolio samples, or catch up at another event. It’s worth making a note of this straight away on their business card before tucking it in your pocket. That way, you’ll see it when you go back through the night’s haul of cards looking for potential leads, collaborators and services. And to make notes, you need a pen. It’s still quicker (and less rude) than pulling out your phone and making a note on that.

5. Let people know you’re planning to follow them up

If you’ve had an interesting conversation with someone, let them know you’ll be emailing. They might even respond by inviting you to meet for coffee instead. At the very least, it’s a good way of letting them know to expect to hear from you. And if their email address is a generic ‘hello@’ or ‘info@’, letting them know you’re going to try and get in touch could mean they pass on instructions to whoever manages the generic account to forward on your email. And we all know how hard it is to get past the gatekeepers without help…

6. Keep going after the event is over before you lose your confidence

When the arranged speed networking part of the event is over, find someone you haven’t spoken to and talk to them. After half an hour to an hour of talking to 20 or so new people, you’ll probably have grown so used to it that it won’t seem intimidating anymore. Keep it up before your confidence deserts you and get round those people you didn’t have a chance to speak to.

Stay sharp, relax, and enjoy yourself. Networking allows you to meet plenty of fantastic people. Sometimes you might just find yourself having a good old chat, but that’s OK. It’s good to have friends in the business world, and you never know what they might end up passing your way.

Networking is always beneficial, so let’s do some now. Send me an email for a chat about your marketing content.

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Do you market your business like it’s a charity?

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Have you heard of Chuggers? It’s short for Charity Muggers, and refers to those people in town centres who try and bully or guilt you into donating money. While their dedication to a good cause is admirable, no one likes being unable to walk down the street without being pounced upon by a person with a clipboard.

(Once, five of them spread themselves out across the bottom of a street in Penzance so that it was impossible to get past without talking to one of them.)

What has this got to do with business, you might ask?

Are you trying to mug your customers with marketing?

A quick trip around Twitter or the internet in general reveals many companies marketing as though they are charities; Twitter accounts with nothing on them but ‘Read our latest blog post’, or ‘Check out our latest deals'; blogs that only talk about the service they provide; Facebook posts consisting entirely of links to their website.

People don’t respond to this type of marketing very well. The reason is that internet users are thinking about what they get out of the deal. It’s not selfish, it’s only logical. Why should they invest their time in visiting your website, or following you on Facebook? People want value, and following a Twitter account that constantly badgers them to check out your website doesn’t give them anything of value.

Can you spare five minutes, ma’am?

The reason this kind of marketing fails is because you are a business, not a charity. People expect charities to ask for favours – that’s the point. But very few people who don’t know you personally are going to ‘Like’ your Facebook page just to help you out. They need to get something back out of the arrangement.

Just as a good example; my author page on Facebook has 85 ‘Likes’, 50 of which are from friends, yet I have around 150 friends. I’m not bothered for a second that those 100 other friends haven’t ‘Liked’ my page. Clearly they don’t feel there’s anything in it for them, and if I can’t provide them with value, then I don’t want them to be following me. But it perfectly illustrates the fact that even friends won’t always ‘Like’ your Facebook page, or follow you on Twitter or WordPress. So why would complete strangers be more selfless?

Marketing is Christmas, not Birthdays

Think of marketing as Christmas – people give you presents, but you have to give them something back. You are both adding value to each other’s lives. However, many business approach marketing as though it is a birthday, in that they expect people to give them things, for nothing in return.

Learn to give your customers and followers value, and they will be far more likely to engage with you. Share great content that they will love, offer prizes or tips and insights, ask for their opinions and feedback. In other words, give them a reason to follow.

Because ‘We want you to buy stuff from us‘ isn’t a reason to follow.

Stuck for ideas? I can help with the creation of great blog articles, web content, and print marketing copy that excites and engages your target market. Send me an email now.

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When the Twitter robot fails you

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Twitter Logo. This image is the property of Twitter.

A lot of people like to automate their Twitter. I’ve scheduled Tweets every now and then – it’s nice to keep people reminded that I’m alive, and it helps if you’re new to the network, and are struggling to get to grips with it.

But there are others who are happy to let the robots manage almost all aspects of their Twitter account. However, this doesn’t make Twitter easier, because the point of Twitter is meaningful engagement.

Here are a few examples of when the Twitter robots can get the better of you.

The Auto Retweet

Retweeting allows you to share great content with your followers. It also helps to spark a conversation with the person you RT’d.

But it can also provoke some unexpected conversations. Conversations such as the writer who retweeted something I had sent from my personal Twitter to an account run by fans of crime fiction.

Naturally I thought I’d say hello. ‘A fan of crime fiction, are you?’ I asked. To which they – I can only assume – panicked, ignored everything I had said, and listed details of all the books they had published.
Needless to say, that was the start and end of our interaction, and an unfollow quickly, er, followed.

The Auto DM

A lot of accounts use automatic direct messages to thank their new followers, and to tell them where to go. By which I mean direct them to other social profiles like their Facebook page.

You have to remember that people have followed you because they get something out of it. Instantly telling someone to go ‘Like’ your Facebook page is akin to telling them that their Twitter follow wasn’t good enough, and that they should do more to help you out.

The Auto Illogic

I recently received a direct ‘Thank you for following’ message that made my brain hurt. It said ‘We look forward to Tweeting with you.’

But…aren’t we on Twitter now? I thought to myself. If any time is a good time to start this Tweeting that you are so looking forward to, wouldn’t that be now, to thank me for the follow?

That was a piece of ironic missed opportunity that is akin to travelling to someone’s office to tell them that you can’t wait to meet them.

The bottom line is, an automatic message like that just serves to highlight how insincere your message is.

Automatic favouriting

Rather than me telling you how this one can lead you into trouble, I’ll simply suggest that you read this article on the Huffington Post website (warning: rude in places, and I’m in no way responsible for any of the content). Comedian Kyle Kinane noticed that the Pace Picante brand of salsa was favouriting all his tweets in which they were mentioned, regardless of content. Needless to say, after you’ve read the entire exchange, you’ll see why it pays to have a human being running your Twitter account.

Beware the robots

So there we have it; four examples of times when automating your Twitter doesn’t work in your favour. Remember the reason you are on it in the first place, and ask yourself whether your automations are genuinely making things easier, or if you’re really damaging your own endeavours.

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New Year Blogging Resolutions

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The beginning of the year is a perfect time to take a good look at your business. Are there areas for improvement? What about opportunities you can capitalise on?

For many businesses, getting more customers will be on the list. Your blog is a great way of doing that, as you can attract people who are interested in what you do, engage with them, and slowly convert them.

You may already have a blog, but it might not be performing as you hoped. Instead of abandoning it, here are 5 New Year blogging resolutions for you to follow. Stick to these, and you’ll see plenty of improvement.

1. Give something back

People don’t read business blogs because they are interested in what they can offer the business. They read blogs which promise them something – whether that is information, discounts, exclusive news, or the chance to have a say on important issues. Don’t use your blog as a platform for blowing your own trumpet or advertising yourself. Instead, think about how you can give something of value to your readers.

2. Read it aloud

You’ll find out just how easy your new post is to read if you hear it said aloud. You spot a lot more when you do this than running through it silently in your head. Having to actually say it makes you aware of sentence length, rhythm, and poor phrasing.

3. Share the link

Let people know about your new post. Share the link on your social profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If you are giving people something of value (like tips), then they are going to want to know about it.

4. Invite comments

Think of your average internet user as though they are shy. Even the most outspoken, confident people might not naturally think to ‘Like’, comment, or Share your article. Tell, or ask, them to do so, and you’ll see an increase in the amount of engagement you get from your readers.

5. Remember who you’re talking to

Think about your ideal reader. What do they want to hear? How do they want to be spoken to? The best way to ensure you are attracting your target customers is to speak in a language, and talk about topics, that they identify with. Then you’ll know that the people who follow and comment on your blog are the ones you want to be doing business with.

There we have it. Five simple blogging tips to help you make the most of your blog this year. Bookmark this page so you can refer back to it at a later date, and don’t forget to share it with your friends and colleagues so they can benefit too.

What are your business resolutions for 2014? Leave a comment to let me know.

And for more great blogging advice, contact me today.

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5 copywriting tips for writing effective Calls to Action

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Calls to Action are a vital part of any marketing content. They ensure your readers do what you want them to. Many companies make the mistake of assuming their customers will automatically take the next step.

PensYou have to lead your customer by the hand all the way to their destination – be that making a purchase, signing up to your mailing list, or leaving a review. These five tips will help you write perfect Call to Actions that get results and drive customers to do what you need them to.

1. Be precise

What exactly is it they need to do, and why? Tell your customers how to contact you, and the reason that they should. ‘Call today to order our next season catalogue’ means that people don’t have to think for themselves. They know what it is they should do next.

2. Be immediate

Don’t give your visitors a chance to forget you. If they leave your website or shop, or put your brochure or flyer aside, you may have lost them. Tell people to get in touch today or now.

3. Be assured

Be confident in your services. ‘Call us today to see if we can help you’ suggests that there is a good chance you can’t. You don’t want to give your potential customers a reason not to do what you want them to. ‘Talk to us today about how our services will help you achieve your goals’ is much better. If you are confident in your product or service, potential customers will be more likely to be as well.

4. Be assumptive

Be confident when telling customers what to do next. Assume that they have already chosen to use your services. ‘Call us today to discuss your project’ is far more effective than ‘If you decide to use us, get in touch to discuss things’. Talking to your potential customer as though they already are your customer could help them make up their minds.

5. Be prepared

Think about the way in which you want customers to communicate with you. Would it be easier to deal with enquires via email, phone, or in person? Once you’ve decided, use your Calls to Action to get people to contact you in your preferred way.

Combine these five simple tips for killer Calls to Action that people can’t resist. Save yourself time and effort by getting me to do it for you – email me today to find out how easy and affordable it is.

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How a personal bugbear can save you time and money

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Something has been annoying me recently, and it isn’t even the fact that I’m wearing five layers and am still cold. It’s the fact that you can find posts on many jobs sites for freelance writers where companies are asking us to blog for free, or as good as. They say things such as ‘This is great portfolio experience’, or ‘We don’t have the budget to pay’.

I’m going to let you in on a secret

If you don’t believe your blog is going to add enough value to your business to even cover the costs of paying a freelancer to write it for you, then you don’t need a blog.

I’m not saying that everyone needs to get a freelancer to write a blog for them. I’m simply saying that, when you look at the big picture, if blog that doesn’t add enough value to your business to cover the costs of running it, it’s probably not worth having.

What is your blog for?

Whether or not you have a successful blog, whether or not you pay a freelancer to write it for you, it’s always worth asking yourself, ‘Why am I blogging?‘ After all, it is a time-consuming endeavour. What would happen to your company if you stopped blogging?

Like any marketing you do, a blog should add value to your business. Whether that value is in money, reputation, exposure, or web traffic, a blog should be a vital part in your business machine. If it isn’t doing any of these things, you might as well invest that time throwing lemons at passers-by for all the benefits it will get you.

Just another form of marketing

Say you intend your blog to get new people to know about your products. In the print world, this job would probably have been taken by posters or leaflets. Imagine going to your local printers, or graphic designers, and saying “We need to be leaflet marketing, but we don’t really have a budget for it, so can you do it for free, because it will be great portfolio experience?

The idea is ridiculous, isn’t it? The only reason it works when it comes to freelance writers is because there is nothing of perceived value being exchanged. Freelance writers don’t have to buy their words in, and get them delivered on the back of a large truck. When we write a blog post for free is not as if we’re losing money on stock, only time.

If it’s not worth it, don’t bother

If you genuinely didn’t expect to get a return on your investment in those leaflets, you wouldn’t bother getting them made and distributed, would you?

Well the same logic applies to blogging. Blogging is like any business activity. If your business truly needs it, then it can afford to pay for it. If your business can’t afford to pay for it, even if you can do it yourself, then you are just wasting time and money.

Want more advice on business blogging? Send me an email today.

Provide top quality & value for your business or your clients at just £40 per hour.