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Blog Writing 101: What to Include in Your Next Blog Article

computer desk

You’ve come up with a great blog topic and you’re excited to craft your next article.

But how do you ensure it will be your best one yet; that it will generate the website traffic, social media shares and comments/likes that it deserves?

Simple – by including six key requirements.

From the article’s first few lines to its final sentence, here’s what to include in every blog article you create to maximize results!

A Compelling Title

In a maximum of five seconds, a reader will decide whether they’re going to read your blog article or not. Without an interesting title, the chances of a reader continuing on is virtually zero. Why put all that effort into writing an entire blog article, without dedicating even more effort to crafting the perfect title?

A headline plays an important role. Besides clearly informing people what your article is all about, it gets readers excited to read your entire article. Plus, integrating SEO techniques into your title can compel people to click on your site in search engine results instead of your competitors’ websites.

Topic Generation

When writing a blog article, you need to write about what your reader wants to read, which may differ from what you actually want to write.

Blog articles are targeted to a certain audience and must address their needs and wants. Why would they choose your company over your competitor? How can your company’s products/services fulfill their needs?

Coming up with topics can be tough if you aren’t an experienced copywriter. You need to not only generate an interesting topic but one that will be searched on Google, too. Conducting some keyword research is key during this stage and our Toronto copywriting services can help you do that successfully!

Length

One question that we often get asked by our clients is in regards to optimal blog article length: “How long should each and every blog post be that we create?”

There’s no simple answer to that. Blog length depends on your topic, your audience and your intent.

Does your audience enjoy reading long-form copy, or are you targeting people who are already crunched for time?

How much information do you have to discuss while keeping your audience engaged?

Do you want to provide a broad overview of a topic and encourage readers to reach out to you for more information? Or do you want your blog article to address numerous questions so that you only get traffic that is more likely to convert into customers?

When it comes to blog length, we always tell our clients that it’s the quality that matters. A 1,000-word long blog post is useless if nobody will want to read it!

Readability

Your blog needs to be easy to read which is why you need to make readability a priority.

Keep sentences short, avoid flowery phrases and edit, edit, edit! Target your writing to your audience – ie. depending on who your blog’s intended for, it may be okay to use acronyms.

Don’t forget about the power of subheadings! They help break up your content so that readers short on time can skim to the exact information that interests them.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The world of Google is constantly changing and it can be difficult to keep up.

Staying on top of the newest algorithms and SEO techniques helps your content get found by search engines. SEO cannot be learned overnight – and even the most experienced copywriter is constantly learning new tips.

Title length, keyword research, meta descriptions and more help get your content in-front of the audience you’re targeting.

Call to Action (CTA)

Each blog article you write should include a CTA that encourages some sort of action by your reader.

Maybe it’s to sign up for your e-newsletter, email you for an estimate, or download your newest e-book. Whatever you decide on, including a CTA in each of your blog articles will help grow your audience base and convert more customers.

The Bottom Line

Many company owners think that blog writing will be a very simple task. But in order to get the best results, your blog needs to include the six items above.

At the end of the day, you want to increase website traffic and get more sales. Your blog is a great way to help you achieve these goals!

For the greatest chance of blog writing success, hire a Toronto copywriter that’s experienced with writing effective blog posts. Contact us today for a free consultation!

5 Questions to Ask a Potential Copywriter

hire sign

So you’ve finally made the leap and have decided to outsource your company’s copywriting needs? Good for you! Not only will this move free up time in your busy schedule, but hiring an expert should bring you more web traffic – and a higher customer conversion rate, too.

However, getting results from your copywriting is only possible if you hire a copywriter who knows what they’re doing. Here are five important questions that will help you hire the best copywriter for your needs.

#1) How Long Have You Been a Copywriter?

Experience matters when it comes to writing copy that will be engaging, informative and accurate. Only experienced copywriters know how to make that happen.

Choose a copywriter who has been in business for at least five years. Doing so means he/she has been around long enough to establish a reputation, plus there should be plenty of work samples.

The world of copywriting – especially SEO copywriting – is constantly evolving. Someone who has been copywriting for a while will know this and should be well versed on current best practices.

#2) What Type of Industry Are You Comfortable Writing About?

As much as we hate to admit it, we’re not good at everything.

And that’s not a bad thing! At Sarah McKenzie Copywriting Services, we are firm believers that we should “do what we do best and outsource the rest” ourselves. (That’s why we don’t do our own accounting!)

The same logic applies to copywriters. Not all writers are familiar – or even interested – in writing about certain industries, so asking this question can quickly screen out unsuitable candidates.

#3) What is Your Schedule Like?

Working with a freelancer can be a challenging relationship if both parties aren’t honest with each other from the beginning.

Since most freelancers are remotely based, there isn’t a chance for many face-to-face meetings. Instead, emails and phone calls are the main communication methods used.

Freelancers likely have multiple clients and competing deadlines. If it sounds like your client already has a lot on their plate, ask how they will be able to accommodate you as a client. For example, we request that our blog clients submit their topic requests to us a minimum of two weeks in advance. Otherwise, they risk not getting their copywriting completed on schedule.

If you’re more of a last-minute person, be upfront to potential copywriters and see if this would work for him/her.

#4) Can I See Samples of Your Work?

More than likely you’ve already checked out a potential copywriter’s website by the time you reach out to them for a consult. But if you haven’t, now’s the time! Seeing for yourself what type of copy they have created in the past can give you an idea if their writing style is suitable for your company.

Asking for testimonials or references from past clients can also provide huge insight into a particular copywriter’s strengths. Getting him/her to complete a test project first (before signing a contract) can provide you with an even deeper understanding of their writing style.

#5) What Can You Tell Me About My Company?

A great copywriter takes the time to research each piece of copy they produce. To find out if your potential copywriter has this skill set, ask them to tell you what they already know about your company. Find out what he/she thinks your target market is and what style of writing should be used throughout your copy.

A copywriter who is able to answer these questions accurately means that he/she has done research prior to your interview and is genuinely interested in getting your business.

Hiring the Best Toronto SEO Copywriter For Your Needs

You’ve decided to outsource copywriting to make your life easier and get more results for your company. That’s why hiring “just any copywriter” won’t do!

If you’re going to outsource your company’s copywriting, make sure you do it right. After you’ve found some potential copywriters using these tips, be sure to ask them the five questions above. And if you’re considering hiring us as your Toronto, Hamilton, Burlington SEO copywriter, then know you’re choosing a company who is highly experienced, professional and affordable.

See for yourself! Contact us today for a free consultation about your blog, web, press release, or other copywriting needs!

The Top 4 Web Copywriting Tips to Create Copy that Converts

ecommerce

So you’re finally getting traffic to your website – but that traffic isn’t converting into more leads. Why?

Nine times out of ten, it’s because you have poor web copy.

Web copy that doesn’t relate to the reader and influence behaviours just won’t work. But luckily for you, we know what does!

Here are four major web copywriting tips to follow when creating web copy that will convert.

Speak in Plain Language

You don’t have much time to convince your website’s visitors to spend time on your site.

In fact, you have less than 15 seconds.

If a visitor doesn’t immediately find what they are looking for, they will leave – and find another website that does.

The best way to give the reader the information that they want? Avoid fluff. Write clearly and concisely and present your information in the same manner.

Consider Readability

The majority of readers are skimmers.

Although they may start off reading a page’s intro, they will quickly gloss over the rest looking for answers to their questions.

Use captivating headlines and bullets to help readers scan through your copy. Combined with short paragraphs, breaking up your page can help a reader avoid feeling overwhelmed by an abundance of information.

Make it Relatable

Always, always, always, write to your audience.

Research what your target audience’s pains and nuances are and (quickly and concisely) address them throughout your writing.

Determine why your product/service is wanted, what people use it for and what is most important to them when they are shopping around. Use the information gathered to write compelling copy that truly speaks to your audience’s needs.

Keep it Updated

You likely already know that your blog page needs to be updated regularly – but what about your other web pages?

Keep your home page, about page and service/product listing pages complete with timely information. You wouldn’t want a customer to place an order for a product that’s no longer available, would you?

Your company’s hours, locations and service areas may change over time. If that happens, make sure your web pages reflect the company you currently are.

Creating great web copywriting is a difficult skill to master. That’s why we are here to help!

With ten years of experience, we can help you create effective copy that will convert into more customer traffic. Want to see for yourself? Reach out for a free consultation about our copywriting services in Toronto, Hamilton and Burlington!

Want more marketing tips for small and mid-sized businesses like yours? Subscribe to our biweekly blog by submitting your email address in the sidebar!

Who Needs Copywriting?

mystery face

In business, there are some tasks that you may be fine with figuring out for yourself.

Like managing payroll.

And even hiring your staff.

Then, there are those other tasks that are best left to the professionals – copywriting being one of them.

We frequently get asked to clarify who needs copywriting and what copywriting actually means. That’s why we decided to devote an entire article to this topic.

Here’s everything you need to know about the art of copywriting and whether you should be utilizing it in your business.

What is Copywriting?

Anything that you read that a business publishes – from blog and web content to e-books, brochures, social media posts and more – is completed using copywriting techniques.

Copywriting is the art of writing text to be used for marketing purposes. Not only is it used to sell a product or service, but it can also be used to educate an audience about a brand.

Traditional copywriting (ie. print ads and billboards) is well-known for its in-your-face, blatant sales technique. Like traditional copywriting, new age copywriting (ie. e-newsletters and blogs) requires copy that is still persuasive, engaging and interesting but uses a more discreet selling technique.

Although writing copywriting that sells has never been easy, the advent of the Internet has made it even more difficult. In order to get found on Google, your copy needs to be created with SEO in mind. The higher you rank on Google with effectively written copy, the higher your chances are of generating website traffic that can turn into customer leads.

Every business needs text written. And that text is best written by a copywriter.

So, Who Needs Copywriting?

Now that you know what copywriting is all about, do you think that you can complete it for your own business?

The following three questions can help you to determine if you need help with your copywriting or not:

#1) Do I know enough about SEO?

You need to be writing copy using SEO techniques in order to appear in search results.

#2) Do I have enough time to write compelling, informative copy on a regular basis?

To rank on Google, your site needs to be publishing relevant, interesting, error-free copy on a regular basis. If you don’t have the time to ensure quality copy is produced, it’s best to hire a copywriter.

#3) Do I want to grow my business?

Professional copywriters have the knowledge, skillset and experience to write in a way that targets your market and builds your company’s brand.

The Bottom Line

To stand out from your competition, your business needs great copy.

Although many people have writing skills, not everyone can be a copywriter. Great copy instills a reader to take action on a product, service or brand. It should be created using effective copywriting techniques and be spelling and grammar free.

Even more important, it needs to use the latest SEO techniques so that you actually show up in Google results.

If you’re not already a copywriting superstar, we can help! Send us an email by using our contact form or call us at 519-717-7700.

 

Why Should My Business Have a Blog?

completing a blog post o

“Everyone’s doing it.”

Blogging, that is.

Even though it may seem like every small business has a blog, many have still not stepped foot into the blogging world.

Whether it’s due to a lack of time or a lack of knowledge, the time is now to start a blog! Here are the five biggest reasons why blog writing is important for your business.

#1) Business Blogs Create Better Search Results

Google rewards sites that regularly produce fresh content.

The more pages your website has, the higher your chances are of being ranked, being posted to social media and attracting a new audience. Blogging provides an organized way to constantly add new information to your site without creating clutter.

Most importantly, each new blog post creates one more opportunity for your site to appear in Google search results.

#2) Business Blogs Create More Leads

Every single blog article that you write creates a chance to convert website traffic into leads. One of the best ways to do that? Include a lead-generating call-to-action at the bottom of each blog post.

Whether you want to include a free offer such as an e-book, an opportunity to subscribe to an email or newsletter, or a contact method to reach your business, a blog post isn’t complete without a call-to-action.

#3) Business Blogs Establish Authority

Think about this for a moment: what do you go on Google for?

More than likely, it’s to find an answer to a question that you have.

Use this tactic when writing your blogs. Think about issues that your customers have – questions about suitable products and services, answers to key industry problems, etc.

Stuck on topic ideas? Brainstorm with your staff – especially your salespeople – to see what customers are most frequently asking them.

Now craft a blog article around that question!

#4) Business Blogs Create Long-term Results

Spending the time writing a blog article is worth it! Unlike a paid ad, blogging provides the opportunity for long-term results – making your time (and money) better spent.

Once your blog article gets published, it can continue to rank in search engines for years to come. Writing evergreen content (or content that continues to be relevant past its publication date) often leads to compounding posts – or posts that generate leads past their publication date.

Your Blog is a Valuable Marketing Tool

Many small business owners are quick to get discouraged if their blog writing doesn’t produce immediate results.

However, patience is a virtue when it comes to blogging! Putting in the time and effort to write an effective, SEO friendly post that contains evergreen content can generate leads long past the day you hit “publish.” No further resource investment is necessary, yet traffic and leads continue to be generated from that effective copywriting.

Your website is only valuable if people can find it, and blogging provides the key to doing that.

Want to get your business’ blog off the ground? We would love to help! Sarah McKenzie Copywriting Services provides professional copy for businesses based in Toronto, Burlington, Hamilton and the surrounding area. Call us for a free consultation today.

 

The Secrets Behind SEO Copywriting

Value of Copywriting

Although many of our clients have heard of the term “SEO copywriting”, most are still confused by the concept. Questions that we often get from small business owners include: what exactly does SEO mean? why should I pay attention to it? and how can it be incorporated into my company’s copywriting?

We always tell clients that if you want to get found on Google, you need to pay attention to your website’s SEO. Here’s how to incorporate it into your copywriting – and what will happen if you don’t.

What is SEO?

With over 1.8 billion websites on the Internet, small businesses need to do anything they can to stand out from their competition. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play.

SEO is a method used to enhance your website’s content so that people can easily find your site using search engines.

When used effectively, SEO can help your website rank higher than other sites that target the same search terms.

How Do I Complete SEO Copywriting?   

When integrating SEO techniques into your copywriting, useful, engaging and valuable content is produced that targets a certain type of customer. The more people that read and share your content on social media platforms and their own blogs, the better your Google ranking will become.

The art of SEO constantly evolves since Google’s ranking algorithms frequently get updated. Besides having a fast download speed, there are six elements that are necessary for effective SEO copywriting:

#1) Captivating Headlines

In only a matter of seconds, your website’s visitors will decide to continue reading past your article’s headline or not. Make sure they do by coming up with an eye-catching, compelling headline that intrigues them to keep reading.

To further increase your website’s click-through rate, keep your headline to under 72 characters. This ensures the entire title will be visible in search engine results.

#2) A Purpose

At one point, crafting effective SEO copy was all about keyword placement. Although keywords can still play an important role in a website’s ranking, it’s more important to create copy that fulfills your audience’s needs.

People use search engines to find answers to their questions or problems. That’s why it’s important to take the time to research and write about topics that your audience wants to know.

Doing so will help search engines produce your website as the answer.

#3) Effective Keyword Research

Complete some keyword research to see what terms your audience is searching in search engines. Including these terms throughout your copywriting can help your SEO results – but do so carefully.

Going overboard and stuffing your copywriting with keywords can actually negatively impact your search result rankings.

#4) An Effective Meta Description

Google produces a list of websites with a short snippet that best matches a reader’s search results. These snippets, referred to as meta descriptions, compel a user to click through to your site or not.

A meta description is comprised of 150-160 characters including spaces or 113 for mobile. It includes a short description of what the page is about and a call to action so that readers are encouraged to visit.

Similar to title tags, if the meta description includes target keywords, they will be bolded in a user’s search query.

Although you may be tempted to duplicate meta descriptions to save time, avoid the temptation. Google will flag these and may use them to negatively impact your search rankings.

#5) Page Links

Google loves when a website includes page links to other information either on your own website or from another website. This shows that your content is valuable!

Try to include page links on your site that flow naturally within the content. If using an outside link, choose to have that website open up in a new window. That way, you don’t drive traffic away from your own website!

Attracting search engine traffic is something that can take a great deal of time and energy. With Google constantly changing the rules for how to effectively integrate SEO into your site, it’s sometimes easier to outsource this task to a professional.

As experts providing copywriting services in Toronto, we know how to write the best SEO copy. Let us do the same for your business!

 

 

How to Successfully Work with a Freelance Copywriter

guy with writer's block

Looking to free up time in your day while getting your company’s copywriting completed by an expert?

Working with a freelancer brings many benefits to your small business. But these benefits can only be enjoyed if you establish an effective working relationship with your freelancer. Here’s how!

#1) Provide Proper Onboarding

You’re hiring a freelance copywriter to accurately portray your business’ brand in their writing. But remember that he/she isn’t a mind reader! A proper onboarding is necessary to provide a freelance content writer with the toolbox needed to effectively write your company’s content.

Before your freelancer writes their first piece of content for you, schedule a meeting with him or her. Review your company’s marketing plan, provide access to necessary materials such as brand content and familiarize him/her with your company’s tone of voice.

An experienced writer will have certain questions to ask regarding deadlines, software and more. Setting up a formal time for onboarding is the perfect opportunity for these questions to be answered.

#2) Choose the Right Copywriter

Choosing a specialized industry expert who you will be able to count on to provide accurate, timely content can sometimes be a challenge. That’s why you should follow these tips to find the right copywriter for your needs.

Just like staff members, every freelancer has their own unique personality. Scheduling a project assignment to a potential writer can provide you with a glimpse of what it would be like to work with him/her long-term.

If you like what you receive from the writer following this test assignment, then you will feel more comfortable signing a contract.

#3) Set Clear Expectations

Typically, freelancers work remotely and have multiple clients. Since they aren’t present for face-to-face meetings like salaried staff, providing them with clear guidelines is key.

Consider what you require from an outsourced copywriter. Be as clear as possible with what you have in mind for your business’ copywriting – but provide some breathing room for the writer to still be creative. Doing so ensures the freelancer can create a piece of content (such as a web page, blog post, press release or newsletter) that meets your expectations – with limited revisions!

Using a freelancer on an as-needed basis instead of bringing a permanent staff member onboard can potentially save your company thousands of dollars annually. But choosing the right freelancer is key!

Sarah McKenzie Copywriting Services has been providing copywriting services to businesses in Toronto, Hamilton, Burlington and the surrounding area for over five years. See what sets us apart from our competition! Contact us today for a free consultation.

How to Hire an Amazing Copywriter for Your Business

picture of someone balancing two different choices of hires on their hands

Operating your business is only a small part of what you do each and every day.

Many other hours are spent completing human resources development, creating marketing tactics, organizing finances and much more.

With only 24 hours in a day, outsourcing some of your business needs is not only practical but in fact necessary to succeed. Outsourcing frees up more time for you to concentrate on what you do best – and keeps you focused on why you started your company in the first place.

Many business owners either don’t have the time or the necessary skill set to develop great content. When that’s the case, knowing how to hire a freelance writer is important! Here are three methods to use when outsourcing your business’ copywriting:

#1) Know What You Require Before Looking

Once you’ve decided to outsource some of your writing needs, determining what you will require from a copywriter is next.

Are you looking to increase the number of blog articles you publish each month?

Want to revamp your website content?

Looking to launch a monthly e-newsletter?

Help potential writers decide if they have the expertise and time to take you on as a client by determining your copywriting needs first.

#2) Ask for Recommendations from Other Business Owners

Finding a quality copywriter can sometimes be difficult.

Many freelancer marketplaces exist but finding a valuable writer on these platforms can be difficult. Although many people advertise themselves as writers, only a few have the skills and experience to create content successfully.

One of the best places to start on your quest to hire a great copywriter is to ask for recommendations. Hearing about experiences that other business owners have had with certain writers can help streamline your own outsourcing process.

Many writers can write effectively for a variety of industries so don’t be afraid to ask business owners outside of your own industry for recommendations.

#3) Request Writing Samples

Viewing previous work from a writer you’re considering can help you to evaluate their writing skills. Ask for links to published blog articles or web content that the writer has recently created.

Once you find a writer that you’re considering hiring, ask him/her to complete a single paid test article prior to signing a contract.

Doing so can help you determine their writing quality and whether their writing style will fit with your business’ needs.

Do What You Do Best and Outsource the Rest

Trying to complete all of your business tasks yourself can quickly lead to frustration, anxiety and burnout.

Outsourcing provides the opportunity to use an expert to complete your least favoured tasks – or tasks that do not compliment your skill set.

For more information about outsourcing your content writing needs, check out our services! Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn more about what we offer.

What Skills Are Needed to Be an Effective Copywriter?

description of words used to describe a content writer

A quick online search can produce thousands of copywriters who are eager to get your business. But how many of them can actually write successfully for you?

Here are three key skills that are necessary for every copywriter to succeed.

#1) Effective Copywriters Create Original Content – Every Time.

It’s crucial that every piece of copy that your writer creates is completely original.

Not only is your company’s reputation at stake, but plagiarized content is bad for search engine optimization (SEO). Google recognizes when copy has been duplicated and penalizes you with poor search rankings.

The best type of copy is error-free, unique and engaging. Effective writers can bring a distinctive voice or alternate perspective to even the most overworked subjects.

#2) Effective Copywriters Remain Up-to-Date on Industry Trends.

The world of SEO is constantly changing. When you hire a copywriter, you need to feel confident that they are up-to-date on the latest industry trends and know how to get you the best results. Although creating high-quality content is the best way to get your copy read, SEO is still crucial.

Like SEO, keyword research is also key. A talented writer will know what keywords to include in your content to help you get found by your target audience.

#3) Effective Copywriters Can Master Different Writing Styles.

Yes, it’s important to hire a copywriter that can create engaging, informative content for your business. Equally important, however, is hiring a writer who is capable of writing in a tone that best matches your company’s brand.

Do you see your company as funky, energetic and upbeat? A lively, first-person narrative may be what you want used throughout your company’s content.

Do you have a more serious, professional-type business? If so, a thoughtful, more polished tone could be used to match this company image.

A strong copywriter takes the time to fully understand your company’s brand so that they can accurately portray it throughout their writing.

Choosing an Effective Copywriter is Key to Your Company’s Success

Once you’ve decided to outsource your company’s copywriting needs, it’s important to do it right.

Spend some time choosing a reputable writer. Someone who has the above three skills will help you get the results you expect from outsourcing this important task.

At Sarah McKenzie Copywriting Services, we pride ourselves on understanding our client’s needs first before putting pen to paper.

We then work closely with you to create original, engaging content that gets found by search engines. Let us discuss our copywriting services with you! Contact us today for more details.

 

How to Edit Your Writing Like a Pro

Example of how to make edits to text

We all have at least one skill that we excel at.

For some, it’s dancing, singing, running, or drawing.

For others, it’s math, cooking or public speaking.

I’m fortunate: I was able to turn my strongest skillset into a career, which is how Sarah McKenzie Copywriting Services was born.

If you’re not a naturally gifted writer, there’s still hope! Here are three of the most helpful tips that I’ve learned throughout my writing career.

#1) Pause Before Publishing Your Copy

After finally completing your latest piece of writing, you may want to publish it right away on your website or social media site(s). But whatever you do, resist the temptation!

You’ve just spent the last hour or so creating that content. Even if you proofread it at this point, it’s likely that errors will be missed. What’s best is to review your work at a later time when you’re not tired.

Even better? Wait until the following day to review your copy – when you’re completely refreshed.

#2) You Can Never Edit Your Work Too Many Times

Review, review, review.

There’s honestly no magic number about the number of times you should edit your work before you can confidently declare it “error-free”.

However, editing your working too much can start to make you a little crazy. Personally, I suggest editing each piece at least twice before hitting that scary “publish” button.

#3) Use a Hard Copy to Edit Your Work

For some reason, I’ve always found it easier to edit my work from a hard copy.

I’m not sure why, but I’m more likely to notice spelling, punctuation or grammar mistakes when writing is in a physical form.

This may be personal preference – but see for yourself. Print out your next blog, SEO web copy, press release or speech to trial this editing method.

The Importance of Proper Editing

You have only a matter of seconds to make an impression on your audience.

If your work is riddled with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors, you’re instantly going to lose credibility – and possibly potential customers browsing your content.

As a small business, you can’t afford to lose customers based on poor writing! If editing is not a strong skill set for you, then let us help! Contact us today for a free consultation.