When should you outsource your copy?

Posted by on Sep 28, 2016 in Blog, Featured, Portfolio | 0 comments

I follow a number of copywriters and one of them is well-known American copywriter Bob Bly (www.bly.com). I certainly enjoyed Bob’s last piece on “Should you write your own copy?” Bob explains that business owners and marketing managers who fit three criteria often produce copy which is better and more successful than professional copywriters. You are an excellent copywriter. You enjoy writing copy. You have the time to write copy. The reason being is that since they know the product and market well, they have an edge on the professional writer. Half the battle in copywriting is actually knowing the customer and the product. However, unless you meet the following three conditions, Bob Bly says you are better off hiring an agency or a freelancer. So if you are an excellent copywriter, enjoy writing copy and have the time to write copy – do it yourself instead of outsourcing your copywriting. That is, according to Bob Bly. I would like to add another condition which negatively rocks the foundation of the other three mentioned. When working for companies and their publications, I sometimes come across a kind of company blindness which gets in the way of a company’s communications with its (potential) customers. Thinking “outside the box” can be essential in communicating your company’s message effectively to your audience. * Read Bob Bly’s article on Should you write your own copy?   Photo of  Lediberg notebook “I love 2...

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Quote

Posted by on Sep 27, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Need a quote now? Please use the contact form below to ask Stars & Tulips for a quote. We’ll contact you once we’ve received your request. Stars & Tulips looks forward to hearing from you!         Your Name (required) Your Email (required) CopywritingTranslationJournalism Quote...

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How Hummingbird affects SEO writing

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

SEO copywriting continues to evolve. SEO copywriters have already had to adjust to Google’s Penguin and Panda updates. How will the most recent search algorithm update, Hummingbird, impact SEO copy? Why the Hummingbird update? Google anticipates that more people will use mobile devices for voice search and natural language queries. Why? Smartphone use is growing rapidly. In some countries mobile traffic has already surpassed desktop and other countries are expected to follow soon. So instead of just matching up individual keywords, Google wants to interpret and understand a user’s intentions (SEO, Hummingbird and more). The focus is shifting from individual keywords to content which addresses the meaning behind a question (What Google’s Hummingbird Update Means for AWAI Copywriters). Tips on writing content after Hummingbird How do you write content which addresses the meaning behind a question? So what exactly are you supposed to do? Here is a brief summary of suggestions from various SEO content experts. Know your audience. Anticipate a user’s questions and needs. Offer relevant content. Be clear in the words you use and how you structure sentences. Don’t forget to use synonyms. Adopt a conversational tone of voice and approach to copy. Keyword strategy has changed; less emphasis is on short tail keywords, more emphasis is on long tail (What are long tail and short tail keywords?). Show you are an authority in your field by providing quality information and expert advice. Know your audience Eric Enge, President of Stone Temple, advises publishers to build “…pages for each of the different basic needs and intentions of the potential customers for your products and services. Start mapping those needs and use cases and design your site’s architecture, content, and use of language to address those” (see article on Hummingbird). Relationship between words even more important than ever Understanding customer needs is one of Paul Hill’s eight recommendations on Hummingbird and website content strategy. As is “Thinking about language”. Content Director of online marketing & SEO agency Further, Paul explains: “Hummingbird is geared, in part, to mobile and voice search. So be clear in the words you use and how you structure sentences. Consider synonyms – the alternative words or phrases that describe what you do and that people might use, rather than focusing your content around an exact-match keyword.” Copywriter Alan Eggleston gives concrete examples of how you can broaden your use of keywords (SEO Copywriting after Hummingbird). In terms of  automobiles, think of using cars, vehicles and sedans. Other words for Chevrolets, for example, are Chevys, Malibus, Impalas and Cavaliers. You can describe a dealership with words such as: dealer showroom, service centre and GM portal. Alan advises writers to find ways to redefine a keyword in a meaningful way. Conversational tone of voice Another...

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Discover the right keyword phrases: think like a reporter!

Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

Do you have an awkward feeling that your website’s keyword phrases¹ could be better? Can your target audience easily find your website? Looking for some handy tips? Well, I am certainly game for any new SEO (Search Engine Optimization) copyediting or writing² suggestions. In creating the right keyword phrases, SEO consultant Jill Whalen’s advice is to think like a reporter. In her handbook “The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines” she advises SEO copyeditors to ask the questions reporters do (who? what? where?). Why? Because the answers to these questions are often the keyword phrases you are looking for. Reporter’s cap In other words, if you ask these questions, you will most likely come up with your keyword phrases. For example, when writing for an Italian adventure travel website specializing in bike and walking tours, you can ask yourself the following question: “What kind of travel?” and the keyword phrase answer could be: Italian adventure travel. And when you ask yourself the question “What kind of vacations?,” the keyword phrases probably at the tip of your tongue are : bike tours and walking tours. By being more specific about the product or service you are selling, you optimize your text. So instead of using generic words such as product or service, Whalen’s advice is to use your keyword phrases instead. Regarding the website mentioned above, Whalen suggests substituting our service with the keyword phrase our adventure travel tours. So instead of being too general, be descriptive. Journalists fit the description Journalists are said to be particularly suitable when it comes to writing for the web. Whalen certainly illustrates one of the reasons why. We ask ourselves these questions everyday. ¹ “A ‘keyword phrase’ is a two-word or longer phrase that prospects type into a search query box, such as ‘Florida travel’ or ‘heavy equipment dealers.’ The word ‘keyword’ refers to a single word search term (like ‘Florida’ or ‘equipment’).” ² “Search engine optimization (SEO) writing: Search engine optimization writing is specialized copywriting that entails weaving keywords and keyphrases into marketing or informational copy. The purpose of search engine optimization copywriting is to gain prime positioning for the desired keyphrases, as well as increase page conversion rates.” Both definitions are by SEO copywriter Heather Lloyd-Martin, author of “Successful Search Engine Copywriting.”  Copyright photo: Svilen Milev,...

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Protected: Santa Claus and Sinterklaas

Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

The other day I came across one of my direct mail letters about Santa Claus and Sinterklaas which I wrote a couple of years ago. Did you realize that Santa Claus is actually a morphed version of Sinterklaas?  Since the story is a fascinating one, I thought I would share it with you.Or so the story goes. Dutch settlers brought the Sinterklaas tradition to New York (US) in the 17th century. Dutch families got together every year to celebrate the anniversary of Saint Nicolas. And they spread the word. In the 19th century “Sinterklaas” or “St. A Claus” started to look more like the current Santa Claus with a white beard and a red outfit. Artists and poets embellished upon this enchanting figure. He became a happy, plump dwarf with reindeer instead of a white horse. At the end of the 1800s Santa Claus evolved into the Saint Nick we all know. It is strange to see one week a good-hearted man full of cheer at a Dutch shopping mall and the next week another one in a different outfit, when many years ago they were actually one and the same. Enjoy the holidays. Whether you celebrate Sinterklaas, Santa Claus or Father Christmas, they are all great traditions which bring us good tidings and lots of cheer.   Copyright photo: Barry Meyer,...

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