How do you get the right answers when starting on a new project? Make sure you’re asking the questions your clients didn’t know to ask themselves.

You might have noticed a pattern recently, of professionals and thought leaders talking about questions. What questions should you ask yourself in your business? What questions should you ask to motivate and plan for the future? To stimulate ideas and creativity?

Wherever I look right now, people are talking about asking the ‘right’ questions.

Kira Hug and Rob March at The Copywriter Club recently discussed in an email the right questions to ask to get the information you need to grow your business and get better at what you do. (Tip: it’s about being clear on your goals, but knowing you need help with how you get there.)

Michael Hyatt in his ‘Lead…

Stumped for headline ideas? Struggling to create something snappy and concise? Check out these formulas below and see your articles and blog posts pop off the page.

Headlines. Love ’em or hate ’em, you can’t live without ’em. I’m almost obliged to mention the much-cited quote from David Ogilvy on the subject:

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

It’s the same whether you’ve got a website, brochure, newsletter, landing page, email, blog, advert or press release. …

In short, yes. Yes there was. You can click away now and make further good use of your precious time. Or you can read on below. I’ll try to be fairly interesting.

So, what’s it all about?

Jon Buchan is a genius. He’s a grizzled pro who’s been through the rigmaroles of running an agency and come out the other side completely smelling of roses. He’s done this through a very deep, yet instinctive, understanding of marketing and appealing to people.

The turning point in his career was when he created an email that used disarming candour and humour to stand out amid the crowded…

This might surprise some people (especially those who don’t know me from ye olde art college days), but I’m a very visual person. I relate to things in frames, love composition and lighting, and used to draw a lot.

So, when it comes to writing, sometimes I can feel a bit at sea. Problem being, 50% of the time when I’m working on copy for a website, landing page or even an ad, I’m doing it before the design is in place.

This is actually an advantage — instead of doing the copywriting equivalent of colouring in the boxes, I…

Earlier this year, I started a series of mini-posts on Linkedin and my Look Here page on Facebook to investigate two things:

  • whether creating shorter pieces more often made creating my own content more manageable and enjoyable
  • if audience engagement with particular short posts could serve as a guide as to what more in-depth content I should be creating

To be honest, the jury’s still out; I didn’t really post enough material yet (kind of disproving the first point). But for reference, here are the posts thus far collated below. I might revive the series again soon…

The whole point of a press release is to get media coverage for whatever you are trying to promote. So, why not make it as easy as possible for a journalist or sub-editor to understand and use the copy you send them?

You’d be surprised by how many press releases could be more effective in helping the organisations or individuals they are created to promote. Not only in terms of readability, but also in arousing interest around the subject and enhancing its appeal.

I’ve had the opportunity to be on the receiving end of quite a few press releases. Many of them were from well-established organisations or authoritative sources. A lot of them were great, but equally as many fell down, if not at the final hurdle then quite a few fences before…

You see familiar problems like long-winded sentences, flabby writing…

You’re running ads on Facebook, Google or elsewhere which attract plenty of click-throughs. But your conversion rate is on the floor… What’s going wrong?

We all love a high CTR — it means you’ve got a great ad that speaks to your target audience. But if hardly any of those visitors are turning into buyers or leads then it means you’ve got a problem.

It’s got to be one of two things: either your ad is not reflecting your actual business offering (i.e. the ad is BS), or your web page is not following up on what you promised in…

You’re trying to work. You know you should work. For pity’s sake, you’ve got deadlines to meet.

But you can’t help it. You procrastinate. You might complete a little more of your task, but then click away to the easy distraction of social media, like it’s a small reward for getting a tiny bit of work done. It becomes a reflex action to jump to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or there’s also the news, BoredPanda, RightMove, Amazon… name your pet distraction.

Engagement in social media gives you a hit of dopamine. You feel validated, happy. You keep engaging, you keep…

Don’t mess with this moggy

They’re all about ‘What’s In It For Me?’

Cats, like customers, look around. They weigh things up. They bugger off. They come back again. Customers, like cats, are choosy creatures. You need to find ways to get their attention and keep it.

Invent the marketing equivalent for your business of the dangly plastic mouse, the large ball of wool and the huge scratching post. They’ll want to feel like they’re going to get a great service, as well as their favourite food.

You have to keep feeding them so they stick around.

They’ll go somewhere else if they don’t feel they are being looked after or given enough attention.

As well as showing them an attractive offering, once…

When coming to write copy, many people have a great topic but stumble over the headlines and content generation. Sometimes it’s easy to get blinded to how to write about your subject — be it a service, product or opportunity — if you are too close to it.

Most people revert to a default setting and talk about all the features of their offering. How it can show the time in four different continents, increase comfort on long journeys, process transactions quicker than a rival product, or even sell your services for you.

It’s just a list of facts. While…

Doug Smith

Copywriter, Author and general info sponge. Professionally, I’m here:

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