✍️ My copywriter rooms, links, notes and discussions 🇬🇧 🇩🇪 🇫🇷
- Sessions: Alle
24/04/21 - Copy Club #12 - AI in copywriting
- Phrasee - AI-powered SaaS platform
- Nicci uses tools to support her work, e.g. Grammarly, HootSuite, Feedly, Otter.ai and views working with AI as collaborative
- Question: “How can we work with technology?”
- AI can make us more efficient. E.g. it saves time - setting up articles by topic
- Andrea made an analogy with translation (CAT, computer-aided-translation) tools: they do not write for us, they support with the logistical and technical process.
- Nicci: “We shouldn’t be fearful of AI”
- There is a rise of “human-centred copy’ and “human-centred marketing” in response to both technology and jargon/buzzword-filled world of business.
- We may see “Written by humans” in the future
- Diane: You have to align yourself with being a thinker. Copywriters need to brand themselves as strategic thinkers and partners instead of laying the focus on words and output, otherwise you will be put in the same bracket as AI.
- UX copy: is not about the words but strategy.
- Diane: If prices drop AI may resolve barriers to entry for small-business owners, entrepreneurs etc. and allow those who don’t have access to copy and resources to dip their toe in.
- Minter Dial - Heartificial Empathy (book) & ‘The futures project’ [sic] in Berlin; empathetic AI experiment.
- Andrea mentioned having relationships with empathetic AI + referred to a study in understaffed hospitals in Japan where AI replaces some nurses.
- The more machines can reply with empathy or insights, the more they can produce more types of content
- Purpose and intent is important: How AI is useful for different purposes
- Andrea attended a computer club whose motto is: “everything that a machine can do, should be done by a machine.” So, we should see that as freeing time for us to do things that serve our skills better.
- Diane mentioned the effect of AI-prouced copy on us as readers.
- Q: “Would you feel disconnected when reading copy written by a machine?”
- AI is being used for breaking news & headlines already… E.g. Washington post, Rreuters.
- AI may create more work, as there will be more jobs within AI field. I.e. to check copy.
- In the same way as Google penalizes automated translation, the same may happen with AI-produced copy.
- The more you have machine translation, the more people can differentiate themselves from it.
- Q: What are the implications for us as humans? Are we going to switch off and become unempathetic?
- Andrea mentioned that in the translation industry, translators’ own skills often reduce when editing MT (machine translation), because they get used to machine output. You have to bend your own skills and creativity to become an efficient and profitable editor. The same may happen to people who edit AI output.
Notes from our weekly Copy Club Chat #8 (20/3/2021)
Moderated by Diane Wiredu, Nicci Talbot, and Andrea Bernard
Topic: Writing compelling headlines
- Put your headline into Google to see if someone came up with the same idea or if you are unique
- avoid creating headlines that are "click-baity", don't mislead your readers
- be relevant
- headlines are extremely important, people have short attention spans
- use the headline analyzer from to check the emotional marketing value of your headline: https://aminstitute.com/headline/
- another popular headline checking tool: https://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer
- Lee Carnihan also wrote an interesting post on headlines, you can find his tips here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/andreabernard-copywriter_so-i-did-a-thing-i-used-a-headline-analyser-activity-6779485213237030912-4Hso
4 functions of a headline (R. Bly, Copywriter's Handbook)
- Get attention
- Select an audience
- Deliver a complete message (depending on the type of text)
- Draw the reader into the copy
- use power words such as "how-to, strategies etc...
- front-load headlines (key words at the beginning)
- usually: keep them rather short (5-10 words)
- in conversion copywriting: don't worry about length
- don't get too clever, headlines in copywriting are not about puns and word play
- "clever" copy doesn't convert, and you want to move people to the yes
- use voice of customer (VOC) for your headlines
- use urgency in your headlines to move people to action
- weird numbers attractive (such as 6374 instead of 6000)
- odd numbers are also better (9 tips of...)
- use punctuation in headlines, such as : and -
- questions are also a good idea
- write your headlines at the end (or rework them in the end) after writing your body copy
- use active strong verbs in your headlines
Notes from our weekly Copy Club Chat #7 (13/3/2021)
Moderated by Diane Wiredu, Nicci Talbot, and Andrea Bernard
Topic: Pricing strategies for copywriters
- benchmark your prices with surveys on the Internet, e.g. on ProCopywriters
- Mostly used pricing: project price, day/hourly rate, retainer, package prices (bundles)
- also possible: skill swap
- critisism on time-based rates:
- this reduces the value of the work
- you become a commodity and will be compared with the competition based on price
- problem with value based pricing: not all clients agree on this model
- advantage of retainer: provides steady work
- sleep over your quote for one night before sending it off
- know the general price range in the industry
- let go of your emotional attachment when you send the quote
- only prepare and send a quote if the client previously agreed to your ballpark prices
- present a quote by phone/zoom before sending it over, that way you can explain and see the reaction immediately
- get the yes on the call
- increase your prices regularly
Should you put your prices on your website?
- generally speaking, yes, because it's a filter and you want to attract your ideal clients
- put yourself into the shoes of your clients
- if not specific prices, give at least ballpark figures
- this can be a great qualifier
- many prospects will not contact providers who have no prices published
- prices give transparency and create trust
- show your prospects your whole process, reduce friction and risk
- people want to work with people they trust
Notes from our weekly Copy Club Chat #6 (06/3/2021)
Moderated by Diane Wiredu, Nicci Talbot, and Andrea Bernard
Topic: LinkedIn for copywriters
with special guest John Espirian
LinkedIn profile tips
- Linkedin Premium membership has no real benefit for inbound marketing
- LinkedIn Profile copy
- Compelling profile headline is crucial
- The profile should sell, the content should tell
- In order to drive engagement and gain followers:
- comment constructively on other people's posts early after the post was published (especially posters in your interest area who already have a large engaging following) to reach their 2nd/3rd degree connections
- if you already have quite a few connections, set your LinkedIn profile to "follow-first" to reduce friction (barriers for people to connect with you)
- people will first follow you (no response from you needed) and contact you later for a connection
- answer to people who comment on your posts, ideally within 2 hours
LinkedIn connections and followers
- if you do want to connect with someone on LinkedIn, do send a personalized message with the invite. Very few of people personalize their invitation, you can easily stand out here
- and then send another message if the connection was accepted to start a conversation (do the same if someone requested a connection from you)
- When replying to a new connection, a voice message as a reply can also be very personal and really drive engagement (experience from John)
- If people do send you an empty invite but their profile looks interesting for you, accept the request and send them a message asking why they wanted to connect with you.
- Often people send connection invites on a mobile phone where personalsing the invite with a personal message is a hidden feature.
- That might be why so many requests are unpersonal (LinkedIn, are you listening here?)
- If you feel that your LinkedIn news feed lacks relevancy, review your current connections and remove those that are no longer interesting for you. Your feed will automatically improve.
Posting content on LinkedIn
- Write content like it were a blog post
- The first 3 lines are shown in the news feed, these are crucial
- End with a clever CTA, which can also be a question to your readers. It doesn't always have to be "Buy my stuff". Your goal is to get engagement.
- In your content, show your expertise and get rid of risk for your potential customers (risk of what happens when they hire you)
- long form content reduced risk and shows expertise
- tagging people in your post can also be helpful
Does it make a difference if you post links in your posts or not?
- it doesn't matter anymore, links should be in the posts and not in the comments
- tip: use max 26 characters for the link itself so that LinkedIn will not shorten it and people can better see where the link leads to (brand identity).
- To achieve that, you can usually get just rid of the "http://"
Best strategy to publish posts both on your blog and on LinkedIn
- Post first on your own domain/website
- submit your post to be indexed in the Google Search Console (indexed after a few hours)
- Then you can repost the log post as a post on LinkedIn, ideally with a few tweak to the headline and the start of the article
- Put at the end of the LinkedIn post a notice saying: This post first appreared on ... (your domain)
- Make the post a feature on LinkedIn to increase visibility
- LinkedIn newsletter could be a great tool, the reach of that content is phenomenal, but roll-out of the function was halted by LinkedIn
- LinkedIn Groups are simply terrible
- How to build authority:
- Put yourself out there
- Do it consistently
- Have a habit of posting content
- growth takes time, be patient and perservere, this can take 2-3 years when you start out
Resources from our weekly Copy Club #5 (27/2/2021):
Copywriting briefs: the questions you need to ask before writing a word of copy
- briefs are essential, on average 18-20 questions
- better done via phone (more honest answers, more direct / authentic)
- phone briefing can be recorded and transcribed
- most important question: what is your USP, what makes you special?
- target group of the copy
- what is the CTA?
- imaginative questions (e.g. what luxury car would you be? what brands do you like?)
- do you already have keywords, guidelines etc?
- is this copywriting project part of an existing project?
- timing, deadlines etc.
- what are your values,
- classic "what is your why?" questions
- what was the struggle, what did you want to change?
- what was the pain you were trying to solve?
- Key question: *What is your key message under 12 words?* (don't write a word until you get that message from your client)
- What is your business objective?
- What is it right now?
- What is the transformation?
- Where do you want to be?
Where are your targeted readers in the funnel?
- Is it awareness (more playful), or the stage of buying where people are about to click the "purchase buttton"?
- Better not to send the full questionnaire by email beforehand, it will close the mind
- Copy is 80% preparation, 20% writing
- "Copy is not written. Copy is assembled.”
- For long term clients you may not need a detailed brief each time, just get the baseline expectations
Resources from our weekly Copy Club #4 (20/2/2021):
Books and influcences that make us better writers
- Stephen King "On writing"
- Ann Handley "Everybody writes"
- Robert Bly "The Copywriter's Handbook"
- Unsah Malik: "Slashed It"
- Sarah Richards: "Content Design"
- Janice Redish "Letting go of the words"
- Gill Andrews: "Making your website work"
- Seth Godin: "The Practice"
- David Schwartz: "The Magic of Thinking Big"
- Robert Cialdini: "influence: The Psychology of Persuasion"
- Steph Smith: "Doing Content Right"
- D&AD. The Copy Book
- Jennifer Havice: "Finding the Right Message: How to Turn Voice of Customer Research Into Irresistible Website Copy"
- James Webb Young "A Technique for Producing Ideas (Advertising Age Classics Library)"
- Eugene Schwartz: "Breakthrough Advertising"
- Gary Keller: "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent - 33 touchpoints"
- Gilkey, C: "Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done"
- The Copywriter Club
- Hot Copy
- The business of writing
- The business of content
Here are the tools and proceesses people shared during the chat
- pen and paper, still great tools even today :-)
- morning page, just doing automatic writing in the morning
- walking with a phone, recording voice notes
- make a template when you write copy so that you don't stare at a blank page
- Google docs
- use frameworks, for example from Clayton Makepeace
- Rocketbook (notebook)
- chrome extension "webpage screenshot"
- Weava chrome extension (highlighter)
- happyscribe (transcription)
Let's collect notes and resources from our weekly copy chat room here 🙌
13/2/2021: Today's topic: copywriter tools