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Singapore Freelance Copywriter Blog: Science And Copywriting ― See Your Site As A System

Kevin Lim

Posted by a Singapore Freelance Copywriter staff writer:

 

Most people are very comfortable with either or propositions.

Known as dichotomies, the premise is that any splitting of a whole into exactly two non-overlapping parts is a good thing. It’s a modernist affectation, really.

In these post-modern times, taking a whole and dividing it into two parts no longer makes sense when examining a specimen, or a theory, or copywriting. Dividing things into separate parts has become artificial, and in terms of website conversion, it could be a real problem.

Everything must not belong to one part or the other. Being mutually exclusive, that is, belonging simultaneously to both parts of a thing, can undermine a holistic point of view. Seeing your site as a system can positively impact your traffic.

In the meantime, some experts out there will be only too happy to stress that copywriting is a science, not an art. Some will take the opposing view. It is an art. Period. Um, well, actually kids―it’s both.

I’d love to say it’s more one than the other―more science or more art―but I’m not going to be able to quantify that. Sorry.

There are aspects of copywriting as a science that are important to know. Same for copywriting as an art. Having a handle on both sides of the issue (or in my opinion, non-issue) will make your writing more meaningful.

 

The Psychology of Copywriting

During your secondary school's science class, you may have learned a little about Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov. His experimental model of learning led to theories about Classical Conditioning.

Remember his dog?

The dog was given food while a bell rang. After a while, the ringing bell caused the dog to salivate because Scooby associated the sound with getting a Scooby Snack.

In copywriting, a good call to action is like Pavlov’s bell. If the CTA is crafted artistically, the science encouraging me to click will be taken care of. But I need a Scooby Snack or I’ll go to another website for one immediately.

Behaviorist and psychologist B.F. Skinner said that behavior is a consequence of environmental histories of reinforcement. He talked about consequences that strengthened behaviours.

To reinforce my visiting behaviour and get me to click, offer me a free eBook or PDF, offer me "awesomeness for a small fee". Reinforce what I’ve learned as a consumer my whole life, and do it in a new and seemingly exciting way, and *bing* - desired result. A sale. I’ve pulled the lever, so to speak, and I’ve gotten my snack. And you’ve got the conversion you were hoping for.

Part of good copywriting and creating a great landing page and a great call to action requires us to understand human behavior. The reason a visitor becomes a customer is because of how she was conditioned to respond to what’s being offered on your website. Use that. Reinforce those learned and conditioned behaviors.

 

Being Holistic: A Systems Approach

In science, especially in psychology and psychiatry, the treatment of the whole person has become standard. Systems theory, in particular, views the individual in the context of something larger―family. It’s a theory that says “No one is an island,” and it really embraces our interdependence with others.

It is helpful to see your website, landing page, and calls to action in a similar way. If we apply a systems approach to copywriting, we can create consistent, powerful,  impression-makingwriting. Writing that converts.

No part of a website is an island unto itself. If we take that approach, we could create a disconnected experience for the customer. Seeing your site as a system is a step in the right direction toward optimizing your site as a whole.

Every part of every section, when seen as a conversion system, will stand stronger than when it’s broken into separate parts. Flow and consistency are important. It makes it easier for the visitor to become a customer when that visitor’s behavior is properly understood.

 

Want More Copywriting Tips?

Interested in learning more about the science of copywriting? Bookmark this blog, home of experienced creatives and freelance copywriters in Singapore.

Image credit: Pixabay

Open The Gates With Call To Action Copy By Using These Simple Tips

Kevin Lim

[Copywriting tips from the Singapore Freelance Copywriter blog]

 

One of the biggest misunderstandings between a calm employee and a nervous boss is the perception of a sense of urgency. Or the perception of a lack thereof.

A sense of urgency is a priority because we need to react right now. It’s important on the job, it’s critical for the freelancer, and it’s part of what a call to action is about.

A call to action is sales promotion copywriting that spurs a sense of urgency by getting people to actually see and feel the need.

Call now! Click here! Act now!

And in case you haven’t already guessed, those three shout-outs aren’t going to work. Not anymore. The words-as-taser tactic isn’t going to get through because people want you to captivate and inform.

Neil Patel and other experts all say the same thing―the main reason why landing pages and sales pages are not converting is because of weak CTAs.

 

Powerful CTAs Give Value

If you want me to Click Now! you had better be sure that I’m the one benefitting from taking that action, because it sure sounds like you are. Think about your own experiences traveling from website to website. What get’s your attention? For me, it’s the free trial.

 

For example:

Free PDF―Everything You Ever Wanted to know About XYZ―Download Now

 

A solid CTA in 57 characters.

Call to action copy is like anything else in terms of value. Customers will click that button if they see the benefit in it. If they don’t, they’ll go elsewhere.

Rather than telling me to Click Now!, offer me something, or better, show me something good.

See the Difference, Show Me The Free Course, Get My eBook.

These are all examples of engaging, attention-grabbing CTA copywriting.

 

Powerful CTAs Are Gratifying

Know this―it’s not an issue of short attention spans. It’s an issue of customer satisfaction, and for CTAs, it’s an issue of offering immediate gratification. Whether it’s a bagel, a coffee, a burger, or a CTA, people will go to the places where they can get what they want quickly, for what they perceive as a decent price.

 

Powerful CTAs Offer Relief

Derek Halpern, the founder of Social Trigger said, ‘Passion doesn't pay the bills. Pain does. Find the pain. Offer relief. Get paid.’ An amazing call to action will do just that.

 

For example:

Frustrated about your finances? Most folks delay filing bankruptcy because they believe the process is too difficult, too expensive, or will destroy their credit. Not true! Get A Clean Slate.

 

Whatever the problem is, it needs to be solved and the offer for a solution has to be compelling and concise. The copy shown above did exactly that in 30 words.

The challenge for copywriters is to get the right people clicking. Whether it’s Click Here, Get The eBook, or Download Now, convincing a handful of people to do it each day will open the gates to consistent sales. The most powerful strategy for writing powerful call to action copy will urge the right people to not just click , but to follow through as well.

Want more copywriting and marketing tips? Bookmark this blog for more articles from Singapore Freelance Copywriter

Image credit: Pixabay

 

How To Be Your Own Copywriting Apprentice

Kevin Lim

[Copywriting tips from a Singapore Freelance Copywriter]

There was a time when men and women’s vocations began with an apprenticeship. While it’s making a strong comeback in many areas, in some professions today it’s still a deep-rooted part of career paths out there in our world.

Even today, electricians and certain types of engineers begin their careers as apprentices, and in higher education there’s a similar system in place, too. The graduate student can definitely be thought of as an apprentice, post-doctoral fellows as journeymen, and professors as masters.

There is a training program for you, and you can be your own copywriting apprentice.

To begin, there are two important questions to ask. These are two questions I ask quite a lot lately. As it turns out, they are relevant and connected. The first I ask others―What are your biggest challenges? The second I ask myself―What skills sets do I need to succeed?

Our biggest challenges often revolve around information and learning, and as a freelance copywriter, necessary skill sets are often about learning as you work. It requires attention and focus, perseverance and discipline, and hard work. And it’s all about your commitment to yourself and your new apprenticeship.

Put plainly, it’s a learn-as-you-work journey and the resources are out there in profusion.

The most important resource you have is time. Money is important and there’s not much you can do without it. But all the money in the world won’t buy you an extra second. Get up early, stay up late, read and write. Manage your time well.

The next thing on your training agenda is to study. Master Copywriter Sean McCool points out that the Internet and your mailbox are a wealth of study material. One of the best suggestions from Sean is to read your junk mail.

It’s junk for a reason. The main one being just how poorly written most of that copy is. So your task is to rewrite that sales email until it resonates. Take a hard look at it and learn what’s wrong with it and fix it. It’s a great writing exercise. This is the focus and attention part of it.

While you’re working on your revision, keep an eye on the clock. You do not have time to go through the motions. This is about you, your apprenticeship―you improving every day. This is the perseverance and discipline part of it.

Now, there are a lot of freelancing platforms out there, and they are not all created equal. Freelancer and lifestyle design maven, Dan Johnston believes they are a waste of time. He suggests that rather than relying on these websites, start networking on social media.

Let people on Facebook know that you’re a Singapore copywriter. Write a post about it and introduce the world to your new venture. Be confident! Ask your audience what their biggest challenge is, and begin the conversation about copywriting as solution.

Get to know your audience, their needs and problems. Use Twitter and LinkedIn, and by all means, start a blog. If you already have solid business contacts, hone those connections and build relationships. And even if you’re the worlds greatest introvert, join up and participate in freelance writer’s communities. This is the hard work part.

When you get your first clients, deliver quality and value. Use an online freelance platform if you have to. Build a reputation and work on referrals, and develop your niche.

Take your role as an apprentice seriously. It’s all about learning and growing. It’s your apprenticeship and it all depends on you. It depends on the choices you make in what you pursue. How hard you’re willing to work. How you handle failure.

Going beyond the junk mail exercise, you may find that there are other skills you need. Learn about different niches, branding, and SEO copywriting. I don’t care what happened to the cat, but curiosity is the life blood of the apprentice copywriter and an exciting part of your journey.

In the final analysis, as a copywriting apprentice, journeyman, or master, your results will be about who you are. Everyone’s path is different. Don your apron, green visor and sleeve garters and dig in.

The path to apprenticeship success starts by getting on that path today.

Singapore Freelance Copywriter Blog: 11 Insanely Actionable SEO Copywriting Tips That You Can Use Right Now

Kevin Lim

Contributed by a Singapore Freelance Copywriter staff writer

 

My dad always had great advice. He was an engineer, so simplifying was part of his wiring. One night he was standing in the archway of the alcove where I kept my desk. I had my laptop and books, papers and assignments all over the place.

I wan’t doing anything. I was sitting there, staring at one of those iconic blue New York City amphora cups with a regular coffee. Half full, half empty. Getting cold.

He said, “What the hell are you doing?”

“I have so much work to do, I don’t know where to start,” I said. I sounded a little more whiny than intended, and he rolled his eyes at me.

“Pick up a book,” he told me. When I looked at him blankly, he said, “Any book. Just pick up a book!”

Without looking, I reached over and picked up a text book and started to hand it to him. He waved it off, and asked what it was. I said, “It’s A History of Narrative Film for my film history class.”

“Do that first,” he said. “And from now on, do the first thing that pops up in front of you and keep moving. That’s how things get done.”

He was telling me to take action. Any action. It didn’t matter where I started, just that I got started and not stop until I was done. Having college assignments due was apparently not sufficient reason to take action.

Having stuff that you are able to act on at this very moment is enough.

What was true then for Film History 225 is no less true for SEO copywriting. So what the hell are you doing? Here are some actionable tips you can use right now.

 

1. Know Your Audience

I thinks that’s enough said, but to elaborate―knowing for whom you are writing is the first thing you need to do. It’s the first thing that pops up in front of a copywriter. Do that first.

 

2. Create Awesome Headlines

Investing even what you think is an inordinate amount of time on this will pay off big. A great headline sets your content’s tone and catches the reader’s attention.                  

 

3. Use Numbers in Your Headlines

Headlines with numbers, studies show, are a hit with readers. Odd numbers perform best, get more clicks. Hey, who doesn’t love an engaging list?

 

4. Use Bold Fonts and Italics

I have a confession to make. I don’t like to read that much. If you aren’t a long-dead writer in the pantheon of literature from the 19th to the 21st century, I’m getting bored already. Using bold type and italics makes your copy more readable.

 

5. Shorten Paragraphs

Long paragraphs will lose readrs. Don’t go beyond three or four sentences. Why? See #4. Again―thank you. By the way, longer blog posts with shorter paragraphs statistically work best. Just sayin’.

 

6.. Go Ahead―Say “Because”

Not to sound like Samuel L. Jackson, but if you give me a reason, you’ll sound more credible BECAUSE credibility in writing builds trust and interest in what you’re saying.

 

7. Watch Your Language

Don’t use flowery latinate words when good old Anglo-Saxon English words will work (note: I said “work” not “suffice”). Don’t say masticate, say chew. Don’t say disintegrate, say break. Don’t cogitate about this too much, just think about it.

 

8. Remember To Take Your Meta

Dad wanted me to remember to take my vitamins. I want you to remember to use meta-descriptions. These are HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the contents of web pages, and are used on SERPs to display previews. It was one of the first things I learned about as a copywriter, because it’s that important.

 

9. You’re Verbal? Good. Be visual, too.

Articles with infographics, pics, or video will have a huge impact on engagement and conversion rates. Some say it’s hardly SEO gold, but adding to the appeal of the post is still a win.

 

10. Write Strictly Unique Copy

My knee jerk reaction to having finished a chunk of copy is to run it through a plagiarism checker. Most of what I write is based on a lot of research, and even if I’m writing an opinion piece, I do it anyway. I don’t want to lose credibility because I was careless or unintentionally “borrowed” something that doesn’t belong to me. Be very mindful of plagiarism.

 

11. Proofread. Revise. Repeat.

My shampoo told me to lather, rinse, repeat. I find that herbal stuff to be kinda bossy. When it comes to writing, proofread, revise, repeat. I type quickly and poorly, and I hate typos. I had an English teacher tell me I was to writing what Elvis Presley was to rock ’n’ roll. What I might get away with in a fiction write, I won’t get away with in copywriting. Know your grammar. Break rules elsewhere.

 

Next Steps

This is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak, just a bit shy of a dozen tips off the top of my head (because odd numbers perform better). Don’t stop here. Think about other tips and tactics you can use. Don’t let Dad catch you staring at your coffee.

For more copywriting tips, tricks and advice, keep an eye on our blog at www.singaporefreelancecopywriter.com.

 

Image credit: Pixabay

Freelance Copywriter Blog: 6 Tricks for Writing Powerful Headlines

Kevin Lim

[Singapore Freelance Copywriter Blog Article]

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Like any old adage, this one makes the most sense in context. It’s a known fact that people skim. Most print consumers are going to read headlines much more often than they’re going to dive into an article.

This was true when newspapers were king, and it’s still true today.

There was a time when newspapers had three editions a day and the occasional extra. Think of all those classic films, in black and white, with the news boy crying out, “Extra, extra! Read all about it!” People did read all about it, and it was largely due to powerful headlines.

When people get to your website or blog, they’re still going to do what their grandparents did―they’re going to skim the headlines and they may or may not move on from there. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

According to Pew Research, in 2015, the newspaper sector experienced one of the worst years since the recession. Average weekday newspaper circulation, print and digital combined, fell 7% in 2015. Pew says this is the greatest decline since 2010.

Is a powerful headline the panacea for all things that ail print and digital media? It’s part of it. Believe this―it’s all about relevant, commanding content with a powerful headline.

If the point hasn’t been driven home, the fact remains—headlines matter. When a strong headline is attached to irresistible content, people are drawn to read your copy. It’s simply a part of good writing.

Don’t underestimate a poorly written headline. Nothing will send potential customers searching for somewhere else to spend their time and money. And you cannot overestimate the returns when you craft headlines that grab your reader’s attention and essentially compel people to engage with your content.

Some copywriters admit to spending more time composing headlines than they do on content, this is how seriously it’s taken. The fact that a writer is so invested in writing the right headline, the headline that will resonate with readers and potential customers, calls attention to the need for honing our communication skills.

There is a difference between formula and communication, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start with a method. Here are some techniques to help make your headlines strong and pumped up.

 

Powerful Headline Tip 1: Use Numbers

You can talk to Jeff Goins and Neil Patel, and any other experienced copywriter, and they’ll say the same thing. People love list-type posts. They want their information concise and they want it fast and easy to follow.

“150 Ways to Eat Better and 47 Recipes”

I’m not reading that. A personal trainer friend of mine always tells new clients that he can get them fit and looking buff using two soup cans. His point? Keep it simple and keep it consistent. Do not overwhelm.

By the way, studies show that odd numbers perform better than even number.

 

Powerful Headline Tip 2: Offer Value

In a very real sense, copy is about initiating a value exchange with readers and potential customers. Communicate your understanding of needs and how you will provide the value people expect.

A great way to do this is how-to headlines. Here’s a great example:

“7 Tricks for Writing Powerful Headlines”

You see how this guy grabbed your attention, used numbers and communicated the value of his post? And you get to learn something awesome in 7 steps, not 7 years.

 

Powerful Headline Tip 3: Make Promises

Make a bold promise in your headline then deliver in your content. Promise to teach a new skill. Promise to inspire your readers to try something new and exciting. Reveal a secret that will impact their lives or their business, their minds or their souls. And be specific.

 

Powerful Headline Tip 4: Add Power Adjectives

Some words are worth avoiding. Very is a good example. “I’m very happy” is fine when you’re talking to your bestie, but in print, it weakens the prose. Not is another. “I did not want this advice” is not as strong as “It was unwanted advice”.

Similarly, to punch those headlines, use adjectives. Incredible, essential, brilliant, effortless―words that grab your readers’ attention and get them to dive head-first into your copy are the words to use.

 

Powerful Headline Tip 5: Punctuate

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. famously taught students to limit themselves to periods and commas―great advice I choose to ignore. In headlines, don’t be afraid of the dash and the colon. Punctuation is like a sign post on the road to your copy. Use them and use them wisely.

 

Powerful Headline Tip 6: Do Not Fear The Negative

According to an article (with a great headline) on socialmediaexaminer.com, headlines with negatives like “never” or “worst” performed 63% better than those containing positives like “always” or “best”. In fact, you may want to consider avoiding such superlatives all together. It’s important to keep in mind that negative terms were viewed as more authentic and genuine by a majority of readers.

 

Conclusion

We want people to visit, and come back and visit again. We want our visitors to read our work beyond the headline. A powerful headline makes all the difference in the world―that is, the difference between being unread and ignored and instead guaranteeing that your posts are read and shared.