Writing in notebook

8 Stellar Tips on Writing for SEO

We here at 4B have discovered the cheat code to winning some real ROI and it is this:

UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, BE, A, GREAT SEO CONTENT WRITER!

cheat-code

When it comes to any content on your site, we can’t stress it enough: writing for SEO is crucial for success! Whether someone is looking for a new cafe, or craft brewery, or culturally appropriated taco truck, they will almost ALWAYS start with a Google search.

As we mentioned earlier in our blog on what SEO is, you MUST create for users and not just search engines.

This is actually a pretty big challenge for most companies, which is why we have come up with a list of tips that will help you improve your content!

Now, before we go any further, we understand that there are two types of people who are reading this blog right now:


  1. Someone who is looking for tips on becoming a successful copywriter
  2. Someone who is far too busy running their business to develop new content, but is wise enough to know that they will benefit IMMENSELY from great SEO copywriting…in which case, let me refer you to our copywriting services page.

For those of you looking to become copywriting gurus, are you ready to start creating impeccable SEO content that will lead to conversions? Of COURSE you are, otherwise, you wouldn’t have clicked on my tempting headline!

Tips For Writing For SEO

SEO Is ALL About The Audience:

Create content for users, not just search engines! Write with the user’s intent in mind!

Sure, this seems like a given, but so many businesses continually fail to write to humans or to humans who are outside their organization…you know, those people that you WANT to be your next client or customer! Answer the questions they’re asking and connect with your audience.

Remember that if you are writing to please an AI or algorithm, you will be missing the end for the means, because the end should be a human reading and finding value in your writing.

Likewise, there’s going to be limited value in talking about product or service features. We get it – you want your blog to be a sales tool – but there are reasons salespeople have a smile on their faces, take you out to lunch at a nice restaurant, and defer conversations about the nuts and bolts. They want you to enjoy yourself and find value in their presence first and foremost. Make sure your writing is doing the same.

Make Headlines That Pop:

Your headline is the initial call to action and it is designed to capture your audience’s attention. It is what entices people to click, and no doubt, the very headline of this blog was optimized to your queries. (Yes, research is a part of this. More about this in a moment.)

Headlines with power words and numbers tend to get more shares on social media, and headlines that answer the “who, what, why, how, and when” to user questions will always benefit immensely.

Super business advertising tycoon David Ogilvy once said, “When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.” Something to keep in mind when coming up with that title!
If you are struggling with that headline, check out this blog title generator from Inbound now.

Use Keyword-Rich Phrases:

All successful SEO content writing starts with one thing…keyword research. This is how you will determine the most relevant topics and keywords for your business.

Once you have determined your relevant, targeted keywords, start peppering them into your copy as well as your titles, meta descriptions, and headings (always have an H1!)

Whatever you do, DO NOT stuff keywords (don’t cram a ton of keywords in an attempt to manipulate site rankings in Google search)! Search engines could penalize you, even by removing your site from search engine results pages altogether. PLUS keyword stuffing can create an unpleasant experience for your audience as a whole.

Some tools to help you with keyword research:

Ensure Your Page Readability:

Nobody wants to trudge through difficult, thick, incoherent, and unreadable content. They want answers to their questions and they want them now!

Write in a conversational tone and use shorter phrases, shorter sentences, and shorter paragraphs. Format your content for readers that want to skim as this allows the mind to breathe!

Sure, we’re not all elbow-patch-tweed-blazer wearing professors of English who have mastered spelling and grammar, which is why some tools like Grammarly come in extra handy when it comes to polishing up content readability.

Structure Your Content:

Going hand-in-hand with readability is the structure of your content.

The back-end organization of your page is important for search engines as it lets them understand and determine the relevancy of your content to a specific user search query.

Make sure that you are using headers (H1s for titles and H2s for subtitles), title tags (the title of your page as it appears on SERPs), and meta descriptions (the HTML that summarizes your content for users and search engines.)

Visual Appeal/Images:

Did you know that images are processed by the brain 60,000x faster than the written word? People are visual creatures, and most of us process things based on what we see. Your reader will absolutely LOVE images that pop.

A good tip would be to include 1 image with every 100 words. This will help improve readability and break the monotony of the text.

Be sure to optimize your images’ alt-text as Google places a relatively high value on them! Include your keyword in at least one image, but ultimately describe the image in specific detail.

Shoot For A Featured Snippet:

Featured snippets are those tidbits of information that you sometimes see at the very VERY top of a Google search. They will appear when a user asks a question such as, “how do I write content for SEO?”

To land a featured snippet, make sure your content thoroughly answer questions in your content. Include numbered and bulleted lists if it is appropriate.

Utilizing all the tips listed above (keywords, images, structure, readability etc.) will always increase your chances of landing the coveted position zero on Google.

Track Your Keywords:

Now that you have unlocked the Contra cheat modes to writing for SEO you should be well on your way to creating killer content! However, there is one vital tip left that you need to consider:

How will you know if you’ve SUCCESSFULLY written for SEO if you’re not setting your targets and tracking your ability to hit them?! Are you planning on checking Google every week to see if you find yourself in the number 1 position?

Keyword tracking is how you will monitor and measure the success of all your hard work and SEO content writing efforts. Doing this will show you how well your website is ranking in Google search results.
You can check the search rankings for all of your keywords with the Swiss army knife of SEO tools, SEMrush.

Not only can you track your keywords using SEMrush, but you can also do keyword research, competitive research, blog audits, and find backlinking opportunities as well. SOLID!

There you have it! You should be all set! Happy SEO content writing, everyone!


Set up Google Analytics

The Right Way to Set Up Google Analytics 2020

Your heart races as you sit there, staring at your computer with sweaty palms and bated breath. You are painfully aware that your website could benefit from the powerful, FREE, digital marketing tool that is Google Analytics, however, the dread of setting it up seems daunting and is going to once again keep you from taking your site to the next level.

Well, fear not! We here at 4B understand all the apprehensions that come with analytics induced anxiety which is why we have come up with an easy step-by-step guide to setting up Google Analytics like a pro! So take a deep breath, let us help you alleviate your worries, and soon you will be monitoring and analyzing your website’s traffic in no time!

Before we take a swan dive into the tutorial, we want to assure you that we aren’t handing out some untested directions that we regurgitated off of a Google search. This is the same process that we use for our clients here at 4B. It usually gets more complicated from here, but this is the foundation that we rely on. Feel a little better knowing that you are in some safe hands? Of course you do!

Now, first thing is first: you’re going to need a Google Account if you don’t have one already. So go ahead and get that account set up if you need to. We can wait.

Step 1: Setting up Google Analytics

Alright, now that you have a Google Account, you’re going to create a Google Analytics account by simply signing up on the Google Analytics page.

Once you’ve logged in, click Sign Up to set up your NEW ACCOUNT. Now, just follow these short, simple steps as directed:

  1. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRACK: Select “Website”
  2. ACCOUNT NAME: this will be your business name (i.e. 4B)
  3. WEBSITE NAME: this will be the name of your website (i.e. 4B.com)
  4. WEBSITE URL: this will be your actual website address (i.e. www.4B.com) BE SURE TO SELECT “HTTP://“ or HTTPS:// whatever is appropriate
  5. INDUSTRY CATEGORY: Select the MOST appropriate category for your business.
  6. REPORTING TIME ZONE: Select the Country and the Time Zone where your business is located

WOOHOO! You have now set up your Google Analytics account and have been gifted with a highly important TRACKING ID NUMBER (the set of numbers that look like UA-000000-1) and TRACKING CODE (the block of code under Website Tracking that begins with <script> and ends with </script>)

Universal Analytics ID and code

Step 2: Adding Google Analytics to Your Site

These codes are unique to your website and should be added to the heading of every page on your site. We recommend setting up Google Tag Manager in order to add these codes to your website, which you should go ahead and do right now.

Installing Google Tag Manager on Your Site

Adding Google Tag Manager to a Shopify Site

Adding Google Tag Manager to a Squarespace Site

Adding Google Tag Manager to WordPress

Adding Google Tag Manager to Wix

That wasn’t so hard, was it? Let’s shed off some more self-doubt, and move on to the next step!

Step 3: Verifying Google Analytics Setup

It is time to ensure that we have set up Google Analytics properly, and for what it’s worth, I am absolutely CERTAIN you set it up swimmingly!

Google Analytics Realtime Menu Option

  1. On your Google Analytics dashboard, click REAL-TIME on the left-hand menu.
  2. In the drop-down, click OVERVIEW
  3. Now, open up another tab (Command + T for you Mac users; Ctrl + T for PC users) enter the URL for your website and go to the homepage.
  4. Head back to your Google Analytics dashboard which will still be on the real-time page.
  5. Wait a minute…

If all went well, you should now see at least one visitor (this would be you) on your page.

SUCCESS! Look how far you’ve come! You’re on your way to running analytics like a pro! Take a victory lap, and when you get back, let’s set up some filters, and views and refine this mutha. Onward, my digital marketing friends!

Step 4: Setting Up Filters in Google Analytics

Setting up Google Analytics was a breeze, eh? Well, why stop there? There are some extra steps you should take to ensure your account is stellar and right now we are going to focus on creating “views” in Analytics so that you can get more accurate data.

Creating a New Filtered View

Setting up a filtered view in Analytics will ensure that you are getting that prized accurate data every good digital marketing pro strives for.

A filtered view will remove any internal traffic (you and your company’s employees) and any spam traffic (the fake visitors, bots and other BS traffic that will skew information and muck up your site’s performance…so it’s obvious now why we set one up, huh? Yup.)

Now, there should ALWAYS be at least two views: your filtered view (what we are setting up now) and a regular view (the initial view) that is pristine and untouched. Info that is going to be captured will start when the filter is activated and you won’t be able to retroactively add or remove the filters at a later time.

Now, let’s go ahead and get the filters fired up!

  1. Head over to the ADMIN section in you Google Analytics Account (this will be the little Wheel/Gear looking icon on the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu…this one)

2. Once you click the ADMIN icon, it will open up a page for you that looks like this.

  1. Click on the blue CREATE VIEW button over in the top right.
  2. Under REPORTING VIEW NAME, name your view (we usually will just name it “Filtered View” followed with the date that the view was set up.)
  3. Select your business’ Time Zone
  4. Click CREATE VIEW

Congrats! You’ve just set up a filtered view! Now let’s….

Filter Out That Internal Traffic

The easiest way to do this is as follows:

  1. From the ADMIN menu, under the CREATE VIEW column, click on FILTERS

2. Click +ADD FILTER

  1. Choose CREATE NEW FILTER
  2. Under FILTER NAME enter something like “Office IP ADDRESS” or “My Home IP ADDRESS” (whichever location of the IP address you will be excluding)
  3. Under FILTERED TYPE choose CUSTOM.
  4. Make sure the EXCLUDE button is selected.
  5. Under the FILTERED FIELD dropdown, select IP ADDRESS
  6. Enter your IP ADDRESS in the field (you can get this info by Googling “My IP Address”)
  7. Click SAVE

Show the Full URL in Google Analytics

Now, when you are looking at your reports for data, your freshly minted Google Analytics account won’t be showing the full URL by default. Having that full URL is will help you figure out if that site visit came in to yourdomain.com vs. blog.yourdomain.com .

In order to get around this default behavior, you will need to set a new filter. Adding this filter is rather painless, but you need to make sure you enter the information listed below correctly.

 

  1. From the ADMIN screen you are going to go to FILTERS then select +ADD FILTER (this part is becoming second nature to you now, huh?)
  2. Under FILTER NAME, put in something simple like “Full URL Filter”
  3. Under FILTER TYPE select CUSTOM then click ADVANCED
  4. For FIELD A, select HOSTNAME from the dropdown and put (.*) in the text field
  5. For FIELD B, select REQUEST URI from the dropdown and put (.*) in the text field
  6. For OUTPUT TO, select REQUEST URI from the dropdown and put $A1$B1 in the text field
  7. Your setup should look exactly like this now:

8. Click SAVE

Make Sure All of Your Page Visits are Consolidated

Of course, showing full URLs is a must in any report, but there is still a chance we could get some inaccurate data as some platforms will show that a URL will have a forward slash (one of these “/” guys) at the end of the URL, where others do not.

This confuses poor Google into thinking that there are TWO different URLs even when they are the same one. ARRGGHHH! So in order to remedy this, you will need to create a new filter (I know, I know…another filter) to add trailing slashes.

Once again, just follow these steps accordingly and everything will be coming up aces!

  1. From ADMIN to FILTERS, select +ADD FILTER
  2. Under FILTER NAME, title this one something along the lines of “Add Trailing Slash to All URLs”
  3. Select CUSTOM, then click ADVANCED
  4. For FIELD A select REQUEST URI from the dropdown menu
  5. In this text field you will need to enter the following regex text as-is: ^(/[a-z0–9/_\-]*[^/])$
  6. For FIELD B leave it empty and make no changes
  7. For OUTPUT TO select REQUEST URI from the dropdown menu, then enter $A1/ in the text field.
  8. It will look like this when entered correctly.

  1. Click SAVE

 

WHEW! And just like that, your filters have been set!

Step 5: Connect Google Search Console

We are almost there! The last step of this entire journey is to get your Google Search Console up so that you can link it to your Google Analytics view. If you’re feeling a little fatigued, take a stretch, think of calm blue oceans, look at a pic of a cute puppy, and once you’ve centered yourself, let’s go ahead and head on over to Google Webmasters Tool because we are going to…

Setup Google Webmaster Search Console

  1. Sign-in to Google Webmaster Tool with your Google username and password.
  2. Under ADD PROPERTY, select WEBSITE from the dropdown menu.
  3. Enter your FULL WEBSITE URL (and be sure to note whether or not your website uses www. or not, and enter it correctly in this field) then click ADD
  4. On the new page, click on the ALTERNATE METHODS tab
  5. Select the GOOGLE TAG MANAGER button then click VERIFY
  6. If all went well (it no doubt did) your site will be verified with Google Search Console.

Connect Google Search Console to Google Analytics

Follow these steps now, and you will be successfully connected:

 

  1. Let’s head back over to Google Analytics.
  2. Click the BAD REFERRERS AND KNOWN BOTS REMOVED view for your website. This is going to take you to your Analytics dashboard.
  3. On the left side, you will see ACQUISITIONS. Go ahead and click that.
  4. Click SEARCH CONSOLE under the ACQUISITIONS tab.
  5. Now click QUERIES under SEARCH CONSOLE
  6. Click SETUP SEARCH CONSOLE DATA SHARING in the next window.
  7. On the next page, it directs you to, scroll to the bottom and click ADJUST SEARCH CONSOLE
  8. Click EDIT under the SEARCH CONSOLE heading.
  9. Select your Search Console site and then click SAVE.

WE ARE ALL SET!
Wow! Look at you! You’ve come a long, long way from when we first started! Now we strongly recommend following up all of this by setting up a Google Search Console account so that you will get the maximum benefits, but other than that you have now successfully set up your Google Analytics and you are a Noob no more! Per Aspera ad Astra!


Online sales

How can I tell which keywords are driving my sales?

Very recently, I showed you how to find which keywords were driving traffic to your site from search. While this can prove very important to understand where your site is providing value for searchers, it also assumes that all traffic is created equal. It’s not all equal.

Your site isn’t some amorphous blob (I hope) that somehow ranks as a whole? It’s made up of pages that are ranking individually for a myriad of keywords and key phrases. It does a disservice to your efforts to view your site’s top keywords and end your research there. Let’s go further.

While I speak to these examples in terms of completed and submitted contact forms, you can modify this to your own goal. If you’re a B2B company, you may want to use this information to find what keywords are driving leads. If you are a restaurant, you may want to learn what keywords are driving reservations. If you know the goal of your website, following these steps should help reveal what people are typing into search engines to get there.

Step 1: Make sure you have Google Analytics setup on your site.

This is essential for revealing this data. If you don’t have Google Analytics firing on every page of your site, go get that setup and then ask Siri to remind you to revisit this page in two months.

You can find instructions for setting up Google Analytics here.

Step 2: Get as close to the conversion as you can.

What prompted me to write this piece was a company asking how I’d know where to start their PPC campaigns from. I tried to explain this multi-post series in a span of about 2 minutes. The client looked perplexed as to the words I’d just vomited out. I decided to take this step by step to help them (and you) better understand what was driving their conversions.

In their case, they wanted leads in the form of completed contacts, either by phone or from a contact email form on their site. For the sake of making this example easier to follow, we’ll focus on the contact email form. With that goal in mind, I’m considering any visitor who sees the “Thank you for contacting us” page after they hit submit on the contact form a conversion. Let’s pretend that the URL of that page is www.example.com/contact-thank-you/

I have another client who doesn’t sell directly to their customer. Instead, they provide links to local retailers, in their case, visits to the “Find a retailer” page or a button click to “Find a retailer near me” might be considered a conversion, since it’s the closest to a conversion we can get with website interactions (we can’t track the visitor once they leave the site.)

Step 3: Source the entrance page of your convertors

Now that we know the conversion URL (which, as an aside, should be set up as a Goal in Google Analytics), we want to visit Google Analytics, select Behavior on the left-hand menu, select Site Content, and then click All Pages to see visits to all page on the main portion of the page.

Google Analytics > Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

On the right hand side, below the graph of pageviews, you’ll see a search bar. Type in the page name of your conversion page. Using our example, I’ll type in “contact-thank-you”

 

If everything has gone correctly, you should now only see that page in your list of pages.

Below the graph, you should see a drop-down menu labeled Secondary Dimension. Click that drop down menu and type Landing Page in the search box.

Select Landing Page, and you should now see a new column below, just to the right of Page column. This new column shows you the entrance pages of visitors who ultimately landed on the URL in the Page column.

In case that wasn’t clear (it happens): The URL under the Page column is your goal page. The URL under the Landing Page column is the page they entered your site on that ultimately led those visitors to your goal page.

There’s a lot you can do with this information, including optimizing your page for key phrases that drive even more converting traffic. You could even set up a really well researched PPC campaign, couldn’t you?

Leave a comment below if you have any thoughts on this article and be sure to let us know if it helped you. We’d love to hear from you.

Memorize or write down the URL(s) of that page or pages that are driving the bulk of your traffic!

Step 4: Find the keywords that are driving your converting traffic

I hope by this point, you’re excited. I’ve done this a lot in my career and I still think having this kind of information is so cool and it energizes me to write about it. We know there’s a treasure, we’ve found the X on the ground, now it’s time to start digging!

Remember how I showed you how to find the keywords that were driving traffic to your site? Now we’re going to find the keywords that drive search traffic to the page that drive conversions on your site.

Go to Google Search Console and login.

Once you’re logged in, click Performance from the left-hand menu.

 

Once you’ve clicked Performance, click Pages on the right-hand pane below the graph.

 

With pages selected and a list of your most popular pages in search by volume of clicks in front of you, scroll down until you see the URL of the landing page of your converters that we found in the previous step. When that landing page URL is located, click on it. This will filter your view to only focus on that single page.

Now that that URL is isolated, click back onto Queries below the graph.

 

Voila! These are the main terms that are driving converting traffic to your site in search.

There’s a lot you can do with this information, including optimizing your page for key phrases that drive even more converting traffic. You could even set up a really well researched PPC campaign, couldn’t you?

Leave a comment below if you have any thoughts on this article and be sure to let us know if it helped you. We’d love to hear from you.


Traffic

How can I tell which keywords are bringing traffic to my site?

Search engine optimization is a weird beast to most business owners. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a room with a successful proprietor who wants to rank #1 for a term no one is searching. “Get me to the top page for ‘poly-fabric textile distributor Wisconsin!'”

What drives that thinking? I’d assume it’s because that’s how the owner talks about the products she sells. I’d also assume that the fine people at Kellogg’s refer to ‘dehydrated and compressed corn cereal’ internally, but receive far higher traffic to their site for the term ‘corn flakes’. The industry jargon may or may not be how your best customers talk about your business, but how do you know? A better question might be:

How can I find out which keywords bring traffic to my site?

        1. Make sure you’ve claimed Google Search Console for your site. (This might seem daunting initially, but the payoff of information that exists inside of this tool is invaluable.)
          • If you’ve just claimed your search console, you may need to wait a couple of days. If you’ve had it claimed for a while, you should be seeing a performance overview.
        2. On the left hand side, click the word “Performance” in the menu.
Google Search Console Menu > Peformance

This page is so cool, isn’t it? For the reporting period, it shows you how many clicks you’ve received in Google, how many search impressions you’ve received, your click-through rate (how many impressions resulted in a click), and your average position (which page of Google you show up on, on average)

 

  • If you scroll down, you’ll see queries that Google has been ranking your site for. If you click on the word “Clicks”, this page will sort those queries by the terms that have received the most clicks in Google. Better still, search console will also show you the terms that you’re receiving impressions for in search but aren’t winning clicks on.

 

If you’re wondering why all of the clicks that you long for elude you, I’ll tell you why: You just haven’t earned them yet, baby! Start writing some content around those terms.

 

Search Queries in Google, sorted by “Clicks.”

Better EVEN STILL, this is the actual language searchers are using in Google. This is their voice, spoken to Google and whispered back to you verbatim by Google. Mirror the voice of your audience and you’ll have a better opportunity to succeed in search.

Now that you know which keywords are bringing people to your site, you should take the next step to learn which keywords are driving sales or leads on your site.

One note about Google Search Console: This isn’t accounting for every click you receive in Google. As once heard a fellow marketer say, ‘This isn’t an exact science, it’s just the best science we have.’. Go have fun with this tool and let it shape your efforts.

If you need help on this or have questions, please leave them in the comments below.


Typewriter

The frugal guide to becoming a marketing copywriter.

Making a career change is a marketing problem – and one that has a solution.

While it might feel initially like a stretch to make this claim, I encourage you to embrace this notion and approach your new journey with a marketer’s mindset.

Problem: People need good writers. There is an abundance of content being created each day and this is the minimum that businesses need to do to be present on the web. They need good writers to help them create effective “leave behinds” for potential customers on in-person visits, to have engaging social media accounts, and to construct concise narration in video scripts. Now, more than ever, every business needs good writers.

Solution: You love writing. People love reading what you write. Why would they pay some bored zombie to churn out clinical crap when they can have someone with passion write interesting stories that grab attention from their audiences? They wouldn’t if they knew about you and felt confidence in your abilities. But, they don’t know about you and they wouldn’t trust you if they did. Not yet, at least.

No wonder you’re stressed out.

These are two problems that we’re going to solve by the time you get to the end of this blog post.

One of our mottos at 4B is “Everything Is Marketing”, and that includes your current desire to change professions. Let’s connect your solution with someone’s problem so we can all have a better tomorrow.

A friend, we’ll call him Jim, recently confided that this year was going to be the year that he made some significant life changes, including transitioning from his drone-like government job into something new.

“What is it that you want to do?”, I asked Jim during the text conversation we were engaged in.

“Well, ideally write or ANYTHING creative. But realistically…anything outside of menial customer service work. Thought about PIMA for radiology tech certification, but that’s 40k a year. Coding boot camp…outrageous costs.”, he replied

Jim also intimated that he felt like he needed some kind of certification at minimum, and very likely, a degree, neither of which (he assumed) he was able to afford.

Luckily, I was able to sympathize because…. well, I’ve been there. When I moved on from being the Vice President of a web hosting company, circumstance practically demanded that I refine my career, which I viewed as a career change. While I had enjoyed a lot of success in that capacity, I had also felt like that role and industry chose me. If you had asked any version of Tyler, including that version, if that’s what I wanted to do with my life, the answer would’ve been ‘No.’ Beyond my own personal desire to occupy my time differently, no one is looking for someone who says that they can do everything from server maintenance to product management to running inbound call centers to writing help documentation to making advertisements. The market wants to hire someone with a specific set of skills at which they excel.

Personally, I’ve always found finding a new job, outside of my entry level days, a defeating journey. Compound that with switching industries AND trying to prove you’re worthy of a job that you don’t have experience doing full time… that’s enough to depress anyone.

While I considered Jim’s request, I thought back to a video from TheFutur that discussed the interviewee’s desired goals and the abundance of resources she had to realize them. (At least, I think that’s the video I mean to reference.) The conversation reminded her, and me, the viewer, that no matter the outcome she desired, there was a path to it.

With that in mind and knowing that my friend was already a talented writer, I was able to envision a path he could take to reach the destination he sought.

I began to draw the line from where he was to where he said he wanted to be. “So, consider copywriting for an agency like mine.,” I wrote. “I don’t want to be your boss – but the world needs more great copywriters. You’d be researching and writing blogs and website copy – shit like that. It’s not creative writing, but it would be closer to what you need. “

Jim seemed interested. So began a deluge of further advice.

Free and Low-Cost Resources to becoming a Copywriter

Now that I’d defined a clearer version of what I saw as Jim’s next steps, I first considered the lack of financial resources that he’d said he had. Luckily, we live in the age of information. If you want to take courses from MIT, you can start that today and for free. Are you kidding me? With no money and no process of acceptance, with a little bit of self paced learning, you can walk into an interview and honestly say these words: “I successfully completed an MIT Sociology course last year.” or “I completed a course on Literature from Harvard.

With resources like that available to everyone with access to a computer, your excuses for failure are dramatically lessened. If you want it, there’s a path to it.

While I did ultimately recommend the Harvard course to him, I wanted to start with an easier goal to complete. I wanted Jim to prove to himself that he was willing to do the bare minimum to better his life. If he wasn’t willing to do that, I wanted him to stop wasting everyone’s time.

So, what requires minimal effort to take those first steps?

I began with Udemy copywriting courses. I’ve used Udemy in the past and find to be an amazing resource. These courses are taught by self-identified experts in whatever field they’re teaching. The courses are usually based around video content and exercises to put the content into practice. Upon completion, you’re awarded a certificate. Whether having a Udemy certificate on your resume is a positive or negative badge is in the eyes of the beholder, but you’ll know you did it – and confidence may be, in the end, everything.

When evaluating which Udemy course(s) to take, be sure to not only look at the relevance to your goal, but also consider the star rating and volume of reviews that the course has received. Also, not that you likely will ever have to, but never pay full price for their courses. It’s not that they aren’t worth hundreds of dollars – but there are always blanket sales that allow you to get almost any course for around $12. Also, every once in a while, you may even find some free access to courses in sub-reddits around copywriting.

The next resource I recommended was Lynda’s instructional courses on copywriting. Lynda’s courses are taught by Lynda appointed subject matter experts, which may provide you with more confidence that you’re getting a better education than on Udemy. Like Udemy, the Lynda courses will also provide you with a certificate of completion once you’ve finished a course. The deal gets even sweeter when you find out that many library cardholders have free access to Lynda courses. The disadvantage is that the courses you find aren’t as varied as they are on Udemy, so I recommend taking courses on both platforms. It certainly couldn’t hurt to have a more well-rounded education from multiple instructors, even if the subject matter isn’t as precisely dialed in as you’d like.

The next resource I recommended were local writers meetups on Meetup.net. This is a pretty important recommendation for a few reasons.

  • Firstly, what better way is there to break out of daydreaming about being a professional writer than to associate yourself with professional writers? They exist and you can pick their brains.
  • Secondly, I’ve seen strong evidence that suggests that your next job isn’t going to come from craigslist or Google, but from your own network. People like helping other people that they like. They appreciate seeing themselves in others and helping them to overcome hurdles. These groups are essential for finding people who have progressed deeply in the journey you’re just beginning, to learn from their mistakes and discover their shortcuts.
  • Third, you will not be any worse of a writer from attending these meetings. The only way to go is up.

Easy ways to get real-world experience as a marketing copywriter

Telling people that you can write and showing people that you can write are two different things. In order to land that next job and speak about your skills with confidence, you’ll need to know that you can make an impact for your clients or company. Here are a few ways I’d recommend doing that:

Step 1: Find someone who needs your help.

This is so easy. Do you know a business owner? Reach out to them and offer to write blog content for them. Does that sound daunting? You can rely on Hubspot’s blog topic generator to give you some solid ideas of what to write about.

What do you do if they don’t have a blog? Offer to re-write their product or services pages. Almost every business needs a good writer to improve their key pages. Neil Patel offers some amazing tips on writing a great product page here.

Offer to write or re-write their “About Us” page and make it absolutely slay. Susan Greene offer tips for doing that here.

The only things you’ll ask for in lieu of payment are:

  1. A reference from the client.
  2. The ability to use their business name and logo in marketing yourself.
  3. The opportunity to track your results. (We’re building a page about that soon. For now, join our mailing list to be notified once it’s released or reach out to us.)

 

I’m too afraid to ask a business owner if they need my help. Now what?

I recommend asking friends and family if they could use your help. Let them know that they’d be doing you an incredibly big favor in giving you a chance.

If that doesn’t produce results, post on Facebook or Twitter and offer to write for your friend’s businesses, free of charge. Again, tell the story of why you’re doing this so your friends understand that not only will you be helping them, but they’ll be helping you.

Still no one? Hop on these sub-Reddits and offer free copywriting:

https://www.reddit.com/r/business/

https://www.reddit.com/r/ecommerce/

https://www.reddit.com/r/Entrepreneur/

https://www.reddit.com/r/smallbusiness/

Be genuine in your request, don’t bloviate or get spammy. Be authentic in your offer and appreciative for the opportunity to help make someone else’s business better.

Final steps in making your career change become your writing career.

If you’ve followed our steps you should now have the following:

  • Training on becoming a copywriter.
    • This may include certificates of completion and/or education from Harvard.
  • At least one peer group that meets with some regularity.
  • Real world experience in developing effective content for businesses.
  • Results from that real world experience to show your effectiveness.

Congratulations! Think about what you’ve accomplished and feel proud about it. Add “self-starter” to your resume and reference all of this work in the interview. Remind them that you accomplished all of this just so you could help the company you’re interviewing with succeed.

Oh, right, I guess you’ve got to get an interview now. If you can think of 10 companies you’d like to work for, write the names of those companies down. Connect with their heads of marketing on LinkedIn and let them know you’d love nothing more than to be a part of their team. If they don’t accept your invite, send them a letter in the mail. It might not hurt to include a gift card to Starbucks and ask them to meet you for coffee. Run ads on social media targeting the company and make sure they know your name and what you do.

Review the websites of those companies and see if you can re-write key pages for better readability or conversions or search engine optimization. Send the updated copy as a freebie and let them know that you’re available if they’d like more.

Don’t wait until they have an opening to reach out to these decision makers.

Additionally, find out where these decision makers play. Are they checking in at marketing meetups on social or guest speaking at conferences? Are there industry events where you can begin to enter their network? Be where they are – but, you know, don’t be a creep.

Rely on your existing network.

Let your network (through social media and in-person interaction) know how hard you’ve been working on your writing career and that you’re looking for work. Ask for introductions to cool people who are doing cool things.

Your network already knows you. They already love you. They will be happy to give you a job or refer you to someone who needs your services.

My final bit of advice….

…is to treat all ups and downs as gifts. You know where you’re going. You know you’ll succeed. Believe in that. Expect adversity on this journey and make it your mission to find the silver linings. It has been scientifically proven that if you take this perspective, your outcomes are likely to be better than if you didn’t.

Hopefully, I’ve offered some direction so that you can improve your life. I now want to ask you for four favors:

  • Share this article with on social media.
  • Share your story with me about how this helped you in the comments. No matter how big or small.
  • If there are resources you’ve found that aren’t in here, please let me know.
  • Remember to refer 4B when you meet someone who needs an agency’s help with marketing.


Searching the internet

How Can I Tell Which Search Engines My Visitors Used?

  1. Login to Google Analytics
  2. Once logged in, select Acquisition from the left sidebar.
     photo 02 Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 10.39.00 AM_zpsk6f1iuim.png
  3. In the expanded menu, select All Traffic.
     photo 03 Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 10.39.13 AM_zpsdidygggb.png
  4. Under the expanded All Traffic menu, select Channels
     photo 04 Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 10.39.28 AM_zpsm7i19p7q.png
  5. Now, you'll see some new data in the right pane of your screen, showing you your site's traffic channels. Click on the channel labeled Organic Search.
     photo 05 Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 10.39.59 AM_zpsb3iyfklf.png
  6. On the resulting screen, click Source near the top of the page.
     photo 06Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 10.40.23 AM_zpsmfkjqdje.png
  7. Finally, the search engines that people used to find your site will show in the right pane. If you look just to the right of the search engine name, you'll see how many visits you received from that search engine, along with the percentage of your search engine traffic that each source represents.
     photo 07 Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 10.40.44 AM_zps6glmmhs7.png