A keyword rich, well written website supports an effective SEO strategy

Websites cost money. It’s worth it if someone reads yours.

You’ve spent a lot of your marketing budget having your site built. You probably want someone to buy from you. A professional web content developer supports the SEO strategy you need to be noticed.

A web content developer plays a critical role in optimizing your site. Actually, three of us play a major role: your webmaster, your site designer, and your web content developer. Out of this team of three, web content developers focus exclusively on the words within your site. We know the games played by search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo that prevent your site from being seen or read. We get SEO and we use that knowledge to your advantage.

SEO gets you noticed. We don’t do content that doesn’t accomplish anything.  Blog photo_SEOBriefly, the value of SEO is that you are optimizing your opportunity to have your website rank higher up on search engine result pages, or “SERPs” when someone searches for your product or service.

To be clearer: if you are a healthcare company and someone is looking for you on the Internet, you could be the first one they contact because you’re the first one they see when the page pops up listing “healthcare companies.”

When your website is well written, it makes sense to a potential buyer.  Search engines don’t like unclear, unreadable content. We don’t either. We’re writers. It’s completely self-defeating to have a site that’s not going to do anything for you.

Search engine roadblocks can be sticky business.

Google, Bing, and Yahoo have all kinds of roadblocks in place that can result in some websites ending up on page five. For instance, Google shuts down “spammy sites” to prevent “keyword stuffing,” which means websites have been “stuffed” with all kinds of keywords to optimize the site. Bing’s search ranking algorithms consider typos, poor grammar, and poor language to be part of their ranking factors. Yahoo has their own set of rules. To back up what I’m saying, you can view an excellent chart outlining tips on SEO from http://www.searchengineland.com:

http://searchengineland.com/download/seotable/SearchEngineLand-Periodic-Table-of-SEO-2013.pdf

Professional web content developers know the rules.

As professional web content developers, we know the proven principles for end user site navigation, effective keyword placement, inline links, and how the content aligns with the web framework. And we leverage the site design to your advantage.

Our talent lies in creating an effective marketing message to your customers and potential customers with well chosen words that work.

One more thing: bring us in from the very beginning. We are just as important a contributor in this thing as your site designer or webmaster. We actually partner with them to achieve what you’re going after—a website that’s discovered before anyone else’s is. Let’s talk about how your website is working for you. 

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Cindy Stephens has gained insight on all aspects of writing for SEO from loads of research and  from incredibly generous, talented web masters and programmers. Title tags, meta tags, keyword searches, search engine games— they’re all part of having her client’s talents discovered. A small sample of the sites she’s written are here: www.ambassadorllc.nethttp://www.oulalaevents.comhttp://www.romanlawfirm.comhttp://www.masramusa.comhttp://www.bluecoralinteriors.com

 

Email blasts. Everyone does them. Not everyone does them well.

Email blasts are tricky. Writing them, designing them, and executing them takes time, thought, technical aptitude and usually, a marketing professional.

We know that you receive lots of these. So your customers receive a lot of these. Wouldn’t you want yours to be noticed? You owe them an effective message, a clean, enticing look, and links that work.

You owe your business, your customers, and your potential customers a well-done email blast. Read on.

A professional writer will  help. Well, they will only help if you want your email blast to be read.

The reason you might consider hiring a professional writer to write yours is because we know how to have yours read. An unread email is kind of worthless.

We get to know: what your customers want, why they would want it, and when they may want it.

In other words, we get to know everything that is essential to earning high open rates and click-thru rates. And it isn’t rocket science, but it does involve good writing with a customer focus. 

As stated in this article about smart email marketing, Seth Godin and some other savvy marketing professionals reinforce that “Words matter. Good writing is the basis of content that gets noticed, no matter what form that content ultimately takes. For businesses, good writing is a mirror of good, clear, customer-centric thinking.” http://bit.ly/Kjkfo9 

From start to finish, this better be good. Blog photo of email-marketing

There’s a lot of critical thinking involved before an email blast is created and after it’s sent. From the subject line to the last line, an effective email message involves capturing your reader’s attention from start to finish.

The subject line, the body text, the graphics, the number of characters, the list goes on and on. Most don’t realize that this marketing tool has a lot of rules around it.

And follow up and clean up are just as crucial.

You’ve gotta do the dirty work.

Send tests. Send lots of tests. These allow you to see how your email blast will appear on mobile devices and how it’s viewed on their computers. And you often notice what you didn’t notice when you created them. Send it to your friends who have Android devices and iPhones. Get their feedback because they are viewed differently.

Read the reports provided by your email marketing service. They tell you exactly what’s going on – who read your email blasts, how many actually opened it, and how together your database is. After sending out your blasts, go into the back end and scrub those lists of emails that have bounced back, unless your email service does it for you. They’re not going to do you any good. Then blast your list again to those that didn’t open it the first time.

Email marketing services

You might look at this. It’s a review of 10 email marketing services in case you don’t have one. I’m not sure why MailChimp isn’t on there because that’s what I use, but this serves as an education in case you haven’t tried email marketing before. http://email-marketing-service-review.toptenreviews.com

There’s a lot more, but as professional writers we know what to say and how to say it. We’re familiar with what spam filters don’t like, what colors work and what colors don’t, punctuation that won’t translate, and how to achieve open rates and click-thru rates you’ve only dreamed of.


Cindy Stephens is a freelance marketing writer that has written email blasts that turn heads and turn profits. She gained insight into how effective marketing communication solutions affect the bottom line from her 15+ years in some of the top Fortune 500 companies around.  http://www.agoodwriter.com

A good tagline can be a knockout differentiator.

A tagline could be the start of something big. 

An advertising tagline, or slogan can be the beginning of something great—new business. The benefit of your new product or service can be grasped in just a moment, if it’s written well. Taglines can be fluid, a declarative statement, or more of an invitation and can be so powerful that they drive business, build trust, and incite a new customer to buy.

You may need a hook. You may need a “wow.” You may need us to do that.

That ad or brochure may just need a “wow” factor. A distinctive, simple statement that’s conveyed in a few words captures a brand’s essence and clearly expresses your value proposition. And when coupled with a sharp graphic image or logo, it can be a knockout differentiator for your company.

A well-written tagline can express a feeling or identify a product. Some of the most successful brands on the market have taglines that are not only memorable, but timeless. You know what they are but to emphasize my point, here are just a few that I believe support what I’m saying.

Some of these aren’t in play any longer but they were huge when they were:

When it comes to service, there’s Cadillac. Then there’s everyone else – Cadillac

Find Yours – Expedia

Dress Normal – The Gap

Buy differently. – The Grommet

There’s no equal. – Sweet ‘N Low

There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard. – MasterCard

Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. – Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

I know you can think of more. Burger King recently changed their tagline to something more personal: “Be your way.” They explain why here:

Fernando Machado, the chain’s senior VP-global brand marketing, said that Burger King is aiming to have the tagline become “much more than just a headline” in that the goal is to “create a much stronger emotional connection by talking to a behavior that already exists. He added: “We’re trying to elevate ‘Have it Your Way’ to a state that’s much more emotional and centered around around self-expression.”

A good tagline may land you a buyer quicker than you think.

When a tagline is good enough, no one may read your website or email blast. They may get who you are immediately. That could be all they need to pick up the phone to discover more.

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Cindy Stephens has directed marketing communications strategies for CBRE, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and AT&T Wireless Services and has written sharp taglines  for CBRE and numerous clients. http://www.agoodwriter.com

My job is to brag about what my clients do better than anyone else.

Customers deserve to get what they want, don’t they?

I’ve been a customer of my bank for at least 10 years and while in my experience “good banking relationship” is an oxymoron, I still tried to get them to absorb the idea that I can just take my business somewhere else if I don’t get what I want. I’m not being a brat. I’m being a customer. Taking my business to another bank probably doesn’t have as much of a significant impact on their bottom line as I would like, given that I’m a freelance writer, but whatever.

When I told the “customer service” banker the other day that the terms of the loan I went into sign didn’t work for me, she actually asked me if I had “signed in.” Really? That’s the first thing you care about? After several misunderstandings I went home and performed a quick search on the number of banks in Houston and while credit unions are listed also, it comes to 1532. I think I can easily go somewhere else.

A few rusty headlines to prove my point

As a marketing writer, I’m extremely cognizant that when producing marketing materials, the approach for content is to write from the customer’s perspective. If I were to write for my bank, the headline would read “We don’t get it. Go do your banking somewhere else.”

Any of us can choose to spend our money wherever we want and it’s usually based on whether or not they give us what we need. In choosing a dry cleaner, I’ve given business to one for over three years mainly because the dude behind the counter and I know each other by first name but he also provides a superior product. So the copy would read maybe (this is rusty) “We know our customers by name. What other dry cleaner can say that?”

Every day, businesses that pay attention to what I want or need get my money. Your customers aren’t any different.

Let’s talk about what your customers want. Then let’s give it to them.

When I meet with a client, one of the first questions I ask them is “What do you do that makes a difference to your customers?” I’m asking what they’re doing that the customer wants. I’ve been hired to communicate why they should choose them, if it’s a potential customer or to reiterate why they should continue to buy from them if they are an existing one.

The thing is, as a freelance marketing writer, whether it’s to produce content for a website, a proposal, or a series of email blasts, my job is to brag about what my clients do and what they provide that’s better than what anyone else can.

Even if I’m called upon to proof or edit, I’ve seen more speeches and brochures and direct mail pieces that are all about the company. That’s important but no one cares about anything you build, or fix or sell unless you communicate what’s in it for them. Ready? Let’s start something.

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Cindy Stephens writes marketing materials and website content that help sell a widget, translate a vision or communicate a process. Her 15+ years developing and implementing marketing communication strategies in the corporate world have provided her with the tools needed to translate company objectives into strong, effective messages. Her portfolio of work is available here and she’ll be happy to share the websites she’s composed upon request.

With a compelling headline, your clients will be dying to know what comes next.

Why are good headlines critical? It’s where readers begin.

People don’t read.

Some interesting stats: On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.

You know as well as I do (gulp) that today, people don’t read as much now. That’s admittedly  tough coming from a writer. People read in snippets, gloss over blogs, fast forward through eBooks, and scan articles.

It’s what readers see first. As marketing writers, we know how to lead the way.

A  headline is what readers see first. It’s the very first time they find out what you have to say and why it’s worth it to find out more. As a professional marketing writer, my job is to have your website, direct mail piece, the industry article (online and print), the news story, and the advertisement read. That’s what we’re paid to do. We know how to lead the way to more information about you.

A headline has power. A headline is a compelling promise of what’s ahead.

You would think it’s the message that’s really important. Well, it is. But the marketing message will rarely be read unless they’re hit first with something that really grabs them.

With a good headline, your clients will be dying to know what comes next.

Blog_write-killer-headlines graphi

A good headline is honest, compelling, simple, direct, positive, and a tease. It must be accurate—read more here about how you can’t make a promise you aren’t intending to fulfill. Your websites, direct mail, email blasts, or ads should begin with a top-notch headline so your clients will be dying to know what else you’ve got.

We write great headlines. And what follows is a killer message. Let us know how we start with yours.

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Cindy Stephens has directed marketing communications strategies for CBRE, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and AT&T Wireless Services and has written shrewd headlines and killer copy for many of her wonderful clients for over ten years. http://www.agoodwriter.com

As with any occupation, some settle. Some of us don’t because we insist on making you shine.

Inspired, professional marketing materials? Just a thought.

Often, businesses hire creatives (writers, photographers, designers) to solve a specific problem. My business began when I was told more than a few times that the client didn’t get what they wanted when they had previously hired a writer. I made the decision then to become a linchpin, combining inspiration, creativity and professionalism while pushing back on the quest for average.

As within any occupation, some settle. But some have little interest in settling on merely doing a good job. You’ve known people like that – relentlessly pushing to change your perception of what’s possible while focusing on over delivering.

We’re driven to take it up a notch. We’re driven to provide inspired, professional marketing materials that effectively tell your story.

A good creative delivers an anything but common story, design, or photograph.

Consider understanding a truly professional “creative.” Our skill lies in the interpretation of a common objective and delivering an anything but common story, or design or photograph. We respect the rules and teachings of our profession, our mentors and the talent we’ve been blessed with too much to produce anything resembling average.

Being savvy equates to success—your success.

The creative who’s willing to push themselves off the edge is on the only path that actually leads to success – your success. As a marketing writer, when I say “push themselves off the edge,” I’m attempting to convey that we  don’t easily settle on the first words chosen, or the first sentences or the first headlines. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph is evaluated and polished  in order to address the very specific objectives you told us you’re going after.

I’ve worked on several projects with savvy clients that have extended the deepest respect for what we bring to the table. They  have been more than thrilled with the concepts we presented, sometimes with a slant toward the unexpected and the unconventional. And that allows all of us to accomplish what we simply wanted to do all along: to make them shine.

Let us know when you’re ready for better.

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Cindy Stephens has provided highly-effective turnkey communication solutions for small businesses and global corporations for over 15 years. Shameless plug: after recently presenting new website copy, her client remarked: “The girl is poetic.” Discover why. www.agoodwriter.com

You’re not boring. Why would you want your website content to be?

Boring websites are ignored.

Thoughtful, usable website content is a critical business asset. You’ve paid for the content, by either writing it yourself or you paid someone to do it but if it’s boring, it’s not going to help you sell your product or service. And it can.

I see a lot of websites that simply provide information. But the information isn’t very interesting. It should be and it can be.

Your website only serves you well if it grasps the attention of your most valuable user: your potential or existing customer. When they take the time to land on your site, your content—both in essence and in presentation—should make his or her tactical needs and experiences a paramount priority. In scarcely a few moments, they want to know what’s in your product or service they can’t do without and the time they have taken to get to know you is validated and reinforced. Conversely, untended, poorly presented content invites confusion and frustration and ultimately strains the relationship between you and your customer.

Your most valued asset is your customer or potential customer. 

A professional web content developer is able to strengthen the binds between you and your customer by providing content in an organizational manner, using effective wording that has your most valued asset appreciate who you are and why they should buy from you.

Smaller firms. Smaller budgets. We get that.

I’ve noticed a lot of smaller firms with websites that aren’t effectively telling their story. You don’t need a big budget to highlight all the great things you do. But, you might to regroup if your site doesn’t appeal to anyone. You have the opportunity to give it everything you’ve got, and you owe that to yourself and your company. And you don’t need big bucks to do it.

All services and products can be, and are interesting. We’ll prove it.

Widgets, nuclear fusion, video conferencing, pipe valves, healthcare consulting—all of it can be stimulating. In fact, it better be.

You’re not boring. The story of who you are and what you offer shouldn’t be either.

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Cindy Stephens, principal of A Good Writer, LLC has over 15 years of experience managing and implementing marketing communication strategies. The small businesses she’s worked with have all benefitted from her insight, her direction, and the words that get them noticed. She has written numerous un-boring websites and will be happy to talk to you about them at anytime.