The Copywriting

It is the goal of businesses to make a profit. To make a profit, one must have customers. And to have customers, businesses must promote themselves through marketing. Depending on the services they offer, some brands use visual forms of advertising, such as videos, infographics, or pictures. Others prefer textual methods, may it be through attention-grabbing headlines and articles. But to be effective in both of them, one must employ the use of copywriting services.

Copywriting and copyrighting are often confused with one another. These two terms are wholly unrelated to each other. Copyrighting protects the legal rights of someone’s work and prevents–or at least tries to–its illegal use.

Copywriting, on the other hand, is the process of creating a “copy”–promotional materials in the form of text. It is strategically putting together words in such a way that they motivate people into taking a particular action–which for businesses means buying the product.

One can see examples of copywriting in commercials, emails, billboards, and website banners, among others.

There have been many instances wherein copywriting is considered both an art and a science. For some, this is not an exaggeration. It simply goes to show the difficulty involved in making this form of sales talk very persuasive to the reader.

Copywriting may be a talent or it may be a skill that is taught, but that does make the line of work any less easier.

The subtle intricacies of copywriting have led to businesses preferring to outsource the work to those that offer copywriting services. Through these outsourcing companies, time, cost, and effort is not wasted by brands that lack experience in copyrighting.

Experienced copywriting services use some of these methods to ensure the reader’s interest:

Eye-catching Titles or Headlines

Headlines and titles are the first lines of text that a reader lays their eyes on. A potent headline will forgo the use of complex words to make it simpler to read and pronounce. A copywriter may sometimes use “strong” language, as these provoking words tend to generate intrigue or shock.

Playing with Emotion

As one of the goals of copywriting is to draw attention, the worst thing that can happen to a copywriter is for their reader to remain apathetic. The copy must evoke some sort of reaction from the person, from joy and amusement or anger and fear. This emotion in turn must make them feel as though they will need the product.

Some copywriters use wit and humor to draw interest. It is advised that they are used sparingly, however, depending on the subject and the desired tone of the advertisement.

Using your Humanity

Copywriters that write as though they are speaking to the reader on a personal level helps the potential customer relate more to the brand. Using personal pronouns such as “We” or “I” and addressing readers candidly builds a connection with them. When it comes to marketing, people prefer authenticity over superficiality.

The Legal Side Of Copywriting, Marketing, Email Marketing and More

When I began my first business it was important to understand trademarked names, phrases and logos. We had over 400 products we were drop shipping and while most vendors and dealers gave total permission to use the graphics and images in our online and printed catalog, some required that we only use 2-3 images at the most. These were companies who also sold the product we purchased from them for resale on their own company websites or catalogs.

Many times I used the phrase, “Bread Rising” in my marketing and was advised several times to have this trademarked or copyrighted. We never did and I honestly didn’t care who used it. No one could compete with me and how we did business anyways. That isn’t an arrogant statement it’s just that people are loyal to people in business.

Tony Robbins has a lot of training on this topic as do many other business trainers and coaches. So I knew that if that phrase was used by other stores online it wouldn’t affect my profits because they weren’t me….. and my customers loved me, not my marketing. * big wide smile *

It’s never been my mode of operation to set up a bunch of legal documents in an effort to protect my business.

It is my belief that the more contracts one has the more likely they are the one you should be keeping an eye on. Far too many companies are attempting to control employees, contractors, writers and more with contracts. Trust and respect work a lot better and go a long way.

So where do you draw the line between what you should protect, what you can’t use that belongs to someone else and the wide range of imaginary protection some companies use that just aren’t even legal?

When it comes to trademarked names, phrases and images it’s a good idea to check the Trademark Database. Here’s an example- a picture of a bull isn’t copyrighted or trademarked, that would be foolish. But a picture of a bull with a line through him and the words, ” No Bull” are a trademarked image used by the legends in Direct Response Marketing and Copywriting.

You can see them at: DanKennedy.com This little image is everywhere! On their books, their website, their banner ads…. you can see for yourself. So don’t go using an image like this and thinking you created it in your marketing. Major no no.

Trademarks aren’t hard to find and sometimes you can even ask for permission to use something and it’s no big deal. You might stumble upon a JV deal or affiliate product you want to add to your marketing.

When you do catalogs online or offline, ask for the imagines directly from your vendor. Even when you do JV deals, promote a book or a product from someone else, just ask for the images you can use. That’s easy to do. People are happy to provide them and respect the integrity it takes to ask.

The legalities of copywriting and writing ad copy is pretty significant.

I surely don’t want you to turn into a paranoid writer but be mindful of these rules. You can get a good overview of what they are here from The American Writers And Artists Inc. This book shares what you can and can’t say in copy and how to be wise. If you aren’t looking to make 6-7 figures AS a copywriter I don’t think you need this book.

However, if you are selling weight loss for example you might find it important to note that in this book you’ll see that outrageous claims, misuse of testimonials and stating things that can’t be scientifically proven could fry your butt in the long run.

I worked with a company years ago that had one of the best products on the market.

It flew off our shelves. Branding happened almost instantly because of the results people got. Then they made some foolish mistakes and didn’t watch what people were saying. When you called their corporate office to order a bottle of the amazing liquid supplement you heard story after story of miraculous events occurring because of the ingestion of said product.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe many natural products can heal the body. I take several every single day. But to make a claim that something cures cancer, kills cancer cells, makes every single person who takes it drop 5 dress sizes in 24 hours is just not a good thing to do.

Legal rules in the marketing of nutritional supplements is important to understand. Easy remedy- listen to what your company supplier tells you if you are in direct sales and honor those recommendations. They have a lot more at stake than you do. The company we worked with mentioned above went out of business with a $ 3 million dollar lawsuit and an FTC fine. Yikes!

Back to trademarks….. I’ve often heard it’s better to ask for forgiveness later than to seek permission from the get go. Whoever came up with that statement was a nut! In my humble opinion. No further comment.

Don’t copy what others do.

Just because someone else was very successful using a phrase or word in their copy doesn’t mean you can copy and paste it into your campaign. Especially if they used someone else’s trademarked product, slogan or graphics.

What about the original idea?

MaryEllen Tribby has a brilliant article on the original idea myth. There’s no such thing as protecting every creative thought or idea someone has who works with you. Not to mention wants to control people around you like that- they’ll be so scared their creativity will be thwarted. I highly recommend you read this article, “Debunking The Original Idea Myth.”

Freelance Copywriter Secrets: Finally A Law Firm That Gets Marketing Right!

Just when I had all but given up on lawyers’ advertising, along comes one attorney who really knows how to get it right.

As a former attorney -turned freelance copywriter, I have always paid special attention to how law firms market themselves. And, with very few exceptions, how badly they do so.

But yesterday, when I opened up a copy of the Fort Worth Business Press, an insert fell out that caught my eye. It was a 5 ½ x 8 ½ postcard written by Clark R. Cowley, who practices intellectual property law for the law firm of Whitaker, Chalk, Swindler & Sawyer, L.L.P. (Whitaker Chalk) in Fort Worth, Texas.

What is so refreshingly unique about Mr. Cowley’s postcard/insert, is that instead of it making a list of claims to be the best, biggest or most experienced (which is what most law firm advertisements do) he actually demonstrates his expertise and knowledge by providing the reader with free information.

The back of the card is sort of a mini-white paper on the topic of legal remedies to Cybersquatting. “Cybersquatting” is the bad faith registration of Internet domain names identical or confusingly similar to another company’s trademark or business name. According to Cowley, “the cybersquatter’s motive is often to hold the domain name hostage in hopes of selling it to the rightful party, or to post unflattering, obscene or scandalous material on that site to diminish the rightful party’s business reputation.”

Cowley then briefly lists four legislative acts or regulations under which the party can seek a legal remedy.

The whole card is brief, demonstrates Mr. Cowley’s knowledge and expertise, conveys an image of professionalism, is completely free of puffery, and leaves the reader wanting to learn more.

And what is even more encouraging is this card is one of a series that Whitaker Chalk puts out called “brief legal seminars.”

In a recent article called Freelance Copywriter Secrets: Can White Papers and Image Ads Get Along?, I wrote about how deplorable typical law firm advertising is.

On one hand, you have the ads from personal injury lawyers who want to help you get more money from an insurance company if you’ve been injured in an accident (here in Texas, we have one guy who calls himself the “The Texas Hammer,” need I say more?). On the other extreme, are the ads from firms who are so concerned about maintaining a highly professional image, that their ads literally say nothing at all.

If the other “Brief Legal Seminars” are as well crafted as this one is, I think we can assume Whitaker Chalk is on the right track.

Could this ad be improved? Yes, I would first urge this firm to write a series of full white papers on these same topics, and offer them free to any legitimate inquirer.

In this way, they have a second opportunity to demonstrate their expertise. But even more important, they can build up an opt-in list of people and companies who are interested in these topics.

White papers give a strong boost to any business’ image of professionalism, knowledge and expertise. But they are more than learned discourses on a certain subject. They are also powerful marketing pieces that give the reader compelling reasons to do business with the author.

Michael Stelzner, in his book, Writing White Papers, calls white papers a cross between a magazine article, with its ability to make a technical issue understandable to the non-professional; and a brochure, with a convincing sales message.

Unfortunately, Whitaker Chalk has missed their opportunity to compile a list of opt-in subscribers who want more information. Creating such a list would become enormously valuable as a source of new, qualified clients. As Seth Godin, in his book Permission Marketing points out, these are people who have “raised their hand” to indicate they want to receive this sort of information. An opt-in list also builds loyalty among the subscribers even before they become clients.

The Price of Copywriting Services

In the freelance world, it is very hard to evaluate the price for copywriting services since each project is custom-made. However, if you consider some factors to determine how you will charge a client, you can have a lucrative business out of copywriting services.

The first thing you need to do is to do some research on the latest copywriting rates from different online sites. Compare the prices. Most online sites for freelance copywriters have a list of prices depending on the nature of the project. At most, the rate is per page or per word. There are also projects which have a rate of bulk order. Some clients need a continuous supply of contents to update their websites, and they will pay the copywriter either weekly or monthly based on the agreement or the copywriting contract.

Aside from price comparison, you can also look for some background in the copywriting industry. If you will stay for long in the business, there are available books and electronic books where you can look for the ABCs of copywriting. However, be sure that your sources are updated since the price rates for copywriting services can change through the years.

Figure out what your time and effort that would be appealing to you. Are you ready to price expensive rates and probably have less working hours, but more rates per project? Or, do you like a stretched list of projects with affordable rates for your portfolio? In the end, you have to figure out what your needs are and how much you are willing to charge your clients.

Check out what the normal freelance copywriters make in your area, or in the World Wide Web. Divide that rate by 52 (weeks every year) and then by 40 (hours a week). This is the estimated rate you could look forward to earn per hour.

Determine if you would like to become a professional in a subject or a field. If you become popular for a literary genre or a field of interest, you could practically look ahead to charge for higher fees, more than the average writer who writes about topic on general interest.

You should also consider your expenditures. If you need to travel to do research, purchase a special software, or a specialized equipment, then let the client know so that you can stretch out your rates. A good investment on your resources such as a good laptop with a quality processor is great since you will do most of the writing with your computer.

Appraise the difficulty of your projects. For instance, if you are required to develop a legal study and they provide you the recorded court proceedings and different legal papers and manuals to begin with, you can ask less than a legal study wherein you need to do most of the research. If you need to conduct a survey or research, then you should charge for higher rates for your expenses and time.

Legal Copywriting – Tips For Writing Killer Legal Content

Have you ever tried to read legal documents while trying to understand what you’re reading? Unless you have some sort of legal background or have received a lot of legal background in your life, a lot of the legal verbiage is going to seem foreign to you. This is a reason why many legal firms hire a professional to do their legal copywriting. Almost everyone in business today has a website. While some websites are owned by individuals or small businesses capable of doing their own copywriting, seldom can the same be said for law firms.

While law firms usually consist of very intelligent attorneys knowledgeable of the law, they usually have little skill in content or legal copywriting so they hire a professional legal copywriter. While most copywriting requires typical writing skills, legal copywriting requires much more. Not only do you have to be able to write good content but you also must have some knowledge of the law as well as the law firm and what is necessary for their website.

· Must be able to cite relevant law
· Must effectively detail the credentials of the law firm
· Describe areas where the attorneys practice law
· Must possess good SEO copywriting skills
· Produce legal website content with relevant keywords and keyword phrases
· Make sure the language is clear and concise so it can be read and understood by all
· Must be able to turn complex subjects into a simple and easy-to-read form
· Must know the target market of the particular attorney or law firm
· Must be able to work independently with minimal supervision

To be effective and successful at legal copywriting, an individual must have an eye for detail and clarity as well as making the language as concise as possible. While the legal copywriter should have a grasp of legal terminology, as little legal jargon as possible should be used when transferring onto the site. The content that’s going onto the website will have legal jargon in it but will be worded as such so that the typical online visitor can easily read and understand what they’re reading.

Keywords and keyword phrases are an important part of any type of copywriting and are especially essential with legal copywriting. Proper use of SEO copywriting can make all the difference between good and great legal copywriting, as well as drawing the maximum amount of traffic to the site.

Why You Need A Legal Copywriter

Employing a legal copywriter is a sound investment for any law firm seeking to secure a strong profile in today’s increasingly competitive market for services. In fact, if you’re engaged in any form of online marketing, content is absolutely essential: for good search engine results, traffic to your site, conversions and customer retention. Having a legal copywriter that understands not only how to write for sales, search and social media but also how to communicate legal terminology in an accessible way will almost certainly get you better results.

Why do law firms need content?

Effective content is a key element in any successful law firm’s business strategy. Content underpins every aspect of web marketing – social, search and sales – and increasingly, as law firms invest more online, there is a need to allocate budget to content creation.

However, recognising the need to allocate financial resources to legal copywriting is one thing – trying to find people within your organisation who have the time or ability to produce good quality content is another. For practising lawyers mixing the roles of fee earner and marketer is a tricky balance to get right. Utilising the services of a professional legal copywriter means you get the content you need without taking the focus off your core legal activities.

The role of the law copywriter

Just like a good lawyer, a legal copywriter who provides a quality service will strive to understand the brief in all its intricacy. Working in close partnership with those supplying the instructions, a deep appreciation of the firm’s character, ethos and client base will be developed through detailed research and consultation.

Combining this with the ability of the law copywriter to bring solid experience of the unique environment of legal practice to the process will result in the placement of carefully crafted, optimised and targeted copy in outlets that are the most appropriate for a particular law firm, from press release syndication through to guest blogging/guest editorial strategies.

Good writing drives business

Legal copywriting is found in almost every aspect of marketing. Whether placed in social media, a firm’s web site, business-to-business networking, a blog, a tweet, an article in an august legal periodical or a traditional newspaper advertisement, the key to successful promotion is good writing.

Accurate spelling, grammar and syntax are not enough; writing in a way that enables a client to identify with a firm’s lawyers and its values, and understand its services and processes is the most effective use of the multitude of opportunities for promotion that are available.

Your website is a new client’s first experience of your firm

Let’s take your firm’s website as a starting point. Like every other legal website, it can tell the visitor the who, the what and the where: who we are, what we do and where we can be found. To stand out from the crowd this needs to be done in ways that are both fresh and compelling but also transmit the essential messages to the intended client base. For many potential clients, your website is the first point of contact with your firm. It’s crucial that you not only explain your services clearly but that you also convey your brand values strongly.

You can use your website content to celebrate your successes as a practitioner and talk about the areas you specialise in but, for effective marketing, this needs to be achieved with brevity and non-technical language that enables a potential client to think, ‘I understand what this firm can do for me.’