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Copywriting — How to Write for Other People

How to Write for Other People Consistently, Expertly and Without Going Crazy. Key points: have and use a style guide, practice multichannel immersion and make sure you keep writing for yourself, too.
From Digital Portsmouth: The Art of Copywriting — "How to Write for Other People. Presented by Crystal Paradis on January 21, 2016.

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Copywriting — How to Write for Other People

  1. 1. How to Write for Other People Crystal Paradis Director of Communications, Vital @laughtercrystal @vital_design #DigitalPorts The Art of Copywriting
  2. 2. How to Write for Other People Crystal Paradis Director of Communications, Vital @laughtercrystal @vital_design #DigitalPorts The Art of Copywriting Slides!
  3. 3. Vital Design I work with these folks at Vital.
  4. 4. As a digital marketing agency, 
 we write for a lot of other people So do: Freelancers Marketing Pros Guest bloggers Ghostwriters Ad copywriters Wow, how do they do it?
  5. 5. How to Write for Other People Consistently Expertly Without Going Crazy
  6. 6. How to Write for Other People Consistently Style Guides
  7. 7. Benefits of a Style Guide Keeps record of client preferences Eliminates ambiguity in usage/form Helps clients, writers & editors work together Enables easy hand-off between writers & editors Stops arguments
  8. 8. How to Create a Style Guide 1. Choose an existing style guide 2. Document exceptions & additions 3. Always be checking it
  9. 9. Choose an Existing Style Guide AP: Journalism (and the most common baseline for online publications/B2C companies) Academia: Chicago Psychology: APA General: Strunk & White UK/Legal: Oxford
  10. 10. Document Exceptions & Additions Company name usage, product names, industry-specific terms Date formatting (“April 17, 2015” or “April 17th, 2015”?) Quantities (“sq. ft.” or “square foot/feet” in product descriptions?) “Greatest hits” arguments: Serial commas, spaces after period, Internet/internet, e-mail/email, e-book/eBook/ebook, periods on bullet points, ampersands in titles…
  11. 11. Always Be Checking It Don’t find the answer to a question in the style guide? Add it to the style guide Notify collaborators #ProTip: If your style guide is in GoogleDocs, subscribe to update notifications! Coffee’s for Checkers.
  12. 12. Great example: HubSpot’s Internet Marketing Written Style Guide Check it out at:
  13. 13. How to Write for Other People Expertly Multichannel Immersion
  14. 14. Multichannel Immersion Learn a new industry quickly Get familiar with industry language Stay on top of news & trends Experience how people in the industry talk/write/behave Come up with ideas for relevant content or fresh angles
  15. 15. How to Immerse Yourself 1. Find & Follow relevant leaders on all channels 2. Keep a master list for each industry/client 3. Always be checking it
  16. 16. Find All Relevant Leaders & Competitors Add list of competitors from client Find competitors that are ahead of where the client is Find industry leaders & commentators Search each channel for industry keywords
  17. 17. Find Them on All the Channels Websites Blogs Emails Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Groups Podcasts Google Alerts Pinterest Instagram
  18. 18. Follow Them on All the Channels Websites — Master List Blogs — RSS Feed Emails — Subscribe Twitter — Follow/Add to Lists Facebook — Like/Star/List LinkedIn Groups — Join Podcasts — Subscribe Google Alerts — Set up Pinterest — Follow Instagram — Follow
  19. 19. Multichannel Organization Tools BlogTrotter — Blog posts to emails Feedly — RSS feeds (blogs OR Google Alerts!) Reeder — Third-party app for Feedly (better UI, easy to read/ share) Email — Rules/filters to folders TweetDeck — View multiple Twitter Lists Podcasts — Stitcher/OverCast IFTTT — Everything!
  20. 20. Keep a Master List Link to all sources on each channel, or list where to find them (email folder, RSS feed, Twitter list) Have a “quick view” list for the most important channels for each client or industry Reference for content ideas Keep a Master List of all your Master Lists (advantage: Evernote) #ProTip: Make a Table of Contents note in Evernote:
  21. 21. Always Be Checking It Before meetings Before writing sessions Before content calendar planning Before coffee Coffee’s for Checkers.
  22. 22. How to Write for Other People Without Going Crazy Write for Yourself
  23. 23. Write for Yourself Sharpen your saw; flex your writerly muscles Stay detached from your “day job” writing — and its feedback Get better at distinguishing your voice from client voices Learn from personal experiments Stay hire-able!
  24. 24. Write for Yourself “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the skills) to write.” — Stephen King
  25. 25. Write for Yourself “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the skills) to write.” — Stephen King write for yourself for other people (sort of)
  26. 26. Write for Yourself You MUST blog. You don’t have to blog under your own name (but why wouldn’t you?). Post consistently — important for you personally, mentally and as a demonstration to potential clients or employers
  27. 27. Distance from your “day job” If you have to hang 
 your creative cape 
 at the door, 
 make sure you’re wearing it outside of work.
  28. 28. Get Super Familiar With Your Own Voice Write about stuff YOU care about Emulate your fave writers/ bloggers Interact with others, find out what your “angle” is Define your voice, tone, style, personality, niche
  29. 29. Experiment Learn what works & what doesn’t Take bigger risks Have more fun Do stuff your clients would never let you do Unleash your inner punster — or sarcastic critic, or superfan
  30. 30. Multi-Channel Immersion — for YOU • Your Fave Websites • Your Fave Blogs • Your Fave Emails • Your Fave Tweeps • Your Facebook Buddies • Your Fave LinkedIn Groups • Your Fave Podcasts • Your Own Google Alerts • Your Fave Pinterest-ers, Instagram-ers, etc.
  31. 31. Great Marketing/Copywriting/Content Strategy Blogs: • HubSpot's Marketing Blog: • Contently's The Content Strategist: • Copywrite Matters: • Copyblogger: • • Moz Blog: • Disenthrall: • GatherContent:
  32. 32. Collect Good Feedback Good stuff for encouragement: Happy tweets Thank-you emails Positive Facebook comments Nice blog comments Have fun using them for personal testimonials / endorsements
  33. 33. Collect Data Real stuff for improvement: Analytics Heat maps Open rates Click-through rates Use this info to get better — for yourself and for your clients!
  34. 34. Stay Hire-able • Most crucial part of a marketing copywriter’s resume: a blog • Consistent posting shows you can write every day • Good post titles show marketing/SEO expertise • Email signups / CTAs show interest in lead generation, conversation rate optimization, inbound marketing • Smart social media usage shows familiarity with modern distribution tools
  35. 35. Always Be Writing The more you write, 
 the more capacity you have to write.
  36. 36. Always Be Writing Writers Write. Coffee’s for Writers.
  37. 37. Promise me you will only use your powers for good. @laughtercrystal @vital_design | All images in this slide deck are from the Instagram accounts @laughtercrystal & @vital_design Now you Know How to Write for Other People Consistently Expertly Without Going Crazy