Showing posts with label content writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label content writing. Show all posts

Keywords and Search Engines (The Bare-Bottom Basics Every Author Should Know)

If you’re online trying to sell something or even simply working to generate visibility, chances are you’ve heard of the term ‘keyword.’

Keywords are simply words or phrases that people use to search for things online.

So, suppose I wanted to look up ‘horse breeds’ for a story I’m writing. I’d input ‘horse breeds’ in a Google (or other search engines, like Bing and Yahoo) search box.

Google will scour its millions of bits of information to find content (blog posts or other web pages) that it feels will be the best answer for that search query – that keyword.

But, to make it more understandable, you should know the very basics of SEO (search engine optimization).

According to, “There are three pieces of software that together make up a search engine: the spider software, the index software, and the query software.”

Search engines, like Google, have ‘spiders’ that find new information – new web pages. This might be your new blog post, a new sales page, or new content on an existing web page.

All the new information the spiders gather is given to indexing software. This software analyzes words and word/link combinations to determine what the content is about. The information is then sorted and stored. There it’s ready to be picked up by Google in response to a person’s search query. Say my ‘horse breeds’ one.

So, as mentioned, the spider software finds the new content, gives it to the indexing software which stores it and makes it ready to supply to the query software.

It’s the index software that actually figures out what the content is about.

When I input ‘horse breeds’ into a Google search box, the query software takes over. It goes to all the information stored in the index software to find the best answer to my query.

You might think of it as a filing system in an office. A new document is created (from found sources) and stored in a filing cabinet, in a specific place. When that document is needed, the query software knows exactly where to find it in the filing cabinet. It is retrieved and ready to use.

Pretty simple, right.

So, what about keywords.

Well, while the spider and index software are very sophisticated and can get the gist of your new content just by its terminology, keywords make their job a bit easier.

While keywords are not overly powerful anymore, they still make the finding and indexing process easier.

Going back to my ‘horse breed’ keyword, if a web page matches that keyword, and Google believes that web page has valuable information related to ‘horse breeds,’ it will use that web page as the results of my search query.

And, what’s amazing, this all happens in a fraction of a second. It’s hard to believe that millions or billions of bits of information can be scoured and the best results are served up in under a second.

And, considering that Google processes approximately 40,000+ search queries per second, it’s mind-boggling.


Karen Cioffi is a children's ghostwriter and author/writer online platform instructor for WOw! Women on Writing.

You can connect with Karen at:

This article was originally published at:


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One Easy Way to Learn to Write Good Copy

Guest Post by Cathy Chapman, Ph.D.

It doesn't matter what wonderful service you provide or how amazing your product is, if you don't let people know it's there, no one will buy it. Sure, word of mouth works for some things. For most, however, you need to write something and get it out to people to let them know what you have. The question is, how can someone on a limited budget with beginning skills as a copywriter, someone who writes advertising copy, let people know about their product.

The answer is simple. Copy what others write.

No Plagiarizing Allowed

When I said to copy what others wrote, I don't mean to steal their words and use them in your own advertising copy. I mean for you to take pen and paper in hand, no computers allowed unless you literally cannot use your hands, and copy a sales letter word for word. This is a powerful learning technique used in many circles. When you write with pen and paper, something magical happens in the brain. I can't tell you all the neurochemical responses in that brain of yours, but when you write by hand, there is a complex interaction in the brain that helps you learn faster and easier.

Don't spend your time physically reproducing any sales letter you come across. Use your time wisely and copy, for learning purposes only, the best sales letters you can find. You can do an internet search using the keywords "winning sales letters" and come up with a treasure trove of letters you can begin copying to get the hang of writing a good sales letter.

One of the most successful, if not the most successful letter to introduce a new product was written for a newspaper you may have read or at least have seen the name. That is The Wall Street Journal. This very successful financial newspaper was once only an idea in someone's mind. As time has demonstrated, it was a great idea. The problem was that people had to buy initial subscriptions for it to be successful. This very simple two-page letter has generated an estimated $2 billion in revenue for The Wall Street Journal.

The Step before Copying

The sales letter that launched The Wall Street Journal is one to use for leaning by copying by hand numerous times. Before you put pen to paper, read it out loud several times. Listen to the cadence of the words. Pay attention to the imagery. Notice the feelings you have as you are reading it. Can you put yourself in the place of each of these young men? Which one would you rather be? Would you want success so much that you would pull out your check book, fill out the form and pop it in the mail? Remember, the internet wasn't even a spark in the mind of anyone at that time. This direct mail piece had to provoke immediate action before the offer was lost under a pile of other advertising.

Once you've read the letter and put yourself in the reader's position, begin copying the words. Feel the cadence as you write. Let the words and the rhythm of them imbed themselves within you from the interaction of what you see with your eyes and reproduce with the movement of hand. This simple task, although it takes time, will move you faster in learning the skill of copywriting.

You can then take what you've learned and write your own powerful sales letter in your own wonderful style that may be the next $2,000,000,000 winner.

Cathy Chapman, PhD, LCSW is a strategic marketer, copywriter and coach for the self-help and alternative health care market. To receive your Special Report "The Bare Necessities for an On-Line Marketing Campaign with Little Cash Outlay... Plus One" go to

Article Source:


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Freelance Writing - Don't Overspice Your Copy

Guest post by Will Newman

I wouldn’t be a copywriter if it weren’t for the computer.

You might be in the same boat. The computer has allowed me to get around my terrible typing skills. I’m a hunt-and-peck typist. So, sometimes – no, make that frequently – my fingers hit the wrong keys.

Thank goodness Word flags those typos.

The computer has also made editing orders of magnitude easier than it ever was on my clunky manual typewriter. Copy. Paste. Cut. Move. So much easier.

And, if I want to add a little visual spice to my copy, all I have to do is press a couple of keys, and my copy shows up italicized, boldfaced, or underlined. I can see immediately the visual impact these formatting options give my writing. If I feel I’ve emphasized the wrong phrase, I can change it with little effort. That’s a huge advantage over the “old way.”

A valuable tool or a crutch?

This last benefit is also its biggest disadvantage for you as a copywriter. It’s so easy to add emphasis, it’s tempting – oh, so tempting – to let formatting be the force adding excitement to your copy.

You want your reader to feel excited about a certain benefit, so you put it in boldface type. You want him or her to know your promise is important, so you bold that, too. Or maybe, for variety, you use italics.

This is like much of the copy I see from beginning copywriters. They use typographical emphasis to excite their reader.

This is backwards. Before adding any formatting to your copy, your words must be strong enough by themselves to grab your prospect’s attention and convince him or her to act. Your words should be enough.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid using boldface, italics, capital letters, and other formatting options. These formatting options add visual spice to your copy. Plus, if you use them correctly, your prospect can hear the emphasis in his or her head while reading the emphasized words. (An unvoiced auditory emphasis.)

Are there any rules for formatting your copy? No hard and fast ones, but here are some guidelines I follow …

Italics: Italics are a great way to add that unvoiced auditory emphasis I just mentioned. Use italics to cause your prospect’s mental voice to rise slightly like this: “Mario should not be allowed to speak when he comes into the coffee shop.”

When you read the sentence, additional visual and unvoiced auditory emphasis were added to the word “not.”

I don’t use italics for this purpose for more than two or three words in a row. I also avoid using it more than three or four times on one page.

(However, you still should use italics for the traditional purposes of specifying book titles, setting off extended quotes, or for headings and subheads.)

Boldface: Boldfaced text can add some unvoiced auditory emphasis, but it’s not as effective as italics for this purpose.

However, it does make your copy visually more forceful.

Boldfaced words jump off the page, so I use them to catch my reader’s attention before he or she’s even begun reading.

I don’t like using bold type for more than five words in a row. Any more than that is hard to read.

ALL CAPS: Using a long string of type set in all caps is considered yelling in the online world. This has now become the standard in most types of writing. Do you like to be yelled at? Of course not. If you use all caps, I recommend using them for no more than two or three words at a time.

More important, avoid long stretches of all caps copy, because it severely reduces readability. I’m sure you’ve seen the “End User License Agreements” when you buy software online. Did you ever wonder why they’re always written in all caps? Perhaps poor readability is a big reason.

Underlined copy: Underlining adds both visual as well as unvoiced auditory emphasis to copy. As with the other emphasis types, it makes copy more difficult to read, so use it sparingly.

I use underlining to draw the eye to copy on the page more than to put emphasis. I use it for larger stretches of copy than any of the other types of emphasis. But, to counter the readability issue, I underline just the individual words and not the spaces between them.

You can do this with MS Word by highlighting the copy, then pressing Control-d (or Command-d on the Mac) and specifying “Underline Words” or by pressing Control-Shift-W (or Command-Shift-W).

A word of warning: Underlined text on the web universally indicates a hyperlink. I recommend you not use underlining on web copy except for that purpose.

Too much spice spoils the cooking …
I’d like you to consider a non-copywriting example to guide yourself in using emphasis in your copy: If you love cooking, like I do, you know that too much spice can spoil good food (with the possible exception of Indian or Thai food). So, your first takeaway from today’s issue of The Golden Thread is to add spice to your copy sparingly.

But the big takeaway – as I said before – is this: Do NOT overuse any type of visual emphasis in your copy. Let your words carry the beauty and the impact of your idea.

Original article source:

This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available. For a complimentary subscription, visit


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Ghostwriting - The Content Rewriting Gig

As a ghostwriter you will come across a variety of clients that may request your ghostwriting services. One of those clients will be ‘the rewrite client:’

Content rewriting is actually a popular project for a ghostwriter. Whether an individual wants to have his memoir rewritten, or a businessman needs to have his business manuscript rewritten, or a business wants articles rewritten for an affiliate or sister site, the client will provide you with a full manuscript or article and request that you rewrite it for them with the same topic ‘intent’.

Sounds pretty simple right? Well, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

For the individual with the memoir you may receive a manuscript that’s very poorly written. You will have to try to determine what the client means in certain instances and this will take lots of feedback. Content rewriting will also mean you’ll need to spin words while still invoking the client’s voice. And, depending on the individual’s reason for writing the memoir, you may have to advise that ‘getting even’ doesn’t really make for a saleable book.

Then there is the businessman looking into hiring a ghostwriter for his business book that he wants rewritten. Again, you may have poorly written content that you’ll have to sort through. And, you’ll have to strive to keep the client’s voice. You’ll also have to verify all the information.

There’s also rewriting articles. A client in need of your ghostwriting service may be the business or health marketer who needs articles rewritten for a sister or affiliate site. This type of content rewriting is probably word-for-word one of the most difficult, unless you become very proficient at it. Depending on the genre you will need to become acquainted with the language, the keywords, and the business or health topic you’re writing about.

For example: assuming you’re requested to rewrite health articles about allergies, you’ll need to know the particulars about allergies. You’ll need to know about indoor allergies, outdoor allergies, environmental allergies, you get the idea. And, the word “triggers” means those substances that will cause an allergic reaction. But if you’re rewriting an article you may not be able to use the word ‘trigger.’

Rewriting and Duplicate Content Criteria
If you’re wondering why you can’t use a particular word it’s because when rewriting any content for online use, it must meet non-duplication criteria. This means that the rewritten article must be under a particular percentage in regard to duplicate content according to search engine criteria.

Why is this so important in regard to rewriting content?

Simple, Google penalizes page rank if it determines your content is duplicated by other sites.

A great tool to check your duplicate content score is WordsFinder Duplicate Checker and Article Rewrite Comparison. According to this site, your score needs to be below 80 percent or you may be penalized for duplicate content. But, your client may request it be below 70 percent. To be safe, you should always aim for below 70.

If the rewrite duplicate percentage is too high, you have to rewrite it, while keeping it coherent and on topic. You’ll need to get it to that safe percentage. This will most likely mean finding synonyms for a number of words. Take the word ‘strategy’ as an example. You might spin it with policy, plan, technique, or other word that has a very similar meaning.

So, while content rewriting may sound easy, it can be a much more involved ghostwriting project than anticipated. Take this into account when quoting a price.

You can find the WordsFinder tool at:

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning author, ghostwriter, and author/writer online platform instructor. Get must-know writing and marketing tips at

Interested in becoming a ghostwriter? Check out Karen's new class at WOW! Women on Writing:
 Become a Ghostwriter – Start a Money-Making Writing Business


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3 Marketing Strategies Geared to Motivate People to Buy

3 Marketing Strategies Geared to Motivate People to Buy

The buying process produces potential customer anxiety. This is a fact.

Just about all CTAs (call-to-actions) generate stress.

Something as simple as the wording in your CTA, can increase that stress and it’s your job to take steps to reduce the potential customer’s anxiety. This in turn will increase your conversions.

Conversions in this case relates to getting visitors to actually buy what you’re offering, getting visitors to say YES to your CTA.

Here are 3 Powerful Strategies to Reduce Buyer Anxiety:

1. The CTA Wording

As mentioned, the wording you use in your CTA can increase or decrease buyer anxiety. According to Marketing Experiments, it’s all about the expectation of what your wording produces.

In testing conducted by the marketing group, two CTAs were put to the test. The first was “Start Free Trial.” The second was “Get Started Now.”

Which do you think converted better?

It was “Get Started Now” and the reason is it produced less anxiety because there is NO implied cost. To many, ‘starting a free trial’ conveys an implied cost.

2. Timing of the CTA

Timing is when and where to introduce the CTA on the sales page. In other words, do you put the CTA at the beginning of the conversation, in the middle, or at the end?

For the average marketer, it’s usually a good idea to provide the visitor with focused and persuasive content (information) before introducing the CTA. This will help develop interest and motivation. The information explaining how the product or service will solve the visitor’s problem will encourage him to buy what’s being offered.

3. Offering a Guarantee

For the buyer, one of the most stressful things in the buying process is to think he’ll lose money.

Questions your visitor may think of:

- Is the product high quality?
- Is the cost reasonable for what’s being offered?
- Will the product meet the promises made?
- Will the perceived value meet expectations?
- Is the money I’m going to spend worth it?
- What if it doesn’t help me or I don't like it?

One of the best ways to reduce most of the anxiety related to the buying process is to offer a money-back guarantee, a risk-free guarantee.

The guarantee must be clearly worded. The visitor will need to know exactly what he has to do to get the refund, when he’ll receive the refund, and any other information that will make him feel more comfortable in his decision.

There are five primary elements to a knock-it-out-of-the-park guarantee:

1. The length – you can offer a 5 day, a 7 day, a 30 day, or other refund time limit.

2. The conditions – the refund policy can be conditional. For example, “If you complete Lesson One, including the assignment, and decide this course isn’t for you, I’ll give you a complete refund.”

3. The coverage – you need to make it clear as to exactly what’s covered in the refund. For example, is it just the cost of the product or does it include shipping, handling, and/or other fees.

4. The placement – place the guarantee just below the price and then again after more persuasive content. You might head the additional motivation as, “Still Not Sure?”

5. The process – make it very clear what the customer needs to do to initiate the refund process. For example, she may need to contact your support team or you directly by email.

The article, “How to Craft a Guarantee,” at Digital Marketer provides more information on the first four elements mentioned above.

Using these tips will help you create powerful CTAs that will reduce buyer anxiety.


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Raise Your Writing Standards


I have 2 classes through WOW! Women on Writing that will get you results:

Blogging Made Easy (for beginners)
Simple Steps to Building Your Online Platform and Authority

Become a Power-Blogger and Content Writer in Just 4 Weeks
More Visibility, More Authority, More Sales

Good Sales Copy and Bad Sales Copy - How to Tell the Difference

By Clayton Makepeace

The definition of great copy is, "Copy that produces great results."

The quality of your copy isn't defined by the techniques you use. Nor is it determined by how many family, friends, clients, or focus group participants tell you it's great.

Only one kind of person in the world gets to decide whether you rule or suck: Prospects who cast their votes by responding to your copy in the only way that matters — by spending their own hard-earned money.

So the answer is

 … the only way to know good copy for sure is to use it … measure the result … and compare that result with those produced by other similar promotions.

Can you get a feel for how your prospects might vote on your sales copy?

Is it possible to spot weaknesses that if repaired will probably increase response?

In a word, "Yep."

Just try this: As you're reading sales copy — whether your own or someone else's, ask yourself,

1.    Does the headline and lead stop me in my tracks and make me want to read the sales message?

2.    Is the tone of the copy appropriate for the message being delivered?

3.    Is it written using the kind of language my typical prospect is likely to use in day-to-day communication?

4.    Does the spokesperson come off sounding like my advocate — someone who's intensely committed to helping improve my life — and NOT like just another salesman?

5.    Does the copy offer me a benefit or a series of benefits I'm willing to pay for?

6.    Does the copy convince me that this product can actually deliver those benefits to me?

7.    Does it convince me that this product is unique in its ability to deliver those benefits?

8.    Does the copy answer every objection to making the purchase I can think of?

9.    Do I feel as though I'm moving through the sales copy quickly and effortlessly? Is it devoid of spots that seem dull, repetitive, slow-going, or that allow my mind to wander?

10.    Do I feel my excitement rising with each new paragraph I read?

11.    Does the price seem insignificant compared to the value I'm being offered?

12.    Do I feel an irresistible urge to purchase this product from this company, TODAY?

When you and everyone else you show the copy to can answer an emphatic "YES" to each of these questions, there's a darned good chance you've got a winner on your hands.

Your takeaway for today: Each time you complete your sales letter, see how many of these 12 questions you can answer with yes. If you can't say yes to at least 50% of the questions, then go back and rework your copy. Keep refining the copy until you get a yes on all 12.

This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available. For a complimentary subscription, visit


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Blogging and Google Rankings – Do You Really Want to Use that Content in Your Blog Post?

Everyone is working to keep their blogs regularly updated with content. Content is a must. It’s all about content, content, content.

In fact, content marketing is the reigning king.

Because of this, everyone does whatever they can to keep their websites with updated content on a regular basis:

  • People write their own posts
  • People buy content from freelancers or content mills
  • People buy PLRs (Private Label Rights)
  • People accept guest posts
  • People reprint the content of others from article directories
  • People use content curation
  • People use newsjacking
  • So on and so on

But, is all content the same? Is all content acceptable?

In other words, whether it’s your own content or you’re accepting a guest post, if the article is NOT useful and quality content, if it’s poorly written, if it’s linking back to a spam site, should you use it?

For example: Maybe you agreed to be a hosting site for a service that provides virtual book tours. The content their authors provide for the posts is very poorly written and is primarily promotional. Is it okay to use?

The simple answer is to these questions is NO.

In case you’re wondering what constitutes fluff or ‘poor quality’ content, you need to determine if your content is valuable.

To determine if your content is valuable, you need to answer a few questions:

  • Does the content offer the reader useful information?
  • Is it engaging or thought provoking?
  • Is it controversial (the good kind)?
  • Is it entertaining?
  • Is it shareable?
  • Do you think the content is ‘quality’ enough to appear in the results of a Google search query?

If your content doesn’t hit one of those targets, then it’s most likely fluff.

Okay, what if the content is fluff, but it has ‘good’ keywords in it? Is it okay to publish it then?

Well, it depends on four things:

  • Are you blogging to sell something?
  • Are you blogging to increase your mailing list?
  • Are you blogging to increase your authority in your niche/industry?
  • Are you looking to ‘please’ Google and improve your ranking?

With Google’s latest algorithms, keywords don’t pack the same punch they used to. Search engines spiders can get the gist of the entire content. They base ranking and ‘whether they’ll use that post’s link in the results of a search query’ on the overall content, not just the keywords.

In other words, Google can pretty much detect fluff and garbage, even if you have great keywords.

So, back to the title question: Do you really want to publish that content on your website?

If you’re blogging to sell something, increase your mailing list, gain authority, and boost your ranking, then you should definitely AVOID posting fluff or poor quality content to your site.

Poor quality content can easily lower your Google ranking, which will reduce your authority, which will make people think twice about signing up for your mailing list, which in turn will put a damper on your sales.

Want to learn more about writing content to boost your results? Then check out:

It's a 4 week e-class that will teach you to write super-charged articles and content that will be reader and SEO friendly, shareable, engaging, and will increase conversion.

It's interactive, in-depth, and through WOW! Women on Writing, CLICK HERE to learn more.


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