Does Copy Still Matter?

blinking cursorNot so many years ago, virtually every website on the planet was looking to hire a good copywriter, not just to craft the home page and product descriptions of any good website, but also to build out an article database, work on blog posts, and just generally write what they could to enhance the brand.

One look at any marketing budget these days, and you’ll see many of those ideas are long gone. In fact, most companies think they can cut out a copywriter entirely. I may be a bit biased here, but I’m still a huge fan of hiring a copywriter. Wondering why? Here are some reasons to consider it.

  • Good copywriters write well. It took me many years to discover that not everyone writes well, and this is as true of those who call themselves writers as it is of the average small business owner. You want people to think you have an intelligent brand, and without the help of a solid copywriter, you may never accomplish that.
  • Good copywriters can distill your thoughts. I cannot begin to tell you how many people I talk to on the phone who tell me their business works to accomplish A, B, and C each day while the real service they perform is something else entirely. Even if you don’t hire a copywriter to draft your initial work, you should at least hire one to help look things over and brighten your message a bit.
  • Good copywriters can save you time. We harp on this point again and again in this blog, but seriously, is staring at a blinking cursor what you actually want to be doing with your time? Of course not, and choosing a copywriter to help means avoiding the writer’s block entirely, even if you consider yourself a reasonably good writer.

Good copy on your site does still matter. Don’t believe me? Check out these sites. When you’re frightened enough, give us a call or drop us an email. Our writing services can make certain your sites don’t look like one of those.

Content Marketing – Do You Actually Need a Platform?

freeI recently had the opportunity to speak with a sales representative for a popular content marketing platform. I spent nearly an hour on the phone with him, looking over his products and services. They were great. They’d probably be really helpful. They were also a thousand dollars a month. Sure, that’s a fraction of most small business marketing budgets, but as old fashioned as it sounds, anything that costs a thousand dollars a month gives me a serious case of the doubts.

Platforms, Widgets, and Gadgets

Our tech-prone world philosophy suggests that anything shiny, new, and “helpful,” is a must have for businesses, right? Sure, get a smartphone; you can work from anywhere. Grab a tablet. It’s big, shiny, and better than a smartphone. Add this CMS to your site so you can easily edit it. Add this cloud service to your company so you can access your files from your hotel room. All of these are very helpful tools, but do you actually need them to make it work? Put simply, no.

If you’re looking for a solid content marketing strategy, it starts with some internal work on your part. Put together a good planning document, then start populating it with ideas. You can work the platforms on your own. You don’t actually need tools to do it. In fact, it may be cheaper to go with social media services or writing services from a small business like us than it would to go with a shiny new tool that you’re still going to have to work on your own.

Content marketing is about good content, not shiny tools. Don’t get sucked into the idea that you need to buy more just to get your name out there.

Are Platforms Like Elance and Guru Really Helpful?

Are Elance and Guru Worth Your Time?Millions of both small and large business owners turn to platforms like Elance and Guru every year to find qualified professionals for help with copywriting, web design, and even bookkeeping. The idea is a pretty simple one. You post your project (for free), then independent contractors (sometimes by the hundreds) bid on the job. You can review each contractor’s profile, his or her bid, and even previous reviews and statistics, then choose one who is right for you. It may sound like an easy process, but is it really right for your company?
The Benefits
Simply typing something like “Freelance Photographer” into a search engine might turn up thousands of results if you need someone to tackle a project for your company. Aside from good looking websites and portfolios, you probably won’t get any real sense of how the individual might perform for you. This is where platforms like this can be really helpful. In most cases, you get a chance to look at real reviews from previous customers.
The other real benefit is that you probably have a set budget for the job at hand. You can simultaneously look at lots of contractors who can handle that job for you at that price. You can place the money in escrow to protect both of you until the job is completed to your satisfaction.
The Drawbacks
As with any virtual search, the reality is that you’re never going to be sure exactly who is handling the task for you. There are lots of companies and individuals alike on Elance, and you may end up with an overseas company working for very little who can’t produce the results you need right away. You may also end up with a fifteen year old in his mom’s basement who has no concept of deadlines. At the same time, it’s absolutely possible to land a professional company that can provide exactly what you need within your budget.
In some cases, you’re only going to have virtual contact with your contractor, and that may be a problem if you have trouble expressing exactly what you want in writing. You can certainly request a conference call or work through something like GoTo Meeting, but if you’re working with a  contractor who is halfway across the world, scheduling it may be difficult.
As we put this post together, we really felt like there might be more drawbacks we didn’t mention, and we’d love to hear your thoughts on those. That said, it’s possible most of those drawbacks might be on the freelancer side instead of the employer side.
The Bottom Line
Elance, Guru, ODesk, and the many other platforms that help you connect with freelancers have some real benefits, but your best bet is to start with a smaller project, find a freelancer you like, then get moving with a bigger project.

Why Hire Professional Copywriters?

You’ve spent plenty of time with your company. You know every aspect of your business better than any other person on the planet could. Why, then, would you outsource your text to someone who may not know your company as well as you do? The answer is a bit more complex than you may think.

  • Hire someone else when you simply don’t have the time. Copy takes a solid amount of effort, and for many, finding the right opportunity can be difficult. If your talents are probably best spent elsewhere in your schedule, hire a copywriter who does have time to handle the task for you.
  • Hire someone else when you need SEO help. Optimization is tricky business, and if you’re not sure of what you’re doing, going with a professional copywriter is always going to be the right choice.
  • Hire someone else when your objectivity comes into question. It can be difficult to compose a solid piece about something you’re really close to. If you’re far too immersed in the details to switch to consumer-speak, it’s time to find someone who can.

The right team can mean so much for your company. Whether you’re looking for help with your site copy, marketing materials, newsletter, or even Tweets, a professional team is the only way to go.