Website copywriting: 16 best practices for 2018

It’s no secret that I love a good website copywriting project.

In a lot of ways, website copywriting is like a puzzle with a set number of pieces and a variety of possible solutions.

My job as a copywriter and content marketing strategist is to find the best one.

Building on the puzzle metaphor, what are the pieces that go into website copywriting ‘puzzles’? What do we need to consider  when writing content for a website?

The way I see it, there are four main categories…

The 4 Parts of the website copywriting puzzle

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO): you’ve got to follow the latest conventions to make sure the website content you write is easy for search engines to find and rank.
  • User focus: that last point might have made you think that writing for search engines was the way forward. It’s not. Taking user experience into account is vital if you want links, shares, engagement and brand trust.
  • Conversion rate optimisation (CRO): making visitors to the site happy is one thing. Making them do what you want them to (click, engage, buy!) is another. Conversion rate optimisation takes research, data, and a lot of testing.
  • User experience (UX): how is your written content going to work with the rest of the site? The design, the build, the flow, the customer journey…How are you going to make sure website visitors find the ‘right’ content, in the right format, and at the right moment?

Click here to skip to…

Website copywriting best practices: SEO

Website copywriting best practices: User focus

Website copywriting best practices: CRO

Website copywriting best practices: UX

…or scroll down to read the entire article.

Website copywriting best practices: SEO

Not that kind of long tail

1. Break it up: 

Search engines make assumptions about the way we write things, and what that means about how important that content is. H1 and H2 text are considered priority, so make sure you include regular, keyword rich titles (H1) and sub-headings (H2) in your written content.

Bullet points and lists are also favoured by Google, so try and include them where possible.

2. Sort your meta descriptions

Take control of the meta data attached to your written website content, and you’re on a quick road to boosting your SEO.

Your meta data:

  • Describes the content of each page of your website
  • Advertises your content to search engine users
  • Displays relevant keywords to entice people to click

If you don’t fill out your meta data, Google will auto-generate some that’s almost certainly going to be less effective.

This article, on the SEO value of meta data, by Stone Temple is a handy reference guide.

3. Use bold font

Make it as easy as possible for visitors to your website to see what you want them to do, and keep their eye moving down.

Draw their attention to key points in your written content by using bold text.

See? Made you look.

4. Think about long-tail keywords

When you’re thinking about the keywords to include in your content, cast your net wider than the basic – often highly competitive – short-tail keywords.

Use keyword tools like the aptly named Keyword Tool to identify keyword phrases you could easily rank for, then build content around those.

Website copywriting best practices: User focus

1. Make it easy to read

There’s a number of ways to make your written content easy to read:

  • Front load: start off with the important information to grab attention and let readers know what to expect from the rest of the page.
  • Summarise: in content like blogs, white papers, articles and case studies, include a summary. Online readers tend to start at the intro, skip to the bottom, then scan the middle bit last.
  • Break it up: paragraphs of no more than three lines, and plenty of interesting images (not bullshit stock ones) will keep your audience engaged for longer.

2. Sort your brand tone of voice

A consistent brand tone of voice is so important. Prospects should know what to expect from your content, and it should be tailored to what matters to them.

Warm and approachable? Witty and relatable? Formal and authoritative?

Decide what works for your market and stick with it.

3. Cut the sales spiel

According to DemandGen’s 2017 B2B Content Marketing Preferences Report (here), 72% of B2B consumers are turned off by content that sells to them.

Things you can do instead of opting for the hard sell:

  • Include calls to action that are visually attractive and compelling
  • Incentivise conversions by offering exclusive content and offers in exchange for data
  • Align content and customer journey to move prospects down the sales funnel

4. Make it useful

Internet users are getting increasingly demanding. They’re used to content that offers value and asks nothing in return (nothing they can pick up on, that is…).

Focus on creating engaging, informative content that gives visitors to your website what they want. Particularly hot right now in the world of B2B content marketing:

Case studies
– E-Books
– White papers

Plus, you can make your best content available as downloadables – think of all the lovely contact data…

Website copywriting best practices: CRO

1. Include a CTA above the fold

Sometimes, you just can’t be bothered to scroll. We’ve all been there.

Include an attractive, prominent call to action above the fold on your website (the area that’s visible without scrolling down) to capture those visitors whose fingers are just too tired to travel.

2. Test your text

A big part of conversion rate optimisation is testing, adjusting, and testing again.

The kinds of website content you should be testing for effectiveness:

  • Titles
  • Meta data (titles, descriptions, keywords)
  • Subtitles
  • Calls to action
  • Button text

There are all kinds of little tricks to remember, so work your way through your content, do your research on each, and optimise for conversion.

3. Make your contact details prominent

Now I know my traditional B2B vendors are going to like this one, so let’s get right down to it:



It’s human. It works. It shows you’re available to customers and prospects when they want you.

It’s good to include your email address too, but the phone is the big thing.

Told you you’d like that.

4. Include social proof

There’s a bit of a cross-over here – two things that are working really well for B2B content marketing right now (and for the foreseeable future, too):

  • Social proof: customer reviews, client logos, press mentions, ‘wisdom of the crowds’ social proof (“89% of manufacturers recommend us”, “Britain’s number one supplier”)

(Some great examples of social proof in action by HubSpot)

  • User-generated content: reviews, testimonials, interviews, case studies, dynamic FAQs, social media campaigns

Including content from your customers in your own marketing helps you engage your target audience, build trust, and takes some of the pressure for content creation off your own shoulders.

Website copywriting best practices: UX

1. Make it clear there’s more to see

Website copywriting needs to integrate with the design and build of a website to get you the best results. One of the first ways to get visitors to your website engaged?

Let them see that there’s more below the fold by including written homepage content that either:

  • Requires them to scroll to continue reading
  • Tells them to scroll for more info
  • Links to content further down the page

2. Consider ‘hidden’ content

User experience is all about how visitors to a website navigate and use it. Don’t just think of your visitors’ actions – think of their indecision and their waiting times, by creating:

  • Rollover text: grab the attention of users who aren’t ready to click
  • Hover text: introduce more info without crowding your website
  • Loading text: a neat line or two between pages shows you’re an attentive brand
  • Thank you pages: do what your mum taught you, and say thank you!
  • Error messages: be friendly, tell users how they’ve gone wrong and how to fix it

3. Use clear links

Much as your website might be populated with bee-yootiful content (especially if I wrote it), some visitors just aren’t interested in reading. They’re busy, they can’t be arsed, they’ll come back to it later – whatever.

So, don’t make them.

The key objective of your website is to get visitors to do what you want them to.

The key objective of visitors to your website is to find out what they want as quickly as possible.

Make sure your links (text and buttons) clearly indicate what will happen on the click. So instead of:

Click here to download”

…write something like this:

“Download our 2018 guide to UX copywriting

In short, descriptive link text is great for:

  • UX: tell users what you’re giving them, then give it to them. Simple!
  • SEO: how’s Google supposed to rank your content if you’ve got 15 links on your page, all reading “here”?
  • Accessibility: make it easy for visually impaired consumers using screen readers to browse

4. Value at every stage

I lose hours browsing my favourite sites.

Why? Because for every article I click on, there are tonnes more interesting links to click. Down the side, at the bottom, in pop-ups…wherever I look.

While your website might not be quite as appealing, there’s no reason the same principles can’t work for you:

  • Group and clearly label related content using tags and categories
  • Recommend related content whenever possible, both as links and downloads
  • Create content to appeal to consumers at every stage of the buyer’s journey
  • Link to more relevant content: don’t let your web pages be a dead end

The second visitors to your website get bored or frustrated?

That’s the second you lose them.

The Short Version

Website copywriting is a specific skill, and needs to take into account:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • User focus
  • Conversion rate optimisation (CRO)
  • User experience (UX)

The good news is that, generally speaking, what’s good for one of these categories is good for the others.

Nicely broken up text? Good for Google, good for readers.

Clear links to related content? Good for consumers, good for Google, good for conversions.

Long-tail keywords? Good for SEO, good for consumers.

While website copywriting may be as much science as it is art, it’s not alchemy. The advice you need to follow is common sense, backed up by data and evidence.

Study the basics, stick with them, and your website copywriting standards will sky-rocket.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of website copywriting best practices, but it’s a good start. What else would you include? Tell me below in the comments 👇🏻




6 Ways To Sort Your B2B Content Marketing Before That Expo

I’ve been thinking a lot about trade expos recently. Yeah, that’s what I do with my spare time.

What I’ve been thinking is this:

For the amount of time and money B2B vendors spend on preparing for, and exhibiting at, trade expos, they don’t half shoot themselves in the foot with their content marketing.

I’m not just talking flyers and posters, before you get your knickers in a twist about how much those leaflets cost you.

I’m talking digital.

Why? Cos crap B2B content marketing costs you money

I often visit trade expos – they’re a great way to find out what’s going on in the trade sector, and they’re a great hunting ground for new clients.

But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: B2B brands that come off really well at expos are often total B2B content marketing disasters.

At the end of the day, you might say it doesn’t matter what I think – after all, I’m touting for business. And you’re right.

What matters is what B2B consumers think.

And here’s the rub: shoddy B2B content marketing is costing you money. Let’s look at six ways to stop your business throwing money away at that next expo.

1. Refresh your website content

Visitors to the expo will look at your website. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you don’t, they won’t.

I’m not saying you have to have a complete website overhaul. Sure, you might need one, but there isn’t always the time.

What you should make time for is a website content refresh. Take a couple of days (even one – I’m begging you) to:

  • Remove any outdated and irrelevant pages
  • Replace any outdated and irrelevant info
  • Update as much awful imagery as possible
  • Proof-read your content for errors, clunky phrases and general bullshit
  • Check your links to make sure they all work

My general rules are:

  • Have as few pages as you can get away with
  • No page is better than a shit page
  • If your content is rubbish, get rid

Your website may still be terrible after you make these changes, in which case a new one should definitely be on your to-do list, but it will definitely be less terrible.

2. Improve your contact page


I can’t tell you how many B2B websites I visit, both before and after trade expos, only to find that their contact page in particular is a hot mess.

Let’s break it down, nice and simple:

Things that make me not want to contact you / sad that I tried to contact you:

  • Ugly / broken down contact pages
  • Contact pages with a form but no other contact details
  • Contact forms that take me to a weird/blank/rubbish page
  • No confirmation email – did it send? Will I hear back?
  • Contact pages with only an ‘info@’ address. Who am I talking to?
  • Contact pages with only a ‘sales@’ address. I don’t want to be sold to

Things that make me happy to contact you:

  • Neat, clean, attractive contact pages
  • A variety of contact options: phone, email, contact form, Twitter, LinkedIn
  • A clear ‘thank you’ page that tells me what to expect next
  • A brief confirmation email that tells me I’ll get a response, and no spam
  • Email addresses with names in them. Tell me who I’m contacting!

Plenty of these are quick fixes, so get them sorted before the expo comes round.

3. Sort your email marketing


A lot of the time, the most a B2B brand will do to market their attendance at an event is write a blog about it, then send that out to existing customers.

Not very exciting.

But if you can get ahead, it’s worth really putting some effort into promotion. Email marketing’s still the most successful outbound channel for B2B brands, so here’s a few quick ideas on how to shout about your upcoming trade expo:

  • Expo round-up email: if you’re going to be attending a few expos over the course of the year – particularly in different regions – write up a list. Blog it, and email it to your mailing list. Include links to that list in later emails, even in your email signature.
  • Specific expo emails: blog in advance of each specific expo, making sure to feature the name and location prominently, plus your stand number/location. Email it out. Try to be excited!
  • Target confirmed attendees: let the confirmed attendees of the trade expo know you’re going to be there. Also use direct mail and social media (expos often have their own hashtags).
  • Incentives: what’s not to love about a bit of bribery? Incentivise visits to your stand and get folks to fill out their data for a chance to win a prize. Post expo, you’ve got all that lovely data – get emailing.

4. Prepare some case studies

If there’s one thing all the big B2B content marketing reports have shown going into 2018, it’s that case studies consistently come out on top in terms of preferred content types.

In fact, 78% of B2B buyers cited case studies as an important part of their decision-making process. B2B customers love a good case study. Why?

  • Relatability: case studies are the perfect way to demonstrate the potential ROI your product or service can achieve. B2B buyers want proof, not promises.
  • Focus on results: B2B consumers are looking for products and services that offer them quick, quality, cost-effective results. Case studies are real-life examples of what results can be achieved, and where.
  • Benchmarking data: benchmarking data is high on the list of priorities for 2018’s B2B buyers: 62% said they want more of it in the content they get from B2B vendors.
  • Story-telling: B2B buyers want to situate themselves in relation to others, especially businesses that share the same pain points as them, so they can better predict their potential growth. Salesforce is a brilliant example of storytelling in B2B content marketing.

Get some case studies up on your website, and get some printed out for the expo.

Moving forward, make sure you and your customer-facing staff are routinely gathering data from every job you work on.

5. Dig out your technical info and prepare to bare

Potential suppliers, partners and customers want to know exactly what you’re selling, how it works, and what the benefit to them is going to be.

Technical info is what’s needed. Clear, well-presented, precise technical data.

The type of data you’re going to need to have to hand will vary depending on what your business does – it could be anything from material safety data sheets to product specification charts.


Here’s what you need to remember:

  • Make it attractive: smudgy print-outs and cheap, shiny flyers from the print shop down the road won’t impress your audience. Quality paper, sharp printing, nice design. Spend a bit, eh?
  • Make sure it’s well written: whatever writing you’ve got on there, make sure it’s clear, concise, customer focused, and checked for any spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Include your contact info: put a name, an email address and a phone number at the bottom. Be specific: no one wants to talk to info@.
  • Make it visual: it can be hard to generate interest in B2B products and services. Invest in some quality imagery to drive engagement. Folks recognise stock shots, and they don’t like them.

6. Invite customer questions

Anyone who’s known me for more than 10 minutes will know that I’m a big fan of Marcus Sheridan’s They Ask, You Answer approach to content marketing.

TAYA is a way of targeting long-tail keywords while building trust in your brand by answering every question your customers put to you.

Publicly. In written form.

Stick with me.

I’m of the firm opinion that businesses can build an entire B2B content marketing strategy around They Ask, You Answer.

And expo attendance is the perfect way to kick-start it.

  • Email your mailing list: let them know you’ll be attending the expo. Ask them to email any questions they want to ask you, and promise them a detailed answer, in person, on the day.
  • Promote your TAYA approach: let folks know you’ll answer whatever they want to know in as much detail as you can while at the expo. No pussy-footing, no bullshit, no bluff.
  • Have a TAYA box at the expo: every question you get asked, write it down and stick it in the box. At the end of the expo, you’ll have a whole heap of blog ideas based on real customer queries.

They Ask, You Answer isn’t just a great way to gather important data – it’s a brilliant conversation opener at trade expos.


  • It’s customer-focused.
  • It’s 100% free of sales spiel (something 74% of B2B consumers say turns them off).
  • It allows you to get right into the nitty-gritty of what makes your business so good

That last point in particular is amazing for B2B brands with complex products or services.

It’s often hard to communicate your USPs in a few words, and this method gives you more words to play with and a captive audience.

The Short Version

B2B content marketing might not be vital for your business yet, but it will be. B2B consumers are becoming more demanding, and increasingly active online.

Attending trade expos is still a great way for B2B brands to attract new business. Refreshing your online marketing efforts before you attend one will help to maximise your investment.

Customers want easy to read, engaging content from B2B brands that:

  • Is visually appealing
  • Is easy to navigate, if hosted online
  • Contains benchmarking data
  • Has detailed information
  • Includes real-life examples
  • Is customer-focused, not salesy

Spend some time before you attend trade expos making sure your online presence is up to scratch, and that you’re really giving the modern B2B consumer what he or she wants.

Did I miss anything off? How does your B2B business prepare for trade expos? Tell me in the comments if you’ve got any bright ideas 👇🏻

Need some help with B2B content marketing? Give me a shout.



7 B2B Content Marketing Quick Wins for 2018

B2B content marketing quick wins 2018

Without wanting to buy into a stereotype, it’s fair to say that a good number of trade and industrial B2B brands are still resisting the pull towards anything resembling a decent content marketing strategy.

At the companies I speak to, there are one or two people singing the praises of content marketing.

But, their tune’s falling on deaf ears.

We’re too busy.

We don’t have the budget.

Our customers aren’t interested.

Blah, blah, blah.

Getting the board on board

B2B content marketing

Look at this headless guy. He doesn’t have time for your B2B content marketing bullshit.

So what should you do if you’re pushing your board to…well, get on board with content marketing?

Lie down and accept defeat?

Not a chance. Listen up.

What the dinosaurs more traditional members of staff in your business probably don’t realise is that content marketing isn’t some new-fangled theory.

B2B content marketing applies many of the same principles that have worked for service-based businesses for decades.

If you’re trying to make a business case for content marketing in your company, chances are your bosses want proof it’ll work.

So how do you get proof it’ll work with no buy-in and no budget?

Let’s talk B2B content marketing by stealth.

Be Your Company’s B2B Content Marketing Ninja

Right, so sneaky does it.

Here are 7 B2B content marketing quick wins you can pull out of the bag and use to I TOLD YOU SO the relevant people when the time comes.

Maybe you’ll only want to implement a few of these, maybe you’ll want them all.

Something is better than nothing. Always.

1. Customer reviews

Is your business collecting customer feedback?

If not, you’re missing out on an absolute wealth of free content.

This year’s report on B2B consumer preferences by Demand Gen noted that buyers are getting busier all the time.

A third of respondents (34%) said they have less time to research the brands they purchase from.

But three quarters (75%) of them said that the trustworthiness of the content they read in order to make a purchasing decision is more important than ever before.

So how do prospective customers get trustworthy information about your products and services?

Customer feedback and peer-generated reviews.

More than two thirds (68%) of buyers said that’s what they look for when deciding who to buy from.

Give them what they want.


  • Encourage customer-facing staff to ask for feedback every time
  • Add an email signature inviting feedback to all outgoing messages
  • Call up happy customers and ask them to write you a review
  • Join a site like TrustPilot and add a widget to your website’s homepage


2. Case studies

If there’s anything a B2B consumer likes better than a review, it’s a really in-depth review.

Yes, it’s our old friend, the CASE STUDY.

Going back to that report by Demand Gen, the humble case study came out on top in two categories:

  • 48% of respondents said case studies were the most valuable type of content to them
  • 78% of respondents said they’d used case studies to research their B2B purchasing decisions in the last 12 months

case studies B2B content marketing

Source: Demand Gen

Now, I’ve always loved a good B2B case study, so I’m happy if not very surprised by the news that case studies are the number one content format for B2B businesses in 2018.

And the best thing about case studies? They’re SO EASY to source information for.

They’re just stories.

Everyone loves a good story.

Start collecting information for case studies as standard, and you’re sitting on a mine of brilliant content.


    • Download this free case study questionnaire I use to source information
    • Get on the phone to your latest happy customers and interview them
    • Write up those case studies for your blog
    • Share your latest case studies with your email list


3. They Ask, You Answer

They ask you answer Marcus Sheridan

I’ve always been a fan of the straight answer.

You ask a question, you want an answer – not a load of pussyfooting around.

In 2017, I read this book: They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan.

Marcus was on the verge of bankruptcy and had no money to market his business with. None.

So what did he do?

He transformed his business by blogging.

He started answering customer questions. All of them.

Every. Single. One.

Marcus answered all the questions his customers were asking on his blog.

And, by answering every question he received openly on his blog, Marcus got his website to the top of Google page one for a huge number of longtail keywords.

The result?

Marcus’s business is now the number one in its industry for the whole of the US.


  • Add a widget to your website inviting customers to ask any question they like
  • Encourage customer-facing staff to actively invite questions
  • Set up an email address internally so staff can ping these questions over to you
  • Start answering the questions on your blog. Nothing fancy, just give people answers


4. FAQs

OK, so if you read that last one and thought, “I don’t have time to blog!”, then here’s a good one for you:

Frequently Asked Questions.

  • Are there questions your customers keep asking?
  • Do customers come to you saying that your competitors wouldn’t tell them X, Y, Z?
  • What can you tell consumers to make them buy from you, not someone else?

FAQs are great for customer care, they’re great for building trust in your brand, and they’re fantastic for boosting your SEO.


Because consumers will be typing their questions into Google.

And if that question – and its answer – is on your website, guess what’s going to pop up in their search results.

Lovely old you.


  • Get yourself an FAQ plugin for your website. I like Heroic FAQs
  • Start answering some questions
  • Uh…that’s it!


5. Online chat

This is one that usually has B2B clients running for the door, but bear with me.

Automated chat functions are big, and they’re getting bigger.

Customers really, really like them.

Econsultancy got the data on how customers respond to live chat, and the stats are definitely compelling.

  • 79% said they used it to get quick answers to questions
  • 73% of customers who used live chat were happy with it
  • 46% agreed it was the most efficient communication method
  • 31% said they were more likely to buy after using it

And, as content marketing expert Neil Patel has it, the info is even more encouraging.

His research found that live chat can increase online leads by an average of 40% (source: chat study by ApexChat).

So again, we’re finding that customers want answers, and they want them quick.

Give them answers!


  • Get a live chat add-on for your website – here are some of the popular ones
  • Let your email list know you’ve got a live chat function
  • Designate a couple of people to handle inbound enquiries – maybe start it off yourself?
  • Read more: Neil Patel does a great job of outlining the benefits of live chat
  • Kissmetrics are also good on the topic.


6. Twitter

This is a good one if you (or someone else in-house) decided that live chat is just a little bit too far in the direction of SCARY FUTURISTIC STUFF OUR CUSTOMERS WON’T LIKE.

The other day, I didn’t know which bulb I needed for my bathroom, so I tweeted an LED bulb company.

They responded, I bought the bulbs from them.

I actually did.

Would I have emailed? No.

Would I have picked up the phone? Also no.

Twitter is a handy and effective way of increasing the inbound leads to your business:

B2B marketing twitter


If you’re thinking you don’t have time for Twitter, remember:

Quality is more important than quantity.

As long as your Twitter profile is on-brand and consistent, it’s a decent lead generation tool to keep ticking over in the background.

Then, if you hear a ping and someone’s tweeted you, just respond.

It’s 280 characters or less; how hard can it be?

Here’s some good advice on leveraging Twitter for B2B businesses.

And, if you want some stats to back up how effective Twitter is for B2B, here’s some of those too.


  • Set up a Twitter account for your business – info, picture, links.
  • Download something like Buffer to help you schedule your tweets in advance
  • Follow customers, competitors, industry leaders, and anyone else of interest
  • Start tweeting: links to your site and blog, answers to questions, photos from in-house


7. Embrace The Big Five (wait…make that six)

Finally, back to blogging for a minute.

We all know blogging works best when you’ve got a consistent content marketing strategy going on.

But what if you don’t have one?

And you don’t know how to get one?

A great way to start blogging regularly is to embrace what Marcus Sheridan (remember him from point 3?) calls The Big Five.

Except, for B2B content marketing, I prefer The Big Six (I added one, so sue me).

These are topics your customers are searching for every day.

Things they want to know.

Things that will drive traffic to your website, build trust in your brand, and start conversations between you and your target market.

Introducing The Big 5 (+ one more)

1. Costs and pricing: 

How much will something cost? How much can something cost? What’s the minimum X will cost? Why does your service cost more than your competitor’s? Consumers want to talk money, and being coy about prices never wins business, so get blogging about what your products and services are going to cost.

2. Problems and challenges:

Don’t pretend you’ve got the perfect product or service: no one does. No matter what your customers buy, there’s the potential for problems and challenges. Talk about them. Build trust in your business by being open and honest.

3. Vs and comparisons

When consumers are at the consideration stage of the buying process (that’s mid-funnel to those of you who prefer funnel talk), they may well have a short-list of options. Help them decide on your service by creating content around X vs Y. Everything has pros and cons: give your customers the information they need to make the right decision for them.

4. Reviews

Stats from AdWeek showed that on-site consumer reviews can increase sales conversions by 74%. Interesting, too, is the fact that a few little negative points increase conversions: TechCrunch found that perfect scores can actually reduce your conversion rate as customers start to think they’re fake. So, get some customer reviews up on your blog.

5. Best

Consumers can be pretty simple creatures, and this point is testament to that. Mobile searches for “best” have increased by 80% over the last year alone, and that goes from the lowest price point right through to the highest. So get talking about the best everything that your customers could possibly want.

6. How to

Back to Demand Gen’s 2017 B2B Content Marketing report, 97% of respondents highlighted prescriptive content as their preferred form: things like “10 steps to…” and “3 ways to…” So, blogs on how to do X, Y and Z are a sure-fire way to grab their attention.


  • Cross reference your products/services with The Big 5 (6!) for a ready-made list of blog topics
  • Talk to colleagues to get the information you need for the blogs
  • Start blogging – the cost ones are always a good place to start
  • Or, hire me to do your blogging


The Short Version:

B2B content marketing isn’t some kind of hocus pocus.

It can be hard to get buy-in when the board shuts down at any mention of it.

But, the fact is, B2B content marketing is a proven lead- and sales-generation tool.

There are so many ways to start introducing B2B content marketing into your business.

You don’t need money.

You don’t need much time.

You don’t even need company-wide buy-in, not at first.

Small efforts can make big changes when it comes to B2B content marketing, so try and implement some or all of the tips above gradually over 2018.

Track the ROI.

Watch for results.

I guarantee, if you keep at it, you’ll get some good ones.

Need help with your B2B content marketing strategy? Let’s chat.











13 Last Minute Things I’m Glad I Squeezed Into December

I’ve only hit about half the goals I set for myself this year.

In some areas, I’ve completely smashed it. Others…well, let’s not talk about those.

But, I’ve had a bit of a second wind over the last few weeks. Maybe it’s pre-New Year optimism, maybe it’s something else (it’s not Maybelline, by the way).

Whatever it is, it seems to be a freelance writer self care thing.

(Which is no bad thing).

So, here are 13 last-minute things I’m glad I squeezed into December (and I’d recommend you do too)…

1. Switched off

freelance writer

Through September, October and November, I found my stress levels rising.

I was angry, irritable, restless and unproductive, and it was getting worse.

Phone, email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Instagram and real life…every two minutes, there’d be a beep, a buzz, someone knocking at the door, a ping, my toddler shouting for me…

Life’s not good when you start to feel less like a freelance writer and more like a chew toy.

I wasn’t getting anything done.

And what I was doing wasn’t the important stuff, it was the most intrusive stuff.

A conversation with other freelance writers was the turning point. I’d had enough of feeling frazzled, but I hadn’t quite joined the dots and worked out why.

Karen Marston, a freelance writer from Edinburgh, nailed the issue. She’s annoyingly good at that.

Damn you, Karen Marston.

So, at the start of December:

  • I turned off the sound notifications on the social media I access from my laptop.
  • I unsubscribed from every notification I could think of.
  • I muted people who annoyed me on WhatsApp (#sorrynotsorry).
  • I deleted Messenger from my phone, and removed Facebook from my pinned tabs.

The problem isn’t solved.

But life is much, much better.

2. Got My Fitness Pal

Freelance writer self care

One of my goals for 2017 was to GET FIT.

I’ve never been fit, and I’ve toyed with the same goal every year.

But, for whatever reason, 2017 was the year it actually worked.

On a bit of a reckless whim, I booked some personal training sessions with Becca Broadbent from This Mum Can Fitness.

We’re still going, and I’ve gone from being able to run 30 seconds to running 30+ minutes.

But, while I’ve been getting SUPER BUFF AND TOTALLY RIPPED, my weight has been creeping up.

Portion control has never been my strong point, and chocolate is my ultimate weakness.

So, about two weeks ago, I downloaded MyFitnessPal to my phone and opted into the free trial of the premium version.

It. Is. GREAT.

My intake of junk food has dropped, and I’m being more accountable for what I put into my body.

Also, I get to scan stuff with my phone, which makes me feel a tiny bit like a superhero.

3. Stopped putting it on my tab

The record number of tabs I’ve had open at one time?

No idea, but it was more than 30. And that’s just in one window.

As my stress levels were rising (see point 1), so were my panic levels.

So much to do. So much to read. So little time. SO little energy.

I was opening a new tab for every article I wanted to read, every idea I wanted to pursue, every little everything.

The result?

An overworked laptop and a seriously overworked mind. And nothing in the way of results.

So, I’ve started limiting myself.

When I want to open a new tab, I try and use one of the ones already open. And once I get to 10, it’s time to shut some down.

If I need to remember what’s on there, I’ll save the link.

But I’m getting pickier.

Decluttering the browser is definitely helping my state of mind

4. Learned what CMD + Shift + T does

freelance writer self care
Look how happy she is. I was that happy.

OK, so moving on from point 3, sometimes I’m a little click-happy with my new-found enthusiasm for closing tabs.

Finding out that CMD + Shift + T opens the last tab you closed was a GAME CHANGER.

Don’t judge me!

5. Finally started using Trello

trello for freelance writers

After a few false starts earlier in the year, I’ve started actually using Trello.

What finally motivated me to give it a proper go was the folder full of Pages and Numbers documents, each one containing a different list.

  • Things to do.
  • Things to read.
  • Things I’m TRYING to do but am waiting on someone else before I can get started with.
  • Meals this week.
  • Shopping for next week.
  • SMART goals.

I love a good list, but things were getting a little out of control.

Got to hand it to Trello – it’s taking a while to get used to having that little site as one of my pinned tabs, but it does what it says it will.

6. Bought myself a fancy diffuser (or two)

I work from home.

I live at home.

I spend A LOT of time at home.

After years of bulk buying scented candles from IKEA (keep your judgement!), I finally treated myself to a couple of scented diffusers from Urban Apothecary London.

I spotted the brand at a local garden centre (I have a three-year-old who loves water features and sniffing things, go figure) and fell in love with the Oudh Geranium scent.

At £35 each (*wheezes*), they’re not cheap but I’m telling myself they’ll pay for themselves within the year.

Which, if the three-year-old doesn’t knock them over, they will.

7. Sent Christmas cards to randomers

freelance writer self care

As well as sniffing things, my toddler is big into Christmas lights. 

So, we’ve been going for walks in the evenings and finding particularly beautiful displays.

We give the house a name: “House with the flashy tree” or “House with the twinkly reindeer”.

Then, when we get home, we write them a card. Next time we’re out, we pop the card through the door.

We’re getting exercise, the toddler is learning kindness and thoughtfulness, and – hopefully – the people who’ve decorated their homes will know their efforts are appreciated.


God bless us everyone.

8. Sent Christmas cards to clients

freelance writing

Sticking with the theme, what better way to say thanks for the work and YO, YOU SHOULD TOTALLY HIRE THIS FREELANCE WRITER NEXT YEAR than sending cards to your clients?

When you’re a freelance writer, a lot of your interactions with clients will be solely via email or phone.

It’s nice to put a little something into the hand of your customers.

Some of mine have even had chocolates.

Some of the chocolates may have stayed home with me.

9. Cut my coffee with decaf

freelance writer


Stuck one pot of caffeinated coffee in with one pot of decaf, and gave the whole thing a damn good shake.

Painless way to reduce my caffeine intake!


10. Picked up the phone

freelance writer phone

I’m a freelance writer so it kind of goes without saying that I do a lot of writing.

Even with my efforts to cut down unwanted and mindless social media interactions, I still spend a large portion of my day typing.

It’s tiring and it can get seriously boring.

So, to kill two birds with one stone, I’ve started picking up the phone.

It’s often quicker to call someone than it is to email (and wait for a reply), plus, it keeps those phone skills polished.

You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to fall out of the habit of actually speaking to people when you’re a freelance writer.

So do it. Call someone.

11. Put my phone to bed

freelance writer

Even the best, most productive day can be sabotaged at the last minute.

Leaving my phone next to my bed at night was one of the biggest self-sabotages in my routine.

I’d have a great day, get ready for a nice early night, then BOOM.

Mindless Mumsnet browsing.

Before you know it, it’s midnight, you’re scrolling 12 links deep in Wikipedia (the unsolved mysteries page is SO GOOD, though), and you can’t see out of one eye.

Good day, ruined.

Now, I leave my phone over the other side of the room.

It wakes me up when the alarm sounds, but there’s no temptation to check it last thing at night, or when I wake up to go to the loo, or when I’ve just woken.

Bed is now phone-free.

12. Read Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin strikes me as a nice woman.

Fully in touch with what most of us would consider reality?

Not so much.

But, that’s part of her charm. Rubin is 50% curious, privileged white lady and 50% practical, self-help advice.

Her latest book, Better Than Before, takes a look at how we form habits, and how we can unform the ones we don’t want, replacing them with the ones we do want.

Rubin’s big on things like quitting sugar and carbs, and introducing daily meditation to her routine.

Me, I’m sticking to humble goals like “Don’t use the floor as storage” and “Used cups should probably not live on your desk”.

But, y’know, each to their own.

I’m not a fan of self-help books but I’ve implemented a number of long-desired habits as a direct result of reading this one, so I can’t not recommend it.

The weird white lady (Rubin, not me) has some good ideas.

13. Got ahead on my Self-Assessment (and paid someone else to do it)


Every year without fail, January sees me stressing over my self-assessment tax return.

There is literally nothing I hate more in this world than HMRC’s website.

So, this year, I’m ahead of the game.

Much as I loathe logging into my online banking (and let’s be honest, Amazon), I’ve done it, and my information is now with an accountant.

A lovely, angelic accountant who will do my return for me.

I love her.

It costs me £100 to have it done for me, and it’s the best money I’ve spent all year.

Cheers, VSM Payroll!

Self care for the freelance writer

I guess that’s the TL;DR version of all this.

What do the 13 things listed here have in common? Not much.

They were all just things I did for me.

  • Things to make me feel good.
  • Things to stop me feeling bad.
  • Things to help me lose negative habits.

When you’re a freelance writer, you are your business.

Self care is so, so important.

So whatever self-care looks like for you, try and fit some in before the year’s out.

That way, when 2018 rolls round, you’re already ahead of the game.

Tell me about your self care tips for freelance writers – comments down here!👇🏻


How Inbound Marketing Will Get Your B2B Business Ahead

What makes your business stand out?
What sets you apart from the competition?
What’s your USP?

Like it or not, the answer is often “nothing”.

It’s hard to find a business that’s reinvented the wheel nowadays – why claim to be one of them?


B2B website copywriting
Don’t bore your customers with clichés

Great products? Sure, loads of businesses have them.

Innovative solutions? Heard it all before.

Years of combined experience? Yawn.

See also: state of the art facilities, top of the range equipment, industry-leading expertise, first rate project management, exceptional customer service…

Boring, boring, boring.

None of this is unique to your business.

None of it makes you special.

None of it will convince customers to buy from you.

If you’re a B2B business, chances are there are a handful of businesses doing almost exactly the same as you.

You might think they’re decent, you might think they’re terrible.

But, the fact of the matter is, you’re probably both claiming the same things to the prospects who find their way into your sales funnel.

All that guff above, right?

So if everything’s already been said, and everything’s basically a cliché, how can you set your business apart from the competition?

Inbound marketing.

Here are three ways using inbound marketing can get your B2B business ahead.

1. Get found before your competitors

B2B consumers are looking to buy. Will they find you?

SEO, PPC, email, social media…

Whatever you’re using to target prospects who are flitting around the top of your sales funnel, make sure you do it well.

Trade and industrial B2B brands are…shall we say, not exactly renowned for mastering inbound marketing, so there’s a good chance a savvy strategy will help you leap ahead.

Helpful, interesting and optimised B2B content on your blog, website, social media feed and email newsletter can get you on the radar of those consumers in the awareness stage of the buying process.

If you’re grabbing consumers’ attention before your competitors do, that’s half the battle.

And let’s look at it simply: if they don’t know about you, they’re not going to buy from you.

2. Give consumers what they want

B2B content
Give your customers what they want

Inbound marketing is not a game where you want to play hard to get.

If your prospect is floating around the digital marketplace, it’s because they want something.

Either you give it to them, or they’ll go elsewhere.

So what kind of something are we talking about?

B2B Content.

B2B Content is:

  • Authentic customer reviews that help prospects know they can trust you.
  • Addressing how much something’s going to cost – even if you can’t give a straight answer.
  • Giving customers answers to their questions.

And if consumers find the answers they want on your website, your social media feeds, and in your emails, chances are they’ll stick with you.

B2B content case study: Edmo Aluminium Extrusions

3. Give prospects a better online experience

inbound marketing
B2B consumers don’t like shopping online? Fine – so make it easy.

One thing I hear a lot is that trade and industrial customers don’t like Doing Stuff Online™.

And sure, a lot of service-based businesses did just fine before the days of digital marketing.

Paper flyers, an A-board, and a listing in the Yellow Pages? Job done.

But, things have changed.

(I mean, have you seen how thin the Yellow Pages is now?)

Think about how many of the decision-makers you deal with grew up pre-internet.

Not that many, I’ll bet. And the number will get smaller year on year.

So remember that great B2B content we talked about?

Stick it on:

  • An easy to navigate website that works on any screen
  • Informative, attractive email newsletters that are easy to subscribe to (and unsubscribe from)
  • A regularly updated, engaging blog that uses images, tags and categories
  • Responsive and friendly social media accounts

That way, no matter how consumers come to find you, they’re going to like what they see.

TL;DR – The short version

Your business isn’t special. Sure, it is to you, but not to your prospects.

When it comes to online consumers, you’re only as good as what you offer them there and then.

Give them the information they want via easy to read, interesting B2B content.

It’s up to you to keep up with what makes an enjoyable online experience: responsive platforms, cracking website, friendly social media.

Question is: do you want to get ahead, or play catch-up?

What do you think? Is Inbound marketing the key to B2b success? Comments below👇🏻







Latest work: B2B copywriting for Edmo Aluminium Extrusions

B2B copywriting Edmo

One of the latest projects I’ve been working on has been a big B2B copywriting job for aluminium extrusion and fabrication experts, Edmo.

Edmo’s a pretty big name in the aluminium extrusions industry. But, their website had done what most B2B websites do over time: become bigger, messier, and infinitely harder to navigate.

The information was outdated, there was no consistent tone of voice, and the user experience and flow were basically terrible.

Seriously, we found visitors who’d been there since 2012, wandering alone and covered in web dust in the tertiary level pages.

It was bad.

B2B copywriting Edmo

The brief

Edmo’s a hugely successful company that’s constantly investing in its business: new people, new equipment, new processes.

All of these things allow the company to increase its capabilities and processing capacity year on year.

But, the website was letting them down, both in terms of attracting visitors and giving a good impression to anyone who did stumble across the site.

Technical digital marketing agency, Adrac, were brought on to carry out a complete overhaul of the site: everything from written content (*coughs meaningfully*) to new and exciting visual branding.

The new website needed to pull its weight, drawing in new prospects, converting visitors into leads, and framing Edmo as an authority in its industry.

The job

As usual (I have the pleasure of working with them a lot), the guys at Adrac did a bang-up job.

The new site is a brilliantly and intricately built, fully responsive WordPress website with an intuitive, custom theme.

There’s a whole raft of newly commissioned photography and videography to bring Edmo’s services to life.

The navigation, which I worked on, is streamlined and simplified. The sitemap’s far easier for users to make sense of, and services have been clearly grouped.

Each now has a clear purpose, and the content is standardised across similar pages, improving user experience (UX).

The written content now follows a set of rules based on Edmo’s new brand tone of voice. And, as all good B2B copywriting should be, it’s clear, concise and thoroughly researched.

It’s also designed to give prospective and existing customers the information they need, whatever stage of the buyer’s journey they’re at.

There’s a brand-new Education Centre (a favourite B2B copywriting tool of mine), designed to offer visitors to Edmo’s website immediate value.

This online resource hub is filled with FAQs, case studies and SEO blog posts (an ongoing project that yours truly will be working on), positioning Edmo as a thought-leader in the aluminium extrusion and fabrication sector, and helping to boost the company’s organic search results.

Some of my favourite bits

The case studies:

B2B copywriting case studies

As soon as we got to see the amazing things that happen at Edmo (hey, there’s a reason I’m a B2B copywriter! I like this stuff!), we knew case studies would have to play a role in the new website.

The only problem? Edmo’s customers usually prefer to remain anonymous.

So, for the first time in my career as a website copywriter, I had to write case studies that showed just how impressive the client’s work was without actually identifying the customer involved.

Bit of a challenge, but we pulled it off.

Have a read of Edmo’s case studies here.

Corporate Social Responsibility

B2B copywriting CSR
When you work with clients who do complicated, messy, industrial stuff (like aluminium extrusion), there’s often a question of how to bring the softer side of things in.

One thing Edmo didn’t have on their previous website was any Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) information.

CSR can be a pretty important factor in procurement decisions now, so I decided to create a number of CSR pages on behalf of Edmo, covering their commitment to the environment, the local community, and fair and sustainable employment.

The best thing was that, before this project, Edmo hadn’t got round to consolidating all their CSR info. It was all there, just not in one place.

Now, it’s sorted. 👌🏻

Edmo’s values

B2B copywriting brand values

One of the loveliest things about working closely with the project team at Edmo was finding out the personality of the company.

On the old website, the ‘about’ section was the typical, mind-numbingly tedious (sorry, Edmo!) history spiel that you get on so many corporate websites.

It was completely flat, and showed no awareness of the target audience. After all, who ever decided on a supplier after finding out they were founded in 1976?

Not me.

Now, the ‘Company’ section of the site is full of information that really communicates the values that Edmo’s staff – and the company’s approach to customer projects – embodies.

Better yet, the values that we came up with from talking to the staff at Edmo are all things that will help persuade a prospective customer to get in touch.

There’s still this persistent school of thought that says B2B copywriting will always be dull, impersonal and corporate. It’s really not the case.

Authentic, customer-focused content always wins.

The results

The team at Edmo did an amazing job of getting me the information I needed to be able to understand exactly what they do and how they do it.

From the initial meeting and site tour, through to the seemingly endless (!) questionnaire stage and the final checks, they were always on hand to feed back on the work so far, and to clarify any points I needed to check.

Special shout-out goes to Darren, Edmo’s head of sales and marketing, who handled my numerous “quick queries” with unfailing optimism.

Darren Henry EdmoDarren had this to say:

“From our initial meeting with Lorrie it was very clear that we had found a first-class website copywriter. 

“Our website was very much out of date and not in keeping with the latest trends.  We had to move away from the old corporate structure and get new fresh optimised content for which Lorrie was the perfect choice.

“Lorrie had a firm grasp of our services and our processes, much to my delight.  Our business was thoroughly researched as was our plant and machinery. I was spared the effort of trying to explain in Lehman’s terms what it is that we actually do and how we go about doing it, as Lorrie was very much up to speed on our company.  I was even asked questions that had me checking technical manuals or investigate further.

“Lorrie took my very boring bullet-point explanations and developed them into search engine optimised text.  Not an easy task as we don’t like to give anything away about our customers or the machinery we actually use.  What makes it even more difficult is that we don’t actually make a product of our own – just everyone else’s. 

“Fully prepared questionnaires for each page with gaps to be filled in – doesn’t get much better than that.  Communications with Lorrie were very easy, good fun, informative and I am pleased to say they will not be coming to an end.

“On-going we will be working with Lorrie every month for our newsletters and mailshots to our subscribers.

“I would most definitely recommend Lorrie for your website copywriting – you don’t have to take my word for it – visit and check out the copywriting for yourself.”

B2B website copywriting is one of the jobs I love best. If you’ve got a project like this, why not contact me and see if we could be a good fit?






From start to finish: website copywriting projects

I’m hoping this blog – a complete guide to website copywriting – will be the first in a series of detailed posts on the work professional freelance writers do.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be talking to other copywriters about their specialisms, how they do their jobs, and how they got where they are today.

Integrated Website copywriting

integrated website copywriting

I believe in the value of integrated website copywriting projects. Website copywriting is a major part of what I do – I’d go as far as to say it’s the bread and butter of my business – and I’ve done enough projects to be able to generalise.

Sometimes, I work on small website copywriting projects where the design and build is done before the content. But for larger projects, I like to be involved from the concept stage. I also like to have direct contact with:

  • The clients
  • The design team
  • The dev team


The easiest way to explain why website copywriting should be an integral part of the project from the start is to go through a typical project step by step.

That way, it’s a simple job to highlight all the ways content can, and should, be a key part of any website build.

To jump to any of the sections, click the links below. Otherwise, read on!

  1. First contact
  2. Website navigation consulting
  3. Initial project meeting
  4. Data gathering
  5. The research stage
  6. The questionnaire stage
  7. Tone of voice guidelines
  8. Liaising with design and development
  9. Drafting content
  10. Finding snags
  11. Proof-reading
  12. Client content review
  13. Final checks
  14. Site launch

1. first contact

The way it tends to work is this:

My agency client comes to me and tells me they’ve got a new client for a website-build project. They do the build (and often the design) in-house, and they outsource the website copywriting to someone like me.

We talk about what the project will entail, what their client does, and whether the new website will be content- or design-led.

There’s usually a little dance around budget – no one wants to be the first one to name figures – so at this point I’m hedging my bets as to whether this is going to be a project I want to get fully involved with.

I’m interested, but I’m not committed yet.

2. website navigation consulting

One service I frequently offer clients before a website build begins is user experience and website navigation consulting.

I charge for this work separately to any further work on the project.

To begin with, I examine the current sitemap and discuss with my agency client how they think the new website should function, including:

  • Which pages need to be stripped away
  • Which pages function well in terms of SEO/UX
  • What the main product/service areas are, and how they break down into sub-categories
  • What the problems are with the current site navigation

After this initial discussion, I look through the entire website to see:

  • How it can be streamlined
  • Which content can be removed or consolidated
  • What new content is needed, and in which formats (just a couple of new paragraphs? A new page? An entire new area of the website?)
  • How we can improve user experience and flow throughout the site

One of the interesting things about websites is this: as companies grow and expand, they feel that their website should too.

It’s not true: in almost all cases, the bigger a company becomes, the more pared-back their website should be.

So, what you tend to find is that websites that haven’t been changed for a while will have a top level navigation that’s pretty clear, descending into secondary and tertiary navigations that become increasingly erratically organised and poorly populated.

These additional pages tend to be after-thoughts and add-ons, so there’s less attention to detail paid to:

  • What’s written on them
  • How it’s written and formatted
  • How it integrates with the rest of the site (i.e. how it’s accessed, where it links to and from etc.).

I tend to recommend that most these pages are removed and/or consolidated when the website is updated.

As part of my user experience and website navigation consulting service, I create a visual representation of a proposed new site map, with suggestions for additions, amendments, consolidations and removals from the existing site map.

My client looks over it, discusses any areas of uncertainty with me, then finalises it before including it in their final proposal to their client (who we’ll call ‘end-client’ for clarity from here on in).

Once my client’s confirmed the proposed sitemap, and whether the project will be design- or content-led, I’m able to finalise a quote for them. This takes into account:

  • How much research will be needed
  • How quickly the project will need to be completed
  • Whether I’ll need to visit the end-client (I usually do)
  • How many pages there will be
  • What the page templates will need in terms of written content.

My client factors my quote into the total project quote they send to the end-client. If I’ve done any consulting, I invoice for that.

Then, I wait to see what the client will come back with, and whether I’ll be doing any more work on the project.


It may take a number of weeks – or even months – for my client to confirm whether the end-client has opted to use my services as part of the project.

I don’t sit around and wait – I carry on as usual, and keep my client updated about my availability.

If I’m signed on to the project, I’ll agree payment terms with my client – often, we split the total sum in half or into thirds, payable over the duration of the project.

Then, the data gathering / initial project meeting stage begins. I make a start on basic research and content marketing strategy planning. usually accompany my agency client to the end-client’s premises to discuss:

  • The website design and build
  • The content marketing strategy I’ll be applying to it

The topics I’ll cover as part of the content marketing strategy include:

  • Brand tone of voice
  • UX (user experience) and navigation
  • SEO (search engine optimisation)
  • CRO (conversion rate optimisation)

How much emphasis is placed on each depends entirely on the project.

4. data gathering

website copywriting

The initial project meeting is our first opportunity to explain to the end-client what we’ll be doing with their website.

I also use the meeting to ask the end-client questions about their business and industry:

  • What they do and how they do it
  • What sets them apart from the competition (hint: often nothing)
  • What they like and dislike about their current website
  • Which competitor sites they like and why

I also take the opportunity to ask a few questions about brand identity, tone of voice, and how the client sees their  business, industry and customers.

Often, I prepare a questionnaire for the client before this meeting, which they keep and send me once they’ve had a chance to think and discuss their answers with their colleagues.

In my business, I work primarily with trade, industrial and B2B end-clients, which can mean that I deal with a lot of concepts that are new to me and quite complicated.

When I visit end-clients, I always try and get a site tour, so I can see what they do and how it all fits together. I need to fully understand what the end-client offers their customers, so I’m basically like the most attentive school trip visitor ever during these tours.

Once I’m home, I write up the notes I took during the meeting and tour, and share them with my client. I use these notes to:

  • Decide on the basic content I want to include on the new site
  • Decide how the content should be spread across the site
  • Identify information I still need to gather

5. The Research Stage

At this point, Google is my friend.

I spend at least a couple of days online, finding out more about:

  • The end-client’s business and industry
  • Their competitors, and industry leaders
  • The services/products the end-client and their competitors offer

I use the information I gather for two main purposes:

  • To gather factual information
  • To decide how to position my client as an industry leader

I create an individual dump file (a document into which I make notes and paste useful content) for every page of the new website.

Once I’ve completed a dump file for every page, I:

  • Collate the information I’ve gathered
  • Decide what needs to be covered on the new website

I also take notes on the good and bad points I see on competitor websites (clear, informative content; overly corporate tone etc.). These get dropped into my developing tone of voice document.

6. The questionnaire stage

website copywriting questionnaire

When I’ve finished the research needed for every page of the new website, it’s time to fill in the gaps: things I wasn’t able to find out, things I don’t fully understand, and things that are specific to the end-client’s business.

The best way I’ve found to fill the gaps, and get information right from the horse’s mouth (so to speak) is to create questionnaires for the end-client to fill out – one for each page. If the type of content needed on a number of pages will be very similar, the same questionnaire can be tweaked and re-used.

Depending on the amount of information needed, it can take end-clients a number of weeks to fill out the questionnaires and return them. Once I’ve received the answers, I review the information and contact the end-client to clear up any gaps and uncertainties. I then take the information from each questionnaire and drop it into the relevant dump file.


Quick note on dump files: anything I write is left in standard ‘body’ format. Material I paste from competitor and other sites is marked up in red. Material from the client is italicised.

That way, when I get to actually drafting the final content, I can see clearly what’s mine and what isn’t. Plagiarising isn’t just bad for your business and the people you rip-off – duplicate content will screw over your end-client too.

7. Tone of voice guidelines

tone of voice guidelines

Before drafting content, I need to set the guidelines for a new, consistent brand tone of voice to be used during the website copywriting stage of the project, and by the end-client in future.

While some clients already have tone of voice guidelines, most don’t. The ones who do often say that the existing guidelines are out of date or no longer relevant.

I use two things to inform the tone of voice guidelines I write:

  • The answers to the tone of voice questionnaire from the initial meeting
  • The notes I made on competitor brands

I also review the negative  trends in the end-client’s industry: for example, if the industry has an overwhelming tendency to be very dry and corporate, I’ll make a clear note to take another direction.

By combining the client’s thoughts with my own personal “wish list” of positive points, I’m able to create a full, authentic and unique brand tone of voice for both me and the end-client to use when creating content for their website.

I often send the tone of voice guidelines over to my agency client so we can make sure that there’s an affinity between the written content, any multimedia content, the design and the build.

You wouldn’t want cheery, jokey content set against a highly professional, structured web design, nor would you want very straight-laced content on a fun, interactive site.

8. Liaising with design and development

Once I’ve completed the tone of voice guidelines and they’re approved by my client, it’s time to see how the design and development side of things is coming on.

My client sends over PDF previews of the page template designs so far, both so I can get a feel for the visual side of the website, and so I can decide how much content will be needed on each page.

In web copywriting projects, I decide on the size of content modules before I actually draft any words. For example:

A page might require three ~20-word text overlays for its header image carousel, followed by a subtitle, an intro paragraph of 75 words, another subtitle, a more detailed paragraph of 150 words, four small paragraphs (four lines each) to accompany four icons, and so on.

Working the content this way allows me to plan out the copy before it’s written, let the design and development teams know what I’ll need them to enable for me, and standardise the look and feel of the pages on the website.

When I’ve decided on the content modules for each page, I send these plans over to the design and development teams for review.

If any adjustments are needed, we discuss those and decide how best to balance the visual and written content requirements.

When all the little issues are ironed out, the content plan is set, and I can make a start with the writing.

9. Drafting CONTENT

website copywriting time

Stage nine of the project, and it’s Actual Website Copywriting time.

The first job in the content drafting stage is to go through each of the dump files and insert the relevant headers and word/line counts decided on in the content plan.

I do this all in one go so I can be sure there won’t be any mistakes, and to save me wasting time checking the content plan over and over as I write.

I also make a note in each file of the keyword phrases the page should be targeting, so I remember to include these as required.

When it comes to writing, I’ll open up one dump file at a time, and begin to drag the copied and pasted content, my own research notes, and the client’s questionnaire responses into the section I think they fit best.

I remove any extraneous information: anything that’s not relevant, incorrect, or replicated elsewhere.

Once I’m happy with the basic spread of content, I begin the website copywriting itself.

As I create content for each module, I cut and paste the notes from that module to the bottom of the file. That way, when I’m happy with the copy I’ve written, I can review all the rough material, check I’ve covered every point I need to, and delete it bit by bit, until there’s only neat copy left.

One thing to point out: once all the content is drafted, but before the rough notes are deleted, I duplicate the file so I’ll be able to access the rough notes if needed in future.

This process takes a considerable amount of time, as you’d expect.

I upload the content as I write it, so the design and development team can make a start with situating it in the dev site.

I usually work with clients over Basecamp or Slack, and the files (Pages, as I use a Mac) frequently need to be exported to either Word, PDF, or both, before being uploaded.

10. finding Snags

snag finding

While I’m writing the rest of the content, my agency client will situate what I’ve already sent them in the dev site.

When I’ve finished the first draft of all the content (often a few weeks’ work), and they’ve uploaded it all, it’s time to discuss how it fits.

I arrange a chat with my client – usually over Skype or the phone – to find out whether there are any obvious snags.

Perhaps 50 words is too long for the intro paragraph, or four lines is too many for the content under the icons. Maybe the intro text on a service page seemed fine, but when you access that page from its landing page, it’s a bit too repetitive.

A large part of website copywriting is looking at how the words work in context. There are always a few areas that need work, so I note them down, then log into the dev site so I can correct them in situ.

It’s far easier to amend snags this way, as Live Edit mode allows you to see how text sits within the design template.

11. proof-reading

website proofreading

Once the website copywriting’s done and the snags have been fixed, and I’ve let my client know, it’s time to go over the dev site and proof-read the content for issues like spelling, grammar, punctuation, as well as clumsy phrasing, repetition and inaccuracies.

I also need to make sure the content adheres to the tone of voice guidelines, and that each page targets the correct keyword phrases.

Again, I correct these issues in situ on the dev site, making a note of the changes made to each page, and pasting those notes into the files on my own computer, so I’ve got a record of exactly what’s been amended, and where.

12. Client content review

client website copywriting review

Once the content is in place, de-snagged and proof-read, it’s time for my client to finalise everything on the design and build front before presenting the site to the end-client.

This presentation is sometimes done in person, back at the client’s premises, or remotely. I’m not usually present – I rely on my client to feed back to me.

My client will often give the end-client a printed copy of each page, so they can mark up areas they think may need amending.

There may be issues with phrasing, or the accuracy of certain information,  and a good old-fashioned red pen session is often the best way to address these.

In an ideal world, digital amendments would be possible – via something like Tracked Changes – however, in my experience, the vast majority of clients in the sectors I work with most frequently have no idea how to use it.

13. final check

When the amended documents are sent back to me, I review each one. I log into the dev site at the same time, so I can see how the content currently sits.

Then it’s a question of going through the word processing files, reviewing the changes, and deciding whether to implement them or not.

I implement the ones I agree with, often making small changes to the text around them so the content still sits neatly in the dev site.

Any I don’t agree with, I list in an email with a reason for my rejection. I send that mail back to the client via my agency client, and usually my decisions are accepted.

If they’re not, there may be a little tussle (at the end of the day, you can’t force a client to accept content they don’t like).

Sometimes I offer up a complete alternative rather than including something I think will damage the tone of voice, give a bad impression or sit awkwardly within the rest of the content.

14. Site launch

website copywriting launch

Once all the content’s in place and approved, the website copywriting part of the project is pretty much done. You’d think this would be a bit of a high point in the whole process but, quite honestly, it’s usually a quiet affair.

My client lets me know when the site is going to be put live, and I usually keep an eye on things from afar in case of any last minute amends.

Otherwise, all that’s left is to invoice, and thank the clients for their collaboration. Then, it’s into the portfolio with this project, and on to the next website copywriting gig!

I hope you enjoyed this long read on website copywriting – do you think I missed anything out? Are you a website copywriter who does things differently? I’d love to hear from you – comment below.

Related articles across the web



7 Steps To Better Website Copywriting

Website copywriting is a very particular skill, so if you’re hiring a writer to draft content for your company or client’s site, it’s crucial that you find someone who knows what they’re doing.

In this post, I outline seven things website copywriters should prioritise in every website copywriting project they undertake.

Click to jump to any section:

  1. Understand SEO
  2. Get to grips with CRO
  3. Think about user experience
  4. Work with designers and developers
  5. Keep brand ID in mind
  6. Be purposeful
  7. Don’t leave visitors hanging

1. Understand SEO

CRO copywriting

OK, so this is a pretty well covered topic but there are still so many copywriters not getting this right.

Search engine optimisation – SEO – is such a crucial part of your website; after all, it doesn’t matter how fabulous the site is if no one’s going to find it.

SEO conventions and best practices are changing constantly as our online behaviours change.

We’re searching in different ways, we’re using different devices, and Google (and other search engines) have to keep pace to make sure they keep their customers happy.

Regular research and training on SEO is a must.

Your website copywriter should be a regular reader of a few quality newsletters (or just one – I really recommend The Moz Top 10 if you fancy taking a look) and should be prepared to discuss with you what’s new in SEO before undertaking your website copywriting project.

2. Get to grips with CRO

Conversion rate copywriting

Just when you’d had enough with the acronyms, CRO comes along to spoil it all.

CRO stands for ‘conversion rate optimisation’ – put simply, maximising the chances of turning visitors to your website into customers and champions of your brand.

Conversion rate optimisation is similar to search engine optimisation in that both of these processes are half art, half science.

Like SEO, there are a number of tried and tested CRO factors your copywriter should know how to work with, adapt and implement for your site, including:

  • Header and sub-header formulas
  • Paragraph and list formatting
  • Button and subscription text
  • Buyer personas / non-buyer personas
  • Buyer journey stages / the sales funnel
  • Tone of voice and brand identity
  • Sales and lead conversion techniques
  • CRM integration
  • Website navigation and calls to action
  • Landing page best practices
  • A/B testing and lead monitoring

Learn more about conversion copywriting here.

3. Think about user experience

UX copywriting

The moment you lose site of your audience is the moment your website copywriting project goes horribly wrong.

User experience – often abbreviated to UX – is a vital component of any successful website.

And while it’s certainly not limited to the content on the site, content definitely needs to be kept in mind.

A common mistake I see website copywriters making is treating words as space-fillers.

When I take on a website copywriting job, I insist on being involved right from the start – before the website’s been designed or built.

That way, I can talk with the other project team members and discuss how visitors to the site are going to navigate it, which pages we want them to visit, what actions we want them to undertake.

Content can be used to inform a website build – deciding which pages are needed, how they should be grouped, what content should be featured on each page (and in what format), what your visitors are likely to want at every step of their journey around the site.

If you don’t care about user experience, you don’t attract and retain visitors – it’s as simple as that.

4. Work with designers and developers

Graphic web designers

Following on from that last point, a good website copywriter should know how to work with designers and developers.

Understanding the processes the other creatives on a website project undertake can:

  • Speed up the project
  • Boost ideas and creativity
  • Make life easier for everyone involved
  • Protect the client’s brand identity by aligning content and design
  • Improve the finished results

Undertaking a website copywriting project shouldn’t be a case of sticking a bunch of words in a file and sending them off into the ether.

Words don’t exist in a vacuum, so the more creatives understand each others’ roles, the better.

5. Keep brand ID in mind

brand tone of voice

Brand identity is a vital part of any website copywriting project – too often, SEO and CRO are prioritised over brand, when there’s no reason these factors can’t co-exist perfectly well.

An experienced website copywriter will understand brand identity, and how to write compelling website content while adhering to the client’s brand tone of voice and guidelines.

S/he will also be aware of how to work with the other creatives on the project to achieve a sensible, harmonious connection between the design, functionality and content of a website.

This will ensure that the written content complements the other components of the site, resulting in a cohesive and consistent brand identity.

6. Be purposeful

Visitors to your website are there for a reason.

They want something from you and they want to find it quickly and easily, with as few clicks as possible. If they can’t find it, they’ll go elsewhere – probably to a competitor with a better website.

Website copywriting should be clear, concise and purposeful.

Your homepage should be a visually appealing and briefly informative hub from which your visitors can be redirected to content (i.e. web pages) that match their interests.

And no, it shouldn’t start with “WELCOME TO X COMPANY’S WEBSITE – THANKS FOR VISITING”. Why? Because 1) it’s a waste of prime website real estate and 2) it makes people want to die of boredom.

When your visitors get to the page that best suits their needs, your content should inform, engage and persuade them to engage with you, whether that’s placing an order, signing up to a mailing list, or sending you an enquiry.

If your content has no purpose, it shouldn’t be there.

7. Don’t leave your visitors hanging

OK, so your website copywriting is a beautiful thing to behold – you’ve got your homepage sorted, your user experience down to a tee, and your brand identity couldn’t get more branded.

Your visitors are clicking where you want them to, taking the actions you need them to, and turning into happy customers.

What’s left to think about?

Well, in terms of website copywriting, not enough of us are talking about the delight stage of the content marketing process.

It’s not enough to keep your customers happy until the point of sale and then cut them loose – your content needs to let them know you value them.

Website copywriting projects should include loading copy on slower pages, sincerely written thank you pages for when a customer has fulfilled a particular action (downloading a guide, sending you their details – whatever it might be), and clearly marked calls to action and links to further useful content.

You should be thinking about the content outside the website too – email courses, newsletters, customer service email templates, e-books – you name it.

The last thing you want is for your customer to trust your brand with their details, fill out a form, and find themselves stranded on an ugly, empty page, with nothing left to do but close the tab.

Use your website copywriting as an opportunity to take a little more care of your customers – that way, they’re far more likely to come back to you.

Better website copywriting gets you better results

How much more simple can it get?

If visitors to your site find useful, valuable content on there that builds trust in your brand and tells them what they want to know, when they want to know it, they’re far more likely to stick with you and do what you want them to.

They win, you win.

(And your copywriter wins, ‘cos quality doesn’t come cheap 😘  How much does website copywriting cost? Find out!)

Have I missed anything off? Tell me below in the comments 👇🏻



How To Get The Best Brochure Copywriting Results Without Compromising On Design

brochure copywriter UK copywriting services

Done right, print brochures are a beautiful thing.

I’m not talking about those cheap, floppy, so-glossy-they’re-sticky disappointments that you roll up and ram into your bag/pocket/recycling bin, never to be looked at again.

I’m talking about those sexy, perfect bound, semi-matt brochures with the reassuringly heavy paper, that on your kitchen counter, flashing a corner at you, tempting you to read just a little bit more about what’s on offer because you know you want to.

That’s the kind of brochure that tells you a company’s really invested in what they’ve just handed you.

The 3 key elements of a beautiful, effective brochure

Boil it down, and there are really three key components in the creation of an attractive and effective brochure:

  • Imagery (photos, diagrams, infographics, charts)
  • Design and typography (colour contrast, font type and size, leading, kerning, hierarchy, whitespace)
  • Written content (tone of voice, content, terminology, paragraphing, grammar)

So it stands to reason that you’re going to need three different skill-sets – and suppliers – to get the best results for your brochure:

  • A photographer
  • A designer
  • A brochure copywriter

But how do you make sure that the work you get from each supplier is going to come together to make one beautiful, cohesive brochure?

As an experienced brochure copywriter who’s worked with a lot of agencies and freelance designers, I’ve got some tips.

Get everyone involved at the concept stages

It might seem like the easy or sensible option to get one part of your brochure done before moving on to the next and involving another supplier, but it’s not likely to get you the best results.

Why? Because you’re limiting your suppliers’ options.

I spoke to brochure designer and branding expert Col Gray about his experience of working with brochure copywriters. He said:

“The copywriter should be involved right at the beginning. As a designer, working with a copywriter in the early stages can help me achieve far better results.”

Get creative

Juggling all of your suppliers at once can be a bit of a challenge.

But if you’re working with experienced photographers, designers and copywriters, it gives you scope to get really creative – and to come up with a brochure that really stands out.

I love working with designers and photographers to find out how to bring new and exciting elements to my content.

Hearing their ideas for visual content often sparks new ideas for my writing – everything from tone and style to non-standard punctuation and formatting.

Don’t prioritise images over words

Or vice versa. The key to an effective brochure is to achieve that perfect balance between the written and the visual.

Back to Col Gray, he said:

“If the design’s done first, the copywriter needs to fit their content into the space that’s left. And, if the copy’s done first, the design can be compromised.

“Discussing things early means the design and copy can be developed hand in hand, for a more cohesive result.”

Keep your brochure copywriter involved throughout

What you think will work at the concept stages of a project may not work in reality.

Things change and, when they do, they impact on the other elements of a brochure.

That’s why it’s important to keep all your suppliers involved for the duration of your brochure project. While you’re unlikely to kick your designer off the project until it’s done, some agencies and companies are under the impression that once a brochure copywriter’s produced the content, it’s a finished product.

When it comes to brochure copywriting (and plenty of other kinds of copywriting, for that matter), it’s important to let your writer review the content in situ.

They may spot problems with the design/content integration that you haven’t.

Align your tone of voice and visual branding

A decent brochure copywriter will be able to:

  • Create a tone of voice concept for your brochure
  • Work with your designer to ensure the tone matches the visual branding

The last thing you want is a super serious, corporate tone of voice, coupled with bright and bold design, and fun and funky typography.

Likewise, you don’t want to match minimalist design with flowery language – a mis-match between your written and visual content is bad news for your reader, which means bad news for your business.

So, how do you get the best brochure copywriting results without compromising on design?

Let’s sum it up.

Getting the best brochure copywriting results is really a question of getting the right person – people – working on your project, and managing them well.

Hire an experienced brochure copywriter, get them involved at the concept stages and keep them involved until your brochure’s signed off.

Work to achieve that perfect balance between visual and written content, get your suppliers to bounce ideas off each other, and keep it creative.

There’s no point to expert brochure copywriting if your brochure looks like a bomb-site. And even the best copy can be ruined by shoddy design and typography.

A cohesive brochure design will always get you the best results.

Learn more about brochure copywriting or get in touch.

Freelance copywriter vs In-house copywriter: what’s the best choice for your agency?

freelance copywriter vs in-house copywriter

A lot of digital marketing agencies start out small, often with a couple of directors and something akin to an admin person or junior marketing executive for support.

Content is generally outsourced at first, but then the question comes:

Should you continue to work with a freelance copywriter or should you get someone in-house?

What offers better value? Which kind of writer will get you the best results?

As a freelance copywriter who works with a lot of agency clients, I want to outline some of the pros and cons of a freelance copywriter vs in-house copywriter, so you can make the decision that’s right for your business – and your clients.

Pros of an in-house copywriter

When I talk about in-house copywriters in this context, I mean somebody who’s on the staff – a salaried employee who works full or part-time for your agency.

They’re there when you need them

One of the most obvious benefits of an in-house copywriter is that they’re there whenever you need them.

Got a couple of paragraphs need writing? In-house copywriter can drop what they’re doing and get on it. Bit of website content needs reworking? In-house copywriter can amend the text in situ and upload it in five.

They get to know your business, and clients, inside-out

There’s a lot to be said for the kind of knowledge you pick up just by physically being somewhere. You catch conversations in passing, you find out what your colleagues are dealing with, you get to know familiar names, faces and terminology.

Your in-house copywriter will learn a lot by osmosis, which will help to make them a useful part of your team and may well improve the quality of the work they produce for you and your clients.

You don’t have to share them

Your salaried, in-house copywriter is yours. They’re going to be there for you during working hours and, if you ask them to do something, they’re free to do it.

Unlike freelance copywriters, in-house copywriters don’t have to juggle multiple clients. You won’t need to book time with them, so you can plan your projects more simply.

They’re your employee

When you employ an in-house copywriter, both parties are protected by a contract. You fulfil your obligations towards them and, in return, they have responsibilities towards you and your clients.

This may include giving you notice before they leave, undertaking a variety of duties as determined by you, adhering to company rules, and so on.

You can make copywriting one of their multiple responsibilities

A lot of agencies have junior members of staff working as ‘content marketing executives’ or ‘digital marketing executives’, whose roles include more than just copywriting.

In-house copywriters (by any other name) are often tasked with things like:

  • Social media
  • Client liaison
  • Marketing administration
  • Web content management

Which your average freelance copywriter won’t usually do for you.

They can be cheaper if you need large quantities of simple content

One of my agency clients, who came to me via a client referral, hired me to do some SEO blog copywriting for one of their clients. We agreed a flat fee for these fixed-length blogs, and everything was rosy.

The client was happy with my work, and so were their clients. So, they put me on a few more accounts. The number of blogs increased, and so too did the number by which my flat fee was multiplied.

The same thing happened again. I ended up writing a large number of relatively straightforward blogs for this client every week. That’s the only content they needed from me.

Problem was, it was costing them around £20,000 a year.

In that case, the in-house writer definitely won the freelance copywriter vs in-house copywriter battle. The blogs weren’t complicated, but there were a lot of them, so taking on an employee was the only sensible choice.

Pros of a freelance copywriter

Hiring a freelance copywriter – someone who works remotely – has its plus points too, which is why so many agencies outsource their content.

You only pay for what you need

While you do have to pay for every piece of work your freelance copywriter produces – even the fiddly little bits – that’s all you have to pay for.

Because a freelancer is a supplier, not an employee, you save on:

  • Salary
  • Sick pay
  • Holidays
  • Parental leave

All of which means that, when it comes to freelance copywriter vs in-house copywriter, your freelancer will usually leave you with more money in the budget.

You can get a senior freelance copywriter for less than you’d pay a junior in-house copywriter

It’s another money benefit – and let’s face it, you can never have enough of those. For the same price you’d pay for a junior in-house copywriter, you can probably afford a fair bit of time with a senior freelance copywriter.

For example: A quick look for copywriter jobs on tells me that in-house copywriter salaries are ranging from about £15,000 to £25,000.

So let’s average that out to £20,000 for the sake of argument. That’s around the kind of price you’d expect to pay for a graduate writer, maybe with a year of experience.

For that same price, you could get between 40-60 full days with a senior copywriter with 10+ years of experience. 

That’s a lot of work.

You don’t need to hire – or pay – a writer until you’ve got work

Getting an in-house copywriter takes time.

Do you hire someone before you’ve got projects to work on and risk paying them to sit there twiddling their thumbs? Or, do you wait until you’ve got work pouring in, then try and find, interview and hire someone double-quick?

Hiring a freelance copywriter is much quicker, and an especially good option for agencies with tight budgets.

There’s no need to hire a freelance writer until:

  • You know you’ve got the gig
  • You know how much you’ll be paid
  • You know how much you’ll have to spend

Big fat project with a client you need to impress? Spend a little more. Little project with a client who’s not bothered about content? Pick someone cheaper.

You can hire different writers for different projects

Freelance copywriters aren’t generally jealous types, so there’s no reason you have to hire the same writer for every project.

One of the biggest benefits to freelance copywriters vs in-house copywriters is that you can pick the right freelance copywriter for every project you take on. That might be the same writer, it might not: point is, you get to pick.

In-house copywriters get to know your business inside out but they face a real challenge if they have to write for every one of your clients.

Overworked writers produce stale work, which gets poor results.

Freelance copywriter vs in-house copywriter: who wins?

Well, neither, really. Both kinds of writers have their pros and cons, so it’s a question of choosing the solution that suits your agency – and clients – best.

Your in-house copywriter is there when you need them, can take on a variety of tasks (including little fiddly ones), and you can drop extra work on their desk without having to work out if you can afford it first. The salary you pay them includes everything, and they’re a member of your team.

Your freelance copywriter is an outside resource, so you only pay them when you need them – whether that’s a few hours or a few weeks. You have no obligations towards them beyond the terms of your agreement, so no need to worry about HR issues or paying benefits.

And while your freelance writer isn’t a fixed member of your team, you can afford to hire a more senior writer for your money if you go down the freelance route, so it may be worth your while if high quality content is your priority.

Freelance copywriter vs in-house copywriter: what do you think?

Got some thoughts on the freelance copywriter vs in-house copywriter debate? Share them below…