write podcast E17 Mark Traphagen

The Write Podcast, Episode 17: Mark Traphagen- His SEO Story, Tips on Video Storytelling, & Creating Content That Builds Your Brand & SEO

In this week’s episode, I had the privilege of sitting down with Mark Traphagen. He and I have “talked online” for a considerably long time, including hanging out back on when it used to be the new coolest kid on the block.

Mark is the Senior Director of Marketing at Stone Temple Consulting – he got started in SEO “by inventing it!” (Just kidding, his next ingenious remark is that he isn’t the Al Gore of SEO.)

In today’s awesome podcast, I talk to Traphagen about his story and beginnings in SEO, and how he turned something he stumbled into to become one of the foremost content creators, marketers and digital experts in the industry today! It’s a story you won’t want to miss. Then, we dial it up to chat all things storytelling, SEO, and even selling online (“never push your product. Work to be at the forefront of your buyer’s minds”).

Ideal for anyone who wants to overhaul their SEO, publicize their brand, and rank better online, this far-reaching conversation is packed full of gems. Enjoy!

write podcast E17 Mark Traphagen

The Write Podcast, Episode 17: Mark Traphagen- His SEO Story, Tips on Video Storytelling, & Creating Content That Builds Your Brand & SEO

While Mark has held many jobs throughout his life, ranging from a salesman to a school administrator, he eventually found his way through grad school and went to work at a bookstore.

It wasn’t long before he realized the physical bookstore was dying due to digital competitors like Amazon, and his boss at the time asked him to take it online in an attempt to save it.

He dove in and learned his way through the process of digital marketing and e-commerce. Eventually, he found his way into Stone Temple Consulting, where he is currently creating some of the most unique video and text content on the web.

In today’s fun, enlightening conversation, we cover the following:

  • How Mark worked in sales, went into teaching, then went back to grad school and ended up working for a bookstore, where he learned how to setup an e-commerce store and actually conducted early influencer marketing with bloggers.
  • How he took inspiration from Rand Fishkin’s “Whiteboard Friday” videos. And how these led him to developing his own unique video content, “Here’s Why.”
  • How he learned to navigate his way around Facebook’s soundless auto-play feature. While these videos don’t typically offer much of an incentive to click, Traphagen discovered how to grab a user’s interest with visual material and captions first.
  • Why good SEO takes time. And how he and his team at Stone Temple Have learned to communicate this to their clients.
  • How to master the science of SEO. While things like ranking algorithms are difficult to get a handle on, Traphagen does a great job of explaining how ranking in SEO is a little bit like a scientist testing and developing a theory.
  • How you can build a successful platform by focusing on long-term SEO efforts. SEO isn’t an overnight game, and Traphagen helps listeners understand how to focus on cumulative efforts rather than one-off results.
  • How to create authority content that gets inbound links. When you write relevant, well-marketed content, people link to it and talk about it, which builds publicity and helps expand your business!
  • How you can become one of the few brands consumers look forward to hearing from. While many social media users say they don’t want branded content in their feeds, virtually everyone has a few brands they love. Traphagen talks about how you can learn to become one of those top-tier brands through trust, authenticity, and value.
  • Using guest blogging to build your brand. Through OPA (other people’s audience), you can build your brand massively. Traphagen talks about how to do this, and why (after creating content on your own site) it should be one of your main priorities.

Favorite Quotes to Tweet

'I am not the Al Gore of SEO.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'I went back to grad school & worked for a bookstore, where I learned how to do SEO.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'SEO is both a science and an art.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'The most important thing we can do is to be trustworthy and useful to our audience.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'We don't need to do a hard sell on people. Or push products. Be at the top of their mind by being the most helpful.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'Good, effective SEO is a cumulative effort.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'There is a vital link between SEO as we typically think of it & brand value.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet 'Never think of SEO as some sort of isolated practice.' @marktraphagen Click To Tweet

Links Mentioned

This Episode Is Sponsored By Search Engine Journal!

Get 15% off the November 2 SEJ Summit with coupon code EXWSEJ, at!

Today’s episode is sponsored by Search Engine Journal! This is a one-day conference tailored for search marketers, featuring experts from Google and other industry experts in a full day of 11 sessions and 6 Q&As. Guess what? Mark himself will be speaking in one of the sessions! And, I’ll be there giving away 25 free copies of my bestseller So You Think You Can Write? Get your free copy, find me there, and I’ll sign it!

Grab 15% your tickets now using exclusive Write Podcast coupon code EXWSEJ at

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ContentWritingChat April 26 2016 Recap: Creative Copywriting Tactics 101

Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? There’s no need to worry, my friend! I’ve rounded-up some of the tweets from Tuesday’s chat so you can get caught up. Dive into our recap and learn more about the wonderful world of copywriting!

#ContentWritingChat April 26 2016 Recap: Creative Copywriting Tactics 101

This week, we were joined by Nicole Story, the Vice President of Creative at Poo~Pourri. We are huge fans of Poo~Pourri here at Express Writers because they are consistently creative and amazing with their brand’s copywriting. If you want to learn how they do it all, you’re in luck because Nicole shared some of her top tips with us!

Q1: How important is online storytelling and creative writing to brands today?

In case you weren’t convinced that both online storytelling and creative writing are important to brands, just check out these tweets from Tuesday’s chat:

As Nicole from Poo~Pourri said, storytelling is the human factor in online engagement. A relatable story will truly resonate with your audience and attract them to your brand.

Searcy knows the importance of storytelling. She says it can make or break a brand these days! It’s a good reminder to think about your brand’s story. What story are you telling with your brand? Is it resonating with your audience?

Rachel says that storytelling is relevant to brands today. Focus on providing great content to your audience!

When telling your brand’s story it helps to share the benefits you can provide in relation to your audience’s pain points. It’s one of the best ways to reach them and really pull them in.

Q2: What do you need to know before you create online copy?

Before you start writing copy for your brand, there are a few things you should know! Keep these tips in mind:

Questions you need to have the answers to: Who are you talking to? What are you talking to them about? Why should they care? Knowing why is so crucial!

Also, know what action you want someone to take next. Include a call to action so you can tell your audience what the next step is.

Shannon also agrees that knowing your why is important when creating online copy!

It may be obvious, but it’s important! As Brittany said, you need to know who your audience is. What do they care about? Where are they engaging with you? When you take the time to truly get to know your audience, you can create tailor-made content just for them.

As Pratik said, you need to know who, what, why, when, where, and how. These questions are essential!

What are your goals with the content you’re creating? You should have your end goal in mind so you can create the exact content that will help you achieve the results you want.

As Kyle suggested, ask yourself if you would care about the copy you’re creating. If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board!

Q3: What are key elements of successful creative online copywriting?

To make sure your creative online copywriting is a success, take a look at these tips from Tuesday’s chat:

It will be different for your brand, but when it comes to Poo~Pourri, they love the kind of humor that really grabs your attention.

Eliza says to make sure you choose an engaging topic and include strong visuals. They are two key elements to creating great copy!

Kristen’s key elements of successful copy include personality, voice, and clarity. We agree!

Remember to measure your results! As Sarah said, you need to know if your copy is working for you:

  • Are people responding?
  • Are they taking the desired action?

If not, you need to revisit your work and make some changes. If you aren’t getting the results you want, what’s the point?

A great tip from Brittany: don’t forget to proofread! Before you hit that publish button make sure you have double-checked for proper grammar, correct spelling, etc.

Q4: What is your process for coming up with brand copywriting?

We all have our own processes for creating amazing copy, but here’s what works for some of the people in Tuesday’s chat:

If you work at Poo~Pourri, Nicole says channeling your inner potty mouth is a must! What a fun brand, right?

As Kim said, it all starts with knowing your audience. Figure out what they’ll respond to, what your message is, and the best way to deliver it.

Once you know your brand’s voice, start researching your audience. Get to know them and see what they like. This will help you choose the right format for your content. Then, as Vivek says, just go for it!

At Express Writers, we do a lot of research via BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo allows us to check out what the top shared content is at any given time. Very helpful!

Collaborating with your team is a great way to work together and produce incredible copy!

We couldn’t have said it any better, Brittany!

Q5: How can you make sure your content stands out from everyone else’s?

You don’t want your content to go unnoticed, do you? Of course not! Make sure it stands out!

Don’t be afraid to be yourself and stand out! You have to be willing to put yourself out there. Make sure the end result is providing a value for your audience.

Julia, our CEO, raises a good point: never create if your end goal is just for “sales.” It simply won’t be as good.

Dave Pepper NAILED it!

Another nugget from Julia.

On one hand, it’s okay to study your competition. Check out what they’re doing and see what resonates with their audience. Don’t copy their style, but you can use it for inspiration and to do something even better for your brand.

Make sure you’re using your brand’s voice. Your voice is unique to you and it’s one way you can stand out from the crowd.

Kate says to emphasize your company’s unique selling point and your brand voice to help you stand out among all the others in your field.

When you start your copy with a great hook, you’re sure to grab their attention and get them to keep reading!

A great tip from Ellie: set creative standards for yourself. You should strive to be the best you can be.

As Searcy said, make sure you choose the right platform for sharing your content. Make sure you’re reaching the right people.

To put it simply, go big or go home!

Q6: How can you connect with your audience through copywriting?

Copywriting is a powerful way to connect with your audience when done correctly. Check out these tips to help you make a connection every time:

Poo~Pourri isn’t afraid to get a little crazy and talk about taboo topics. It’s what sets them apart and draws people into their brand.

Create content that caters to the wants and needs of your audience. When you provide value to them every time, they’ll want to stick around.

Jim said to always be genuine. When you just be yourself, you will attract the right people and repel the wrong ones.

Don’t sound like a robot! These days, your audience wants to feel a real, human connection with a brand. As Searcy, Kristen, and Varun said: be human. You need to be yourself if you want to form a genuine connection.

Kyle said you shouldn’t be afraid to share your personal experiences with your audience. Odds are, someone has been where you were and they’ll find your story relatable.

Make sure you review any feedback you receive from your audience and implement it so you can be better next time.

The words you use within your copy are so important. Your copy needs to resonate with your audience.

Q7: How can you tie your copywriting to visuals and other content marketing forms?

Visuals can play a major role in your copywriting, but you want to make sure everything is working together!

As Nicole said, your visuals and your words should support one another. They shouldn’t be competing.

Like Julia said: repurpose, repurpose, repurpose!

Brittany and Jeff are spot on with their answers! Make sure your visuals complement one another. If your copy has a specific vibe, your visuals should have that same vibe as well. And you should use visuals to enhance your words, not replace them.

As Kristen said, you want to make sure your copy and your visuals are always on-brand.

Copywriting that speaks to all the senses sounds like a winning formula to me!

It’s always a great idea to get the whole team involved when creating copy and visuals. You don’t want to miss out on some amazing ideas from your team!

Infogrpahics, Slideshares, etc. are great ways to repurpose your written content.

Q8: Open Q&A for Nicole from Poo~Pourri!

We invited chat participants to ask Nicole some questions and here are a couple:

Nicole said that at Poo~Pourri they love to use YouTube for web sales and Instagram for organic engagement. However, they find Facebook can be hit or miss.

It’s pretty clear Nicole absolutely loves her job!


We always have so much fun in our Twitter chats. This last time, we had no less than 700 participants! It’s time you be a part of the #ContentWritingChat, if you’re not already!

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM CDT for great chats centered around content writing and marketing.

So You Think You Can Write Julia McCoy book

SEO writing career

8 Top Cities Where Copywriting Jobs Are A Booming Career

Today, the online marketing industry is booming.

40% of the world’s population has an online presence. In total, over 3 billion people use the internet; a number that went up from 738 million to 3.2 billion in the last 15 years.

With a visitor presence as strong as that, today’s marketing is best done online.

Add onto that the fact that many states have increased their tech-sector hiring; startups are popping up all over the virtual landscape. As startup agencies launch, and the need to have a powerful presence online increases, so does something else:

Copywriting jobs and opportunities.

The meat of a great online presence is content marketing, and more of it: so, copywriters are in demand today. And that demand is only growing.

copywriting jobs

Copywriters, You’re Needed

As copywriters, we’ve gone from suffering jokes at the hands of our doctorate or lawyer friends (“what are you ever going to do with that English degree?”) to being an in-demand, highly employable class of professionals in a highly dynamic climate.

As the market continues to shift, grow and change, one thing is clear: copywriters will continue to play an important part in creating and distributing the content that makes people sit up and take notice of new technologies.

In addition to being knowledgeable about good marketing practices, copywriters can also help new and established companies beef up their SEO game, create intriguing content and help birth campaigns that go viral. Fortunately, there are dozens of cities right now that are a virtual gold mine for copywriters. These cities offer exciting, diverse jobs in the tech industry through hundreds of well-known companies, some of which (LinkedIn, for example) are current in the inbound marketing and content marketing worlds.

According to, the need for copywriters is projected to go up 6% between 2012-2022 and according to, the national average salary for copywriters is over $58k annually. Because of this and because of the increasing demand the field is experiencing, being a copywriter is a hot gig right now. 

The 8 Best Cities for Copywriting Opportunities & Jobs

We sat down to research the best cities for copywriters to find job opportunities in, and here’s what we found! (Updated December 2015.)

1. San Jose, California

It should come as no surprise that Silicon Valley is booming for talented writers. In San Jose, out of every 1,000 jobs, 126 are in the tech industry, which means plenty of jobs for copywriters and content marketers. Additionally, San Jose has one of the highest tech-related salaries in the country right now – an average of $130K each year. As home to big-name tech companies like Apple, Adobe and eBay, Silicon Valley is currently one of the best places in the country for copywriters who want to work in a fast-paced, tech-focused environment.

2. Minneapolis, Minnesota

If you’re a talented writer looking for work in the tech, advertising or PR industries right now, there’s no place like Minneapolis. In fact, the city is so rich with high-paying, unique jobs that some major media outlets are referring to the phenomena as “The Miracle of Minneapolis.” This is due in large part to the fact that the city combines affordable housing, great jobs and high salaries to create a highly livable market for skilled writers, editors and marketers. Minneapolis is home to several dozen huge company headquarters, including Novu, Target, Best Buy and C.H. Robinson, which have increased hiring in the tech sectors by 8.36% in the last six months. Companies like this are growing quickly and all of them need copywriters.

3. Seattle, Washington

The Seattle metro area has always been a writer’s paradise and today is no different. Home to tech colossuses like Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing, the city also boasts outposts of companies like Expedia, Zillow, Google, Facebook and Twitter. Within the Seattle area, 77 out of 1,000 jobs are tech-focused and those involved in the area’s tech industry make about $108K annually. In addition to the ample jobs in the area, the city also has a high quality of life and provides access to some of the best art, cultural events and food in the country.

4. San Francisco, California

Don’t jump to rope it in with Silicone Valley too quickly – San Francisco is home to plenty tech companies of its own and boasts a totally different environment than its neighbor to the South. Copywriters here can choose to work for companies like Google, Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp, Dropbox, Yahoo, Oracle, LinkedIn and Salesforce, among others. There are literally hundreds of copywriting jobs in this city and the lucky ones who get them will enjoy views of the bay and never-ending clam chowder with a side of job satisfaction.

5. Washington, DC

In the metro area that surrounds the country’s capital, copywriters can expect to find ample jobs. The area has a strong tech scene and over 79 out of every 1,000 jobs are tech-focused. The area also has over 1,000 startups, including companies like and Soundtracker, which makes it a vibrant and dynamic place for copywriters and marketers alike.

6. Austin, Texas

In addition to boasting one of the best music scenes in the country, Austin is a formidable player in the tech and startup circles. Home to companies like Dell, RetailMeNot, Main street Hub and Yodle, 58 out of every 1,000 jobs in Austin are in the tech industry and copywriters won’t have any trouble finding a job they love. Additionally, the city is home to the South by Southwest festival, which debuts new technologies and provides one of the best possible networking and educational opportunities for copywriters, SEOs and marketers.

FYI: Our own Express Writers is located here!

7. Boston, Massachusetts

Unlike many areas in the country, which are startup-dense and mainstay-sparse, Boston offers a healthy mix of both. Ideal for the copywriter who wants to work for companies like HubSpot, Wayfair, TripAdvisor, WordStream, Constant Contact or HourlyNerd, copywriters in Boston can expect to find that roughly 57 out of every 1,000 jobs are tech-focused. The area does have high rental prices but the quality of living is outstanding and copywriters who land jobs in the area will enjoy the ample opportunity the city offers.

8. New York, New York

The original home of the fedora-clad, pipe-smoking, typewriter tapping writers of old, New York is still a formidable player in the tech industry game. The city offers hundreds of copywriting jobs at major companies like Chloe + Isabel, Saks Fifth Avenue, Entrée Health, Deep Focus, Wunderman, Barneys New York and Bed Bath & Beyond. Copywriters who land jobs in New York will have no trouble expanding outward into work with tech companies, advertising firms, publications or retail establishments, thanks to the ample opportunity inherent within New York and the sheer concentration of businesses the city has to offer.

seo web content writing

Need a guidebook to help you boost your copywriting skills? Our CEO, Julia McCoy, wrote a bestseller on the topic!

The Vital Role of the Copywriter

Copywriters wear many hats – from writing web copy for companies to researching keywords, staying up-to-date on industry news, events and happenings and attending conferences to studying new platforms in the inbound and content marketing fields, copywriters are one of the major forces that allow web-based business to interact effectively and to expand their reach and message to new customers.

Although copywriters have always been an integral part of marketing and distribution, everything right now is online, which means that the need for copywriters has skyrocketed.

The Future of Copywriting Opportunities

Copywriting is a booming industry right now. As new companies are born and begin to flourish, copywriters become more and more in-demand. In order to stand out in today’s market environment, companies need highly skilled writers that are capable of developing and dispensing specific brand voices, conducting research on target audiences and creating web, print and visual content that catches customers’ eyes and helps the company differentiate itself from the crowd.

In many ways, it’s safe to say that it is virtually impossible for modern companies to attain success without the help of a dedicated team of marketing, SEO and copywriting professionals.

Today’s business environment runs on content and inbound marketing, and one of the only things that sets companies apart from one another in today’s overly crowded field is great content. Companies that can create great content that delivers true value and interest to readers are the ones that will snag sales, acquire new customers and achieve market dominance.

Looking forward, it seems like behind every great company will be a team of skilled copywriters who serve to make the magic happen. Because of this, it’s a great time to be a copywriter – and copywriter jobs are abundant. Even if you don’t make a pilgrimage to one of the 8 cities we mentioned above, it’s a safe bet that every company everywhere needs content.

From intriguing menus to highly technical eBooks and white pages, copywriters are the glue that holds modern companies together and the future, friends, looks bright.

Need to find a great copywriter of your own? Get a free content strategy call with us!

GE brand marketing

A Story Of Brand Marketing: Why GE Is An Awesome Content Creator

Brand recognition in the twenty-first century is an uphill battle, but with a bit of forethought, any brand can position itself where the users are. The hardest part is engaging the users and getting their feedback. This is something that GE has managed to do successfully.

Using Reddit (one of the most difficult social media platforms for brand recognition) as its base, GE has managed to woo users to their side by providing high quality content consistently, so much so that their e-zine GE Reports is now considered as relevant and important as older publications in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field. But how exactly did GE manage to do this? How did they place themselves in such a great position compared to their peers? Their strategy is both admirable and inspiring, doing all the things content producers should be doing right.

A Big Secret: Knowing the Audience

When GE set off on the task of making its brand known for something, they first had to figure out the audience they were creating content for. GE is an engineering company at heart and the obvious audience for them would be engineers and other professionals in STEM fields.

The things that interest these types of readers are not what you would consider mainstream content. GE, being a leader in innovation, realized that their audience was made up of people who wanted to know what was going on in science and technology around them.

And so GE’s brand marketing strategy was born.

GE started producing a series of articles that recapped and encapsulated new discoveries in the field of science and technology in a way that was accessible, not only to STEM professionals, but to anyone who had an interest in new discoveries. What they discovered was that although a large percentage of their core audience were STEM professionals, there were as many readers that were laymen tuning into their content since it was so approachable. The key behind this easy entry was the type of writing that was involved to build these articles.

Human Interest Factor: 3 Methods GE Won At Doing

GE Reports doesn’t go the traditional route of science reporting. Rather, they focus on the individuals behind the discoveries. What motivated them? What made them decide to explore this particular field of interest? Dry science writing went out with the 80’s and more science and technology magazines were focusing on a different style of science writing: one that sees the inventors and researchers as people first. Human interest stories always get mileage, but combining it with technological breakthroughs was a master stroke of genius.

  1. Channels of Interaction: Success With Email? Marketing a brand is about marketing its message and for a brand to become recognized, it needs to get its name out there. Paid channels of marketing isn’t usually a major factor for GE Reports. Most of its users know about it from Reddit or from Twitter, thanks to the massive following on the social media sites. Facebook also figures into its equation, but the surprise factor in GE Reports marketing strategy is its use of email subscriptions.GE knows email is old school, but they also know that their impact comes from personal interaction and bringing out the human side of a story. Email allows for far more interaction with an individual on a personal level and goes hand in hand with their article style. Email gives GE Reports personality and that is something a lot of brand marketing seems to lack these days.
  1. Loyalty is a Major Seller. Recently, the thinking behind social media for large marketing companies is to sink a lot of money into a targeted ad campaign. This doesn’t win over an audience, but simply “rents” them. At the end of the campaign it’s unlikely that that same audience would care to purchase from that brand again. It relies heavily on gimmicks and the ability to go for a quick sell. GE’s strategy is the complete opposite. GE Reports focuses on building a community as opposed to simply renting an audience, something that can be very useful to GE in the long run.

Why Are Loyal Users Important?

Going back to the idea of understanding an audience, the more you interact with an audience is the more likely you are to understand them and the more able you are to spot content that would sit well with them. In addition to that, GE serves as a hub for the latest news and opinions on the cutting edge of science. By cultivating a community, they ensure that not only readers are able to get the information they want to read, but that media outlets are clued in to what is the “next big thing”. This makes them as much of an authority site as any other science and technology outlet that has been in existence for years, all because of their dedicated community that shares and adds to the rich tapestry that is their user base.

  1. It’s not about Quantity, It’s About Quality. The thing that sets GE’s brand marketing strategy apart from those of their competitors (and indeed, anyone else in the field of brand marketing) is their dedication to the delivery of quality content. Good content is any entry that enriches the user in some way, either by teaching them something new, informing them of a development or giving them an opinion on something that is worth talking about. GE fulfils this demand admirably, consistently delivering content that appeals to its user base without compromising the usefulness of the content.

Isn’t Brand Marketing about Marketing?

Brand marketing isn’t simply about marketing, and that’s where a lot of brand marketers fall woefully short. GE goes about brand marketing via another more traditional route. They include their marketing into their content, but their content comes first and the marketing aspect comes after. The idea of a marketing blog should be to inform and enrich your readers before you start working on them as potential customers. This is another interesting point when it comes to user loyalty (as mentioned above). A user that is loyal to GE because of GE Reports is more likely to put money on a GE product than any other brand, simply because of the enrichment GE Reports brings to his or her life.

GE’s Impact on the Population

So how do we know that GE is getting through to this mass of users that they claim are reading their posts? Although it may seem as though GE Reports is getting a lot of traffic, the numbers of subscriptions also measure up to scrutiny. GE sends out more than fifteen thousand emails to subscribers every time a new article is posted. As far as reach is concerned, that’s huge in terms of organic numbers. When you factor in how many of those people share, like and tweet those stories and the branching effect of social media relationships the reach is immense in scope.

The other way that GE can measure its population impact is from their newsworthiness. News agencies turn to GE Reports as an authoritative site on the news of the STEM world. By getting the leads from GE Reports, these sites can then go on to research and create their own content (yet another benefit of a community of loyal readers). By seeing their own stories covered in the mainstream STEM news, GE can safely say that it has quite an impact on the world today.

Through the middle of January, GE Reports was seeing three hundred thousand unique visitors. For any type of brand marketing site that is a huge number and although that represents a single month, GE has the potential to do it again, since they have done it before. Their power comes both from the way they build their content and the places they market it. Maybe email marketing isn’t such a thing of the past after all.

What Does GE Do That Others Don’t?

GE has forgotten about the old-style press release that so many larger brand marketing professionals stick to as the gospel. By avoiding this method of interaction with the audience, they are able to reach further and to capture a larger, more attentive readership. Their style of writing is different, more engaging than that of their competitors. The information they present is accurate and timely. All of these contribute to having a loyal readership with thousands of subscriptions and hundreds of thousands of readers on a monthly basis. Whatever they are doing, even though it’s not traditionally brand marketing, is certainly working for them, according to Contently.

4 Things that GE Does You Can Do, Too

If you’re looking to build a better brand marketing image then you should really consider how these have worked for GE so far:

  1. Know your audience and write for them.
  2. Create high quality content.
  3. Don’t confine your marketing aims to social media, but rather branch out.
  4. Build a loyal readership and user base to fall back on.

GE has a plan that has made it one of the most successful brands in the world.

By building on their success and patterning yourself after them there is no way that you can fail to achieve the same sort of results. All it takes is dedication to the goal and the time to see it through.

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target copywriting

Brand Showcase: Target’s Copywriting Is on Target

Target. That wonderful, mystical land where one can buy shoes, clothes, novelty tees, movies, Legos, and food when they were simply going in to buy a crafty little graduation card. Target is a place that sucks you in, makes you spend every penny to your name, and you never feel like you wasted a dime. How do they do this? How do they bring in thousands of people a day and convince them to buy what they need and more?

Copywriting Tips from Target

Let’s take this opportunity to look at Target’s various copywriting and marketing campaigns, as well as taking a little journey through the store to see just what makes us spend all our money there.

1. All The Things! First off, Target tries to appeal to a very wide demographic from Millennials to the Greatest Generation, all while “targeting” the latest group of little ones with cute designs. They have something for everyone in their store and they know that’s what brings in the cash. However, their “something for everyone” isn’t dollar store cheap material; most of Target’s merchandise is very good quality. Many of their clothing items and shoes are even designed specifically for Target by many well-known designers around the world.

What can a copywriter take away from this point? Offer something for everyone and you will please a wider audience. Take the time to learn your demographics – you may be surprised by just how diverse your potential customer base is.

2. Epic Lighting and Easy To Find Items. Their content marketing goes beyond just their Internet and mail content – it goes into their store design. The store is one that makes every shopper feel chipper, which helps foster the feeling of needing to purchase everything in sight. The lights are bright and the aisles are laid out in an interesting and easy-to-follow pattern. Because of this, we are all ready to purchase everything we see since we can easily go through the store.

This is an incredible lesson for copywriting experts and for web designers. While you most likely will not be focusing on a physical shop, you will be focusing on the website people come to. If it is drab and difficult to navigate, people won’t stay for very long. Follow Target’s example and make your site an easy and fun experience for readers.

3. Creating Memorable Advertisements That Last Forever. Target has some of the greatest ad campaigns and many of these campaigns are ones that we will remember for a long time. For example, everyone remembers the Target dog, especially when it came to the Holiday season. Whenever you saw that dog, you thought of Target. Whenever you saw that dog on an item, you bought it.

Their latest ad campaign is called “The Everyday Collection” which features photographs that look like high fashion photo shoots but they incorporated the typical everyday items such as laundry detergent, food, and vitamins. It is very much a typical Target ad campaign filled with witty one-liners, all while advertising their product. Every single marketing campaign is incredible; just look at their 2013 back-to-school campaign and their 2013 Holiday season campaign.

The lesson copywriters can learn from this is common sense – create content that will be memorable. After you have begun creating memorable, compelling content, you will start seeing some excellent results!

4. Responding to Controversy. Controversy is never too far these days and it seems just about everyone is right in the middle of one. Target isn’t any different. They’ve had their fair share of controversy from the big security breach pre-Heartbleed to the Terry Richardson controversy. Target always takes adequate steps to ensure that these controversies are dealt with properly by not reacting immediately and thinking over the issue.

This may not seem like part of a content marketing strategy, but Target always considers how many customers they will lose if they do not carry out appropriate measures. Instead of sweeping these issues under the carpet, Target deals with them in the open. This is a great lesson for every company to learn. Your copywriting can be great, but it can only go so far; having proper responses to any controversy whether large or small will help keep your business afloat.

5. Making Things Fun and Enjoyable For All. Target is the expert at making their content strategy a fun and enjoyable one. Their commercials are always upbeat or silly, their ad campaigns in the local paper always capture your attention, and they’re just plain ole good at creating successful marketing techniques. Many times, they utilize storytelling in their ads and content, which connects with their customers.

This shows every copywriter why it is important to actively engage with your client base and make things fun. Create something that is unique to your company and that people will enjoy.

In The End…

Use Target as inspiration for how to engage with your customer base and how to have fun with your content strategy. Having fun is a huge element in the majority of Target’s marketing campaign and it sure works like a charm! You’ll start seeing excellent results if you follow some of Target’s great copywriting strategies.




Expert Showcase: Inspiration From ThinkGeek Brand Copywriting

Image credit: is an awesome site that is filled with all kinds of wonderful geek toys, accessories, clothing, and much more. Every day they seem to add some awesome new Doctor Who gadget or have an incredible new Star Trek shirt to purchase. makes many geeks lose all of their hard-earned cash quickly. How do they do this? Is it because they sell awesomely geeky items or is it because their content strategy is as awesome of Boba Fett’s silent stare?

Let’s take a moment to look at a few of ThinkGeek’s finer content moments and see how this can inspire your content strategies.

Step 1: Write For Your Clients. ThinkGeek takes writing for their clients very seriously. They know that if they don’t write in a laid back and fun way they will lose a significant part of their audience. Their product descriptions are deliciously geeky and are absolutely perfect for geeks looking to score a Han Solo Carbonite rug. They stay relevant with their writing and content strategy, which makes every geek within reaching distance of wireless or 4G and their iPhones, ready to purchase “all the things!” They employ many masters of sassiness, which works incredibly well for their brand and client base.

Here is an example of the Han Solo Carbonite rug product description: Han Solo carbonite

Step 2: It’s All Fun and Games! One of ThinkGeek’s most popular attributes is their April Fools extravaganza where they create hilarious products that sound almost too good to be true. They can convince even their most staunch supporters with products that aren’t real, making us all desperately wish they were. In fact, they poll their shoppers about these items for future product creations. Sharing content that your clients like and keeping it fun are great ways to make your content go viral, as well as keep a dedicated fan base. We aren’t saying to go all out on April Fool’s Day like ThinkGeek, but you can sure implement fun strategies into your content!

ThinkGeek April Fools

Step 3: Connect with Buyers. One big thing that ThinkGeek does regularly is engaging with their customer base. They will re-tweet items when customers mention them or will respond if someone asks a question. This has been an incredible way to have wonderful customer service. They have become experts at using social media as a way to touch base with customers, making all shoppers feel appreciated. They even follow HootSuite’s tips on engaging customers and will take random polls throughout the week. They do all of that while also responding to clients and promoting items for sale in the shop.

Let’s Split from this Landing Party Like A Red Shirt!

It’s time to take the lessons you have learned from ThinkGeek and begin considering ways to craft content to engage your customer base. Other great places to garner different types of inspiration are Apple and Scholastic Books. For a more professional place to gain inspiration, you can look to big corporations like Accenture (they have some really nifty, interactive ads in several airports). Find something that inspires you; take a look at your favorite film publishing company or your favorite food chain. You will find inspiration somewhere and everywhere, all you have to do is open your eyes.



copywriting secrets

5 Simple Secrets to Copywriting Glory

It’s a question fledgling copywriters everywhere want to know:

What separates good copywriting from great copywriting?

How do you start making your skills and talents speak for themselves, so your work is more in-demand and highly-valued? (And, equally as important, worth more $$$? 💸)

These simple secrets hold the answer. To reach the highest echelon of copywriting, take them in stride.

secrets to copywriting

You know the basics of writing good copy, but something might be missing. If you're craving to improve your writing skills to create a top-notch copy, check out @JuliaEMcCoy's 5 #copywriting secrets ✍️✍️ Click To Tweet

5 Simple Secrets to Write Amazing Copy Every Time

If you can master these secrets, you’re well on your way to greatness.

GIF: Tenor

1. Make It Personal

Above all, the greatest, most effective copywriting is personal to the target reader.

Whether that means a 65-year-old grandmother, an investment banker, or a college student, your writing needs to hit them where it matters. It should speak to their wishes, fears, pain points, and needs.

No two readers are alike. Treat their problems and desires as important, unique, and vital, and you’ll not only grab their attention – you’ll strum their heartstrings.

Tips to Make Your Copywriting Personal

  • Get to know your target persona as if they’re your best friend. Understand their personality, demographics, and preferences on a deep level. (Interviews, surveys, and social listening come in handy, here.)
  • Imagine them as a real person sitting in front of you. What do they look like? How might they talk about their problems, interests, and dreams?
  • Speak directly to them in the copy:
    • Ask them questions.
    • Repeat their realities/problems back to them so they feel heard.
    • Empathize with them.
  • Address them using the pronoun “you” (e.g. “Do you wish you had more free time?”)
'...the greatest, most effective copywriting is personal to the target reader. Whether that means a 65-year-old grandmother, an investment banker, or a college student, your writing needs to hit them where it matters.' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

2. Surprise, Delight, or Entice Your Reader

Besides making your copy personal, clinch grabbing your readers’ attention by adding a pinch of surprise, delight, or enticement to your copy.

Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers is especially good at doing this. Look at this blog post she wrote called “Here’s why it’s so hard to write convincing copy”:

In the introduction, she starts out by saying something we’re not expecting:

That element of surprise (her against-the-grain opinion about online readers) hooks us and makes us commit to reading more. We want to know why she’ll never forgive Jakob Nielsen (of the Nielsen Norman Group).

Another example from another great copywriter, Henneke Duistermaat of Enchanting Marketing, is this blog post on banishing perfectionism:

In the post, Henneke takes a moment to describe why imperfection is actually perfect. She uses a metaphor about stained glass in a church to do it, and transports us in the process:

For just a moment, you’re caught up in imagining that stained glass, and you understand Henneke’s meaning much more deeply. How delightful!

As you can see, there is more than one way to inject an unexpected element of surprise, delight, or wonder into your copy. No matter how you do it, it’s an effective trick that snags and holds your reader’s attention – and keeps them coming back for more.

'Besides making your copy personal, clinch grabbing your readers’ attention by adding a pinch of surprise, delight, or enticement to your copy.' @JuliaEMcCoy on her 5 simple secrets in great #copywriting Click To Tweet

3. Write Subheadings Like You Mean It

Writing great copy is more than wordplay.

In blog/article writing, particularly, it’s also about helping your reader achieve an understanding of your topic as seamlessly as possible.

While you’re writing, think of ways to make the text easier to understand. What can you do to ease comprehension?

One major way is to focus on writing informative subheadings for each section of your copy. At a minimum, they should summarize what each section is about. If you want to go further (and you should), try to add these other elements:

  • Describe how the reader will benefit from reading the subsection. This subheading from a Smartblogger post shows how it’s done (the promised benefit: read the editing tips and you’ll transform your next blog post):

  • Use intriguing words to incite curiosity. Scour your vocabulary and consult a thesaurus to use interesting verbs and adjectives to spice things up. Look at this example (from the same Smartblogger post as above):

  • Tell a story with your subheadings (connect them to each other). Let’s look at another post by Joanna Wiebe for a good example. In this post on time management, she uses the subheadings to both describe each section of the article as well as tell a story (structured like she’s talking it out with herself). I’ve compiled them so you can see the whole picture:

Good stuff, right? Try this technique in your own copy and see how much more compelling it becomes.

'While you’re writing, think of ways to make the text easier to understand. What can you do to ease comprehension? One major way is to focus on writing informative subheadings for each section of your copy.' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

4. Write with SEO in Mind

The best copywriters use keywords in their copy without breaking the flow or making the tone sound unnaturally stilted. Keyword-optimized copy is worth its weight in coffee (because I love coffee), so this ability is major for copywriting greatness.

The thing is, great copywriters never need to count keywords. They have a natural feel for where to use them, how to use them, and when to use variations, synonyms, and related terms.

If you’re still learning, though, there are ways to make your SEO copywriting better.

  • Don’t be afraid to play with grammar in keywords. Keywords that sound awkward WILL make your copy sound equally awkward (“dentists San Diego” et. al, I’m looking at you). Insert prepositions, pronouns, etc., as needed to smooth them out. Your SEO won’t suffer for it.
  • Use variations – Google won’t know the difference. For example, “San Diego dentists” sounds WAY better than “dentists San Diego”.
  • Reword until it sounds right. Some keywords are tricky, period. If one isn’t playing nice with your sentence, take some time to reword, rearrange, and tinker with it until it sounds smooth and supple when you read it out loud.
'Don’t be afraid to play with grammar in keywords. Keywords that sound awkward WILL make your copy sound equally awkward (“dentists San Diego” et. al, I’m looking at you). Insert prepositions, pronouns, etc., as needed...' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

5. Use Power Words Where It Matters

Every great copywriter needs a stash of power words in their back pocket. Power words make your readers react, respond, and feel a rainbow of emotions.

(Need examples? This post by Jon Morrow is the original guide to power words.)

Think of them like little bombs inside sentences. Wherever you use them, the impact will be explosive.

Here’s the thing about power words, though: If you overuse them, they lose their power.

That’s why the best copywriters use them judiciously. They know exactly where to use power words to best advantage:

  • Headlines – Your title/H1/headline is one of the most, if not THE most, important place to use power words. This one line of text does a lot of heavy lifting, so make it work hard!
  • Introductions – You need to capture your reader’s attention if they make it past your headline. The introduction is the perfect place to use your powers of description to make an impact.
  • Subheadings – Once again, good subheadings are essential to a good piece of content. Using power words in them helps lead your reader down the page.
  • Calls-to-action – Neck and neck with headlines, calls-to-action are essential spots to use power words. The stronger your wording in CTAs, the more irresistible they become.

To truly show off the zing and pizzazz of power words (nudge-nudge, wink-wink), let’s see what they can do to overhaul a boring headline:

10 Copywriting Tips for Beginners

becomes >>>

10 Genius Copywriting Tips to Transform You from Novice to Master

Which article would you rather read?

'Every great copywriter needs a stash of power words in their back pocket. Power words make your readers react, respond, and feel a rainbow of emotions.' @JuliaEMcCoy on her #copywriting secrets Click To Tweet

The #1 Secret to Great Copywriting?

Great copywriting is not mastered overnight. It takes work, practice, and most importantly, lots and lots of writing.

Keep writing, keep improving.

The more you write, the better you’ll get. It’s that simple.

Soak up as much knowledge as you can, write like heck, and soon you’ll be able to count yourself among the greats. 👑✨