Copywriting Manchester We turn words into traffic and traffic into customers.
At MCR SEO we are best placed to provide the highest level of copywriting Manchester has to offer. If you are writing a blog about your latest products, producing content for your sales brochures or revamping your website content, our content copywriting services team can deliver on brand copywriting content that actually ranks and delivers the tone of voice that suits your business perfectly. Great content is one of the keys to a successful website on search engines and forms a key part of our SEO services
Content that converts
Do you want to get more business from your website? If you want to convert more website visitors into customers, then your website content needs to engage, reassure and sell the benefits of your products and services. No matter how good your website looks, if the content is poorly written and full of spelling mistakes, no-one will stick around to find out more.
How good content converts customers
If you want to get more traffic to your site and convert more clicks into customers, then you need great content. Whether selling products or services, professionally written content will help your website engage with your audience and appeal to their needs.
Visitors to your website will judge your business on the content they see, so if you want to be remembered for the right reasons you need brilliant content. Our in-house content writing team will create powerful, engaging and sales targeted content that is tailored to your business.
As well as helping to convert visitors into customers, great content is one of the cornerstones of SEO and will help your website get to the top of the search engine rankings. Our content team can help turn your website into a sales tool that delivers more traffic and sales for your business.
What is Copywriting?
Copywriting is, surprisingly, the art of writing copy!
Copywriting is an umbrella term that encompasses multiple forms of content creation and management. Everything from websites and blogs to social media and emails, copywriters do it all!
It isn’t just digital either, every ad you read in a newspaper or magazine was written by a copywriter. They are also a key part of creating TV and radio ads, writing the scripts and any words that appear on the screen.
It’s a huge industry, with tonnes of variety in career path for a budding copywriter to tread. Clients can be anyone from small businesses selling handmade products to Fortune 500 companies. Anyone with a website or online presence needs a copywriter!
What does a Copywriter do?
With such a wide range of options, it’s impossible for a copywriter to everything at once. They tend to focus on a specific type of copy, then either do that for a range of clients and industries or choose a niche that is less varied but gives them access to higher-end work.
At MCR SEO, our copywriting team specialises in providing Optimised Web Content, Blogs, and Social Media posts. Most copywriters have at least a basic knowledge of SEO, which helps them find the best keywords and topics to build their copy around, but we go above and beyond.
All copy we produce is fully optimised for SEO, so every piece of content improves the clients’ Google rankings. This gives every word we use more value in the long run, and results in copy that is more than just a good read!
A copywriter with an in-depth understanding of SEO creates content that doesn’t only rank well when it’s uploaded, but also complements the site’s other content. Every post links to previous posts, existing pages, and any social media content the client uses to grow.
When creating copy, the writer has two main goals:
1. Create something that people want to read
2. Create something that will bring in more customers
Putting the right words on the page is a powerful tool. The goals may seem simple, but there’s a lot more to it than the average person realises.
To understand how to achieve these goals you need to follow:
The Fundamentals of Copywriting
An effective piece of copy is like a fancy meal. You need all the right ingredients put together at the perfect time and plate the meal up in an appealing way. So first, let’s look at the ingredients.
Legendary copywriter David Ogilvy once said:
'On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.'
He said this in the 60s, when the concept of a website was nothing short of sci-fi. Nowadays, with clickbait running rampant, titles are a lot more powerful, and a lot more people will see them.
Every page of a website needs a clear title, no matter what the body copy contains. This not only helps the reader, but also tells Google what the page is about. If your title isn’t a major heading, Google will skim over it and won’t pick up on the topic of the page. Make your titles clear!
Structure is vital when putting together content. If a reader sees a wall of text, with no headings or paragraphing, they’re going to close the page and move on. It’s as simple as that.
Remember, people read on their phones as much as on their laptops! Content needs to be optimised for small screens. Keep that in mind when choosing images and structuring the page. Thankfully, there are plugins that show you how the page will appear on mobile devices, which saves a busy copywriter a lot of time!
To break up the content, use short but informative headings that introduce each section. Most readers will skim read your page or blog; adding headings will help them find the information they are looking for and give them the gist of the rest.
Images and Media
Words are great, but to make copy stand out you need to garnish it with some images, videos, quotes and more! Each of these breaks up the text and adds more context to the content.
Every blog should have 2-3 relevant images per 1000 words on average. Too few encourages skimming, and too many runs the risk of the words being misses out. Always add a short line or two underneath each image to say what’s in them. This not only adds further context, but also aids accessibility, which a good copywriter should always consider.
Doing research for a piece of content is less of an ingredient, and more like learning the recipe before you start cooking. The majority of copy you create for clients will be about topics you aren’t an expert in, so learning as much as you can beforehand is a must. Getting the information right first time will result in less revisions from the client, which is better for a growing professional relationship.
When you next meet a copywriter, ask them about the things they’ve learned from creating copy. You’ll find them to be a bottomless pit of fascinating facts and random information. I often surprise friends and family with my knowledge of wedding stationery as I’ve been writing blogs for that industry since I first started!
A copywriter needs a thirst for knowledge to conduct the best research. Wanting to learn a bit about everything goes a long way and being an avid reader outside of work helps a lot too!
Ready to Serve
That's all the major ingredients, now it’s time to put them all together, cook for a couple of hours and garnish with few links. Once the copy is finished and approved, make sure to accompany it with a social media post so you get as much traffic as possible to your own, or your client’s website.
Phew, now I'm hungry! But we’ve only scratched the surface so far. Grab yourselves and snack and let’s keep moving, there’s a lot more about copywriting we haven’t explored yet.
We’ve talked a lot about how to make the copy good, now it’s time to learn what makes a copywriter good.
What Makes a Good Copywriter?
Not everyone is cut out to be a copywriter. It’s a tough industry, and ruthlessly competitive. You need the right stuff to do well, but you may already have a lot of it!
If English was your best subject at school, you’ll naturally be good at creating copy. You need to analyse your own and other’s work to produce the best work, so knowledge of both English Language and Literature go a long way. If your grades didn’t shine in these subjects, you may still have what it takes. A keen reader with a love of words will be able to catch up to even English degree-holders with some hard work and dedication!
Speaking of degrees, there are a few university courses that can give you a leg up onto the copywriting ladder.
|Subject||How it helps|
|English Literature||Analysing content is essential for matching a clients’ style, and will help you edit your copy too. Plus, there will be plenty of writing to do.|
|English Language||Similar to Literature, but with a stronger focus on lexis and grammar. Knowledge of how language is constructed, and what improves its impact can help you break down and create content that presses all the right buttons.|
|Creative and Professional Writing||Less analysis, more creativity. You’ll learn to master a wide range of styles that will help you produce copy that stands out.|
|Journalism||Will teach you how to write in a ‘spoken-word’ style that is ideal for blog and web content. It will improve your research skills too.|
|Marketing||A marketing course will teach you less about writing, but more about markets and advertising. Writing for a specific audience takes skill, and this degree will help you identify them.|
Any of these will help you develop your writing skills and give you more experience in editing and analysis. They aren’t essential for a career in copywriting but having them on your CV will open more doors and give you an advantage in interviews. There are a wide range of physical and online courses that can teach you everything about copywriting, so not having the right degree doesn’t rule out the career path.
As mentioned earlier, a love of words and a thirst for knowledge is essential for copywriters. You need to be able to get to work quickly when a task is given to you, and clients always appreciate a fast turnaround.
When copywriting full time, you’ll be working on a number of projects at the same time. These will be varied both in medium and subject. You can go from creating social media posts to a blog for very different clients, so lacking adaptability will make it a struggle to keep up.
Having multiple projects to work on can, surprisingly, make your job easier. If you’re struggling with one task, or are suffering from the dreaded writer’s block, having a different task to switch to can keep you productive while also refreshing your mind. If you produce similar copy for a regular client each month, these tasks will be your go-to for a break, without wasting any hours of productivity.
The ability to time-manage is arguably more important than the work itself. Especially if you are working freelance, you’ll need a chock-full diary to earn enough, so learn to make every hour productive!
Most copywriters have stress-relief habits and rituals for those busy days that make your head spin. I like to go for a walk in between tasks, for example. These breaks give my brain a rest and help me keep fit. A healthy body equals a healthy mind!
It’s no secret that most copywriters are introverts. We like to hide away in our offices, creating great copy with minimal contact with the outside world. This is great if you have plenty of clients and work to do, but when getting started as a freelance copywriter you need to work hard to build your brand and get your work out there. We’ll talk more about networking in a later section and why it’s the best way to bring in more clients.
All freelancers have a tough decision to make when they first start: how much do I charge for my work? When figuring this out, you have two main options:
1. Undercut the competition until you’re more established
2. Charge the same as your rivals
It may seem like the first one is the correct choice for a fledgling, and at first, I agreed.
However, if you work for cheap, potential clients will ask why you’re so much cheaper than other writers and may even assume the work isn’t the same quality. If the work you produce is high-quality, the cost should reflect that, and you don’t have to charge less just because you’re new.
Copywriters are still learning and improving until the day they retire, so I recommend charging industry standard, but with package deals to entice new clients and keep them a regular for longer.
The other decision is whether to offer flat rates or charge by the hour. This is a more debated choice, and it boils down to personal preference. Hourly can be a lot more profitable, but clients like to know exact prices before they hire you. Bringing in a copywriter is an investment already; predictable invoices make it easier to justify.
On the flip side, a copy job that takes longer to complete than you expected can end up costing you money. If you charge flat rates, it’s a risk you have to take.
Overall, both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and you can always change from one to the other if the first way doesn’t suit you.
The Different Copywriting Roles
Now you know if you’d make a good copywriter, but you’re probably asking ‘where do I start?’ Such a broad industry gives even the newbies a tonne of options, so let’s look at the different copywriting roles available for you.
Working in-house for a company is a great career path. It gives you security, a competitive salary and any additional benefits the business offers their employees.
These jobs are often for a company, producing copy for their website, blogs, and social media posts, alone or part of a team. This is a well-sought after role but can become repetitive quickly. If there is a copywriting team, you’ll also be able to climb through the ranks, earning more and gaining more experience in leadership and management.
Alternatively, you may be an in-house copywriter for a marketing or SEO company. These will have a wide range of clients that you’ll produce copy for. This is a role with a lot of diversity in copy creation that will keep you engaged and busy. Depending on the size of the company, you will also have promotion opportunities and the ability to alter your role to learn more skills. You’ll also be working closely with SEO experts, graphic designers, and web developers, which will give you exposure to a wide range of people and roles within the company. After doing copy for a while, you may develop a stronger passion for a different role and want to try it full time. If you’re already part of the team, making the switch will be much easier, and can be instant or gradual.
Striking out on your own, even with a quiver full of courses and a degree, is a daunting prospect. Like many freelance roles, you’ll be fighting with your peers to get that first job. Once you do things get a lot easier, and luckily there are ways to gain a lot of experience in a short time.
'Content farms' are websites that produce short form copy cheaply for businesses who don’t want to invest in a copywriter but still need new content. These companies are always looking for new, ambitious writers trying to break into the industry. By working for them you’ll create a lot of varied copy that will help you develop your writing skills. They seem like a great prospect, but there are some disadvantages you need to consider.
Firstly, most of these companies will not attach your name to the copy you create. That means you won’t be able to publicly take credit for the work and use it to build your brand. This isn’t always the case, so it’s worth doing your research first.
Second, the work isn’t guaranteed. The tasks will be sent to you as they arrive or appear on a job board. With the latter it’s first come, first served. In these cases, you’ll be paid for each task, so if you don’t get the tasks, you don’t earn money. It will be very competitive, and sometimes biased towards different time zones.
Finally, when you do get paid, it will be a few pence per word, meaning very little for the overall copy. If you can get a lot of tasks to work on, you’ll earn plenty, but working for a content farm won’t earn you a salary.
Despite these downsides, working for a content farm can be beneficial for a new copywriter. You’ll learn how to create better copy in a short time frame without having to liaise with clients, giving you opportunity to hone your skills in a vacuum. A few months at the start of your career can teach you a lot, but I recommend looking at other options at the same time just in case you find a client or company willing to take on someone new.
Building a Brand
To get your foot in the door as a freelancer you’ll need to develop a brand that people will recognise (and ideally seek out!). This is an investment in time and money, but it’s the only way you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd. In a perfect world quality copy would be enough to build a career from, sadly these days that’s a rare occurrence when you first start. There are plenty of ways to advertise what you do, and you should use all or most of these.
The most important thing you need is a website. A cheap WordPress build is plenty and gives you somewhere to attach your portfolio and blog about anything and everything. It may feel like a dumping ground for your previous work, but it gives you more credibility and somewhere to send potential clients after they have met you. With so much competition, you want them to have as few steps as possible between you and your work; having a site saves you from sending documents in emails that can be easy to miss.
Your own site is also a great thing to run in your free time. You can blog about any of your interests, your copywriting journey and anything else you want to share. It’s great to have side projects to work on, and the more you write, the better you’ll be at writing!
Almost everyone has at least one social media account these days, and they are a valuable tool when putting yourself out there. If you are quiet on social media, you can convert your existing accounts to a professional version, however starting a new one from scratch makes things easier in the future. Here are the social medias you should have accounts on:
- Twitter (or Twitter alternative like Mastodon)
Feel free to run more, just remember that you’ll need time to run all of them. Posts to Twitter will need to be formatted/worded differently than to LinkedIn, for example.
LinkedIn is by far the most important, as building a network on there will bring in more work for the future. You can have a personal account and business account, but most copywriters combine them together.
A presence on Facebook and Twitter brings in work on rare occasions, running these pages will give you experience running them for clients in the future.
You may be surprised to see YouTube as an option for copywriters and may cower at the idea of sitting in front of a camera and talking. It’s not for everyone, but video content is proven to work very well when building your brand and bringing in clients. It allows you to add more personality to your brand and show the face and voice behind the copy.
You may even be asked to help produce video content for clients, which is very beneficial for SEO and will give you more opportunities to be creative. Videos also gain a lot of traction on other social media sites, so producing a few will help drive your business forward.
When your first batch of cards arrives in the post, all shiny and new, it feels great. Although they are less essential as they used to be, they are a valuable asset in breaking through the imposter syndrome that is normal when starting out. But what do you do with those cards?
Networking events are the best way to build your brand and get new clients. By going to a blend of online and in-person events, you’ll meet a wide variety of people from hundreds of different industries. Even if they aren’t interested in new copy for themselves, be sure to spend time getting to know them as they may know someone who does or may need it in the future.
If you’d like to learn more about the value of networking, check out the networking guide I wrote a while back.
The Different Types of Copy
As I said before, anything that involves words can use the professional touch of a copywriter. There are a wide variety of tasks you’ll receive as a copywriter, and they’ll all be new and challenging in their own way. To help you avoid surprises, here are the main projects you’ll produce:
Web Page Copywriting
Optimising and creating new content for web pages is a big job. Even the smallest businesses can have a website jam-packed with information, products, services and more. If a website has only a few pages, they’ll be keen to change that and cover all bases.
Rewriting existing content is often combined with other services in a package deal, especially if you do SEO optimisation too. It’s an easy way to provide more for your clients and steadily improve each page both on the surface and in the back end.
MCR SEO always offer these packages as SEO is almost all ‘behind-the-scenes’ and it takes a presentation to show off all the improvements that have been made. If you throw in a few pages of fresh, optimised content, the client not only sees that the website is faster and receiving more traffic but also gets pages that read better and bring in even more customers. Some clients might not be the most tech-savvy, so making changes they can see shows them that you’re making a difference without the need for jargon-packed presentations.
Rewriting an entire site is a long process. Depending on the size of the website and business, it can take anything from weeks to months. It’s a one-off job that will pay well and make sure the client will be in touch down the line with more work for you as their business evolves.
Although only a click or two away from web content, blog writing is a very different medium that needs a unique approach to produce well. Blogs can vary greatly in tone from web content, even on the same site!
I always recommend blogs to clients, not just because they are always enjoyable to plan and write, but because of how powerful an SEO tool they can be. Often overlooked, blogs are a great type of copy to work on.
Although mostly replaced by online media, there is still work for copywriters in the physical world that can be very profitable if you can get involved. Magazines, journals, and some newspapers need copywriters to create content, although with the latter your role will be more editing and proofreading that writing from scratch.
If you have a particular industry or topic you want to build your copywriting career around it’s worth looking for related magazines, physical and online, that cover your interests. If you studied journalism at degree level this is an excellent avenue to follow to get into copywriting.
Sometimes known as Sound and Screen Copy, writing scripts for TV and radio advertisements is a job many copywriters work towards. It’s a lucrative side of the industry and is also a way to get into filmmaking if that’s your passion.
The jobs are mostly commission based and can pay very well if the work comes from a high-profile client. There’s also a growing demand for copywriters who can write ads for podcasts and YouTuber sponsorships. Despite the decline of interest in TV, radio, and physical media, there is still plenty of opportunities out there.
Social Media Copywriting
Creating posts for social media looks a lot simpler than it is. The posts are short and spread out, but a copywriter will be required to create a large backlog of posts covering a wide range of topics. You’ll also need to be good at sourcing images, which can be tricky if you don’t know where to look, and free stock photo providers only give you limited options.
Larger companies may have a social media manager already, and just need a copywriter to proofread their content or optimise it. They will then upload and manage the posts, giving you more time to write. This is ideal for a copywriter who works on many projects, as social media management can easily become a part time job that you’ll have to balance your work around. You’ll have your own social media to work on too, you don’t want it to fall to the wayside.
The ability to source good topics and determine demographics are important skills for a social media copywriter. Having your finger on the pulse so you choose the best topics and knowing what to post when and where are all valuable skills that are well sought after.
You read that right! Some copywriters offer ‘email optimisation’ services, in which they create optimised email templates for clients to use. We’ve all been frustrated trying to choose the right words for an important email, so it makes sense that there is demand for professional help.
This is another additional service often attached to long-form content jobs, but if the demand is high you can focus on it. As you become more established, you can even offer paid courses and training to teach clients how to make the most out of their emails. This applies to all forms of copywriting, and even other copywriters will be keen to learn from you!
Careers that Work with Copywriting
Copywriting can easily fill every hour of your working day if you so choose, but some skilled business people learn copywriting to incorporate it into their primary services. Here are some examples:
Animation, as well as being an SEO tool and the dream job for many artists, can involve copywriting if you play your cards right. When you create animated videos, they may involve a lot of words, so some copywriting experience can give your work a boost and save you and your client money that would be spent on a copywriter anyway!
We mentioned this earlier, but journalism involves very specific copy. If yours ends up on the front page of a national newspaper, it needs to be good as it can be! A copywriter with a background in journalism will have skills easily applicable for networking too.
Marketing and Copywriting always go hand-in-hand. There’s a reason no marketing company can go without at least one copywriter in their team! Some marketing professionals offer copywriting services in their packages, but like the ones who offer SEO, they can soon be stretched thin. With the right balance it can work to some degree but trying to do everything will always end up missing something.
This is a rare combination, but some graphic designers offer copywriting services alongside their art and designs. In this case copywriting becomes more of an extra tool in your belt instead of a split career path, giving the designer additional options if they need more work to make ends meet. However, client-based copywriting, especially if you offer monthly services, is such a flexible career that it can work alongside most careers if you plan your time well.
Most SEO experts offer copywriting even before one joins their team, but the copy will be inferior if they haven’t been trained in it or lack relevant experience creating it. They offer it because content is so important for SEO, but from my experience they’d much rather pass it on to an expert. SEO has also become a lot more complicated in the last decade, so sharing the load is almost a necessity if you’re juggling more than a few clients.
When creating a website for an individual or business, it won’t look very impressive if the pages are lacking content! You could tell your client that they’ll have to provide content themselves, or you could train yourself to create quality copy and produce a much better overall product. Then you can charge more and keep your clients happy enough to pass on more work in the future!
Why Become a Copywriter?
Copywriting is such a desirable industry to work in because of its flexibility. It’s easy to learn but hard to master, although anyone who wants to try their hand at it will soon realise if it’s right for them. When you’re a freelancer you can limit how much copywriting work you have each month and balance your time accordingly, a freedom that very few careers offer.
If you’re passionate about writing, why not make it your full or part-time job? I’ve been doing this for a while now, and have fallen in love with copywriting more than I ever thought possible. Take it from me, you won’t regret it!
If you do decide to go for it, maybe I’ll see you at a future networking event!
For more copywriting advice, or to learn more about any of our services, please send me an email or we can connect on LinkedIn for a chat.
Do you need a Copywriter?
If you’ve learned all about copywriting but can’t bear the thought of doing it yourself, well you’re still in the right place! We offer professional copy that is fully optimised for SEO and will boost your business past your competitors. Get in touch for a chat to find out more!