Thank you for visiting our blog, but please be aware it is no longer active here.

Instead, our Oxfordshire copywriter’s blog is now part of the WORD-right website.  Why not pop along there and take a look?

Copywriting Apprentice copywriting course textbookThe Copywriting Apprentice is launching its new interactive distance learning copywriting course.  The course, which has been written and developed by professional copywriters, has been created to provide a comprehensive, professional learning experience for aspiring business writers.

The course combines traditional textbook study with an extensive online learning management system (LMS), to give students a sound grounding in every aspect of copywriting.  The Copywriting Apprentice course syllabus covers 20 chapters, divided into four blocks:

1.    The foundations of a copywriting career
2.    Online copywriting
3.    Offline copywriting
4.    Setting up a freelance copywriting business

To complete the course, students must complete 12 tutor-marked assignments and 16 interactive multiple choice quizzes.  The Copywriting Apprentice course also includes three telephone one-to-one tutorials.  This allows the students and their tutor to forge a closer working relationship and helps tailor the course to meet the individual’s needs.

The Copywriting Apprentice team are highly professional, working copywriters who also have hands-on training experience. Student assignments will be marked to stringent standards and an independent moderator will supervise all tutor activity.

The course will have international appeal and students are expected to enrol from English-speaking countries across the world.  The Copywriting Apprentice distance learning course will also deliver benefits to other professionals, not just those wanting to pursue a career as a copywriter.  Marketing professionals, Virtual Assistants, and anyone working in the field of content marketing, will benefit from the course.

After enrolment, students must complete a pre-course assessment to ensure they have the necessary writing skills to tackle the course.  Most privately run distance learning courses accept students regardless of their ability.  This can result in people failing to complete their courses, disappointment and a waste of the students’ money.  Students who don’t pass the Copywriting Apprentice initial assessment will have their fees refunded in full.

Students will have a year to complete the course, although it is anticipated many will take less than 6 months.  On completion of the Copywriting Apprentice course, students will be awarded a certificate and have use of the company’s quality mark logo.

The pilot version of the Copywriting Apprentice course has been running since the spring 2012.  Four students are participating in the pilot scheme and have provided valuable feedback on the course content and the LMS user-experience.

David McCarthy, director of Copywriting Training Ltd, which has developed the Copywriting Apprentice course, comments “In the UK, there are no formal dedicated copywriting qualifications.  As a result, many people who set themselves up as copywriters lack the necessary skills and techniques.  The Copywriting Apprentice course will teach aspiring writers about every aspect of copywriting including SEO.  We also stress the need for continuing professional development, which is so important for anyone involved in writing online content.”

Prospective students can view the syllabus and enrol online at www.copywriting-apprentice.com.

Saturday 1st December | Crown & Cushion Hotel, Chipping Norton | 7.00pm  | Tickets £3

Local Lions Club members are holding a Reindeer Race Night on Saturday 1st December 2012 at the Crown and Cushion Hotel, Chipping Norton.  Money raised at this seasonal fund-raising event will go towards taking seventy five of Chipping Norton’s senior residents to a performance of Cinderella at Chipping Norton Theatre.

This fun and frolicking evening will include 6 Reindeer Races with the ‘owners’ or their representatives riding wooden reindeer and competing to be first past the finishing post.  The reindeer will be raced on a specially-constructed grid course.  Throwing of dice will determine how many moves each reindeer and its rider can make.

The Lions are looking for local companies to become Race Sponsors at the cost of £100 per race.  Anyone interested in sponsoring a race should contact one of the Lions listed at the bottom of this release.

The reindeer will be auctioned at the start of each race and  the ‘owner’ of the winning reindeer will receive a share of the tote.  Once the reindeer have been auctioned, the tote will open for betting.

Tickets are for sale priced at £3 each.  The Lions suggest anyone interested in attending books a table for 8 – 10 people and form a kitty to compete in the bidding for each reindeer.

Reindeer Racing tickets are available from:

  • Robert Caswell: 01608 646003
  • Martin Guy: 01608 641154
  • Graham Raven: 01608 645134

– ends –

Notes to Editors

The Chipping Norton Lions Club was founded in 1986.  The Club is part of the Lions Club International.

The funds needed for the pantomime trip will be raised jointly between the Reindeer Race Night and a Christmas Trolley Dash fundraiser at Chipping Norton Co-op.

Anyone wanting more information about the Race Night, sponsorship of races and becoming a Lions’ member, should contact:

Robert Caswell: 01608 646003
Martin Guy: 01608 641154
Graham Raven: 01608 645134

http://reindeerracing.wordpress.com/

Press release sponsored by WORD-right Copywriting and Communications

01608 642845 | www.word-right.co.uk | enquiries@word-right.co.uk

New distance learning course puts copywriting training into words

The Copywriting Apprentice (www.copywriting-apprentice.com) is launching its new interactive distance learning copywriting course.  The course, which has been written and developed by professional copywriters based in Oxfordshire, has been created to provide a comprehensive, professional learning experience for aspiring business writers.

The course combines traditional textbook study with an extensive online learning management system (LMS), to give students a sound grounding in every aspect of copywriting.  The copywriting  course covers 20 chapters, divided into four blocks:

1.    The foundations of a copywriting career
2.    Online copywriting
3.    Offline copywriting
4.    Setting up a freelance copywriting business

To complete the copywriting course, students must complete 12 tutor-marked assignments and 16 interactive multiple choice quizzes.  The Copywriting Apprentice course also includes three telephone one-to-one tutorials.  This allows the students and their tutor to forge a closer working relationship and helps tailor the course to meet the individual’s needs.

The Copywriting Apprentice team are highly professional, working copywriters who also have hands-on training experience. Student assignments will be marked to stringent standards and an independent moderator will supervise all tutor activity.

The course will have international appeal and students are expected to enrol from English-speaking countries across the world.  The Copywriting Apprentice distance learning course will also deliver benefits to other professionals, not just those wanting to pursue a career as a copywriter.  Marketing professionals, virtual assistants, and anyone working in the field of content marketing, will benefit from the course.

After enrolment, students must complete a pre-course assessment to ensure they have the necessary writing skills to tackle the course.  Most privately run distance learning courses accept students regardless of their ability.  This can result in people failing to complete their courses, disappointment and a waste of the students’ money.  Students who don’t pass the Copywriting Apprentice initial assessment will have their fees refunded in full.

Students will have a year to complete the course, although it is anticipated many will take less than 6 months.  On completion of the Copywriting Apprentice course, students will be awarded a certificate and have use of the company’s quality mark logo.

The pilot version of the Copywriting Apprentice course has been running since the spring 2012.  Four students are participating in the pilot scheme and have provided valuable feedback on the course content and the LMS user-experience.

David McCarthy, director of Copywriting Training Ltd, which has developed the Copywriting Apprentice course, comments “In the UK, there are no formal dedicated copywriting qualifications.  As a result, many people who set themselves up as copywriters lack the necessary skills and techniques.  The Copywriting Apprentice course will teach aspiring writers about every aspect of copywriting including SEO.  We also stress the need for continuing professional development, which is so important for anyone involved in writing online content.”

The Copywriting Apprentice distance learning course costs £649.00. To mark the launch, prospective students can take advantage of a 20% discount on the course fees.  Students can view the syllabus and enrol online at www.copywriting-apprentice.com.

###

For more information, please contact:

The Copywriting Apprentice
Tel: 0845 257 2013

Email: admin @copywriting-apprentice.com

As a copywriter, I’m much more motivated by words than video.  I’d rather read a book than watch TV.  As a result, I didn’t understand how video motivates website visitors.  What better way to find out than to ask the questions.  So, a big thank you to the 126 people who took part in our website video survey.

Click on the graph images to enlarge.

Age range of respondents

Anyone involved in marketing (and copywriting is an integral part of the marketing process) can’t afford to let personal preferences colour their judgement.  To do so would be to miss valuable opportunities. There is nothing quite so risky or damaging as taking the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ approach.  Marketers must keep up with developments and embrace change.

The survey was not a huge sample, but considerably more than I expected to achieve.  And it must be said, it generated a bigger response than some of the popular brands which advertise on TV (67% of 89 people who use this shampoo, etc.).

Please note, the survey was created to help us understand visitor behaviour. The SEO benefits of video were not disputed.

What we wanted to know:

•    Does age have a bearing on people’s attitudes?
•    Does the person’s occupation influence their perception of video?
•    Are people now more interested in video than written website content?
•    If faced with a video and words on a site, what would the visitor do first?
•    What sort of video content is the most popular?
•    What video format is most popular?

Age

From our analysis, the age of the visitor had little bearing on the results of the survey.  I will admit to being surprised by this!  Overall, the majority of respondents were aged between 31 and 59 and 10% were over the age of 60 and 12.6% under 30.

Occupation

Again, I was surprised to see the respondent’s occupation had little influence on the overall results.  The two exceptions were those in the sales and marketing sector and people involved in video production.

However, the supplementary answers suggested this was because both groups had a vested interest in their marketing strategies and watching videos helped them understand the competition.

Videos streaming automatically

Videos streaming automatically when a site opens got a big thumbs down.  71% said they would either turn the video off or leave the site.  19% stated they would watch the video, but this figure was influenced by those involved in marketing and video production.

Video streaming automatically

Reading website content vs. watching video

Wearing my copywriter’s hat, I was delighted to see 81% of respondents said they would prefer to read than watch video.  However, that same percentage said it was the quality and value of the content which would influence their decision to watch the video.

Video content

This question looked at video content.  As you will see from the chart, informative ‘how to’ videos were the run-away winners in the content stakes.  Promotional and testimonial videos fared badly, with a large percentage saying they rarely or never watched them.

 

Video format

Overall, our results suggested conversation or interview formats and podcasts with voice-overs were of more interest than presenter videos.


Video turn-offs

The length of video, not surprisingly, appears to have a bearing on the audience, as does dull and boring content and poor quality.  The message is clear: keep it short, sweet and punchy!

A useful survey?

As far as we’re concerned, the considerable time spent on this survey has been valuable.  Clearly, it is not an authoritative study.  We’ve only polled a very small non-random sample, and we admit to being inexperienced researchers.  However, it has given us a valuable insight into video as a marketing tool and we hope you’ve found the results helpful too.

Who knows, in light of our findings, perhaps our next project will be a short podcast video on our survey results – watch this space!

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

Can you help with some research?  We’re keen to find out more about people’s attitudes to promotional websites on videos and have created a short (10 question) survey.

Visit the video on websites survey here.

It will only take a couple of minutes to complete and is completely anonymous.  Why not let us have your views?

The survey is nothing to do with the SEO value of videos, which is undisputed.  We’ll publish the findings here when the survey closes.

Thanks for your help!

Direct mail letter image

We all know postage prices are going to soar at the end of April.  At 50p to send a 2nd class letter, will direct mail letters become a thing of the past?

In February, we set up a new limited company for the Copywriting Apprentice.  Since then we’ve been besieged with letters from accountants introducing themselves and their services.  A savvy move?  Possibly, though we  already have an accountant. But what if we didn’t?  Would any of these letters have me clamouring for their services.  In a word, no!

Sadly, accountants have a reputation for being dull and boring.  There are many who are trying to break this mould and working hard to make people realise not all accountants are coloured grey.  Our own accountant is one of them.

But sending dull letters of introduction doesn’t help. While they might not be conducting mass mail campaigns, the cost is still significant.  Just churning out some standard form letter written by someone who doesn’t understand the psychology of direct mail, isn’t going to deliver any ROI (return on investment).

So what was wrong with the letters?  Here’s a selection …

Formatting – text too small and tightly packed.  The content squashed up to the top of the page making it hard to read.

The headline – ‘Congratulations’ (on what?)  ‘You’ve set up a new company’ (yes, we know that) – nothing there to attract our attention.

Large amounts of uppercase letters SHOUTING threats about the repercussions if we didn’t comply with the legislation.

‘WEEd’ on content … we do this, we do that.  Nobody said what was in it for me (we’re talking benefits here).

Signature – electronically printed.  That’s a turn off in itself.

The PS – what PS?  There were none.

Imagine if one of those accountants saw the light and employed a professional copywriter.  Their letters would positively sparkle in comparison.  And if there was business to be had, who do you imagine would get it?

So as a result, we did our sums.  And knowing how accountants like numbers, I’ll share our findings here  …

We based this on our charges for writing a direct mail letter and on the modest amount we pay our accountant each year.

So … if a well-written letter brought in one (just one) new client in a year, that accountant would enjoy a 600% ROI.  

You might not be an accountant, but if you’re thinking of sending out any direct mail letters, my first bit of advice is stop and think … and my second is to find yourself a good copywriter.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy
Remember, if your letter isn’t written properly by someone who knows what they’re doing, you might as well not bother and save yourself the cost of the stamp.

If I had £5 for every time someone said, “I don’t want a lot written – it’ll only take five minutes”, I would be rich.  The fact is no copywriter will attempt to write something as important as marketing copy in a few minutes.  If they profess to … I would seriously doubt their professionalism and standard of work.

Long copy or short copy?

Many people assume it takes a lot longer to write 500 words than it does to write 50 words.  Wrong!  It is much easier to write 500 words on a given subject than to summarise that message into 50.

Try it for yourself: write a twenty word sentence and then try to say exactly the same thing in four or five words.

Writing short copy needs economical use of words, command of the language and a great deal of skill.  It’s not something you can do in five minutes.

The copywriting process

Before starting writing, your copywriter needs to understand your business. That takes time.  If you engage your copywriter on an ongoing basis, they will of course become knowledgeable about you and your company, which speeds up this part of the process.

Your writer will also have to be briefed.  They must understand the ‘proposition’.  For example: they need to know the purpose of the copy, how and where it will be used, and who your target market is.  That takes more time.

With that information under their belt, your copywriter will move into the planning stage.  Everyone works in different ways.  Some writers will plan the copy on paper or make a list of the main points perhaps, while others map it out mentally.  Time-consuming research is often needed too.  How are we doing for time?  Is that five minutes up yet?

The next stage is actually writing the draft copy.  While an average typist will have a typing speed of around 40 words a minute, remember this is a  copy typing rate.  It does not allow for the creativity and time needed to craft powerful copy.

Once the draft copy has been written, it must be printed and checked.  The copywriter will check every word carefully to make sure it is correct, accurate and is delivering the right message.  Here at WORD-right, the copy is always checked by two different people.  That’s because when you try to proof something you’ve written yourself, you only see what you think you’ve written, not what is actually there.  Is the time up yet?

Next, the copywriter has to compose the email to you, attach the file and send it – OK that bit doesn’t take long!

Now it’s over to you: the client.  You might want some revisions.  So the copywriter goes back over the copy, ‘tweaks’ it, and the printing and checking stages are done all over again.

So even if you just want a short bit of copy, can you really expect anyone to do all that in five minutes?

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

We’re big fans of email newsletters.  They are a potent marketing tool when managed properly.  It’s not hard to do and you don’t need a lot of technical skills to implement your own email marketing campaign.

There are a host of different email marketing applications available.  Some, like www.ymlp.com and www.mailchimp.com have free versions available.

If it’s so easy, why do so many businesses still get it wrong?  I had a speculative email yesterday from a local pub-come-restaurant.  This particular hostelry hasn’t got the best customer service reputation in town.  So no, we probably weren’t going to rush out and book a table for their Christmas party night.

So what made this email such a major blunder?

  1. It was sent from their normal email address, using the BCC (blind copy) facility.  That makes it looks amateurish at best.
  2. They didn’t use an opt-in list, so it wasn’t targeted in any way.
  3. Instead of putting the Christmas party information on their website to encourage traffic, they sent two attachments with the email.  Would you risk opening a file like that?  No, nor did I.

OK, these are common mistakes and can be forgiven.  But the biggest blunder of all … their mailbox is full!  Any email responses simply bounce back with a message saying … ‘Mailbox disk space quota exceeded, please try again later’.  They clearly didn’t come to WORD-right.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

And if you’re wondering how I know, I replied immediately asking to be removed from their mailing list.  But suppose I wanted to make a booking …

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