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Stealing From the Best: Grok’s Copywriting Cheat Sheet Explained

Earlier this week, GrokDotCom published Online Copywriting 101: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet. In the first of a two-part series, they list 50 helpful resources related to copywriting techniques. As of this post (only five days later), nearly 650 people tagged this to del.icio.us.

There are twelve sections that contain links to helpful websites, and the purpose of this post is to explain the importance of every section as it relates to online copywriting. They already stole from the best, so I’m just going to clarify why copywriters need to consider the following elements when writing for SEO.

1. Writing Headlines

Headlines are one of the most important aspects of any piece of writing, be it article, blog post, advertisement, email, presentation, etc. If your headline isn’t engaging, why would the reader want to read the story, post, etc.? This is your time to quickly explain what your piece of writing is about, but it’s also when you need to make sure it’s something that is going to intrigue the reader to continue on to the first paragraph.

The three links listed on the cheat sheet explain, respectively, how to consider your audience when writing your headlines, to understand what triggers people psychologically to want to read on, and how to test your headlines for persuasiveness.

2. Readability

In order to reach the largest audience possible, it is important that your writing be readable to the majority. The best way to do that is to write clearly and concisely, and to not muddle up the content with confusing terminology. Most of the people reading online are going for the basics and are looking for links to follow. With that in mind, say what you need to say and move on.

Listed on the cheat sheet are ways to improve your readability by taking into consideration that some people don’t really read web pages, that some people really do read online, and that there is a software that helps eliminate jargon in your copy, thus making it easier to read.

3. Customer-focused Copy

It’s common for many writers to write about themselves (or for many of us SEO’s, to write about our clients), but what we really need to be focusing on is what the customer is looking for. We’re so busy trying to sell ourselves or our products that we forget that the customer wants us to address their needs and meet them.

On the cheat sheet is one link to a fabulous (and free!) tool that analyzes your text to make sure your writing is focusing on the customer and not on the “we.”

4. Copywriting Techniques

There are so many techniques to improve your copywriting that could take 101 entire posts to explain them all. In a teeny tiny nutshell, web copywriting should be honest, engaging, and informative.

GrokDotCom has condensed their list of techniques into nine links that: explain types of words to avoid; show how to get to the point; describe how to save the customer time by giving them what they want; determine what the customer should find substantive; give ideas on how to use style-based messages to convey your ideas; show how to use negatives as a positive; define when to use intellect and when to use emotion; and provide four steps to follow to make your copywriting, at the very least, intelligible.

5. Trust & Relationship Building

One of the best ways to increase your conversion rate (the number of customers that ultimately purchase) is to earn their trust by building a relationship with them. Trust isn’t something that is often given away like a stick of gum after a double onion chili cheeseburger; it is something that has to be earned. The best way to do that is to build a relationship based on honesty and credibility.

In the cheat sheet’s three links, you’ll learn how to be transparent in your marketing efforts, learn how to use Aristotle’s three components to increase credibility, and watch a video about trust-building elements on a webpage.

6. Email Marketing

While some claim that email marketing is dead, others depend on it to convey their marketing messages. If used correctly, it can be a primary source for delivering ideas to your customers. If used poorly, it can kill an entire campaign. Make sure to get permission and use etiquette when drafting and sending your email marketing campaigns.

The cheat sheet lists four different sites to aid in your campaign: a blog that gives best practices, a resources center with tips and tricks, a tool to evaluate the spamminess of your content, and an open-source spam filter.

7. Copywriting Blogs & Resources

If you want to stay competitive in any market, it’s crucial to benchmark and know what your competition is doing. The same can be said for copywriting. Although we’re not competing directly with one another, we need to stay on our toes and know what others are writing about. In my first post on how to get started in SEO / marketing copywriting, I listed nine blogs that I was reading on a regular basis. Since then, I have added 23 more blog subscriptions.

The cheat sheet gives us seven masterful blogs and two wonderful resources that should be read on a consistent basis in order to keep your finger on the pulse of the ever-growing being that is SEO.

8. Transcription Services

Because we copywriters are extremely busy writing content for clients (and, in some cases, blogging), transcription services may be the answer you’ve been searching for.

The three listed on the sheet are, respectively, voice to document dictation service, podcast transcriptions, and recorded conference calls that can be transcribed.

9. Copywriters

While I strive to achieve greatness in the realm of web copywriting, I have yet to meet the standards of the six masterful writers linked to on the sheet.

10. Public Relations

In today’s ever-growing technological environment, marketing now encompasses blogs, podcasts, viral marketing, and online media to reach potential customers.

According to David Meerman Scott, there are new rules of marketing and public relations. The sheet links us to the two-part interview on how to make multi-channel relations.

11. Blogging

As a fairly new marketing tool, writers everywhere are populating the blogosphere with ideas, rants, raves, and in some cases, spam. If used correctly, blogging can be a copywriter’s medium for sharing ideas with others, and it can be the golden ticket that gives clients more exposure and a more personable approach to reaching their potential customers.

Listed on the sheet are six resources to get started, open each post with something intriguing, write reviews, attract links and increase traffic, use the two crucial words, start a corporate blog.

12. Persuasive Online Copywriting

There’s little need to explain why it is important to write copy that is persuasive. There’s a link to buy Persuasive Online Copywriting: How to Take Your Words to the Bank, which explains quite marvelously how words influence selling on the internet.

To Sum Up…

Although it seems a bit overwhelming at first, The Grok has done an excellent job of giving us copywriters a comprehensive list that should satisfy any of our copywriting wants and needs. Very much looking forward to Part 2 (which will explain the different persona and personality types)!

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

3 Responses to Stealing From the Best: Grok’s Copywriting Cheat Sheet Explained

  1. Bull's Eye says:

    Great list! Point 3 is such a simple rule that makes all the difference between good and lousy copy, but still so many copywriters fail to follow it. Weird.

  2. Copywriter says:

    Headlines are certainly the number one thing when it comes to copy. If you can’t draw someone into your letter, no one will ever read it!

    Chris Elliott