Writing Web Copy

 By James Guill

Copywriting for the Web for a wide audience

More and more freelance writing opportunities, including copywriting, occur in the digital realm, as more print publications seem to be closing their doors every year.

Providing copy for an online resource is obviously not as simple as it seems. If it were, there would be many more writers on the Web making a living. Many writers tend to be very focused in the specific topics they cover, and as such tend to have difficulty finding and retaining work. So let’s talk a bit about writing Web copy for a wide audience.

When writing Web copy, your writing needs to reflect that you have in-depth knowledge of the subject and you understand current trends in the area you are covering. For example, up until around 2007 anyone that wrote copy for poker sites could get away with just being knowledgeable in Texas Hold’em and the popular players of that game.

However, trends changed around that time and other poker games began to make a comeback. It was no longer enough for a Hold’em specialist to write content on Hold’em. Readers would begin to go elsewhere and look for content on Stud, Omaha, and other games. As such, those that have a broad range of knowledge and kept on top of the pulse of the industry were the ones that prospered.

Web copywriters need to get away from the notion that frequent posting and quantity is what matters. Going back again to the poker industry, several sites have proven that quality reporting and informative articles will draw just as well as regular updates.

Subject: Poker was a website that gained a large following after the events of April 15th of last year when the major online sites were indicted. Their objective was to bring hard hitting and informative reporting regarding the issues surrounding what was known as the Black Friday poker indictments.

There were periods of time where the site did not update for days or even weeks at a time. However, when they did update, their content was among the best in the industry and they quickly became the main source of news and legal information surrounding online poker in the United States.

While I don’t recommend going for a week or more at a time without posting, there is no need to update numerous times a day with every little piece of fluff news or information. After a while, viewers get tired of having to sort through the fluff and will go elsewhere. Remember: quality over quantity.

Every Website has its own approach when it comes to web content writing. Some Websites do things better than others. However, those that keep their fingers on the pulse of their industry and provide quality content are the ones that tend to survive over the long term.

James Guill is an online content writer who writes almost everything under the sun. He publishes numerous articles for travel, food and gaming sites as a freelance writer. As a freelance reporter, James has covered the poker world for the past five years.

Five Ways Posting to Article Banks Can Spark Your Writing

By Larry M. Lynch

During a slow period in my writing career, I found myself writing only queries. With article assignments temporarily in a slump I soon started losing the “edge” that kept my writing tight, sharp, and crisp. As a new or practicing writer, it is important to establish and maintain good writing habits. Writers write, and “practice makes perfect” as they say. So thinking that “a little more writing exposure never hurt anyone,” I took the plunge and signed on to one of the Internet’s largest article banks, also called article submission sites. It was a move that sparked my writing like never before in my writing career.

Article banks—What are they?

Article banks (or article submission sites) are websites that allow you to post focused articles on a number of topics on the web for free but you are not paid for the articles. The catch is that the piece can be freely distributed everywhere— to other websites and e-zines or read and used by anyone as long as he or she leaves the entire article intact including your byline and bio. There are stringent writers’ guidelines at the better sites, including format and content restrictions, but certainly nothing I found prohibitive in any way. Guidelines also vary somewhat from one site to another.

Crank Up The Volume

Write an article a day? Are you kidding? Yeah, that was my answer too when asked that question in one of the many writer’s-inspiration pieces I gobble up in my spare time. Even though writing an article a day seems daunting at first, you can work yourself up to that with some persistence and guidelines. How about putting out one or two articles per week? How many thousand-word pieces could you reasonably pump out in one month? Wouldn’t you like to know? Well, here’s your chance to find out. Use a simple “article template” or article outlines to help. If you’d like the templates I use, e-mail me and I’ll send them right out.

Practice Slanting And Re-Slanting

Online marketing professionals need to write about the same topic over and over. How do they do it? They slant and re-slant the articles. Writing multiple articles in your areas of specialization (you DO have them, don’t you?) will give you needed practice in devising a variety of slants for your articles. Can you focus your article idea towards women, children, teens, men, seniors, businesses, students, an ethnic group or other target group? Practice in developing an “eye” for different slants will be invaluable for your querying and article marketing efforts.

Speed Up And Refine Your Research Skills

If you are wringing articles out of your muse at record speed, you’ll need to hone those research skills to razor sharpness. Finding quotes quickly, using keywords to focus the reader’s attention, and digging up an expert or two on short notice will soon become second nature as regular practice fine tunes your skills. Skills you’ll need for those high-paying writing assignments to come.

If you need to use keywords in your piece, you can make use of Google AdWords Keywords tool at http://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordSandbox for a keyword search of high-ranking possibilities.

Looking for a poignant quote or two or more? Try BellaOnline’s Quotations Site Map. Another good site for quotes is QuotationReference.com.

To track down some topic experts go to IdeaMarketers.com or the exhaustive EzineArticles.com, both of which allow expert authors to post.

For press releases, page through PRWeb. As you hum along you’ll surely develop other resources of your own.

Become A “Household” Name

Are you famous yet? Sue Grafton, Edna Buchanan, Tom Clancy, and J.K. Rowling may not need their names and brands marketed, but in all likelihood you might. An article posted to an article bank like EzineArticles.com will probably be read by hundreds or even thousands of people in a relatively short time. I’ve had more than a thousand views of my articles in less than a month. It’s a fast, cheap, sure way to get your name and writing specialties out in front of myriads of people. Some sites have counters that allow you to track the number of times your article is viewed in real time. At the end of each of your articles there is a “resource box” or signature where you are allowed to place your bio, e-mail, and link to your website, or even a short “promo” piece if you have a book or product to sell. Articles stay available online for months or years. Imagine how many times your piece might be read over time.

How And Where To Post

There are scores of good article submission sites online. A Google search under “free article submissions” will net you hundreds of viable sites. They are not all equal. The best article submission sites will have high search engine and Internet traffic ratings. They’ll also have an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed of articles posted there for maximum article syndication. Here are some of my favorites:

While I’m not a staunch advocate of “working for free,” I do recommend posting to article banks as a way of keeping the flow going and maintaining the habit of writing regularly. Pulling a piece together and having it published within a couple of days online for the world to read, is extremely encouraging. It may be just the thing you need to lift you out of the doldrums and keep you going—and writing—during a slow period.

Finally, if you’d like to get a better idea of what typical postings are like, feel free to look at some of mine.

By the way, this article was conceptualized, outlined, researched, drafted, written, refined, and sent— all in one day. If I can do it, so can you.

Larry M. Lynch is a bilingual copywriter and photographer specializing in business, travel, food, and education-related writing in South America. His work has appeared in Transitions Abroad, South American Explorer, Escape from America, Mexico News, and Brazil magazines in print and online. As an expert author he ghostwrites original articles for article marketing campaigns, content for websites, newsletters, blogs, and e-zines. He can be contacted at: lynchlarrym AT gmail.com.

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