Today’s episode we finally feature a guest again! Leanne Shelton of Write Time Marketing is here today to provide website copywriting tips for website copy that works.
You might want to take a few notes of things to check afterwards on your own website, or even take Leanne up on her offer especially for FAQ Business Podcast listeners. Leanne talks about headings, keywords, about pages, how much of you to include and much more. She also gives a few insights from things which have worked in her business which is now in it’s 8th year.
This podcast covers all our pillars.
Listen to the episode on all good podcast services, watch on YouTube or if you prefer to read, check out the transcript below.
Disclaimer – All information provided today is general in nature. Please reach out to Jane or Leanne if required for personalised advice or coaching.
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Season 2 Episode 26 FAQ Business Podcast transcription | Website copywriting tips for website copy that works with Leanne Shelton
00:01 – Jane
Welcome today’s the FAQ Business Podcast. I am finally happy to say that we are back on track, we’ve got guests, yay. Thanks Leanne, for being our first guest. So what we’ve got today is an episode about website copywriting, how to make copy that is going to be impactful and first of all, just going to cover what copywriting even is.
00:22 – Jane – Today we are talking about website copywriting that works
But today we are going to be having the wonderful Leanne Shelton from Write Time Marketing. She’s going to introduce herself shortly and we’re going to go through some tips about how to get your website copy working for you, getting your tone of voice right and just how much of you to inject into your website because a lot of people are confused about that.
00:46 – Jane – Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast
Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast for business owners, covering four pillars actionable education, inspiring leaders, businesses like you, and thought leadership, where we challenge our thinking. Hosted by myself, Jane Tweedy. I’m founder and lead trainer of FAQ Business Training, where we want to avoid you getting ripped off or ripping yourself off. We will feature an amazing diversity of guests with lots to educate and inspire you. Let’s jump into today’s episode of the FAQ Business podcast.
01:22 – Jane – Introducing Leanne Shelton from Write Time Marketing
Welcome back to the FAQ Business Podcast. I’m Jane Tweedy, your host and today I’ve got the wonderful Leanne Shelton of Write Time Marketing. Hello, Leanne.
01:32 – Leanne
Hello. How’s it going?
01:34 – Jane – Leanne’s business, background, experience and podcast
Good. Lovely to have you here today. So Leanne has a bit of a background in journalism and marketing. She founded her business Write Time Marketing back in 2014, so she’s been around a while now. She’s actually more recently niched into health and wellness and she does a lot of SEO copywriting, so search engine optimisation copywriting, something that we both agree is incredibly vital for businesses.
02:02 – Jane
She also hosts her own podcast, which is always good, which is the Marketing and Me podcast. She is an education partner with the Sydney Hills Chamber and an affiliate trainer with Women with Altitude. But Leanne, tell us a little bit more about you and what makes you tick.
02:19 – Leanne – Interested in health and wellness niche
What makes me tick? That’s a scary thought. Well, apart from having my business, I am married with two young daughters, they are nearly nine and six, which is a scary thought. I live in the Hills District, I do all the networking, so I’m becoming more and more known all about building my brand and awareness and everything like that.
The health and wellness niche just seemed to be a good fit for me because I naturally gravitate towards people in that industry when I’m networking. And I also have my own interest in keeping healthy, meditation, personal development, everything like that.
So I’m a runner as well. I never was as a kid growing up something just an adult I’m trying to get into. And I got the goal of the City to Surf coming up and actually surviving that.
03:08 – Leanne – Have always loved writing and new this would be my career
I love writing has always been my thing since I was a kid. I remember it was back like year two, I learnt punctuation and for me it just made sense. And I knew I wanted to do some sort of writing career and then later on some sort of writing business, but I had no idea what else there was apart from journalism and being an author.
03:30 – Leanne – Love the variety of marketing communications and website copywriting
I kind of learned through doing internal communications and marketing, there’s this whole world of marketing communications and copywriting. And I love it because it’s a lot more variety than just journalism, like write an article, spit it out, rinse and repeat. I love that there’s a bit of PR, there’s a bit of events, there’s a lot more cause I need variety in my day because I get bored. I just thought, this is my thing.
So I started my business actually initially thinking I was going to do newsletters for small business owners, and then I realised, yes, that’s nice to have. It’s not a massive need, but writing for websites is a massive one and writing blogs is not another big one, so they’re two of my specialties now.
04:16 – Jane – You recently did Dancing with the Stars?
Specialty, I believe, is you did Dancing with the Stars recently?
04:19 – Leanne – I love learning something new and stepping out of my comfort zone
Yes, I did. So it was a bit of a challenge. I’ve been a dancer my whole life, but not partner dancing, I guess you could call it. So I took on the challenge to learn the cha cha and it’s like Dancing With The Stars, so you learn over ten lessons and then you perform in front of judges and an audience, which was very full on, a fun experience and just a lot of fun learning something new, and I’m always stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things.
04:52 – Jane
And you raised money for charity doing that, right?
04:54 – Leanne – We raised over $120,000 for Cancer Council NSW
Yeah, it was all for Cancer Council NSW, so we all had to aim to raise the minimum of $5000, which I cracked, which I was very happy about. Summarised, yeah, I think in total, as a group, we raised over $120,000.
05:09 – Jane
Wow, that’s awesome.
05:10 – Leanne – Cancer Council NSW is going to be an ongoing charity of mine
Absolutely incredible. And I’ve now decided the Cancer Council NSW will be an ongoing charity of mine. I have personal connections, my dad’s going through chemo, has been on off for five years, so I’ve decided it’s going to keep part of my business, putting my meet ups that I run basically have a little $5 donation. It’s for those who want to come to my meetup, and I’ve got to work out a way to incorporate other ways for my business, but I want to do it.
05:37 – Jane – I chopped my hair off for Variety Children’s Charity
Awesome. That’s really cool, because obviously we also support those little causes as well, and that’s why my hair got all chopped off. Donating it to Variety Children’s Charity as well.
First of all, before we get kicked off mainly into this, what is a copywriter? Because I know some people don’t really get what a copywriter actually is and what they do.
05:57 – Leanne – Copywriting is the key component of the website
Yeah, I do have the question oh is that like the copyright symbol thing? I get all these legal questions thrown at me. And I’m like, yeah, no, it is confusing, but no, it’s different. So it’s basically writing words for business purposes, like for writing websites.
So you might go to a website designer to make it all look pretty, but the words are a key component to your website. And I know there’s a lot of people out there who hate writing, but there’s people out there like me that love it. So we step in and it’s like being a ghost writer.
06:34 – Leanne – We write on your behalf to get the key messaging out
Like we try and get into your brain and write as you we don’t put our name to it, it’s all just us. And I’ll mention later on how I get into your brain without doing it in a creepy way. Ultimately, it’s writing on behalf of business owners to get key messaging out to their ideal clients.
06:54 – Jane – What is the best way to make our website copy engaging?
Awesome. Okay, so if we’re talking specifically about website copy, which we are today, and some tips and tricks about how to make that more impactful to our small business owners, what’s the best way to structure that website copy to make sure that it is engaging?
07:11 – Leanne – don’t have big chunks of text
First of all, you don’t want to have big chunks of text. Please do not do that. You yourself will know what you find, because when you’re reading online, you skim read, so you can’t have massive chunks of content because your eyes are just kind of like just get overwhelmed.
07:30 – Leanne – It’s about small paragraphs, spacing, headings and subheadings
The best tip is to break it into paragraphs and one liners or three words in a line even, can make a massive impact. So it’s all about spacing it out, headings and subheadings. Great for the SEO, which we can talk about a bit more later.
But it’s also just so anyone who is scanning knows, yes, that looks like a relevant point to me and they just jump to that. It just makes the whole experience so much easier. So you just got to not write an essay. Write it in short little sections, bite size things, so people can really get what you’re trying to say in little snapshots.
08:11 – Jane – So we need it to be short or we’re not interested?
Do you think that’s part of the culture that we’re in now? We’re all about text messages and messaging and stuff like that, so we’ve very much got that little brain that just goes, you’ve got to be short, otherwise I’m not interested.
08:22 – Leanne – Throw all the rules you learned at school out the window!
Pretty much. That’s what I’m saying, like, just the one liners can have a lot of impact and I break all the rules as well from what you learn at school, Iike don’t start with because and don’t start with and I actually find that sentences that do start with those words, if done properly, can have a really great impact. So, yeah, throw all those rules out the window.
08:45 – Jane
And they can be really hard particularly, I know people that use tools like Grammarly or something that edits their stuff and it tries to correct everything to proper English and you’re like, but I don’t necessarily need proper English. So would you kind of agree that that can be the case sometimes for website copywriting, yes.
09:01 – Leanne – It needs to conversational and more relatable
Yes, you need to know when to trust it and when go, no, I feel like I’ve got enough creative licence here to go with it. You just got to know what’s, because it has to be more conversational websites, particularly conversational. I do have some clients that come thinking, it has to be more professional sounding and don’t write don’t, do not. But honestly, it flows so much easier when it’s don’t.
I personally keep to those unless I’m told otherwise by the client. They’re really adamant, no, we want it the other way. It’s just when you’re reading it, it flows much easier and it’s more relatable to the reader as well.
09:43 – Jane
Totally and I think that obviously helps to the engaging point, right, is that you’re engaging in that you feel like you’re reading or you’re in a conversation with the person. Not just, I’m reading some textbook somewhere that’s boring.
09:59 – Leanne – Don’t we we we all over yourself in your website
The viewer has to really feel part of it. That’s where I say, think of the pain points of the client. First of all, when you’re writing it, speak to them. I have this amazing thing, I laugh at it. Don’t we, we, we all over yourself in terms of your website.
Don’t say we do this and we do that, because you’re forgetting about who’s reading it. You got to think about the what’s in it for me and whether it’s a good thing or bad thing, that’s how a lot of us think, right? So you need to be thinking about what is the purpose of this? What am I hoping for them to take away from this message, from this paragraph, from this page?
If you go, oh, I just have to tell them everything about what we do and how great we are. That’s good but you’ve got to first acknowledge their pain point before you bring in that solution.
10:47 – Jane – What should we include in our about page?
Absolutely, I totally agree. So that leads onto the idea about an about page on the website. And I think people are very confused about what an about page is for and what you should include in there. So do you need an about page on the website?
And I’m talking about even businesses like an ecommerce or a major company versus just small business sole trader, or does it differ for those type of businesses? And what type of information should you include? How much of you do you put in your about page?
11:17 – Leanne – It should set you apart and show the people behind the business
Personally, I love a good about page, which shows the journey and the humans behind the business. I get annoyed when I personally go to an about page and it’s just their mission vision. That’s totally fine to put there, but I want to hear first person of the person who founded it, or the team, show photos of the team and who they are and everything like that, because especially if you work in a very competitive industry, this is what puts you apart.
The people and I’ve learnt this massively through networking, right? Not just going and going, tell me about your business. No, you want to get to know the people because people work with people they know, like and trust. So the about page is so key, like such a key component for that. I personally love having this is my background, this is what drives me, this is why I started the business.
However, I do have a client at the moment, actually, they bought the business off someone else and they’re like, we don’t actually have that backstory. We’re just taking over and going this angle. So it was a really good challenge, like, okay, well, let’s make it then what you stand for.
12:25 – Leanne – There’s not right or wrong just add as much human as you can
So if you are like ecommerce, for example, like these guys are, you may not want to put so much of the people on the journey, but just saying what you stand for and what you believe in and why you can help the customer so much, that’s a really great angle as well. So you can take it a few different ways. There’s no right or wrong. Just add as much human to it as you can.
12:49 – Jane – A lot of people are confused about being the face of the brand versus it being all about them
Yeah. And I see that a lot of people that they just don’t want to be the face of their brand or they don’t want to put themselves out there. And they seem to be very confused about the difference between being a face of a brand and creating that humanisation versus the brand being all about them.
So can you elaborate a little bit more on that type of issue? How do people avoid it being all about them and that it is about the customer, but also still humanising it and getting them in it?
13:15 – Leanne – It’s making it relatable and about the customer experience
I think it’s all about getting the customer to relate because you want to say something like either you have had the personal experience or you paint the picture understanding what the customer experience is like and how you want to improve it or how you relate to that. So that’s what we’re doing with these guys, it’s more about the customer experience.
So have you ever felt like this and you’ve hated that and not like that? What if there was a way we’re strong believers in this and we do it XYZ this kind of way. That’s how I would address it because it still brings in the human. You’re like speaking to them without going, I’m Joe Blow and I do this because I’m awesome.
13:56 – Jane – I see people don’t want to put themselves there because its online
Yeah, there’s a little bit of that sometimes, but often I actually see the opposite, where it’s people don’t want to put themselves in there at all. And particularly with something like ecommerce kind of the attitude, well, I don’t need to be there because people are just buying online. Do you agree with that?
14:10 – Leanne – If others aren’t doing it then be different – why buy it from you?
No. Well, if you’re saying like all the other websites aren’t doing it, then be different and definitely do it. Because once again, if you have a like for example, if you’re showing on socials and showing behind the scenes that kind of stuff to me, that goes viral versus the promo post. It’s the same sort of thing.
If you’re not open to being behind the scenes in your about page, you can’t really then do it on your socials. And that’s just a missed opportunity there. So 100% if you’re like, oh, well, these other people in my field, they’re just selling stuff. But why should people buy it from you versus them?
14:49 – Leanne – If they relate they’ll see value and go with you
If you say, look I’m selling baby items because I had this need, my child, I wanted to buy this stuff, couldn’t find it anywhere. I couldn’t find the natural products that I was seeking, so I decided to start it myself. People will just buy into that story and be more likely to go to you versus maybe someone cheaper. Potentially, if they relate to your story, they’ll see the value there and go with you.
15:18 – Jane – Is it important to share your values?
What about values? So you kind of touched on that a little bit earlier, but without saying that the word values. But how important do you think it is to share your values to your customers?
15:26 – Leanne – It’s about them being on the same level as you
I think it’s a nice idea. I’m getting my website redone and I’m going to put that on my about page. It’s just, once again, them just seeing if you’re on the same level as them. And if they say, oh yeah, no, that’s a key value for me too. Great, we’re on the same page, let’s work together. And that might be the one thing that pushes them over the edge to give you a call or reach out to you, once again, you just don’t know.
15:49 – Jane – I had an experience where I didn’t check the values were aligned to mine
Yeah, and I had that issue where I agreed to do something and it sounded really good at the time. I was like, yeah, this sounds amazing. But because I knew the person, I didn’t look into the business that she was connected with for this particular issue.
And when I looked into it, I found that they had some values that very much went against what I did. The trouble is, I’d already committed to it. And then I’m like, well, how do I kind of deal with it? So all I basically did was I just didn’t promote it, I just made it something that I did just to meet my commitment.
But I certainly learned from that. Don’t ever forget to check things and go, no, what business is this? Or who is this for? I failed to ask that question and that really cost me. So I guess having that information on your about page really helps people to go, like you say, is this a business I want to work with?
16:45 – Leanne – If you work with charities put it on your about page
Yeah. And if you work with charities, for example, put that on your about page. I know some people are like, oh, uncertain if I want to do it. But if people are like, oh no, I also connect with that charity, and I also agree with that cause that once again, saying things like a certain percentage of every dollar I make goes towards building planting more trees or something and like, oh, I also believe in helping wildlife in the forest and stuff. So that one could be one liner, but that could just be something that brings someone else on board.
17:19 – Jane – Like the toilet paper company – FlusheD Eco supports a Seabin
Absolutely. Like there’s a toilet paper company, FlusheD Eco, and they fund one of the Seabins in Sydney Harbour and I love snorkelling so anyone that’s supporting getting waste out of the ocean, it’s all good to me. Yes, that’s going to be me signing up for that. So it definitely makes a difference, I think.
17:39 – Jane – How much should they see on your home page
So how much information or how much of you do you include in your website and other places? Not just the about page. So people come to the home page, how much should they see of you?
17:51 – Leanne – Using we and us can make your business look bigger
It comes down to, I guess, the size of your business. If it’s obviously pretty much you in the business, I think a lot needs to come out. I once heard that rule of always use we and us, even if you’re a one woman, one man show, because it makes you look bigger.
18:10 – Leanne – People don’t mind one person as long as they do a really great job
I’ve actually learnt that these days, I think, because business ownership is just becoming more mainstream, that people don’t mind if it’s just one person doing it, as long as they do a really great job. So it comes down, if it is just you, then say, I do this and I believe in that. That’s great. It’s kind of like a one way conversation with people, you struggling with this? Great, well, I can help you with that because of XYZ and this is how I do it, that’s probably enough.
18:44 – Leanne – Make sure it’s in the first person to make it relatable
If it is a bigger company, you can obviously say we. And I think it is just once again connecting on that human level, because if you go and third person, the team does this and this and they are great at that, it kind of separates and isolates you a little bit from the reader, I feel.
So if you make it more of a conversation, it just makes it more relatable. I mean, I know some people, for example, might be about page to be in third person. It does separate you. I think it is so much warmer to have it in the first person.
19:18 – Jane – If you are the business you are the person for example psychology
Yeah. And I think it definitely differs for different types of businesses and things as well, and just what you’re trying to get. So I definitely say to people, if you’re always intending just to be you, then why would you do anything other than I? And talk about yourself in the first person? Because you are the business, you are the person.
Particularly for something like psychology or something, if you are the only psychologist, they are going to interact with you, connect with you, they’re not connecting with some random other person, whereas the opposite, if you want to grow your business. So if you have a psychology practise and you want to have four psychologists, then you don’t want to focus too much on you because then they will expect you.
19:57 – Leanne
Yeah, that’s it. So you just adapt it based on, I started with I’s and I’m like, well, there’s not a we yet, but I’m moving that direction, so I started using the we and the us and everything like that. So just kind of get a good feel of how you want to come across to your reader.
20:18 – Jane – I tell people writing resumes to write in the first person
And I know for me as well, because I used to do some resume writing and still do some training for resume writing, but when I do that, I very much say to people, you write it in the first person because you certainly don’t want to appear pretentious writing it in the third person.
But you actually don’t necessarily include personal pronouns. So you start with verbs. You start with those active words, rather than starting with I, I, I… And that comes back to your we we we comment earlier. The last thing you want is a page of copy on your website, which starts with every sentence, we blah blah blah, we blah, blah, blah. It’s like, hello, are you forgetting who you’re dealing with here? A customer.
20:56 – Leanne – Focus on the benefits to the customer rather than what you offer
Yeah, you have to flip it. So I highly recommend going back and looking at your website copy now. And if you are focusing on what you offer more than the benefits for the potential customer, then flip it. So we do this, all right, so you want this? What if you could have that? Great news there’s a solution, this is what we do. So just kind of flip it. Always thinking, what are they getting out of this? Is this helping their problem?
21:29 – Jane
Absolutely. So if people don’t want to write copy for their website themselves, what can they do?
21:37 – Leanne – I recommend getting your thoughts out via Zoom and transcribing
Well, there’s a couple, there’s a little trick that if you don’t want to use a copywriter, there’s two ways we can do it. Obviously DIY, and I recommend getting onto, like, Zoom, which everyone’s very familiar with, and just say, all right, click record. What do I want to have on this page?
And just say it out loud, get it all out. All your thoughts that you want to get across, what message you want to get across. You have it recorded, you download it and get it transcribed. And I use rev.com. You can also use otter.ai, a few different ones. Then you have a transcription of everything you said.
22:15 – Leanne – By saying it out loud and getting it transcribed we can avoid writer’s block
Yes, it will be messy, but that gives you a great starting point to then write it, because I know so many people get writer’s block, myself included, when you see that blank screen and like, okay, it’s all in my head. I can’t literally get that message through to my fingertips to type it out, or as soon as I start typing it, especially the perfectionist out there, it’s just not working. And you’re over analysing it before you even get it out there. So by just saying it, recording it, getting it transcribed, you at least have a starting point, then weed through it.
Now, that’s still overwhelming for you, because I know that can be confusing. Then obviously you can get a writer to do it. So how I do it, I probably do actually have started doing a similar process to that.
22:59 – Leanne – I do the briefing via Zoom and it seems to work well
I do the briefing by interviewing via Zoom and I ask the questions, I get it all out of your head and then you get it transcribed and we literally have your words to work with. So then we write it for you, on behalf of you, and it means minimal rounds of edits because we’ve literally used your words. So that seems to be working quite well.
Unless, of course, they go, oh, yeah, I know I said that, but in retrospect, I want to add something else. Cool, add it in. But at least we had a really great starting point. So I know a lot of people were hesitant to hand it over to a copywriter, like, oh, they just don’t know the business as well as I do how can they write it effectively?
This is why I’ve started doing this process, because I realised giving someone a written brief, hey, fill this out with what you want, when they’re approaching a copywriter for a reason, it doesn’t really match up.
23:47 – Leanne – I get the passion when I ask the questions over Zoom
So what happened? I get like one or two line answers and then ask the same question Zoom and they talk for 10-15 minutes. Get really great content because you get the passion that comes out. So that’s why I’ve now changed that tactic and it’s much more worthwhile.
24:04 – Jane – You can also use Google Voice Typing to get ideas and thoughts out
And honestly, that is my number one tip. When I’m doing a workshop or something, I’m talking about productivity hacks or I’m talking about blogging or something, I always say to them, by the way, if you don’t like writing, do this little technique.
24:16 – Jane – You can also use Google Voice Typing to get ideas and thoughts out
Put three notes down on a piece of paper, what you want to talk about, and literally talk to them. So another one that you can use, apart from the couple that Leanne mentioned, is just your Google Voice Typing. So I just go into either notes or into an email, to go up to send myself an email and I literally just turn my Google Voice Typing on and off it goes.
And I find, personally I found using Otter, I found it slow and I don’t know whether that was just a bad experience with it, but I found it really slow to do it live because I was doing a live recording into my phone so I found that was useful. But obviously Otter is good for something like transcribing off a Zoom or something, which is cool. So I like that idea too.
24:54 – Jane – You then get their tone of voice and them out of it
But it’s such a good way just to I think the other issue that you mentioned you sort of alluded to is before, when you got people to write it down, they weren’t writers, so weren’t getting the best out of them. But also, you’re not getting their tone of voice, you’re not getting them out of it.
So as a copywriter, how do you meet that challenge? Because I know some people go and hire someone because they think they’re quirky or funny and they personally aren’t quirky or funny.
How do you make sure that that person’s personality shines through so that they don’t have somebody come to them thinking they’re going to be quirky and funny, and then of course, they come to them and they’re dry or not, and then it’s like, oh, because obviously you feel disconnect then, you go like, something doesn’t feel right, but you don’t necessarily know what it is. So how do you keep that alignment with that tone of voice?
25:45 – Leanne – I like to hear their voice and get a feel for them and what they are like
Well, I do, look, I ask the question, what’s the tone of voice? And quite often the clients have no idea. I am a big fan of phone and Zoom because, I do know some copyrighters, purely communicate via email, and I don’t know how they really get the message done effectively without hearing the person’s literally like hearing their voice.
Before I grew a team, which I do now, I would get on the phone and just kind of just chatting with them, just kind of get a feel for if they’re a soft tone, they like jokes, they’re bubbly, whatever they like, and whenever I be writing for them, I have that in mind.
26:25 – Leanne – When writing for them I try to add in their personality
So, would they say a word like this? Yeah, I think they would, but when I introduced the Zoom aspect, thinking, I’m going to be handing it over to someone else, it’s even more important because I’m going or asking the questions when they answer, what terms do they use? And then literally making sure that if they say ahhh, woohoo or cool things like that or meh, I’ll throw that in because that is them, that is their personality.
So 100% as a writer, you have to kind of get into the mindset and that person you are writing for, and if you’re struggling to pick up the phone or you need to get on a Zoom to really get a feel for that person, it makes it so much easier to write as them.
27:11 – Leanne – When you type essay style you lose the personality you want to come through
I’ve had people say, oh, hey, I know my past content has been really dry. You’re bubbly, can you change it around? Well, I could, but that’s not you. So I’ll then talk them through and go all right tell me more about this topic and then I can still write as them through their spoken word which is probably a bit more of the personality they want to come through versus when they type and they go into essay mode.
Because it’s very easy to lose your personality when you go, all right, I’m going to type this out. And you’re thinking old school, uni, and you move into that mode and you forget to type as you talk. Which is a big thing.
27:50 – Jane – When we type we tend to edit as we go and then lose our thoughts
And it comes out so much cleaner and easier. And that’s one of the reasons I suggest people use that technique, is that idea that when we type, even if we’re good at writing words on paper or typing them, is that we tend to go three words, oh no, edit, three words, oh edit. Three sentences, edit, and the trouble is when we do those edit process as we go, is that we lose the momentum and the thoughts that we actually had to create that amazing content.
So it’s such an important thing and personally for me, I used to get horrified when I hear copyrighters say, I just get them to put those few key tips down or those three things and then they would go and research it.
28:30 – Jane – How does someone choose a copywriter?
And I’m like, sorry, but aren’t you researching their competitors stuff and actually having their competitors voice potentially creeping into their copy? So that leads on to choosing a copywriter. So how would someone choose a copywriter? What sort of questions should they ask? What should they be looking for and how do they get that right fit with that person?
28:51 – Leanne – Everyone has different niches and different personalities – you just have to find your person
Oh, great question. I think there’s so many copywriters out there and to be honest, I was initially a bit intimidated when I met another one, going, oh, are they like my competitor? And then I joined an online copywriting community and like, how is this going to work? There’s like hundreds of us.
But everyone has different niches and different levels of experience and different personalities, different ages, all those different factors. So there’s a copywriter for everyone, you just got to find your person.
29:21 – Leanne – My niche is health and wellness and I love that stuff
So, for example yeah. I’ve niched to health and wellness. So I know there’s a lot of alternative therapies. For example, they want someone who gets their headspace. They want to know, is this going to be a bit too woo woo? Are they going to question and make me feel like an idiot? Like no, come to me. I love that stuff.
I will really get into that headspace. I’ll start saying back to them some ideas, like yeah, yeah, exactly, just like that stuff like law of attraction, yes, give me more.
29:48 – Leanne – Others are great at legal copy and accounting
But then again, there’s people who are great at legal copy, people great at accounting stuff. I’ve done it, I’m not a massive fan. But you know what, it did work because if they had their clients who are business owner like me, who didn’t get accounting stuff, you get a writer who doesn’t get it either. And if I get it, they’ll get it. So that kind of works out.
But yeah find a writer and then obviously make sure you get it on the phone with them somehow to really see if you’ve got that connection, because you got to feel that great vibe.
30:22 – Leanne – You need to feel comfortable with them so you can share your passion
You got to feel relaxed with them because you are going to be opening up to them and sharing your values and all this kind of stuff that you need to share with them about your business. I mean, they don’t have to know all the ins and outs of your financial situation, but you need to feel comfortable enough to share your why and your passion and everything like that.
30:48 – Leanne – Make sure your copywriter has website copy experience and SEO training
And obviously make sure you find a copywriter if you’re writing website copy, who has website copy experience, who has the SEO training. Because I’ve had someone come to me go, yeah, you’re a bit too much. Went to someone else who knew her industry, but wrote for magazines, and then came back to me later saying, I found out it wasn’t SEO optimised, it wasn’t written very well because she hasn’t done websites.
So 100% make sure they’ve had experience in the type of project you’re after as well. Big one.
31:22 – Jane – It’s about choosing the community rather than competitive approach
Yeah. So the search engine optimisation stuff, you and I both talk on this. We both do talk about SEO blogging and all that stuff. And again, just Leanne alluded to this before that competition in the copywriting space, oh my gosh, there’s all these other copywriters, but it’s the same for what we do.
So we both do workshops for the City of Parramatta Council, for instance. We both do that stuff. But it is about choosing to be a community rather than competition type approach. And that is something that I personally am very passionate about. I think that we need to look at the fact that there is enough people in the world for everybody. And I think what you just said then about choosing that right writer, making sure they have a great fit, so it’s not just on paper or whatever they look good, but they look good in person.
32:06 – Jane – You might be getting the copywriters tone and not your tone
Because the trouble is you might see that they have done some amazing copy for someone else’s website, but if that’s written in that person’s tone of voice, that tone of voice may be their tone of voice too. So you might actually be getting the copywriter’s tone and not the customer, which you need is you need the customer to be picked up, you to be picked up.
32:27 – Jane – How can we check the SEO is there?
So with the SEO side, when you do hear stories like that, how do people know that the SEO copywriting is there? Is that something you can properly check by past work they’ve done?
32:41 – Leanne – You need to know what people are searching for and use keywords
Yeah. So this particular example hadn’t really considered it at all. Just kind of wrote stuff that sounded good. And writing for magazines and writing for websites, very different because websites, for example, got to be, like I was saying before, people skim reading short, sharp sentences to the point you can’t have things with like a million nice descriptive words to make it sound good.
I was reading a book the other day and there was a sentence that went on for like four or five lines. You cannot have that with website copy. And same with the keywords. Look you’ve got to know, obviously, the focus of each page.
And I use the tool like Keywords Everywhere. It’s an extension on Chrome or Firefox, whatever. And then you can kind of type into it and get a feel for what people are searching for and then incorporate that in copy.
33:37 – Leanne – It has to be based on the human experience and engagement
And this is what happens if you do go through the SEO agency. They make keyword stuff. They throw all those keywords in, thinking, oh, that’s what Google needs. However, it actually has to be based on the human experience and the interaction engagement. We’re all very savvy now, we go, they said that word a few times now, like.
33:59 – Jane
Yeah, not great.
34:00 – Leanne – It has to be natural, key spots for keywords
It sounds awkward if you repeat the same word multiple times. So it has to be naturally put in which someone with the SEO copywriting training can do. The headings like I mentioned earlier, key spots to put the keywords.
So say it is the natural baby products, natural Australian made products. Then maybe Australian made is a keyword. The natural baby. There could be a whole bunch of keywords, like one phrase in one there. So you’ll then have the subheadings, and the subheading could be a synonym, another way of saying the same thing.
34:39 – Leanne – You have to think like your audience, what are they searching for?
Because remember, you may think, oh, people are searching for this for me. People are searching copywriter. No, they’re not. They’re typing website writer. So you have to think of your audience as well, what terms outside of the jargon you’re familiar with, what are they searching for?
And then you put a mixture of those in the copy, and then you’ve kind of got a good balance. You pick one phrase, you pick some other ways of saying the same thing, and then scatter that in a nice natural way. Then read it out loud and make sure that it doesn’t sound repetitive because it won’t work.
35:11 – Jane – It’s got to feel good for the user, the person reading it, the client
It’s got to be a combination of search engine optimised and user experience. It’s got to feel good for the user, the person reading it, the person, the client. And the other thing that I find frustrating so many times when I say to someone or I’m reviewing their website or their blogs or whatever, and I’m saying, so what does the customer need to know here? What does your client need to know?
And if you look at it from that perspective, often it is not clear. There’s no clear navigation around the website. So you do your about page, but what do you do? What’s your call to action from that about page? Where do they go next?
35:42 – Leanne – The call to action needs to be on every page
Yeah, and the call to action is very important to put on every page. People think, oh, it’s obvious. If they like me, then they’ll just go to the contact page and send me a message. But actually, if you step into the like, if you personally are looking at a website, you have to be handheld to be told, now, ready to go to the next step. Great, let’s call. Okay, cool. It’s telling me exactly what to do.
36:07 – Leanne – If they have got to the bottom of the page tell them what to do next
Don’t just assume because maybe they feel like there’s another step that they have to go, oh, I have to browse a little bit more. No, if you think they’ve gotten to the bottom of that page, there’s a lot of copy there and they’ve made it through. Give them something like a good point to do, like fill out a form, make a phone call, send you an email, whatever it is, download your free downloadable or whatever it is.
Every single page should have something that tells them what to do next. And there should also be backlinks to the pages as well that builds up engagement which helps with your SEO and ranking in search engines.
36:44 – Jane – Hubspot is a good example, they multiple ways to connect through the blog
Yeah and Hubspot’s a really good example of this. You read one of their blogs and every single blog will have eight times through their blog ways to connect with that thing. So if it’s a marketing template or have download our marketing template as just a link, then it will have it as a picture graphic, then it will have it as something else.
And the thing is, if you get off that page and you’d searched for marketing template and you get off that page without downloading that template, it’s very unlikely. Whereas you think of almost every single website you go to, how many times do you contact the person? How many times do you download something or do it? Very rarely.
37:19 – Jane – You have to have that call to action – tell them what to do next
So like I say, you’ve got to have that call to action. You’ve got to tell them what to do. And call to action is not just sell. It is, like you said, download something. It could be a freebie, whatever. So it’s really important to do that and too many people don’t.
And it gets really frustrating because you’re going to go, so what do they do now? And the only thing is they go up and what do they do? They go to the back buttons and off they go back to Google Search and they look at the next person.
37:46 – Leanne
Yeah, because I myself, I feel a little bit lost when I get to the end of copy and there’s no like, what next? Even though, you know, if I’m interested, I contact, it’s still, I know you’ve just going to spell it out, I don’t know why the psyche?
38:00 – Jane – You’ve been in business for 7 years, did things go to plan?
I think it’s the psychology thing around it. Obviously you’ve been in business, you said, for seven years. Is there any kind of tips from being in business for seven years that you can share with our audience? Did things go to plan on day one and you were just this huge success? You put up a website with great copy and suddenly, oh yeah, I’m full of customers. Did that happen or just something else happens?
38:23 – Leanne – It’s been very experimental and I started out part time
No, well, it’s all been very experimental throughout the phase. I’ve loved it. I’ve loved having my business and being my own boss. Initially when I did start, I did have the security of a three day week. You can call it retainer, you can call it part time, whatever you want to call it.
38:38 – Leanne – I had to network and build connections, try different things
And then three or four years ago, I went full time, so I didn’t have that security of that. And I’m like, okay, cool. I need to go network, build connections and everything like that. I just kept trying different things.
So, yeah, I tried moving into strategy instead of copywriting strategy first and then business dried up for like five months. Okay, go back to copywriting. Oh look, things are picking up again. So don’t be afraid to, I guess, play around with different things. It may feel right at the time and then it doesn’t work out.
That’s okay as long as you just keep on going and don’t go throw my hands up or go get a full time job now.
39:17 – Leanne – The networking has been a huge support of people I can relate to
The networking has been a big part of my marketing strategy for building awareness. And I know like and trust factor, I just want to add as well, networking don’t go in looking for sales or you will be disappointed. Think of it this way, like, networking for me has built up friendships with business owners who are just like me.
They get me so much more than people that don’t own businesses in my life. So I relate to them so much more. I’ve gotten tips from them. I’ve got free coaching sessions, I’ve got a free website. My initial website was free, business cards. You just don’t know who you’ll meet and how they’ll support you on your journey or who they’ll connect you with and where that will go.
40:00 – Leanne – I’m now looking at affiliates and partnerships
I guess my most recent learning, which has really take my business to the next level, is looking at affiliates and partnerships. So for me, partnering with website designers and we write the copy has been a great one because I learned from talking to people that website designers projects get put on hold if they don’t have the copy.
And the clients are like, oh no, I’ll write it and get that writer’s block. It doesn’t happen. They overthink it, right? So at least by all right, well, here I am, we write website copy, we know what we’re doing. Then there’s a solution for the website designer and it also makes them look better because the full product, website design and copy looks great rather than beautiful website but the words are crap and ultimately the words are what makes a website that people don’t realise that, I think.
40:53 – Jane – What about pictures do you supply that as well?
Any pictures? So do you tee up with people as well with the picture side? Like, if you were writing a blog for someone, will you source images for that blog if they pay you to do that? Or will you say, no, you’ve got to sort out your own images?
41:07 – Leanne – Sometimes client supplies and sometimes I supply
Bit of both. Sometimes the clients say, oh look, we’ve got a gallery of stuff we’ve had you can pick and choose from our gallery. I also use Pixabay and Unsplash for free images. I also have a DepositPhotos account which I got from an AppSumo deal years ago. I know you’re a fan of AppSumo.
41:33 – Leanne
So a mixture of different things and then also because we also create socials for, cause we’re big on repurposing blogs. So if it is a blog package, then we’ll source images. I’ve a paid Canva account, so Canva has also great range of images that you can use too.
41:50 – Jane – Do you have a productivity hack to share?
Cool. And do you have a productivity hack? I like to get our guests to share a productivity hack because all small business owners struggle with time. So what’s the productivity hack that you have?
42:01 – Leanne – I’ve recently lined up a Friday afternoon writing time slot
So one that I’ve just taken on recently, because like I said, I’m working on a new website but always writing everyone else’s copy, but not my own. I lined up with a fellow business owner Friday afternoon at 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm a writing time slot.
42:16 – Leanne
And I could do an icalendar any other time and not make the meeting, but who’s keeping me accountable? So by having that Friday afternoon three to five, actually me setting up the Zoom link so I have to jump in and set the Zoom up and whatever, it then forces you to actually do it.
42:34 – Leanne – We use the Pomodoro method and getting my own website copy done
And we do the Pomodoro method. So we go, all right, it’s time for 25 minutes and no distractions, just focus, focus, 25 goes like that. We’re always like, what? Okay, let’s get back into it. And I’m smashing through my website copy now, whereas I wouldn’t have done it before.
So get a friend, go, all right. And it’s actually growing. There’s four of us now doing it and it might grow a bit more this one day a week, every week will you be in a meeting with me? Even if they’re working on something else, and just to have that person to keep you accountable.
43:07 – Jane – So you just have it on in the background?
So literally you just have it on in the background and you just go and do your own thing. And then at the end, because you’re doing Pomodoro and you do 25 minutes of your own thing and then have a five minute chat?
43:16 – Leanne – Alarm goes off every 25 minutes
Yeah, pretty much. So 25 minutes, the alarm goes off, we mute ourselves and turn the screens off in between. Turn it back on. Hey everyone, it’s 25 minutes. Oh, well, what did you get done? Great. What are you going to work on now? And then set the timer and do it again. So we get roughly four in the 2 hours and I feel accomplished before I hit the weekend. So that’s a good feeling too.
43:39 – Jane – How can people contact you?
That’s awesome. I think that’s a really cool idea and something a little bit different and just a different way of doing accountability and Pomodoro and things and mixing it all together into one better thing that’s better than the sum of the parts, which I think is really cool. So obviously we want to end with a call to action. So how do people get hold of you?
43:58 – Leanne – Contact me via LinkedIn or Instagram
Yes, well, you can find me on LinkedIn. Just look for Leanne Shelton. I’m also on Instagram, @leanneshelton247. Getting into the Reels at the moment, so give me some feedback on those.
44:11 – Leanne – I’m also going to offer your listeners a free 30 minute website review
What I’m also going to offer for your listeners Jane is a free 30 minutes website review. So we’ll do a little Zoom and I’ll provide you the links and basically we’ll just talk through your website and I’ll just give you some tips and then you can go away and action them. Or if you want to take the next step and get me to help, then it’s up to you, but I’d love to offer that to your listeners.
44:33 – Jane – Thank you for coming on today Leanne
That sounds really cool. So thank you so much, Leanne, for coming on today. Hopefully our listeners have got some great little tips and actionable education they can take away to make changes to their website. So definitely have a look at your own website yourself. If you have any issues, then either reach out to Leanne or myself. We can both help you in this area.
44:51 – Jane – We would love to help you with your website copywriting+
So we would love to get some help with your website. We really want to make sure that you are having that impact on your clients, you’re engaging with them, you’re getting that personal connection so that people actually want to take up your product or service.
Thank you for listening in again today, this was the FAQ Business Podcast with our guest today, Leanne Shelton from Write Time Marketing.
Thank you. Bye bye.
45:18 – Jane – Thank you for listening to the FAQ Business Podcast please subscribe today
Thank you for listening to today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast, available on all good podcast services. You can subscribe today via FAQbusinesspodcast.com.au or directly on Apple iTunes, iHeartRadio or Spotify subscribe, follow, share, and where able to, review our podcast or leave us a comment on either YouTube or our blog page.
Thanks for helping us to help you. The small to medium businesses who are growing and want to make a difference. Look forward to connecting with you again on the next episode of the FAQ Business Podcast.
Today’s podcast episode featured our guest Leanne Shelton. Her details are as follows:
With a background in journalism, marketing, internal communications, events, and B2B sales in corporate, government, and not-for-profit roles, Leanne Shelton founded Write Time Marketing in 2014.
These days, she focuses on the health and wellness niche – and manages a team of mid-senior level Australian SEO copywriters. She also provides content marketing one-on-one Power Hours and group training on topics like business blogging, podcasting, webinars, website copy, LinkedIn and more.
On top of it all, Leanne is the host/leader of the ‘Marketing & Me’ podcast and Meet Up group, Education Partner with Sydney Hills Business Chamber, and affiliate trainer with City of Parramatta and Women with Altitude.
Outside the office, she enjoys dancing, yoga, meditation, running, reading business books and psychological thrillers, listening to inspiring podcasts, and chilling with her hubby and two young daughters (aged 8 and 5).