Are you or or your client in the scrap metal or recycling industry? If so, do you face the challenge of creating engaging written content for your online or printed marketing materials? You've probably heard that prospective human customers and Google both crave useful, relevant, helpful written content. So how are you going to create the website content, blog posts and brochures that your business or your client's needs to promote itself?
Is the need for well-written content 'doing your head in' and distracting you from the day-to-day business of scrap? If so, imagine having writing support from a skilled copywriter with experience of writing for this specialised industry. I can help when you don't have the time, the specialist skills or the inclination to write the words that will promote your business. And while I do, you can get on with running your business and making money.
With so many companies in scrap metal, its a huge challenge to ensure that your business stands out from the crowd and gets its share of business. If you've ever tried writing for this industry you'll know how easy it is to resort to the same lists of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastic, WEEE waste and PVCu products. That's all good and well and is probably completely correct. Unfortunately, your competitor down the road, up the motorway or in the next county is probably doing the same. That means that without a bit of imagination you run the risk of having a site that looks just like theirs. That would be a shame when your business has such a unique story to tell...
In practice, you differentiate yourself by the way you do business, and by your integrity and principles as well as the scrap metal and recycling services you offer.That's what needs to come over in your brochure or website content. Anyone can tell the same old story about customer care and competitive prices. Not so many can 'show not tell' with engaging storytelling and a carefully chosen tone of voice.
That's where copywriters like me earn their keep, not some airy-fairy advertising copywriter but someone like me with experience at the sharp-end of industry who's written for scrap metal, recycling, building and construction, environmental consultancy and similar 'gritty' industries. Perhaps that, along with a flair for writing, is what attracted organisations such as Joe Gilder Metal Recycling (through Evergreen Computing) and Tornado Recycling to their writing to me.
Of course, despite being a great investment, professional copywriting costs money, so maybe you fancy having a go at yourself. After all, it would make an interesting change after a long, busy day on the road or dealing with customers at your yard. Whether you're writing for the web or a new brochure, here are seven top tips for engaging copy that will differentiate your site or brochure from the dozens of competitors who simply can't be bothered...
First off, you really should write as you would talk when addressing your target audience. Allow a bit of personality into your brochure or the pages of your website. After all, that's probably one of the things your customers like when they decide to do business with you. If you're like many of my clients you'll find this difficult, but I promise you its worth the effort. And it's something that most people in your industry don't do. By the way, writing in a conversational way doesn't automatically mean you have to sacrifice professionalism.
This ties in with the point above, but it's so important that it's worth separating out. I'll bet that when you are talking to a scrap metal customer you don't say something like 'ACME Scrap Metal Services does this, that and the other for its customers.' Of course you don't; it's 'we' do this for 'you'. And that's the way your copy should be too, especially on your website, which is a surprisingly informal medium for business communications.
We all say we do it, but in practice it's too easy to promote features to customers rather than emphasising the benefits for them. For instance, saying 'We're open extended hours' may be true but it's a feature. The benefit for customers is that 'it is more convenient for you, our customer.'
When you think about turning features into benefits, it's usually about making or saving money, saving time (which is really about making or saving money), and building or protecting personal and business reputations.
In a marketplace where too many scrap businesses just state facts and features, any business that spells out what those features mean to their customers will give itself an important edge.
Subheads are a great way to lead readers through your content, emphasise benefits and help skim-readers who don't want to read the whole page. As I'm doing for you on this page, creating subheadings enables time-short prospects to quickly get the gist of your content. They'll thank you for that.
If you are writing for a website, remember to write with the intent of human searchers in mind. Don't be afraid to write a decent amount of copy for your website pages. The search engines, most notably Google, like to see plenty of useful, relevant, well-written,interesting content.
If you're concerned that people won't read longer pages, remember that you can always get around that by 'toploading' the main page-message with a strong call to action (as I've done at the top of this page). underneath (again as I've done), you can continue under a 'More about' heading. And by the way, website visitors will scroll down beyond the first screen of information – if the content is sufficiently engaging. Just look at how news webpages pages extend down and down and down for six, eight or 10 screens after a major news item such as the German Wings A-320 crash in 2015. With the help of a good website designer and developer, you can also use so-called 'user revealed copy' to minimise the volume of visible copy on a page without sacrificing the value of that copy for organic search. Always remember that your copy should be as long or as short as is needed to tell the story you need to tell – and not a word longer or shorter!
The quality of your content makes an important statement about your business to humans and the search engines. For obvious reasons it should be well written, thoroughly checked and free from the 'silent assassin' mistakes that will distract readers. An appropriate, consistent written style, accurate spelling and decent use of grammar is essential. If this isn't your strength, or favourite activity (and it isn't everyone's) you can easily get help from a professional copywriter to make sure everything is on order.
Lastly, but importantly, make sure your content is interesting. Include anecdotes, rich detail and mini stories that show your true business personality. How about a few snapshot staff profiles or even a bit about the yard dog or cat? It all supports and differentiates your story. Trust me, it's worth doing – hopefully, your brochure or website will be around for a long time. It's worth a bit of extra effort to get right from the start.
It's over to you now, so remember the following:
Then it's just a question of getting to work writing that brochure or the extra 10, 15 or 20 informative, useful website pages that your prospective customers and the search engines want to find. Bear in mind that a 20 page website with a decent amount of copy on each page (750 words is not unusual now, compared to the 200 to 250 that used to be recommended) will typically take a skilled copywriter four or five days of solid research and writing. You do have a spare week in your diary to create your new content don't you?
For many busy business people, doing it yourself is the hard way to create vital copy. You would be amazed how often 'finished' websites sit idle for weeks or months because no-one has the time to write the much-needed copy.
Alternatively, you might like to consider hiring some professional writing help from someone who knows their way around a word-processor and the scrap metal business. Make sure it's someone who knows their ferrous from non-ferrous metals, their WEEE recycling from their scrap uPVC recovery – and the implications that the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 had on the business...
A professional writer will also be used to writing five, six or sometimes seven days a week (if they're good and in demand). Because of this, they will probably be able to write faster and to a higher quality than you.
Most importantly, while you get on with winning the next scrap metal collection contract, helping the environment and managing your yard, your copywriter will be getting on with the writing that will help you build your business. Like recycling, it makes perfect sense (but don't put up with copied or 'recycled' words that will get you into trouble with Google (or the original website owner) – reputable copywriters always take the time to research and write original content.
As hundreds and thousands of businesses already know, hiring in copywriting support, like using an accountant or a lawyer, is a wise business decision.
When you need to write, but you haven't got the time, the specialist skills or the inclination to do so yourself, I can help. Interested? You should be, so lets talk scrap copywriting! Please call me now on 01242 520 573 or email me. Initial advice and your initial no-obligation copywriting consultation are always free.
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