One of the first jobs of communicators is to know their audience. The more we can understand about the audience, the more effective our communication will be.

This is why public speakers often conduct some "intelligence" work before giving a speach. I have known some presenters who will ask all kinds of seemingly unnecessary questions about who will be in an audience, what they do, what they all have in common, and what kind of peeves or problems they all face.

One particular speaker I know, who is known for his humorous speeches, will then weave that information into his speech to make his audience roar with laughter.

Writers too can use this same technique to better connect and communicate with readers. The more a writer knows about the audience, the writing can be targeted to that particular readership.

Here are a few questions to ask about your readers the next time you sit down to write for them:

  • What things do your readers have in common with each other? Are they in the same profession? Do they work for the same company? Do they live in the same community?

  • Is there a common interest or problem that makes them your readers? Will they be reading what you write to solve a particular problem or achieve a certain goal?

  • How much prior understanding do they have on your topic? You will lose readers if you write significantly over or under their heads. Advanced readers do not want retread information on a topic they've read about many times before, and novice readers will get lost if your information assumes too much background knowledge.

  • Are they looking for condensed information on your topic or are they looking for in-depth analysis?

  • Do they share a common vocabulary on the subject?

  • What demographic information is available on this readership? (Tip: If you are writing for an established publication that sells advertising, you can count on the fact that it knows what the demographics of its readers are. Just ask.) What is the age range of the readers? Do they mostly live in one geographical area? Do they have a common education level?

COPYRIGHT © 2007, Charles Brown

freelance copywriter, ghost writer, lawyer marketing, lawyer advertising, web content writer, white papers

I read Jonothan Leger’s blog,, every day and always find new and useful information on his pages. His advice ranges from how to get more traffic to your website, how to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how to make more money with adsense ads.

Recently, he wrote an article called, Should You Hire People To Write Your Articles For You? on his experience hiring a ghostwriter to write online articles to get more traffic to one of his websites. He placed a project on eLance and got three bids for the five article project.

The lowest bid, was for a mere $10 per article and that is the one he chose. Not that Jonathan was being cheap, but the other two bidders neglected to provide any feedback or ratings to justify their higher prices. (This should be a lesson for any freelancer, provide credibility information when you solicit new work)

The ghostwriter got the work done quickly and emailed the five finished articles back to Jonathan within 48 hours.

Problems With Cheap Ghostwriting Work

But, it didn’t come without a few bumps in the road. As Jonathan puts it:
”But the articles were clearly written by somebody who did not speak and write English as a first language, and so there were little grammatical issues that I would have to go in and fix. Having to go in and fix these grammatical errors takes time, and the whole purpose of hiring a ghost writer is to save time, so this extra step took away some of the value of hiring out for the job. However, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and I hired the cheapest group to write the articles.”

Hiring a ghostwriter is a viable way to publish online articles that will drive traffic to your site if you do not have the time or skill set to write them yourself. But as Jonathan Leger’s experience shows, hiring the cheapest writer may cause problems. You do not expect to have to rewrite something you have already paid for.

Moreover, as I mentioned the other day in my article, 10 Tips For Choosing A Ghostwriter For Your Online Articles, it takes a certain skill set be able to write a good article AND write HTML code AND know how to include your target keywords in order to produce online articles that drive traffic to your website.

I’m curious to know if any of you has had experience either doing ghostwriting work for others or hiring ghostwriters to get a project done on your behalf. Send me your feedback and comments.

COPYRIGHT © 2007, Charles Brown

More and more businesses are discovering that hiring ghostwriters to write online quality articles for them is one of the fastest and best ways to drive traffic to their websites and enhance their professional reputations.

For your own business, you might want to consider this: These online articles, written by ghostwriters, are possibly the best types of links you can get to point to your website. Because the readers have read the articles and clicked on your link, they are highly targeted visitors who want more information about what you can do for them.

In other words, not only does your ghostwritten online article lead visitors to your site, it also pre-sells those visitors by giving them a reason to find out more.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right ghostwriter to help you build your online presence with quality online articles:

  1. Make sure your ghostwriter knows how to incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) techniques with your article. This means the writer must have an understanding of how to include your targeted keywords into the text so that your articles will be picked up by search engines like Google and Yahoo. There are many ghostwriters who know how to write, but know nothing about how to get high search engine rankings. Choose a writer who can help you get more traffic in addition to writing your article.

  2. Does the writer know HTML code? Can he or she embed your key words into links in the article so that they point to several different pages on your site? Is that writer’s HTML proficiency enough to make the article’s layout look appealing to a reader’s eye and to avoid making it have a “big block look” with lots of unbroken text. Remember, just publishing the article is not enough if readers don’t read it.

  3. Make sure your ghostwriter has a track record and samples of articles you can see and read. Has this writer published his or her own articles online at sites like ezinearticles, searchwarp, articlecity, goarticles or any of the other big article banks? Not only will reading this writer’s own articles give you an idea of that person’s writing skills, it will also show that the writer understands the concept of article marketing.

  4. Can the writer write like a native speaker of the language? Most of the time you will want these articles written in English because this language still dominates most of the article banks and newsletters. Of course a writer does not have to speak English as a primary language in order to write flowing prose. But many people have paid low prices to have an article written by an inexpensive ghostwriter only to receive an article that is written in a choppy, awkward syntax. Again, you can avoid this by seeing the writer’s own articles if he or she has a website and has written articles for the online article banks mentioned above.

  5. Is the payment arrangement reasonable? The common practice is to pay half the writer’s fee up front and only pay the remaining half after receiving the articles. Understand that the writer still holds the copyright to these materials until you have paid the entire fee, and it only transfers to you when the final payment has been made. But be wary of someone who wants it all up front, just as a writer will understandably be wary of you if you only want to pay after the articles are written.

  6. Are the ghostwriter’s fees ridiculously cheap or outrageously expensive? You get what you pay for in all areas of life. You should expect to pay a minimum of $50 to $75 for a well-written article with SEO techniques. On the other hand, for a very technical article that requires a lot of research, you should expect to pay as much as $150 or more. Even at the high end of these ranges, you are still getting a very good price for an experienced writer who can often get $1 per word for commercial writing work (these online articles average about 500 words so at these rates you are paying between 10 cents to 30 cents per word). If you go after the bargain basement writer, you will get bargain basement results.

  7. Does the writer finish the project in a timely manner so you don’t have to wait weeks and weeks for your finished articles? Another reason to check the writer’s status on article banks like ezinearticles is that you will see if this writer is prolific enough to write quality articles quickly and have them back in your hands in time to do you good. Check to see if the writer has achieved special status with the article banks like Platinum Writer or Expert Author. These designations will help you determine if this writer can produce the output fast enough, without sacrificing quality, to suit your needs.

  8. Does the writer’s fee include re-writing? As long as you gave the writer clear directions about the content you wanted, reasonable rewriting should be part of the fee. As a writer however, I have had to put my foot down on a few occasions when the finished article came back meeting the original instructions given to me and the client just changed his mind and wanted a whole new type of article written. In those rare instances (it has only happened to me twice) I insisted on a new fee for a totally new article. But ordinarily, you should not have to pay more for a little rewriting within the scope of your original instructions.

  9. Does the writer package the work in a reasonable number of articles? This means, writing several articles on the same topic all at once. I generally feel that a minimum of ten articles on the same topic is needed for the project to pay off for me and for the price to be reasonable for the client. This way, all my research is spread over ten or more articles and I can price my work accordingly. Besides, writing one article at a time will not make a significant impact on the amount of traffic you get to your site. Depending on how much competition you have for that keyword, you will probably need 20 or more before you start seeing significant gains in the number of visitors coming your way.

  10. Does the writer have an online presence other than just an email address? You want to avoid someone who can only be contacted by email. So you should be able to see an actual website owned by the writer, have a telephone number and be able to read samples of this writer’s other articles. When someone actually has a website, you have more assurance this person is a committed business person who is not likely to take your up front money and disappear. A well thought out website indicates someone who takes a professional approach to being a freelance writer.

Online articles are powerful and fast ways to drive traffic to your website. Working with a good ghostwriter can greatly improve the process and deliver results to your bottom line faster.

COPYRIGHT © 2007, Charles Brown

freelance copywriter, ghost writer, lawyer marketing, lawyer advertising, web content writer, white papers

Here is an excellent article by Elaine Berry that provides a different spin on why a copywriter must give customers a reason to act. Often we assume readers of our delightful prose will just fall into our laps by the sheer beauty of our writing. Not so. If we are in the business of getting people to take action, we must spell out a clear reason for them to do so.
Charles Brown

Have you ever had this experience?

You are selling what you believe is a very valuable product. You are marketing it for $97 and have written a brilliant sales letter. But sales aren’t what you hoped. So you step up your sales pitch: “Order by midnight tonight and this $97 product is yours for $47!”

You sit back and wait for the sales rush. But it doesn’t happen.

Why not? Almost certainly, because you haven’t given a REASON! If it cost $97 yesterday, how come I can get it for $47 today?

People are suspicious. And the more seductive the offer, the more suspicious they are. They want to know:
· WHY should I buy this product?
· WHY will it work for ME?
· WHY are you reducing the price?

There is one word above all that you need to include in your copy. This word alone has been shown to have a massive impact on sales. This word is “BECAUSE”.

· WHY should I buy this product? Remember BENEFITS sell products. Tell people that they need to buy this product BECAUSE this is what it will do for them or this is the problem it will solve for them. If you are marketing a hair-restorer, emphasize that the customer needs to buy it BECAUSE it will improve confidence, end embarrassment, help in attracting the opposite sex, lead to a happier life and so on.
· WHY will it work for ME? Give very specific reasons. If you have a scientific-sounding reason, so much the better – these are always very reassuring. For instance, you should buy this hair-restorer BECAUSE it contains the brand-new product “X” which has been scientifically proven to be effective in 99.9 percent of cases.
· WHY are you reducing the price? Remember that the most potent “reason why” is always the TRUTH! If you are reducing because you are experimenting with prices, say so! If you need to raise some cash in a hurry, say so! If you are aiming to build a relationship with your customers so that they will buy more of your products in the future, say so! People will respond.

There was a famous social psychology experiment in which the experimenter, standing in a line to use a copy machine, requested people ahead of her to allow her to get to the front. A much larger percentage of people agreed when she gave a reason, than when she did not. But, remarkably, in a third experiment, she simply asked, “Could I use the machine first BECAUSE I need to make some copies?” A full 93 percent agreed, yet this time there was no reason given – the effect was achieved just by the inclusion of the word “BECAUSE”!

If you haven’t been using this secret weapon, you’ve been missing out on what has been found time and time again to be one of the most powerful triggers for massively increasing sales. Try it – BECAUSE it works!

Elaine Berry is the owner of Bizwrite, the only one-stop-shop for help and tuition on all aspects of writing. Come and find out about our copywriting, ghostwriting and article-writing services and get a FREE 12-part e-course on copywriting!

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COPYRIGHT © 2007, Charles Brown

One idea a lot of marketers have never tried is writing articles for trade publications.

If your business serves a particular industry group, chances are that industry has at least one trade magazine that needs good articles to publish.

This is one more reason to target a niche in your marketing efforts. Everything seems to go so much more smoothly when you zero in on a group of potential clients who all have similar needs.

The easiest way to find these trade publications is to go to your local library and look through the Handbook of Associations. Under almost all of these associations is a trade publication and a description of this magazine’s focus and mission.

Next, subscribe to the publication and join the association. If you are serious about targeting this industry group, this fee is simply the cost of doing business. Then, as a member and subscriber, approach the editor with some article ideas.

You will find that you have a very good idea of getting your idea accepted by these editors because trade magazines are often in dire need for quality articles.

If you have the writing skill, write and submit your article. If you do not, hire a ghostwriter to produce these articles for you with your byline (did I mention that I do a lot of ghostwriting?).

After getting a few of your articles published, you will have earned the status of a regular contributor. You may then wish to propose a column idea.

But by virtue of being a regular contributor of this trade publication, you will now have a certain cache when you approach the association’s members.

Writing articles for trade publications is an excellent way to make inroads into a certain industry group or clone your best clients who belong to that industry.

freelance copywriter, ghost writer, web content writer, lawyer marketing, lawyer advertising, white papers

COPYRIGHT © 2007, Charles Brown

A significant part of this blog’s focus is to help law firms and other service businesses develop new business. But getting an entire organization aligned with marketing goals is no easy task.

This is illustrated by an article Larry Bodine wrote about in his Larry Bodine’s LawMarketingBlog called, "Can You Beat This 25 –Question Sales Training Quiz?" A few of the questions on this quiz are:

  • Most of our rainmakers are over 65.
  • Few or no partners have individual business development plans in writing.
  • Most of our lawyers are active in only bar associations and lawyer groups -- not in any organizations of clients.
  • The firm does not premeditatedly identify industries where it has experience with the aim of pursuing potential business clients in those industries.
  • Business development time spent by lawyers is not tracked.
  • The firm has never broadcast a Webinar.
  • The firm has no blog.

These are all signs of an internal focus that is easy for any organization to slide into. A thriving organization, whether it is a law firm, a consulting practice or a service business, must have an external focus.

This means to have a real finger on the pulse of the marketplace. It is simply not that hard to find out what potential clients want and need. And it should not that hard to get out of the office and join groups of potential clients or take part in charitable causes that can bring your people into contact with potential clients.

If your organization does not track and reward it’s key people for getting actively involved in new business development, nothing will happen. In law firms, and I suspect many other organizations as well, key people are actually penalized for taking time away from performing billable work to get out there and meet new potential clients.

Check out Larry’s article and see if your firm needs to make some changes.

COPYRIGHT © 2007, Charles Brown

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