It’s not what your copy said. It’s how your copy was styled

It’s not what you said. It’s how you wrote it. 

There was a time when words really mattered. Each. And. Every. One. Of. Them.

But not anymore. Writing for the web has become much less about the words you use and much more about the way they’re styled.

Jakob Nielsen’s 1997 research on how people read websites found that 79% of people scanned web content only – essentially making how copy is laid out much more important than what it says.

10 Copy styling tips to make your web content more scannable

1. Highlight keywords: Use typeface variations, hypertext links and colour to draw the scanners attention to the keywords they came for.

2. Choose fonts and font size carefully: There’s an optimal typeface and size for web fonts. Know them and use them. 2017 is not the time for Comic Sans.

3. Employ meaningful sub-headings: Leading lines and subheadings break up the copy load and encourage a scanner to read on for more information. 

4. Use line breaks: Line breaks create bite-sized chunks of copy that look easy to read. Make your new mantra; easy reads get read

5. Apply bulleted lists: Bulleted or numbered lists make content easy to digest as the heading states the intent.

6. Create takeaways with quotes: Quotes are an invitation to dive deeper into content as they speak directly to the point. 

7. Use infographics where appropriate: This is a great way to condense complex information and statistics for scanners.

8. Include only one idea per paragraph: Simple but important when it comes to retaining the scanner.

9. Start with the conclusion: Structure paragraphs in an inverted pyramid style, stating the conclusion first, followed by supporting information. 

10. Halve the word count: Cover complex content in a series of portion-controlled posts. This invites the reader to come back for more, and makes the content easy to digest.

Make every piece of copy count. 
Writing and styling great web copy is about making the important things matter. If your subheadings, lists, quotes and highlights tell the story – congratulations, you’ve made scannable copy! But the best part of scannable copy? It’s effortless to consume for word-by-word readers too! 

Do you need a copywriter to make your copy scannable?



Web Content – Business to Business Marketing – Feature Articles & Blogs – Brochures – Newsletters – Marketing Collateral – Product Descriptions – Content Creation – Copy Editing & Proofreading

Got Melbourne Copywriting Needs?

Don’t just talk about it. Get it done.

If the following sounds familiar;
1. Your content writer discovered their zen and moved to Bali #ithappens!
2. You just need a few little changes to your web content and no one wants to help
3. [Insert name] left your business and no one else has the time to write even simple communications for you
4. Your website has been neglected, abandoned or lost
5. You have been waiting for ages for that other freelance writer to get back to you
6. You don’t have a website yet, because you have no copy to develop one
….it’s time to get a freelance writer.

From as little as $75/hour, a freelance writer can solve all your copywriting problems. 

Melbourne based, I’ve been spreading messages for companies just like yours with fast and effective copywriting services. Helping people to clarify their message, tease out their intent and create fresh, attention-grabbing content is what I know.

But I’m more than just a writer. I’m a wordsmith and problem solver. And I can offer the perspective of your audience – an audience that doesn’t know you, or your business.

I do MORE than just write words

  • I offer you a fresh perspective. You know your business well, but do you know what’s really important about it?
  • I make your big ideas, products or plans simple. Your audience needs less information than you think – and I know which content matters.
  • I bring creative words and terms of reference to the project. You call it a hat. I call it a cap, cloche, bonnet or beanie.
  • I turn chunks of copy into words that can be easily digested. I use attention grabbing headlines to break up your copy and make it easy to read – even at a glance.
  • I understand the importance of your brand personality. I bring copy to life with a unique personality that is all your own.
  • I grow your business and audience. It’s simple. I choose words designed to sell.
  • I save you time and money. I free you up to do what you do best – run your business.

Web Content – Business to Business Marketing – Feature Articles & Blogs – Brochures – Newsletters – Marketing Collateral – Product Descriptions – Content Creation – Copy Editing & Proofreading

Content Marketing? Should you care?

Content, content, content. What does it even mean?

And should you care?

I admit it. I bang on about content. Content marketing, content strategies, content format…. 

But I’m in the business of developing content. And as a business owner, you’re in the business of creating relationships with customers. And how do you do that? With content. Your marketing spiels, your lead generation activities, your print collateral, your social media channels, your website, your SEO ranking… they all need content.

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” ~ Robert Rose

Now I know as avid readers of my “CONTENT” that you know the basics, but let’s take a  look at the content trends for both B2C and B2B marketing to watch in 2017:

  • Buying Influencers. Influencers don’t only bring their audience to your brand, they also bring their audience’s network. Influencers are effectively brand advocates, or niche promoters, who use their expertise, popularity, or reputation to influence the buying decisions of their audience.
  • Live Streaming. Expected to grow in popularity, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and SnapChat are making it easier than ever to host live product briefings, tours, tutorials, product launch events, and more.
  • User-generated Content. It’s not hard to believe that people trust content made by others more than they trust a brands’ content. So when it comes to user-generated content like social shares, reviews and comments – you better be paying attention!
  • Email Newsletters. Of all the ways to grow an audience, email has emerged as the most critical. I know everyone likes to believe that email is dead, but you only have to look to the big guys for proof of consumers appetite for email. The Washington Post now has over 75 e-newsletters, and The New York Times has 12 people dedicated to newsletters! If you’re considering a newsletter to promote your brand, 2017 is probably a good time to launch. 
  • Print. On the flip side of email marketing, businesses looking to cut through the digital clutter are moving to print. Airbnb and publishing partner Hearst recently launched Airbnb mag. Despite a convincing email campaign, they’ll distribute their print magazine of content created and curated from people who provide and use the Airbnb service to Airbnb homes.
  • Storytelling. The mainstay of any content marketing strategy, storytelling ensures that you’re not pushing content out for content’s sake. Simply blogging for no reason, or updating social media for the sake of it won’t cut it anymore. You need to engage with your audience and tell them a story.
  • Visual Content. Fundamental to the web, entire social platforms are now dedicated to visual content. Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest aren’t just for retailers and the creative – a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Melbourne Website Copywriter’s convert traffic into sales

Website Copywriter Melbourne

IS YOUR WEB TRAFFIC CONVERTING? Use a Melbourne Website Copywriter for results

“Traffic” you ask? Yes, “traffic”. Traffic (in the website sense) is the number of visitors to your website and the number of pages they view when they’re there.

But why should you care? You’ve got people to visit your site right? Wrong. Visits mean nothing if they don’t convert to an enquiry or sale. Worse still, visits to your site should never discourage conversion, or provide information that drives visitors to your competition.

Get to know a Melbourne Website Copywriter and get to know your traffic.

Tools like Google Analytics make it easy for you to understand how visitors use your site. But most importantly, the detail analytics provide can tell you if those visits convert to what you need…. an enquiry or sale. 

So what metrics should you care about?

At a minimum you should be considering:

  • Visits/Sessions. This is how many times users, new or returning, visited your site. It’s an easy way to assess the overall trends in traffic to your site.
  • Bounce rate. This represents the percentage of people who viewed your home page and left without taking any action. This is a great indicator of how compelling or relevant visitors found your content, and one metric you should really care about!
  • Active Time/Engagement Time. This is the amount of time people spent consuming your content during their visit. It helps you to understand if people are reading your content or just skimming and moving on.

Do these 2 simple things to make your traffic convert:

1. MAKE YOUR NAVIGATION LOGICAL Complex, illogical navigation can send visitors clicking…. off your site! Make your content easy to find, move around and action.


  • Try to be extraordinary! People like to see things they’re familiar with
  • Use navigation names/terms that mean nothing to your visitors
  • Fail to provide obvious instructions for visitors i.e. ”to buy, click here”, ”read more here” etc.)
  • Scatter your main navigation links around your website

2. CREATE GREAT CONTENT. Whatever your website is about, create engaging, informative and logical content that reflects your visitors needs. Not yours. If you can’t place yourself in the ‘objective seat’, find someone who can.


  • Say in many pages, what could be said in one
  • Fail to provide context for the information you’re supplying
  • Make your visitors confused with completely irrelevant information

A Freelance Writer always has something to say about content marketing….

content marketing, freelance writer

Because while silence is golden, when you’re a writer, there’s always something to say…

2016 saw The Freelance Pencil take on a massive project for a client dedicated to hitting the market hard. An astute client who understands the value of content in driving their business, The Freelance Pencil was tasked with developing a complete content marketing strategy.

“Content marketing is the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

What does a content marketing strategy involve?

Content marketing solutions are as unique as the businesses they serve. Limited only by the scope of your imagination (and the needs of your audience), a content marketing strategy might include:

  • Custom content written for you, in your own voice
  • Webpage content
  • Microsites
  • Social media content
  • Email newsletters
  • Copy for infographics, charts & graphics
  • Case studies
  • Curated content selected from relevant sources
  • Content for podcasts
  • Storytelling & blogging
  • Copy for videos
  • eBooks & white papers

Why should you care about content marketing?

Understanding why content marketing is important to your business means you understand the four stages of the buying cycle:

  1. Awareness. The customer may have a need, but they don’t all know there is a solution.
  2. Research. Once a customer is aware of the solution, they will educate themselves on their options and how each might meet their needs.
  3. Consideration. The point at which the customer starts comparing different products from different suppliers to ensure they’re getting a high quality product at a fair price.
  4. Buy. Finally, the customer makes their decision and converts their research into a purchase.
This four stage process requires content. Hight quality, targeted and engaging content that:
  • Identifies the problem;
  • Advertises the solution;
  • Demonstrates the benefits; and
  • Celebrates the purchase! 

So the message is simple. Businesses that ignore content marketing are damaging the value of their business.Every business, yes EVERY business with an online presence benefits from content marketing.

Is a content marketing strategy on your radar for 2017? Call The Freelance Pencil on 0418 530 585 to discuss your content needs today.

Have you heard the joke about the Port Melbourne Copywriter?

Port Melbourne CopywriterNever mind, it’s pointless…

But getting a Port Melbourne copywriter to power up your business isn’t…

Good copy can take your business further. How? By ensuring that it answers the questions your customers need.

A copywriter can bring ‘process’ to your business proposition – and address the questions you often miss. Think you know everything about your product or service offering?

Try asking yourself these 15 questions about your product or service:

  1. What does it do/deliver?
  2. What relevant facts, statistics or specifications should be known about it?
  3. What problem does it solve?
  4. What is new, different, better or unique about it?
  5. What can never be said or promised about it?
  6. Who is your competition and what are they saying about it?
  7. Is there a special history or unique story around it?
  8. What do people need to do to access it?
  9. How does it address people’s biggest concerns or fears?
  10. How will it help people get ahead or keep from falling behind?
  11. What desire does it appeal to?
  12. Has it been endorsed or received media coverage?
  13. What information or legals must be included to sell it?
  14. Does it have a guarantee and what are those terms?
  15. Do people want it?

If you haven’t considered these questions about your product or service offering, you may be missing the point – and missing customers.

Want to learn more about working with a Port Melbourne copywriter? Call The Freelance Pencil on 0418 530 585 and speak to me today.

Everyone’s got a story…and more often than not, a very interesting one for this Port Melbourne copywriter…

story pencilsWriting copy for business is just one of the many things I do as a Port Melbourne copywriter. I also write a local magazine. 

For the last few years, I’ve been getting to know my local businesses. Despite being a resident of Port Melbourne for (too) many years, I learned just how little I really knew about the rich cultural history of Port Melbourne when I started to interview the locals for the ‘The Port Melbourne’ magazine.

Produced by the Port Melbourne Business Association, ‘The Port Melbourne’ magazine profiles the rich stories of Port’s business owners, old and new, and their connection to Port Melbourne.

So after writing the stories of so many people, what would I ask myself in an interview? 

The Freelance Pencil (TFP): So Nicola, what led you to copywriting?

Nicola: How much time have you got? My journey to The Freelance Pencil was actually a pretty convoluted one. A qualified Occupational Therapist, I started my working career in the Victorian Public Hospital system. Whilst I loved my clinical work, a few great opportunities led me to an administration role running a pilot program for the Department of Human Services. Fast forward quite a few years and I found myself working in pre-litigation dispute resolution – you can imagine the writing that was involved in that! Working in alternative dispute resolution and writing for CEO’s and Ministers was very much my ‘thing’ until I put the brakes on my corporate career in 2010. Writing for SME’s grew organically from a few old corporate contacts who heard I had some time on my hands.

TFP: The road from Occupational Therapist to freelance writer is an unusual one isn’t it?

Nicola: Occupational Therapy is a job dedicated to problem solving. So for me, my journey to writing makes a lot of sense. My whole career to date has been one of solving problems with creative solutions. The people who come to me for copy are looking to work out ‘how’ or ‘what’ to communicate to their audience. That’s just a problem looking to be solved with creative words.

TFP: Knowing what to write can’t be easy? Let’s face it, if everyone could do it, we wouldn’t need copywriters would we?

Nicola: I actually think everyone has a great story in them. The hardest part for business owners is understanding what part of their story is relevant to their audience. When you live and breathe your business everyday, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s actually important to to the end user. I like to think I bring that perspective.

TFP: If you weren’t writing copy, what would you be doing?

Nicola: Probably reading, writing and watching documentary content on just about any subject I can get my hands on in a very warm and sunny location (most likely with a Pina colada in hand!). 

TFP: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve watched recently?

Nicola: The True Cost – A documentary on the global environmental and social impact of the ‘fast fashion’ industry.

TFP: Do you have a favourite type of client?

Nicola: I love working with clients who are as excited about what they do as I am. Passion is infectious and the best results come from clients who are truly invested in the process of creating great copy.

Want to read more stories about people? Click below to read my work in the The Port Magazine.

The Port Mag APRIL

The Port Mag September









Want to learn more about the work I do? Call The Freelance Pencil on 0418 530 585 and speak to me today.

Do you consider yourself a winner? An award application writer can get you across the line.

award application writerIf your business is doing something special – it’s time to sing about it. An award application writer can get you results.

Business awards are a great way for small businesses to get the recognition and attention they deserve. Aimed at recognising innovation, service and performance, small business awards are a great opportunity to promote what you do to a wider audience, while gaining some valuable exposure for the hard yards your business is putting in each and every day.

With no shortage of national and local opportunities for your business to be recognised – is it time for you to sing about the work you do?

National Small Business Awards:

  • The Anthill 30under30 Awards
  • Cool Company Awards
  • Australian Achiever Customer Service Awards
  • Australian Business Awards
  • Australian Customer Service Awards
  • Australian Export Awards
  • Australian Small Business Champion Awards
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year
  • Family Business Awards
  • My Business Awards
  • Telstra Business Awards

The list above represents only a small sample of the awards available at a national level. But there are literally hundreds of local small business awards offered by industry leaders, local councils, business networks and organisations keen to promote the accolades of your business.

You don’t need to do all the hard work. You just need to want to win.

Have you seen an award you’d like to apply for? Has the application form looked overwhelming? Are you too busy being great to stop and write about it? Do you need a copywriter to win?

Finding winning words is my job.

A copywriter can maximise the chances of your submission making the cut by:

  • Assessing and interpreting the award requirements
  • Bringing an objectivity to your awards application
  • Ensuring your submission meets the selection criteria
  • Using compelling, winning language!
  • Framing your businesses best assets in a way that engages the selection panel
  • Integrating your written content into a single, seamless submission
  • Assisting you with any interview preparation

So if you think you’re a winner – now is the time to consider if a small business award is the right marketing strategy for your business.

Are you interested in applying for a small business award? Call The Freelance Pencil on 0418 530 585 and ask how I can help.

Copywriting for your email marketing strategy begins here.

copywriting for email marketing

Copywriting for your email marketing strategy begins with acknowledging that you take the time to read the email marketing emails that come into your inbox. So if you do, maybe your audience will take the time to read one from you?

If you’re in the business of selling goods or services, you need to start emailing. Regularly.

With research* showing that email continues to outperform all other forms of communication in the sales race, there’s never been a better time to consider your email comms strategy.

There’s good reason to get excited about email marketing:

  • 80% of people receive marketing messages alongside their personal emails on a daily basis.
  • 70% of people use coupons or discounts they receive in an email.
  • 60% of people say that receiving special offers is the top reason they subscribe to an email list from a business.

So, if you’re yet to develop an email marketing strategy, or dropped the ball on the one you started (way back when!) you’re almost certainly missing out on the opportunity to sell your products or services.

Setting up an email platform (just like this one) is easy.With so many great online email services at your disposal, it’s easier than ever to get started. All you need is an email service (check out!), a product or service, an email address and a comms plan to get on board.

If you’ve spent time reading this email, you know email marketing has potential.And it can work for you too. If I can write about copywriting every month, there’s every chance that there’s something to say about your business on a regular basis!

Need help emailing your audience? Call The Freelance Pencil on 0418 530 585 and ask how I can help.

*Conducted by Research Now, with WebStar Research, on behalf of ChoozOn Corporation

Melbourne copywriter says you are what you write with…

freelance copywriter melbourneThis Melbourne copywriter says you are what you write with. That makes me The Freelance Pencil.

Have you ever stopped to think about what your choice of writing instrument says about you? If one’s choice of writing tool is a predictor of personality – are you sharp and shiny? Or gnawed, broken and cap-less?

What your writing tool says about you.

  • HB Pencil with eraser: You’re a traditionalist. You fear making mistakes and you like to be prepared. The included eraser makes you feel safe about your words in an uncertain world. Being showy is not for you. But you’re very, very reliable.
  • Mechanical Pencil: You’re sharp, precise, and perfect for technical words. You’re not afraid of breaking lead at the most inopportune moments and the click-action speaks to your methodical approach.
  • Red Pencil: You’re a teacher. There’s no other reason to be wielding a red pencil. Ever. Do we understand each other?
  • The Free Pen: You lift them inconspicuously from hotel’s, banks and conferences. You consider a show-bag that contains a free pen a ‘score’. You rate free pens on weight, performance and longevity and will go out of your way to return to an institution that offers premium ‘free’ pens.
  • Bic Ballpoint Pen: You’re not particular. But you’re not cheap either. I mean, Bic pens are a step up from a free pen? You’re not scared of buying in bulk, or storing 23 spares. You sleep better at night knowing that losing a few pens to light-fingered colleagues won’t be the end of your writing days.
  • Fountain Pen: Ahh, the smoking jacket and velvet slippers of the writing instrument world. You favour class and you’re not afraid to show it. Ink leaks? They’re the hallmark of a “real” writer to you.
  • Feather Quill: You’re not afraid to fly outside the pack. The associated accoutrement makes your desk a veritable feast for the eye and the avid historian.
  • Stylus & Tablet: You have large clumsy thumbs. A sign you weren’t born in the 00’s! But you feel like you’ve found the holy grail, and you share your most recent “stylish stylus” with anyone who’ll listen. You’re not an environmentalist. But it looks like you are, and you’ll take that.
  • Keyboard: You’ve long forgotten the art of actually writing. You can’t even remember the last time you signed a cheque. Your new digital signature is deployed with just one keystroke. You’ve embraced technology and you’re not looking back.

So does The Freelance Pencil really use a pencil?

She does! With pencil in hand she can quickly take notes, jot down contact details, annotate typed content, proof print copy and strike a pensive, ‘thinking woman’ style pose.

This Freelance Pencil also embraces technology and can type at warp speed to ensure your copy is delivered on time – every time – and in a format you can use in a world that now accepts all writing instrument users.

Want to meet my pencil? Call me on 0418 530 585 and ask how I can help with your next copywriting project.