#174 Mail-Right Show With Belinda Weaver
If you are a real estate agent who’s looking for advice on copywriting we got a great interview here with Belinda Weaver who trains other copywriters!
My name is Belinda Weaver. I believe good copywriting needs to talk to people. Rationally and emotionally. When your words press all the right buttons, they can motivate action.
Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the Mail Right Show. This is episode 174. We’ve got a great guest here. She’s been on one of my other shows. She’s a fantastically experienced copywriter. It is Belinda Weaver. Belinda, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?
Belinda: Hello everyone. Thank you, Jonathan and Robert for having me. My name is Belinda Weaver. I am a copywriter. My business copyright matters and at the house of it I help copywriters and business owners write copy that makes them money. And I do that with courses and coaching and mentoring.
Jonathon: Yes folks she teaches the copywriters. So we taught she was the right person to come on the show. And I’ve got my great co-host with us. Robert Newman would quickly like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers.
Robert: Sure. I am the master of the real estate marketing universe. I am the founder of a company called Inbound REM and a website by the same name. And you can find all that you need to know about me at inboundrem.com. Just a quick note for our listeners, I am no longer taking on clients for 2018. So if you do check me out, it’s going to be an informational journey.
Jonathon: That’s right. That’s right. So,
Robert: What about you John? Come on.
Jonathon: Well, I’m the founder of Mail Right. We are a platform that gets you quality seller leads using the power of Facebook. In fact, sounds interesting, everything is on the website. First of all we just want to say to a new listeners and viewers, thank you for joining us. Last month was our biggest month of downloads, which was very encouraging. So thank you for joining us. So what’s your. Give us a brief outline, Belinda, what’s your background and how you quickly how you go into the world of copywriting?
Belinda: Well, I think like many people these days, my career has taken a little bit of a journey. So when I graduated from UT, it was in the world of IT. I started off as a back end mainframe programmer at a bank in Brisbane, Australia. I didn’t stay there very long. I ended up in marketing and then that’s when I discovered copywriting. So I was working in a marketing role. A few years into doing marketing and I was looking for change and I heard about copywriting is a thing I could actually do as a job on my own.
Belinda: I can run my own business and that’s when I created Copyright Matters. So I actually worked as a side gig for six months building up my pipeline of leads and marketing and everything like that. And when was confident that I could take the leap because I’ve always been a planner, that’s just what I did. And I bagged my current employer as my first retainer clien.t and that was in 2010 and I’ve been doing copywriting ever since. So that was in Australia. I’ve since lived in England and I’ve since lived in Australia. So I love copywriting is a very transportable business.
Jonathon: That`s true. That’s true.
Robert: No, no.
Belinda: Mr. Flamboyant gesture.
Robert: That’s me. You’ll get used to it. You know I have no questions. I’m very excited. I’m enthusiastic. I love Internet marketing and copyrighting as a business that you can do anywhere in the world. And I’ve started to exercise like stretch my wings. So when you were saying, oh, it’s the transporter with business. I’m like, I haven’t been to London, I haven’t been to Brisbane, I should go to those places.
Belinda: What many of us do is we just create a job that we do from our office at home and that’s okay. But the possibilities are there, it’s good to know.
Jonathon: So obviously we get a lot of agents and brokers listening to the show. And what they are getting traffic to their website. Have you got any lessons or tips that you’d like to share about getting that traffic to your website?
Belinda: Well, I think it’s easy because traffic is what everyone thinks. If I need more customers, then I need more traffic. And it’s not necessarily true because we should be talking about conversions. As long as you’re getting high qualified traffic to your website, it might be a lower number of people, but they stick around for longer. Robert, you were just saying you spent 10 to 15 minutes reading my website so you know, I would prefer to get fewer numbers of people to my website and have them stay on the website for longer and have them convert into a customer. Than bucket loads of traffic that spends five seconds on my website and then bounce off. So that’s the first thing. And I think it’s important to consider lead generation and SEO, which is search engine optimization, which is how you get found on Google.
Belinda: I mean we can talk about other search engines, but Google is the business. When we’re talking about lead generation and SEO we have to think about it as a long term gain. It’s something I always talked to my copywriting students and people I’m coaching about marketing being like a big water wheel. Like it takes a lot of effort to get them moving. But once you got it going, the momentum will carry you a long way and you require only a little bit of effort to keep it moving. So you’ve got to have this mindset that lead generation, getting traffic, search engine optimization. This is all a long term strategy that you need to be working at all the time. I always say, always be marketing. That’s what we need to do. We need to make time. If we want to generate traffic, we need to make time to be on social media.
Belinda: We need to make time to help people in communities and groups and be generous with that knowledge and experience. We need to make time to create and share valuable content as well. And this is where blogs can really come in and help. They’re great for SEO and they are great to give you reasons for people to come to your website. And then when you’re doing all these kinds of things, you don’t have to push the sale because you’re pulling people to you. And part of that pull marketing approach is that they are getting to know you. They’re getting to like you, they’re getting to trust you, and then you’re not actually asking for a sale. It’s just a natural progression of the relationship taking the next step.
Robert: I have a question. Okay, so you have this big client. You’ve decided you’re going to be a copywriter. You get somebody that’s hired you. When did you establish copyright matters? Your own website. What year did you make that decision?
Belinda: 2009. I went to a seminar and I found out about copywriting. Within two months I had registered the business name. And then within six months I had a pipeline of work that I was comfortable enough to quit my day job. So I went solo in 2010, but I registered the business in October 2009.
Robert: And you were already publishing content on your own site during that timeframe?
Belinda: I didn’t start a blog until 2011, but I was using social media. So this was back in the day when you could just publish some tips and be helpful on social media. And clients would just call you up and hire you. And it’s a little bit harder these days. You’ve got to put out a lot more to get it back, but it’s worth it. So then when I started my blog, that’s when I started seeing traction with SEO. Because I started getting domain authority by publishing a blog post every week.
Belinda: And the blog posts gave me content to share on social media, which drew people back to my website. And then a little later I started converting the blog post into LinkedIn articles. I converted the blog posts into YouTube tutorials. I converted the blog posts into lots of tweets and lots of social media updates. So you have one idea with a blog post that can turn into tons and tons of content if you repurpose it in a smart way. And then you’re getting people who like videos, you’re getting people who are hanging out on Facebook, you’re getting people who like to read your blog. You’re getting people at all angles.
Robert: Definitely. So for our listeners, because I am in for our podcast, I am the resident inbound marketer, a resident SEO guy. And I did run your website through a tool that I use frequently called A Rest. One of my favorite things about it was you have a keyword that you’re ranking for called copywriter portfolio. Which I would imagine is an extremely high value keyword when you’re in the copywriting business. And so you’re ranking number three for that.
Robert: And guys, for those that are listening, she has four or 5,000 targeted visitors. Almost everything that I saw like SEO copywriting, she’s on the first page for number 10. So I’m really super impressed, Belinda, by what you’ve managed to do using these strategies that you, that you’re talking about. You have $8,000 worth of organic traffic. So if you’re paying for it, you’d be paying almost 100 grand a year, but you’re not, you’re just simply a creating valuable content.
Robert: So that’s the numbers for those people that know that I am a numbers guy.
Belinda: Thank you.
Robert: So you’ve done all this stuff. So obviously I’ve had a shit show of inexperienced. I’d like, I made a lot of mistakes. I’ve done everything wrong before I ever did it right. And I’m just curious, did you, what are a couple of your lessons that you learned in the, like in terms of traffic generation for your website or maybe even other listings, maybe we drift away from, you know, that you just say, what are a couple of valuable lessons in your nine years that you’ve been doing this?
Belinda: Well, I think the big one, is don`t let perfection stand in the way of progress. Get it done and get it out. A lot of people don’t publish a blog because they think, what am I going to say? And then I think, well, loads of people who have already said this. Or those are people are more expert than I am. Why would anyone read me? Why would anyone read what I’ve got to say? And that will stop you starting. So you’ve got to be able to get over that. I mean, as a copywriter, I’m always fiddling with my copy. For me, that always meant that means introducing typos all the time. Whenever my proofreader finishes proofreading, I put it up there and I think, oh, just make one more change. And that’s what happens every time. So you know, I’ve got to, I’ve had to tell myself just get it done.
Belinda: It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can tweak it later. And you know, I always say to my students, writing a blog when you’re just starting out is like practicing a speech to an empty room. No one’s reading it because you just starting out. People can’t even find you online, but it lets you practice your voice. It lets you practice your writing. You will get better and you’ve got to start somewhere. And I think real estate is such a, it’s a goldmine of topics. You know, going back to what am I going to say because a blog is an opportunity and you’ll use social media. Any way you interact with your clients online is an opportunity for you to educate them. And get them ready to work with you. So people start, you know, looking for a house or looking to sell a house and they’ve got tons of questions.
Belinda: They have no idea what they’re doing, but they’re not quite ready to trust a person to take it over. Some people are. But what we do, we have these five stages of awareness where we’re problem unaware, then we’re aware of we have a problem. Then we’re aware that there are some solutions, then we’re aware of specific products or people and then when most aware and we’re ready to take the next step. So you know the journey through your website and the content you put out has to be intentionally helping people move to become the most aware they can be so that they’re ready to work with you. So there’s tons of advice that you can give out. And then people think, oh, I can`t give away all my knowledge because people might steal it. Well, people might go and do it themselves and that’s fine.
Belinda: Yes, some people might do it themselves, but more often than not in any industry, people go, oh, that’s a bit harder than I thought it was going to be. I need some help and who am I going to get to help me? That cracking person who’s been putting out all this awesome content and there’s been helping because I know them now and I trust them. So you know there are so many benefits and there are so many things to say. You’ve just got to get over your own ego a little bit and just get started and not let that perfection stand in the way of your progress.
Robert: Go ahead John.
Jonathon: I just want to see what you think of this is. I think we’ve a lot of our agents, it’s, we’ve been hammering away at this for a while. But it’s finding your niche is finding all I’ve ever and they be GEO based you become the expert of the Pacific area in a city or a particular client base. Let’s say you specialize in retirement. Buying a retirement home for somebody that’s moving down. It doesn’t really matter, but finding that niche, it will help enormously. We’ve focused on the, about the content that you should be writing for your blog. What do you think about that?
Belinda: Oh, absolutely. And it applies for copyright, applies for a lot of industries. And when you can share your niche, when you can dig deep, when you can dig deeply, what you’ll find is being a generalist is totally okay. But people will pay extra for specialist skills and it will help you stand apart from the market. So being a generalist is okay, but people will pay extra for specialist skills. And you know, I mean I have a friend who’s just come out as should come out as a real estate agent. That sounds a bit strange, but it’s true. She admitted it to us all and we forgave her and we’re still friends.
But what she wanted angle, she’s using it. She’s a generalist, but she is using her experience in Silicon Valley. The fact that she’s lived here her whole life as an angle to differentiate herself. So it might not be a niche in terms of a type of property, but if you can find a part of you and your business to shine a spotlight on it will help differentiate you in the market. So she’s basically saying, I’ve lived here my whole life. I know everything about this area and I can help you and your family gets the most of living in Silicon Valley. It’s not just about a house; it’s about a home and all the fun you’re going to have here. So she’s using that to help differentiate her from other real estate’s agents in the market here.
Robert: And that is probably a good time to go to break John.
Jonathon: Yes. It’s probably a good time. We’re going to go for our break folks. We will be coming back. We will be diving in this really important world of copywriting. And we will be back in a few moments’ folks.
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Jonathon: We`ve had a fun time with Belinda. She knows her stuff. Robert has searched and found that she really knows her stuff. So we’ve been having a really great conversation about copywriting. So, what’s the difference between. I have hired copywriters myself and I also think a lot of people think, well, I was fantastic at school. I was fantastic at college. I can write my own copy. And when I try and write copy for their website, for their blog, it doesn’t work out very well because they don’t read these differences. First do you agree with that and what are the differences and what other things, the tips or the insights you can give about writing on your blog content on the website in general?
Belinda: Firstly, I absolutely agree with it. There’s something very funny that happens to 99 percent of the population that we sit down to write something that we think is important and we`re transported back to our high school English essays. That is going to get graded and needed a certain structure and needed a voice. And that’s why, you know, working in a.
Jonathon: I got cold sweat now. I get a bit worked up; you are bringing back bad memories.[Belinda: A lot of clients sort of worry that their copy will sound too casual. But this is exactly what we need our copy to do in this online and modern marketing. Because when marketing copy is too aggressive, it sets off our Amygdala in our brain. That is the part of our brain that warns us that we are in danger. So when your marketing is too aggressive, people instinctively will back off. But when you’re marketing has a more conversational tone and if you just Google conversational copywriting, this is a thing and it’s just part of modern marketing and copywriting these days. Where your copy is a conversation that you are not there for.
Belinda: So you need to sound like it’s a great conversation to be a part of. And a lot of people worry that the copy isn’t going to sound professional. Using air quotes if it sounds like they speak. But when you’re an awesome real estate agent and you’re a professional salesperson, you don’t use slang and super casual language unless you pick it as the right tone of voice. More often than not, you’re friendly, you’re charming, you’re informative, and your persuasive. But you’ll still conversational with a human right in front of you. So my biggest tip is to kind of is to write how you speak. And then send it to a proofreader or an editor to maybe tighten it up a little bit. But that’s the thing we need to speak. Your blogs are fantastically informal way to impart your knowledge and experience. You should make them conversational.
Belinda: You should make them sound like you’re speaking to one person. And same with your website copywriting. So everyone needs to just kind of loosen it up. Think about who their ideal client is. Imagine they’re right in front of them, and if it helps, pull out a Dictaphone. Dictaphone, what am I talking about? Pull out your iPhone and record yourself talking to that person right in front of you. Because when people get talking, and I find this when I take briefs from clients. They fill out the brief and they type it and it’s fine, but then I get them on the phone and that’s when I get the gold. When you’re talking to a person, you explained things in a way that is natural and persuasive and heavens will found interesting and that’s what you need your copy to do.
Jonathon: I think Robert`s writing some copy right now actually.
Robert: I am writing some copy. Because I discovered that unfortunately this thing didn’t post correctly to my Facebook page and I really wanted it to. So I had to go back and Redo the damn thing so that people can see the.
Belinda: The pictures with the talky, talky.
Robert: My one person that logs and actually I do have one person that logged in for my live thing. She’s a friend of mine and she`s sitting in a real estate office here in Los Angeles. I guarantee you getting ready to critique me. She is often times instant messaging me in real time going. Hey Robert I can see your cat. Thank you.
Jonathon: The cats, okay. So II think the other thing is, they just don’t break up the copy in digestible little bits. Go into a bit about why having headers and sub headers and breaking up is important and why reading on the screen is a bit different than reading a book.
Belinda: Yeah, absolutely. So Robert, when we’re talking before the show, you said you normally spend, you know, three seconds or 30 seconds, you know, reading a website and then you’re off. And you know, 30 seconds is, is a long time, you know, feedback. If you look at any kind of modern stats, people spend less than 10 seconds on a website. So they get on a website and they’re saying is this solution to the problem that I’m searching about? Do I like what I see? Can I find what I see? So the place that you drop people off at. And when you’re looking at traffic generation strategies, most people just dump traffic at that homepage. And if you’re going to do that, your homepage needs to be on point. It needs to say this; you are in the right place. This is where you’re going to find the solution to your problem.
Belinda: .This is what I’m about and you can trust me. And you need to get that all across in about eight seconds. To be honest. I’m at a five second mark. I’m just like one, two, three, four, five. I’m out. But if you’re looking at traffic generation strategies, you need to consider maybe dropping them off at the page that is really relevant to the offer that you’re making. You know to what they’re searching for. But that said, when they are reading your copy, people are jumping around. So this is where headings and subheadings are absolutely critical. Because I’m spending a couple of my precious eight to 10 seconds quickly scrolling up and down the page, reading the subheadings and the headlines to get an understanding of what this content is about. Don’t waste. I’m not going to waste my time reading anything until I’m pretty sure it’s going to deliver.
Belinda: So you’ve got to have good headlines, a good sub headlines, subheads that draw people in. And then you need to avoid having huge walls of copy. Because it’s kind of, I like to say it’s like having a huge plate of food. It can be just a bit overwhelming. You don’t quite know where to begin, so you know, you just tap out. That’s when you need to have one idea per paragraph. I say no more than four or five lines per paragraph, one sentence paragraphs, even one word paragraphs.
Absolutely a thing and can be super effective to draw people into reading the next line, and I talk about it in terms of you’ve got to let your copy breath. Especially if it’s a long article. So subheadings, white space between paragraphs, bullet points, all these kinds of things. And then you can highlight phrases that you want to pop out from the page in bold. And that can help just draw the eye. And you know, if you’re thinking about how to do this, think about how you move around website content. What are you looking at?
Jonathon: It’s very similar to basic design principles, isn’t it? What space in graphic design you learn more is less really, you know, a lot of white spice, bold colors to emphasize something. Spacing when people into graphic design, they tend to throw in the kitchen sink. And somebody that’s a bit more experienced learns that, you know, emphasis is through white spice. And then in some ways I got the impression that’s a similar situation to good copy writing.
Belinda: Absolutely winning when it comes to a copywriting process and the more experienced you get, the more time you spend on editing. So the better you are, the more you take out.
Jonathon: I was intrigued that somebody of your experience has a proofreader and editor even now. Can you go over maybe, why that is so important and why you still do that basically?
Belinda: I do it because I’m a terrible proofreader. Proofreading your own copy. It’s really hard because more often than not you have read the same bit of copy over and over and over again. So your brain is auto correcting the mistakes. And that’s what I do. So all my client copy definitely goes to a proofreader. You know, there are tools that you can use like Grammarly that will proofread stuff as you write online. Super helpful, but I still like to send it to a proofreader to make sure it’s all correct.
Even though my writing has a very casual tone of voice, I still like to make sure it’s correct, that there’s not any weird typos, you know, that you meant to double o and you put two. Grammarly doesn’t check that, it doesn’t pick that out.
Robert: I do the same thing.
Belinda: Yeah, absolutely. And when it comes to an editor, you know, sometimes it’s just fantastic to get fresh eyes. So, you know, when I was writing my courses or I’m creating content that is really important. I’ll send it to an editor/proofreader just to have that really fresh faced way. She’ll go your meanings not exactly clean here. You know, and things like that. And it’s about perspective. You need to be able to step back. And if you don’t want to outsource it, then you need to be able to leave enough time between writing and editing and publishing to reset your brain.
Robert: That’s brilliant. I love it. Hey, we’re at the end but can I suggest John that we do a couple of minutes of.
Robert: Bonus content and tools that we’re going to focus on. We want to do an exercise for the bonus content where we’d make you pretend that you’re going to be a real estate agent and what would your strategy be as a copywriter in that one example. Are you game for that Belinda?
Robert: Let’s go.
Jonathon: We’re going to that in the bonus content folks, which you’ll be able to watch and listen to on the Mail Right YouTube channel on the Mail Right website. We have a full set of show notes and other information related to this interview. Belinda, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Belinda: My pleasure.
Jonathon: It`s been a pleasure again. It’s always great having you on the show or shows. How can people get hold, find out more about you, your wisdom, just indulge in your great writing?
Belinda: Well, my website is my home base, so that’s copyright matters.com. And that has links to social on Facebook and twitter and LinkedIn way too much. But if you go to my website, there’s actually tons of free content. I have a free copywriting mini course and I also have, you know, things like you can book consultations with me or you can pick my brain. They’re called pick my brain sessions and I have other kinds of products on offer, but there’s tons of free content on my blog. I also have a daily copywriting email that people might be interested in called the daily draft. Very, very short copywriting tips delivered every week day.
Jonathon: I couldn’t more recommend Belinda if I tried. I think she’s a great person. She really knows her stuff. So if you’re looking for some good advice and copyrights, copywriter, go to Belinda’s site. Robert, how can people find out more about you and what you’re up to?
Robert: They can always check me out on inboundrem.com. Belinda, I wish that I had taken the time to repurpose my content for all these other channels, but I have not been the greatest at doing that. So you got to just go to inboundrem.com and you’ll find me, find all my stuff there. Check out the podcast. Hey, there’s a thought.
Jonathon: And if you are interested in Mail Right and want more information, go to the Mail Right site. All the episodes are on the Mail Right website. It’s really a mini university course in its own way. All the experts over the past two years that I’ve interviewed around real estate. We will be back next week folks with an expert giving you the insight that will help you be a more successful real estate agent. Not only for yourself but for your family, and we’ll see you soon. Thanks. Bye