The sales copy and blog posts on your website are integral to the rest of your content. This text is what draws people to your site via search engines, and it’s what keeps them there once they arrive. If everything on your website amounts to bells and whistles with no substance to back that up, you can expect visitors to lose interest rather quickly. Details like compelling images and video are important – but without equally irresistible copy to match, your readers will not be left with much that encourages them to take action. As American Express Open Forum Columnist Erika Napoletano discusses in an article about three major copy writing mistakes, you must give people “a reason to stay.”
How do you do that?
The first step is to lay a foundation of web copy that compels site users to stick around and explore what you have to offer.
Another point worth considering is that your web copy is not always going to be displayed primarily on your website. Your name may be attached to content across the web in articles and blog posts published on other sites. When you do get the name of your brand out there via guest posts, you will want to avoid – at all costs – looking like the “spammy” posters that Google’s Matt Cutts wrote about in his 2014 article that rattled the blogging world at its very core. As best-selling author and web influencer Neil Patel was quick to point out a few days after the infamous Cutts article, “Guest posting is a great way to drive traffic, increase sales, and grow your brand.” He then mentioned that Matt Cutts had expressed the same sentiment. Getting your brand out there is crucial when you own a small business; it’s one of the marketing strategies that can propel your business to a truly competitive position in the marketplace.
The secret when optimizing your posts and articles to meet increasingly discerning search engine standards is to produce web copy that is relevant; it must provide real value to web users. That isn’t an unreasonable standard, and it can be achieved when you create high quality web copy. It is certainly possible to do so while also making your sales copy and blog posts the stuff that draws traffic to your website on a consistent basis.
The tips offered here can help you to devise the kind of copy that will incite web users to learn more about your brand.
Tip #1: First Things First: Alluring Titles
David Ogilvy (largely known as “The Father of Advertising” – whose mid-1900s Rolls Royce ad was a study of perfection in advertising, many industry experts might say) was a highly successful advertising executive who had some invaluable things to say about creating inviting sales copy. The brilliant ad man maintained that 80% of each advertising dollar goes to the headline (because five times as many readers view the headline than do those who go on to read the body of the copy).
When you’re a small business owner competing in an age in which brand recognition is everything, you’ll need to be creative in terms of drawing readers to your website and blog posts. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a marketing genius to do this. Keep these points in mind when you write the titles to your web copy:
- Descriptive words efficiently paint a picture, as in “Shocking Secrets of the World’s Wealthiest Entrepreneurs”.
- Numbers will give potential readers a reference point as to what they might expect from your articles, such as “The 10 Best Ways to Save Money on Airfare”.
- Using words such as when, what, how, and why will prompt people to read past the headlines. An example: “How to Tune Your Guitar Like a Pro”.
Tip #2: Active Voice Inspires Action
By its very nature, active voice spurs the reader to envision an action. This imagery, once implanted in the mind, can soon result in the same reader taking action (such as making a buying choice or further exploring the merits your business has to offer). Consider the examples cited by Steve Masters; he uses a couple of the top game changers in their respective industries to depict how passive voice could have otherwise sunk their winning ad campaigns. In his first example, Masters displays a passive voice version of a long-famous Nike slogan in the form of “Make Sure it Gets Done”. The passive voice wording doesn’t have nearly the same impact as the actual slogan (“Just Do It”).
The second example portrays a slogan below the famous golden arches associated with the McDonald’s restaurants. The passive voice wording provided by Masters – “It’s Being Loved” – falls flat in comparison to the slogan heard in countless TV commercials for the fast food chain (“I’m Lovin’ It”).
Use active voice whenever possible in your sales copy, and you won’t leave your site visitors yawning as they exit your site.
Tip #3: Remember Who Your Audience Is
In a blog post for Entrepreneur’s Marketing Bootcamp, author and CEO Susan Gunelius drives home the point that you need to remember who you’re marketing to if you expect your copywriting to be effective. That may seem obvious, but you might be surprised at how easy it can be to lose sight of your intended demographic along the trajectory of a blog post or landing page. If your business is targeting consumers in a lower middle income bracket, make sure that the tone of your copy reflects that fact.
Don’t hesitate to consult a professional if you feel that you’re not qualified to pitch your brand to your intended audience via web copy.
In order to remember who you’re marketing to, you’ll need to first explore who they are and what they really want from your business. You likely have some general ideas about your intended customers – but if you aren’t conducting ongoing analysis to understand them better, you’re doing both them and your business a disservice. You might utilize the tools and techniques listed below to keep a close eye on your blog’s demographic (as well as the topics that are truly timely and that are genuinely apt to interest your readers):
1. Keyword Research
One method that’s always a viable means of audience analysis is keyword research. Use Google’s keyword tool (Keyword Planner) to examine the types of keywords that will draw traffic to your site and blog posts. Google’s algorithms can analyze historical search data to forecast which keywords your general audience enters the most when searching online for products, services, and other relevant information.
You can also use a variety of Google analytics tools to get a better grasp of what is and is not working with your blog content. Once you install this convenient tool on your blog, you’ll be able to perform a wealth of analysis (based on metrics) to see what your users are doing. Knowing this type of data will help you to create blog posts that site visitors will want to read. You might get started by taking a look at all of the reporting tools made available to you by Google.
3. Demographic Observation (Quora)
Another way to predict the interests of your audience is to take advantage of the information on Quora. Quora is an online forum that provides key insights regarding the topics that are trending the most. You can make use of Quora by entering keywords in the site’s search bar (or by browsing the featured topics and clicking on them) that are relevant to your industry. Once you do that, you’ll have access to all kinds of questions that people in your target demographic are asking; you may use those questions to decide which topics to discuss in your blog articles and sales copy. You can also follow the questions that you feel are the most reflective of your users. Additionally, you should click on the Trending Topics link on your home page when you log on to the site – this is another way to stay apprised of which topics matter to your potential customers.
4. Peer Analysis
Don’t forget to pay attention to the content your peers are producing. Go to their websites and see what they’re writing about and including in their podcasts – you might use this information to be sure you aren’t just parroting their thoughts, and you can offer your own views about some of the same issues in your own posts and landing pages. Visit YouTube and watch the video content being provided by the influencers in your field. Click on their YouTube channels to see the users they’re following and which videos they’re uploading. This type of exploration may produce an abundance of ideas for creating web copy that will be appealing to your readers. Always start by entering keywords in the search bar – this will reveal which topics and influencers are currently trending among YouTube viewers; and like Quora, YouTube also has a Trending link to show you which videos are currently the hottest.
Tip #4: Use a Readable Format
How you present your content is just as important as what you write.
As an article on the Usability website made available by the U.S. government asserts, people read web content in a different way than they do materials in print. The majority of online users expect to be able to skim through online content to find the information they seek.
You may increase readability for those viewing your web content by using:
- bullet points
- numbered lists
- section headers
- short paragraphs and brief sentences
- running your work through readability software before you publish it (this may even be a feature offered by your word document program)
Writing effective blog articles and sales copy is a skill that takes much practice. If you enjoy writing, you can apply the tips found here to appeal to your intended customers. After all, no one knows your business better than you do. You might also collaborate with a professional equipped to create the kind of powerful copy you need to be written, so your brand may become recognizable across the internet.