Copywriting for the Web – 5 Rules You Need to Learn
There are a range of tactics that need to be considered by the content creator when crafting effective materials that will be seen in search engines, and just as importantly be read!
Some of the most important I will explain here, but there’s so much more to this writing for the web than a single blog post – it’s an entire discipline on its own! However there are some important fundamentals which are explained below.
Rules for Writing Effective Web Copy
1. Quality Matters More Now Than Ever
All in general, the message needs to be delivered in a quality, concise and easy to understand manner. You might be writing pieces that are optimised for the internet, but never forget that first and foremost you’re writing for people not robots.
Gone are the days when thin, keyword stuffed and poorly written content offering little value to the reader will rank highly in Google. In fact, if you do this, you may even find that your site is penalised by the search engines, undermining the entire work that has been invested in the site.
If you want your information to be seen and read (and that should be for everyone) – focus on creating a quality piece that has a purpose, easy to follow structure and addresses what it promises in the headline.
2. Be Strategic and Give People What they Want
It’s no good just giving people what you think they want. It’s important to understand what people ACTUALLY want to know and create content based on this. This can be answering questions or concerns that people have, or providing buying advice without an agenda. Whatever you write about, it’s essential to understand the audience in your niche thoroughly so you can write about the things that actually matter to them.
For example, an appliance retailer should understand the importance of energy efficiency for their customers due to rising power bills. Creating content on how to use appliances efficiently is something that will matter to their customers and at the same time will help build trust.
Looking into what topics are ‘hot’ and keeping an ear to ground for the current trends and issues in your niche will deliver timely topics that people care about. Always ask yourself what do I want people to learn, be able to do, or take into consideration from this piece? If you create content that helps genuinely provides value in some way, it will organically be favoured by Google and you’ll be rewarded with lots of exposure and potentially more customers.
It’s not always easy, but writing quality content with the user in mind first will separate the good content from the bulk of the other content that’s on the web, and it’s something that you should always keep striving to improve because your competition is, and you should too!
3. Know your Topics or Subject Area
People can spot content a mile away that’s speaks in generic terms. People want insights and information that they don’t know already and they won’t be fooled with commonly known or otherwise obvious advice.
This is why it’s so important to write about what you know best. If you’re writing on behalf of others, this will mean doing in-depth research, reading reports, understanding the issues and perceptions people working in the industry face and finding out interesting nuggets of information that people haven’t heard before.
If it’s clear from reading the content that information is suspect and even incorrect, why should someone believe anything else you have to say?
4. Don’t Oversell to Your Audience
Isn’t that what copywriting is all about? Selling? For some situations yes, however as a general rule copy should be informational instead of promotional on the web. People don’t want to know how good you think you are – they are only thinking about themselves and how you may be able to help them solve a problem or find out more about a topic.
You can still be subtly persuasive without singing your own praises and still explaining how what you are offering can benefit the visitor in some way. It’s about communicating these in a friendly and approachable way and being generous with information. This will actually work in your favour by positioning your company as approachable and genuinely willing to help.
5. Headings and Formatting Matter
A piece of copy can be the best written piece in the world but it’s not structured in a easy to understand way with important key terms and phrases that people search for, it might go unnoticed by both visitors and search engines.
It’s important to have a strong headline with a clear benefit for the reader and where possible use key terms and phrases associated with your industry to help people find you. The subheading should summarise what will be discussed in that section and good content should be supplemented with relevant images, diagrams, tables and videos where relevant.
Bullet points and broken up paragraphs help easily scan the content on the page, and allow people to understand the topic and focus of the writing, even if they don’t read the whole article. In the current world of short attention spans where people are bombarded with information, even if you can get people’s attention for a minute or two, you’ve done well.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to writing effective web copy for search engines AND people, but we’ve got more secrets up our sleeve we will be sharing soon.
In the meantime for all your copywriting questions and content solutions that will speak effectively to your audience get in touch with the team at Media Heroes today for a discussion about a content strategy tailored to the needs of your business.