A Content Writers’ How To Guide To Copywriting
Copywriting is an art. It’s not an easy task to sit down in front of a blank piece of paper and write, let alone write compelling sales copy that will convert readers into customers. Sometimes going back to the basics is the best place to start. This is true not just for the beginner, but for experienced writers too. Why? Because every writer should fine tune their copywriting skills in order to keep up with the changing landscape of online content marketing.
Here are some basic copywriting components that content writers can use.
Know Your Audience: Create a persona. A persona is a customer on paper designed to help marketers target an specific audience. Companies that know their audience and what they want have already conquered a huge writer block battle. Taking the time to get to know the persona of your reader will make your article worthwhile and meaningful. Research indicates that 71 percent of companies that exceed business and sales goals have updated personas on file. These fictional customers help them fine tune their content and fully understand their customer. For example, you don’t want to write to the same way to farmers and interior designers. Writers within companies that know their customer will target that customer with content that matters to them.
Use Important Keywords: Keywords can make or break your copywriting success. Writers need to be aware of their industry’s important keywords and learn how to incorporate them into their blogs, web content and all online material. This is important because Google, the top search engine ranks websites based on the type of content, consistency of content, natural use of keyword content among other things. If keywords are used successfully, Google will reward companies with higher listings on a search. There are websites like Google Keyword Tool and SEO Quake that are designed to help companies find the right keywords.
Break Up Content: Breaking content into small sections using bullets and subheads is more effective than larger paragraphs full of information. Smaller sections makes the information easier to read, understand and remember. And, it is a very effective way to create curiosity for products. White space is important to let the eye breathe or scan the information. If it is pleasing to the eye they will continue to click and go deeper into the website. Bullets are short, condensed copy that usually is found after the headlines and can be a very important part of conversion rates. Use bullets for:
- Product features and details
- Warranty or Guarantee Information
- An expert’s qualifications
- How to Information
- Lists and problem solving information
Profit From Call to Action Words: Learn how to use call to action words and phrases to increase your conversion rates and reduce your bounce rate. Call to action words are simple, direct command like words that request your reader to do something. For example, “sign up now for our newsletter,” “Click here to get it free,” “Save big when you download this.” There are hundreds of resources on the internet to assist in finding the perfect call to action. A call to action (CTA) can be in the form of clearly marked buttons, included in a blog post, added to a social media post or effectively used at the end of sales copy.
Use Visual Elements: A picture is worth a thousand words, especially in online marketing. Hubspot research indicates that 37 percent of marketing professional reported visual marketing is the most important content element in their business and 74 percent of social media managers use visual components in their posts. And video usage is higher than ever and growing at an exciting rate. This is good news for content writers because they can work with their photographers, videographers and graphic artist teams to create visuals that corresponds with their copywriting. Marketing professional who focus on visual content in the form of photos, infographics, gifs, videos, special font usage and white space among others will enjoy more fans, followers, sales and conversion rates than those who don’t jump on the visual element bandwagon.
Links, Links, Links: Links or hyperlinks allow users to navigate between different websites, blogs and social media platforms on the internet are crucial in today’s content marketing. Search engines, like Google and Yahoo and Bing use links to find new web pages and determine how high a website should rank in a search. In other words, if a company wants to rank high, then they need to link, link, link. Linking also benefits a business because it helps build relationships, build and strengthen brands, generates site traffic and keeps a website consistent and current. Linking is part of a big picture strategy and a tool that is essential in a company’s success.
Grab Attention With Headlines: Creative headlines that grab readers’ attention and may be the deciding factor whether the reader will continue for more information or move on to another article. Content writers who take the time to write the right headline will also have a stronger likelihood of a higher search engine ranking. Headline size matters just as much as the words used. For example, Google’s search engine only shows the first 55 – 60 characters in a search result so keep headlines short, sweet and to the point. Some examples of things that create effective headlines are listicles, talking to your audience directly, keeping them short and sweet and promise to solve a problem. Take time to write a attention grabbing headline and customers will reward you with clicks, reads and conversions.
Get Social/Keep Social: Social Media, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ Reddit and others, these platforms are key in getting customers to link to your website and the copy you use is as important as in other marketing strategies. There’s more to a post than just winging the copy. Well thought out, call to action posts with visual elements that seem casual but effective can turn a viewer into a friend, then to a customer. Get to know the features, policies and demographics of each platform and take advantage of the free, social and organic opportunities they offer. Social media can cultivate your online presence, build a foundation and trust with customers and convert followers into loyal customers.
Entrance Your Reader: Curiosity kills the cat and also creates “killer copy.” Carefully selected word combinations, like headlines, subheads and first sentences should draw the reader into the content. Use more action words or verbs that descriptive words or adjectives. This carries back to strong call to action (CTA) but used throughout the copy. Some copywriters use the AIDA formula. Attention, Interest, Desire, Action to help them create copy that will get noticed and acted upon.
- Attention. Snag the reader with a strong headline
- Interest. Heighten the prospect’s interest and pull them deeper into your copy with descriptive benefits
- Desire. Increase the readers interest and desire using bullets, lists and facts about the product or service
- Action. After your reader is captured. invite them to take immediate action (CTA).
Copywriters who keep on top of their industry trends, know their audience and keeping their copywriting consistent and informative will create value in the eyes of customers. Whether the content is in the form of emails, infographcis, blogs, social media posts, video scripts or others, customers (and search engines) will value the information. It’s important to remember that return visitors to a page adds value to a website, especially if it offers new and updated content. So good content matters all the way around, in the customers’ eyes, the search engines ranking and for the businesses bottom line.
So consider copywriting as a work of art and an essential part of growing your internet presence. You don’t have to go at it alone. There are many resources like freelance writers and marketing consultants that can assist you in fine tuning your copywriting expertise.