Writing good content for your website can be tough (although it’s extremely important), but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Follow these simple copywriting tips to make the process just a bit less painful – and don’t forget to start with an outline.
1. Write Great Headlines
By far the most important part of your writing is the headline. This is what people are going to notice first, and it might be the only thing that people read. Crafting a great headline can entice readers into continuing on to read the rest of your writing, so make it count.
But don’t just take it from me, here’s what David Oglivy – often referred to as the father of modern advertising – had to say about the importance of headlines: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
2. Appeal to Authority
Did you see what I did in that previous section? I made my point, and then used a quotation from an authority in the field to back it up. Done correctly, this is a powerful way of buttressing your content and helping to build trust in your audience.
Your readers are often introduced to your business through your copy. They don’t know you yet, and they certainly don’t trust you. You can help overcome some of their initial healthy skepticism by citing sources that they do trust.
3. Break Up Your Content
Nothing is more intimidating to internet readers than a giant wall of text. This is because very few people actually read on the internet. Most people scan through content, looking for what’s important to them. When you break your content into smaller pieces it lets people quickly and easily browse through it to see if things apply to them.
This might seem a little scary to some people. After all, you want people to read what you’ve written, not just jump around. Unfortunately, this is simply not the way people use the internet. You can either fight against human nature, or craft your content to take advantage of it.
4. Sell Benefits, Not Features
One of the surest signs of bad copywriting is that it focuses the features of a particular product or service. It’s very natural that you would want to talk up all the great things that your business can do, but you’re missing a fundamental point: people want to know how it will improve their lives, not its features.
As an example, let’s look at a weight loss program. It’s features might include that it’s based on cutting edge medical research, contain all-natural ingredients, and is specifically tailored for all fitness levels. Those are great, but no one cares about that. What people care about is looking good at the beach, having more energy, and finally being able to finish a 5K. Benefits matter to your customers, not features.
5. Verbs Trump Adjectives
Most of us instinctively reach for adjectives when we want to bulk up our marketing content, but that might not be the best way to go. Consider an example, which of these sounds more compelling:
- Our new breakfast sandwich is quick, tasty, and healthy
- Our new breakfast sandwich saves you time, fills you up, and won’t make you feel bloated
The second example works much better, doesn’t it? That’s because it uses action words rather than simple descriptions.
6. Tell a Story
Imagine two companies that are selling similar products. Company A highlights the products features, and the fact that Company A sells it for 20% less than the competition. Company B, however, focuses its marketing effort on telling stories. But not just any stories, stories where the consumer can imagine themselves as the protagonist, enjoying the many benefits of the product. Which program do you think will be more effective?
Narrative is a powerful way to appeal to customers, especially when they can imagine themselves as the main character. If they see someone much like them, in circumstances not dissimilar to their own, experiencing the best in life because of what you’re offering, you’ve just made a sale.
7. Start with Your Best Two Points, Finish with Your Third
When people read content, especially in list forms, they tend to read it in a very predictable way. They start with the headline and maybe the introduction, and then start scanning through the big points. Many people only read the first two closely, but often check out the last item in the list as well. Bear this in mind when writing copy, and put your three most important points first, second, and last for maximum impact.