Your Website Copy: Compelling or just plain ordinary?
There are tons of articles and blog posts about web content and how to get SEO rankings - this one isn't like that. What you'll get in this article is straight out how to write copy that will catch people's attention and make them go back and read it again. The great thing about that approach is that it can be applied to any genre of writing because it's about creating a connection to your reader.
So, just to get the basics out of the way, everything you write should have these areas polished - otherwise, your reader won't get past it to the brilliance of your writing.
The dictionary is your friend – there’s nothing worse than being pulled away from reading by a spelling error
Use an active voice, not a passive one
Show, don’t tell – it’s more powerful
Don’t use jargon or industry specific acronyms
Keep your writing simple and clear
Use proper punctuation and grammar - if you aren't sure of that, get someone to proofread your work
Make your article scannable - use bullet points, lists, tables, white space and images to break up paragraphs
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's get to the exciting stuff. How do you keep your reader not only reading your current piece, but coming back for a fix whenever you publish something new?
The concept is pretty simple, honestly. It comes down to a few key points.
1. Demonstrate Your Expertise.
No one is going to read something unless you can show that you are the expert they've been looking for. Be confident, concise and clear in your message. A true expert says much by saying very little - but saying it so powerfully that everyone stops to listen.
2. Build a Connection.
The most compelling way to reach a reader is by building a connection.
Write how you speak - You will lose your reader if you make them feel that you are condescending and superior; instead write in a natural and friendly way as though you are having a conversation with the reader
Be personable - Show the reader that you understand and empathize with their pain points
Know your audience - What do they like? How do they speak? What is important to them?
Gain their trust - the know/like/trust factor is most often the deciding factor when a person chooses which business to work with (all things being equal, of course)
3. Wants Vs Needs
No one is driven by their needs - wants are much more important (even if they won't admit it). If you can figure out the emotional drivers of your audience, your writing will be much more compelling and you will convert at a higher level.
Why is that? Whether you sell to businesses or people, it's all people and people are driven by emotion. If you make them feel something you will hit them where it counts. First comes the emotion (pride, fear, love, acceptance) and than comes the rationalization (security, more profit, better efficiency).
If you make them feel an emotional reaction to your article, you will be ahead of the game.
4. It's Not Me, It's You
The final advice I will leave you with is to make it about them - your audience, your reader, your customer. The "About Us" page is a great example of this fact. Most often, businesses make the mistake of making their About Us page about the business - logical, right? Well, yeah, but also no.
The cleverness of good copy-writing is to make the reader believe it's about the business, when it's actually all about the reader.
Here is an example from my own About page:
I believe that having a partner in your business success who not only understands your innate passion and needs because they share those, but who has the skills to showcase your expertise in a way that brings you success in all areas - not just financially, but in purpose, passion and a quality life - is the best way forward. I consider myself not just someone providing a service for my clients, but a sounding board when needed, a partner in your success and an ardent supporter.
Number of times I shows up: 4
Number of times You shows up: 5
A good way to confirm if your copy is about you or your reader is: are there more I statements or You statements?
The reader should feel like the hero of the story, with you as the guide.
If you keep these tips in mind, you will write stronger, more compelling copy every time.
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