Web copywriting is an ever-evolving field, and the copywriter needs to be constantly aware of the changing environment of the blogosphere and the Internet in general. New views, shares, and search traffic are a set of moving targets, and unless you have your finger on the pulse of the Internet, you’re going to be a less effective copywriter than you can be.
Let’s take a few moments to look at some existing web copywriter methods, and talk about some ways that we can all improve our practices. Hopefully, these ten tips will help you to become a better web copywriter, or know how to pick out the right one for you.
Good results come from good preparation. That’s no secret, but it always deserves a mention.
When you’re working on a project as a web copywriter, how do you prepare?
As a copywriter, you won’t always be writing about a subject you’re an expert on, so you must always begin every article with a period of research.
Let’s take that phase to the next level and talk about ways you can take your information gathering to the next level.
Purpose, Price, and Benefits
Take a look at what you’re selling.
What is its true purpose?
How was it designed?
How does it work?
By educating yourself about the topics you’re writing about, you’ll make a better web copywriter of yourself.
Consider the price as well, and don’t be afraid to look at competition where applicable. How does this product or service stand up to its competitors?
Finally, what is the real benefit? Use all this information as you craft your ad copy.
Head off Objections at the Pass
Everyone who learns about a new product or service will have objections.
As you are preparing to begin your web copywriter project, think about what these objections might be, and tackle them in your copy. Is there a competitor who has a similar service for less money?
A statement of “Widget X delivers benefits A, B, and C – that’s more than the competition is delivering,” will handle this objection before it even arrives.
Cover Yourself (Legally)
Make sure that your web copywriter project contains all the required “legal-ese” if necessary.
And most importantly, make sure you’re representing the brand accurately and correctly.
If you’re writing copy for the Acme® Widget™, make sure that every time you use the term Acme® Widget™ in your copy that you’re attributing it properly.
Finally, whether you’re choosing your own keywords or the customer assigned them to you, make sure that you’re including them and reaching the appropriate keyword density. Good keywords are the keystone of good web copywriting.
Write Killer Copy
Once you’ve done all your research and have your web copywriter project organized, it’s time to begin the writing. Pay special attention to every piece of the anatomy of a web copywriting piece, and treat them accordingly.
Write a Great Headline
It all starts with a good headline, and we talk a lot here about the importance of this part of any web copywriter project.
Remember to make your headline tweetable (no more than 120 characters), place your important keywords in the first 65 characters (this is all that a search engine will index), and finally, make your headline compelling. Here are some quick tips to create a killer headline:
- Use numerals. Citing statistics such as “80% prefer Acme® Widget™” or employ a list such as “10 Ways Acme® Widget™ Will Make Your Life Better”
- Imply a consensus. Rather than saying “Who Wants an Acme® Widget™?”, consider “Who Else Wants an Acme® Widget™?” This implies an existing consensus and never fails to gain viewers.
- Offer the Quick Fix. The web is the home of instant gratification. What will this product do for a reader right now? “Get Rid of Bed Bugs Instantly with Acme® Widget™” or “Lose 10 Pounds This Week with Acme® Widget™” will always win with readers. Be careful not to make promises you can’t keep, of course.
Call to Action
Once you’ve got a perfect headline, an appropriate sub-head, and compelling body copy, don’t forget to include a call to action.
Use active voice, and be compelling and clear: “Try Acme® Widget™ risk-free for 30 days with this limited-time offer. Visit acmewidget.com/trial right now to get started.”
Look It Over
Once you’ve finished your web copywriting project, you could hit the “publish” button and see how it works, but to make a better web copywriter of yourself, take some time to review and edit your piece before you publish it. A few easy extra steps will help you take your copywriting skills to the next level.
Don’t be afraid to be brutal when you review. What’s wrong with your headline? What don’t you like about the piece? As copywriters we’re all our own worst critics, but take that time to make a list of things that you could improve. Once you’ve listed all the cons of your piece, tackle them one at a time. Can they be improved or fixed?
Put it Through the 5-Second Test
Have a friend or colleague glance at the piece, just briefly.
If they don’t have an idea of what the piece is about within five seconds of skimming, then there’s something wrong, and you need to clarify and fine-tune your messaging.
This seems harsh, but it’s reality. On the web, five seconds is all you have to hook a reader. If readers don’t understand the content in those first crucial seconds, they’re going to move along.
You, not me
You should spend most of your time in web copywriting focusing on the reader, not yourself or your client.
Go over your piece and notes every time you use words like “you” and “your,” and compare that to the number of times you shift to first person, using “I” or “we” or “our.”
It’s necessary to speak for the company in the first person, but if you’re not using second person (you / your) much more often than you use first person, your piece could use a second pass with the editing pen.
Additionally, here’s A Guide To Copywriting In 10 Slides.
There you have it, fellow web copywriters. We hope this quick guide will help you review your own existing copywriting methods, and make you into a better web copywriter. Until next time, happy writing!
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