seo copywriting

Who Are You Writing For? How to Build an Audience Persona and Discover Your Ultimate Reader

Marketing 101:

You can’t market to everyone. It’s just not possible.

That’s why marketers hone in on specific audiences for their brands.

Here’s the logic: For every product or service, there exist ideal buyers who will be totally into it, desperately need it, or some ratio of both.

No, you can’t market to each of them individually.

But, you can distill their similarities into an overall audience persona.

This persona is a fictional human you create who has all the traits common to your target audience.

This sounds great in theory, but why should you create one for your brand? How do you get started?

The answers are right here.

Why Create an Audience Persona?

Besides the fact that using personas can boost your success rates (one company reported an increase in sales leads of 124% as a direct result of using targeted personas), what are some other reasons to use them?

1. Talk to Exactly Who Will Buy From You

Imagine standing on a stage and looking into an audience full of people. You want to talk to the ones who will buy what you’re selling – but how? Right now, they’re just a sea of random faces.

Now, imagine if you could shine a spotlight on an audience member who represents your ideal targets. This person’s interests, behavior, demographics, job, income, etc. are all indicative of your ultimate buyer.

In fact, if you could pool your ideal buyers, take their common traits, and mold them into a new person, this is what that person would look like.

All of a sudden, by singling out this one persona, you have the opportunity to speak directly to your buyer and get them to engage. If you tailor your messages to them, you’ll not only grab their attention – you’ll hold it, which will lead to profitable results across that audience segment.

2. Keep Your Messaging, Copy, and Content Consistent

Besides being representative of a segment of your target audience, your persona is also a tool to use in your copy and content.

When you create a persona, you create a person to write for – someone you can get to know intimately. You’re no longer writing to anonymous people, but to someone with preferences, needs, wants, and traits.

Much of writing is about the audience. Your persona will guide how you write so it’s more pointed and powerful for the exact right people.

Plus, personas are tools you can use for your business at every level to make sure your entire team is referencing and addressing the same targets.

3. Waste Zero Time on Non-Prospects

When you create a targeted audience persona, you weed out the people in your audience who don’t need what you’re selling or won’t buy from you.

These people may be interested, but there’s no urgency in it. Here’s how HubSpot frames that conundrum:

“If only 1 out of 10 people in your target audience needs your solution, and 9 of them aren’t prospects, you’re wasting 90% of your time and resources.”

If you try to address your entire audience with the exact same message, it won’t be as effective for some as it is for others. This is because they’re at different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Creating personas that target specific types of people in your audience, and then creating messaging and content for each of them, eliminates this problem.

How to Build a Persona for Your Audience: Research, Compile Data, and Get Personal

Over and over, you’ll find that researching is the best way to approach building an audience persona.

Then you can compile what you find and distill it into one, two, or a few different personas that represent your audience segments.

Step One: Research Your Audience

For research, there are some wide-ranging options for gathering data about your targets:

  • Use Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook has a tool you can use to research your audience and build multiple personas, and you don’t need an advertising or business account to access it. (You just need a profile.)

You have two options in this tool: research using all of Facebook’s existing user base, or just research people who are connected to your account.

Moz recommends the former option just in case your account connections have been “dirtied” in some way (i.e. if you have paid for followers in the past, your connections might not be an accurate representation of your target audience).

After you choose which type of data to research, you can search various interests related to your industry and then narrow down the audience based on what you find.

For example, say you sell books in Missouri. You would enter that information to find out who you should be targeting. As you can see, 67% of people in Missouri with an interest in books and reading are women:

With this in mind, let’s narrow down our target audience to women only. Then we can look at demographics and stats for their household, like income and home ownership:

Now we have more information for our persona: She should be a woman who makes $50-75K and owns a home.

You can keep going into further detail from there as you browse the sections and continue to narrow down this woman’s traits. Check out this guide from Moz for a deeper how-to.

  • Create Surveys

Find out more demographic information about your audience with surveys. A simple survey can tell you exactly where your audience lives, their income, their education, family size, age, job industry and title, and more.

Tools like SurveyMonkey are perfect for the job. You can create your own surveys for free and distribute them yourself, or you can pay to use SurveyMonkey Audience to collect data from a pre-qualified target audience with attributes you select.

  • Chat 1-on-1 with Customers

Don’t forget to go back to basics. Just take some time to have a chat with your customers to find out their preferences, interests, behaviors, and demographics.

This can be as easy as commenting on social media, or you can get more formal and request to do an interview through email, Skype, or over coffee.

  • Talk to Your Sales Team for Insights

Your sales team is out there in the trenches, talking to customers day-in and day-out. They will have plenty of insights about them and can share what they’ve learned from these crucial sales interactions.

  • Review Analytics

Review data on your website about consumption, like page views, open rates for emails and newsletters, downloads, click-throughs, and bounce rates. This information can give you valuable insights into your audience’s preferences and needs.

Step Two: Compile the Data

Once you’ve researched and gathered enough data, it’s time to sort and compile it into trends you see happening.

When you see that a large section of your audience possesses certain traits or demographics, you can add those to your persona profile.

Eventually, you should end up with a list of common attributes among a segment of your audience.

Step Three: Get Creative

Here’s the creative part of building an audience persona. It’s time to take that compiled data and turn it into a profile of your ideal buyer.

Content Marketing Institute recommends giving your persona a name and a picture. This helps you and your team imagine this fictitious person better and think of them as a real person.

Ideally, you should turn your persona into a shareable asset you can pass around to various departments or team members in your company.

Most businesses create a profile card of their persona with a quick run-down of that buyer’s name, demographics, preferences, and habits.

Persona example via Buffer

Video game enthusiasts will note how much the resulting profile looks like a character card, which gives you an overview of a character’s strengths and weaknesses.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and detailed with personas. Your writers, content creators, and other team members will be more inspired if it’s engaging and helps them use their imaginations.

Your Brand Audience Persona Is a Valuable Tool

Ultimately, the benefits you receive from creating an audience persona will make the effort worth it.

Your entire team can use the persona to help them craft consistent, pointed, targeted content that truly speaks to your ideal buyer.

Keep one handy for reference, and don’t forget to update it periodically to reflect your changing audience and business needs.

If you need help creating content that resonates with your target audience, our team of expert writers can help! Learn more about our available services in the Content Shop.

CTA strategic ROI content

copywriting guide

A Copywriting Guide In 10 Slides

This comprehensive copywriting guide visualizes in 10 quick-read slides what it takes to be a copywriter, what is involved in great copywriting, and real life examples of copywriting (the good and bad).

For more copywriting tips and strategies, subscribe to The Write Blog. Join our weekly Twitter chat where we talk up-to-date principles on content marketing, copywriting and more with guest experts: #ContentWritingChat at 10 AM CST with @ExpWriters on Twitter. 

Copywriting Slideshare written by Julia McCoy, founder of Express Writers.

resumes cover letters

The Secret to Effective Resumes & Cover Letters

Is there actually a secret to creating
effective resumes & cover letters? Some would certainly say so, but it’s important to understand that success with this type of professional document is more about proper execution and skill than it is about lock-and-key secrets.

Check out the following suggestions and tips to help make sure your resume and cover letter combination is guaranteed to positively wow your next potential employer. It all begins with careful research in regards to the subject at hand and ends with knowing where to turn for help if needed.

1. Look to Samples for Ideas
There are actually many templates and samples of resumes & cover letters to be found online these days, so modern template databases would be an excellent point at which to begin your search. The design should be simple, yet also have some sophistication to it. It should be professional, yet appealing to the eye as well. Stay away from ultra bright colors and crazy fonts when putting together the actual body of the letter or resume. It’s always best to stick to classics that are easy on the eyes – plain white backgrounds and standard fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica.

2. Highlight Your Skills
The most effective resumes & cover letters are targeted to match a specific skill set. For example, if you are applying for a graphic design job, you’ll want to create documents that highlight relevant experiences and skill sets, keeping things completely on point. That wouldn’t be the time to talk about all the volunteer work you’ve done with your local church or talk about your skill with children. Stick to relevant programs you know how to use, previous design experience, and so forth to avoid appearing too scattered.

Many people like to make sure their cover letters especially appeal to a potential employer’s needs by doing a little homework on the company in question before sitting down to revamp their documents. Visit the company website in order to get a feel for what they’re looking for. Pay special attention to company mission statements, tone of the content on the website, and so forth for important clues on how to make your resumes & cover letters really shine in the way you want them to.

3. Hire a Professional for Help
When it comes to crafting truly effective resumes & cover letters, you may feel more comfortable enlisting the aid of qualified professionals when it comes to getting your message exactly right instead of hoping you get it right on your own. Professional writing teams in particular offer an excellent solution that is affordable, convenient, and flexible to boot. Most have trained, experienced cover letter writers and resume writers on staff that can help you make your documents everything they need to be. They can help you with everything from formatting, to help projecting your unique voice, to organizing your information according to current industry standards.

At the end of the day, effective resumes & cover letters aren’t exactly rocket science. They just take a little care, consideration, and attention to detail in order to make sure they’re as effective as they can possibly be. Look into your options today and you’ll be on your way to your next big career position in no time flat!

web copywriters

9 Characteristics of the Best Web Copywriters

According to Flannery O’Connor, a good man is hard to find.

Flannery O'Connor

(Image via Amazon)

But what about a good web copywriter?

Sure, plenty of people out there say they can write for the web.

But, as the common saying goes, talk is cheap.

How do know when you’ve stumbled on a professional word ninja, or when you’ve been hoodwinked by an upstart money-grubber masquerading as a copywriter?

Flannery O'Connor

Luckily, we have some ideas.

Look carefully at their qualifications, both the ones they say they have and the ones that shine through their writing samples.

The best web copywriters will be able to claim all of the skills we have compiled below.

If you’re a copywriter working your way up in the industry, study this list and take note. Having these skills could be the key to nailing your next big gig.

web copywriters

9 Skills, Traits, and Characteristics the Best Web Copywriters Have in Spades

The best web writers have honed their raw talent and turned it into an occupation where they earn money for every word they set down. Do you (or the web writers you’re hiring) have all the skills on this list?

1. Nimble Creativity

The best web writers need to be able to turn on a dime and write in a completely different style and voice for different clients.

That means their capacity for nimble creativity needs to be very high. 

Online writers also need to be able to produce copy and content when that creativity well is drying up. A nimble, can-do attitude is essential, here. Sometimes, you just have to buckle down and get some words out.

The best writers who live and breathe online content will be able to do it and do it well, no matter the circumstances.

2. Research Chops

Research is a huge part of online writing. To underline your authority, you have to prove yourself in your written content and copy.

That means relying on the knowledge and research of others, along with your own. It means citing sources and studies, and providing statistics and evidence that back up your claims.

The online writer who is well-versed in research best-practices, including how to properly cite sources and link to them in content, is indispensable.

3. Strong Understanding of the Basics of Constructing Great Sentences

Writers construct, tweak, and manipulate sentences to get their ideas across clearly. Without the basic ability to craft really good ones, can you call yourself a writer?

This ability includes understanding grammar do’s and don’ts like noun-verb agreement and comma usage, but it also includes knowing how to create a compelling call-to-action, how to write effective meta descriptions, and how to compose a zinger of a headline. 

dos and don'ts

As a copywriter, you need to know which of these are correct. (Image via Grammar Girl)

4. Sales and Online Marketing Knowledge

Does your web writer understand the various stages of the buying cycle/sales funnel? (Have they even heard of a sales funnel?) Do they get how to tailor their words to what the audience knows/doesn’t know at a particular stage?

consumer buying process

(Image via ShanePatrickJones.com)

What about landing page copy? Do they understand how best to craft a page that leads the audience to take action?

If they don’t, they should.

If you’re the writer, according to Content Marketing Institute, your knowledge should be T-shaped.

cross-discipline competence

You need a deep knowledge of content – best-practices that earn traffic, engagement, and conversions, and how to tie in SEO –- that’s a given.

You also need at least a passing understanding of online marketing concepts like technical SEO, UX, press & PR, and analytics. 

5. Generalist AND Specialist Expertise

A web copywriter needs to be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of one… Or two.

The former is important for that aforementioned nimbleness factor. You need to be able to pivot from topic to topic without much trouble, research topics if you’re shaky, and write about them like you know what you’re talking about.

That is the power of a skilled generalist writer.

On the other hand, you also need specialist knowledge in at least one topic. This means you have the background to write about that topic from the viewpoint of an expert.

This background can include education, experience, or a mix of the two. According to Snag a Job, a blend of both is a good place to start honing your expertise.

education requirements

Either way, the best writers can specialize and write with an incredibly authoritative tone for at least one industry.

6. The Power of Persuasion

Persuasive writing is a huge part of copywriting online. 

The attention-spans of your readers are shorter than ever (the average currently clocks in at 8 seconds – one second shorter than that of an average goldfish). They’re distracted by every shiny thing that’s blinking at them or screaming in all caps. 

human attention span

They’ll click away from your content faster than you can blink – unless you can persuade them to stay.

This means knowing and using proven writing styles and copywriting formulas that keep visitors glued to the page. It also means formatting your words for maximum ease-of-reading on tiny mobile device screens or headache-inducing computer monitors.

There’s a lot that goes into persuading audiences online, so the copywriter who can do it (and do it well) is worth their weight in gold.

Want to get better at persuasive writing? Check out the work of past and present copywriting giants. Look to David Ogilvy, Joanna Wiebe, Jon Morrow, and Robert Collier.

7. Empathy

A copywriter’s job is to speak to the reader on a deep level. You need to be able to address their hopes, fears, and desires like they’re your own.

The only way to truly get on their wavelength is to empathize with them.

If you have a fair amount of natural empathy, you have an advantage. If you don’t, you can practice it.

  • Step outside yourself. Put your thoughts and feelings aside.
  • Imagine trying on the perspective of the person in question, like a pair of glasses. What do you see differently? How do you feel?
  • Try to stay in that headspace while you write.
  • You can also try reading lots of books written in the first-person perspective (with lots of “I” language – “I did,” “I said,” “I wanted,” “I tried,” etc.) These narratives literally immerse you in someone else’s thoughts and may help you hone your ability to empathize.

8. Little-to-No Writer Ego

A copywriter’s job is not to get their own writing style airtime. If you’re in the hot seat, your job is not to write the way you want to write.

A copywriter’s job is to get other people’s words out there, and to do it in the best way possible. Copywriters have to write to make their clients sound knowledgeable and interesting, and their products enticing. 

They need to write for their clients’ audiences, not their own.

Naturally, many copywriters also have higher writing ambitions. They may have wanted to be a writer from a young age, or have dreams of completing a longer work of fiction or nonfiction under their own name.

this is good

For some writers, their motivations for their personal writing career may clash with what’s expected of them (and what’s needed of them) as a copywriter.

If your writer ego is a little too big for its britches (don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a failing; it’s actually what gets many writers published), you may want to rethink copywriting. 

Similarly, if you find it very hard to put that ego aside and write with equal verve for clients, you might want to rethink copywriting.

9. Self-Motivation and Determination

These days, most copywriters aren’t hunched over desks in a communal space, writing elbow-to-elbow with their colleagues in a Mad Men-esque office setting.

Mad Men

(Image via Slate)

Instead, most are working from their laptop in a coffee shop or toiling away behind the monitor in their home office. Some even are scraping a living from a seat on their couch in their tiny apartment.

(Take a look at how our remote team here at EW gets down to business. We each have our own personal spaces and methods.)

Needless to say, when you’re working alone with no boss over your shoulder, the chances that you’ll deviate from the task at hand are 10 times – nay, 100 times greater than if you are working in an office with supervision.

That means the best web copywriters are self-motivated, determined, and on-point when it comes to time and work management.

They don’t need constant supervision because they have the skills to stay focused and on-task.

This focus is 100% necessary, especially when an assignment looms that is hard to write. You have to wade through that beast no matter what, and the best copywriters can get through with aplomb.

Without that kind of self-sustaining motivation, you’re sunk as a remote copywriter.

Web Copywriters Who Reach Success Have These 7 Skills in Common

Great web copywriting is an art and a science. You need lots of technical knowledge, but you also need to know how to riff once in a while (and understand when you can riff on the rules).

Arguably, though, these eight base skills serve as the foundation for greatness. 

You don’t have to be born with them. You can cultivate them, grow them, and become a bonafide amazing online writer.

So, whether you’re getting your foot in the door or looking for fresh talent to do the writing for you, look for these characteristics. Make them your mantra.

Kermit typing

Great writing will surely follow.

copywriting secrets

5 Simple Secrets to Copywriting Glory

It’s a question fledgling copywriters everywhere want to know:

What separates good copywriting from great copywriting?

How do you start making your skills and talents speak for themselves, so your work is more in-demand and highly-valued? (And, equally as important, worth more $$$? 💸)

These simple secrets hold the answer. To reach the highest echelon of copywriting, take them in stride.

secrets to copywriting

You know the basics of writing good copy, but something might be missing. If you're craving to improve your writing skills to create a top-notch copy, check out @JuliaEMcCoy's 5 #copywriting secrets ✍️✍️ Click To Tweet

5 Simple Secrets to Write Amazing Copy Every Time

If you can master these secrets, you’re well on your way to greatness.

GIF: Tenor

1. Make It Personal

Above all, the greatest, most effective copywriting is personal to the target reader.

Whether that means a 65-year-old grandmother, an investment banker, or a college student, your writing needs to hit them where it matters. It should speak to their wishes, fears, pain points, and needs.

No two readers are alike. Treat their problems and desires as important, unique, and vital, and you’ll not only grab their attention – you’ll strum their heartstrings.

Tips to Make Your Copywriting Personal

  • Get to know your target persona as if they’re your best friend. Understand their personality, demographics, and preferences on a deep level. (Interviews, surveys, and social listening come in handy, here.)
  • Imagine them as a real person sitting in front of you. What do they look like? How might they talk about their problems, interests, and dreams?
  • Speak directly to them in the copy:
    • Ask them questions.
    • Repeat their realities/problems back to them so they feel heard.
    • Empathize with them.
  • Address them using the pronoun “you” (e.g. “Do you wish you had more free time?”)
'...the greatest, most effective copywriting is personal to the target reader. Whether that means a 65-year-old grandmother, an investment banker, or a college student, your writing needs to hit them where it matters.' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

2. Surprise, Delight, or Entice Your Reader

Besides making your copy personal, clinch grabbing your readers’ attention by adding a pinch of surprise, delight, or enticement to your copy.

Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers is especially good at doing this. Look at this blog post she wrote called “Here’s why it’s so hard to write convincing copy”:

In the introduction, she starts out by saying something we’re not expecting:

That element of surprise (her against-the-grain opinion about online readers) hooks us and makes us commit to reading more. We want to know why she’ll never forgive Jakob Nielsen (of the Nielsen Norman Group).

Another example from another great copywriter, Henneke Duistermaat of Enchanting Marketing, is this blog post on banishing perfectionism:

In the post, Henneke takes a moment to describe why imperfection is actually perfect. She uses a metaphor about stained glass in a church to do it, and transports us in the process:

For just a moment, you’re caught up in imagining that stained glass, and you understand Henneke’s meaning much more deeply. How delightful!

As you can see, there is more than one way to inject an unexpected element of surprise, delight, or wonder into your copy. No matter how you do it, it’s an effective trick that snags and holds your reader’s attention – and keeps them coming back for more.

'Besides making your copy personal, clinch grabbing your readers’ attention by adding a pinch of surprise, delight, or enticement to your copy.' @JuliaEMcCoy on her 5 simple secrets in great #copywriting Click To Tweet

3. Write Subheadings Like You Mean It

Writing great copy is more than wordplay.

In blog/article writing, particularly, it’s also about helping your reader achieve an understanding of your topic as seamlessly as possible.

While you’re writing, think of ways to make the text easier to understand. What can you do to ease comprehension?

One major way is to focus on writing informative subheadings for each section of your copy. At a minimum, they should summarize what each section is about. If you want to go further (and you should), try to add these other elements:

  • Describe how the reader will benefit from reading the subsection. This subheading from a Smartblogger post shows how it’s done (the promised benefit: read the editing tips and you’ll transform your next blog post):

  • Use intriguing words to incite curiosity. Scour your vocabulary and consult a thesaurus to use interesting verbs and adjectives to spice things up. Look at this example (from the same Smartblogger post as above):

  • Tell a story with your subheadings (connect them to each other). Let’s look at another post by Joanna Wiebe for a good example. In this post on time management, she uses the subheadings to both describe each section of the article as well as tell a story (structured like she’s talking it out with herself). I’ve compiled them so you can see the whole picture:

Good stuff, right? Try this technique in your own copy and see how much more compelling it becomes.

'While you’re writing, think of ways to make the text easier to understand. What can you do to ease comprehension? One major way is to focus on writing informative subheadings for each section of your copy.' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

4. Write with SEO in Mind

The best copywriters use keywords in their copy without breaking the flow or making the tone sound unnaturally stilted. Keyword-optimized copy is worth its weight in coffee (because I love coffee), so this ability is major for copywriting greatness.

The thing is, great copywriters never need to count keywords. They have a natural feel for where to use them, how to use them, and when to use variations, synonyms, and related terms.

If you’re still learning, though, there are ways to make your SEO copywriting better.

  • Don’t be afraid to play with grammar in keywords. Keywords that sound awkward WILL make your copy sound equally awkward (“dentists San Diego” et. al, I’m looking at you). Insert prepositions, pronouns, etc., as needed to smooth them out. Your SEO won’t suffer for it.
  • Use variations – Google won’t know the difference. For example, “San Diego dentists” sounds WAY better than “dentists San Diego”.
  • Reword until it sounds right. Some keywords are tricky, period. If one isn’t playing nice with your sentence, take some time to reword, rearrange, and tinker with it until it sounds smooth and supple when you read it out loud.
'Don’t be afraid to play with grammar in keywords. Keywords that sound awkward WILL make your copy sound equally awkward (“dentists San Diego” et. al, I’m looking at you). Insert prepositions, pronouns, etc., as needed...' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

5. Use Power Words Where It Matters

Every great copywriter needs a stash of power words in their back pocket. Power words make your readers react, respond, and feel a rainbow of emotions.

(Need examples? This post by Jon Morrow is the original guide to power words.)

Think of them like little bombs inside sentences. Wherever you use them, the impact will be explosive.

Here’s the thing about power words, though: If you overuse them, they lose their power.

That’s why the best copywriters use them judiciously. They know exactly where to use power words to best advantage:

  • Headlines – Your title/H1/headline is one of the most, if not THE most, important place to use power words. This one line of text does a lot of heavy lifting, so make it work hard!
  • Introductions – You need to capture your reader’s attention if they make it past your headline. The introduction is the perfect place to use your powers of description to make an impact.
  • Subheadings – Once again, good subheadings are essential to a good piece of content. Using power words in them helps lead your reader down the page.
  • Calls-to-action – Neck and neck with headlines, calls-to-action are essential spots to use power words. The stronger your wording in CTAs, the more irresistible they become.

To truly show off the zing and pizzazz of power words (nudge-nudge, wink-wink), let’s see what they can do to overhaul a boring headline:

10 Copywriting Tips for Beginners

becomes >>>

10 Genius Copywriting Tips to Transform You from Novice to Master

Which article would you rather read?

'Every great copywriter needs a stash of power words in their back pocket. Power words make your readers react, respond, and feel a rainbow of emotions.' @JuliaEMcCoy on her #copywriting secrets Click To Tweet

The #1 Secret to Great Copywriting?

Great copywriting is not mastered overnight. It takes work, practice, and most importantly, lots and lots of writing.

Keep writing, keep improving.

The more you write, the better you’ll get. It’s that simple.

Soak up as much knowledge as you can, write like heck, and soon you’ll be able to count yourself among the greats. 👑✨

 

web content

Should the Focus be on Your Web Content or Keywords?

Keywords will improve your web content search engine ranking, but should they really be the main focus in copywriting?

Although the content on your website is being created to generate more traffic to the site, the true desired result behind of all your SEO efforts is to convert that very traffic into customers. Visitors are great, but sales are what you will need to keep your site running.

If every article and webpage on your site is so overly saturated with keywords that it distracts from the actual content, your potential customers will be turned off. They will quickly move onto the next website that is listed by the search engine and they will not give yours a second thought.

web content

Web Content: It Should Provide Value to the Reader

Relevant and informative web content is the key to a successful website.

Most people focus mainly on the technical choices when developing a new site, because there are so many necessary decisions regarding servers, hosting options, advertising systems, shopping carts, and payment processing. They forget that without an effective copywriter for the website and for future content, no one will stay on their site long enough to use the other services.

Your Web Content Should Sell for You

The copy on your website should be your best salesperson. It should be compelling and comprehensive. Customers should land on your site and easily learn exactly what you do and why you do it better than anyone else. Every heading, subtitle, paragraph, and sentence is a chance to communicate directly with potential customers.

Experienced copywriters understand there is a significant amount of power that can be unleashed by quality keyword-rich content. Search engine crawlers and your readers will be swayed by well-written, helpful content that serves a purpose. It should answer commonly asked questions about the product or service you are selling, provide real advice that makes the decision making process easier, and clearly showcase how purchasing it can enhance the user’s life.

5 Ways to Create Content For Your Reader

Here are five tips on how to create web content focused on your reader:

#1 Create Catchy Headlines

A good headline should attract attention while clearly summarizing the section that is to follow.

#2 Focus on the Customer’s Needs

The copy should be directed specifically on how the product or service can enhance the client’s life. Focus on how it benefits them.

#3 Create an Emotional Connection

Try to appeal to their emotions whenever possible. Buying is a decision often triggered by emotional needs.

#4 Add Credibility to Your Claims

Testimonials are a great way to show you care what your clients think, plus it provides uncertain leads proof that your business follows through on its promises.

#5 Don’t Forget the Call-to-Action

There needs to be a persuasive conclusion that inspires the reader to act.

All copy should have a link at the end engaging the reader to make a purchase.

Conclusion: Write Great Web Content to Solve a Problem

These five tips will help make sure you create catchy ad copy that directly speaks to the customer by addressing their needs and making an emotional connection. By backing it up with positive testimonials and a persuasive call-to-action, you should be able to convert more traffic into customers.

You will still need to strategically scatter relevant keywords throughout the content, but the real emphasis should be on creating content your audience actually wants to read.

The keywords will fall into place naturally if you focus on writing about the information your leads really want to know.

web writing

7 Tips to Write Powerful Headlines That Are Content Superheroes

Good headlines are tough to write. But, when you get them right, they pack a punch and make your content unstoppable.

That said, the best headlines are not always showy.

It’s not about the shock factor. It’s not about making your readers’ heads explode.

It’s mostly about being useful.

That’s right – usefulness matters more than writing a pretty, punchy, or compelling sentence. When you look at headline writing from this angle, the task gets a whole lot easier.

So, what can you do to make your headlines uber-useful? How can you write them so they speak to the heart of your readers (and thus become as powerful as Wonder Woman)?

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7 Smart Tips to Write Powerful Headlines (& Add ‘Oomph’ to Your Content)

🔥 With thousands of content out there, having an irresistible headline can make your post stand out. How do you do this? Read @JuliaEMcCoy's 7 tips on writing powerful headlines. 🔥 Click To Tweet

1. Make Your Headlines as Important as the Body Copy

Rule number one: Don’t just dash off your headline as an afterthought after you write your main content. Don’t scribble something down and call it a day.

Instead, give your headline the time and craft it needs to soar.

  • Write variations of your headline using different words and phrasing.
  • Play with various sentence lengths.
  • Add numbers, turn it into a question, or try deleting it and starting from scratch.

If you want the headline to be good, you have to give yourself time to hone it, edit it, and polish it until it shines. Great example: Jeff Goins, a successful online writer, spends as long as 30-60 minutes deliberating on his headlines – and, more often than not, he still goes back and changes them later.

'Rule number one: Don’t just dash off your headline as an afterthought after you write your main content. Don’t scribble something down and call it a day.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on writing powerful headlines. Click To Tweet

2. Write Headlines with Their Purpose in Mind (for Users and for Google)

While crafting your headline, think about the job it does in your content. This covers two areas:

  1. The purpose headlines serve for your readers:
  • It tells readers what to expect and what your post is about.
  • It (hopefully) piques their interest.
  • It aligns with their information needs.
  1. The purpose headlines serve for content, SEO, and Google:
  • It summarizes the topic of the post.
  • It uses your focus keyword in a pivotal spot for SEO – the H1.
  • It signals to Google that your content is topically relevant to various search queries.
  • If/when your post ranks, the headline will often determine whether users click or not.

As you can tell, the two main purposes of headlines intermingle. Crafting good headlines for your readers is good for SEO and Google.

In Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, Google explains that the page title/headline is part of the main content (MC). Above all, it must be descriptive and helpful.

As you create your headline, keep these roles it plays in the back of your mind. Try to make sure it fulfills them.

'While crafting your headline, think about the job it does in your content. This covers two areas: your readers and SEO.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on writing powerful headlines. 💥 Click To Tweet

3. Always Address the Reader (Entice Them, Play to Their Needs, or Grab Their Attention)

If you’re not talking to your reader in your headline, you’re doing something wrong.

Headlines MUST address the reader to be truly useful for them.

This can mean a few things:

  • Talking to them directly using “you”
  • Asking them a question
  • Telling them something amazing/surprising/useful/interesting
  • Above all, describing the content they’re about to read

Addressing your reader is always more engaging than talking about yourself. Your readers don’t care about how great you are – they want to know what’s in it for them. Give it to them!

For proof, let’s look at BuzzSumo’s oft-cited study of 100 million headlines.

They found that the headline phrase that got the most engagement on Facebook was “will make you”. In fact, it won by a landslide.

Is it any coincidence that this phrase contains the word “you”? I don’t think so.

As BuzzSumo explains, this phrase serves as a link between the content and the potential impact it will have on the reader. When this phrase is present in a headline, the reader KNOWS how they will benefit from consuming the content because you’re telling them directly.

The typical headlines from the study with this phrase all include a direct benefit – how the content will make you feel, what it will make you do, or how it will make your life better.

For best results, follow suit and talk to your readers in your headline.

'Addressing your reader is always more engaging than talking about yourself. Your readers don’t care about how great you are – they want to know what’s in it for them. Give it to them!' - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

4. Focus on Benefits for the Reader

We already addressed this briefly in point #3, but it bears emphasizing: When you talk to your readers in the headline, tell them about a major benefit of reading the content.

What will your blog post help them achieve? How will it make them smarter/savvier? What will they learn? Will it help them boost their lives, business, relationships, SEO, marketing, skills, etc.?

The second you add a benefit, your headline becomes more engaging and powerful.

Important tip ⚠️ 'When you talk to your readers in the headline, tell them about a major benefit of reading the content.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on writing powerful headlines. Click To Tweet

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5. Use Strong Adjectives and Verbs

A headline full of weak words will not do any heavy lifting for your content. Instead, you need strong adjectives and verbs in your headlines that pack a punch.

Examples of Weak Adjectives and What to Use Instead

  • Any adjective with “very” in front of it (e.g. very pretty, very smart, very good) – Adding “very” is a weak way to pump up a lackluster adjective. Nix this formula and instead use one word that’s stronger.
  • Replace “very pretty” with “gorgeous, or “very smart” with “genius”. (The chart below has more examples.)

Image: ESLBuzz

Examples of Weak Verbs and What to Use Instead

Weak verbs are action words that don’t convey much information. When you hear or read them, you can’t quite picture the action they’re supposed to represent. Here are some examples:

  • How to Have a Lot of Money

Picture someone having a lot of money. It’s unclear and fuzzy, right? Does it mean their wallet is fat with dollar bills? Are their pockets overflowing with change? Do they have stacks of hundreds in the bank? Or does their bank account balance contain a lot of zeroes?

We don’t know – the verb “have” doesn’t tell us.

  • 7 Ways to Be Smarter

It’s hard to imagine a person being smart. That’s way too vague to paint a bright picture in our minds. Does it happen when somebody is winning an expert game of chess? When they’re reading a 1,000-page novel? Or when they have all the right answers to tough questions?

As you can see, neither of the verbs in the above examples are clear enough to give us a concrete picture.

Let’s rewrite them and make them clearer and stronger. To do it, we need to be both specific and descriptive:

  • How to Have a Lot of Money >>> How to Fill Your Pockets with Cash by Next Week
    • This makes you imagine somebody walking around with overflowing pockets full of money. Maybe they’re trailing dollar bills everywhere. That person is definitely rich.
  • 7 Ways to Be Smarter >>> 7 Ways to Transform Yourself into a Genius
    • The verb “transform” makes you think of a complete change from one state of being to another. Coupling it with “yourself” gives the idea that you are in charge of the change from average to genius intellect.

To learn more about the difference between strong and weak verbs, read this tutorial from Sophia Learning.

🚫 'Avoid using 'very' 🚫 Replace them with strong adjectives. Examples: 'very pretty' with 'gorgeous', or 'very smart' with 'genius'.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on writing headlines Click To Tweet

6. Stuck? Use Tried-and-True Headline Formulas

If you’ve tried all the tricks and headline writing still seems agonizing, fear not. That’s what headline formulas are for.

What are headline formulas?

Easy. These are go-to sentence outlines you can use (filling in your own words) that readers love and share, according to studies.

Take that BuzzSumo study we referenced earlier. The research looked at top phrases at the beginning of headlines that got the most engagement. This list is a goldmine for writing new headlines.

Henneke Duistermaat did her own research into headline formulas using BuzzSumo – her findings are useful and she explains exactly how to write each formula.

A few of the top headline formulas she discovered:

  • The burning question
  • The unexpected comparison
  • The how-to case study

These formulas serve as blueprints for creating headlines that work. Definitely use them if you’re stuck.

'If you're out of headline ideas, you can use tried-and-true headline formulas' - @JuliaEMcCoy on writing headlines. Check out these headline formulas in this post! 🔔 Click To Tweet

7. Test Your Headlines to Find What Works (and What Doesn’t)

The final tip for writing powerful headlines: test, test, test.

You won’t know what works for your audience and boosts your content unless you try.

Test different headline types, wording, and lengths. Note what posts get more traction and engagement. Going forward, you’ll develop go-to formulas of your own that are particular for your brand and audience.

If you want to get more concrete data about your headlines, try split testing (also called a/b testing). If you don’t know how, read this post on a/b testing headlines from Wordstream.

'The final tip for writing powerful headlines: test, test, test.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on writing powerful headlines. Click To Tweet

Crafting Powerful Headlines Takes Some Elbow Grease

The best headlines aren’t necessarily showy, but they do accomplish what they set out to do:

  • Attract readers by appealing to their needs/search intent
  • Effectively summarize what the content includes
  • Appeal to Google bots with relevancy + keyword inclusion

That means you don’t need to be a wordsmith to write a great headline. You DO need to work on your headline to make it the best it can be.

Put in the work, create a headline worthy of your awesome content, and you just might reap the rewards.

 

copywriting that sells

Copywriting that Sells: 5 Tips To Help You Write For Your Buyer

While copywriting is all the rage in the digital business world, online content is only worthwhile if it can drive real results.

Copywriting that sells is worth its weight in gold, and it has the potential to overhaul a company’s online presence entirely. From driving more conversions to helping businesses rake in the cash and build their bottom lines, persuasive copywriting is a powerful sales machine, and every company wants it.

The catch, though, is that not many people know how to craft copywriting that sells.

To be persuasive and compelling, content needs a precise mixture of things, and copywriters and businesses who understand how to create this are at a distinct advantage.

With that in mind, read on for our top five tips to develop copywriting that sells.

copywriting

Copywriting that Sells: 5 Stellar Tips to Start Creating Conversion-Oriented Copy Today

Think about a brand like Apple.

Among its followers, Apple can do virtually no wrong. People rave about its products, its phones practically began the smartphone era, and every time it has a product launch, people sleep in tents on sidewalks for days in preparation.

Now that is a company that knows how to create material that sells.

Of course, it’s true that Apple has developed a premium product, and that you can’t enjoy such widespread evangelism without it, but it’s also true that Apple knows a thing or two about copywriting that sells.

While Apple is one of the most prominent examples of a brand that does this well, it’s far from the only one. For many marketers, the prospect of becoming a sales machine like these major brands feels out of reach.

Fortunately, that’s not the case at all. Whether you work in e-commerce or you have a local, brick-and-mortar business that’s in need of a sales boost, creating compelling copy is an excellent way to reach your goals, and these five tips can help you do it.

1. Create a headline your readers want to click

When it comes to copywriting that sells, your headline is, without a doubt, the single most important piece of your content.

If you think about it for a minute, a headline is a gatekeeper. It tells people what your article is about, and then invites them in. If your headline is a magnificent one, it brings people in in droves. If it’s not, people get bored and go looking for other content.

With this in mind, you need to the time to craft incredible headlines.

While learning to develop click-worthy headlines can be a challenge, it’s one investment is virtually guaranteed to earn a high ROI. By asking your readers a question in the headline, inserting power words, inspiring curiosity, or using a negative headline to inspire a reader’s sense of risk aversion, there are dozens of ways to ensure that your headlines are doing what you want them to do with your content: drawing readers.

Although headlines are frequently overlooked in online content, they’re easily some of the most important pieces for promoting conversions and bringing in new traffic – all of which helps promote big sales down the road.

2. Break your content into short chunks

If we’re honest, we can all agree that content that looks and feels like an unabridged dictionary isn’t very fun to read. And if you click onto a web page that’s just one long string of unbroken text, you’re probably going to click “back” in a hurry.

When you evaluate copywriting that sells, you’ll notice that 100% of it is broken up into short, succinct sentences. Again, Apple is a fantastic example of this.

Heck – the iPhone 7 announcement on their website is only four words long!

iphone

By breaking your text up into short chunks, you do two things: you make it easier for readers to scan and you set your most important ideas apart.

This, in turn, allows users to navigate swiftly through your content and can help your viewers make more sense of the information within it.

3. Keep your content credible with facts and statistics

For copywriting to be compelling, it has to be credible, and there’s virtually no better way to ensure this than to add relevant facts and statistics to your copy. Well-researched facts pack a punch that almost nothing else does, and you can bet that readers will be much more willing to bite if they know there’s a financial, social, or emotional reason to do so.

With this in mind, use facts and statistics to back up your statements. If you’re claiming a product will improve a person’s quality of life, add a bit of research to demonstrate your point. If you’re solving a common problem, add a statistic to prove just how common it is.

People who are going to purchase anything from you must first be able to trust what you say, and quality stats are some of the best ways to inspire consumer confidence.

Additionally, inserting relevant facts and statistics can help improve the authority of your copy and serve to position you as an expert in your industry.

4. Focus on the benefits rather than the features

In the world of sales, this is an oldie but a goodie.

When people make purchasing decisions, they tend to focus on the benefits first and the features second. For example, if you are looking for an in-home voice assistant system, you might want one that would help you streamline your days and stay organized. If a company appealed to those desires with copywriting meant to showcase the benefits and the lifestyle a voice assistant would offer, you’d probably bite.

When you’re crafting your online copy, focus on selling a lifestyle or a feeling first, and the actual tangible facts about the product second.

To revert to the Apple example once more, Apple doesn’t sell phones and computers – it sells efficiency, beauty, creativity, and “buck the man” rebellion. If it only focused on the features of each of its products, it’s safe to bet that the company wouldn’t have grown into the globe-dominating enterprise it is today.

5. Tell an irresistible story in your copy

Great storytelling is inexorably linked with compelling copy.

People love exciting stories, and this is exactly why you see so many brands migrating to storytelling in their advertising.

Need an example? Look at any of the Budweiser puppy commercials the company has done in the last several years.

While it’s true that puppies have very little to do with beer, these commercials tell a story, and they’re among the best-loved I know of.

If that doesn’t make you want to purchase Budweiser beer, I’m not sure what will.

All too often, making a sale is simply about appealing to a reader’s emotions. People want to do business with companies they believe in, and a great story is a powerful tool for fostering connection and excitement.

So whether you’re using puppies or human interest pieces, telling a story in your online copy is a wonderful way to make the sale and close the deal.

Turn Your Content Into Copywriting that Sells

Content inspires, educates, and excites, but great copywriting sells, too.

When it’s functioning well, online copywriting serves many purposes, and brands that understand how to craft copywriting that sells can enjoy a virtually unlimited potential for growth.

With this in mind, it’s time to start crafting copywriting that sells.

By taking the time to craft quality headlines, format your content correctly, input valuable facts and figures, tell a story, and sell a lifestyle, you can easily create compelling content that sells by making your reader want to engage with your product, rather than by tricking them into believing they need something that they don’t.

Today, great sales copy is all about connection, and the writers and marketers who take the time to understand how to build this relationship are in a good position for upward mobility both now and in the future.

Copywriting isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be impossible, either. If you need quality copywriting that sells, visit our Content Shop today.

expert copywriter

Reflecting Your Brand With An Expert Copywriter

Sleek, creative, understated: your business copy needs to be up to par before it’s published.

Your first impression with clients is crucial, especially on the internet!

Any content published under your company’s brand is a reflection of your business’ products, services and standards of excellence. Once published, your content will be somewhere on the web indefinitely.

Most business owners and their staff members aren’t adept expert copywriters, and shouldn’t be expected to be. Businesses sometimes neglect to hire professionals. As a result, the written content for product descriptions, blog posts, website content, etc. is of an unprofessional quality.

Why Hire an Expert Copywriter?

The best way to ensure your company puts its best face forward is to hire an experienced, expert copywriter.

Expertise In Many Areas

Many expert copywriters spend years studying psychology, communications, sociology, marketing and the English language.

By studying sociology and psychology, copywriters are able to understand typical thought processes and are able to recognize your demographics’ buying behavior.

Not only will they speak to your reader directly, but they do so in a language that is easy to understand, fun to read and interesting. A well trained expert writer can influence individual or group behavior with well-placed, action oriented sentences and carefully selected adjectives.

Marketing knowledge and communications skills give copywriters the ability to appeal to target groups, hold their attention, qualify your product or service and convert readers into buyers, all while coming across as professional, intelligent and convincing. Formatting is just as important as language, and professional copywriters are well versed in writing within certain marketing formats and publishing standards.

From beauty topics to law and the transportation industry to health, talented copywriters are capable of researching, writing and performing minor edits on nearly any topic. Broad spectrum copywriting services include blog posts, social media snippets, investigative articles, content creation and more. Writers are able to speak through their writing in a voice appropriate for publication via any platform you choose.

A Skill For The Brave (of Pen)

Copywriting with finesse and intrigue isn’t a skill that can be learned overnight. Attention, interest, desire and action must be conveyed in order to hook, hold the attention and incite action within the confines of the readers’ minds.

Most importantly, a high quality copywriter tells a story. We know that reading is viewed by some demographic groups as work.

A good story written by a writer with passion for their craft is difficult to put down and leaves the reader wanting more.

There should be a connection or subconscious connotation between the desire for more being resolved by buying your product or hiring your services.

Conclusion

Indeed, copywriting is a craft most business owners should not attempt alone.

We employ passionate, talented, dedicated writing professionals who are ready and waiting to meet your business needs.

To learn more about what our expert copywriters can do for you, contact us today!