So you have a website. Perhaps it’s a personal blog. Perhaps it’s a page for your product or service. Maybe you’re trying to build an audience for something big. At this stage in your content creation journey, I’m sure your biggest question is, “How the hell am I supposed to get people to read my copy?”
Creating compelling copy for your website or blog is no small feat. However, it can be done. And perhaps it’ll be easier than you think! So buckle in and hang tight because we’re going to bring you not five, not 10, not even 15…but 20 tips for creating compelling copy!
#1: Tell a Story
For the independent author, this is a no-brainer. Even for a creative entrepreneur trying to sell their skills, telling a story may not sound too far out there. But what about those who are running a business, selling a product, or offering a service?
Telling a story is more than building a narrative; it’s a way of relating to your audience. Hook them by giving a real life account of how your product or service has helped someone. Tell a tale about whatever it is you’re offering. Show your readers why you love doing what you do and give them a reason to love it too.
Why just put words on a screen with information? Instead, weave a tapestry with your words, giving readers substance, something to take away from your website.
#2: The Personal Touch
This tip goes hand in hand with telling a story. It’s all about making your reader feel at home in your text, and crafting a written entry in the first-person voice is the way to go. Don’t be afraid to show your viewership who you are. It’s not unprofessional – it’s compelling. You may include a picture of yourself in the “About Me” section, but this is not enough. Use personal pronouns to show the world that your smile is as genuine as your goals.
#3: Know Your Target Audience
How can you appeal to your audience if you don’t know or understand who they are? You can’t. Period! For this reason, knowing exactly who you want to reach is essential.
According to ConversionXL, once you’ve identified your target audience, you need to get inside their heads. What do they want? What makes them tick? Start using the same words they use. Become part of this group, not just an authoritative figure rambling on about something only you find interesting. Do your research and use the Internet to your advantage; with today’s technology, it’s much easier to investigate and reach the people whose viewership we desire.
#4: Keep it Clean
While you don’t want to come off as stiff and boring, you also don’t want to get too carried away with your speech. When writing compelling copy, you want to appeal to as many readers as possible. Depending on your target audience, you may be able to get away with using some profanity and colloquialisms to drive home a strong point, but in most professional settings you will risk isolating part of your audience.
How do you maintain a unique personal image while imposing such limitations? You’ll have to use your imagination, but it is possible. Just look at Jerry Seinfeld; he’s a perfect example of somebody who uses humor to relate to his audience without relying heavily on expletives.
#5: Be Present – Not Passive
You want your message to be strong, right? Then avoid using the passive voice whenever you can. Phrases including the words “have,” “were,” “was,” and so forth can reduce the impact of whatever you’re trying to say about your product or image. Instead, proclaim proudly that your product ships immediately, or you participate in local events. There’s no need for the inclusion of any other verbs in either sentence. Your point will be stronger if you keep your writing in the present tense.
#6: Less is More
I know whenever I draft an idea, I always want to articulate it as best as possible by fitting in as much description and as many ideas as possible. You’ll find after reading over your work in progress, however, that much of what you’ve said can be left out.
Entrepreneur recommends you try to reduce your copy by 30 to 50 percent. After you’ve removed as many unnecessary words as possible and consolidated similar phrases and ideas, offer your work to a fresh pair of eyes. If they find your message clear, then good riddance to all those gratuitous words!
#7: Go with the Flow
Make sure your copy has a nice rhythm and flow. A big wall of text is likely to frighten potential reader away. I know whenever I look at something to read, I’ll scroll to see if there is anything to break up the seemingly endless wall of text, and if not I will pass it by.
Break up your thoughts with headings and subtitles. Create sections. Add pictures, and possibly bullet points to give readers something to look at besides an endless sea of words. Doing so will encourage them to sit down and take a look.
#8: Remember the Layperson
I know, I know, you’re an expert at what you do, and as such you want to flaunt your expertise. Using technical jargon always makes you feel proud, but guess what? Nobody else wants to hear it.
Remember, your readers are not necessarily versed in the same lingo as you, so keep the jargon to a minimum. You can use some verbiage to demonstrate your understanding of the subject, so long as what you’re saying can be understood by the layperson. In other words, break it down after using it or link it to an explanatory article.
#9: Creating the Proper Tone
Understanding your platform is just as important as understanding your audience. The Internet has given us so many different outlets for expressing our ideas; it’s easy for them to blur together. But we must remember, each platform will call for a different tone. You wouldn’t want to write the same way for a website as you would for a Facebook page. As a copywriter, t’s your job to be flexible, agile, and able to adapt to whatever medium you use to share your content.
#10: Have a Goal Firmly in Mind
Why are you writing what you’re writing? You don’t want to go into a piece of copy blind because you’ll risk rambling, losing objectivity, and ultimately alienating your readers. Before you set out to craft your piece, you will want to establish some goals. Ask yourself:
- What is the message I am trying to convey?
- What am I offering to my readers?
- What do I want them to do with this information?
After you’ve addressed these questions, it is time to begin writing your first draft, working your way up to a call-to-action your readers won’t be able to resist.
Woo! Okay, we’re halfway there. How are you feeling? Need a break? Let’s take a quick moment to use the restroom, grab a drink, get something to eat, or maybe just stretch.
Here we go, on to number 11…
#11: Save the Editing Process for the End
I’m looking at all you perfectionists out there! It’s hard to let a small mistake linger, or a poorly structured sentence to remain in disrepair, but it’s in your best interest to leave all the corrections for the end. The writing process should be a free flow of ideas. Do not break up that flow by constantly checking back and making sure everything is the best it can be.
If you edit now, not only will you slow yourself down, but you will also prevent your creative juices from showing you a new path, one you would have never considered before. Remember, nothing is set in stone; you can always go back and fix your mistakes later.
#12: Read it Aloud
After you’ve finished writing, take some time to read the entire piece out loud. Listen to your voice as you read. Does your writing contain the same rhythm as your everyday speech? Or is it stilted, awkward, stiff, and/or rambling? Take this as a cue for the readability of your copy and adjust it accordingly. Even if you want to sound professional, you still have to be accessible.
#13: Add a Little Humor to Your Writing
What better way to hook your readers than to make them laugh? It’s the simplest way to win somebody’s attention. So go ahead, don’t be afraid to let your funny side show, and if it’s a little shy, maybe look to the Internet for inspiration. You don’t have to try too hard – simply be yourself and see what comes out. And know that over time your voice will evolve; it will grow and you’ll find incorporating humor an effortless task to tackle. You may surprise yourself with something witty and relatable that others will appreciate.
#14: Have a Positive Outlook
This really ought to go without saying, but keep your content positive! It’s simple; positive draws people in, negative pushes them away. But take it one step further and watch the way you word your sentences.
Negative words can subconsciously alienate readers. Even though you think “you’ll no longer waste money when you buy XYZ” sounds good, saying “save money when you buy XYZ” is more likely to appeal to potential consumers.
#15: Grab Your Readers
If you want to stand out, pay special attention to your title, headers, and opening paragraph. A great title will pique interests. Big, bold headers will grab them into the opening paragraph. Now, here’s where you really have to sell yourself, as the opening paragraph is everything.
If your beginning statements are weak, your readers will have no reason to continue. But if you start off strong, they’re in, even if some of the writing lags in the middle. After all, the first paragraph was so enticing; they’ll want to know where you’re going.
#16: Watch the Sarcasm
I know I mentioned humor earlier on, and it’s true you want to make people laugh. It’s very easy, however, to fall into sarcasm as a backup if you have a sarcastic sense of humor. But you have to keep in mind, dry humor does not read too well in print. Just think of how many misunderstandings originated for a misinterpreted text message…
…yeah, it’s like that.
Your audience may read your attempt at sarcasm as mean-spirited, ignorant, or offensive. So be safe and keep it friendly!
#17: Benefits Over Features
If you are writing about a product or service, listing benefits is far more appealing than listing features. Instead of rattling off what your product or company offers, which can have something of a sterile feel to it, tell your audience how you can help them. While the difference is subtle, telling readers what they have to gain shows a little more care on your part. You’re not bragging about what you can do; you’re letting them know how you can help.
#18: Pay Attention to SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so important for helping your audience find your work that it cannot be overlooked. Get to know keywords because they’ll be your best friend when it comes to finding viewers. Simply put yourself in their shoes and think about what words you would search for if you were on the prowl for some out-of-this-world content.
#19: Pull a Content Audit
Are you worried your SEO could be lacking in one area or another? Or what about little mistakes, such as typos or broken links? Maybe some of the content on your website is outdated. According to buffersocial, a content audit is perfect for analyzing the areas in which your copy might be lacking, and it can help keep your output clean, professional, and relevant to your audience.
#20: Have Fun With It
Seriously, relax! Cut loose. Have fun. Be yourself. This is your chance to be creative, put your voice out there, and assert your authority. So proudly proclaim to the world what it is you have to offer!
Phew! We made it! I don’t know about you, but I could sure use some hydration after that rundown. So go ahead, grab a refreshing glass of water, sit down, and get to work on writing some killer copy that’ll hook your readers and leave them begging for more! And once you hit publish, come back and share a link in the comments and let us know which of these tips worked for you.