CM 101: Writing for the Web: The Power of Copywriting
We are exposed to hundreds of pieces of content every day — blog posts, news articles, images, videos.
As a marketer, how do you cut through the noise and make your content stand out to your target audience?
There are many factors that go into making a compelling piece of content that cuts through the noise. Choosing a relevant topic and investing in
good design are important.
But there is one element that should not be overlooked or rushed: Copywriting.
Strong copywriting is what makes your marketing stick together or fall apart.
Why Strong Copywriting Is Essential
Copy informs. Copy instructs. Copy sells.
Copywriting is the thread that tells your prospects what you do and compels them to take action.
Lackluster copy camouflages your marketing message or your website in with the masses while strong, compelling copy cuts through the noise to the heart of the user's problem.
As a marketer, you should strive to make every statement —from the hero tile on your website to the button copy on your landing page to the subject line of your email— move prospects from being ambivilent consumers of information to voracious seekers of your knowledge!
(Indulge my dramatics here. Copywriting is that important!)
Here's on example of simple, but compelling copywriting on a website
If you want your website to help your business, you need compelling copy that states what you do and encourages the user to take action.
Thinking about copy forces you to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and speak to their needs.
Take a moment to think about the copy your company is using. Was it strategically planned? Is it working?
Once you’ve considered for a minute, let’s move on to six ways to improve your B2B website copy.
6 Steps Towards Being a Better Copywriter
When writing, start with the assumption that your reader is at rest. Objects at rest stay at rest. To push them into motion, you need to invoke an emotional response that connects with their pain points!
Strong copy will break them from passively consuming information to taking action on your website. Let’s talk about how to make that happen.
Know Your Target Customer
If you can’t speak to what your customer desires, then you aren’t going to be able to write great copy. It is important to know what problems your customer is searching to solve. When you can identify what problems they have and how they define their problems, you can write copy that connects with the prospect's mind set.
Creating buyer personas is a great way to start defining your customer's problems.
Remember that People Scan
Say this out loud: People don't read on the web, they scan. (Repeat 10x).
Ignore this fact and people will ignore your copy.
People will avoid long walls of text on the web. So if your best copy is buried within a long paragraph, people are going to miss it.
Use headings and sub headings to break up copy. Write short, 2-3 sentence paragraphs. Use lists to bullet key pieces of information.
Check out this post for more information on how to write an effective web page for scanners.
Keep in Mind "What’s in It" for the Reader
"What's in it for me?"
When you write copy for your website or on your blog, always answer this question for your reader.
This is so simple, but too easy to forget.
As a marketer, the fundamental challenge in answering "what's in it for me" is that you are so informed and educated on the particular product/service/offer you are trying to sell, you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be new.
On the other hand, your reader doesn't know all the reasons you're awesome. So you have to convince them to click your button. Always make it clear what they will gain from doing so.
Make Sure Your CTA is Compelling
Your “Call to Action” is an essential part of any piece of marketing. However, too many marketers let a lazy "click here" or "submit" slide as a call to action.
The copy of your button might seem trivial, but it is what your reader is clicking on to take action.
Make every CTA you write something appealing and logical. If they are downloading something, use the word "download". If they are purchasing something, use "buy now". Remember to always use a verb. It's simple, but goes wrong all too often.
Maintain a Storytelling Arc
Your web page is like a story. There should be some conflict that hooks the reader. Maybe their power bill is too high, or their IT infrastructure is too complex. Start with the problem. As they read down the page, build on this momentum and start solving the conflict. Offer solutions of increasing appeal and just when the reader thought it couldn’t get any better, BOOM! There is your Call to Action! The Climax. The button that they can click that will begin to solve all of their problems. That’s how a story goes. Your customer is the hero and your product is the magic weapon that saves the day.
Solve Your User's Problem
People want a few major things. These include but are not limited to: feeling good, looking good and worrying less. How is your product helping them achieve any of those goals? If you can speak to those huge problems in every person’s life, you’re going to have a lot easier time selling!
Case Study in Copywriting
Hubspot email newsletter ebook
This this little popup contains many good lessons in copywriting. You start off with “Featured Download” which makes you feel like you visited the website on a lucky day. "Featured" implies a limited time, special offer. Next it says, “How to create email newsletters that people actually click.” This sounds useful. "How to" indicates that it will be instructional. And getting clicks is a major pain point in your email marketing. Lastly, the CTA is “Download Now.” Perfect. No more waiting around or entering credit card information. It will be an instant download for you to open and read.
The First Place to Try Your Copywriting Skills
The good news is you can practice better copywriting in everything you do. But how do you measure what is successful and what isn't making an impact? What is the best place to start?
The best place to start is by writing better headlines for your blog posts!
Blog headlines are a great place to start because you are constantly sharing them. Take a few extra minutes to brainstorm a few different possible headlines for your post. Think about which headlines would draw the reader’s interest. Once you’ve chosen the best headline, don’t discard the others. You can test different headlines on social media to see which is more effective. Tweet the same article with a few different headlines and ee which gets the most clicks.
Same article, different headline. Try your alternate headlines on social media to see which would be more effective in the future
How Does Your Copy Stack Up?
Take a few minutes to consider your site and your marketing materials. How are you using a combination of copy and content to encourage readers to take action? Keep in mind that you need to marry the two in order to have a successful content marketing strategy. If you run into any trouble, we’re happy to help.