perjantai 20. huhtikuuta 2018

Ragan.com: 18 ways to write better business copy

When you’re launching a business, the budget is probably tight.

It’s tough to differentiate between a wise investment and a wasteful rabbit hole, but one thing you should not skimp on is writing.

As you launch your company, you’re probably jumping into a crowded field. Good copywriting will give you a distinct voice among the competition and, most important, help you convert more customers.

Here are 18 tips to write copy that convinces, influences and converts:

1. Write conversationally. Communicate with people as you would over coffee. Eliminate industry geek speak. Delete jargon and insider phrases that might cause confusion. If you use technical terms, define them.

Write with a casual tone, and emphasize clarity over trying to sound smart.

2. Learn how to write a great headline. David Ogilvy knew that people tend to read headlines—and often not much else.

Ogilvy was working mostly with print ads, but headlines are still crucial for web content, blogs, landing pages and other marketing collateral. Treat every headline as if it’s the only bit of your story people will read—because it often is.

Don’t treat headlines as an afterthought. Take time to craft teasers that entice, inspire, jar and excite.

3. Become a master with emotion. People tend to buy based on emotion.

If you can invoke fear, greed, happiness and other emotions into your copywriting, you’ll create more sales. It’s that simple.

Make people understand how your product or service will make them feel.

4. Offer social proof. The second you have happy early adopters and customers, seek permission to place testimonials on your website.

You can hawk your own wares until you’re blue in the face, but neutral third parties always carry more marketing weight. Ask for LinkedIn recommendations, promote Facebook flattery, and solicit praise from your biggest fans.

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5. Tell a compelling story. What differentiates your company from the competition?

Even if you lack a fascinating backstory, use your “About” page to elaborate on your personal credentials, passions and interests. Tell stories instead of conveying information.

People remember a great story more easily than they’ll remember a data point. Always incorporate the human element in your writing, and prioritize content that lends itself to compelling storytelling.

6. Back up your claims. Hot takes and personal opinions won’t sway skeptical consumers. Use data, stats and facts to bolster your claims.

Cite reputable resources, piggyback off academic research or mine your own data to boost credibility and write more persuasively.

7. Maintain focus. Everything you write should have one central idea behind it. Don’t meander or try to cover too much in one piece. After you finish writing something, go back and edit out the filler.

Keep your copy focused on your main idea. If you have something strong that doesn’t support your main idea, save it for another blog post or marketing piece. Write with a specific call to action in mind.

8. Use visuals. Most readers will give your copy a few short seconds before they determine whether to continue. Use striking visuals with descriptive captions to lure them in.

Break up blocks of text by inserting pictures, GIFs, videos, infographics and other visually appealing elements to keep readers engaged. Also use bullet points, lists and subheads to make for swift reading.

9. Keep your copy clean. Typos can be a company killer.

Writing that’s rife with mistakes speaks to your credibility—or lack thereof. You don’t have to be perfect, but you should be consistent. There are ways you can improve. Use your word processor spell check, or a third-party program. Have someone look at your copy before you publish it. Hire a copy editor. All these things can help.

10. Write a strong “About Us” page. This is arguably your most important piece of marketing. Before making a purchase decision, your reader wants to know, “Why you?” Your “About” page is the place to create a compelling case of why you’re the right person for the job.

Use that page to establish credibility, likability and trust.

11. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. It doesn’t really matter what you think is interesting or exciting. Your writing should be geared with your readers’ interests, goals, problems and preferences in mind.

What are your potential customers looking for? What problems are they looking to you to solve? Let those questions drive your content. Ask readers and potential customers about what sorts of content they might find interesting.

12. Define your ideal customer. You can’t be all things to all people. Establishing a specific target audience will help you tailor your language and approach accordingly.

Once you home in on who your users are, go further to uncover their hobbies, interests and passions. You might find new ways to approach them and connect.

13. Be relevant and timely. What trends are shaping or affecting your industry? Which stories are dominating the headlines?

Newsjacking hot topics can boost your traffic and help you reach a wider audience. Use current events and pop culture to your own marketing advantage.

14. Include a time element. Instead of telling someone that your product can change their life, say that your product can make a significant impact within 14 days. Be specific about timeframes regarding your product’s beneficial qualities, and include time-sensitive offers to spur action.

15. Focus on the benefits. Tell people how your product or service can make their lives easier, better or more efficient. Instead of focusing on features, bells and whistles, key on the tangible benefits your product provides.

16. Ask questions. Questions can provoke and pique interest. Consider these questions:

  • Do you want to make more money?
  • Do you want to lose 20 pounds in 30 days?
  • Do you want more customers?
  • Are you concerned about retirement?

Most would respond “yes” to all of the above. Now consider these:

  • Would you like to call us today?
  • Do you think you can benefit from this?
  • When would you like to receive help?

These sorts of questions make readers consider doing something. Ask questions that lead your reader toward taking desired actions.

17. Consider search engines. Write for human readers, but keep Google in mind, too.

Which terms, phrases and keywords do you want people to associate with your business? Sprinkle them into your copy. Don’t overstuff your content with keywords, but they should be present.

If you’re using WordPress, download an SEO plugin such as Yoast to make sure your bases are covered. Writers should also stay abreast of SEO trends and changes by reading websites such as Moz, Content Marketing Institute and Hubspot.

18. Create clear calls to action. As you write, think about the change you are asking people to make. Remind them why they should make it. Reiterate the value in taking action, then remind people to buy now, call now, download now or whatever you want them to do.

Matt Brennan is a copywriter based in Illinois. A version of this post first appeared on his website.



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