For freelance writers, there is a ton of business copywriting for digital marketing companies. However, successful web content is different than writing an article for a paper or magazine. There is much more competition online, and you need your readers to take notice while they browse countless sites. Here are a few tips to help you get a feel for becoming a better web content writer.
Write for the Web Audience
The reader on the internet is diverse. Some have college degrees, some never made it out of high school. Because the web is international, English is a second language to many. Don’t write your copy like a college term paper, more like a letter (email) to a friend. Most readers feel comfortable reading at a 7th or 8th-grade level – write accordingly.
Think of your project as a pyramid upside down. The widest part on the top and the narrow point on the bottom. Give your readers the central theme of your copy first and then specific detail as you continue. The more useful the information is to your reader the more likely they will keep reading.
Focus Should be on Your Readers
One thing you will find with copy editors or content marketing directors, each has a different strategy when it comes to SEO. However, I feel confident the days of keyword stuffing are over. Although we will need to adapt our writing to the format given by our client, we must write copy geared mainly toward the reader.
Including keyword phrases will become easier with experience while keeping the copy exciting and readable. Writing for SEO involves keyword inclusion without making it obvious. I like to include keywords in sub-headers when possible.
Keep to the Point
You’re not writing the next great American novel or even a short story. With web content, shorter is better, but you need to make your point. However, you may encounter long assignments, but rarely over 2000 words.
Keep sentences short and direct using words where a thesaurus is not necessary. I like to keep my pages under 500 words.
Don’t Sound Salesy
Stay away from marketing text you could find on a brochure. When you’re trying to convince your reader to take some form of action, resist using fluffy adjectives or salesy platitudes. Convince by providing value to your reader. Explain what’s in it for them.
Using Images or Media
Pictures or videos can be a great addition to your copy, but the same rules apply. Don’t decorate your project with random images but use them to expand your text. Many marketers assume this task, but others will ask you. Be creative but not overbearing.
Call to Action
In any selling environment, good salespeople ask for the order. In content marketing, it is no different. “The close” is known as a call to action. This is when you ask your reader to respond to an invitation. This invitation may be to click a link, make a call, or buy online. Many readers go right to the call to action if they are shopping for what you are offering. Give them the opportunity.
I like one at the beginning of my content, right after my introduction; and one at the end. If it’s long copy sprinkle in one per page. You can add it to your content or separate it, so it’s easy to find.
Rules Made to be Broken
Don’t make these rules religious because some projects will need levity. Know your audience and have fun writing for them. The goal is to engage the reader, get your point across, and have them respond. Never lose sight of who you’re writing for – your reader. Keep this in mind, follow the rules of SEO and your copy will do great!