What does a copywriter do?
A copywriter is a wordsmith who creates online content to answer a question, entertain and inform, and to connect its readers to products and services.
And why is copywriting important for a business?
Online copywriting is absolutely critical to support a business or organisation’s marketing initiatives, its brand message and ultimately sell its products and services. It covers texts for online articles and blogs, ads, social media posts, email marketing, videos, presentations and website content.
Before marketing and communication took off online, copywriting was needed mainly for print material and broadcasting. Today, online copywriting is the premier information station on your yellow brick road – over 80% of all internet users search for a product or service online. And as of January 2021, almost 60% of the world’s population was connected.
Read on to learn more about the craft of online copywriting, brand message and storytelling, what to consider when writing copy for a website and what expertise and resources you can use.
We also had great fun checking out some cool landing and ‘about us’ web pages, which we will share. We hope they will give you lots of inspiration and new ideas. So here goes.
The five key ingredients for impactful online copywriting
We are (unfortunately) not all born pastry chefs, we’re also not all natural wordsmiths and storytellers. But there is a recipe to follow and essential ingredients to add to the mix when writing online copy and make it stand out. Here are our top 5 tips:
1. Don’t waffle
Yup, it is official – our attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish! According to a Microsoft study, it has dwindled to a measly 8 seconds!
So, get to the point, draw the reader in, and deliver useful and engaging content.
At the heart of online copywriting is the skill to write a compelling message that inspires its audience to take action.
At the same time, it’s essential to reflect your company’s voice. It’s also an opportunity to tell a story. What your business stands for should not be confined to just the ‘about us’ section. It should shine through every bit of content and every message. Words are such a powerful tool!
Successful online copy engages its readers, communicates authority, is persuasive and leads to selling a service or product. It should rank well.
2. Understand search engines
Search engines’ sole purpose is to answer questions. We typically turn to Google with a specific question. And we’d like a specific answer. Yet as soon as we hit ‘enter’, we’re bombarded with thousands of search results.
The content which best answers our question, the one that sticks out and gets noticed – that is the one that will likely get clicked on the most.
Google continues to dominate the search engine market with a whopping 92.47% share as of June 2021. So it’s worthwhile to understand how its recent updates have been geared towards supporting more user-centric, high-quality content. Quality in online copywriting includes understanding SEO and answering the question asked concisely and expertly.
A quick SEO checklist for online copywriting:
- Determine your topic and do your keyword research around that. For example, what are the relevant terms and definitions people search for?
- Find out what type of content currently ranks.
- Use these keywords in your posts and your web pages and craft text that is interesting, engaging and reads well. There is a fine line between using keywords well and sounding repetitive.
- Structure, structure, structure. See “The power of structure, grammar and top-notch headers”.
- Include internal links as well as external links to relevant and trustworthy sources
- Wordsmith your meta descriptions
- Make sure your content is unique
3. Know your audience
Who are you writing for? What questions need answering, and what do you wish to achieve? Make what you write a one-on-one conversation with your customer. Always include a ‘call to action’. What do you want the reader to do?
Understanding your customer will allow you to target your content better and attract increased traffic to your website, ideally translating into more sales.
But how do you know if your efforts are working or not? This is where SEO reporting can make a real difference. You can take steps to analyse and report on traffic to your website.
4. The power of structure, grammar and top-notch headers
- First impressions count! So start with an irresistible headline that tells the reader this content will be valuable to them, unique and will answer their question. For example, “Our top 10 tips for creating a successful LinkedIn profile” will likely attract more interest than “Creating a LinkedIn profile.”
- Structure your text well: Short paragraphs pander to our dwindling attention span, but they’ll also make it easy to follow. Using subheadings will be helpful for SEO purposes.
- Write clear, concise and error-free. Don’t be shy to run your text through a spelling checker and work on your synonyms.
- Make sure you research your topic thoroughly and use reliable sources.
- Write each sentence in a way that entices the reader to move on to the next one.
5. Get creative with visuals
The saying goes, “we eat with our eyes”. The same idea applies to online content. We are more likely to be drawn to an article or a home page with a relevant, attractive image than to one with plain text and a monochrome colour palette.
Pictures, graphs, drawings, videos and icons are all there to support the message you want to convey. They can grab a reader’s attention and imagination, give them an insight into who you are as a company, and let them visualise a product, process or service.
How many people do we know who are absolutely brilliant at absolutely everything? Anybody?
Especially when running a small business, it’s important to make the most of your expertise and skills without spreading yourself too thin. So consider complementing your operations with outsourced skills.
Copywriting lends itself to remote work and freelancing. It requires a specific set of skills that can be added to your team as and when needed. Platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr can provide a very flexible solution to bringing in additional talent at short notice.
But what makes a good copywriter? How can you tell a professional word-ninja from a wannabe hack?
Here are some skills and attributes to look for in a good copywriter:
Creativity and flexibility
A good copywriter can adapt writing style and voice to each client. All copy needs to represent the brand and image of that client, stand out from the crowd, be persuasive and engage the reader.
Skilled writers will also be able to write across several different topics and research them if the subject is slightly outside of their expertise. But they will always write about an issue with authority and flair. The end product will always sound like they know exactly what they are talking about.
Research and analytical skills
Researching and then summarising facts in your own words is an integral part of successful online copywriting. It is vital to understand how to back up your claims, citing trustworthy sources and studies.
Can-do attitude and self-motivation
Every now and then, those creative ideas seem like they are hiding out of reach. Sentences just won’t connect, and words sound clunky. A professional copywriter will buckle down and consistently deliver compelling well-crafted text, on time.
They’ll know a thing or two about online tools and platforms and are not afraid to use them either.
Understanding of Marketing and Sales
A professional writer will understand marketing techniques, SEO, engagement and conversions, and will know what a sales funnel is and what makes a landing page excellent.
Good copywriters will leave their ego at home regardless of their personal beliefs and preferences. Their job is to connect with the reader and address their needs, dreams, and desires. They need to be on the same wavelength as that reader. They should be good listeners.
Get online copywriting right the first time
Copywriting – it sounds so simple. But in actual fact, it represents quite a complex set of diverse skills. And one that is in high demand.
It’s also something that needs to be done right. The internet does have a long memory for one, and it is always harder to undo communications and information than get them right the first time.
And that’s what the team at LYF Solutions is here for: To get it right the first time!
You can count on our team of SEO ninjas, creative wordsmiths and amazing visual designers committed to understanding your needs and delivering a tailored, successful online presence for you. Get in touch with us to find out more.
Before you go – sample these!
Wow, there are some super creative people out there! To get the conversation started, the creative juices flowing, or just for a little gander, we’ve chosen a couple of companies for you which have been producing great web pages, relevant blogs and social media content. They showcase awesome brand voice, convincing and to the point facts, great visuals, uncomplicated and interactive design, and excellent storytelling:
Goodwill Wines, Australia:
Try to find them on Facebook. Their generous donations to various charities shine through here. You’ll find it’s the charities that do the comms for them!
Peter Scott Yoga:
Peter is one of our valued clients and together with him, our team developed and is implementing his online presence.
Which one is your favourite one and why? Let us know!