Writing web copy can be a very different experience than writing printed copy. Online readers have a much shorter attention span and expect to have their questions answered completely and immediately. You only have a few seconds to get their attention and prove to them that what you’re offering (even if it’s just information) is what they’re seeking, and that it’s what they want or need to read. Otherwise, they’ll quickly move on to the next link they find.
Here are a few things you must do if you want your web copy to get found, read, and shared.
Do Your Research
If you want your web copy to capture your reader’s attention, then you need to speak their language (literally and figuratively) and publish or share your copy where they already hang out online. Some research to do:
- Find out where your ideal reader will be online (which blogs, websites, social media pages, etc.).
- See what keywords they use and how they use them. For instance, professionals on Wall Street have a very different way of communicating than professionals in the medical field.
Tailor your writing in a way that will spark their interest, and speak to how they think and what they need. You must keep in mind their age range, gender, income, education, and family circumstances, as well as their dreams, worries, and problems. Successful web copy depends on its ability to connect with the right audience in the right online space.
Spend a Lot of Time on Your Headline
In the online arena, more than eighty percent of copy won’t be read if its headline isn’t interesting or relevant. And that makes sense. Why would you click on something that’s dull or doesn’t seem relevant to your needs when there are one hundred other titles to click on that do seem interesting and relevant?
Oftentimes, skilled writers will scribble down multiple potential headlines and research their keywords multiple times before selecting the headline that will be published with the body copy.
And while your headline should be intriguing, always make sure it’s an honest representation of what your copy contains. If it’s not, your readers will only get frustrated and won't read your copy.
Don’t Get Distracted with Being Clever or Creative
A lot of writers think that good web copy needs to include a clever joke, alliteration or a creative story or theme. While that can certainly help sometimes, it can also distract writers from creating copy that serves a purpose.
People are busy, especially as they’re clicking and typing away online. They don’t care how clever you are. They will keep reading only if they can see a benefit in doing so.
Ensure your copy quickly gets to the point, and let your readers understand right away how you’re going to try and solve a problem they’re facing.
Tell Your Audience What’s in it for Them
After you’ve crafted a headline aimed at your ideal readers, tell them why they should keep reading your copy. Are you sharing unique research they’ll find useful? Are you offering a product that will save them a lot of time? Will you be entertaining them for a few minutes?
Tell them at the beginning. Successful web copy that gets results (more views and shares), speaks directly to a targeted audience about what’s in it for them and what’s important to them.
Write with Your Audience’s Emotions in Mind
When writing web copy, don’t simply list features or bullet points of information. It can make you come across as robotic, and will most likely be very boring to read.
Instead, speak to your audience’s emotions. If you’ve done your research, you’ll know what they’re stressed about and what they dream about, and what will speak to them. Use that information to solve a problem they’re having.
Research has also shown that readers are more likely to respond to copy that uses positive keywords and has an overall positive context.
Include a Call-to-Action
The call-to-action is one of the primary purposes of web copy. You’re writing something to a specific audience for a specific reason, something that will inspire your readers to act.
If you want your web copy to get results, guide your readers with a call-to-action. Let them know how they can share your copy with their friends or associates, where they can click to get their special offer, how to subscribe to your blog, and so on. Make it easy to see and understand. And make sure it’s relevant and aligns well with your body copy. Otherwise, it will most likely be ignored.
Once you’ve tailored your web copy to your target audience, don’t forget to have it edited and proofread before you publish it. Whether your web copy gets results depends on it being tailored to the right audience, as well as its accuracy and completeness. If the headline alone can take a dozen drafts, imagine how many drafts the body copy should go through before it’s marked as “ready to publish.” But if you put the effort required into crafting your web copy, you’ll see real results.