10 Hot Tips Every DIY Copywriter Needs

You have decided it’s time to roll up your sleeves and create a written masterpiece. Good for you! The first step to creating awesome copywriting depends on you. For example, how well do you express your thoughts and ideas when writing to someone you have never met? Here are the best tips to help you do it with ease.

Businesses hire professional copywriters to help sell their products and services. They need smart sales writing to get the job done. You have decided to explore the challenge of doing it yourself. Who is more qualified than yourself to talk about your business. Make sure that what you write convinces your audience to read, learn and ultimately buy from you.

Digital marketing continues to outpace print advertising as the popular media of choice. That’s why I’m going to focus on helpful ideas for digital writing of web pages and landing pages. While some of the copywriting guidance may be used for print advertising, let’s direct our attention to a key marketing asset…your website.

copywriter's need

Tip 1 - Get to the point already

Unlike reading printed books, magazines, sales materials and other print media, visitors to your website are not going to read each word on every web page. They are going to scan some of your pages but not all. Knowing this behavioural pattern, you can use it to your advantage.

Copywriting for web pages should adopt a journalistic style. Start by writing a headline that creates immediate curiosity and interest. Then, make sure your opening sentences get to the point straight away or risk losing the reader’s attention. If your writing appeals to a majority of people, you have created a sure fire way to get your first paragraph read.

The initial sentence must lead the reader from the eye catching headline to a clear statement of the message. If you tease the reader with fluff writing or open with a “once upon a time” style, you are guaranteed to lose most of your audience. Drive the message home first, then deliver the supportive details and close with a call to action. Skip the pressure and scare tactics. Shoppers are much more informed now and insulting their intelligence is a real turn off.

Tip 2 - Babbling brooks…not writers

Search engines love content The more you write the more they want. However, website visitors have a different view. They are impatient and have the attention span of the common flea, with all due respect to pesky fleas everywhere. If shoppers are just surfing on the internet as most of us do, they may follow a link to your website with no particular interest in your business. Here is a golden opportunity for you.

If you can quickly create a want or need in your reader’s mind for your products and services, you are rewarded with an increased conversion rate, not to mention a new customer. If you bore them stiff with mountains of words they won’t read, click…they leave your website. The solution is simple. Write about 250 – 300 words per web page. This keeps search engines happy and your potential customers, too. In summary, when writing website copy, make it short, sharp and to the point.

Tip 3 - The lighthouse strategy

We all know the purpose of a lighthouse is to aid navigation. So how do copywriters help shoppers find your website? An informed search engine optimisation (SEO) copywriter knows how to research, locate and use keywords and keyword phrases. They are used to highlight the subject of web pages for search engines and prospective customers.

If keywords and phrases are the beacons that guide search engines and readers alike to your web pages, you might be tempted to literally put some of these valuable words in every sentence you write. This is definitely not a good idea. There is a delicate balance between appealing to search engines and boring your reader with the over usage of keywords. Target a few keywords for each of your pages but don’t overdo it. Remember, the real key is not just keywords. Good writing must primarily deliver your message with interest and convince the reader to take action.

Tip 4 - $1,000 words

You are proud of your business, products and services. You acknowledge and appreciate the hard work and hours your employees dedicate to fuel your continued success. You probably want to tell the world how excited you are about it. The pride and commitment should permeate throughout your website but not to the detriment of your ultimate objective…to sell your message.

Here’s an excercise to end excessive boasting, wordy sentences and huge paragraphs of text that customers don’t want to read. Write the content for your new or updated web page. Next, count the number of words on the page. Let’s pretend that to publish the page on our website, each word costs $1,000. Multiply the number of words times $1,000 each. Hmmm…the total cost is an expensive proposition for any size business.

I guarantee that if each word you publish on your website pages costs $1,000 a day, some of the words are about to hit the cutting room floor. The idea is to cull unnecessary details and general fluff to peak and maintain the reader’s interest. The end result is a very succinct and targeted message.

Tip 5 - Go with the flow

A common writing mistake is rambling on with no particular logic behind the actual presentation of the material. It may seem like a good idea at first. But like a musician, there must be a specific flow and rhythm to the order of the sentences and paragraphs you write. The messages must unfold logically for the reader to assure continuity, comprehension and clarity. Simply tossing ideas randomly at your readers is a sure fire way to lose their interest.

Let’s expand on the music analogy. A crescendo is defined as playing a musical piece with increasing volume. Your writing should mirror this style. Begin with a hard-hitting message and increase the level of appeal with supportive facts that create real interest in your reader’s mind. Like a musician, reorder your sentences and paragraphs for maximum impact and delivery. Develop a flow and rhythm that compels people to read every single word.

Tip 6 - Say what?

When you ‘speak’ to your potential customers in writing, be certain that they understand every word. If certain words confuse them such as terms specific to your industry, you chance losing them to a competitor. Grab a dictionary and give your readers a helping hand. Simplify, use synonyms or define these types of industry terms, acronyms and technical jargon.

Your best bet is to write for the average person. The strategy assures that anyone can easily and readily understand your message. Big, fancy words and phrases may impress family and friends but your bottom line will be far less impressive. It’s always a good idea to give everyday examples and comparisons for clarity. Readers will appreciate the courtesy of easy-reading material to clearly understand your sales proposition and act upon it.

Tip 7 - It’s getting a little stuffy

Social networks have changed the way we think and write to each other in business. It has created a more casual atmosphere, affecting communications, marketing, advertising and branding in general. People seem to like it so don’t fight it. Join the trend when writing your website copy to readily engage your audience.

It’s easy, fun and natural to write conversationally to qualified web prospects you want to attract. However, don’t be fooled by this light hearted approach. It’s still business as usual and your casual writing must still convince people to buy. Become too familiar in your writing style and you risk the perception of being a little too carefree and friendly for some prospective customers. Gain their trust and confidence as you deploy your sales techniques and you are well on the way to making a sale.

Tip 8 - Put your shovel away

Some business websites share a common mistake. The writing is almost exclusively about the business and seems to omit what is truly important…the customer. Does this sound familiar in the paragraphs of your website at the moment?

  • We are the industry leader of the planet earth.
  • Our business is the greatest thing since the invention of time itself.
  • I am the leading expert of the entire universe
  • My team of skilled professionals are happy to help you (duh, of course they are)

Obviously, I had a bit of fun making this list. Do you see a pattern here? How do the words make you feel about the business and its employees? Let’s do a rewrite to drive the point home.

  • As an industry leader, you enjoy competitive prices and a reputation built on quality.
  • You can trust a business that has served clients for three generations.
  • Industry experts are qualified to provide you with ideal solutions for your business.
  • A team of experts await your call 24/7 with solid advice and help when you need it.

Get the idea? It should always be about the customer and how you are able to help them. Limit the use of the words we, our, I and my. Replace them with the words you and your. Make your customers feel that you genuinely care about them, their needs and their business and you will begin to build a relationship of trust.

Tip 9 - If a picture paints a thousand words…

Photos sprinkled throughout your text have a useful purpose:

  • They break-up the monotony of text blocks
  • They help convey your message, sometimes better than words
  • They attract attention and arouse curiosity

The use of formatting is another useful tool that helps website visitors to scan your writing in search of specific areas of interest. You can use a combination of bold type, text colours, numbered or bulleted lists, symbols, charts and other concepts to encourage visitors to continue reading.

Tip 10 - Now what?

You have invested considerable time preparing your copywriting for all of your web pages. Terrific! Don’t forget the most important point of all. Give interested prospects clear directions about what you want them to do next. This may not necessarily be a direct call to action.

  • Sometimes you may want to encourage people to buy now
  • If your products and services are fairly complex and instant sales are uncommon, tell them how to contact a representative who can answer their question
  • You might want to collect email addresses by offering a freebie or percentage discount if visitors subscribe to your monthly eNewsletter

There are several ways to request contact details from your target audience. However, if you provide a link to another one of your web pages, here’s an SEO tip. Use keywords when practical in your link. Search engines love it because they can follow your link to more content. For example, if your business is selling power boats, try using, ’contact a power boat expert’ as your link - not the classic ’contact us.’