As we've mentioned before, here at Prim'd Marketing we believe it takes a village to produce awesome content week after week. Which is why we love bringing in our fabulous brand-friends to write on topics relevant to our readers. This week's post comes one of our Prim'd Partners, Shannon Linton, Co-founder of Syntactical Editing and Writing Services (for more of her rad credentials, check out her byline the bottom of this post).
Folks, I hate to break it to you, but it's getting harder to write good, engaging website content these days. Attention spans are shrinking—fast. In fact, Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, says you've got roughly 15 seconds to convince your readers to stick around before most click away. So, how do make them stay? It's pretty simple—use compelling content. By the way, it happens to be your lucky day—here are five ways to make your website copy have big impact:
1. Try on their shoes.
Good content feels as if the writer is speaking directly to you. It can be almost scary how well they get you. You might even find yourself laughing and nodding along. Or, if you're like me, you respond out loud...to an empty room. That kind of connection doesn't happen by chance. That writer did their homework, found out who their target audience was (you), and then walked far more than a mile in your favorite shoes to catch a glimpse of how you see the world.
So, if you haven't already, figure out who your target audience is. Is it a mom between the ages of 30–40 whose kids love team sports? Great—roll with it. Or, is it a young professional in middle management at a tech company who's looking to move up the ladder? Perfect—make sure you're talking directly to them.
2. Improve their life experience.
This might sound like a ridiculously overwhelming task. It's not—promise. Before you start writing a list of all the features your product or service includes, let me save you some time. Ditch that list. Instead, focus your content on how your product or service benefits your readers. What does it do for them? How is their life experience made better because of it?
For example, if you are a style consultant, instead of emphasizing your great closet organizational tips, sell the convenience and peace of mind that those tips will bring. Trust me—they'll love you for this.
3. Slash and burn.
Remember those 15 seconds I told you about? Yeah, you're gonna need to go a little crazy with the backspace button if you're content is gonna stand a chance. Write a draft. Read it. Read it again. Then cut absolutely every word you can. Is there a way to say what you want in three words instead of five? Do it. Tight and lean is the way to keep readers moving down your page well past that 15-second mark.
So, instead of: "Our helpful tips enable you to organize your life and return your focus to the things that matter most to you." Try: "Use our tips to organize your life and focus on what matters most."
4. Put your bossy pants on.
Believe it or not, readers love to be told what to do. Call it the security that comes with structure. When reading your site, they don't want to get to the end of a page only to wonder where to go next. Make any action items or next steps painfully clear. You might be surprised at how well they respond.
For example, at the end of a blog post, direct your readers to a great follow-up article. Or, if you want to add subscribers to a mailing list, have a call to action with a sign up button for your readers.
5. Optimize. No, really, optimize.
All of these tips are pretty much meaningless if readers can't actually find your site. If you're gonna take the time to make your content pop, take a just a little more time to be sure it shows up in search engine rankings. If you're feeling a little unsure about tackling SEO on your own, take advantage of snazzy tools designed to make it a little less scary. Or, turn to an SEO expert for help. You'll soon having traffic flying your way, and hanging out for a while to engage with your site. In my opinion, it doesn't get much better than that.
Shannon Linton is co-founder and a writer/editor at Syntactical Editing and Writing Services. She’s happiest when spear fishing or brushing up on her knowledge of U.S. history. In her spare time, you can find her getting “chef-y,” which basically just means cooking with a glass of great wine in hand. Contact Shannon at email@example.com or tweet at her.
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