How to write for the webWritten by Polly Nelson
The content on your website needs to be even more carefully thought out than content on your brochures. This article offers some useful advice on where to start when writing for web.
Get Read To start with, web users don't read pages. They scan them, looking for interesting information. They always want to move on and don't always believe what they read.
To gain and keep their attention; you need to be relevant, interesting, up-to-date, brief, consistent, easy to understand and accurate.
Know your audience A good place to start is with your audience. Think very carefully about who they are. This is obviously easier to do if your business is aimed at a niche market. If not; remember that you can't be all things to all people - and find out who your most profitable customer group is. Aim your content at them.
How do they talk, how do they think, what do they know and what do they want to know? Ensure you know your audience and write at their level and in their language. Make it relevant to them.
Get scannability Write in an inverted pyramid (say point and then explain it). Start with a really good headline that offers relevant benefits of reading text. Next, summarise your point. Put who, what, where, when and how in first two sentences. In next paragraph, briefly explain why and then move on.
Ensure you write paragraphs on pages to be read out of order. Remember that people have different sized screens and won't generally scroll down to find out whether or not information is interesting. Put main points at top of page in bold.
SOME COPY TIPS FROM AN OLD HANDWritten by Patrick Quinn
I have been in ad game for a long, long time. I have trained hundreds of writers, and I've been responsible for shifting millions of dollars in product worldwide. Here are just a few tips that I hope will help you do a better job, and make a bigger name for yourself.
One. Whatever copy job you are working on - brochure, mailer, sales letter, press ad - always include a headline. A pertinent headline. A selling headline. This headline will be, or should be, powerful enough or intriguing enough to draw your target into compass of body copy. If it can do that, you are on a winner. To put it simply, your headline should be a snapshot of your sales message - a précis of your offer or promise. In other words, a headline that says: Buy this product and get this benefit.
Two. Always remember, people don't buy products, they buy benefits of owning those products. A man doesn't buy a sports car because it is precision engineered or aesthetically designed. He buys it because of ego-boost it gives him. It shows world that he has made it. Likewise, a woman doesn't by a cocktail dress by Camille of Paris simply because of cut or exquisite stitching. She buys it for cachet that is attached to label. She would probably look as good in a dress from a High Street department store, but she wouldn't feel as good. And that's benefit.
Three. Around 30% of all copy headlines are both useless and irrelevant The worst of them often take form of puns or are re-workings of current film titles or song titles. Puns are fine if they are appropriate, which they seldom are. And writer who tries to demonstrate how cool he is by working his product message into a film or song title is usually doing a lot for sales of movie tickets and CDs, but very little for his client. The moral is this. State your sales proposition cleverly, wittily, stridently or emotively, but never ever employ a device simply because it's easy thing to do. If you can't be original, at least be positive.