There always seemed to be this line between creative writing and business writing. Technical writers and people charged with web site copywriting were doomed to write dry, uninteresting books and papers, whereas creative writers were free to write what they want, inspiring people in the process.
But this was a fallacy. Creative writing can be anything at all, but web site copywriting has to inspire people to buy a product, send a resume or take some other action. Otherwise, the writer's just collecting a paycheck (which is, admittedly, something many creative writers aspire to do).
When people read your words, are they passionate about the idea you're pitching, or do they shrug and move on? Don't leave your website's readers unaffected; whether you are writing it yourself, or utilizing the services of a professional writer, follow these tips to make your web site copywriting a source of inspiration.
Focus on the Customer
When writing about a product or service, copywriters often have to tout specific features. For some writers, however, the features become so important that they lose sight of why they're writing about the product. Write about the "what" of your offer, but always tie it back to the "why" - your customers.
Let's say you're selling a great new software for small businesses. It might be fun to talk about the dashboard and the management tools, but not all your readers are tech-heads. Instead of just talking about the bells and whistles of your product, talk about how all these features can help address your potential customers' needs.
Appeal to Emotions
Without exception, every inspirational speech, article and story has appealed to our emotions. The author knew exactly how to push our buttons and make us want to take action. Make sure every portion of your web site has enough passion and emotion to appeal to your readers' deepest fears and aspirations.
You don't have to be schmaltzy; just combine objective features with more visceral benefits. You might say that a new dress has a slimming effect, but it's more powerful with a headline that reads, "Wear our dress and look like you lost 20 pounds." The first sentence informs readers; the second sentence inspires them to buy the dress.
Use a Distinctive Style
My 12th-grade government teacher once wrote on a paper that she liked how she could "hear" my writing. In other words, she liked my unique writing style. Good web site copywriting should sound professional, but also adopt a tone that can't be found anywhere else. Make sure your copy follows suit.
The best way to find your writing voice is to write in a way that feels natural. Do you like to crack jokes in your copy? Does your writing tend to be more cerebral or more down-to-earth? Of course, your style can't define your business's personality, but a distinctive writing style can do wonders to reinforce your brand.
Don't Just Inform - Instruct
Great writing can create an atmosphere, painting a picture of your products and your business in vivid detail. But at the end of the day, your copy isn't just supposed to paint a pretty picture - it's supposed to tell readers what to do next. Go nuts with your descriptions, but be sure to add a clear call to action somewhere in the picture.
Advertorials and other long-form copy often go into excruciating detail about a product's various features and benefits. But they also contain several calls to action, either to call a toll-free number or fill out a form. Make sure your copy includes a strong, inspiring call to action; otherwise, your readers will just spend five minutes reading a nice story.
Watch for Errors
Imagine reading about how great a South African safari would be: the breathtaking savannas, the antelopes, the elephants, and the loins. Loins? In a flash, the moment is ruined. A misspelled word or awkward phrase can wreck the mood you're trying to convey, so use your eyes (and spell checker) to make sure they don't occur.
Before submitting web site copywriting, read every word of it. Check spelling, punctuation and grammar. Use an online spell checker. Ask an editor or proofreader to check it again. Don't just assume that no one will notice one little spelling error - someone will, and you may be the butt of a few jokes because of it.
Your writing should stir a passion about your products and services among everyone who reads it. Before publishing your web site copy, make sure it's as inspirational as it is promotional.
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