It’s time to get real about copy. That’s right, copy, not coffee - although a coffee could help you write better copy (N.B not a proven fact).
There are two types of copy: the good, and the bad. The good can earn you the big bucks and win over customers galore, while the bad can bury your website before the end of the financial year. You might not think it’s much of a big deal, but it is. And here’s why.
The importance of good copy
Good copy to a website is what a phenomenal striker is to a football team - you need it to score goals. The best kind of copy helps the reader understand, lets them know what the hell you’re talking about and who knows, might even squeeze a sale out of them.
Bad copy, meanwhile, can leave you open to ridicule and can cause website visitors to flee in their hundreds. If people can’t understand what you’re reading, or they’re bored to tears - they won’t be sticking around.
Even spelling mistakes and poor grammar come under the umbrella of bad copy. Would you trust a company that can’t distinguish between ‘its’ or ‘it’s’ or thinks it’s American when it is, in fact, a British website? Didn’t think so.
Here’s an insider secret for you to remember - your copywriter is one of the most important staff members you’ll ever have. Whether you’re hiring a freelancer or bringing your copywriter on full-time, they will be more valuable than you could ever know.
Writing copy that sells
The main aim of copy is to persuade someone to do something. Most people aren’t stupid and can spot a sales pitch a mile off - so clever, creative copy is a must for that subtle sell.
If you plan on monetising your website through affiliates like WOW TRK, your copy needs to stand out. Some top tips for writing copy that sells include:
Don’t do it yourself if you’re bad at writing
Some people are born to write, others aren’t - and that’s fine. If you know you can’t do a good job of it yourself, find someone who can. It’s on your head if your website fails, so help it stand the best chance of success by hiring someone good.
Audience research matters
Failing to research your audience is like wandering around a buffet in the dark. You could end up reaching out and grabbing the wrong thing and not liking how it tastes. When planning your copy, it’s important to figure out who you’re writing for, what they like and how you’re going to give it to them. There’s no use trying to market a clothing brand to 20-somethings with copy aimed at their mums.
Remember that your customers are smart
Patronising your audience is not the way to write good copy. If you talk down to them or treat them like they’re idiots, they’re going to turn away and form negative perceptions of your brand. Make sure you respect your customers and talk to them as equals - your appeal will grow much quicker this way.
Don’t forget the SEO
While copy needs to be smart, sophisticated and funny, there’s one element you won’t want to forget - your SEO. Without some cleverly-implemented SEO, you could end up committing search engine suicide. It’s not pretty, and nobody wants to be left hanging on at the bottom of the Google charts. Revisit your SEO strategy and make sure that all new copy falls in line.
Get to the point
The internet generation hasn’t got the best reputation for attention span. If you don’t get to the point quickly, you might just end up costing yourself a sale. Put your most valuable asset or your selling point early on in the copy, or even the headline to help people see exactly what you want them to do. Keep the rest of the copy on point and don’t meander away so that you’ve lost the point. Short and sweet is gold, long and winding is old.
Without good copy, your website could fail. It’s not a risk worth taking, so why would you settle for subpar copy? When planning your website and your content strategy - make sure you put words at the heart of your plans. As the glue that holds your website together, you’ll want to get serious about your copy.
Need further help to grow your copy? Beloved business website Entrepreneur has some excellent tips to share with its ten commandments of great copywriting. Or, just hire a great copywriter - simple!