What is your website content for? This is the bottom-line. Answering this question can lead to performance boosts in organic traffic generation, lead acquisition, conversion, and sales. Furthermore, it can help you manage outsourcing copywriting tasks and content creation, if, as do most small to mid-sized businesses, you require outsourced services.
Content should never be just content. What you need isn’t just original, fresh, and quality content. You need goal-driven content. Content isn’t just used to lure in search engine bots so they could crawl and index your webpages. Content is, in fact, the very core of your search optimisation efforts, and thus what you do with it should be aligned to your goals. Your content strategy should tie into your entire marketing campaign. Otherwise, you could end up using the wrong type of content for a particular objective. A simple example of this is crafting generic web content for paid search ads. You bid for the keywords for that ad, you know you’re expecting targeted traffic, but you failed in polishing and tweaking the content to match its purpose and leverage that targeted traffic to push for a sale.
What Goal are You Trying to Achieve?
Have you ever played chess? Any master would tell you that every move in chess is made towards a common goal: a grand plan that aims to capture the opposing king. This is what it means by applying strategy to copywriting. Let’s apply a top-down strategy in chess:
- You know your goal is to corner the enemy king
- You need a strategy to do so
- You need to place your pieces in the right locations to execute cornering manoeuvrers
- You need to find a way to get your pieces where you want
- Now you know to which endeavour your every move should be aligned
When it comes to content, the process is the same, and the concept applies. The way you craft your content should be aligned to its medium and its goal. Let’s take a few of the most typical content types as examples:
Any ecommerce website showcasing its goods will require product descriptions. But what sort of descriptions do you need? These questions should help you assess what sort of product descriptions will work best for your needs:
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- Do you need / will your audience appreciate technical descriptions?
- Do you need / will your audience respond well to a sales-y approach?
- Do you need / will your audience need to know about longer details or would short descriptions suffice? Which goes well with product images?
Sales copy is supposed to persuade people to make a purchase. You can use them on landing or product pages, as well as blog posts promoting a certain product. Paid search ads use sales copy, but the limited number of words to be used makes it much more difficult. There are a few tips and tricks to effective sales copywriting:
- Create a sense of urgency: Words like “limited offer,” “only while supplies last,” and “one-time special” help create urgency.
- Create excitement: An upbeat tone throughout sales content helps create excitement, and making sure you tell your readers about the benefits of the features of a product instead of just narrating its features creates excitement as well. Keywords “new,” “improved,” and “fresh” are some typically used verbiage.
- “Soft sell” to new leads and “hard sell” to leads further down your sales funnel: Depending on where a lead is in your buying cycle, you can either hard sell (press for the sale) or soft sell (persuade through subtle suggestion).
Your blog is an excellent source of fresh content for search engines, but you also need to align your blog posts with certain goals. For instance, if you want a blog post to lead a reader into your sales funnel:
- You need to align the topic of the blog post to the certain stage of the buying cycle you want the reader to be led into.
- You need to place a call to action for the reader to go into your buying process.
- If you need to reinforce persuasion, you can add a call to action to other relevant posts that can do so, and then from there lead readers into your sales funnel.
- Tweak your calls to action: what would close the blog post well and persuade a reader to take action? A free trial? A discount coupon?
eBook and White Paper Content
Ebooks, white papers, technical reports, and case studies are very useful for business to business lead generation, and can be treasure troves of information for the diligent consumer doing research. These types of content provide more value, establish the authority of the provider, and give better insight. If you want to use these materials for lead generation or a lead nurturing campaign:
- Provide actual, updated data from reputable sources
- Quantify and qualify your claims
- Cite concrete examples instead of postulating abstract concepts
- Always perform a bit of branding
These are just some content strategy and copywriting pointers you can employ on some of the most widely used types of content. Evidently, if you use one sort of content in an improper manner, you will not be able to maximise its efficacy. For example, if you hard sell to technical white paper readers, you lack the leverage of a targeted audience, since even a slightly interested person or a researcher can avail of a technical white paper. That does not mean he is one push away from a sale. Furthermore, you risk damaging your image and losing authority.
Why are you moving your pawn? Why are you placing it there? There should be no single move that is not made to further the endeavour of cornering the opposing king. What is your website content for? What goal are you trying to achieve? This goal should dictate how your content is crafted, or how you deliver instructions to your outsourced copywriting services provider. This goal – and how you align content to it – helps boost marketing performance.