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Personas for website copy

Fact: creating effective website copy isn’t easy. While certain people believe that stringing together a few words is something we’ve all been doing since childhood, the simple fact is that producing website copy that sells is exceptionally challenging. In fact, creating effective copy demands significant investment in time, consideration and research. There is also a need to invest heavily in preparation. One of the first steps to the creation of compelling website copy comes through establishing customer personas.

Identify your audience

If, like many businesses, your desire is to reach as broad a base of customers as possible, you need to be aware of the detrimental effect this can have on your content. Your audience is made up of flesh and blood humans, with their own likes and dislikes; what connects with one may isolate another. There is no tone of voice that will reach to every sector of your audience, so you will need to focus attention onto each market area separately.

Begin by carrying out some market research into your customer base, your industry, your existing website. Age, sex, occupation, location, interests, etc. will help you see exactly who you are talking to. Collating this information means you can establish a customer persona that is representative of your audience. You will know the type of person with which to communicate, the type of content it needs and likes, and where to reach them. Once you have all this information, you can create website copy to suit your target.

Put yourself in their shoes

With your customer persona created, you should look to put yourself in its shoes. By relating to its interests and turn offs, you can establish a tone of voice that connects, and identify the type of content it wants to see.

For example, if your customer persona is a male aged between 19-24 using an iPhone for web browsing, you can discount the need to prepare ten pages of articles in excess of 500 words; instead, bite-size pieces of information and imagery that prompts a response (be it sharing, downloading, demand for more, etc.) will prove far more effective. Only through knowing who you are talking to can you create effective website copy that they will want to see.

Keep it simple

Too often, brands and businesses try to convey myriad messages when one should suffice. Knowing your audience and identifying your goal are essential for the creation of website copy. Keep the message you’re sending simple and pointing towards your target; there’s no harm in leaving your audience wanting more, so long as you can provide it to them a step later.

The importance of establishing a customer persona cannot be overstated. Making sure you know your audience and its interests and needs will prove essential to your website’s success.

Website copy that sells

Investing in quality website copy is essential for the success of your online presence. Worryingly, however, website copy is often overlooked and/or left until the last minute before being written. Perhaps even more worrying is the tendency for this last-minute rush of content writing to be carried out by less than capable copywriters. So what are website owners to do?

Sourcing experienced writers

The world of digital marketing is awash with varied job titles which can often be misleading. That said, the role of a copywriter has changed little since before the web even came into existence. Copy will always need to be written, and an experienced copywriter should be the person to turn to. Being able to create content that is effective, high-quality, and search engine friendly will lay the foundations for a successful website. You will seldom see any major organisation sacrifice the quality of their written content, so why should you do the same?

Judge value not by price

Knowing how and where to invest your marketing spend in website copy isn’t straightforward, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of purchasing quantity over quality. In years past, websites hosting thousands upon thousands of pages would perform well in the search engines, securing steady traffic through a ‘catch-all’ approach. Thankfully, the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates from Google have managed to penalise these content farms, placing relevant, high-quality writing above keyword-stuffed, over-optimised content.

But where does this leave you? In terms of investing in website copy, you can take solace in the fact that less is more. Paying a little bit extra for website copy written by experienced, capable copywriters will pay dividends in the future performance of your site. What’s more, many experienced writers – such as Minerva Copywriting – will ensure pages are ready for the search engines, featuring just the right amount of optimisation without sacrificing on quality.

Keep website copy fresh

Keeping website copy fresh and up to date is often overlooked, yet is hugely significant. Be certain that you carry out regular audits of your site content to ensure it maintains its relevance to your audience. Failure to successfully maintain the standard across your site will soon prove detrimental to all the initial hard work of launching your online presence.

Minerva Copywriting has a team of experienced copywriters which can offer advice and assistance in the production of your website copy. Contact Minerva Copywriting today for details.

Content marketing: why and how

In a new infographic focusing on content marketing, Demand Metric has undertaken research to analyse the current state of content marketing, the reasons why to invest in content marketing, and the process involved in successful deployment.

The research, detailed in full below, is not wholly revelatory, but more reaffirms many of the messages that content writers and genuine SEO practitioners have been aware of for some time. For example, are we really surprised that content marketing keeps reader attention and improves brand loyalty?

Of course, that’s not to denigrate the research. Far from it. This kind of attention is making a huge difference with how content marketing is being addressed by companies and practitioners alike. And, in the end, don’t we all just want more users to embrace investment in quality content?

How to launch a website

When looking at how to launch a website, it is surprising how often content is overlooked. Time and again we’ve witnessed companies face a mad dash to populate their stylish new site with compelling, quality content… and failing. Why the failure? Quite simply, like any piece of art, quality copywriting and exceptional content take time to develop and produce.

Naming no names

Now, it would be churlish to point the finger and apportion blame for an oversight in the production of web content; with the design and technical aspects of a modern site becoming more and more complex, it’s perhaps no surprise that website copy often falls down the pecking order. That said, the content on your site is your direct line of communication to internet customers, so failing to place suitable importance on the discipline will mean you will be playing catch up once your site goes live.

This is where forward planning and a content strategy comes into play. The early stages of how to launch a website will doubtless include preparation of a sitemap and website specification. These will be the blueprint from which your site is constructed and should act as the starting point for preparing content for your website.

How to launch a website: content checklist

  • Prepare an editorial schedule from the sitemap/website specification
  • Research the relevant keywords for each individual page
  • Formulate your internal linking structure
  • Ensure you prepare relevant meta descriptions, headers, alt tags and page titles
  • Invest in professional copywriters to write and edit content
  • Proofread all content before uploading
  • Carry out an audit on content before launch and ‘fill any gaps’

Copywriting is an integral role in any website development. It is the means by which your message is communicated to your existing – and potential – customers. Investing in the preparation and professional writers will ensure the quality of your site is as high as possible, and will serve to engender trust between you and your customer base.

Content marketing

Once you’ve carried out all the necessary measures for the production of your website content, and your site is launched, you will be ready to turn your attention to the next piece of work: content marketing – a subject we’ll cover separately.

For the time being, if you find yourself asking ‘how to launch a website’, don’t forget the importance of the content.

Fighting back: the rise of quality content

The rise of quality content

The buzz around content marketing shows no sign of abating; but what really is generating this buzz? Is it a demand from clients for greater investment in something tangible? A revolt led by creatives against menial online tasks? Or simply the rebranding of SEO under a more appealing moniker? At this juncture, it’s a little bit of each.

To those with a history in marketing and advertising stretching back before the internet age, the shift of focus towards producing high-quality content is one that was well overdue. For content producers – be they writers, editors or designers – the digital environment has, until recently, placed weight and importance on measures anathema to their craft.

Finally, however, it appears that the industry is cottoning on to the tried and tested principles those Madison Avenue advertising giants espoused decades ago. Quality content that connects with the audience will always sell.

The view from here

As a seasoned copywriting with experience in print and digital environments, client investment in content is something that has been obvious from day one. While the need to technical SEO is intrinsic to the success of any website, it has been apparent that many SEO agencies were following misguided practices and utilising black-hat techniques. How do we know this? Google. The Panda and Penguin updates sent shockwaves through the SEO industry, with many agencies quickly trying to align themselves to the next money-spinning venture in digital: content marketing.

A victory for common sense

A lot can be said for common sense. In marketing, it pays to regularly take a step back and assess precisely where – as an organisation, a brand, and as individuals – you stand. By doing so, you are able to see where your position within your industry and how – if at all – you need to evolve. Coupled with clear objectives, you can tailor you content marketing plan accordingly. No more should you be investing in shady techniques which suggest buying links and syndicated articles to directories; you should embrace common sense and develop content that serves a purpose.

Think like a customer

If you’re a company that is looking to sell a product, being able to think like your customer is of unparalleled importance. Putting yourself in their shoes can help you plan your content strategy and website copy far in advance.

A warning

There is a dangerous trend that clients need to be aware. Many agencies that, in years past, have been labelled ‘SEO experts’ are riding the coattails of those with a genuine expertise in the production of exceptional content. While that’s not to denigrate the importance of SEO, nor deny the undisputed link between content and search engine optimisation, the dichotomy of the disciplines is, and will remain, great.

Before spending your marketing budgets following an eye-catching sales pitch, embrace common sense and determine where you are, and where you need to be. The message you’re sending to your audience needs to be a message they understand and a message that is relevant. The content on your website is your direct link to your customer, so be sure what that you’re creating is what they want.

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