It may seem strange, but in our practice of creating websites, we’ve noticed that most of our clients are rarely preoccupied with content. Particularly the written one. As if it didn’t really matter what’s in between the striking images on a cool gradient background as long as the web design pulls it off. Isn’t the text from our years-old brochure/website enough? It clearly states who we are and what we do. Just paste it there. This will do. It’s not verbatim, but you get the idea.
As you may have already guessed, what we’re hinting at here is that the matter of content is not that simple. Let us explain why.
First off, ask yourself a question: Why am I building a website? Summing up all the variations of your answer, the gist goes as follows: To get my message out there before my target audience and get it to convert. That being so, your success depends on how well your message matches the prospective customer’s view of things, including their desires, motivation, and basic expectations.
Right from the start, it becomes evident that the website is designed for the content, not the other way around. And even though it’s true that your particular project may be design-driven rather than content-driven, this fact doesn’t diminish the significance of the written word in it because, ultimately, the word is behind any content format and should be crafted with extra care and precision. Your content is the message that speaks to your audience. It is a beautiful picture that draws them to you because it visualizes their wants & needs. But it’s definitely not the frame (your website) that should hold their attention. Although, it should definitely grab it firmly when they land on your page.
The word powers the web. It does so when used purposefully and in accordance with the requirements of a medium. Although some aspects of your message will overlap, your brochure text will differ from your email marketing text, website copy, or video script if you create videos for your prospects.
In this blog post, the Branders Pro team would like to shed light on how we approach website content creation and text optimization (on-page SEO) when designing your website.
Approaching a Website Copy
Not all pages are made equal. As with different formats, different website pages take a different approach, each serving a different purpose. But some pages, like your homepage or landing page, require special attention when it comes to copy. The homepage showcases your brand by letting your audience explore your product or service range and offering additional information about your company and its values. Simply put, it’s your business at a glance. The landing page promotes a single offer and converts your visitors into customers. It’s designed to sell or have your audience take the action you want, such as subscribing to a mailing list, downloading an eBook, watching a video, etc.
Now you see why these pages must tell a compelling story with convincing writing. This is not to say other website destinations are insignificant. Instead, the reason behind picking these points in the customer’s journey is that they’re expected to exert the most influence on the decision-making process. So, without further ado, this is how Branders Pro approaches your website copy.
Copywriting is a strategic delivery of words to persuade website visitors to take some form of action. A single principle drives the strategy: to have the following sentence read. As simplistic as it may sound, every copy element must seamlessly take the visitors through each sentence down to that button at the bottom of the page, which converts them into your customers once they click it.
It all starts with a headline, continues with the benefits, holds the attention with the promise, and concludes with the proof.
- What’s your brand’s tagline? What’s the gist of your offer?
- What are the benefits your customers will enjoy?
- What can you guarantee/promise will be the result of their choice in your favour?
- How can you prove it? How can your prospect feel confident in your offering?
These four steps, written out in clear, concise, and simple language, make a recipe for a compelling website copy that engages the audience. But, of course, that’s not all. The dish needs some flavour, and we will spice it up with feeling, evocative detail, and authenticity.
- By speaking to your prospect’s fears, desires, and dreams – to what’s already there. By making them feel and care. Talking to them in a way that shows you value what they hope to achieve.
- Painting an experience with your product or service in vivid detail. Fostering favourable attitudes, associations, and personal connection with your brand.
- Making an effort to be authentic. Making an honest promise rather than an infallible offer. Addressing the customer’s everyday concerns and objections head-on, leaving no room for hesitation.
- Telling a good story. No one likes sales pitches, but everyone loves reading stories.
Good copy doesn’t have to be “stylish” or “clever,” but it does have to establish authority, forge relationships, and encourage people to speak, share, and buy. It must be relatable through a clear message, natural writing manner, and prioritizing your customer.
- We don’t distract from your offer.
- We write directly to your customer. We use the magic of the word “you.”
- We speak the language of your audience with a genuine interest in offering your help and expertise.
Now on the artistic side of copywriting, there are different approaches to creating a form as opposed to essence. Your message to a customer can take the form of:
- Plain copy: a simple presentation of the product & benefits without gimmick or style.
- Storytelling copy: an exceptionally effective & memorable vehicle of persuasion.
- Conversational copy: a conversation between two people – the copywriter and the prospect.
- Imaginative copy: a picture of achieving an ideal through the product.
- Long copy: a written “conversation” with a salesperson.
- Poet copy: selling with style & creativity.
- Direct-from-CEO copy: direct communication between the company founder and a customer.
- Frank copy: the “ugly truth” about the product. (The “jewels” of the product come second.)
- Superlative copy: the only time when an extraordinary claim works, provided your offer is backed by evidence like statistics, testimonials, or research.
- Rejection copy: an exclusive offer for an exclusive group of people. Is your customer one of them? They decide.
There’s no limit to artistic expression. More often than not, an excellent website copy combines several of these techniques, depending on the business case and its objectives.
Befriending Search Engines
Search engine optimization is the process of making your website search-engine-friendly. What does it mean, and why is it necessary? you might ask. In simple words, it means aligning your web presence with specific requirements to ensure your website is promoted to the top of search results. Your content should be compelling not only for your prospects but also for search engines. If you fail to explicitly inform Google or Bing that the content of your web page matches your audience’s needs and the words they are actually searching for, the benefit of targeted traffic is lost for you.
In contrast to random traffic, targeted search traffic is still the key to accomplishing your business goals (like sales). The social media traffic is also significant but only with regard to audience-building, like opt-in email lists. The reason for such a differentiation is simple: it has to do with the prospect’s intent. When looking for something specific online, people are in a different – and more valuable – frame of mind than when they socialize on Facebook. In other words, searchers are more motivated to visit a website and buy from you than social media users are. That’s why search engines are a source of the most valuable traffic.
Let us digress here a little for the sake of a better understanding of the subject.
SEO has three aspects to it:
- On-page optimization is concerned with the content on your web pages.
- Technical SEO ensures your website is coded with the best practices in mind.
- Off-page optimization involves the activities happening off your site, such as social media campaigns, shares, links, discussions, and mentions of your brand on other websites or platforms.
In this post, we are zooming in on the first aspect – on-page SEO and SEO copywriting specifically.
So, what does SEO copywriting look like in practical terms? Placing the right keywords in just the right places, in just the correct quantity and density to contribute – along with the myriad of other SEO signals – to the website’s top ranking. But, please, don’t be tempted to think that SEO is about tricking search engines with keyword-stuffed text. Far from that. It’s about strategically positioning signals throughout your content to let them know what your page conveys to the reader. Such strategic positioning has to do with the way search engines operate:
- They send out their “spiders” (bits of computer code) to crawl the web in search of content to read – crawling.
- The spider then stores the content in the giant database – indexing.
- To satisfy a searcher’s query, a search engine delivers the most relevant results – ranking.
Search-optimized content helps spoon-feed a search engine exactly what it needs to recognize your website as a relevant source of information for your audience.
What are the SEO copywriting elements on your web page that spoon-feed a search engine?
- Title tag & headline
Search engines offer the most relevant results to a user’s query. That’s why the web page’s title should reflect the query through the exact phrase the searcher uses. Similarly, a headline on the page should speak to the prospective reader in their own words. These words should be encased into an enticing headline structure, promising the answer to their specific question.
- Meta description
This element determines how your content looks like on a search engine results page (SERP). It is a “snippet” copy for the search result that appears right below the title, which briefly summarizes the page’s content as a reassurance to the searcher that your content will satisfy what they’re looking for.
- Page content
Search engines love unique and frequently updated content. For this reason, the website blog is an essential ingredient of SEO efforts. The page content should be closely on-topic and heavily focused on the subject matter of the intended phrases for search optimization objectives (and general reader friendliness).
- Linking out
Linking is what makes the web. Consequently, search engines check if you’re sufficiently “connected” with other pages and websites on the internet, making links to related content an important factor in search engine optimization.
Researching Into People’s Minds
Contrary to what you may assume, even if your website is meant to advertise your business, it should be customer oriented. The same goes for your content. You don’t announce how great your company is. Instead, you talk about how you can help your audience. To send a spot-on message of value, Branders Pro needs to research what that value, or aspiration, is for your customer.
Not to worry. Your business goals & objectives, your industry context, and your brand positioning in the market niche are all in the picture, just occupying the background, so to speak. Why? Because a website is a function of marketing designed to communicate the value you contribute to your customer’s life, putting your audience in the foreground. That’s why during the Research & Discovery stage, our team investigates not only your concerns as a business owner but more so your audience’s needs, both as website users and value seekers. Therefore, we develop your website content to flawlessly reflect your business’s ultimate “value component” online.
In the initial research phase, we will ask you to think about your ideal customer to create a specific, distinctive image of a person to speak to in your marketing and consequently send the most attractive message for their engagement.
- What does your target audience need help with? Why?
- What are their fears, desires, wants & needs concerning the product/service you offer?
- What do they see in the market?
- How can your prospect educate themselves about the product/service you offer? What answers can you provide through your content?
- What are they thinking/feeling/doing to reach their goal?
- How does your prospect find you on their customer journey? What are the points of contact? How can you guide them to making a purchase?
- What does your sales process look like?
- How could that process be made simpler and more enjoyable?
- What does the prospect need to believe and experience to be delighted to become your customer?
- What does the prospect need to know to make an informed buying decision? What will make your offer irresistible?
- What happens immediately after the purchase is made? What is the plan for staying in touch with the new customer?
- What will motivate your new customer to accept permission-based content, like becoming a part of an opt-in email list?
- How can this delighted customer refer you to others?
These are the sort of questions the answers to which will help us learn about your audience and craft not only compelling website copy and content but also an effective content marketing strategy for your business.
Website content research doesn’t end here, however. It proceeds with SEO requirements. Remember, search engines must also be motivated, just like your customers. How is it achieved? Right, through SEO copywriting. Effective SEO copywriting tells Google which words are the most relevant to the people you want to reach. We subtly insert them in the title, heading, text body, and anchor text (the one you click to open a link) to inform search engines about your website content and its relevance to a specific group – your target audience. These relevant words are called “keywords” and must be thoroughly researched for the best marketing outcomes.
Keyword research allows us to gaze directly into people’s minds. How so? We get to observe what they actually type into a search bar rather than guessing what they might do to find information. When aggregated, these words & phrases give a nice view of an audience’s thought process concerning a specific topic. In this way, your niche’s keyword intelligence presents a unique opportunity to create highly relevant content that aids your site visitors and enhances your credibility. The goal is to let people find you with the language they use when searching. What can be better than speaking the language of your audience while satisfying their desires and needs?
Fitting Picture Into The Frame
Or, simply put, inserting the text into the design. It is a point in the process where the Web Design and Content Creation stages are in sync: an approved website design meets the final draft of website content. But first, let us outline how we got there and what it actually means.
Along with exploring the ways of achieving your website-related business goals, i.e., conversion, in the Research & Discovery stage, we also research content-related ideas, concepts, and facts that will project the desired brand image and help boost conversion and customer engagement. During the Planning stage, the Branders Pro team develops a website architecture, that is, the website’s structure determining the content placements and arrangements of other website elements, like buttons, icons, images, etc. Content placement basically means organizing what you have to say to your audience per page, per section, per line, and sometimes even per word and per character. Such precision depends on what takes the upper hand in the project – design or content.
It is also important to note that planning is not only about determining text space but also about helping users navigate the website through text, i.e., user experience writing or UX writing. This aspect takes care of words for menus, buttons, labels, icons, chatbots, error messages, web forms, and the like. We do all it takes to make your visitors comfortable and welcome when they browse your web pages.
And finally, putting the two together – fitting the picture into the frame. It sounds simple, but sometimes it’s not. Some projects are content-driven. Some are design-driven. And when they are, our content writer and web designer argue over the content space allotment:))) Fortunately, these arguments are not frequent (and Branders Pro has a blog where I can indulge my love for writing and balanced sentences.) The only solution in such cases is a requirement-based compromise by weighing the project priorities and adjusting by pixel or character – quite a filigree work.
Answering the Big Question: So What Makes Content King?
Content helps you create a relationship of trust and credibility with your audience (even before you approach them with your offer). Valuable and inspiring content creates a connection with a loyal following. Feel the difference right there.
“Valuable” and “inspiring” are not some abstract characteristics but very much measurable qualities, particularly with the help of SEO. The ranking position of any given page is mainly determined by variables other than the words on the page, such as links from other websites, social sharing, and other signals. Getting those links and signs naturally has become the most challenging part of SEO, giving rise to the mainstream emergence of content marketing as a way to attract links and boost social engagement with compelling content. Simply put, text optimization with keywords doesn’t carry much weight in terms of good, natural links and social sharing. Instead, it is merely guidance for a search engine algorithm that works by keying in on the word patterns people are looking for and returning relevant content. Natural links & shares are actual indicators of value and, thus, a relationship-building potential of your content.
The same emotional forces that prompt people to buy also cause them to link from blogs, bookmark the page, or share from social media platforms. That’s why a successful SEO copywriter is now primarily a savvy online content creator with a talent for identifying the wants & needs of the target market. And because links and social sharing are paramount, these wants & needs must be met before your content will appear prominently in search results. The relationship comes first, and the ranking comes second because Google values what creates value for your audience.
Content (and its optimization) requires a value and socially driven approach to bear fruit. It should be irresistible to share and link to, gradually converting your readers into customers by establishing trust & credibility. Google absolutely encourages this approach. It makes their algorithm smarter and their search results better. At the same time, people-powered social media sharing delivers links and traffic as a reward for compelling content.
Let us outline the pillars of the effective content marketing strategy:
- Producing high-quality content that aligns with business goals without the over-reliance on search engines for their achievement.
- Using social media’s outreach to promote content that can generate organic links by merit of its value and relevance.
- Boosting the inherent authority of individual pages or websites, which builds Google’s regard for you in your market niche.
- Executing smart on-page optimization (SEO copywriting) with the keywords people use to search and socialize so that Google recognizes you as the most relevant choice.
Your website is an online marketing tool facilitating your business processes and, first and foremost, communication with your audience. And you have only one try to make a favorable first impression with the quality and credibility of your content – your picture framed in web design. Make it stunning! And effective with an optimized, response-oriented copy and compelling content that ultimately result in a favorable action from your reader. We’re right here to help you with that.
This was the Content Creation stage of building a website. Until next time.
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