- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 09/1/2009
- Writing for the Web
Online business owners and solo professionals often ask copywriters how to write compelling content for their websites. They want to know how to hook readers so they’ll stay involved, keep reading and (ideally) be motivated to sign up for an ezine list or make a purchase. Here are 3 copywriting tips to create compelling content for your website. First, avoid abstractions, especially descriptions like “amazing.” For example, let’s assume “Mark” is a attorney who needs a lawyer marketing website. His current website reads, “We provide exceptional, responsive service to our clients and exceed their expectations.” This statement makes two mistakes. First, Mark uses abstract terms like “exceptional” and “responsive.” Second, he is showing, not telling. Mark needs to show what he does that makes his service exceptional. Does he have unique knowledge so he can often find legal ways to achieve the client’s desired result? Has he developed a unique information-gathering system so he can assemble the facts of a case more quickly, so clients get faster resolution? Does he have experience with certain types of cases, such as working with divorced couples who want to negotiate agreements?
Once Mark has answered these questions, he or his copywriter can begin to showcase Mar
k’s qualifications in a professional way, without bragging or boasting. Even more important, visitors coming to Mark’s website will be able to answer the question, “Is Mark the right lawyer for me?” Second, paint vivid word pictures. “Veronica” is a therapist who wants to promote her seminars for empowering women. Her first benefit is, “Create your own circle of empowerment.” Did you yawn as you read that sentence? I did. Do you know what that means? Most people wouldn’t. Let’s rewrite. Now we have, “Create your own army of advocates who fight for your success (so you reach your goals faster and more effortlessly than you ever believed possible).” Veronica’s copywriter can create even more vivid images after asking Veronica a series of questions about her business. Finally, use action verbs. Action verbs include “Create,” “Recognize,” and “Discover. But if you really want truly compelling content, look for even stronger verbs, like “Crush,” “Destroy,” and “Surprise.” One of the most powerful pieces of copy I’ve ever read uses “Slaughter,” “Decimate,” “Force,” and “Trigger.” Wow…don’t you feel energized just reading those verbs?
Even when you write body copy (or any type of writing, for that matter), stay away from the bland verbs “be” and “have.” Readers skim over sentences beginning “There are…” or “This is…” without even paying attention to what’s being said. “