In part 1 of this article we looked at how to keep your copywriting focused and relevant.
Now we’ll turn the spotlight on the composition of the content itself. Copywriting is an imprecise science at best: if anything it’s probably more of an art-form. There aren’t set templates or standard rules to follow, that will guarantee you’ll always get the results you’re after. It’s simply a matter of horses for courses. Everyone writes in a different ways. Whether your style will be appreciated by the reader is hard to predict. There might not be rules about how to write the best copy, but there are certain steps you can take to ensure that the copy you do produce is tight and has some appeal to both readers and the search engines.
Try to avoid graphics in text
Search engines may be sophisticated pieces of kit, but they’re not that good at dealing with text written in a graphic format. In fairness, they are getting better, but you sense that this will somehow always be a bit of a problem. They tend not to cope well with busy graphics or non-standard fonts, so it’s advisable to keep your text outside of graphics. The most important thing to remember is that you’re writing for your reader. Some of these search the web with the images switched off: others search on a mobile device. Any text with mobile graphics will be almost impossible to read. It makes sense, therefore, to use the most reader-friendly format available. Remember that it’s the content you want them to read, so make it as easy for them as possible.
Write with the reader in mind rather than the search engines
It’s important to always remember that you’re writing for your reader. Search engines are important of course, and can determine how widely your message is dispersed, but then again search engines don’t buy your products or services, and certainly don’t write comments or leave feedback. Readers do that. Bear in mind that the search engines only want what the people want in their listings, so your job is to give those readers what they want. If you do that, then by and large the search engines will play fair by you and rank what you’ve written.
Write enough content, not too much or too little
No one can tell you how much to write: there isn’t an optimum amount. You might as well ask how long a piece of string is. It’s up to you to be the judge. Some copywriters like to keep their writing tight and as brief as possible, others prefer great hefty tomes. All you need to provide is enough copy to make the points you need to make and then call it a day. Reader’s respond differently to copy: many like writers to make their point and keep the information short and sweet, but others are quite happy to read at greater length about what you’re offering, so long as it’s interesting and relevant. All you should be aware of as a writer is that you shouldn’t exclude anyone. Try to ensure that you provide sufficient copy to cater for all types of reader. You’ll be able to judge whether you’ve hit the mark as time progresses and readers respond to what you’ve provided.
Target key phrases rather than keywords
Very few people using the web search for single keywords. They tend to search for key phrases. Your job as a writer is to get to know what those key phrases are likely to be and then target your writing and content accordingly. Phrases are used to put words into some sort of context. The sooner you know what your reader is likely to be looking for, the better you’ll be able to write in manner that speaks to your reader’s desires and expectations.
Let your copy flow naturally
Good copy is never forced – it flows naturally and seamlessly. If you find that you are trying to force it, and it’s clearly not working, then don’t bother. You might have certain key phrases or ideas that you want to get onto a page, but are having difficulty achieving this. If that’s the case, it’s probably best to scrap the idea and incorporate these on other pages or blogs at a later date, or even use them in different pages of the website. Reader’s are quite savvy creatures and can spot when something has been shoehorned into an inappropriate place. The important thing to remember is you want to appeal to as broad a cross section as possible. Don’t be afraid to try the unconventional and break your writing up into smaller chunks and utilise these elsewhere on the website. Your job is simply to meet the reader’s needs.