Content is king.

A well-designed site can express a feeling, a sharply developed one can give a good experience, but without content, even the best-looking website is an empty shell. It’s important to invest time, and perhaps money, in making sure your sales content expresses what your company can offer visitors, and keep them coming back for more.

You’ve heard that content is king hundreds of times before, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself if it’s actually true? After all, when building a website most people are happy to hire the best developer and the best designer they can afford, but very few people go looking for the best content writer around.

That’s because you’ve already found the best person for that job — that person is you.

No one knows your website’s message better than you do. Even if you aren’t the most talented writer on the planet, there are plenty of tricks you can use to make sure you get your message across.

You can create great content!
You can create great content!

Be relevant (aka Marketing 101)

Ah, buzzwords. Yep, our very first tip is one of those trendy catchphrases that can mean whatever you want it to mean! Despite it being a tired cliche, being relevant really is the key to successful content.

Relevance means knowing who your audience is. Spend some time thinking about the people you want to visit your site, or those who already spend time there. Create a visitor persona of your ideal client: how old is she? Where does she live? What does she love and hate? Get to know this human being as well as you know your best friend, because only then will you be able to talk about what she’s interested in. And only what she’s interested in. That’s what it means to be relevant.

Get to know your audience as well as you know your best friend.
Get to know your audience as well as you know your best friend.

Find the pain

Once you know your target almost as well as you know yourself, you can begin to write about something she’ll find interesting. It’s important to make a connection with this person — an emotional connection, to draw her in and keep her interested.

Many organisations try to create this connection by writing descriptions of the products or services they have on offer. This strategy isn’t generally the most successful.

Instead, consider: what problem is my visitor having that my product or service can fix? What pain can I heal for her? That’s right, find the pain point — it sounds callous, but people in pain are willing to pay to have that pain removed.

Some products create the pain before presenting the solution — the term “halitosis” was invented by Listerine to make people more concerned about bad breath, a problem that was solved by their product. You don’t have to go that far! Your products have probably been created to fill some need; so rather than describing what they do, talk about how they will solve your visitor’s problem. Talk directly to your reader in your sales copy, and tell her how you can make her life better.

Your product is the medicine for someone's pain. Identify the pain so you can provide the solution.
Your product is the medicine for someone’s pain. Identify the pain so you can provide the solution.

Why you?

There’s no way around it, your customers need to trust you before they’ll hire you. No matter how much you insist you’re the best in your field of work, if visitors to your site think you’re lying, they won’t make the purchase.

The best way to prove that you are trustworthy is by including testimonials in your content — let previous customers do the talking! Get in touch with people who have used your product or service in the past, and ask them a few targeted questions about how they feel about your product, why they chose to purchase it, and whether it solved a problem for them.

A few other great signals you can send are:

  • Awards you have won.
  • Certifications.
  • Examples of work you’ve done in the past, either in the form of a resumé or client portfolio.
  • Guarantees or warranties that you might provide as part of your service.
  • Social proof through social media. For example, you could embed testimonials or reviews from social media, or show the number of likes or shares a piece of content has received.
What makes you stand out?
What makes you stand out?

Be a mirror

It’s tempting to talk about yourself in your sales content. Don’t. Instead, talk about your customer and how you can make her life better, easier, more painless. This doesn’t mean you never mention your experience, but rather that the focus is on the reader, not on you. Let your reader know you understand what she’s going through, that you get her, that you’re there for her. Tell a story about someone who was in her situation (a case study crafted as a personal story), so she identifies with the issue and will feel drawn in. You want her to be saying “that’s me!” or “me too!” as she reads.

Be a mirror!
Be a mirror!

Have a call to action

Why do you want people to read your website? You’ve gone to a lot of trouble to build an excellent site and craft great content. There must be a reason for all this, right? Then be blunt about it. Don’t insinuate it, tell it like is. Use large buttons saying “buy here” or “contact me now”. Remember to use only one call to action at a time.

Let people know which action you'd like them to take.
Let people know which action you’d like them to take.

Structure

Write strong headlines, strong first paragraphs and strong subheadings. Chances are, that’s the only thing they will read. And Google likes loves them too.

Because remember, even if your site is ugly and slow and has no images, it’s your content that will get you the #1 spot on Google.

So what about copywriters?

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that while people hire developers and designers, they don’t often look for someone to write their content. That’s not entirely true — a good copywriter might make all the difference to your site, especially if writing isn’t your strong point. But copywriters need a place to start, so work through these tips before you hire one for the best results.

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