Content is king when it comes to online marketing, so writing blogs that are loved by both your audience and search engines is an important skill to have.
Why do we write blogs? Two main reasons:
- To attract traffic to our websites (SEO).
- To build trust and credibility (Marketing to your ideal customer).
So when you put all that time and effort into writing a blog, you want to get the most traffic to it as possible, AND leave your readers with a positive impression of your business.
These 5 copywriting hacks will help you write blogs that are user friendly as well as search engine friendly.
1. Reverse engineer your content
Before you start writing, think about the purpose of this piece. What do you want people to do once they have read it?
I love this quote from Marie Forleo, creator of The Copy Cure:
“Begin with the end in mind.”
It’s exactly how you should approach your writing, having that one goal in mind helps you to tie the content together and give a strong message.
Remember you’re there to inspire your readers!
Inspire them to take ACTION.
What action do you want them to take?
Make sure you tell them exactly what to do next. Being subtle doesn’t work for call-to-actions.
Use simple action words: Submit, Join, Contact, Buy Now, Subscribe, Share, Leave a comment….etc.
Having a ‘next step’ for your blog is also very good for your SEO score. When people visit another page of your website this reduces your bounce rate, indicating to Google that your site is relevant and has quality content. (Read more about SEO here: What is SEO? 3 Simple Ways to Boost Your Ranking in Search Engines)
2. Remember who you’re writing this blog for
Clue – it’s not you!
Unless you’re writing a personal diary, chances are that you’re writing it for someone else to read.
That means you need to be thinking about what it is they are interested in. Understand their emotions. What do they want to know?
Keep your audience front of mind when you’re writing.
When you talk about yourself or your business, tell them WHY it’s of interest to them.
My secret trick to nailing this is what I call the “so what?” factor.
When I coached my teams on how to write better marketing copy, blogs or sales pitches, I always challenged them with this question “so what?”
You might have written a great explanation of your topic, but if you haven’t told the reader why they should care about it, you’re missing the most important bit.
Try it next time you write – if you ask “so what?” and the answer isn’t obvious in what you’ve written, go back and make sure it’s in there.
[If you’re not sure who your audience is, download my free customer avatar worksheet to figure out who your ideal customer really is – this is who you’re writing for.]
3. Headline, headline, headline
I said headline three times because it’s the most important part of your blog. It’s like the gatekeeper.
If your headline doesn’t draw the reader to the story, the gate won’t open and your whole blog is a waste of time.
If your headline is enticing, intriguing and informative, you’ll have a queue waiting at the gate to get in!
Righto, now I bet you’re wondering how do I write a good headline?
A good headline will:
- Tell the reader what the article is about
- Indicate why they should care
- Entice them to read more
Magic words that I like to use in blog headlines: How, Why, When, What and This.
Instead of “Creating images for social media”, try: “How to create stunning images for social media: 5 tips from the experts”
Instead of “Behind the Brand – Little Ducks”, try: “This clever strategy made Little Ducks a trusted brand for new mums”
A good headline is like a good wine – it takes time to create it but it’s worth every minute!
My challenge to you: every time you write a blog, wait until the end to write your headline.
Then brainstorm at least 25 headlines. Write them down as you’re thinking of them, don’t critique or edit them.
Why do this? Because the best headlines will come to you once you’re down to number 25. You’ll get the feeling of the right words and put them together.
When I wrote this blog I drafted 27 headlines. Yep, true story.
TIP: Research your keywords for SEO first, then aim to use the main one in your headline.
4. Use simple everyday language
Trying to sound intelligent, or professional?
Go against your instincts (and corporate brainwashing!) – steer clear of using long words and jargon.
It makes your writing much harder to speed read and that fluffy language isn’t helping your cause.
Instead of impressing your audience, you’re putting them to sleep! You’re challenging their brains and making it harder for them to follow your thoughts.
They’ll be clicking away before they finish reading, and they definitely aren’t about to act on whatever it is you want them to do.
“A confused mind always says ‘no’.”
(Another brilliant quote from Marie.)
What you should do is use language that you’d use in an everyday conversation – this is how you connect with people’s minds.
- You’ll instead of you will.
- Don’t instead of do not.
- Here’s instead of here is.
- While instead of whilst. (Who actually says whilst, honestly?)
Make it easy for them to understand you – you want to be the voice inside their head. Talking their language. A voice that makes a lot of sense. A voice they can trust.
5. Write for online consumption
Ok, here’s the deal: writing blogs (or any content) for people to read online ain’t the same as writing for print.
There’s been loads of testing done on this over the years and the fact is that when we are looking a screen, our eyes tend to jump around a lot.
Has your blog got big blocks of paragraphs with long sentences? Might as well give your readers a valium and say ‘night, night’!
You need to adapt your writing and formatting so it’s easy for people to consume your content.
Making it easy for them (yes, there is a theme here isn’t there?) is how you get a reader to stick with you and read the whole article.
And, guess what? Search engines like it too.
How do you write for the web?
What works is short sentences.
Break them up so you have plenty of white space, and use visual cues like bold text to help people find the important points. (You see what I did there?)
The other must-do is adding subheadings to break your blog up into sections.
Subheadings are great for your readers because it gives them signposts of what the key point is you’re now talking about, which makes comprehension easier.
Think carefully about your subheadings – they should tell the person what the key point is in the next section, but it’s also an ideal place to use your keywords for better SEO scores.
Also think about the amount of content you have.
When you write, it’s better to get all your words down first, then go back through and edit to remove unnecessary bits. If you try to edit while you’re in writing mode, you’ll stop your flow of words.
Google wants at least 300 words on a page to be considered ‘content’. However when you’re writing a blog, aim for a minimum of 900 words, and even better if you can get closer to 2,000.
BUT, and that’s a big BUT, don’t stuff your blog with lots of words just to get the word count up. You might have more words but your quality score will take a hit.
Plus you’ll be negatively affecting your readers’ experience.
Go for quality content over quantity.
So, to sum up, writing for online means:
- short sentences
- white space
- bullet points and bold highlighting
- at least 300 words (or 900 for blogs)
That’s it – my 5 hacks for better copywriting skills so you can start writing blogs like a pro!
Start here with your ideal customer so you can create content they actually want to read!