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How to write engaging content for your website

02-Aug-2013

No matter the size of your business, engaging with customers and prospects is crucial, whether communicating via email, phone, or face to face.

Julian Abel, a freelance copywriter, has more than a decade’s experience in copywriting for businesses across various sectors. He says effective copywriting is a craft: “Most people can write an effective email,” he says, “but writing effective, targeted marketing copy takes experience.”

As Julian points out, a website is often the first contact a consumer or business has with a company. Therefore, it should clearly and quickly communicate the key messages and propositions you want your audience to associate with your business. Whether it is customer service, quality products or efficient delivery time, plan out the key messages you want a website visitor to remember from your site and keep these messages in mind when beginning to write.

"Someone once said 'Writing is easy, thinking is hard.' This couldn’t be more true," says Julian. "To create effective copy, you need to be able to think about how to structure a piece of communication and what messages will speak to a specific audience."

For a business website, the consumer or prospect client is your audience. Focus your content on them rather than yourself, a trait that Julian considers many small businesses fail to realise. For instance, when introducing a product or service, many businesses highlight its features, but do not highlight the benefits to the consumer. Providing an entire page of product details may be informative, but by failing to present a reason why customers should choose that product, and your company to purchase it from, you will lose the sale. 

Julian also suggests many businesses rely far too heavily on business jargon. Imagine yourself as a new visitor to your website with no previous experience dealing with your company. Be ruthless in editing the copy so it can be easily understood, no matter your audience’s industry knowledge.

Take tips from the best and mould your copy according to what works best for your business

Another tip is to consider your own experience when visiting company websites. Visit the website of a business you connect well with or consider the language and tone a competitor uses. Does it present their products or services well? Have they used certain phrasing or tone to introduce themselves? Is this language or tone similar to what you wish to portray? Take tips from the best and mould your copy according to what works best for your business.

At the same time it’s important not to be too content-heavy. A wall of text won’t attract or engage visitors to your site, but a good relationship between content and design will help avoid this. “People act on emotions,” advises Julian, “but businesses often prioritise design over content, which is a mistake.”

Collaboration between a designer and copywriter can help navigate this. Employing a professional copywriter and designer can help you to communicate your business values visually and linguistically, therefore reducing the risk of mixed messages and mismatched design.

Hiring a copywriter can also have other advantages. “Though you may not realise it, businesses are often too close to their product or service to write objectively and really think about the customer,” says Julian. “A fresh perspective from someone outside your business can offer insight that can be otherwise difficult to gain.”

Julian Abel has spent more than a decade marketing creative agencies. From property and public sector, to law firms and universities, Julian has developed copy for a multitude of sectors. For more information, please visit www.julianabel.com