Whether you write for an engineering website, a medical one, or one for a store that sells children’s toys, as a content writer, you will need to know how the search engine optimization works. You will then need to master the skill of writing effectively so as to grab your readers’ attention in about 10 seconds before they leave your website to find an answer to their question elsewhere.
Yes, each reader will come to your website because of a question. In a one-sided conversation, where you do not have the luxury of asking for clarification, you will need to provide the answers and do so effectively. Here are three tips which will help you improve your writing and increase the success of your client’s website:
1. Know your audience: Make it relevant
Again, you have an audience that will read your words only because they have a question. Before you start writing content for a website, study your audience. Their expectations and needs are the main focus of your writing.
You have about three sentences to convince your audience that if they keep reading they will find an answer. The most effective way of doing that is to make the content relevant to your reader immediately. For example, if you are writing for a medical website, tell the reader that you know what their problem is, here is how it usually happens and that you have all the expertise and experience to handle the issue. At the end of those three sentences, the reader must feel like “Wow! that is exactly what happened to me. I am glad someone else knows how I am feeling and what I need.”
At this point, it is easy to fall into the sales trap. Don’t! Provide information, show empathy and make clear what the next step is to contact you. Then, stop! If the reader has found the answers and understanding, sales will follow.
2. Write for your audience: Keep it concise and clear
Always, always, always start with a catchy and effective headline. What is effective will depend on the specific industry. Find that word or phrase and use it. Once you find the headline that will attract the reader’s attention, your work is half done.
When deciding on an effective headline, the human psychology will always help. The three things every reader will read about are money, health and entertainment. Find ways to incorporate one or more of these incentives into your writing to make it catchy.
Which one would you pay more attention to?
The Effect of Cooking Methods Involving Frying the Food on Respiratory and Pulmonary Diseases
Advice on Reducing Asthma Attacks: Avoid Fried Food
Now, it is time to write the body of the content. If you know how to write an architecture proposal with leveling guide references or a medical article where the only word that is familiar is “and,” good for you! Not so much for your reader.
As a web writer, you are writing to educate 5th graders, and when it comes to learning about a new and unfamiliar subject, we are all 5th graders. This is not the time to be arrogant, assuming, or innovative in your writing.
I admit, sometimes you HAVE TO use jargon. For example, if you are writing to educate your audience about a certain illness, you cannot help but use medical terminology even if you tried to simplify it. In those cases, make sure to define the term in layman’s language. In fact, this may provide an opportunity to show empathy to your audience. Use the words a patient would use in describing his or her pain and the symptoms.
Other clear writing tips:
- Write in simple and short sentences. No one wants to read long sentences, in which they find themselves within a conjecture as to where the sentence started and where it was finalized, what it meant, and what actually the message and meaning of the sentence was, which is why they started reading the sentence in the first place even though they now forgot the purpose. Did you enjoy reading that sentence? Neither will your reader.
- Use bullet points or numerals to provide organization.
- Plan your white space wisely. Giving your reader sense of organization and space will make it easier for them to read and understand.
3. Think like your audience: Your client’s client that is
Okay, someone gave you a job to write content for a website. Great! The biggest mistake many web writers make is to focus on the expectations of their immediate client. To avoid this, make sure to establish a solid understanding with your client that your writing is intended for his clients.
Do use your client’s knowledge and expertise in understanding your audience. But, be aware of your position as a filter. You are there to serve the needs and expectations of your audience, which will vary depending on the industry.
The bottom line is… Whether measured by search engines or by the time each reader spends on your client’s website, content writing is about one thing and one thing only: your audience. Act like one, think like one and write for one. You will be on your way to successful content writing.
Oh, and enjoy! That is the only way to success.