Want a Sticky Site That Sells? Forget Content!
An interesting debate is currently raging among copywriters, web designers and content developers about the differences, if any, between writing copy for the web versus writing content.
According to prolific copywriter Nick Usborne of ClickZ.com fame, a recent survey conducted among the readers of his email newsletter "Excess Voice," which is available at NickUsborne.com, offers some interesting results. They seem to be split almost three ways: one-third consists of copywriters, another content writers and the final third both.
This is an important debate, I believe, since all online copy is content but not all content is copy. And that's a real problem.
Most web designers, webmasters and content writers develop text for websites in a way to educate visitors. They also write it with the notion that "content is king," "content increases search engine rankings," "content makes a website sticky" and so on. That's all fine and good.
But I believe content fails when it strives only at informing the reader, and thus lacks important elements that take her "by the hand" and compels her to do something -- anything, including the simple act of reading.
In other words, while some websites may compel our attention, others fail to propel our actions, too. And their owners often end up screaming, "Why is my website not producing any sales," "why am I getting a lot of traffic but such a poor response" or "why are people leaving so quickly (or after they got what they came for)?" Well, if content is king, copy is the castle.
The Internet is not a traditional medium -- at least not in the broadcast sense. It is intimate, dynamic and interactive. People are more involved when reading the content of a website than reading a conventional print publication, watching a show on TV or listening to a program on the radio.
And with the Internet, people have a powerful weapon that they don't have with other types of media, and they usually never think twice about using it when the need confronts them: their mouse.
So, the idea is this: forget about writing content, at least in the traditional sense. Think copy. Think words and expressions that compel the reader to do something, even if it's just to continue reading.
According to web dictionary Atomica.com, "copy" is defined as "the words to be printed or spoken in an advertisement." ("Advertisement" is defined as "a notice or announcement designed to attract public patronage." It's calling for some kind of action. It's selling something, in other words.)
But the word "content," on the other hand, is defined as "the subject matter of a written work, such as a book or magazine." And keep in mind that there's no mention of the Internet, here.
Nevertheless, this is why I submit that, with its multitude of links, scripts and hypertexts, the Internet transforms the passive reader into an active, responsive participant. (Or make that "response-able.") And she must therefore be treated as such -- as a participant, not a reader.
Look at it this way: a book is limited by its front and back covers. When the book is done, it's done. The web, however, is not. If your content does not strive at getting the reader to do something, whether it's to buy, subscribe, join, download, call, email, fill out a form, click or whatever, then you need to seriously rethink your content and the words you use.
Here's my explanation of the difference between content and copy. Content informs. Copy invites. Even if content invites a reader to keep reading, it's still selling an idea. It's still calling for action. And it's still copy.
If your web page is only meant to inform people like some kind of book, then it's content. (And like closing a book once it's read, the only action left is to exit the website or close the browser.) But if it contains links or more content, then it's copy. And you need to write content with that mindset.
Ultimately, incorporate within your content a direct response formula that compels your readers to do something. Don't leave them hanging. Take them by the hand. Integrate a call for some kind of action, in other words. Ask your reader to "buy now," "join today," "get this," "download that, or ...
... Better yet, simply "click here."
About the Author
Michel Fortin is a direct response copywriter, author, speaker and consultant. His specialty are long copy sales letters and websites. Watch him rewrite copy on video each month, and get tips and tested conversion strategies proven to boost response in his membership site at http://TheCopyDoctor.com/ today.
What the History of Copywriting Teaches Us About Content Marketing Today - The Content Standard by Skyword
If You're Not Converting Visitors to Customers, Blame These Common Landing Page Copywriting Mistakes. - Entrepreneur
Final Mumbrella360 Asia masterclasses: copywriting, social, idea theft, webinars and more - Mumbrella Asia
Its Time To Start That Swipe File
Just as great fiction is an art, so is great copywriting. Beneath the art, however, there's a foundation of basic knowledge and skills.
Website Promotion: 10 Secret Motivational Triggers That Make People Buy
Unless you know the secret motivational secrets that make people buy, your efforts in website promotion may not be fruitful.Here are some website promotion triggers to help you:1.
Copywriter Rates, Getting The Facts Beforehand
Have you ever had the experience of hiring a freelance copy writer only to find that the project takes longer than expected, or that the fees they offered are 'flexible' in the wrong way for you to benefit. There is no doubt that copywriter rates differ greatly from one to another.
Writing Online In Two Syllables or Less
About once a month I fly off somewhere to give a one-day workshop on writing for the web. For part of the day, I invite the group to take part in a series of short tasks.
12 Copywriting Tips to Make Your Advertising More Profitable
Year after year people make the same mistakes in direct-response copy and advertising. You can avoid the most common and costly blunders by following these profit-enhancing tips.
How To Write Powerful Headlines
I want to tell you how I go about writing headlines. I like to keep swap files of headlines around for future use.
Organizing Your Data to Write Better Copy
Last quarter I talked about interviewing / gathering data. So now you've got several thousand words of notes, hopefully digitally recorded.
Ad Copy - Your 12 Point Inspection!
You're ready to launch that new product or promotion, & you're really counting on a piece of advertising copy to come through for you.You're looking for stellar results! And, you're determined to do everything in your power to get them.
Is Freelance Hiring Right For You?
Assume you were faced with the task of hiring a new group of talented individuals to handle a huge account you just landed. Are you up for the task? Or perhaps you have a small job that needs completing but no one on staff can handle the project.
3 Ways to Increase Conversion Rates
In a previous article I talked about a few similarities between writing direct mail packages and writing web sites. In short, I concluded that as online writers we could learn a lot from direct marketers.
Making Your Purpose Your Business Step #4 - Organizing & Developing Online Content
If you have done your homework then you are ready to organize and develop what will be your online content. Your content is very important as it will be used for promoting you, your work, and your website.
Deciding What Voice to Use in Copy
You have to choose a character or an angle that you, the copywriter plays. Copy is interactive.
A Little-Known Secret To Writing Sales Copy, For Serious Copywriters Only!
Have you ever wondered how your copy sounds to your prospects when they're reading it?If you have, here's a little-known trick to making your copy sound as clear as a bell, and feel as comforting as a warm fireplace in the winter.The very best way to figure out how your copy sounds to your prospects, is NOT to read it, but to read it out loud.
19 Secrets to Making Your Ad Copy More Effective
The sales letter is the key; the sales letter is the key - echoes through the Internet marketing mountains.Ad copy, sales copy, sales letter, copywriting or whatever you want to call it - the goal is the same for every Internet marketing business.
Writing For Sex Markets
Many professional freelancers will go their entire career without ever once writing a story about sex. Oh, they may craft a racy scene or two in the course of writing the next Great American Novel, or they might someday write an article about the latest in sexual research, but that's about as far as many writers will ever take the concept.
Copywriting and Your Five Senses
In its most basic form, copywriting is, among other things, the art of conveying a message in writing for the purpose of persuading someone to do something. This is especially true when writing descriptive copy.
One of the biggest challenges a copywriter faces is to make future clients feel confident in his or her ability. You know you can deliver, but your clients don't know that.
Subtle Emotion - The Key To Copy That Works
Say the word "emotion" to a man, and he'll immediately jump out of his seat and run from the room! Utter the word "emotion" to a woman, and she begins to conjure up thoughts of romantic, long talks centered around feelings. However, speak the word "emotion" to a copywriter and s/he should see dollar signs.
Want to Make More Money as a Freelance Writer? Here are 10 Reasons To Consider Copywriting
Looking to chuck that full-time job for a life of full-time writing? Or maybe you've already dumped the day job but aren't quite as busy as you'd like to be. Why not take a closer look at copywriting?Copywriting, also known as business or promotional writing, can do more than put a few extra bucks in your wallet - it can also help you develop as a writer.
Writing Suitable Copy for the Press
Summer is finally here and school is out, but learning for the rest of us continues. Whether you're a seasoned PR professional working for a top agency, a novice just beginning a career, or a mid-level manager working in-house at a small business, the time comes when we all could use a refresher course in properly writing suitable copy for the press.
|home | site map|