Although it may seem obvious what makes for bad writing when you’ve just watched that latest horror movie or perused a supermarket serial, the world of quality content writing may be a bit more subjective. And, it may vary even further on the type of copywriting that is being critiqued.
In my mind, the following ingredients of effective copywriting are a must in making delicious and engaging content. Whilst it might not be to everyone’s taste, it’s what I look for as a writer and what inspires me to raise the bar on my own skills. Writing is like any great relationship; it requires constant effort to bring out the best in both the copywriter and the copywriting.
Web Copywriting: Visitors Actually Do Read Web Copy
Effective online copywriting is not much different than any other type of writing:
- The web copy must target the right audience and address their needs with a key message.
- It should offer a value proposition in terms of important information, unique attributes or distinctive solutions.
- Web copywriting needs to be brief. You only have a few sentences to grab and hold a website visitor before you lose them to the next site if you can’t convince them to stay awhile.
Advertising Copywriting: Get to the Point!
Ad copy is a specialised form of copywriting that takes a certain breed of writer to master. There are a number of specific tips for anyone that dares try their hand at the art of what is truly a sales task:
- Focus on one idea or theme. Multiple themes confuse readers.
- Keep it simple and succinct. No one has a lot of time for verbose copywriting.
- Hit on words and ideas that make an emotional connection with the reader. Much of purchase decisions are based on emotion even if consumers don’t want to admit it.
- Emphasise how the product or service can help the consumer or business; no one likes to be sold to so steer clear of obvious sales-based ad copy.
- Insert engaging copywriting that encourages interaction with the reader like a call to action, contact information or a feedback mechanism.
SEO Copywriting: It Can Be Great Despite the Keywords
A writer friend and copywriter recently told me about a job in which they were told to revise the SEO content because they were more concerned about keywords than—and I paraphrase—“good writing.” Having this attitude, it would seem that effective copywriting in the SEO world is just how often specific keywords are stuffed into the content even if it makes the writing sound awkward. And, there are certainly have been many times where it’s easy to spot this kind of copywriting assignment.
Just because the content oozes with keywords and could effectively attract a search engine, it does mean that this type of copywriting delivers an effective message. It also does not necessarily engage the reader to learn or make a purchase decision. Keywords that are woven into the fabric of any type of copywriting in a seamless way constitute effective SEO copywriting.
Content Writing: Content is King but Quality is the Queen
In a similar fashion, all content writing is based on delivering quality information. When a visitor to any online source—social networking or otherwise—is searching for specific information, an effective copywriter will craft interesting, conversational-style content to appeal to the reader’s personality.
Sometimes, content writing can be witty and even border on sarcasm or jest. Or, the copywriter can take the content in a different direction but offer interesting snippets of data, statistics, or sources that will help the reader solve a problem, answer a question, or simply make their life more convenient. If this is the case, the reader will return again and again, seeking that source of content out as the expert in that particular field and, better yet, spreading news of that source to more people in a viral fashion.
What’s Your Definition?
Everyone has their own take on what defines effective copywriting services, especially when writing is dissected into various techniques and channels with everything from SEO copywriting to advertising copy to social media copywriting. Tell us what you see as copywriting techniques that have delivered the greatest ROI for your strategic objectives.