5 tips to help you write good copy for a website or press release
Whether it's for a blog, press release, a sales letter or a landing page, these tips will make your writing more engaging for readers to read.
No other type of text is more focused on a specific goal than an online text. With it, you're trying to inform or persuade someone to buy your service or product. But how do you write good text that actually persuades the reader to buy something from you?
1 The reader is most important and always comes first
Your press release or the text on your website probably won't be the first thing your reader reads that day. People are buried by articles, offers and posts on social media. More than the headline of a text will generally not even be read. And if you already don't like the image accompanying the text, that headline is usually not even read.
If you want to be read, you need to tailor your text to your buyer. Very simply, if you sell candy at the market, your sales pitch will be different than if you sell thousands of pounds of candy to stores or web shops. At the market you sell it to (small) children and they want a candy at that moment. Companies want your candy to resell and make a nice return.
Therefore, create a "buyer persona" a fictional person you think would buy your product, an example of your target audience. Of course, as a company, you can have multiple audiences, and therefore multiple buyer personas.
2 Pick one topic and focus only on this
What do you want to talk about? Choose a clear topic, and make sure your text is only about that topic. If your reader sees a headline about topic Z, he or she will not want to read about A or B, but about Z. In that case, the reader will most likely drop out and not read the rest of the text.
It's therefore better to write a shorter text than a long one that doesn't really benefit the reader.
3 The headline of the text
The headline of your text is perhaps the most important part of your entire text. On a summary page that contains maybe 20 articles/products, with just the headline and maybe a brief introduction, the headline is the first thing that gets read. And based on that, the reader chooses whether or not to read the rest.
There is a well-known 80/20 rule of thumb, which means that out of 100 readers, there are 80 who only read the headline, and 20 who -start- to read the actual text. Note, start, not those who read the entire text, but only begin to read it.
But then how do you make a good headline? For this you can use, the 4U formula:
- Urgent: Make it clear that it is relevant now, and only now. For example, "What to do this weekend?" or "50% off this Friday only" this gives a clear time frame and clarity to the reader.
- Unique: Make yourself stand out among the rest, make it unique. Something that has not been done before. This will help you stand out from the rest of the articles and competitors.
- Ultra-specific: Be very specific when creating your headline. The more specific, the more people from that specification are going to read your article or press release. A headline like "Company X presents a new laptop" or "X presents a new laptop with an insanely good screen for movie lovers" will attract more people who want the latter headline to have a good screen.
- Useful: Make sure the reader can use the text, i.e. really benefit from it. Special offers always do well, but lists like "The best apple pie recipes" or "How to ..." also score well with readers.
Your headline doesn't have to meet all of the 4 U's, but read it through a few times yourself, would this make you yourself as a reader interested in reading further?
4 Write a clear and logical text
So you want to inform your reader about your new service, product or event you are going to organize. Make sure you structure your text clearly and logically. A short introduction, middle section and summary.
In your introduction, for example, you write about a problem, and that you have or are the solution to that problem. Then you go into the content, and finally you make a short summary of the whole story.
Short sentences and short paragraphs
Make your story readable, use short sentences. Long sentences are not always easy to read clearly, I always recommend using a maximum of 25 words per sentence. Sometimes it can be more, but see if you can't just break up a sentence earlier. Same with a paragraph, if a paragraph is 4.5 lines long, the reader can quickly scan it and see if the text is interesting to them.
Avoid technical jargon as much as possible
If you work somewhere, chances are you use technical jargon for your articles on a daily basis. However, the reader usually does not know what this means and has no idea what the product you want to sell can do. Of course, sometimes you can't avoid using jargon, but in such cases put in quotes what it means exactly.
If you are writing for a technical trade journal, then again you can use jargon, after all, it would be possible that you might come across as patronizing or not know enough about the case yourself.
Be personal and keep the text fun and fresh
If you want to sell someone something, you should use that buyer's language. Don't use difficult words that you wouldn't use if you were buying a loaf of bread from the bakery yourself.
Put yourself in the buyer's shoes, why would they want your product? Is it because you have done years of product development and as a company are now presenting this product, or because your product just looks great in the customer's living room?
Reading and rewriting
Read the text several times, how would you feel about this text if it was from your competitor? Is it too commercial? Too much of a sales pitch? Does it leave too many questions unanswered? Does your text exude confidence? And most importantly, does it evoke a call action? Would the reader buy something from you, request more info or want to visit your company/event?
Remember that the reader is not a robot, it is also just a human being, someone who sees many texts every day and bases an opinion on them. What would your neighbor think of your text? That's why the "buyer persona" is so important, what would they think of your text?
5 Publish, test and publish again
Your text or press release is now ready for publication. You will now start to notice if there is a response, or does it remain anxiously silent? What do the people around you think of the text? Are you getting responses from customers?
Is the response, sales or number of registrations for an event not what you expected? Then you need to adjust your text. Publish your new text again and see what is better or worse. In this way you will slowly get a better idea and feel of what your customers want and expect, but more importantly how you can increase your sales.