When you make the decision to have a website designed (or even redesigned) who is responsible for the content? Many times a web firm does not include the content. They expect you will supply the content that is ready to be dropped in to your website. If you want them to write the content you can expect to pay on average $100 to $200 per page (if not more). But many times they are not trained in content writing and it sounds like Robot from Lost in Space wrote it for you.
So, what do you do? Here are some helpful tips to write your own content. These are basic writing tips that not only can help you write content for your website but producing your print pieces and enewsletters.
Let your personality shine. When you try to write in a style that is not you, you come across as stiff and boring. You will sound confident and your expertise will be noticed. Just mind your grammar and spelling. Have a second pair of eyes look for errors.
Remember KISS. We’re not talking the rock band Kiss but Keep It Simple Stupid. You need to write for the lowest educational level of your audience. Did you know the average newspaper writes to the 8th grade level? Keep the content simple and clear. Don’t talk down to your audience. If you’re using Wordpress SEO by Yoast they will test your content using the Flesch Reading Ease (http://goo.gl/JnIV6p).
KISS…Keep It Short Stupid. You want to make sure you write using short sentences and paragraphs (1 to 4 sentences). Using bullet points to call out important items is a great way to help your readers. In the late 90s I started saying that we stopped being readers and have become scanners (no, not the early 80s sci-fi movie of the same name). I found that I was not reading websites but scanning them for relevance to what I was looking for,
Drop the Techy-Geeky stuff. It is so easy to fall into talking in your industry’s lingo. Your audience may not understand you. You may as well talk in a foreign language because they don’t understand. If you need to use an industry specific term take the time to explain it.
Spell out your USP (unique selling proposition). Your USP is that thing that makes your business special. It could be your quality product, excellent service, expertise, etc. The USP makes you stand out from your competition. Let your reader know this right way before they click the back button.
Writer’s block is normal. All of us freeze up when trying to write the perfect piece especially when we’re under a tight deadline. One of the things my advertising instructor would have us do is just write. Her copy writing assignment was to write about a specific kind of candy bar. Whatever popped into our head we were to write it down. Eventually we had enough information for our copy. The vending machine down the hall was also empty of this candy bar that day (yeah…all of us got hungry during that writing assignment). I always wondered if my instructor got her commission on those sales.
Even websites need headlines. Your headline is the content that tells your reader they want to read more. They are not always simple to write. Sometimes you need inspiration. I have a file of headlines I liked and collected over the years. I use it as an idea generator. The late David Ogilvy (of ad agency Ogilvy & Mathers) called it his “creative larceny file”. He also said that five times as many people read the headline as the copy. If you can’t catch them with your headline you’ve lost them to their back button.
Writing your own content is not difficult with a little bit of effort. No one knows your business better than you. Once you start writing it does get easier. Your web designer can help you tweak the content to make it SEO friendly.
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