Tag Archive: web copy

  1. The Power of Positivity: How Positive Framing Can Improve Your Copywriting

    positive framing

     

    In life and marketing, the delivery is just as important as the message. Whether you realize it or not, you probably frame your messaging every day. Though some may interpret that thought as permission to tell half-truths, that’s expressly not the point. Instead, it is meant to teach a valuable copywriting lesson – the way you say something matters.

    There are two main strategies when framing your message: positive or negative. If I’m a plumber, I might frame a new ad for pipe replacement as:

     

    Negative: Your pipes may be ready to burst.

    -or-

    Positive: Strengthen your pipes for years to come.

     

    As you can see, the negative take may seem direr, but it’s also a downer that could turn consumers off from your services. That’s not to say that going negative is always the wrong choice. Anti-smoking campaigns, for instance, often focus on the negative effects of tobacco to emotionally resonate with their audiences. At its worst, this “loss framing,” as it’s called, can come off as unnecessarily alarmist.  

    The power of positive framing is perfectly illustrated in the famous framing experiment conducted by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in 1981. The experiment presented a hypothetical question about a risky treatment for 600 people afflicted with a deadly disease. Participants were presented with one version of the following treatment. 

     

    Negative:  The treatment has a 33% chance of saving all 600 people and a 66% possibility of saving no one.

    -or-

    Positive: The treatment has a 33% chance that no people will die and a 66% probability that all 600 will die.

     

    The result? 72% of participants presented with the positive framing said the procedure was worth the risk. Only 22% presented with the negative framing followed suit. Similar results came from other negatively and positively positioned scenarios. 

    There are plenty of ways to choose positivity over negativity in your copywriting, and doing so can attract new clients and keep the ones you already have. For example:

     

    Negative: You could be overspending

    Positive: You could save money


    Negative: Don’t use unsafe equipment

    Positive: Use safer equipment


    Negative: Stop being unhealthy

    Positive: Be healthier


    Negative: Stop being a bad writer

    Positive: Improve your writing

     

    When promoting your business, you should understand that your clients have a problem that your product or service can solve. Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on your product or service as the solution. That not only makes your content less of a downer but also inspires your audience to see your company in a positive light.

  2. Audience Above All: A Can’t-Miss Tip for Blogging and Content Writing

    It’s a muggy Friday night. Looking for a laugh, you shuffle into a packed comedy club as the lights dim and a silhouetted figure takes the stage. A spotlight suddenly floods the stage, revealing…wait…is that? Yes, that’s Dr. Phil, here to discuss the dangers of repressed anger in long-term relationships.

    -record scratch-

    This is not what you signed up for. How do you feel? Probably a mix of shock and anger (the non-repressed kind) at not getting what you wanted or came for. Understandable, right? Yet many people still risk this reaction by not understanding their audience.

    This is especially true in the case of content writing. So, before you ever put pen to pad or fingers to keyboard, do your research and know your audience.

    Why?

    Simply stated, if you’re not writing to a specific audience, you are writing something made for no one. Your content may connect with someone but not as deeply as it could if you had written to a specific audience. That allows your content to be more concise and, ultimately, more helpful and valuable. Blog posts, web copy, social media posts and any other content you produce can all be improved by knowing who it’s for before deciding how you will write it.

    Your audience informs you of everything from your tone (casual or professional) to your vocabulary (verbose or simple). Though you certainly have creative license to craft your messaging, it is wise to know who wants to read your work, as well as their preferences, expectations, wants and needs.

    How?

    Break down your audience into personas. For example, a dog walker may have target audiences that include 1) people who already use other dog walking services, 2) those who walk their own dogs regularly and 3) those who want a dog but don’t think they can adopt one without a dog walking service. Would you write tips for dog owners for someone who doesn’t own a dog yet? I’d think not. Would you write about the big benefits that come with using a service like yours to someone who already uses a dog walker? That may be overkill, so probably nothey already know how dog walkers are helpful.

    Categorize these audiences into buckets that specify who they are, what they care about and what their pain points are. Then, you can accurately tell if your story is one they need and want to hear, told how they want to hear it.

    In Practice: The Bagel Shop Scenario

    Using the above information, let’s map an example based on a personal joy of mine: bagels.

    You own a hip bagel shop, The Bagel Bae, in a high-foot-traffic, metropolitan area known for its high-end shopping and dining. Your bagels may be a bit pricier than others, but they’re also made by hand every morning with only the freshest, locally sourced and organic ingredients. It’s time to, at long last, begin your bagel blog.

    Where do you start?

    Choose your target audience: Being in a relatively high-end part of town and offering quality, organic ingredients over affordability, you can safely presume your audience is:

    • Middle-to-upper class
    • Urban/suburban
    • Conscious of food sourcing
    • Interested in breakfast/lunch

    Much more can be sussed out based on a deep dive of who you’re serving, your local demographics and overall marketing planall of which should also be considered. These details about your audience should be well-realized at the inception of your brand (or re-brand), so your responsibility will primarily be in deciding which of these pre-identified audiences you want to target.

    Question your content: You have a vision for a blog post, which is great, but that idea needs to pass the usefulness test. Let’s say you choose the target audience of “Young Professionals.” This demo is 25-35 years old, may live in the city or commute from nearby suburbs and is extremely busy, trying to make a mark in their new careers. They may be health conscious, so your proposed blog post on “The 5 Ways Bagels Make for a Surprisingly Healthy Breakfast” should be spot-on.

    Write with intent: Knowing that your topic is suitably useful and interesting to your target audience, you can move on to writing. As you write, be sure to do so while keeping your audience in mind. Perhaps within this blog post you can mention the benefits an early carbohydrate load in your day can give you energy in the workplace.

    Always remember: Your brand has its own unique persona and voice, but it should be malleable enough to speak directly to each subsect of your audience base. By choosing a target audience, ensuring your topics and content are valuable to that audience and writing with clear intent, your content can be dramatically improved. In other words, with some focused and strategic thinking, you can make sure your content doesn’t end up a Dr. Phil at a comedy club.

  3. Web Content Done “Write”: How to Craft Web Copy

    How to Craft Web Copy

    Whether you realize it or not, you’re a writer. From a catty comment on a Facebook post to the embarrassing email you almost (tragically) forwarded to your boss, in one form or another, you’re committing words to page or screen.

    Fortunately, many considerations taken when writing even the most trivial of texts can directly help you better understand how to craft web copy for your next website. Stay with me here: When texting a friend, responding with, “lol, omg,” may be acceptable. However, when writing an email to a colleague, the same message may be better suited as, “Oh my goodness. That’s hilarious.” You are crafting your message not just for the audience (formal vs. informal), but also the delivery vehicle (email vs. text). At its core, these are also the salient considerations when crafting effective web copy.

    Understanding the above point, it should come as no surprise that writing web copy like you might write a blog post or company newsletter will not fly. Crafting web copy is its own unique beast. Before trying to conquer your website’s content, consider the following factors:

    • Who are You?: What is your company’s persona? Is it clearly defined? If your company were a person, do you know what’s on their Spotify playlist, what car they drive and who their favorite Beatle is? Though it may sound (and feel) a bit silly to get this granular with your brand’s persona, it helps to clearly paint a picture of how to craft web copy in a voice that’s pitch perfect. Whether it’s playful, formal, whimsical or a mish-mash of all of the above, defining your brand’s persona is key. For example, Findsome & Winmore is generally characterized as professional, yet with a touch of whimsy and approachability.

    • Who are They?: Second only to knowing your own brand’s persona is knowing your audience’s. In all forms of writing, you must know your audience. If you don’t know who you’re writing for, chances are you’re writing for no one. Especially when writing web copy, there is a natural tendency to write towards one’s own interests instead of serving the target audience. Do not fall into this trap. Your audience should be top of mind at all times and take precedence over personal preferences. I may love early 1990s hip hop, describing Findsome & Winmore’s services as “phat” just won’t play for our target audiences. 

    • What’s the Point?: Though this is partially to do with the larger discussion of website design, you must ensure that every page of your site has a purpose. Moreover, ensure that this purpose is served by the content provided therein. Make your intentions known early and with gusto, especially if the page’s primary objective is to get them to click a link, “buy now,” or otherwise jump through a fiery hoop. Call to actions should never be subtle. Our site opens with a simple, direct question in all caps and red font that nearly glows off of the page: “LOOKING FOR A DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY TO HELP YOU FIND AND WIN NEW CUSTOMERS?” If so, you know to read on.

    • Keep it Short: Brevity is the soul of wit. Though most creative writers are guilty of getting a bit overly verbose for the fun of it, a website is not the place. Your audience is rarely looking to read a novel. Instead, it’s your job as a content writer to walk the tightrope between conciseness and creativity. If you proofread your web copy and think the same message can be conveyed in fewer words, chop chop chop. In promotion for our newsletter, we wrote, “Our monthly e-newsletter, HOT AIR, is chock full of advice on how to FIND and WIN more customers.” Balancing our defined voice with conciseness, this single sentence conveys that 1) we have a newsletter 2) it’s called HOT AIR 3) it’s full of marketing advice 4) you should subscribe (pushed by the subscribe button just adjacent to the copy).

      But hold on – there is one notable exception to this rule. Though conciseness is often golden, there are some notable SEO benefits to long-form content as well. Such content has been shown to sometimes rank higher in search engines, produce more backlinks and increase conversion rates, according to one article from 2015. The solution? Consider including a bit of both shorter and longer content to your site, monitor your performance and decide the best length for your audience moving forward.

    • Work with Web Design: Design and content face the same quandary presented with the chicken and the egg: what comes first? In best-case scenarios, both are developed in tandem, allowing both the form and function of the site to fit the content within it (and vice versa). However, if the design is already built, ensure that you are writing with this context in mind. Copy should fit the page like a glove.

    Even for well-practiced writers, writing for the web can be a real challenge. Take a deep breath–we promise, it will all be OK just as long as you keep a firm grasp on who you are as a brand, who your website content is targeting, and what the purpose is of each page. Then, you can edit for length and ensure the copy matches the design.

    Last, but not least, always, and I repeat, always, have someone proof your website copy. The internet is as big as its memory is good. From one writer to another (even if your specialty is texting), you have it in you to craft copy that works for the web. However, if you need help along the way we may be able to {Findsome} one up for the job.