Congratulations. You have something many bloggers don’t. Readers! Now that your blog has really taken off, you may be tempted to take things to another level by selling some merchandise or sharing your expertise on a dedicated e-commerce site. This is where things get serious. Suddenly your readers are potential customers and you now need to pay attention to the basics of writing for a market.
Keywords are the key
You’re probably no stranger to keywords and anchor text but in case you’ve never had to consider them before, here’s a basic quick guide.
- Once you’ve chosen your keywords, debate rages about ideal keyword density, but stick to 1% to 5% and you’re probably on the right side of every argument.
- Pay attention to your headers, topic sentences, first paragraph, last paragraph and page titles – make sure there are plenty of keywords in these vital areas but don’t forget to make the copy interesting for readers too.
- Add anchor for as many individual pages as possible without compromising the quality of your copy and link back to relevant blog content too.
- Read your copy after the addition of keywords and anchor text and you should be able to easily tell whether you’ve overdone it.
First impressions count
You’re not writing War and Peace. You need to get into stride quickly. If you haven’t captured your readers’ attention within 10 seconds, you’re not going to capture them at all. Think about the most interesting things you have to tell your readers and make sure those things are at least partially revealed in the first sentence or two.
Remember who you’re writing for
Never ignore your market. Constantly remind your readers that what you’re doing is done with them in mind. Spell out your talents and talk up your achievements, but, at all times, make the connection between your talents and achievements and how they will help the reader. If you don’t do that, your copy becomes all about you. That’s a mistake. While your readers may have found you fascinating all this time, it’s a different story when they become buyers. You need to tell them that a purchase from you is all about them, how it will make them feel, how it’s good for them in a unique way. After all, they’re the ones with the money!
Have something to say
Once you have their attention, keep it! Follow up your brilliant introductory sentences with some of the most compelling copy they’ll ever read. Make it lively, make it fresh, and make it totally irresistible. To stay on track when writing body copy, think about relevance to your reader – does your copy promise to meet a need, solve a problem or satisfy a desire? If your writing isn’t doing any of these things, your reader probably tuned out some time ago.
Be the only one
No matter how competitive or non-competitive your industry is, you need to establish yourself as the only one who can service the specific needs of your market. It would be great if the whole world was your market but in reality, it’s a specific group. Find out what they need, find out how they want to receive it, find out how they talk, where they live, who they admire, their blood type….anything that can help you deliver a unique service that meets their exact needs. That’s your unique selling point (or point of difference) and once you have it, flaunt it baby!
With blogging, it may just be that the reader has the benefit of feeling part of your community, your inner circle, the reader may just want to be able to say “I read him when he was just a little PR1” so make sure you give them that with your copy and your products. Include personal insights and make sure you connect with them, as you always have.
At the same time though, it is an easy mistake to ignore new customers by making your copy so specific to long term readers that potential customers are confused and alienated. Make sure you are speaking with your whole target audience in the voice they like to hear.
The importance of good grammar
It should go without saying – your blog must contain impeccable grammar and spelling. Sadly, it needs to be said! Many bloggers fail to proof-read their work. If you have professional aspirations, don’t let yourself down by unprofessional presentation. Once you have written that world-beating copy put it through the grammatical wringer and check every word for spelling. Or, get your computer to do it.
Make it memorable
Make it clear and make it memorable. Tell them exactly what you are selling, exactly how it benefits them and say it in a way that they’ll always remember you. This is the famous Tag Line that you hear in every ad – but it doesn’t have to be cheesy, it just has to be memorable and it has to attach itself to you. If you want people to think of you when they feel an excited hankering for a little political debate, make it inflammatory and stuffed full of your opinions but still, make it snappy. If you want them to think of you when their baby takes his first steps, make it emotional and loving, but still, make it snappy! If you want them to think of you when they flush their toilet, service their car, buy beer, wear their school clothes…wherever it is beneficial to associate your product with their lives, make sure you’ve left them with something easy to remember!
This is good for you
One final tip. When you mention a feature of whatever it is you’re selling, always follow up by mentioning a benefit of that feature. Here’s an example. That political newsletter you want readers to subscribe to might feature 30 articles in every edition. The benefit of those 30 articles is the subscriber will be able to read wide-ranging political analysis in just one newsletter, without having to subscribe to other sources. Besides, they’ll become a far more knowledgeable dinner party guest. It’s at the heart of good copywriting, and that’s at the heart of big sales figures!