Copywriting: An Updated Guide to Crafting your Content Marketing
4 years ago, we put together a guide to advise our users on best practice for content marketing. Today, content marketing is more important than ever, so we have updated our guidelines for 2018.
Plan and Structure
Before you begin, it’s a good idea to have a think about what you are trying to say and how. The main purpose for your piece will probably be to include longtail keywords in order to drive additional traffic to your website but also think about what makes it sharable and will engage with your audience. It is also worth checking out the competition, with so many people creating content, its critical to create something that stands out and has a unique angle.
Whether as quotes, links, citations, facts or statistics, data is always a valuable way to inject credible information into your copy. The internet is a mass of information and there are many people talking about the same thing. We are not the first people to write about copywriting and I won’t be the last. You often find a lot of similar information on the same subject, but the key is to inject a new perspective and some authority into your writing. Journalists nearly always include some type of data in their articles. Not only does this show they have done their research, it also helps to add evidence and texture to the piece. Adding data can help your copy jump out from the page and hook your readers in.
The Art of Proofreading
Before you consider publishing, it is important to ensure that your content reads well and is free from grammatical and spelling errors. Even if your content is interesting, poorly proofed copy will look unprofessional and sloppy to the reader and many will not take it seriously. Once finished, it is always a good idea to get a fresh pair of eyes to read your work, as a new reader can detect errors more easily. However, this is not always possible and it is still essential for you to read over your own words, ensuring they make sense and the piece is structured correctly. Here are a few tips for proofing your work.
Change the font size and print
Making the font larger and printing your copy will make the text easier to read and therefore you are more likely to see any corrections needed. Most people also find it easier to read paper rather than a screen, making it easier to detect errors.
Take a break
A break between writing and reading can prove to be a great way of detecting any oversights, as you are reading the copy as new. When we write we know exactly what we are trying to say and therefore it’s very easy to overlook small mistakes because we imagine that it is correct. A fresh look hours or even days later can make it easier to spot mistakes.
Read aloud…and backwards
Reading aloud helps because it allows you to hear what you have written, making it easier to spot errors. Also, read backwards, from the last word to the the first so that you don’t miss issues like the one in this sentence!
Slow it down
When you read your copy, slow it down and read bit by bit. Read each sentence individually, focusing on the way it sounds and ensuring that each complements the next, until you have a fully rounded paragraph.
Three Points to Consider when Proofing
Although you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, many people still do and the same goes for headings. Good headings should be both magnetic and keyword optimized.
2. Sentence structure
Keep your sentences simple and snappy. Long sentences can be hard to understand and may sometimes lead to the reader being confused.
3. Get active
Using the active voice can significantly improve your writing as it helps to add energy and enthusiasm. The simple rule to this is to place the subject before the object for example: ‘Chantelle wrote this post’ is active. Whereas, “this post was written by Chantelle’ is passive. A useful guide for the passive and active voice can be found here.
View your Copy
No reading is required at this stage, it’s all about the visual appeal. Lengthy text without anything breaking it up can be daunting to the reader. By adding some basic formatting you can greatly increase its readability factor. We all know how popular infographics are - the visuals and bite-size information helps to engage the reader. To improve the layout of your copy, try adding interesting and relevant images or graphs. It is important to find and source free to use images. Flickr is a good way to find free Creative Commons licensed images.
You can also break up the text by using bullet points, numbering or by bolding important points. The web is full of content and is the platform for information. Accelerate your copywriting skills for maximum exposure.