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The Three Foundational Steps for Effective Online Copywriting

How can there be only three steps? Searching the web, you can see that there is no shortage of information when it comes to advice on writing online copy. And many of those pages have lists that contain more than just three elements. While it is true that each element on THIS list can be broken down into a myriad of interworking parts, a general understanding of each concept will provide a practical foundation that any copywriter can appreciate. 

The three steps:

1. Gain specific knowledge of effective online marketing techniques for general copywriting

2. Learn everything you can about brand-voicing and ways to implement it

3. Understand and employ SEO marketing strategies

 

Effective online marketing techniques-

An important thing for any copywriter to remember is that they're writing for an audience. As such, most of the online marketing techniques used nowadays are structured around the idea of the piece beingreadin a specific way, that is, quickly, and on a computer screen. Here are a few ideas to get you used to thinking about your audience, and ways to effectively communicate with them:

  • Write for the online reader

-Think about the way you surf the net; do you really take the time to read each page in its entirety? With the sheer volume of web pages and online blogs available to read today, your content has to compete against an ocean of other information. You can't expect a guarantee that your page will be read completely. Therefore, you must format your page for a perspective that is speeding by, like a billboard for a motorist. Use bright, bold typeface and simple language in order to deliver your message as quickly as possible.

  • Think about the importance of Headlines

- Think about how you feel when you read the headline at the top of a webpage. How does the headline organize your thoughts as you read farther? What expectations does the headline provide you with? Headlines are crucial to effective online copy as they prepare the reader for the information they are about to receive. If you see a headline that reads "Computer Sale," you would expect to read on and find out what computers are on sale and for how much. Headlines are useful for making and fulfilling a promise to the reader. If a promise can't be made directly in a headline, it is still useful to structure a headline as a framework for that promise. Bottom-line, headlines are written for and around the main point of your content.

  • Include Visuals

-How would you feel reading a webpage of just plain text, versus reading a webpage enriched with visual content such as pictures, video, etc.? It stands to reason that you would be more intrigued with the page that has the more digestible content, i.e. the pictures and video. A webpage with pictures and video will receive six times more online attention when compared with a text-based website. However, this is not to say that you should overload every webpage with a stock-pile of Google images. Instead, you should strive to produceoriginalvisual content, even if it looks plainer than a found alternative. The use of too many found or stock images can make your webpage appear thrown together or disjointed.

  • Use organizational tools

-How is your reading of an online article structured? Do you read the whole page in one fell swoop, or is it easier for you to break the piece into sections as you read? The use of organizational tools is extremely important for the online copywriter; these tools help the reader to navigate through and make sense of the text. For an especially long article, the use of sub-headlines can be extremely effective for maintaining a reader's attention. Lists are another from of tool that is widely used. In fact, many of the most helpful online posts are structured in a list form. The use of numbers is equally effective, for numbers assign value to aspects of your text. This in turn, will help the reader to understand the values of your text.

 

 Brand-voicing-

It is important to identify and illustrate the voice of your brand or company. The brand-voice is the personality of your brand as it appears through written text. The tone or attitude of your brand voice dictates what you say and how you say it. The tone of your text, whether it is formal or casual, provides the reader with a subtle feeling towards your brand. In this respect, the online copywriter has a lot of responsibility when it comes to accurately portraying a brand-voice. Consistency in tone is also important. It is not enough that a brand-voice be present in a text, it also has to be consistent. If a text bounces around between a 'whacky' or 'funky' tone, and a serious or formal tone, the reader will be left with a feeling of disjointedness. This feeling of inconsistency will cause the reader to be skeptical towards your copy. If your text displays your brand-voice effectively and consistently, your readers will trust your brand. Brand-voicing is the first step in building a lasting relationship with your readers and customers. For more examples of effective uses of brand-voicing, visit brandstoryonline.com, a website dedicated to the importance of branding strategy.

 

SEO Marketing Strategies-

These days, most online content is accessed through search engines. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a way to ensure your text's online accessibility. There are two aspects of SEO that each online copywriter should be aware of: Knowledge of Search Engine mechanics and the importance and use of keywords. The online marketing gurus at Bruce Clay Inc. have also contributed information about SEO strategies.

  • Search Engine Mechanics 

Search Engine's read and analyze the words on a webpage and store them in servers. The words, which receive special attention on your page, i.e. words in bold or italics, in a title, a headline, or in a link, will be stored on the server as the page'skeywords.When a person types words into a search engine, the servers attempt to match up the words in the search toolbar with keywords they have received from web-pages. The search engine then ranks the pages from best to worst in terms of the match between a user's search engine terms and a page's keywords. Since the pages shown near the top of the search engine receive more attention from users, it is extremely important for the online copywriter to try and bump the page to a higher ranking. This is where the importance of keywords comes into play.

  •  Keywords

There are two main strategies to give your copy more online attention. The first, which is fairly straightforward, simply involves the writing of original, intriguing online content, which people will want to read and share with others. The second is a more preemptive strategy. This involves the consideration of whatkeywordsmight be used in searching for your page, and then seeding your copy with these keywords. The more matches a search engine can glean from your keywords, the higher your page will appear on the search results. This in turn will lead to more online attention paid towards your copy.  

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