Content is King AND Queen on the Web. Your first contact with Internet visitors is most likely when they land on your website, blog, one of your articles, or a landing page you’ve written. Your words act as doorman, receptionist, host, and sales team.
How you write and what you say is responsible for first and lasting impressions with a prospect. So how do you write valuable content for your ezine?
Marketing Sherpa, a leading email and web analytics firm, has done tests on email effectiveness. Here’s what President Anne Holland reports on one such test: “My favorite result — copy writing really, really matters. The top three best ROI tests were more to do with words (copy, offer, subject line) than they were with design or graphics.”
Here are 10 short tips for writing good content:
1. The reader comes first; address their pain, their wants, their challenges.
2. Break your writing into short sentences, make shorter paragraphs, and use subtitles.
3. Use simple words in place of longer, more sophisticated words; avoid technical jargon and insider phrases and acronyms; don’t be afraid to use emotionally strong words.
(NOTE: Use the test for readability in Microsoft Word under [Spelling and Grammar] [Options] [Show readability statistics] and make sure you are writing at a about an 8th grade level.)
4. Be specific, give clear examples, tell stories, and be authentic.
5. Get straight to the point, don’t meander, don’t talk about the weather or other fluff.
6. Write in a friendly, personable, conversational style; share personal stories as long as there is a point that readers can apply themselves.
7. Avoid hype; to see if it sounds like a commercial instead of a conversation, read it out loud. Remember, you are building relationships and educating readers, not overtly selling to them.
8. Avoid sexist language, local and ethno-centric references since ezines reach a global audience.
9. Proofread your copy for errors; better yet, get it professionally edited. Typos and grammatical errors can turn customers away.
10. Always include a call to action; ask your readers a question, ask their opinions, or to otherwise interact with you. This creates connection, as long as you follow-up.
More on the call to action tomorrow.
Coming up next: 14 tips on where to find content ideas. (part 2)