Chapter 3| OnlineCopywritingUniversity of Cape Town2 August 2011
What will I learn today?o What is Online Copywriting?o Where do I find Online Copywriting?o Writing for the Web o General principles of good writing o Search Engine Optimisation o Tailoring your web copywritingo Writing for your Websiteo Writing for your Email newslettero Writing for your Blog
Online CopywritingPromotional written communication published online. Itexplains, endorses, convinces, attracts & persuades.Written word about your company on website, brochures,promotional articles, emails, social media, etc.
Where do Ifind it?EVERYWHERE! e.g.• Websites• Blogs• Email promotions• Online adverts• Promotional articles• Press releases• Social media (Facebook, twitter)
Writing for the webHow it differs from normal article writing and why
Principles of good copywriting• Start with a plan – list, blog article, tables, images?• Keep it simple – short sentences, clear phrases• Be active, not passive• Write for readability• Be consistent• Be creative• Use correct spelling and grammar• Proof read your writing
Principles of writing for the web• Keep web copy short and simple• Be genuine and honest – be credible!• Focus on headlines, leads and captions• Have a clear call to action• Create value
Tailoring your web copywriting What is the purpose of this platform? Who is the audience? What content do they want? What action do you want them to take?
Web Content Considerations 80% of users don’t read text on the Web. They SCAN Make text SCANNABLE Highlight keywords, links, sub-headings, bulleted lists, one idea per paragraph Credibility is important and can be increased by high-quality graphics, good writing & outbound hypertext links. Avoid Promotional writing as site users detest “marketese”
How do we engage readers toshare our content / stories?Identify the target market with whom you can have an engagedconversation of a long period of time
Simple rules for reader engagement" Encourage comments" Turn questions into content – invite readers to ask questions & answer questions in public, e.g. Advice columns" Reader activities" Multimedia engagement" Pay attention to your headline" Pay attention to your conclusion - Wrap things up in a way that encourages conversation, comments and discussion. Get your readers involved. Learn about their experiences. Ask open- ended questions. Have them talk about themselves.
Tips for great headlines• Keep it short – under 10 words• Be specific• Use simple, unambiguous words• Make the reader curious, e.g. emotive words• Ask questions / make statements• Address reader directly – use “you”• Numbers work well, e.g. “5 tips for”• Benefit / rewards work well, e.g. “how to”• Honesty is key
EmailnewslettersTargeted at people who’ve takenaction to connect with your brand.Main purpose is to keep customersengaging with your brand on aregular basis & update them onnews.• Conversational & informative• Must be short & entertaining• Address current, relevant issues• Provide backlinks to website• Subject line = nb! Keep it consistent & clearly branded
Writing for your BlogA blog is an online journal or repository that’s updated regularlyand focuses quite narrowly on a specific topic
Pointers to Blog Copywriting" Think about what your customers will be interested in" Focus on specific topic or angle & stick to it" Keep individual articles short (even if you have long articles)" Great way to improve website ranking through SEO" Personal stories & case studies make for good reading" Advice articles are very popular" Encourage audience interaction with your blog post
Writing foryour WebsitePublic face of your brand online• Content should be general & informative• Your product solves their problem• Provide valuable content for those familiar with your offerings• “What do people need to find & learn?”• Short copy written to encourage an action• Point visitors to best content
Website elements to consider" Your contact page – Keep it to a minimum, provide your details clearly & separately" Your navigation – must be clear & obvious" Your about page – include business credentials and history – quick summary of origins & services" Repetition – use same keywords & phrases to emphasise selling points of your business, be consistent
SEO & CopywritingSearch Engine Optimisation (i.e. achieving higher rankingson Google) goes hand in hand with Online Copywriting
Writing for the web achieve many goals" Become a top ranked resource in major search engines where people are searching for words related to your industry, topic, or organisation.Search engine credibility allows you to:" Increase exposure of your site on major search engines" Attract customers actively looking for your services" Reach journalists and reporters to get more press coverage" Build brand awareness and improve your online credibility
Important On-page SEO factors Title Tag – Intitle counts URL Meta Structure – description Inurl counts countsCombination is Header best – Intitle, countsInurl, Inanchor counts ALT text counts Content – Embedded Search termslinks counts count
Header tagsThe header tags in HTML (H1, H2, H3, etc.) indicate subject hierarchy in a web page. They tell theengines “this is what the page is about”. The Renault Koleos, serious 4x4 fun H2 Launch of the Renault Koleos 4x4 Dynamique H1§ An H1 tag might be considered the headline of the page as a whole, while H2 tags would serve as sub-headers, H3s as tertiary level headlines, etc.§ The search engines have shown a preference for keywords appearing in header tags. It is generally best practice to use the title tag of a page, containing the important keywords, as the H1 tag.§ This provides keyword relevance and delivers a great user experience.
Title tags§ Search engines rank pages, not web sites.§ The title tag is the #1 on-page search ranking factor§ A good title tag will get your search ranking clicked. A bad one will likely drive away potential visitors.Where it appears:› In the title bar of your web browser› As the headline of most search snippets on search results pages The Technical Bones and Guts and Stuff Ø If you click View and then Page Source in Firefox, or View >> Source in Internet Explorer, youll see what the title tag looks like when the skins off the skeleton
Image Titles & ALT textIt is important to add ALT text to images when uploading images to your CMS§ This makes indexing more effective and is an easy way to gain more targeted traffic without appearing to “keyword stuff” your pages.§ The biggest benefit is that your pages will also appear in relevant image searches Renault Koleos Dynamique 4x4 2009 modelThe Technical Bones and Guts and Stuff
Embedded Links§ Link between your site content and related articles and guides readers to related content on your site§ Also link to external links (content sources) e.g. YouTube video of Behind the Music documentary The Technical Bones and Guts and Stuff
& remember the #1 rule:Content is King“Ask yourself what creates value for your users”sayeth Google.
Golden nuggets to writing for Search Put your key phrases in headlines An optimal page for the phrase “vw polo" would and sub-headlines look something like: Use the key phrase often in your body (at least 3 times) Make sure one of your key phrases is in bold Put your key phrase into the image description and ALT tag Link key phrases to related pages (link to at least 1 related article) Make sure your meta description is SERP friendly (max 150 characters)
On-page copy | Best Practice Rules" Use an optimised document structure - follow a journalistic format wherein the document starts with a description of the content, then flows from broad discussion of the subject to narrow. In addition to SEO value, they provide the most readable and engaging informational document." Make the text on-topic and high quality - Great writing can provide benefits to rankings, as well as visitors." Be consistent - Once youve determined a good formula for your pages, stick to that regimen" Bold important key phrases – highlights importance of what you’re talking about" Target searcher intent - When youre writing titles for web pages, keep in mind the search terms your audience employed to reach your site.
SEO Best Practices for Articles" Ideally a minimum of 250 words of copy per page" Include primary keyword / key phrase 5-7 times per page, with at least 1 mention in first 1,000 characters of text" Hyperlink 1st mention of primary keyword/key phrase to article/feature with similar topic" Repeat topic in the headline - Re-using the title tag of each page as the H1 header tag can be valuable from both a keyword targeting standpoint and a user experience improvement" Try to stick to one idea per paragraph" Use bullet point lists when talking about multiple topics" You can have an editorial title that’s still optimized: use a colon! " Feel the Burn: Hot Muscle-Building Exercises
Web Copywriting : Summary Website Email Blog Inform about product/brand Remind subscribers about brand Inform & entertain readers Purpose Encourage visitors to make purchase Inform about new offers Position brand as expert in =ield Engage with other platforms (email, Keeps customers updated Explain need for product social networks) Anyone Existing customers Members of brand community Audience People interested in brand/ Interested people who can be People in industry product converted to customers People looking for solution to New contacts to introduce to Readers not interested in content problem brand but not your brand Informative, useful, valuable & Informative & detailed Interesting & relevant Content educational Promotional Value-‐added material Indirectly related to your product Highly organised Condensed & regular Become a customer Click through to website Comment & engage with material Action Engage with other marketing Share content with friends & Forward to friends & colleagues channels colleagues Convert to customers Open & honest Brief & conversational Conversational & engaging General & explanatory Entertaining & readable Personal & friendly Style Simple, scannable & well structured Promotional Open-‐ended Repetitive Tailored to your readers In-‐depth & informational Conveys brand personality