The Art and Science of Writing Your Web Copy
It’s normal for businesses to turn to web design experts when it comes to creating a strong and appealing website that has the core foundations needed to convert. After all, you’re a fitness start-up, you’re a charity, you’re in roadside recovery, you’re a training business… you’re not a web design professional, so you turn to those who are.
When it comes to creating web copy for your website, however, you may wish to try your hand at this yourself. And that’s because no one knows your business like you do.
But picture this: you’ve designed, built, and developed your company from the ground up… you know everything there is to know about your business… yet when you sit down at your laptop to start putting what you know into words, there are no sentences that manage to get your message across. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
The problem with writing web copy is that it’s not an art, and it’s not a science. It’s both.
The science of writing web copy is about knowing *what* needs to be done.
The art of writing web copy is about knowing *how* the task needs to be done.
Think about baking. There’s a set formula that creates the perfect sponge cake. But we wouldn’t decorate this cake for a retirement party in the same way that we’d decorate it for a child’s birthday. Baking the cake – or creating a solid structure – is the science. Decorating the cake – or adding our own personality, tone, and voice – is the art.
The Science of Writing Web Copy
Good web copy isn’t just creative and artistic; it’s also based on what we know about the science of engagement. As we all know, today’s consumer journey isn’t as linear as it once was, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a standard formula that can be used to create a foundation for generating content that really engages and attracts.
Let’s look at content length, for example. Studies into this area have found that longer content typically results in more shares, with 2450 words said to be the ‘sweet spot’ for raising awareness. But the importance of getting the science side of content creation right is that building awareness may not be your goal. It really depends on what purpose you want your content to fulfil. If your aim is to really engage with the reader themselves, for example, it’s often best to keep copy short, snappy, and to the point.
Another area where science comes into play is human behaviours. Experts say that, as humans, we have natural, inherent reading patterns that determine how we process information. The F-pattern is one of the most common. This says that, when people scan content, they absorb information in an ‘F’ shape, focusing on the top line, the left hand side, and the middle of the content. This means that, when writing content, it can sometimes be more effective to place emphasis and action words in these positions.
The Art of Writing Web Copy
From an art perspective, generating copy actually has very little to do with what you know about your business; it’s about considering what your audience knows about your business and, perhaps even more importantly, what they *want* to know about you.
The mistake that many companies make is that they begin writing their copy before they determine exactly what it is that their audience wants. Going back to our baking reference, it’s the equivalent of making a dinosaur-shaped cake for a child and covering it in boozy frosting; there are inconsistencies in the message, and that’s exactly what can happen when businesses overlook the art side of writing copy.
How we build copy is one thing, but how we personalise it to meet the needs of our audience is quite another. Of course, copy should be interesting and relevant, but these are subjective qualities; there’s no ‘one size fits all’, so it’s really important to think about who you’re writing for. Creating personas can help you to visualise your readers.
Perfecting the art of writing your web copy means having the creative freedom needed to express your brand through words. This may include playing around with voice, tone, imagery, and keywords and phrases to really resonate with the readers.
Sharing Your Message
In a digital world, how you introduce, portray, and represent your brand online is one of the most important pillars of success. But even with the seemingly perfect blend of art and science, there is still one very big challenge when it comes to writing web copy.
Imagine you’re representing your brand face-to-face. If you say something that the customer doesn’t understand, you have an instant opportunity to clarify; if you say something that they don’t agree with, you have an instant opportunity to adapt your communications. We don’t have the luxury of instant feedback with digital content, and businesses often publish content only to find that it doesn’t actually hit the mark.
But no one said that the responsibility of writing web copy all had to fall on you.
If you’re not confident about combining art with science, chat with someone who is. At e-innovate, we create impactful content and use social media marketing to drive direct traffic to your website, build your audience, and increase search engine visibility. Get in touch!