Substance trumps style when it comes to online content.
When building a new website, content is often overlooked until the last minute, at which point the client, usually after a brief period of in-fighting, quickly cobbles something together. In my experience, however, this type of writing is never as fine-tuned as the rest of the elements of the site, which undermines the entire design and development effort.
Here, then, are a few tips to writing quality content for your marketing site – not just filler.
What’s in it for them?
It’s paramount to talk about what’s in it for your customers, not what’s in it for you. Your vision, your values, your team profiles, and your fascinating 50-year history are not what speaks to a potential buyer – a clear statement of benefits is. A first-time visitor should immediately understand your unique offering and how they stand to profit by hiring you.
Write it yourself
I’ve never seen outsourced copywriting produced in a timely or efficient manner. In the end, this process usually requires more back and forth than if you were just to do it all yourself. If you’re not strong with the fine details, it’s worth having someone edit your work, but you must provide them with some direction and a pretty decent draft if you expect something back that you’ll be happy with.
Hire an editor
If you do hire a copyeditor, you can collaborate with him in real-time online. The Etherpad platform, which I’ve blogged about in the past, is my personal favourite, though it was recently bought out by Google, which now features this real-time technology as well. However, several Etherpad copy-cat sites still exist, including the one I use, TypeWith.Me.
While I’ll save the SEO refresher course for another day, I will say this: remember that as marketers, we are writing for people first, and search engines second. Quality content – not SEO, not design – is what builds credibility for your brand online. The rest is just Internet bling.