5 Easy Ways to Grow a Better Business With Written Content
The other day I was on Skype with a really cool guy — it was a kind of interview — who asked me what I liked about being a copywriter. I told him that most people who I've encountered that run businesses, know deep down what's great about their product, and what they want to say about it. The problem they have, is that whatever they put into words, doesn't do justice to what's in their heads. As a writer, I told him, I like being the one who finally gets those ideas out in a way that makes the client go, 'Yes, finally, that's it.'
I don't have any stats on this, but I would guess that most first-time businesses are set up by people who aren't marketers. Most businesses come into existence because someone has an idea they think is a good one, but because they don't have the background in, or knowledge of the types of marketing available to them, they miss out on exposure and potential customers.
In this short post, I would like to remind everyone of five easy ways written content can be used to help grow a business. They're all super accessible even for beginners, and if you need help with any of them, then please get in touch.
1. Thoughtful copywriting creates a better user experience
You can't be there to greet every single visitor to your website or app, so the copy you include there — especially in headers and subheaders — needs to explain exactly what you've got to offer. Not only that, it needs to be interesting enough to hold a visitor's attention, and there can be no doubt about what your intentions are.
This is all part of what's called user experience (UX). It's about putting yourself in the shoes of the reader and asking, If I had zero background knowledge, would I understand what this product is about? If not, then it needs to be changed. Look at this great example from Thinkific.
Thinkific leaves no doubt
A simple four-word headline which tells you exactly what Thinkific does, and what you'll get from them. They use active, positive words like empowering and modern, to communicate the idea that their course-building tools are far from the dusty HR PowerPoint courses some users might be used to.
In the subheader they bold the copy that's going to resonate most strongly with their visitors — create, market and sell. In addition — and this something I've talked about on Unbounce — they make sure you know how easy it's all going to be. 'Say goodbye to tech headaches.'
It all looks simple, but a lot of thought went into Thinkific's header and subheader, and if you're serious about keeping people on your site, you ought to consider how your own introduction looks from the point-of-view of a potential customer.
2. Blogs should not be seen as necessary fillers
Each blog post is a chance to share your expertise, or some other new and useful bit of information with your followers. The worst kind of blog posts are the ones which regurgitate old content. Equally pointless are the ones which spray out 600 words of useless BS, because someone read that having a blog is essential for SEO.
Having a blog is essential for improving your SEO performance, but what's more important is having content that people actually want to read. According to SEO experts Moz, a large part of the way search engines like Google rank your site, has to do with how popular and how relevant your content is.
Content which matches a user's search terms is deemed relevant. Content which users spend a lot of time on, or which they share, is deemed popular. Nail both, and your site ranks higher. Make crappy content, and there's no reason for people to stick around, and definitely no reason for them to share.
How do you know whether your content will be relevant?
- Ask followers what they want (run Twitter polls)
- Research the topic you're writing on Buzzsumo
- Add tracking tools like Google Analytics to your blog to see which posts fair best.
3. Always have a point, and get to it
This applies to every piece of copy or content you write (or that I write for you), but let's take Facebook advertising as an example. With Facebook ad posts, you get: 25 characters for the headline, 30 characters for the description and 90 characters for the copy.
That might seem restrictive, but actually, it's helpful. When you have so little space, you're forced to get right to the point. If you're selling online courses, then you need say that you're selling online courses. That sounds obvious, but a lot of people go a different route, focusing on benefits instead. Benefits are great, but at this point, it's more important that people know what you're offering.
Slack: Make Work Better
Look at Slack's example. They use their visuals to create the emotional connection, but their copy is so basic it almost seems incredible that it'll work at all. They've got the advantage of being popular already, but look, that header, 'Slack: Make Work Better' and that subheader, 'Slack brings all your communication together in one place' tells you exactly what the service does.
Slack are being a bit cheeky by sneaking what Facebook normally considers a large amount of text into the image, but the copy underneath is solid.
4. Speak with the heart, edit with the head
Anytime you find yourself staring at blank screen or website, you're doing it wrong. If you run the business, or if you've been hired to write for the business, then at this point, you know what's great about the product, and you know what needs to be said. The reason you're staring at a blank screen, is that you're trying to edit as you write, which is the worst possible way to write anything, and the best possible way to write nothing at all.
In the end, you're marketing to real people, so write that way. Say what's great about your product, get it all out, then edit. Your first draft is always going to sound clunky, but it's only by hashing it out, then re-hashing it, that you'll come up with the perfect, user-focused words, which match perfectly what's in your head.
5. Write well and don't waste a single word
Let's be real: your written content should always be relevant, useful and written with your followers in mind, but it's also a tool to help get ahead of the competition. Think that you can get away with one or two token blog posts a month? Maybe you can, but you won't thrive in an online world where popular content accounts for a huge portion of traffic and influence.
Your blogs, guest posts and the copy on your website, and in your app, it's all advertising. No word or sentence you use online when speaking on behalf of your business should be wasted. Choose each one carefully, and put your content to work.