In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, the importance of compelling copy can’t be overstated. As a cornerstone of any successful online strategy, from local SEO to social media management, quality copywriting resonates with both your audience and search engines. But if you’re a small business owner navigating the complexities of Brisbane digital marketing, you might find yourself in a bit of a quandary.
It’s often tempting for small business owners to DIY their copywriting. Unlike some aspects of digital marketing that seem highly technical and daunting, writing may appear more approachable. After all, most of us haven’t had to worry about mastering the written word since we were in school. However, while it may not involve coding or complex analytics, copywriting is not as simple as it seems.
Why? Because excellent copywriting is both an art and a science. It must not only convey your message clearly but also engage the reader emotionally, persuade them effectively, and guide them towards a specific action — all while incorporating SEO-friendly keywords for optimal visibility. It’s a tall order, but the outcomes make the effort worthwhile.
Quality copy boosts brand recognition, establishes authority, and improves customer engagement. When effectively aligned with Brisbane SEO strategies, your copywriting can significantly enhance your website’s search engine rankings. This is particularly beneficial for small businesses competing in the local market, where even the slightest edge can make a significant difference.
If you’ve decided to take advantage of SEO services Brisbane, you’ll likely find that copywriting is a crucial part of the package. Brisbane copywriting services are designed to produce content that not only ticks the SEO boxes but also genuinely adds value to your customers’ experience. But if you’re not quite ready to enlist the help of an SEO company Brisbane, don’t despair.
In this blog, we present a straightforward 6-step copywriting checklist that will guide you through the process of crafting compelling, SEO-friendly copy. Whether you’re drafting website content, creating social media posts, or designing an email campaign, these practical tips will help you achieve the kind of results that turn readers into customers. So, grab a pen or open up your favourite word processor; it’s time to delve into the rewarding world of copywriting.
Why do I need a copywriting checklist?
Other than the immense satisfaction of ticking boxes, knowing the important elements of copywriting will go a long way towards helping grow your online presence. But rather than having a giant info dump bury your enthusiasm, this checklist offers a digestible, concise guide to writing effective copy. So, no matter how confident you feel about writing copy, let this checklist do all the heavy lifting for you. Language and communication is an essential part of any business, but copywriting shouldn’t have to feel overwhelming.
Step 1: Have a Clear Call to Action
The first step in our copywriting checklist is making sure you have a clear understanding of your outcome. What result are you shooting for when someone reads your piece? Do you want them to sign up, purchase, interact, get in touch etc?
This is where your Call to Action (CTA) becomes a vital piece of the puzzle, and we think it should be foremost in your mind during the entirety of the writing process.
If you’re unsure of how to start your copy, it may be wise to write your Call to Action first, so you have a clear understanding of where the rest of the piece is heading. Identify your desirable outcome, work it into an eye-catching Call to Action, and then form the path that works its way to that final destination.
Step 2: Make Your Copy Readable
There’s nothing worse than coming across copywriting that is completely unreadable. Difficult to follow, illogical information structure, large blocks of text with no sub-headings, and long run-on sentences make copy difficult to read.
And while avoiding typos and grammatical errors is one thing, choosing which font to use, how often to bold, italicise and underline words, and other considerations like spacing all come into the mix.
Often, practising restraint is the best option. You generally shouldn’t have sentences that are over 50 words longs or paragraphs that consist of 20 lines of text. Also avoid topsy-turvy formatting that’ll make the reader nauseas.
Aim for clean, digestible writing that isn’t exhausting for someone looking to take in every aspect of the piece. But, which it can also be skimmed with ease.
And please, make your Grade 10 English teacher proud, and proofread, proofread, proofread!
Quick tips for improving the readability of your copy:
- Use short sentences. Break long sentences up into multiple, and avoid run-on sentences.
- Use short paragraphs. 2-3 sentences in each paragraph is preferable. People have less patience when reading on screens than they do reading on paper – so keep things short, sharp, and simple.
- Use headings and sub-headings to break up the subject matter in your content. Just like we have in this article.
- Use dot points to present list-like information, as well as bolding and italics to highlight key pieces of information.
- In addition to proof reading your work – read it out loud. The moment you start to stumble over some of the words, or find yourself gasping for air between sentences – you’ll start to see where you need to improve the readability.
Step 3: Picture Your Target Audience
Whose attention are you trying to capture with your copywriting? Your target audience is super-duper important to nail down when you are deciding who to write for. After all, you’re going to be using quite different language depending on who you’re targeting. The copy will vary greatly depending on if it’s written for women aged 18-25 or retirees looking into pension funds.
Really flesh them out and personify them: what do they like/don’t like, what are their lifestyles, where are they likely to shop?
If you’re wanting to look deeper into this subject, check out Alex’s article on Putting on a Show: The Importance of Writing for an Audience.
Step 4: The Headline Needs to Grab Attention
Some forms of copywriting may only have a few words to work with. So, don’t you want to make sure those words count? Even if you’re typing up a 1000-word blog article, the first words people read will be the headline. It needs to promise something enticing.
Obviously, we’re not saying to make it clickbait, as that will only build distrust between you and the reader. This also creates the risk of being looked down unfavourably by the Google gods. But it’s crazy how often people pour their focus into writing amazing body text, only to spend seconds spitting out a half-baked headline.
Some classic techniques for engrossing headlines include:
- Phrasing it as a question (When was the last time you…)
- Phrasing it as a solution (Here’s how to…)
- Targeting your audience (Attention: New Business Owners…)
- Featuring numbers (A 7 Step Copywriting Checklist…)
Step 5: Describe Benefits, Not Just Features
Step 5 in our copywriting checklist is an important one. Afterall, you may have a killer product that’s an industry leader or packed out with the latest cutting-edge technology. But none of that matters to your audience who are just looking for a solution to a problem.
Features are your product’s selling points; benefits are why your readers should care about them. And while it’s important to make your features clear and understandable, the benefits are what’ll convince the reader you have a great solution to their problem.
A really easy way to draft out your features and benefits is to start by writing the feature, adding the bridging phrase “which means”, and flowing into the benefit from there. For example, “The new Suzuki Swift comes fitted with 8 surrounding air bags which means safety for the whole family”.
Do you think the customer reading this would be in the market for the car with the most air bags? Or, would it be the car that guarantees the highest safety for themselves, their partner, and their children?
From here, you can adapt the wording to fit best within the type of copy you’re writing.
Step 6: Conversational is Conversional
You don’t want your copywriting to read like a textbook or be soulless to the point that a robot could’ve written it. You’re trying to promote an idea you believe in, so be passionate about it. And write like a human being talking to another human being. Be conversational in your copywriting, and you’ll have a better chance of achieving those conversions.
It doesn’t hurt to read your copy out loud to make sure it has a natural flow to it, even if you feel a bit silly while doing it. And remember, conversational doesn’t mean lazy. It should still be professional, only on a more personal, organic level.
Bek goes into more detail about this in her Why Does Tone of Voice Matter? article.
And there you have it. A nice and simple copywriting checklist that isn’t longer than most of your shopping lists. Of course, if you are seeking more help with your online copywriting from some awesome people, check out BeKonstructive’s copywriting services to get an idea of why we love helping your words deliver your vision.