Have you ever noticed how some blog posts and websites engage the reader, holding your interest, while others are so boring that you want to click away?
Once your prospective customer has found your website, you want to pique their interest. Then you can form some level of connection with them, so they may get to know, like and trust you… and then buy from you! You can engage the reader through your static content (Home, Services, Products and About Us pages). You can also engage through blog posts, which add fresh content to your site, boosting your authority and your Google ranking.
So, how do you write to engage the reader?
Instead of writing from your own perspective, you need to look at the topic from the reader’s point of view. You need to essentially write with the reader in mind, tailoring your content to the intended reader.
Following are 7 tips for writing to engage the reader
Who are your readers?
A lot of people who write website copy don’t know who their audience is, let alone consider their perspective when writing. It’s important to know who is in your audience – are they clients, potential customers, potential investors, joint venture partners or suppliers? Your answer may be “all of the above”, and that’s OK, as long as you know who you’re aiming at. If however, you’re aiming solely at one audience, you need to focus solely on those people.
Other aspects to consider are demographics such as age, sex, location, marital status, career, etc. Of course, every reader will be different, but you need to think about the IDEAL type of person you’d like to attract. What do they know, i.e. what level of knowledge do they have? Are they beginners, intermediate or more advanced in the understanding of the topic you’re presenting?
What do they know, i.e. what level of knowledge do they have? Are they beginners, intermediate or more advanced in the understanding of the topic you’re presenting?
What do they need to know, i.e. what information do you need to share to influence their buying decision?
Established business owners should pay close attention to the questions customers ask. Do your customers frequently ask the same questions? If so, write down the answers and ensure your website contains most of this information (you may want to withhold a certain piece of material to share with them in person). Including information from your most commonly asked questions on your website will save time for you and build trust with your readers.
What tone will work for your readers?
Will you project a more formal, business-like tone? Or will you use a more friendly, relaxed and approachable voice in your website copy? This is something that is determined by the type of business you’re in, as well as your audience. For example, if you’re running a professional services business, you may need to use a more formal tone than say a family-run small business, as the expectations of the readers and clients of these two businesses would be vastly different.
What type of language will you use?
Most website content is now written in everyday language. Think about how you would present an idea to a client. For blog posts, it’s advisable to write as you speak as a general rule, as if you’re speaking to the reader, one-on-one.
Structure your post or page
Reader attention spans are short when it comes to reading web copy.
- Come up with a strong headline that captures the topic and your reader’s attention
- Use sub-headings to break up long sections of text
- Bullet points or numbered lists make the text easier to read
- Use short, well-structured sentences
- Avoid jargon and technical speak as your readers often don’t understand it and will click away
- Use a photo, illustration or diagram to display ideas and complement the text
Think about the reader’s problem – and how you solve it
What is it that you do? If you’re a fashion retailer, you don’t just sell clothing, you give people the confidence to step out in their new outfit and make people feel great. You need to show them how you do this! The reader comes to your site with an underlying problem and they’re looking for a solution. Think about what you need to tell them that will reinforce your ability to help them? Be sure to clearly demonstrate how you can easily solve their problem and why you’re the best choice.
You can use testimonials, product reviews and case studies to reinforce the results you’ve already achieved for existing clients.
Fake it till you make it
If you’re not an authority on the topic you’re writing about, you can still demonstrate authority by quoting the opinion of a known authority or using statistics to back up your statements. This is a useful way to reinforce your statements while demonstrating that you’ve done your research… and it still makes you look authoritative.
Check, Check, Chek … see what I did there?
Before you publish, always get a third person to read and check your web copy or article for any typographical errors, spelling mistakes or incorrect grammar. Ask them to give you their interpretation of what the copy is about – which is very valuable feedback. You may need to adjust one or two sentences based on this feedback. Don’t be embarrassed if your reader picks up a mistake – just own it, correct it and move on. Even the best of us can make mistakes – including me! 🙂
I hope these tips have helped you think about how you can engage your readers online. If you have any further tips on how to write to engage the reader, please feel free to let me know via email – info@ProfessionalWriter.com.au. If you need any professional help with your website copy, check out my website copywriting services. Email me to discuss your requirements.
Hi, I’m Lyndall Guinery-Smith, The Professional Writer. I love to write copy dedicated to attracting and engaging your customers – and improving your bottom line. If you’d like to know more about writing to connect with your readers, sign up for my mailing list and you’ll receive regular doses of marketing inspiration in your mailbox. You’ll find the signup box at the base of my home page on www.ProfessionalWriter.com.au.