Successful copy writing for web pages and print
You may already be a proficient writer. But are you a copywriter? Your business will be judged by the words used to describe your products/services. Do not let a silly grammatical error or a badly phrased paragraph cost you an enquiry!
Typically copywriting is used in flyers, brochures, adverts etc. It needs to be grammatically correct but also interesting and to the point. Good copy holds the reader and delivers the key points of your message with minimal waffle.
Copy for an advert with limited space will be written differently to a brochure, but in all cases the message must be clear and understandable.
Also see: print design
Similar to printed copy but with one major difference: it’s not just a human that reads web page text. Search engines use clever cache programs calls bots to crawl through your web text. If you understand how that process works you can write good copy and raise the profile of your web page on search engines, thus increasing traffic and enquiries.
This is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) copy writing. Every web page has several areas that can be ‘optimised’, in other words populated with key word text, to maximise a search engine’s caching process.
Web designers use <tags> to prioritise text, for example the tag H1 (heading 1) is used for the page title, so use keywords in your titles. H2 is usually the first paragraph so again pack some keywords in here. The H2 paragraph is an excellent place to also put in text links to other areas of your website. These links can also be tagged (<title> tag). In the page source code there are non-visible tags that Google and other search engines also use to cache information. These tags must be set up and worded correctly for good results.
If you’re not a confident writer do not despair. What you do have is an in depth knowledge of your products and/or services. It’s up to the copywriter to gleam that information from you and convert it to good quality copy.
How to find a copywriter
If you are looking for printed matter copywriters there are many out there with websites and samples of their work. If it’s website copy you require search for ‘SEO copywriters’. Neither have to be local to you but stay in the UK when sourcing. American English spelling and phraseology are not the same as ours.
Instructing a copywriter
If you can draft out the main content of your web pages or printed document that will keep costs down. Some copywriters charge a per page rate, some by the hour. Establish a fixed price if possible and make sure you can edit this text if required.
TIP: The authors wife is a copywriter and I know she likes to write to a pre-agreed reading age. She uses the national newspapers as examples, ie: The Sun reading age for general use copy – easy reading. The Times reading age for heavyweight copy using words that most of us have to look up in a dictionary.
A bullet point list of key areas also helps; a good copywriter will research the subject to put the meat on the bones and on completion supply the copy for you to check.
With website copy my wife also highlights the critical <tag> areas that search engines use to find keywords, so if the client edits her text she can advise if that’s a positive or negative SEO change.
TIP. Every copywriter will have their own methods, charges and ownership agreements so shop around. Look out for the non-VAT registered copywriters if you’re not VAT registered. A good portfolio, plenty of testimonials and readable promotional material of their own is a good clue to the service you will receive. If it’s website SEO copywriting you require ask for search results success samples.