In marketing, copywriting is a crucial skill when it comes to establishing relationships with consumers. It can be the difference between a user building trust in your brand and abandoning your website within seconds.
In this guide, we’ve answered the common query, ‘what is copywriting?’, along with exploring the different types of copywriting, how to improve copywriting skills, and the mistakes you should be avoiding.
What is copywriting?
Copywriting, or content writing, is a crucial branch of content marketing. In essence, content writing is the art of using language and words to market a product, service, or opportunity, and educate your consumer base. Importantly, a copywriter is responsible for conveying a brand’s tone of voice through captivating consumer-appropriate storytelling that engages readers and converts customers.
What types of copywriting are there?
From SEO copywriting to creative marketing, there are numerous types of content writing. But which direction should you take when crafting your next piece?
Introducing SEO copywriting
SEO content writing is one of the main types of copywriting within the marketing spectrum, and helps to generate organic traffic to your site through a data-led approach. SEO is the practice of increasing traffic through optimising pages, according to what search engines, such as Google, are looking for. Hence: search engine optimisation.
The core function of SEO copywriting is to create user-friendly content that targets subject-appropriate keywords. Not only does this provide a helpful resource for consumers, but it also highlights to search engines that your pages are highly relevant and helpful for their respective search terms.
To gather an understanding of what your customer-base is searching for, you should conduct keyword research. This allows you to develop a data-led content strategy (which forms a part of your overall marketing strategy), worked around creating information points and resources that consumers actively want.
We’ve outlined the main things to consider when implementing keywords into your SEO copywriting:
1. Avoid ‘keyword stuffing’
Keyword stuffing is the practice of filling your page with needless keywords, in an attempt to rank higher. In fact, this is a frowned-upon practice, and search engines will likely penalise you for it.
2. Don’t try to target too many keywords
When writing content, don’t fall into the trap of trying to rank for too many keywords; it’s better to focus on a small handful than crowd your page. If you find you have a plethora of keywords, consider categorising them and creating separate, designated pages for each theme.
3. Longtail keywords
As opposed to a short tail keyword, which is only one or two words long, a longtail keyword or phrase is 3-5+ words long. Because they offer more specificity, it’s safe to assume that consumers are generally closer to a point of purchase. Therefore, ranking for longtail keywords should be a part of your overall sales strategy.
Other types of copywriting
SEO copywriting might be a big player, in terms of organic growth, but it’s by no means the only style of content writing. For instance, we also have:
- Creative content writing
While SEO copywriting is data-driven, according to key search terms, creative content writing is the practice of crafting articles designed to develop brand stories.
- Technical content writing
Technical content writing comes into play when a particular subject or theme requires detailed explanation and understanding. This is important when you’re discussing a difficult area, and need to simplify something that is otherwise complicated. The need to sell a product or service is still there, as with SEO copywriting and creative marketing, but the approach is a little more scientific.
- Social media content writing
The majority of us spend a lot of our free time across various social media platforms, whether it be to share images or opinions. On your personal profile, you might not think twice about how you convey a message, but a business’ social media performance can hinge on their tone of voice, content, and engagement rate.
You should make sure strong copywriting is part of your social media marketing strategy, and you should tailor your approach to each social audience and demographic.
Copywriting for beginners: top tips
Making an effort to learn copywriting isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t consider yourself a natural creative or are new to marketing. To help you get started, however, we’ve outlined the top copywriting tips to improve your website’s content.
Prioritise headings in your content writing
The one thing sure to put a reader off continuing through your copy is a block of unending text. Not only can this format be difficult to read, but it’s simply visually unappealing. The way to improve user experience is to efficiently utilise subheadings.
This means giving your page an appropriate title, as well as implementing relevant subheadings that break up the content into manageable sections. Additionally, the presence of headings makes it easier for a user to find exactly what they’re looking for on your page.
Alternatively, you risk losing the attention of your readers before they can even find what they’re after and you’ll likely experience a high bounce rate (the rate at which visitors navigate away from your website after viewing just one page).
SEO copywriting requires research
Whether you’re crafting a blog, landing page, or product description, make sure you’re targeting the keywords that matter. Understanding what your customers are interested in helps to get your foot in the door, and put your content writing in front of wider audiences.
Write for your readers
While it’s true that SEO copywriting should use keywords where appropriate, it’s also incredibly important to remember you’re writing primarily for people rather than machines. This sounds simple, but can easily be overlooked by a content writer trying to over-optimise.
When a customer lands on your website, they begin a journey in which they start to formulate an opinion of your brand. So, when creating on-site content, always remember that you’re in conversation with your consumers, and the way you interact with them will determine how they engage with your brand.
Your primary focus should be making your customers a part of the conversation, using colloquial language that feels natural. That means ditching the jargon and speaking to them directly in plain terms; your content writing is an opportunity to develop a customer relationship and sell your brand, not your chance to stroke your creative ego and dazzle readers.
Give your brand a voice through your content writing
It’s important to ensure your content writing is conversational, but it’s also crucial to consider the tone you want your brand to communicate with. Make sure to find a voice that penetrates the market and resonates with your readers.
Keep your content writing relevant
Whenever you write a new piece of content, make sure that it actually answers the questions or queries your audience is asking. The purpose of content is to be helpful and informative, so always remind yourself to keep your content on track.
Make sure to include a strong call to action
A call to action, or CTA, is crucially important because it gives a reader an indication of what the next step is, and how they can progress with direction.
Within your content, it’s crucial to include a strong CTA, whether you’re linking through to a relevant product page or a sign-up form. Alternatively, you could point your readers in the direction of further reading material.
A CTA is generally positioned at the bottom of a page, but you should also aim to include internal links wherever relevant, to offer easy navigation between connected talking points.
Check for spelling and grammar throughout your content writing
It goes without saying that your content writing should, as a bare minimum, adhere to the basic rules of spelling and grammar. Failure to do so can make your brand look sloppy and lazy, and consumers will find it harder to engage with your content.
How to improve copywriting skills
When all’s said and done, nobody begins their copywriting career as an expert, and there’s always room to get better. Discover how to improve copywriting skills with our top tips:
1. Practice makes perfect
As with any exercise, practice makes perfect. SEO copywriting can be tricky to grasp from the off, but, by sticking to the basics, you’ll quickly begin to feel more comfortable. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and learn copywriting techniques and skills through repetition.
2. Research your readership
Each and every piece of copy that you publish should be research driven and data led. SEO content writing is created for the principle purpose of driving sales and engagement, so don’t fall behind by misunderstanding your audience’s motivations. The more you research your readership, the easier it’ll be to think of content writing ideas and topics of conversation.
3. User social media to broaden your reach
It can take time for your website’s pages to rank on Google’s first page of results, so you should embrace social media marketing. However, this doesn’t mean simply posting links to each of your website’s pages on your social channels, in the vain hope that somebody clicks through. Instead, think about how you can start industry relevant conversations that relate back to your content.
4. Don’t be afraid to use lists
Paragraph after paragraph can sometimes be overwhelming for a reader, so don’t be afraid to break sections of your content writing into bullet pointed or numbered lists, to offer clear structure and clarity.
Copywriting things to avoid
Even if you take on our copywriting tips, if you continue to make the same marketing mistakes, you’ll struggle to progress as a brand. To help you nip these mistakes in the bud, we’ve outlined our copywriting things to avoid.
1. Including content that doesn’t solve a reader’s problem
Your on-page copy should always be orientated around helping your readers. This is because, if your writing ceases to stay relevant, consumers will simply look elsewhere for a clearer answer to their question.
If you find yourself diverting too much and talking in tangents, consider whether you could create separate, dedicated pages covering the related areas of concern.
2. Not checking over your work
Even those most experienced in content writing make mistakes, so don’t overlook the importance of checking over your work. Whether you pick up a couple of spelling mistakes, notice a repeated word, or end up rewriting a whole paragraph, it’ll have been a worthy exercise. Even if you don’t edit your work at all, you’ll have the peace of mind that it reads well.
3. Forgetting to optimise your content
While it’s crucial that your copy reads well and appeals to readers, it’s important not to overlook the benefit of optimising your content writing for search engines. After all, you’re relying on the likes of Google to place your website in front of potential customers.
4. Giving your readers the hard sell
As highlighted previously, you should keep your copy colloquial and conversational, to better engage readers on a more personal level. The easiest way of undoing all this hard work is by going too hard on the sales front.
Instead of adopting an aggressive promoting approach, let you on-page copy naturally guide your reader through the appropriate information, before indicating the next steps within your CTA.
Effective content writing can help to propel your brand forward, by engaging customers and increasing website traffic; hopefully, our copywriting for beginners guide has given you a platform to excel. For even more expert advice, discover all there is to know about marketing your brand or setting up your business.