Sometimes an experienced copywriter isn’t in the cards (or budget) for a web project, so you need to rely on a not-so-experienced new writer. A few tips from you will help them nail the job.
Web designers and developers, let’s talk.
If you’re thinking about hiring a new writer to boost your messaging, there’s a chance their online writing is a bit green.
But that’s okay!
Here’s how you can help your newbie nail writing strong digital content.
1. TRADITIONAL DOCUMENTS VS. WEBPAGE FORMAT
Chances are, your new writer leans on the classic intro-body-conclusion compositions we all used in high school. That’s great … for research papers.
Web content writing has different rules, and your writer might not know them yet.
Your writer needs to view their content as a partner to your website’s design, not just words on a blank page.
Like, if you’re working on a splashy new homepage for a cruise line, you’re probably going to use a lot of destination photos. The writing isn’t even the star of the show.
Nobody wants to read an essay on cruises. (Well, most people, anyway.) Copy needs to support the story the images are telling. That means concise text blocks or captions.
Don’t hesitate to point this out to your writer. You’re not being insulting. You’re just being clear about your expectations. That’s never a bad thing!
2. CONTENT WRITING VS. COPYWRITING
Pretty much everything on the internet could be considered content, right?
The pictures for that cruise line homepage, cat videos, recipe blogs (that never seem to get to the actual recipe) … all content.
There’s writing in one form or another supporting it all.
But marketing copy is a different animal. It’s content that sells.
The thing is, your new writer might not understand the crucial difference between content writing and copywriting.
There are a lot of content writers who can entertain or inform, but a killer copywriter is an expert at persuasion.
So make sure your writer knows when they’re crafting content that “tells” versus content that sells.
3. HEADLINES VS. TITLES
A title is just a label that reads like nutrition facts … and it’s just as exciting.
But headlines? They turn boring titles into prospect magnets.
Nobody’s gonna get excited if you slap “Our Cruise Destinations” at the top of that website’s landing page.
But maybe you could catch their attention with “Sail to Over 100 Destinations on Our Luxury Cruise!”
You want your content to elicit some feeling. In this case, remind your new writer that their most important job is to create excitement from the get-go.
In fact, many experts recommend that writers spend half of their total writing time just crafting the headline. It’s okay to tell your writer that this is where half the value of their services lies.
4. WRITING TO THE CLIENT VS. THE AUDIENCE
You know, some clients want content that reflects them. By that, I mean it echoes the language of their area of expertise.
Usually, that means stuffing it to the gills with jargon … ugh.
Let’s say you’re creating a website for a law firm. Lawyers want to sound smart, right? I mean, they’re lawyers.
But your new writer isn’t writing for the lawyers … they’re writing for the laywers’ potential clients.
So if necessary, tell them to ditch the five-dollar words and use everyday language that casual readers can understand without grabbing a thesaurus.
5. CAPTIVE AUDIENCE VS. SEARCH ENGINE VISIBILITY
Writing for a captive audience has its challenges, but it’s a very different craft from attracting an audience.
Let’s say you’re writing an instruction manual. You don’t have to convince your reader to buy into the value. They’re already onboard.
But your new writer is trying to snatch people out of the internet cosmos. Content competing for their attention is everywhere.
That means your writer needs, at the least, a basic understanding of search engine optimization.
If it’s a little shaky, there are plenty of resources you can give them to up their SEO game.
A NEW WRITER IS JUST A FUTURE VETERAN
If you’ve brought a new writer on board for your project, I salute you.
On behalf of writers everywhere who were once new and needed someone to give them a shot, thank you!
Just keep in mind that there’s definitely a learning curve with web copy. Be prepared to offer them some tips in these areas:
- Writing in a digital format
- Persuasive content
- Magnetic headlines
- Audience targeting
- Basic SEO
And if your new writer needs a bit of hands-on coaching, let’s talk. I enjoy helping out where I can.
Of course, if you’re looking for a writer for your next project, we can help you with that, too!