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Ten Steps to Killer Content

Kristen Fowler Lindsey - Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Jonathan Krantz wrote an excellent, two-page summary of web copy writing basics, "Before You Write: Your 10-point Checklist" at this morning.

If you are writing any web content, whether web pages or email newsletters or landing pages, Jonathan's ten points are a fantastic tool to consult as you write. Though you'll definitely want to read the article in its entirety, I wanted to highlight several key concepts that I tackle daily with client websites:

  1. Decide: "what do you want the reader to do next?" The web can be very overstimulating, with links everywhere to take a visitor elsewhere, so it is critical  you make it very clear what the reader would benefit most from to do next.
  2. Jonathan calls the next critical step "make an offer." Basically, he is saying to include a call-to-action within your copy. You are not out there on the web huckstering; you have a product or service that is a great solution some people out there seek, and you are simply getting this product or service into the hands of those that need it. Ask for the sale!
  3. Listen to your customer's voice. This is one of the hardest things for many copywriters to do, especially when they are internal, part of the organization. We often are surrounded with our own "company speak" all day, and it can be very difficult to put ourselves in our customer's place and think about how they communicate. This can be as simple as using "you" and "yours" rather than "we" and "us." Jonathan takes this idea a step further and encourages us to really learn how our customers communicate about their needs and make sure our web pages reflect that.
  4. Focus on one thing. Each page should tell a story. Try not to tackle too much at once on one page.

These are just three of Jonathan's ten points, so I highly recommend tackling the entire article when you have time, but just incorporating these three important factors when writing for the web will boost your content performance.

An example of one of my clients who effectively implemented many of the ten points is Puffin Fishing Charters. Take a look and see if it helps you brainstorm some ideas.

How about you? Have some good examples of web copy that demonstrate some of the ten points? Please post them here -- we can all learn from them!

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