Ever been on a website and known immediately that the author was speaking directly to you? Or been so turned off by what you saw that you closed the window right away?
The style you use when writing your website content can draw your ideal audience and also turn people off.
If you’ve done any work with branding, you know how important it is to develop a voice and a brand that is authentic to you. Your personality and your brand help you to attract your ideal clients—those who appreciate what you do and the feeling’s mutual. So it’s important to develop a style that fits your brand and your audience. This becomes your online voice.
Aside from your voice, there are a few best practices to take into account when crafting copy that your audience will consume on the Internet.
Conversational and Storytelling
Storytelling is the new “thing” in online content. It’s easier to read than textbook-style writing and engages readers better. Your audience will want to read it, and that will keep them on your site longer (bonus: extra authority points!). Plus, a conversational style helps your audience to internalize your content because they feel like they’re talking to a friend—someone who can help them with whatever challenges they might have. Unless your business has a highly corporate feel, a conversational tone with storytelling elements (in your unique voice) is the way to go.
[bctt tweet=”Tell a story in your online copy. It’s better for engagement and makes you look more real.” username=””]
Tidbits of Information
Writing for online consumption is much different from producing text for a book, brochure or letter. Because people have short attention spans today, you need to break up content into chunks that are easier to digest. Bullet points, numbered lists and subheadings work great for this, much more so than walls of text that strain the eyes.
Website content tends to be evergreen—it remains on your website for a long period of time (12 to 18 months) until your products and services need to change or you do a website refresh. It’s important that your content be consistent throughout the site and be written in the same voice. Sitting down at a certain time each day to write or creating content in bulk can help with the consistency of tone.
[bctt tweet=”Sit down at a certain time each day to write to help with consistency of tone in your copy.” username=””]
Remember back in middle school when you were trying to find yourself, and tried on different personalities to figure out what worked? As you were finding yourself, you probably discovered a lot about yourself. And as you grew into adulthood, you further developed your personality, beliefs and values. Of course, we all change and grow as we get older and have more life and business experience under our belts, but who we are authentically usually stays the same.
Being authentic online means so many different things, but in the end you need to be yourself. If your website portrays a clean-cut image of purity, your clients might be shocked when you talk like a sailor during your first call. At the same time, you might be a quirky naturalist so your website shouldn’t read like you’re a Harvard grad (even if you are). Find your authentic voice, write like your personality, and you’ll attract the clients who resonate with you and your offerings. And if you’re not a writer, yes, it IS possible to hire someone to write your content for you and still have it sound like you.
[bctt tweet=”Your authentic voice and your personality will attract the clients who resonate with you.” username=””]
Test What Works
Your audience is unique to you and your business and what works for you may not work for me or for even others in your industry. Use analytics to find out what works for your audience. What pages are they landing on? How long are they staying there? Are they opting into your list or sharing your content? Do they prefer long-form or short-form content? While your audience isn’t going to love every piece of information you provide, chances are you’ll start to see some trends. And that’s how you know what you need to provide more of.
[bctt tweet=”Your online voice will grow and develop as your business grows. Nurture it. Keep on writing!” username=””]
Your writing style isn’t going to hit you on the head one day and make itself known. Just as your website is a living, breathing being, so is your writing. It will grow and develop as you practice and as your business grows. Don’t be afraid to try out different techniques to help you. Do what feels right to you and your business, taking best practices to heart, and you can’t go wrong.