When Content Meets Copy: Converting Traffic

If you want to learn how to make sure that site visitors read to the bottom of a page before clicking away, or how to ensure that they actually see that Facebook like button at the end of your article, then read on. I will explain how copywriting techniques can be used by website content writers to capture the attention of website visitors.

Before I go any further, I want to get something off my chest. This something is the frequent misuse of the word copywriter. So just for the record, let me state right here that a copywriter does not write articles, blog post, or any other type of content designed to simply fill up a web page. A copywriter does one thing; they write text which is intended to sell a product or service. This can be the words on a web page, in a magazine or newspaper advertisement, the script for a TV or radio commercial, or any other media which is used for advertising purposes.

Following on from the stated facts above, we can then take a look at the term SEO copywriter, a title I often see content writers attributing to themselves. The term SEO copywriter is something of an oxymoron. SEO is a set of technologies and methodologies aimed at making a website attractive to search engines. Copywriting is the art of crafting persuasive sales copy, with a high conversion rate.

The two are mutually exclusive in many ways. For a better distinction of the difference between real copywriters and website content writers, then consider the fact that real copywriters are often paid thousands of dollars for a single page of highly converting sales copy. Trust me, if you ever want to break in to high paying B2B work as a content writer, then drop the fake copywriter job title. Media professionals working for the kind of companies which pay a premium for good website content would dismiss you as a joke if you sent in a proposal calling yourself an SEO copywriter.

However, despite the fact that many content writers like to call themselves SEO copywriters, even though this job title is in complete disharmony, we can actually take a few techniques out of a real copywriter’s arsenal and apply them to writing page content.

The Countdown is Running

Many studies have shown that the average website visitor spends less than 10 seconds on a web page before clicking away (bouncing). This means that as content writers, we have 10 seconds to engage visitors, to make them want to keep reading, and we can use some copywriting techniques to help with this.

The first thing we can do is come up with a compelling title for our pages. In advertising, the headline is used as the bait, and adopting the same attitude with content writing is a good idea. I have covered the development of interesting titles in a previous post, so I will not go over it again here, but here is a link to that original post: Crafting Compelling Content.

The main tool we can borrow from a copywriter to help with engaging visitors before they click away, is to clearly state the benefits of reading the page as an opening section. Copywriters would state the benefits of the product or service they are trying to sell, or the brand they are promoting. We would state the benefits to be had by reading the page in its entirety. Perhaps an example may work better here.

Let’s say we are writing an article about something relevant at the moment, the Google Penguin update. A very high percentage of content authors would probably start with an introduction something like this:

If you own a website, you may have noticed a drop in traffic recently. This is likely due to a Google search algorithm update, which has been named Penguin by Google. This new update follows close on the heels of the Panda update earlier in the year.

Nothing wrong with this section at all at first glance, it is a good introduction to what will come next on the page. However, it does not really give any reason for the visitor to want to keep reading to the end of the page. So let’s try it again, using the copywriting technique of stating the benefits as an opening.

If you own a website, you may be experiencing a recent drop in traffic. In this article you will find information on the Google Penguin update, how it affects your site, and what you can do to negate its adverse effect on site traffic. If your site is losing revenue due to this update, then read on, we have some tips for you.

Do you see the difference? In the second example we are offering to provide the reader with something that is going to be of benefit to them, and this should hopefully make them want to read past that 10 second watershed. Check the opening paragraph of this blog post, I used exactly the same technique.

Content not Copy

Although we can borrow some techniques from a copywriter to develop better website content, it is important to understand the difference between content and copy. Content is published as a vehicle for presenting facts and information, in an easy to understand and entertaining fashion. Copy is published solely to sell. The real trick in using copywriting techniques as a content writer, is finding the middle ground, writing factually rich, interesting content pieces, but using key copywriting fundamentals to extract the most value from readers. There are plenty of copywriting techniques that can be used by website content writers to enhance the content they develop, and taking the time to learn them is well worth the effort.