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Here's My Advice for Getting the Best Website Content
Or𑁋Finding And Hiring A Professional Copywriter To Get It Done
If your website and web content publish poor copy, it may be the silent killer behind your lack of leads and trickling sales. In your attempt to save a few dollars using low-grade content, did you end up yielding the profitable ROI you were hoping for?
Here are two ways to ensure your business has top-quality content that delivers results:
- Train your staff or freelance copywriter to produce a copy that meets (or exceeds) your editorial and business standards.
- Hire a professional copywriter.
For those who can’t afford a professional copywriter or prefer doing it all yourself, here are some secrets to having good content for your website. Feel free to use this information for your SOPs, creative briefs for your freelancers, or in developing an editorial process for your internal staff.
What is Good Web Content?
Building a business online requires good web content for a few reasons. It helps you differentiate from competitors, encourages people to buy your products or services, and allows search engines to rank your website on its top pages.
Reviewing Google’s SEO Starter Guide is a great starting point. This guide offers a good foundation for learning how search engines engage with and rank your web content. It also covers more complex topics to guide you toward having a ‘searchable’ website along with the criteria to avoid penalties and low ranking.
Good content, from Google's point of view, must be:
- Useful / informative
- Provide more useful/valuable content than other sites
- Be credible
- High quality
How often do you produce or publish web content that focuses on dull information about your business?
Does your home page have a long-winded (and perhaps boring) company story taking up more than 50% of the page?
Did you edit the content before it was published and forget grammatical errors that should have been fixed by Grammarly?
Even worse, is your content so uninteresting that instead of clicking on a ‘learn more’ or ‘buy now button, your visitors are clicking away?
Poor web content is a death trap for many businesses, especially those that focus only on the features and benefits of their products/services / company. Quality content needs so much more than just a few facts and overused royalty-free stock photos.
How to Produce Quality Web Content
Google’s criteria is a great reference point to set the standards for your copywriting and editorial process. Let’s examine each of the five criteria so you can consistently produce quality content for your business.
- Useful / informative. Factual and complex information must be communicated clearly and concisely. David Ogilvy offers the best advice in his rules for writing and says writers should use “short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs.”
- Provide more valuable content than any other website. Take a look at your top competitors and analyze how their content might be contributing to their success. If you are in a very competitive market, you’ll want to find ways to deliver exceptional web content that offers real value to your target audience.
- Be credible, be an authority. Industry experience and expertise will be reflected in the content you produce. If you’re hiring a writer to take on the complex nature of your business and they lack fundamental knowledge, except to receive low-quality content. Find a copywriter that specializes in specific verticals if you need content for a unique business niche.
- High quality. You might think of outsourcing your content production to bulk-providing agencies or third-world countries where English is second-rate. If you choose this, you’ll get exactly what you pay for. Writing mistakes in grammar, spelling, and word usage can reduce conversions and impact the reputation of your business. In some industries where the precision of language is critical, such as healthcare and law, poorly researched and incorrect content can lead to costly setbacks.
- Engage and excite your audience. Hopefully, you’re aware that the internet is often used to entertain and be entertained. Depending on your industry, finding a clever and creative tone can be the key feature that sets you apart from your competitors. You should know the style your business wants to convey and use this throughout your content as well as your marketing messages.
What to Consider When Hiring a Copywriter
Hiring a copywriter requires a rigid process to ensure your business gets the best content that actually leads to increased sales. Here are a few tips and considerations to guide you in the hiring process for a copywriter:
- Meets deadlines and works well under pressure
- Understands the fundamentals of SEO, conversion rate (CRO), and web design
- Quick learner and communicative
- Offers independent research
- Avoids jargon words
- Provides appropriate revisions for the fee negotiated
- Edits professionally and diligently
- Accepts direction and criticism
- Responds to feedback and offers their professional opinion
- Delivers good content at high-quality standards
A common approach to finding and hiring a quality freelance copywriter is to invite a batch of writers to complete a paid test. You shouldn’t ask for free content because, as an insider secret, quality writers never write for free. So, provide a paid test for a piece of content you can use for your business with clearly outlined requirements before you begin.
Freelance copywriters are usually paid per project. Some agencies might employ copywriters that pay by the hour, but this can be difficult to track, especially when you factor in the creative process of the copywriter. Do you want to pay for their endless hours in a coffee shop, browsing around the internet and playing with their thoughts?
KEY TAKEAWAY𑁋PAY BY THE PROJECT, NOT BY THE WORD
A rule you should adopt in your business model is to avoid paying per word. When short and concise copy does the trick, you wouldn’t want a copywriter who’ll squeeze in a few extra words so they can squeeze out a few more dollars. Content can get exceedingly long and quickly lose direction, focus, or logic if writers are motivated to get paid by the word.
Do You Have a Creative Brief?
Once you have found a copywriter to produce your web content, give them a creative brief. This is a concise summary of what you need, your editorial standards, and the expectations for deliverables.
The more you can educate your copywriter about your business, such as marketing data, buyer objections, and buyer personas, the more accurate and authoritative their content will be.
Some copywriters may be able to provide research to ensure that the facts and information presented in the content are both relevant and accurate. You should outline which sources are acceptable to keep your business reputation credible and trustworthy. Otherwise, it may be best to add your research and include this in the creative brief.
Here are a few important things to provide in your brief to copywriters:
- A working title for the content
- 2 to 3 sentences that summarize the purpose of the content
- Details about your target audience
- The action you want readers to take after reading it (i.e. the CTA)
- Key points to include
- Links to identical works, examples of style and tone, and supplemental research
- Target word count
The creative brief is a blueprint that guides the creative construction of your content. You may have to fine-tune the elements in your brief to find the right balance between what a copywriter needs to know or not. If possible, ask for feedback from your copywriter to find ways to improve your briefs for future projects.
Take Time to Edit, Revise, Review, & Improve
Not every great copywriter is a great copy editor. To ensure your content is at the highest standard of quality, you’ll want to establish a clear process for editing and improving your content. Here are a few tips:
- Don’t accept a copywriter’s work point blank𑁋they’re human and humans make mistakes
- Take time to review the content you receive
- Focus on ways to improve the clarity, the style, and the overall flow
- Check to see if the content satisfies SEO best practices
- Give and take feedback until the content is ready to publish
A good rule of thumb is to polish all your content until its 90% perfect, 100% of the time. There will always be ways to make small modifications to language to improve the overall impact and punch of a message. However, you should stick to your editorial standards and know when a piece of content is ready to be released.
Don’t Forget to Track Your Content’s Performance
When you publish content on the web, attach an analytics tool to your website to track the performance of the piece. Use the data from your analytics to make informed decisions that improve your content for the future.
Find out which pieces of content have high bounce rates and low visit times. These are signs that people visiting your website aren’t engaging or unimpressed with the content.
Occasionally, compare your content to competitors. Perform a search using the keywords used in your content and determine if what you’re producing is the same, better, or worse. Use this comparison, along with your analytics, to find opportunities to tweak the performance or take necessary steps to improve the output of your copywriter’s deliverables.
When you’re analyzing your web content, look for critical areas causing your content to fail, but also keep an eye open for reasons why your content succeeds. Then, take some time to provide feedback to your copywriter. If you plan on hiring the same freelancer for future work, how will they know if they’re making the same mistakes? Or, what if they start experimenting with a different way of writing when the content they already produce delivers great results?
Invest in Copywriting
Clients will often ditch a freelance copywriter to pursue someone cheaper if they don’t see an immediate return on investment. Perhaps, they didn’t hire the right copywriter who was good enough for the job.
The relationship between client and copywriter is a long, two-way street. Without providing support, encouragement, and closure on your projects, you could be missing out on a chance to tap into a copywriter’s craft and receive better, conversion-focused content for your business.
If you’d prefer to skip the hiring process and jump straight into a project, I like to kick things off with a strategy session so we can define the focus and goals of your content𑁋click here to start a project.