Writing web copy is easy. Everyone’s doing it. 2 million blog posts are published every day, but most get ignored because they don’t know how to write persuasive content. Few will ever capture their audience’s attention or help convince them to become a customer. Luckily, truly effective content has a few key elements that helps it stand out from the rest. If you want to start writing more persuasive content for your audience, here are 7 tips for success.
Simplify User Experience
Few marketers realize that one of the most important aspects of effective content is website user experience. Content needs to be easy to find and consume. You can create the most persuasive content and it won’t matter if site visitors can’t easily access it.
No matter where someone lands on your website, they want to easily navigate and find the content they need. If your user experience offers too many confusing options, they’ll simply leave and find another website that’s easier to figure out.
User experience optimization is an ongoing task. But in general, just consider any page of your website through the eyes of a fresh visitor. Can they easily see what they’re looking for? If not, can they easily find it?
Engage Audience Pain Points
One of the most important aspects of content is context. Position your content to show your audience that you understand their challenges and needs. Then they’re much more likely to engage. Dynamic content makes it even easier to appeal directly to multiple audiences with different needs.
Persuasive content engages pain points, while products and services address them. Here’s a great example of content that does this well:
Every yoga instructor has made mistakes along the road. This content acknowledges and addresses it. Yoga Journal helps their audience feel like they’re understood and engages them by discussing pain points. Notice the post has 600 Facebook likes as well.
Creating content that engages audience pain points is about choosing the right topic. Ask yourself:
- What problems does my audience face on a regular basis?
- What keeps them up at night?
- How can I help?
Answer Important Questions First
Once users do successfully navigate to your content, it’s equally important to provide the information they’re looking for fast. 79% of people who don’t like what they find on one site will go back and search for another site.
In school, most people learned a different way of writing essays:
- Introductory paragraph: Explain what you’re going to discuss
- Body content: Discuss topic and supporting information
- Conclusion: Make your final point
With web copy, the point needs to be front and center. That’s why the heading and first paragraphs of any blog content or landing page are so important. They need to deliver what people are looking for; then you can go into more detail with the rest of your content.
Write for the Average Reader
Using jargon or fancy wording is a common mistake marketers make when creating content. They think embellishing their message will make it sound more authoritative. Instead it just alienates a lot of readers.
Everyone appreciates simply-worded content that’s easy to consume. Use the same kind of language people use in their everyday lives to convey your message.
There are lots of free tools you can use to keep your writing in check. The Hemingway Editor, for example, provides advice on how to improve your writing and assigns a readability score:
Use Data and Statistics
Convincing audiences to believe your message is pretty difficult if you don’t have any data backing you up. Yet somehow people try to do this all the time in their content.
It’s easy to find data and statistics to support your arguments. There are research reports and case studies out there in just about every niche. Even better, you can analyze your own data and create authoritative reports. That’s a great type of persuasive content.
Even using quotes or sourcing other authoritative sources is a great option when no hard data is available. Just avoid making an argument about a topic without having some third-party voice or internal data to back it up.
Include Social Proof
It doesn’t matter how informative or relevant your message is, readers have no reason to take it at face value. They need evidence that they can trust you. The best kind of evidence you can provide is social proof.
Social proof is like an endorsement that adds credibility to your content. The most common kind of social proof businesses use is testimonials. But there are lots of other ways to show that people like your brand. Say you have an impressive social following on Twitter. Use a plugin to feature that on your blog.
Here’s how we at SharpSpring highlight social proof on our home page:
You can also add credibility to your content by partnering up with other big niche players to create it. This provides clear social proof for both of your audiences.
Listing your business partners and happy customers on your home page is another way to do this:
Writing is just one part of content creation. Visual elements are essential if you want to capture and keep your audience’s attention. Did you know that video helps persuade 73% of people to buy a product or a service? Supporting images, screenshots, and infographics also make content more visually appealing.
You can also use other visual cues to add more visual appeal to your content. Subheadings, bullet points, bold text, and italics can help. Whatever you do, don’t let your content remain a block of text. Make it easy to scan and supplement with visual elements to help your readers get more value from it.
Keep Writing and Optimizing
These are the best practices you can follow to help make your content more effective. But in the end, your audience will decide whether your content is persuasive or not. So listen to their feedback. Pay attention to how much time they spend consuming your content and what actions they take next. This will help you discover what kinds of content and content elements are more persuasive for your unique audience.