8 Copywriting Tips For Creating Perfect Web Publications
By Chad Harwood-Jones
It’s easy to get caught up in the visual design when creating your interactive web publications. With high-res images, rich animations, full-screen video and endless color, font and template choices, it’s understandable if you become somewhat obsessed with the aesthetics.
But whether you're creating a brochure, a proposal, a product catalog or a white paper, a web publication is of little value without words. Enticing people to open a page with great visuals is one thing, but keeping your audience engaged and then converting them into customers requires more — it requires superb copy.
Your text needs to be just as impressive, and just as well thought through as your visuals.
Crafting perfect copy is easier said than, well, written. For this post, we've asked Chad Harwood-Jones from the copywriting agency, Woo Content, to share some tips on writing text for the perfect web publication. Here are his top 8.
1. Create a style guide
Consistency is key. It’s important to see your web publication as an extension of your brand. Whether you adapt your existing style guide to fit the publication or create something new entirely, the written content of your publication should be a clear reflection of your brand on a broader scale.
Take a look at your existing website — is the copy chatty or formal? Serious or funny? Once you’ve established these things, make sure that your web publication follows the same style and editorial guidelines.
2. Break it up into bitesize blocks of text
There’s nothing more off-putting than being hit with massive, difficult-to-read blocks of unbroken text. Human brains are lazy. Many people will simply skip over paragraphs that contain more than five lines. So keep your text blocks short. White space is your best friend.
Web publications present plenty of opportunities to play around with page layout and imagery — so use them. Keep text organized into short, easy to digest paragraphs that can be formatted once your design starts to come together. Your readers will thank you.
3. Inject some personality
You want your web publication to be a clear representation of your brand, but you should also use the space to give readers an idea of the personality behind the publication. Personality is what makes your content memorable and helps to foster a sense of trust among your readers.
People trust and identify with people, not companies, so let your brand personality shine through all your copy. In doing so, you will create text that is far more engaging and you'll stimulate greater levels of interaction.
4. Keep design in mind
While Instant Magazine’s templates can be fully customized to fit your text, it’s still wise to start with an idea of your page design when writing. Having an idea of how you want a page to look will help to determine things like how many pieces of text you should write and how long they should be.
You should also keep stylistic features in mind like the placement of quotes and headings and how they will fit in the planned layout. Starting with a basic wireframe for your page will ensure you know how much text to produce.
5. Write something new
Interactive web publications are perfect for experimenting with content, so think about writing articles that push you and your brand a little out of your comfort zone. As long as the content is on-brand, there’s no reason you can’t use the web publications to be a little more creative in your writing.
If you’re a retailer selling groceries, for example, now might be the time to start experimenting with recipe writing. If you’re creating a publication for a law firm, think about engaging article styles that are likely to appeal to broader audiences.
6. It’s all in the headline
As with any article, post or web page, the first thing that users will notice when they land on a page in your publication is the headline, so make it striking. This is particularly crucial if you’re using a template that only shows the headline above the fold, as it’s the only chance you have to engage the reader enough to scroll through to the rest of your content.
Short, snappy headlines that give the user a clear idea of what your article is about are the way to go here. Write out at least ten variations, with input from your team, before deciding on the one you want to use.
7. Use a strong CTA
Many people forget to add a call to action (CTA) to the end of articles, and in so doing miss the opportunity to draw their readers deeper into their funnel. What is it you want your visitors to do after reading? Do you want them to leave a comment? Do you want them to sign up for something? Do you want them to click through to your website?
Regardless of your goal, a strong action-oriented CTA is vital for getting your audience to take the next step. Give them a clear indication as to what they should do next. Otherwise, you risk losing them.
8. Edit, edit, edit
Once you’ve finished writing your copy, edit it. And once you’ve edited it, edit it again. Poorly written copy, typos, and spelling mistakes are never good, and if you plan to use your interactive web publication to establish your brand as an authoritative voice, you have even more reason to make sure every word is as slick and professional as it can be.
Get other members of the team to look at your content with fresh eyes. They may notice things you don't. Have them look for errors and stylistic issues, but also for clarity. If a member of your team is not crystal clear on the meaning of a sentence, it's a good indication that it should be rewritten.
The importance of your copy cannot be understated. It should be persuasive, easy to read, and engaging. You should spend at least as much time on crafting your text as you do on perfecting your visual elements.
Now that you’re armed with the top tips for writing your web publication, the only thing left is to get started.
Chad Harwood-Jones works at Woo Content, an international, multilingual copywriting agency based in London, New York, Sydney, and Singapore.