How to Write Web Content that Sells

The first impression your site makes on visitors, potential clients and search engines is the content on your site. Is the content fresh? Is the writing creative? Are you using blog writing to the best effect? Is it effective at selling your company to new and current customers?

If you haven’t yet read our guides on writing great content, you might want to review:

Tim Devaney and Tom Stein state in their Forbes article “Use Content Marketing to Boost Your Business that most people prefer to get their information out of an article.

In a survey by Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision-makers said they prefer to get information via articles, not ads. Seventy percent said content makes them feel closer to a company, and 60% said content provided by companies helps them make smarter buying decisions.

Effective Copy Writing

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There are numerous skilled writers on the Internet.

Some are self-taught and others have studied the craft for years. Crafting a decent, readable article is something most people are capable of if they have enough time and help with any editing concerns. However, the most sparkling prose won’t always translate into sells for your company.

Fortunately, there is a basic formula that can give you a bigger success rate on leads from those who visit and read your content.

Use Keywords

Do your keyword research. Figure out what terms people are searching for that relate to your company. If you sell kitchen blenders, then you might seek terms having something to do with cooking, smoothies, blending, etc. When choosing your keyword phrases, keep tactics in mind such as:

  • How many people are searching for the term
  • What the competition for the term is like. If the competition is high, you may want to choose a different keyword phrase
  • Consider whether the topic is trending on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook. If not, is there something similar trending?

Hook the Reader

Writing Web Content

Once you have your keyword search terms, you’ll want to come up with a topic that matches those words.

If you offer content that doesn’t relate to your keywords, your site visitors are likely to hang around long enough for your content to sell them. They are on the hunt for information that relates to those words. You must present unique information on that topic, make it valuable and hook the reader in the first couple of sentences.

Here are two examples of strong opening hooks from articles on this site:

  • “I always say that blogging is an easy thing to do, but a difficult thing to master. It takes time for an aspiring blogger to iron out certain bad habits.” (A Case Study of BloggingTips.com: Planning, Developing, and Selling the Blog by Kevin Muldoon)
  • “When Google first rolled out Penguin, this was published on the company’s official blog: In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.” (Google Analysis by Jerry Low)

As you can see from the samples above, the goal with your opening is to grab the reader and make him feel he simply must read more to learn something new and exciting or maybe with a fresh perspective.

Provide Value

Readers are busy these days. Between commuting back and forth to work, raising families and running between activities, they might fit in the time to browse to your site and read one of your articles. You can be sure, as busy as that reader is, that if you don’t engage her and provide value in your article that she will move right along to something else. Who has time to waste, after all?

So, how do you provide that value?

  • Plug your keywords into the search engines. What comes up? What hasn’t been covered? How can you provide something more than is already out there?
  • Ask yourself what you would want to read if you were searching for this topic and try to provide all possible angles
  • Do all this, but keep it short. If your article grows too lengthy, your reader may run out of time and never get to the sales copy point of your piece, which shows the value of using your product or service.
  • Don’t hard sell the reader. If she likes what you have to say and needs your product/service, then she’s likely to buy. People don’t like spammy content, so don’t make the entire article a sales piece.

Show Examples

It is okay to give examples of your current clients and how they’ve benefited from your service. If you are writing an article on how to create an up do that has volume and you sell a powder that provides volume to your hair, gather a quote from a client or two. Be sure to include in the instructions on the up do how to use the powder.

Now, here is the tricky part. You probably don’t want to write “we offer this powder”. That is very obvious and a bit spammy. The reader may be turned off. Instead, simply state that a volumizing powder can give you that just out of the salon look women strive for on special occasions. However, you can link to the product through the words “volumizing powder” or offer a link at the end of the article to the product. You must balance between subtlety but not so much subtlety that the reader doesn’t realize you offer this service or product.

Make the Sell

There are a couple of things you can do that will sell your product more effectively. When you mention the product, be it volumizing powder or a service or a different product altogether, you must “sell” that product.

How do you do that?

Explain to the reader why the product is important to what they are trying to achieve. Ideally, nothing will work quite as well as the product. You have to make the reader want your product and the only way you can do this is to show him the value to him as a customer. Have fun, love your product and know its value. If you keep the value of what you have to offer in mind and give the reader something worth reading, you’ll be writing content that sells in no time.

Image credit: Karpati Gabor