What is copywriting?

If you’re in the world of marketing, you might not understand this because we are so familiar with copywriting and its function. But, for the outsider looking in, there’s a general haze of confusion that surrounds copywriting.

Before I jump into my tips, let’s clear the air and focus solely on the definition and the ins and outs of this marketing function.

Essentially, copywriting can be defined as the technique of writing persuasive content that compels people to take action whether it’s to buy something,  request more information for a service, download a piece of content, etc.

Copywriting adds value to your content.

To put this idea into motion, here’s an example. Let’s pretend that you sell noise-canceling headphones that are meant for people who work in offices (very random and specific but let’s roll with it).

Your goal is to reach out to at least five people a day to promote your product in an effort to get them to buy it.

So, you decide to slide into the DMs and give it a whirl. Here’s a cliff’s notes version of the message:

“Hi, @idontwantobebothered – I think you should buy our noise-canceling headphones. They’re great and they get rid of the noise. Here’s a link to make your purchase: xyz.com.”

If you send a message like that, you’ll have people clamoring for a chance to make a purchase…not!

That message was likely met with a scoff and an eye-roll from the user and in the end did not translate into anything more than a missed opportunity.

Let’s switch gears and say that that same salesperson decides to get a little crafty. They’ve done their research and took the time to engage and build a relationship (context) with a user PRIOR to sending the message.

The new re-vamped message goes a little something like this:

Hi, @iminterested­ – After learning a little bit more about you and your work environment, I can only imagine how loud it can get at times (There’s always that one Chatty Cathy. Every office has one!). I’m not sure if you noticed or not, but I work for a company that makes noise-canceling headphones that are perfect for people like you who work in an office. Here’s a fun infographic that’ll tell you a little bit more about what sets us apart from the other headphones on the market. If you have any questions, let me know!”

Now THAT’S a message that’ll pack a bigger punch and increase the likelihood of engagement with that user.

Why? Because that message was personalized to that specific user, there was personality, and the goal of that interaction wasn’t a sale on-the-spot. Instead, the goal was to provide that user with value as to why the product could provide that user with value.

That’s the long and the short but you get the idea…Copywriting is used to tell a story and form connections!

Alright, now that we have a better understanding of copywriting, let’s get to the meat of this article and the reason you landed on this blog in the first place. Here we go…

Three Copywriting Tips to Give Your Content a Boost

Get emotional

Grab a tissue, solidify their laugh lines, or get their blood pressure pumping. Whatever the case may be, an important part of copywriting is evoking emotion in your audience.

The whole idea here is to flex your empathy muscles. You’ll want to take a walk in your consumers’ shoes and then create content that’ll have them feeling something because they can relate to the story that you’re telling.

When you can convey through your words a narrative that’s steeped in emotion, you’ll create content that packs a punch and resonates with your target audience and, in turn, is more likely to be shared.

Hit the nail on the head

The only time fluff is OK is if you’re making a recipe that calls for Marshmallow Fluff, other than that, save it. The rule is even more applicable when it comes to your content.

Nowadays, consumers are predominately skimmers. They want to get to the point and they want to get there quickly. Verbose content like I’m writing right now in this section isn’t going to cut it.

The lesson here is to write content that focuses on one messaging point at a time. The more focused you can become with your content the better off you’ll be.

Ditch the pitch

As consumers, we’re more or less numb to sales pitches. They essentially go in one ear and out the other because they’re not engaging and usually, the goal is to push a sale rather than form a bond between the brand and its consumer.

Your customers don’t want to be outwardly sold on something. Instead, they want to be told a story. Something that’ll strike a chord and make them feel something (refer back to copywriting tip number one).

Compelling stories help make your content become more relatable in that if done correctly, the user can actually see themselves in the situation that you’re describing. The better that you understand your audience, the better you’ll be at writing copy that speaks to their questions, pain points, interests, etc.

How do you do that? Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

  1. Imagery: Have you ever read something and you could practically picture the scene that’s unfolding in your mind? That’s the work of imagery at hand that helps paint the picture of your story and transports your reader into the scene that you’ve created with your words.
  2. Metaphors: Sometimes to create a level of commonality between your brand and your reader, you have to provide them with an example that helps them understand the correlation that you’re trying to create with your content. Metaphors help us compare one thing to another in an effort to explain something better and create that “Aha!” moment in our readers’ minds.
  3. Anticipation: A good story has us feverishly reading to find out what happens next. The same goes for your copywriting. The goal of any piece of content that you write is to get your audience to read it from start-to-finish. Lead with something interesting and exciting to catch your audience’s attention and take them on a journey to find a resolution.

Making your readers feel something, keeping your content concise, and telling a story rather than making a sales pitch are three ways to leverage persuasive copywriting to help you better serve your target audience, build brand awareness and ultimately generate quality leads.

If you think your copy is missing the mark and you need help crafting compelling content, contact us today!

I’d just written an SEO report for a client who had been using an H1 tag in multiple places per page on their site—something I see fairly often—and as usual, I made sure to call this out in my report.

You should only ever have one H1 tag per page, I wrote. My normal elaboration goes like this: Think of your header tags like a topic hierarchy. The primary header, or H1, should encompass the main concept or topic of the page. H2s are subheads that support that topic. H3s are subheads that support topics under H2s, etc. Because there’s only supposed to be one topic per page, each page should only have one H1.

“But what about long-form webpages?” Aart, the creative director, asked. It wasn’t really a question. More of a challenge, really. But it got me thinking. (Mission accomplished, Aart.)

Web developments and designs are always changing. Attention spans are shortening. Pages are getting longer and fancier, with a bigger emphasis on user experience and eye-catching design. We’re trying to make it easier for the user to find what they need in fewer clicks. All those different pages that were crucial for SEO value don’t always work with contemporary designs.

Anyone who works in search engine optimization knows that it’s already pretty hard to find the right balance between SEO and UX, but how can you do it when your design dictates more than one topic on a page? How do you make solid SEO-related decisions that work with new user experiences?

Well…the truth is, you actually can use more than one H1 per page—but only if you’re “up to code,” so to speak.

First: Make sure you’re using HTML 5.

Unlike previous versions, HTML5 is equipped with the capability to code multiple sections into a webpage. Search crawlers can process these tags and understand that the content inside is unique to that section, and not necessarily pertaining to the overall topic of the page (more on that below). Older versions of HTML don’t give the same clues in a way that makes sense to a crawler in terms of optimization.

Second: You’ve gotta get your tags right.

In terms of SEO, there are two different types of HTML5 tags that can help crawlers dissect your page: <section> tags and <article> tags. When used correctly, these tags help crawlers understand that different topics exist on a single page. A <section> tag indicates that the content inside that tag relates to a single theme, and an <article> tag indicates a piece of content that could stand on its own, like a blog post or a news story.

For sections, think of it like this: you have a page about SEO Fundamentals that’s divided into three separate, robust sections about Content, Site Architecture and Link Building. You don’t want to have three separate pages about these items, so you put them all on the same page. Each is related to the main topic – SEO Fundamentals – and each topic could be considered just as important as the others. They all carry the same weight.

For articles, on the other hand, think about a blog that scrolls infinitely. In other words, when you get to the bottom of the page, more articles are loaded so you can keep on scrolling and reading. It can feature a variety of topics, from digital marketing to restaurant reviews (clearly our theoretical blog writer has a lot of diverse interests). Each one of these articles can stand on its own, away from the context of the page.

Third: Make sure you’re only using one H1 tag per section.

If you think about it, the same header tag hierarchy that you’d use for a single page also applies to a single section or article. So you’d use one H1 to capture the topic of the section; H2s to designate a subtopic of the H1; H3s to designate subtopics of H2s, etc. Just because you’re using more than one H1 per page doesn’t mean you get to escape the hierarchical logic after all!

The Final Verdict

So can you use more than one H1 tag on a page?

Yes if you can properly code out sections or articles on your page, and you’re following W3C best practices.

No if you’re using a version of HTML that predates HTML5, or if you’re using header tags to style different parts of your site rather than make a logical page structure. (Yup, it happens.)

Not sure if your site structure is up to snuff? Contact the experts at Flying Cork!

Confession: I’m a CrossFit® junkie, so I was beyond excited to watch the Reebok CrossFit Games last week. But even as I amped up my personal excitement, I started to view the Games through another lens – as a marketer. There’s no other way to say it: The CrossFit Games’ use of social media to drive engagement and heighten anticipation is masterful.

Grab some bacon. Let’s discuss.

What Did They Do?
As I was scrolling through my Instagram feed on Wednesday morning, I saw posts that athletes were told to be at a designated location at 3 a.m. True Hunger Games-style – the events weren’t supposed to start yet!  If you wanted to know what was happening, you had to watch on Facebook Live.

Over on Facebook, thousands of viewers were watching (many at the crack of dawn or earlier) as athletes sat in a hotel ballroom for close to an hour, where they were eventually given plane tickets. The destination? A surprise event that will be streamed only on Facebook.

Later that morning, 11,000 viewers were watching a live stream of people boarding an airplane. Next to paint drying, there’s nothing more boring than watching people fasten their safety belts and put their tray tables in an upright and locked position. Why are we doing this?

Because we want to be part of the action. Essentially CrossFit harnessed the power of their myriad of social profiles to drive excitement among their loyal fan base. In return, those fans reacted and replied – and those reactions were now on the friends of fans news feeds, and the message spread.

Statistics show that Facebook users have an average of 338 friends. If even 10% of those noticed their friend’s reaction to the video and clicked over to see what was going on, that’s more than 371,000 potential new fans. Those fans get intrigued by the hype, they keep watching and that enters their friends’ newsfeeds, and so on.

Streaming of the live events garnered hundreds of thousands of viewers posting and reacting to the videos. The potential for organic fan growth just from these efforts is exponentially higher than that – much higher than could likely be accomplished through a paid campaign.

Finally, long after events had ended, a video was posted that showcased footage from actual CrossFit gyms, under the title “Now it’s Your Turn.” It included a link to a map to find a local affiliate. That video was seen by more than 60,000 viewers. If only 5% of viewers’ friends considered signing on, that’s more than 1 million new members becoming active in the community.

What Does It All Mean?
Granted, this type of social marketing isn’t right for every company. But what this can show us is the importance of giving the fans you do have what they want—engaging them across your platforms with content you know they’ll enjoy.

When it comes to social media, as long as what you’re saying is on-brand for your company, it’s not really about what you want to say. It’s more about what your audience wants to hear. For the CrossFit Games, fans wanted to see as much of the action in real-time as possible, and the organizers knew it. Every social platform offers insights and analytics on what kind of content is engaging your audience. Do they want Facebook videos? Instagram photos with links to your blog? Maybe they’re driven by sponsored content on LinkedIn? What’s important is that you learn and understand what they like, and incorporate that your content strategy.

Want to learn more about growing your social presence or building a content strategy? You’ve come to the right place. Explore Flying Cork.