The Ultimate Copy Checklist: 10 Questions to Optimize Every Element of Your Online Copy
Persuasive content uses a plethora of principles and techniques designed to compel a specific audience. Content marketers will tell you that you can’t simply feel your way through copywriting and that every sentence in online copy must serve a purpose and elicit a reaction. If you are wondering what content marketing practices you should implement in 2019 and beyond, here are 10 questions to get you started.
1. Are My Headlines Enticing Enough?
The power of a well-thought headline cannot be overstated. The headlines used in emails, landing pages, blog posts, videos, and all sorts of content determine whether the audience will bother checking that content or not. A great headline is clear and arouses curiosity. It can state the solution to a problem, stir up an emotion, or challenge the reader’s knowledge and opinions. As businesses all over the internet are competing for attention, mastering the craft of headlines is more necessary than ever. Create different headlines and test them to see what resonates the most.
2. Does My Copy Capture Interest After a Quick Scan?
Most of the time, people on the internet are either busy or lazy, so they will scroll down a web page, looking for clues to decide whether to read the content or not. You may have won their attention with a good headline, but now you have to spark their interest by giving an overview of why your content is worth their time. To do that, use subheaders to highlight key points (mainly pain points, benefits, objections)
3. Does My Copy Have a Strong, Distinct Voice?
When it comes to voice, the tried-and-true practices encouraged by content marketing experts will remain as relevant as ever in 2019 and beyond. Start by using less “we” and more “you”. Use simple tone and write with a conversational tone. Avoid clichéd expressions and heavy jargon.
To make your voice more unique, you might want to infuse character and humor in your copy, if your audience is receptive to it. You should also reinforce your values and beliefs while generating more conversations with your audience.
4. Does My Copy Twist the Knife?
Stating the problem that your target audience suffers from is a classic (and hugely effective) principle of copywriting. Empathize with the customers’ struggles, fears, and worries, then explain what they stand to lose by not working with you. For example, a coaching and training service would mention the frustration of enduring ineffective workouts. Your business’s mission is to make their lives better, and so it falls to you to demonstrate why they should take the first step to reach the solution to their problem.
5. Does My Copy Paint the Dream?
Your copy shouldn’t be all gloom and doom. It is equally important to depict what your customers stand to gain by responding to your offer. Using the same example of the coaching and training service, the copy would state how the client will feel younger and healthier, make his children proud, and feeling confident when shopping for clothes or going to the beach. Just like the previous question, you must have a deep understanding of your customers before finding out what really speaks to them.
6. Do I Have Data to Back Up My Claims?
Metrics speak louder than promises. If you have a large number of customers, email subscribers, consulting hours, or products shipped… mention that on your copy. Concrete data adds weight to your value proposition and shows that your offer is already successful, which helps alleviate the audience’s doubts.
Similarly, when trying to make a point, look for data that supports it. Studies from trustworthy institutions or quotes by well-known authority figures prove that you know what you’re talking about.
7. Is My Copy Optimized for Voice Search?
Voice search is becoming more and more commonplace. According to research done by BrightLocal, 53 percent of smart speaker owners are using voice search every day to find information related to local businesses. The rise of voice search shows no signs of slowing down and is expected to take over regular search. To optimize for voice search, identify long-tail search queries and create specific pages for your customers’ frequent questions.
8. Is My Copy Optimized for Rising SEO Trends?
Google and other search engines update their algorithms regularly, and businesses that fail to keep up with important changes may find themselves outranked by competitors.
Here are some of the most trending SEO practices to implement. Start by optimizing your website and product pages for mobile users and – as discussed above – voice search. Beyond that, target local searches and be present on directory pages like Google My Business and Bing Places for Businesses.
9. Does My Copy Include Urgency?
Urgency means encouraging leads to act now rather than later. Leaving potential buyers to think for a long time or postpone their decisions ends up in fewer conversions and lost sales. To avoid that, convey a sense of scarcity with limited offers and use timers as well as time-related words (today, now, soon…). You can also offer special benefits to the first wave of buyers, like reduced price or access to special content.
10. Does My Call to Action Convert Well?
A good piece of copy always concludes with a call to action. In the absence of one, audiences wander away from your copy to check Facebook or YouTube, possibly never to come back.
A good call to action is clear and unmissable. Mentioning a short benefit or addressing a last-minute concern like spamming. For a long-form copy, you can use several variations of a call to action, though you need to make sure you have included enough persuasive information before each one.
This checklist will set you on your way to write online copy that grabs attention and convinces readers to take the action you want them to. If you don’t feel ready too comfortable with online copywriting, our team at Iris Content can help. Our copywriters will craft copy that converts and generates revenue for your business.
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