A common mistake content writers make is writing content, especially blog posts, without the elements of persuasive copywriting. Most businesses hire content writers to write blog posts for them not just to educate their readers, but to persuade them to take action after reading the blog posts.
Sometimes they would want readers to download a lead magnet and opt-in, claim a free trial, or even request a free consultation. It really depends on a business’ marketing funnel.
Whenever I hear or read about the “copywriting vs. content writing” argument, or any “vs.” argument for that matter, I’m reminded of this GIF from Dawson Leery:
“Oh God, not another vs. post! *cries*”
When writing blog posts, it’s often not about choosing content writing over copywriting. The best writers out there can blend content writing and copywriting to craft blog posts that educate readers and, at the same time, help online businesses make money.
If you’re still unsure about the differences between content writing and copywriting, read our previous blog post “Copywriting vs. Content Writing: How Each Affects a Company’s Bottom Line.”
Do you want to attract higher paying clients and improve your blog post writing skills? I know you do, so keep reading!
Simply creating content isn’t good enough.
With over 2 million blog posts published every day, according to MarketingProfs, you need to post something extraordinary to make waves with your target audience. Especially for content writers and bloggers who are competing against equally good, if not better, writers in their respective industries.
And even if you write and publish the best possible post you can muster, you still have to worry about content shock, a term coined by Mark Schaefer in 2014 that still rings true today.
There’s so much content available with a click of a button that it’s become harder to make decisions due to the value and usefulness that each content provides. There is so little time to delve into each content that 43% of readers confess to skimming blog posts instead of reading them.
“Okay, so I have to write above average content. What else?”
Clients want blog posts that not only engage and educate readers, but also move readers to the next step in the buyer’s journey. That’s why you need to learn copywriting even if you only do content writing for clients.
Once you learn how to smoothly combine both disciplines, you’ll be churning out better and more valuable content than before!
How to Write Better Blog Posts With Persuasive Copywriting
Copywriting can help make your blog posts more effective. Instead of simply educating readers, content infused with copywriting tactics can persuade readers to take action (e.g. download a lead magnet, try or even buy a certain product, etc.).
By writing content with copywriting tactics, your blog posts can stand out from the pack by:
- Increasing your client’s leads or even sales
- Refining your writing voice which lets you stand out from other content creators
- Creating content that connects with the right audience
However, it’s not enough that I discuss with you the benefits of adding clever copywriting into the equation.
Let me share with you the five persuasive copywriting tactics you can use to write better blog posts!
1. Write for the Right Audience
Your purpose as a content writer is to clearly deliver a message to your target audience. By writing in a conversational tone your audience is most familiar with, your content will be crystal clear and more effective.
But if you’re writing for the wrong audience (never guess who your audience is!), your content won’t appeal to the target audience.
Imagine writing a college-level blog post for high school readers…
Will they even bother reading your content? A few might, but most won’t!
So keep in mind that before you even write a single word, you need to have a clear idea of who your audience is—who will be reading your content?
In fact, it’s not enough to have an idea of who your target audience is. It’s often best to hear it from them, your potential readers.
Try building a survey using Google Forms. You can include questions that they can fill out or choose from a list that will help you determine the biggest problem they are facing.
Below is a screenshot of a form I created on Google Forms to unearth information about my target audience for my freelance writing site:
To make it easy for people to fill out your survey, make sure that most questions are multiple choices. Also, capture their name and email addresses in the form so you can include them in your mailing list.
Once you have finished creating the form, you need to collect answers from your target audience. If you don’t have a mailing list yet, you can simply hop onto different Facebook Groups and share a link to your survey there.
For my survey, I posted on different blogging and writing groups on Facebook asking other members to answer the survey so I can provide them with useful content once I start publishing on my blog.
I assume that members won’t be too keen on helping out a stranger, which I feel is justified.
Therefore, to get them extra motivated to answer your survey, give them something in return after filling out your form. In my posts on Facebook, I mentioned that they’d receive a free e-book about writing once they’re done with the survey.
Once you have collected their information, it’s time to create a profile of your ideal audience based on the average answers of participants. Grooming your reader persona (or buyer persona if your main goal is to increase your sales) allows you to establish the foundation of your content strategy.
When writing blog content, you can refer to this person to help you find the right voice that will resonate with them.
2. Craft Killer Headlines
You’ve probably seen these headlines floating around on social media:
“A man confronted a kid about something he did wrong. What happens next is beautiful…”
“X Reasons Why We Can’t Have Nice Things #3 Will Surprise You!”
Sensational, clickbait content can be overbearing, but damn me if it isn’t irresistibly compelling! When done correctly, writers play the audience in the palm of their hands with this type of headline.
However, it comes to a point when clickbait headlines become too sensational and hyperbolic that results backfire.
The over-reliance of content creators on eliciting a click from users without actually delivering on the promise of the headline caused Facebook to bring the hammer down on clickbait content. Banning such headlines from your Facebook news feed isn’t such a terrible thing…
In fact, it helps writers to come up with different ways to create compelling headlines to their audience without duping them.
Instead of taking a sensational road to your blog post headlines, you need to write headlines that deliver what’s promised to your audience.
To build a loyal readership, you need to establish trust with them. Aside from providing them useful blog content, you need your headlines to match and explicitly say what can be read from your content.
According to Copyblogger, eight out of ten readers don’t make it past the headline—two of whom will only read your content. Therefore, by making your headline as catchy as your content, you will have already given the gist of your article to at least 80% of your visitors.
When writing killer headlines, I usually keep these handy rules of thumbs to heart:
Mention the Type of Content
Is your post an infographic, podcast, or an interview? If yes, you can specify in the headline which among the three or any content other than an article your post is.
Studies show that by clarifying the type of content on your headline and including “[INFOGRAPHIC]”, “[PODCAST]”, or “[INTERVIEW]”, you increase the performance of your posts by 38%.
Aim for 16 to 18 Word Headlines
To optimize the results of your headline, you need to feature between 16-18 words. The average word count should be enough to provide your audience with the most relevant information about your audience to encourage them to click on your article to read.
Use Odd Numbers in List Posts
To make your listicle stand out, it would be great to use numbers that end in 1,3,5,7, and 9.
The betaworks study team created a code that draws all of Buzzfeed’s listicles data from 2013. Based on the Audience Score filter, most of the highest-rated posts are odd numbered lists.
While the data does not explicitly say that oddly numbered listicles are better than even numbered lists in general, it is a sign nonetheless that you should play around with listing items in odd numbers for your posts.
Also, another interesting fact from the data is the overabundance of listicles that end in 10.
Therefore, if you want your listicle to stand out, you need to use a number other than 10.
Use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer
A blog post headline is composed of different factors. You need to mix up the words in your headline by using common, uncommon, emotional, and power words for maximum effect. However, you can’t truly gauge the effectiveness of your headline just by looking at it.
Coming up with headlines for your post can be a nightmare if you don’t have a system in place that lets you measure how good your headlines are. Enter CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer…
CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer is a great tool you can use to optimize headlines. It’s simple to use too! Basically, the higher the score, the better the headline is.
Use this tool to create headlines that invite readers to click!
3. Split Test Your Headlines
Part of a copywriter’s task is to scale all variables of their work. From the headline down to the call to action, each element is closely reviewed by the copywriter. It’s his responsibility to find areas to improve for higher conversion rates.
Arguably the most important aspect of web copy is the headline.
We’ve already discussed how to craft blog post headlines that actually work. Now, let’s talk about testing the different versions of your headlines.
Your headline can easily make or break your article. When content is shared on social media, it is the first thing that users see your piece. A well-conceived headline can help you grow your traffic by 500% just like Upworthy during the clickbait headline craze that started in 2013.
To achieve a high clickthrough rate from social media and SEO, you need to play around with your blog post headlines. Create different variations of each and test which among the versions you wrote received the most clicks from visitors.
If you are a WordPress user, then you download and activate the Title Experiments plugin.
This plugin allows you to generate multiple headline versions for your post and test each version to see which one works best. The headline that receives the most visits over a certain time period, will obviously be the best choice as your headline.
4. Tell a Story
Literary enthusiasts fondly remember authors such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Emily Dickinson, and others because of the stories they weave on each page of a book and the style they used to great effect.
While content writers won’t win a Pulitzer Prize anytime soon, it doesn’t mean that you can’t come up with a compelling story to support your ideas.
To cut through the content noise of today, you need flair in your writing to help distinguish yourself from others. And it’s through the stories you tell that help you refine your writing voice.
Groove published a case study of two different versions of a blog post: one with a story introduction and another without.
After a period of testing, the results revealed that the version with a story introduction received 300% more user scrolling down until the bottom of the page and a 500% increase in the average time on the page!
There’s already so much cookie-cutter content online that state the information in the article without any personality. Adding a touch of storytelling in your content allows visitors to empathize with you.
Here are some ideas you can use to create vivid stories in your content:
- Use your experience– The best kind of stories that you can incorporate in your content are real ones, i.e., those that you’ve experienced personally and are related to your topic.
- Using fiction to drive a point– Since not all of your experiences have anything to do with your content, you can still weave a fictional story that will prove your point. In this post about revising the content at Enchanting Marketing, author Henneke starts her article with a writer in despair because her article drafts are no good. The introduction sets the mood of hopelessness, which she uses to steer her article to a more positive direction through her tips and advice on how to revise substandard work.
- Paint a picture– Building an image in the minds of readers helps set the tone of your content. Doing so encourages them to interconnect these ideas with the message that you’re trying to convey. For example, Nemo Chu uses the analogy of driving with your eyes away from the road as similar to launching a marketing campaign without you tracking its performance.
5. Map Visitor Scroll
As mentioned earlier, only 57% of users read blog posts from top to bottom. While the majority of your visitors still read your content, there’s always room for improvement.
Your goal is to have everyone read your entire blog post. Doing so allows them to make informed decisions based on what you shared in the article. If they just skimmed through the article, there’s little chance that they’ll commit to your CTA.
What you want to do is track how your readers progress with your post and see where half of them stopped reading.
A tool that can help you track your visitor behavior is CrazyEgg.
Using the Scrollmap feature, you can record which point your visitors stopped reading or clicked away from your page. Using the data, you can move your CTA’s so you can maximize conversion rate.
Aside from Scrollmap, below are other features available on CrazyEgg:
- Heatmap– Shows which part of your page the visitors clicked the most. You can use the information here to optimize your CTA placements.
- Confetti– Reveals where visitors came from (organic search, referral source) and the buttons they clicked on your page.
- Overlay – See the number of clicks that a page element received from visitors.
Start writing better blog posts today!
Writing blog posts that clients would pay a lot of money for takes a lot of practice. It’s not something that you can hack your way through and be done with. Setting a writing strategy doesn’t only let you produce exceptional content that will rise to the top, but also scalable ones.
With these copywriting tactics, you can boost the results you and your clients get from the blog posts you write. That means you can start charging higher too when you finally master writing blog posts with both content writing and copywriting tactics!
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