How to Write Website Copy that Attracts, Engages, and Educates Your Target Audience
Industrial digital marketing specialists are aware of the importance of content in the performance of their website and marketing.
In order to succeed, they must balance the desire to integrate SEO best practices with authentic subject matter expertise to craft copy that attracts, engages, and educates their target audience. For certain, no one knows your target audience, products, services, customers, or story like you do. However, it can be challenging to articulate this subject matter expertise online and optimize content performance for search engines and customers alike.
Website copy is critical to delivering an impactful user experience from the moment a prospect arrives on your website. We’ve compiled some best practices, strategies, and approaches to unlock SME expertise and infuse it into the copy in a way that acknowledges the target reader’s pain points and delivers the solution they’ve grown hungry to hear.
- What are you writing, and who is the reader?
- Make sure the voice “sounds like you”
- Brand messaging strategy creation
- Strategic ways to integrate SEO best practices and SME expertise
- Simple steps to writing an article that attracts, engages, and educates
- Share results and build a content calendar
- How to write engaging website copy
What are you writing, and who is the reader?
It’s helpful to think of your website as a journey for the user. When doing that, the first logical step is to define who should read the copy and what they should know first about your company. From there, you can chart the reader’s destination through the site.
Knowing who is engaging with your site dictates the style, tone, and type of information to present. Next, consider the topics the audience seeks regarding technical depth and where they’re likely to be in the buying journey once they come to you. What questions are they wanting to answer before navigating away?
The user will likely want to see technical information like spec ranges or form factors, as well as your experience, certifications, and company stability to ensure you’ll be there for them into the future. Providing the information they want is essential. Your sales team likely already has a good sense of what your best prospects are looking for in terms of information; still, there is also an opportunity with accurate persona development to get deeper and better insights into the minds of your best prospects and what they’re looking for in a solution when researching vendors.
Outline your page (what)
Next, the page should begin with an outline of your copy to tell your story as the reader moves down the page. Creating an outline outputs your subheadings, after which you can fill in details in a “messy first draft” (those details can come from a partnered industrial marketing agency, outside industry expert or consultant, or even your SME to add that perspective early).
How to write website copy (style)
Anything you publish on your website must be written well, with a focus on clarity. The written communication on your website is critical to establishing you as a leader who can provide clear direction and reflects your business’s overall professionalism and attention to detail.
To that end, the copy should not be overly clever or written to impress the reader with the words. Industrial B2B products & services and its subject material are complicated enough; the language should be simple, short, and concise, clearly making a specific point in the active voice. It should be easy for engineers and technical audiences to quickly scan and consume.
Length, technicality, and scannability (how long)
Website copy should have descriptive subheadings with engaging language to hook the reader. Analytics show that a copy length of 1500+ words performs the best. However, you should ensure the text is efficient, containing only authentic technical language to demonstrate expertise in supporting the point.
Many technical websites and copy contain complex “smarter-than-you” language that confuses the user and reduces your approachability. The copy should spell out acronyms at their first mention to bring the reader along, not test their knowledge. Certainly write using language that resonates with your technical audiences, but especially on pages that are more geared toward C-suite or procurement audiences, write in a way that’s highly skimmable and approachable to all audiences.
Make sure the voice “sounds like you”
Brand voice is a critical part of the user experience with your company. Across multiple channels, they should come to expect to hear your voice consistently. While each channel may have slight differences, all of your content must sound like your company, and be consistent with the experience they’ll have working with you. One way to deliver brand language consistency is to include terms your salespeople use in meetings to what they read on the website.
For an industrial digital marketing website, providing accurate technical details and sources is another way to establish (and solidify) your authority. Ensuring accurate data to support the claims you want to make establishes credibility, a meaningful way to build trust with the reader.
Brand messaging strategy creation
Creating a formal messaging strategy to direct content creators is the best way to ensure the tone and language you want on the website. Interview essential leadership and sales stakeholders and collect common themes from populating important brand attributes.
Once you have drafted these themes, you can make a content matrix to document them for internal alignment. Following theme identification, you can develop personas with unique needs and pain points and tailor the messaging around how your offer solves them. Demonstrating knowledge of these points is another credibility-boosting component your site can provide.
Alternatives to formal brand strategy
While developing a formal strategy is ideal, not every industrial web design team has the resources for that process. If this is the case, you can still document the high-level themes to include in messaging and align website language with what the sales team uses. In addition, the brand management team should review and confirm any brand language on the site for consistency and accuracy.
Strategic ways to integrate SEO best practices and SME expertise
Search engine optimization (SEO) is another essential part of website copy creation. This process enables your site to rank highly on search engines, increasing the number of prospects that can find you and increasing your conversion rate.
Identifying and optimizing for the right SEO keywords can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful website launch. These keywords must match your positioning and what your target persona is most likely to enter into a search query, to prioritize getting prospects from your target audience to engage. Effective SEO writing is about more than keywords, however, it still must provide valuable information in order to instill trust in your readers. The quality of your content also has an increasingly high impact on search rank with each algorithm update.
Writing for SEO
There are best practices for SEO writing in website copy. The first steps are to define target keywords that fit your marketing goals and to define one target keyword per website page. Trying to write copy that ranks for multiple keywords will not resonate with the reader and confuse the algorithm, leading to a lower rank. A practical litmus test for the language is to picture human readers and write how you want to read.
Another SEO writing tip is to consider that industrial B2B companies often have long-tail, low-volume keywords specific to their industry. Writing copy to target these keywords may produce lower vanity metrics, like total views or engagements, but generally results in more high-quality leads, leading to a more efficient copywriting effort.
One way to evaluate a particular keyword’s effectiveness is to simply Google them. When you do, are the trends you’ve identified and competitors you’d expect to see appearing in search results? If not, try typing a longer, more specific version, and compare your results. This simple approach validates the effectiveness of a keyword beyond what most complex SEO tools can offer.
Manufacturing and Industrial B2B websites must include specifications and data in the copy. The best way to do that is to leverage the internal expertise of subject matter experts (SMEs). However, rather than having the SME write the copy in its entirety, which often stalls out due to other priorities, it is usually more effective to engage a writer to tell the story from the SME.
Part of this approach’s rationale is that SMEs are busy, and it’s difficult to take a company’s best engineers off of lucrative projects to write website copy, while writers are comparatively inexpensive. But a writer is not a substitute for the SME; they take the SME’s information, integrate the brand language, and craft a compelling story that resonates with your target audience.
If you ask non-expert writers to simply research a topic and write content around it, they may provide information that lacks nuance or context, point of view, contain surface-level points the reader likely knows, or require several revision rounds to converge an accurate story. To produce effective copy, the writer should interview SMEs and obtain their perspective in notes or a rough bullet point-style outline for the writer to polish. And of course, the SME should review the final draft to ensure it is accurate.
Simple steps to writing an article that attracts, engages, and educates
With the elements described above to implement brand messaging, SEO, and SME data, there are some simple steps you can take to start writing content that drives your readers’ engagement and interest immediately.
One approach is to ask your team for existing content that could be revised and adapted for your SEO strategy and personas. Examples of this type of content could include sales team FAQs, product or technology descriptions, conference presentations, or podcast appearances. This approach can serve as a jump-start to start delivering content quickly, as you’re not starting from scratch.
Another angle, and often the best one, is to focus website copy on topics that fit the overlap of SEO, positioning, essential products and services, and issues in which prospects are more interested. Then, as you identify suitable topics, you’ll know the pain points, the product offer and SEO terms will follow naturally, and you’ll know that you’re building content that has a solid strategic backing.
Share results and build a content calendar
With any content effort, a single article or campaign is not enough to drive the desired result. Analyzing the performance of your existing content or website should become a regular practice to direct future work. For example, measuring keyword rankings, landing page data, bounce rate, or conversions (page visits leading to MQL/SQLs) and noticing trends around what works well and not as well will help hone future efforts.
How to write engaging website copy
Applying the elements of engaging, thought-provoking website copy outlined in this article can elevate your good site to great, establishing you as a thought leader and technical partner. For an even deeper dive into this topic, view our recorded webinar on How to Write Website Copy That Attracts, Engages, and Educates Your Target Audience.
Windmill Strategy is a web design company & digital marketing agency helping B2B technical, industrial, life science, and manufacturing companies achieve increased visibility, higher quality leads, and more significant marketing ROI through smarter web design. Our website design and B2B digital marketing approach go beyond “more traffic,” seeking out better traffic by gaining the attention of the specific niche groups of buyers and influencers that represent your best customers. We help our clients communicate and sell their complex products and services to multiple audiences through web design, digital marketing, and SEO. Working collaboratively with your in-house marketing and sales team, we design websites that drive leads and sales that result in overall business growth. Schedule a call to learn more.