Is your content created simply to market your site, or to actually inform your readers?

books in libraryAll too often we create content simply for the purpose of marketing our website or blog.

We are driven by the knowledge that the creation of content is a powerful means to attract new visitors.

In other words, we use content as bait.

But when we do this, are we really giving our readers what they really want?

Another way to look at it would be to view your website or blog as a library.

For a moment, imagine your site as a physical library, built with bricks and mortar, and stocked with hardbound volumes.

Now think about what kinds of books you would buy for your library.

In the real world of bricks and mortar you would buy and display books according to what the public wanted to find there. You would cater to their tastes, and have yards of reference books on the shelves that might be rather mundane in their subject matter, but are nevertheless what your readers want to find.

Read the full post…Is your content created simply to market your site, or to actually inform your readers?

Opportunities for online copywriters in 2012 [VIDEO]

online copywriting opportunityI put this video together for anyone who is thinking about specializing in online copywriting.

I was inspired to make the video by a few people who had approached me and asked whether or not there was still a viable opportunity for online copywriters, or whether the market was already saturated.

That’s a reasonable question – and I think and hope this short video answers it.

As you will see, I actually think the opportunity is bigger than ever, and for 4 specific reasons.

Read the full post…Opportunities for online copywriters in 2012 [VIDEO]

On your web content pages, reveal your core message slowly.

mystery in the box revealedOften when I arrive at a content page online, I read the first few lines and find the answer or information I was looking for. Or I at least get the gist of it. I then stop reading and hit the back button.

In other words, the writer has revealed the good stuff at the top of the page, and has given me little or no reason to keep reading.

In fact, I have made the same error with this post. You have already finished reading the short version of what I plan to say and – if you were in a hurry – you could pretty much move on at this point.

(That said, the good stuff is yet to come…I just didn’t flag it in the intro.)

Read the full post…On your web content pages, reveal your core message slowly.

4 Examples of Effective Headline Design.

headline design for web contentHeadline design? What does that mean?

It means writing and formatting your headline in a way that makes it jump out from the page, or email, or a smartphone.

It used to be that headlines had to do a single job, on the web page where the balance of the content followed. Read the headline, and then keep reading the body text immediately below.

Today, headlines still have to work well, immediately above the body content, but they also have to grab attention and hook readers when they stand alone.

Here are a few situations where your headline has to stand alone, or almost alone: When used as a tweet on Twitter. In an RRS feed. On a smartphone. In Reddit or Digg.

In these circumstances, your headline has to jump out from dozens of others, and get the reader to click through to the full page or post.

Read the full post…4 Examples of Effective Headline Design.

Your new site visitors and subscribers don’t know who you are, yet. [TIMELINE]

Yesterday I was reading an excellent post by Chris Brogan, Start Fresh.

In his post he talks about how while you move forward with your career, many of your readers have stepped in half way through the narrative. They may not know where you “came from” or how and why you do what you are doing today.

Very good point.

For myself, I have been earning my living as a writer for 30 years now, and I have been publishing my online newsletter for over 10 years.

I guess a small proportion of my current newsletter readers have been with me from the beginning. But I’m sure most haven’t.

Read the full post…Your new site visitors and subscribers don’t know who you are, yet. [TIMELINE]

3 Ways to Make Your Web Content Headlines More Shareable.

web content headlinesMaking headlines shareable through social media? What’s that about?

Well, if your content page headlines aren’t gaining significant traction through social media, you’re missing the boat.

Today, all your content headlines have to do double duty:

First, they have to work on the content page itself. The page headline has to compel attention, hook the reader, and drive readers into the body of the content.

Second…your headlines have to be shareable through social media.

Read the full post…3 Ways to Make Your Web Content Headlines More Shareable.