Content That Gets a Click
by Kate Llewellyn of The Content Consultancy
Creating copy that causes a reaction
I am obsessed with the power of language and how the choice of a certain combination of words can affect people in different ways.
There’s a reason that memes and inspirational quotes work so well on social media – words have power. They can change how you feel. They can even change how you think and how you choose to act. It is no surprise, therefore, that the words you choose to include in blog titles, email subject lines and in direct calls to action are an incredibly important when it comes to creating content.
“Words matter. Choose wisely”Author unknown
In this blog post, I want to offer you some important considerations and recommendations when you are choosing titles, headings, subject lines, button text and calls to action. These are all shorter elements copy, but they are worthy of your time. You need to craft them carefully, and also test to see what resonates with your ideal customers. Importantly, measure what seems to be most effective to lead to your desired outcome.
Considering your purpose and your customer’s intent
With any copywriting, start by considering three factors:
- the audience – who?
- the purpose – what?
- the value – why?
Whenever you are creating content, and especially when you want your reader to take action (like opening an email or clicking on a button), you need to really think about who you are addressing.
‘Your ideal clients’ is the obvious answer, but for most forms of content it won’t be everyone in that category. Instead, you are likely to be focussing on a ‘sub-section’ of these people and this brings us to the ‘the purpose’ of the content. What are you trying to convey? What do you want the customer to do? What action?
You then need to balance what ‘you want’ with the reader’s intent. For whatever you are writing, what do you imagine they may want or need from you? What reasons have they got to buy from you? What is their intention when they visit a certain webpage or choose to open an email or read that blog post? You need to illustrate the ‘why’ – the benefit and the value.
Assess ‘why’ they would do what you want them to do?
With all of this in mind, let’s move on to some specific copywriting aspects and how to create copy that gets that all important click or open!
Blog posts – headlines and titles
It is tempting to want to make your blog headline entertaining and funny, perhaps even a little ‘critical’ so that you entice your reader in. The problem with this, is that your blog is a lot less likely to be found through organic search. Whilst I encourage all of my clients to market their blogs, i.e. through social media posts and emails, a blog is a great SEO tool and not using a headline with relevant keywords and being clear about its content will limit its ability to be found organically – which is a shame as a blog post can be a great way to reach a new audience.
I recommend using blog titles which contain the keywords which clearly ‘summarise’ the content of the post itself.
I also highly recommend considering using open questions as titles. Firstly, Google now uses questions as one of its subsections on page 1 of the results. If you have done a search with a question, you will probably have noticed the ‘People also ask’ section. These are lists of related questions (based around keywords) and the results are often blog posts or articles. If your blog title fits directly with one of these questions, then there is a chance that your blog will be listed as the ‘answer’.
Questions also reflect the way we are using search more and more, especially with smart phones and speakers. It is becoming more common to directly ask “How do I do X?” or “What do I need for Y?”, for example. If your blog appears to contain the answer to the exact question, your reader or customer has then they are more likely to click on it! A very useful tool for identifying questions asked via Google, related to a certain keyword, is ‘Answer the public’ – you can do two searches a day, for free.
People often search for advice or ideas to – another common ‘customer intent’. Therefore, headlines around the idea of ‘recommendations’ can also be powerful and have high click rates. Example include ‘Ways to do X’ or ‘Ideas for Y’. It’s why ‘top tip’ style blogs often do well – strangely giving an odd number or ‘10’ also has a good conversion rate, i.e. 5 tops tips for… / 10 ways to…
As a final tip, try Headline Analyser to ‘test’ titles or headline ideas – it’s only a basic algorithm but can be quite revealing…and it’s free!
Email marketing – subject lines
Which emails do you open? Those from clients, colleagues, employers, friends, enquiries, brands you trust? Now, think about the subject lines that they use. Simple and direct – would be my guess.
Therefore, when it comes to email subject lines keeping them really clear and to the point can be the best place to start.
Consider the main benefit of the contents of the email too – what will the recipient find that is of value to them? Avoid click bait – which essentially means using the subject line to entice someone to open (usually by overpromising) and ultimately under-delivering.
Also think about what are your customers’ interests? What will they want to learn more about that you have covered in your email? Send them information that they want and need.
By doing this, you will build trust amongst your subscribers just like you open the emails from people you trust, who interest you or you need something from.
Don’t over complicate things and you’ll see this ‘authenticity’ will repay you with higher open rates.
Calls to action – buttons and links
You’ve all seen buttons on a website, in a marketing email, and possibly within a blog. Perhaps you’ve created some yourselves – but how much thought have you given to the wording you use to get that ‘click’.
With a call to action this is what you are requesting – you want people to ‘click’ – you want them to act. Most calls to action are imperative sentences – meaning you give a direct instruction. For example:
- Book now
- Contact Us
- Buy here
- Learn more
- Read more
- Get in touch
- Add to cart / shopping basket
With calls to action, firstly, get in the mindset of ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’! I think we shy away from including imperative sentences in social media, blogs, emails and on webpages because it seems too direct and salesy…but it can often be ‘button’ that your customer is looking for…so make it easy for them.
Think about your customer journey when you are creating a specific piece of content and consider what is the action they are most likely wanting to take. For example, if you are writing a blog about a certain service then they are likely to want know more about that service or to book a call or appointment. Make it easy for them to do this. Use buttons that stand out or make sure that the link is clear (usually underlined and in bold, if within your text). Make sure the wording on the button or the ‘anchor text’ is clear about what will happen and where it will lead them. This will reduce any immediate bounce back.
Reduce the number of clicks as much as possible in order to complete the action, well. For example, if you are talking about a product in a blog, include an ‘Add to basket’ button, if the functionality of the website allows, rather than taking customers to a product page and then giving them the option to buy.
You can also give more than one option – offering two calls to action can help capture different need and give more than one opportunity to engage too.
On a webpage specifically, consider the placement of your calls to action and buttons. I recommend including one as close to the top as possible, perhaps above the fold, for those who know exactly what they want when they arrive on the certain page. Then you can also consider something in the middle of the page for those scrolling for confirmation, and then another at the end of those who wanted to take that ‘journey’ through your content before making a decision about what action to take. The wording of your call to action may be slightly different to reflect this decision-making process.
Getting a reaction
For those of us with a small business, ‘action’ is so important for most of the content we create. We want readers to react – to ‘do’ something in return…so make sure your copy is making that engagement as easy as possible.
Kate Llewellyn is a content consultant who feels strongly about creating powerful marketing material which works hard for your business. She launched her business, The Content Consultancy in 2017 to support fellow small businesses.
Kate has previously written some other fantastic guest posts for us as a two part series on writing content for your website, the first of which you see read here.