How to write copy for your website by answering these 5 questions
Do you really understand what you’re trying to accomplish with the words on your website? Being able to answer these 5 questions will help you write copy so you can share the message you are meant to truly share, with those who need to hear it so you can help them solve their problems. Grab a pen and paper and start jotting down your answers as you read!
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Why you need to have a plan when you write copy for your website
Have you ever played the left right straight game with your kids? I used to do this, especially when I had twin two year old boys, a one-year-old and I was pregnant with my fourth.
We lived in Southern California at the time and would go on a lot of walks. I would let the twins determine if they wanted to go left, right or straight at every corner.
This was a fun way for us to pass time, but this isn’t how we take vacations, right? My family and I went to Disneyland a few years ago and we didn’t just hop in the car and play the left right straight game. We had a plan.
I am a huge planner and I had that trip planned down to every single minute detail. You may not plan as much as I do, but there are certain questions that have to be answered when you go on vacation.
You have to know who’s going, who’s coming with you. What are you going to do? When are you going? Where are you going? Why is it that you want to go there? How are you going to get there? There are all sorts of questions that have to be answered.
Even if you aren’t as big of a planner as I am, you don’t just go out and play the left right straight game. But oftentimes we do this with our copy. We sit down and we just start writing and we haven’t answered some very essential questions.
Who, what, when, where, why and how.
We are going to be discussing what questions you need to answer before you actually start writing words on your website.
5 Questions you need to answer before you write copy for your website
Question #1 – WHO is your avatar?
I told you I was going to answer the who, what, when, where, why and how. I am going to talk about all of those questions, but I am going to do it in a slightly different order. We are going to talk about who, why, what, how, when and where.
So let’s start with the who, before you sit down to write any words on your website, on social media, in an email, you must know who it is you are writing to. You’ll hear this called the customer avatar, your ideal follower, your ideal customer.
I really want you to be writing to one person, someone that you know very well. This can be a real person or it can be a conglomeration of a lot of different people, but it is the type of person that you are wanting to help.
You need to know not only demographics, but psychographics. Most of us know what demographics are, but psychographics are different. I want you to really know about her just as well as you know your best friend. What interests her? What TV shows does she watch? What magazines does she read? Why is she interested in all those things? where does she go when she meets to relax? Where does she like to shop? Who does she care about most in her life?
I want you to really dig deep and know who you’re writing to because that is going to inform what you write. So the first question you must answer is who are you writing to?
Question #2 – What is the problem you solve for them?
Next, I want you to answer the question ‘What do they want?’ And what I’m talking about here is what type of result or solution do they need that they don’t have? What problem do they want you to solve for them?
So, for me, I know that my ideal customer wants to share a message with the world. They feel called to be online and they know that there are people they can help, but the problem is they don’t know how to get their message out online. The tech frustrates them, the marketing frustrates them. They don’t enjoy those things.
They want help with the tech and the marketing. They want somebody to do that part of it for them, to take that off their plate, to make it easier so that they can do and focus on what they really love. So that is what my target audience wants. That’s what you want. And I know that about you.
I also want you to consider what they want to feel. Not just what solution do they want, but what feelings will that solution bring into their lives? So for you, this is going to bring confidence, empowerment, excitement, joy. These are emotions that I want you to feel as you go through this journey of getting your talents and your superpower out there online, helping the people you were meant to help.
I want to empower you. That is the number one emotion I want you to feel when you interact with me. I believe it is the emotion that you want to feel, because if you feel empowered then you move forward and you do the things that God is calling you to do.
What does your ideal customer need? What problems is she facing? What solution does she need? How does she want to feel? What would she feel like if she was able to move forward and progress? What, what, what?
Question #3 – Why are they searching for an answer?
Third, I want you to ask ‘why?’ Why are they on this journey in the first place?
Once again, let’s go back to my ideal customer as an example, which is funny because I’m actually talking about you. Why are you on this journey? It’s because you feel called. You’re not scared of making money, but the reason you’re here is because you know God wants you online, sharing what you have to offer – your superpower.
You need to know why your people are on the journey that they are on.
Let me give you another example. My friend, Kristen, from KristenWalkerSmith.com helps preteens and teens come to love the gospel and find it easy and exciting to live. She knows that the parents of those preteens and those teens are on a journey, too. Their journey is raising their kids and they want to raise kids who love the Lord.
She knows why these parents are on this journey with her. And so she can then better communicate with them that the solutions she provides are going to help the parents on their journey, but also going to help the kids on their journey.
So knowing why they’re on that journey helps inform her copy. So why are your people on the journey that they’re on?
Question #4 – How are they talking about the problem?
How do they talk about it? This is the question I want you to answer. So we’ve talked about your people and who they are and what they want and why they’re on this journey, but how do they talk about why they’re on the journey? How do they talk about what they want?
We talked about this in the last post, and I gave you a lot of different ways where you can find exactly how your people are talking about the problems they have, the solutions they want and why they want them. You must know this before you start writing your copy. If you can use the words that your target audience uses, they will resonate better with them.
That’s when you’re going to create this, “I felt like you were talking directly to me” feeling when people read something that you write.
Question #5 – When do they need this information?
Next is When. When should this content come in their journey?
This is about a value ladder. The concept is that you can’t teach someone calculus before you teach them to count. And there’s a whole lot in between there.
If you’re writing a piece of content, I really want you to think about when in the journey would this be best for someone? I’m not going to teach you high level tech concepts on a blog post because that’s calculus. I’ll do that inside of Website With A Purpose, inside of a higher priced product.
But I will prepare you for those things, for that higher level tech, through my free content by explaining what words mean, by teaching you very simple tech concepts.
So what does that look like for you? This will help you to know where to put that content. Should it be in a paid product because it’s a calculus level product or should it be in a free product, like a podcast, because it’s a counting and addition level type of content. You need to know when because that’s going to inform where you actually put the content.
So when should this piece of content, this topic, the way I’m talking about the topic, when should this come in my customer’s journey?
Bonus Question – Where do you want to take them?
The last question you must answer before you write copy is where do I want them to go right after they’ve read this piece of content? That is going to inform your call to action and every piece of content you write should have a call to action.
So you may want them to go down to the comments section on Instagram and leave you a comment. You may want them to save an Instagram post. You may want them to go to Apple podcasts and leave you a review. You may want them to go to a sales page and purchase your product.
You need to know where exactly you want them to go. What is that next step after they consume this particular piece of content?
Who, what, when, where, why and how.
You must answer these questions to write effective copy. Now I have a call to action for you. If you would like help writing your email subject lines, then I want you to get the subject line blueprint. You can find this at TheGoodnessSquad.com/join.
Please go grab that because your email subject lines are an incredibly important piece of copy. If you don’t have a good subject line, no one’s going to read the actual email. So go get the subject line blueprint over at thegoodnesssquad.com/join.
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This post originally aired as an episode of The Goodness Squad podcast. New episodes are no longer being recorded, but you can still listen to past episodes on your favorite podcast app.
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