Did you use the wrong type of writer for your website?

B Y   T O M   T O R T O R I C I

Chances are, you chose the right website designer. Everyone agrees that your company’s site looks nice. But if you’re getting hardly any responses, leads or sales from it, you may be among the large number of small businesses that chose the wrong type of website writer.

To help understand this vexing but surprisingly common problem, let’s run though the various types of online writers, and take a look at who does what best.

Content Writers
Content writers are strong at writing blog posts that educate potential buyers about relevant topics. In Content or Inbound Marketing, folks may come upon your post (and by extension, your website) when researching a subject, or when it’s promoted in social media.

Note that “content” is often also used as a generic term that includes everything that’s put online. As we will see, this lack of distinction can result in problems for even the best designed websites.

UX Writers
UX writers specialize in the brief bits of ‘microcontent’ that guide people to quickly find or accomplish something on an app or website, with a minimum of confusion or ‘friction’. Want to make it easy for someone to submit their info and open an account? Use a UX writer.

‘UX Writer’ has also become a trendy general term for online writers, overlooking the many limitations of this specialized type of writing.

Technical Writers
If you sell a software product or service, a technical writer will create the online documentation, with clear, logical steps for using that app’s various features.

Technical writers are especially adept at writing for a technical or industrial audience. Some are better than others at simplifying things for typical consumer and general business users.

SEO Writers
This type of writer focuses on including the appropriate ‘keywords’ in their website writing. The aim is for that site to come up early in the Google Search Results when people use those terms in their search.

However, SEO writers often go too far, with writing that’s mostly a long string of keywords – and which comes off as repetitive gibberish to actual readers.

In-House Writers
Some companies try to save money by having someone on staff do the writing for their company website.

Sometimes the task may fall to, say, the office manager, who has no training in persuasive writing, and is too busy with other tasks to learn it. Other times, a manager may feel they “know the company best,” but their words can come off to others as self-centered and self-serving, with vague boasts and over-used marketing cliches.

Web Design Company Writers
Some web design firms may have a staff or freelance writer who they can bring in to handle website writing duties.

These writers vary greatly in capability (see below). Note that web design companies tend to be overall focused on the site’s visual appearance and technical underpinnings, sometimes treating the writing as an afterthought or mere checklist item.

Freelance Copywriters
If you’re trying to engage, persuade and sell people on your product or service, copywriters have the skills that other types of writers lack. They can also take a strategic approach to core brand messaging, unique company positioning, market targeting, and product mix. They can also bring a fresh ‘outsider’ perspective – which is difficult for company insiders who are simply too close to their own business.

How do you know if a copywriter is capable of attracting inquiries, leads and sales? Low-cost, less-skilled copywriters will simply ask questions about the business, then present the info from the company’s own perspective – just in nicer words. A true strategic copywriter also asks deeper questions about the typical customer, then crafts ideas that ‘connect’ with their real-world sensibilities, challenges, aspirations, and even emotions.

A good senior copywriter is also likely capable of doing the job of all the other types of writers listed above – except perhaps for highly technical topics. Plus, freelance copywriters are typically better at the balance between appealing to search engines and appealing to humans.

In an era of short attention spans, skilled copywriters also know how to catch the eye of people who are simply ‘skimming’ the page, make them curious, and draw them in deeper. This doesn’t happen by itself, and can easily give a company an immediate advantage over competitors.

If you now realize that you used the wrong type of writer for your website, maybe it’s time to put that in the past, and work with a senior freelance copywriter to start fresh, and aim higher, for a more successful future.

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Tom TortoriciAbout the Author:  Tom Tortorici is an Atlanta copywriter and web content writer who helps companies make a genuine connection with their audience. His classes and conference presentations have focused on how writing, strategy and design can work together to grab attention and interest even among readers with short attention spans. In addition to working directly with businesses, Tom regularly partners with web designers and marketing agencies.

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Tom Tortorici Inc. | Tom@TomTortorici.com | 770-934-7861 | 3101 Rockaway Rd | Atlanta GA 30341