Words are neat. You string ‘em together to make sentences, and people flock to your website and/or follow you on social channels. Oh… you’re not getting the clicks, comments, and likes you thought you would? It might be the words you use.
There are three big ‘A’s in copywriting. You need to keep all three in mind when you’re writing, so you please both the robots and the readers. Here’s a quick crash course in our favourite A-words.
What you write is not just about you and the reader, it needs to work within the framework of an algorithm. When you write with algorithms in mind, you’ll reach a larger audience.
Think of the algorithm as a points system. You get points for doing the things search and platform algorithms like. The more points you get, the more visibility you receive.
Just to make things even more complicated, these algorithms change, so what worked for you previously, may not work as well now. Fun, hey? Those algorithms always keep you guessing. Rascals.
Okay, so you may be wondering what the heck kind of things you should be doing if you want to tango with these algorithms. Here are a few ways to befriend algorithms as a copywriter:
Create high-quality content. Search engine algorithms like to see responses to queries that offer value and answer questions in full. In general, the more value you provide, the better your ranking on a search engine results page (SERP).
Show up consistently. This cannot be understated, especially on social platforms. The algorithms of these online spaces reward you for coming to their party. If they detect your presence, they give you more visibility. This also applies for websites, too – play the long game and add new articles or content to your site often.
Use keywords. SEO is a whole thing in and of itself, so copywriters are well-advised to gain an understanding of it. For keywords, it’s not just which words or phrases you use, but where in your content you use them – headings, body text, etc. Be careful you’re not keyword stuffing though. Too many keywords makes the content read terribly to humans, and the robotic algorithms can ding you for overuse. Aim for a reasonable keyword density of about 1 to 2 percent (every 100 to 200 words).
Before you spend time crafting super intelligent prose, think about who your readers are. Frankly, if you’re writing something that sounds like a master’s thesis for a company that sells generic brand dog treats, you’re not writing accessible material.
Language is important, and your word choice needs to be accessible to everyone interacting with your brand. Back to our make-believe dog treat company, this is an industry where literally anyone can own a dog. If your copywriting is full of gigantic or intimidating words that make your audience feel less than, they’ll find another company that meets them where they are.
Esoteric is a word that applies to something that is only understood by a group with special knowledge. It’s cool to be esoteric in copywriting if the situation calls for it. For example, if you’re selling medical equipment to a hospital, lean on your industry jargon, because your audience – other professionals in the medical industry – will know exactly what you’re talking about.
Another example of accessibility is on social media where acronyms are abundant for certain users and accounts. WDYMBT (What do you mean by that)? Language changes, folks. Your target audience may enjoy this shorthand, but if your target audience includes people who don’t understand all the internet acronyms, they may not stick around.
It’s not just the language you use that makes your copy accessible. You can use jargon, acronyms, or multi-syllabic words in your copy if it calls for it, but make sure you explain what you mean to a broader audience, so nobody is left thinking, “Uh… what?”
Let’s discuss a bit more about the readers themselves. After all, these are the people who you want to inform, influence, or interact with. What you need to aim for is writing content that reads like it could have been written by a member of your target audience.
Your branding guidelines should include profiles or avatars of your target audience. Beyond general demographics, these guidelines should address your audience:
Knowledge of the subject matter
Familiarity with your product or brand
Source(s) for consuming information
All of these details inform both the accessibility of your word choice and how you talk with your target audience. By defining who your audience is, what they know, and how they consume content, you can craft messages that actually resonate.
A-Words FTW (For the Win)
When you know who you’re writing for, copywriting comes much easier. Keep these A-words in mind for social channels, websites, and all of your other online content to produce copy that’s bound to leave an impression.
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