This is a guest-post from Charles Cunningham a fellow copywriter, who knows a thing or three about taking brochure content and turning it into awesome website content. Here’s his advice on how make it work:
One of the easiest ways to create website content is to convert your existing brochures. But you can’t transfer these paper documents directly to the web, word for word. Here’s the right way to modify your brochure copy to take into account the reading habits of the internet user:
1. Cut the fluff
On the web, readers have little tolerance for waffle. Brochures – often written by committee – tend to be more bloated than journalism, and can benefit from a judicious pruning. Trim all extraneous sections, paragraphs and sentences. Be sure to remove all “fluff”: empty words that sound nice but don’t actually communicate anything.
2. Update and check for accuracy
Things move so quickly these days, brochures are often out of date shortly after they’re printed. Taking your brochures online is an ideal opportunity to bring the content up to date. Give your brochure a close read and mark-up any dated information and references, and replace with current information.
3. Tone down the hard sell
Brochures tend to be “sell, sell, sell”. But online, readers have a lower tolerance for hard sell, and prefer a more informational, soft-sell approach. Think “help, help, sell”. Therefore you should edit your brochure copy to tone down the promotion and turn up the informational content.
4. Structure for online reading
Rather than having one long page of text, you’ll need to break your brochure copy into a series of discrete web pages. Make sure each web page makes sense on its own. Connect the pages together using descriptive links. You can also add links to relevant information on other sections and pages of your website.
5. Insert dynamic headlines and subheads
People don’t read website content word for word. Instead they scan and skim, until they find something of interest. So headlines and subheads play a vital role on websites. Headlines catch the readers’ attention and get them to stop clicking and start reading the page text. Subheads break up the text into more reader-friendly chunks and allow for easy scanning of the page.
6. Add calls to action
Think of your website as a series of paths leading readers towards your most wanted response: usually contacting you. So each page should include a call to action – even if it’s only to read the next page – to move readers along the path. Whatever you do, don’t let people get to the end of a page and wonder what to do next. Because if you stop the flow you risk them hitting the back button.
7. Proofread and publish
Your prospective customers are often sensitive to spelling and grammatical errors on your website. They may feel that if you’re not careful about your writing you won’t be careful about your business. So print out your draft website content and proofread it carefully. Make your revisions, publish the content on your website, and then proofread it again to make sure it looks OK on the screen.
With a career spanning more than 15 years, Charles Cuningham is one of Australia’s most experienced freelance web copywriters. If you found this blog post helpful, you’ll find more like it on Charles’s blog.
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