content formula


As a copywriter my heart sinks when I get an enquiry from a potential client (usually an agency) asking for x number of words on a specific subject with x% of keywords in it.


It doesn’t matter whether its website copy or articles, that kind of approach will only lead to one thing – poor quality content with an engagement factor of zero.

And before you ask, no it won’t be me writing it. I’m afraid any enquiry along those lines is tuned down here.

You see, by asking for content in that way shows that the client (agency or end customer) is putting themselves before the readers.

Only the customer matters when it comes to content

I know what you’re thinking – but it’s my business, I want to tell them how great I am.

I’m sure you’re brilliant at what you do, but your reader wants to know how you’re going to make their life easier and you can only do that by talking about them.

First you have to identify the main benefits of what you do – i.e. what it is that will make the biggest difference to your customers.

Then you need to shout about that in a way that is engaging.

How do you do that?

Simple – show empathy for their problem, show them how you are going to take their pain away and then show them how much better their life will be once they’re using your product or service.

That will get them hooked and poised to buy, but the real engagement comes from the way you write.

Conversational works every time

Most companies are hung up on sounding intelligent. Again, if that’s you, you’re putting your needs first.

When you meet a customer face to face I’m willing to bet you use simple, everyday language that they understand. Well that’s how you should write too.

Jargon, hyperbole and buzzwords will bore your readers and make them switch off. They don’t to read something and then have to ask you to explain it; they want it written in simple terms that are clear and easy to understand.

Doesn’t copy have to be a specific length?

Despite popular belief there are no arbitrary rules about how long your copy should be for your website or articles.

The trick is to write as much as is necessary to get your information across – it could be 100 words or it could be a 1000 words. The main thing is that your page is user friendly, your copy engaging and relevant to your audience and it’s easy to read.

The only limiting factor may be your website’s design.

You mentioned keywords

Yes, I did mention keywords earlier and I know what you’re thinking – how many times should you repeat your chosen words.

First up, you shouldn’t be thinking like that. Keyword repetition is not good. Yes, you need to identify the right keywords for your audience (that means words they would search for to find your product or service, not terms you think they’ll use – so no buzzwords or jargon), but stuffing your content with them is a big no-no.

Use them in your URL and title tags and your H1 heading (that’s the main heading on your page), but when it comes to your content, only use them if it’s right for the context.

It’s far more important (for your reader and Google) that your writing is natural. That way, your keywords will crop up but at a frequency that’s not forced. It’s also important to use other related words to help Google grasp the meaning of your page through contextual search.

Great content comes down to conversational, relevant and natural writing. If you stick to that holy trinity you won’t go too far wrong.