Many professional copywriters don’t think of blogs as a way to generate sales. Why? Because blogs are not a “direct-response” environment, and some of the very best copywriters are in the direct-response field.
Direct-response copywriting is a form of marketing designed to elicit an immediate action that is specific and quantifiable. Meaning, you’ve essentially got one shot at getting a certain percentage of readers to respond in the way you want them too. The response rate dictates your level of success.
Now, why any copywriter wouldn’t want to sell in conjunction with the relationship environment that blogs provide — where you don’t have to beat people over the head in an all-or-nothing gambit — is beyond me. If you want to use direct-response materials, just take your blog readers “off road” for focused education and persuasion. Instead of one shot at the prize, you get many (albeit softer-pitched) opportunities to turn a reading relationship into a customer or client relationship.
But there is one way that a blog is a direct-response environment. Gaining traffic.
Whether you call it viral blogging, creating link bait, or the old-fashioned getting press, the strategies that direct-response copywriters use are directly applicable to generating publicity in the blogosphere. Copywriting is an essential element to all great publicity efforts, but in the information-overload blogging realm, direct-response techniques will help you grab someone’s valuable attention, and keep it.
One of the most effective direct-response techniques is storytelling, mixed in with various psychological triggers and all polished with basic copywriting techniques. But the real magic happens well before a word is written — in the formulation of the story itself.
Now, apply the direct-response methodology to blogging, and your quest for links. You want to write things that truly connect with people, and that also result in a direct, specific and quantifiable action — a link, a Delicious tag, a vote at Digg.
Each link, tag and vote you earn has a tendency to create others, depending on how well your copy offers something of real value to the reader. Check Technorati for how well you did. Rinse, repeat.
You’re now trading words for traffic.
Traffic from other blogs is essential for acquiring new readers. Add to that the importance that Technorati, Google, and other ranking systems place on links, and this is a pretty crucial topic. We’ll be exploring it in depth next week, so make sure you’re subscribed via feed or email.