Creating great content is not hard. In fact, it’s quite easy. That is, if you understand three simple words.
If you summarized every single book and article written on writing for the web, you’d get these three words. Yet, no one–not even the experts, authors, or pundits–have ever consolidated all this knowledge into one simple, sticky formula.
Write with these three words in mind, and anything you publish on the web will rivet attention, stoke desire, and get action.
Don’t believe me? Well, after you’ve read the rest of this article, give it a shot. And let me know what you think.
In less than four seconds visitors need to be able to comprehend what you wrote on your web page. I didn’t say “read.” I said “comprehend.”
Even before Steve Krug wrote it, the unbreakable law of the web has always been this: don’t make me think.
Your headlines, subheadlines, links, labels and navigation should all communicate clearly what lies in, under or behind them.
This is part of giving readers control. No tricks. Nothing clever or cute. Never lie. Just straight, uncensored, easy-to-digest truth.
Do it any other way and you’ll repel people. Bore readers. Lose money.
Writing for the web is a minimalist affair. Your words, sentences and paragraphs are short. Precise. Lean. Tight. Web writing trades in sheering off useless words. Cutting flabby paragraphs…
Even shedding entire pages.
Think that’s harsh? Jakob Nielson recommends you cut up to half of the words for every print page you plan to put on the web.
There’s a great benefit for you behind all this editing: You’ll become a ruthlessly good writer. You’ll get much better, in fact.
Best of all, writing clear and concise won’t make you boring or dull. Far from it.
The Rich Jerk is irritating, annoying and loathsome. But he’s compelling. Interesting. Persuasive. That’s why he won’t go away.
Why? Because he’s tapped into human emotions—greed and pride—that pull people into his copy… whether they like it or loathe it.
You have to do the same. You have to uncover what makes your reader tick. What strokes his ego. What plucks his gut strings. What keeps him up at night. And when you uncover that hot spot, punch it.
Whatever it is, give your reader what he wants. Or he’ll go away. It’s the law.
What About SEO Copywriting?
Forget about it. Seriously.
If you focus on writing clear, concise and compelling copy, you will naturally write keyword-dense copy. You’ll naturally write for the search engines.
In fact, that’s why I think the label SEO copywriter is redundant. Every web writer worth his salt is a SEO writer. At least they are if they write clear, concise and compelling copy.
The question is, content creator, are you?
What Do You Think?
Did I miss it? Are there more than three words that describe successful online content creation? Let me know and we’ll debate it.