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Use The 5 W's Of Copywriting To Write For Your Online Audience

Sep 12, 2008
The only way you can "find" your audience is to decide who is going to read what is on your website. To do that you need to understand WHO your audience is. As an example, let's use a weight loss site. This means you will write for people who feel they are overweight and want to lose pounds and inches, safely and quickly. Already you know their expectations - losing weight safely and quickly.

What do they bring to your writing? They want to find a website that will help them lose weight. What do you want them to take away from your website? You want them to take away hope and solid information on how to lose weight safely.

What you have here is the 5 W's. WHO is your audience? People who want to lose weight. WHAT do you want them to know, believe, or feel after they read it? You want them to know how to lose weight safely, believe they can do it and feel motivated to do so.

WHEN and WHERE will your audience read your website content? All over, in as many places as you can find, to market and place your compelling information. They will read it at home, at work, on library computers, on high-speed and dial-up Internet connections. WHY will they read it? They will read it because you wrote compelling, customer-focused copy. Your words are positive and appealing to them. They may also read it because they have to read it, or they are interested in it professionally, or because they are personally interested in what you have to say.

Your content will vary according to your audience. This means you will also change your writing style and format. If you wrote about weight loss issues for doctors, you'd use some jargon and technical terms. If you're writing for those who want to lose weight, the average consumer, you will provide informative, easy-to-read content. The readability your writing is something you need to consider. You will need to aim your content at those with a high school education, but still give higher-educated readers the content they are looking for. You can use a free readability tool at www.ReadabilityFormulas.com to find the reading grade-level of your materials.

What do you want your site readers to know? This will determine your style and organization, and will tell you if you are going to write about information or ideas.

Words still make a difference and impact the reader's thought-process online because you can choose words to invoke feelings, thoughts, images and action. Words can appeal to others on various levels - to the visual reader, the auditory reader, to the kinesthetic reader. More than anything else, words are the one form of communication that deliver what we want people to know. They can convey truths, complex issues, humor and sorrow. Words are "the be all end all" in the complex world of communications.

If you asked yourself why you built a website, chances are you would say it was to tell people about your company. Well, actually, the better thing to do when planning and building a site is to aim it at your intended audience - the customers who need and want your product or service. Certainly, that COULD be anyone, especially if you are marketing weight loss products. However, it's unlikely your products or services will interest a horse trainer. So you need to refine your focus.

Who visits your website? Prospects, existing customers, friends and relatives, your employees, and perhaps investors. Each group of people looks for different content. The way you write your website sales copy will determine what the next step will be for each of these user groups. If you want to generate sales, give good customer service, and communicate with employees and/or investors, you must have copy that moves them to action.
About the Author
Brian Scott is the author of the newly-released book/audio book, SOCIAL COPYWRITING 2.0 , available at http://www.PaydayPublishing.com. Listen to free audio samples on copywriting for today's social media. Or sign up to our Affiliate Program and earn 50% commissions on our products!
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