The average visitor to your web page only reads 20% of the copy. In a 1000-word piece, Jo Average is going to scan the text and actually pay attention to around 200 of them. Do you know how to ensure that visitors get all the information they need? Or to pull the reader into your text, so they read more than average? If the answer is no, then you need to think about hiring a freelance writer.
But I Can Write It Myself!
We start learning how to write from an early age by forming letters at home or in a nursery. By the time we’re in our twenties with a bachelor’s degree or a few years of work experience under our belts, most of us can communicate pretty effectively with the written word. And we’re experts in our own business or service, so no one is better placed to write for us than we are, right? Wrong.
There’s a big difference between content that has been written by an untrained author and that crafted by a professional writer. Think about it. There are many things we could do ourselves, but we let others do them because they have the skills.
We can all use scissors, but would we cut our own hair? Or we can cook a mean Spaghetti Bolognese, but we’d rather hire caterers for our wedding buffet. That’s because while we might be able to do something adequately, we know that they have knowledge and experience that we don’t. The same is true for writers.
The Opening Line
You have seven seconds to capture a reader’s attention. Your headline will persuade them to choose your content from the search engine results page, but your opening line will be what hooks them into reading more. This piece opened with a statistic, and that’s often a good way to grab someone’s attention.
Once you’ve got someone reading, you need to keep them reading and not skipping along looking for that 20% of the content. Professional writers understand the narrative flow and how to keep someone reading to find out what is going to come next.
Setting the Pace
How do you pull a reader’s attention to certain pieces of information? Asking a question encourages your reader to think of their answer. Even that small pause increases their investment in reading what you have to say. (Do you see what we did there?)
What about if you want to control the speed of a reader, to get them to slow down and really pay attention to something important? Simply slide in some sibilance and see success! The length of both words and sentences also has an impact.
Trained writers have a whole host of literary techniques in their toolbox to entice and control the reader, including the length of paragraphs. Stick to shorter paragraphs of 2-3 sentences for reading ease on mobile phones, the access method for around 50% of visitors.
Speaking Your Customer’s Language
As part of your marketing strategy, you’ve probably come up with a customer avatar, a persona for your ideal client. But when you write, is your content what they want to hear?
You’re an expert in your field, and you probably get very excited by the details of what you do, but your client may not be interested. Customers want to hear about benefits, not features. They want to know that you understand their problems and have a way to solve them.
A professional writer comes with that outside perspective. They will be familiar with the latest content marketing advice and will guide you toward answering common questions and discussing your customer’s pain points. Techniques like this can help turn a visitor into a customer.
It’s also important to have a consistent brand ‘voice’ on your blog. What that is will depend on what you do. It might be a down-home-friendly tone or highly professional. A great writer will help you develop the right voice to speak to your customers and keep it consistent across all your platforms.
Search Engine Optimization
Google currently uses around 200 different factors to determine where you come from on the results page. A freelance writer will stay up to date with those and make sure that the content they write for you reinforces your SEO strategy.
A major criterion for search engines, as well as for your readers, is the quality of your content. If it contains spelling or grammatical errors, you will be pushed further down the rankings by the algorithm. Even if you do get a click-through, bad grammar will scare off 59% of customers.
While keywords are less important than they used to be, they are still relevant. It isn’t just a question of sticking one or two keywords in, though. Search engines are smart enough to know that if you’re talking about a certain subject, say wallpaper; you will probably also have words like ‘paste’ and ‘brush’ in your text. If you have these terms, too, you will score more highly for quality content.
It’s also important to include some quality links to other sites that help support the points you are trying to make. This shows Google that you are part of a wider conversation. Choosing the right internal links to your own site will show the search engine which pages are the most important and help them determine what it is that you do.
Call to Action
Every piece of writing has a purpose. That purpose needs to stay in the writer’s mind as they are creating it. Whether it’s signing up for a newsletter or making an appointment for an in-person visit, every word should work towards that aim. Your final paragraph needs a clear call to action, making it simple for your customer to take the next step.
Using a Freelance Writer to Enhance Creativity
Not everyone is creative enough to come up with content ideas week after week that help promote your business. A writer will be able to come up with new and interesting ways to talk about your business every time. They might tie your business into current events or pop culture, but they might also want to write content for more than one customer avatar. Different markets need different approaches.
Value for Money
The ‘I can do it myself’ rationale only really works if you are saving money by doing that. Consider how long it would take you to write a piece including all the elements that we’ve discussed in this post. What else could you have been doing with that time? Would you get better value for money to leave the writing to a professional so you can get on with other things?
Have We Convinced You to Work With a Freelance Writer?
Hopefully, the answer is a resounding yes! Great writing helps you to get found in the search engines and to convert readers to customers when they get to your site. Effective copy answers your customer’s questions and is the first step in building a positive relationship with them. The question should really be, can you afford not to hire a freelance writer?
We can help you to find the perfect writer. Whether you want to hire someone occasionally to write a piece for you or you want our custom services, we’d be happy to help. nDash writers are qualified, skilled and experienced, and they’re ready to help you connect with your customers. Get in touch today to find the right writer for you.
Editors Note: This post was written by nDash community member Sarah Dixon. To learn more about Sarah — or to have her write for your company — please check out her nDash profile.