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By Bryan S. Adar
Writing online copy is a growing market for technical writers with a sense of what works in marketing. You need to know what words make readers want to learn more and what makes them want to buy. People click onto and off sites in only seconds. Your copy needs to catch their eyes and stop that mouse. Partly art but also a large part skill, you can expand your own market by learning the words that work.
The Internet is heavy with offers of products and services and information on nearly every subject imaginable. This format can be a real test of a writer’s skills. Because of the lack of space and the speed with which users move through available sites, it’s especially important to know your target audience and be able to provide the information they need quickly.
An aspect of language that’s of major importance is purpose. Of course, purpose depends on the audience and the objective of the copy. Some content is purely informational and needs only facts.
The flat edge of the locking washer must be face-up and on top of the flat washer.
Some language is intended to have an emotional effect.
Her smile, when you hand her the soft-as-down alpaca wrap with distinctive designs woven into the fabric, shows that she’s thrilled that you know her tastes and recognize the best quality.
It’s the emotional effect we’ll look at in this exercise. A product has two basic qualities. It has features, and it has benefits. Zig Ziglar, a world-famous sales trainer, said that people usually buy on emotion, and then they justify the purchase with logic. Features and function appeal to logic. Benefits most often appeal to emotions. A consumer most often buys a benefit, not a feature. It doesn’t matter that the shoes you’re selling are made of genuine wombat leather. What matters is how wombat leather is going to make the shoes more valuable. Is wombat leather superior to Corinthian leather? If so, you have to explain how, PLUS why the superiority is a benefit to the buyer.
People need to be told how they’ll be better off with the product or service than they’d be without it . Remember: Product descriptions must always answer the question, “WIIFM?” “What’s in it for me?” They need to believe they’ll be happier, healthier, richer, smarter, more comfortable, in less distress, and a thousand other things that will make their lives better.
A key word in writing copy for the Web is relevant. The copy must be seen as immediately relevant to the audience so it makes them stop searching – at least long enough for you to hook them with more detailed information.
Irrelevant: Everyone wants comfortable shoes that look good and are priced low.
Relevant: We provide fashionable, comfortable shoes that make you look good. And we do it at a price that leaves more money in your pocket.
Facts, i.e, features, aren’t what gets the consumer to have the emotional reaction to buy the product. You can tell me the Belchfire 09 has a 240 horsepower engine, but, unless you can show me why I need that size engine – why there’ll be a benefit to me, the fact is irrelevant.
Remember, a feature is what the product does. A benefit is what it does for the customer.
First, an example.
The 22 lb. Whip-around electric lawn mower has twice the power of comparable mowers and a heavily insulated, sound modulated motor housing.
• Lighter weight makes it easier for you to push. Less effort. Less tiring.
• More power so you get the job done faster. More free time for yourself.
• Extra quiet operation that won’t disturb your neighbors. Makes you more popular in the neighborhood.
• You can mow any time. You mow when you want to, not when it’s OK with other people.
Now you try it. Write copy elements based on these features matched with how the customer will benefit.
The Firefly 157 has 512MB of memory, digital FM tuner, impact resistant case, adjustable armband, USB connection, and uses 1 AAA battery.
The Pease Inourtym Professional Blender has a 3.5 amp motor, heavy duty base in pastel colors, 2-speed operation, 40 oz. Re-flect glass carafe, English and metric graduations, and self-cleaning blade assembly.
When you’re done check your answers below.
There are a number of ways to spin this type of copy, but your results should look a lot like these.
The Firefly 157 has 512MB of memory, a digital FM tuner , impact resistant case, an adjustable armband, a USB connection, and uses 1 AAA battery .
• You can store up to 120 of your favorite songs.
• Record radio broadcasts and listen to them at your convenience.
• Tough construction means you can use it anywhere without worrying about damage.
• It adjusts to fit comfortably to your arm.
• You can transfer files to or from other sources easily.
• One battery gives you the ability to listen up to 16 hours of your music
The Pease’s Inourtym Professional Blender has a 3.5 amp motor, heavy duty base in pastel colors, 3-speed operation, 40 oz. Re-flect glass carafe, English and metric graduations, and self-cleaning blade assembly
• Powerful enough for the pros, it let’s you create all your own special dishes.
• Built to stand up to the toughest use with a selection of colors that fit in with your décor.
• The commercial grade motor makes every job easier and faster. Puree fruit or crush ice with equal ease.
• The Re-flect carafe directs the food back into the blades for more complete blending.
• The dual English and metric graduations make it easy and fast for anyone to read and simpler to follow recipe directions.
• With the self-cleaning blade assembly, this blender cleans up after itself so you don’t have to.
Did you notice the frequent use of you , lots of adjectives, and active verbs in the benefits? If not, you’ll want to go back and rewrite your copy to make it more personal and the benefits more positive.
If you can write a simple sentence and organize your thoughts then technical writing may be a rewarding field. You can easily make it an extra income stream.
But to succeed you must learn how to market yourself to clients. That’s where ProTech – Your Fast Track to Becoming a Successful Technical Writer can help. It’s a technical writing course that does two equally important things:
1. It teaches you the skills to become a technical writer in the shortest time frame.
2. It shows you how to market yourself to clients so you can start your income stream as soon as possible.
In fact, you’ll get a complete marketing toolkit which has technical writing job sites to get started immediately!
To learn more go to http://www.techwritingcourse.com/bright_future