Back when I was training to be a copywriter, devouring everything I could on content and fingers itching to write scintillating copy for brands and engaging articles for blogs, one of the best tips I received was to hone my skills by writing online reviews or product descriptions on forums (or fora!) and platforms like eBay. Sage advice that stood me in good stead.
This was back in the mid-noughties.
Before online dating…
That’s right – online dating has exploded, creating a new and unforeseen kid on the copywriting analogy block. If you fancy yourself as a copywriter but don’t have the experience, deactivate your eBay profile and get scribbling away on POF about how wonderful you are! The skills you can use to craft a knock ’em dead dating profile that persuades the reader to click on you… to engage with you… that you’re the only choice for them – you can transfer them right over to your blogging, and vice versa.
Take a look and see how you could find a love match for your blog posts. In the meantime, I’ll quit with the Paddy McGuinness-isms!
Woo them with your headline
Your headline matters. It’s a statement that should promise something good to that drop-dead-gorgeous young specimen you wish to attract: the reader.
Once you grab their attention with your headline, you have to meet their expectations by making good on it. Don’t suggest thrills and spills, only to send them into Sleepy Central with some nauseating body copy, or they’ll just click away, never to return, and your blog post will be left floating around, alone and unloved, in cyberspace, looking to pair up with another reader.
Add a little spice to your headlines with something like ‘How to wow an audience with your writing’ or ‘6 Tried and tested ways to write a brilliant blog post’. Use powerful, positive language, and then deliver the goods.
Hook them with your intro
Time is of the essence in the content world.
Cliched intros won’t do – your audience will have seen them a thousand times before and the copy will just elicit a bored, impatient sigh.
Umming and ahhing won’t do – you don’t want them rolling their eyes while you stumble and stutter up to what you actually want to say.
You need to blast out of the blocks.
Delete your first paragraph and hey, guess what? They’re still listening. See what happens when you get to the point a bit quicker?
Optimise, optimise, optimise
I can hear you saying, ‘Say what? SEO in an online dating profile? Jenkins, have you gone quite berserk?’
But this is the age of the algorithm (and what a glorious age it is!). Just like the mighty Google itself, online dating sites offer up their results (matches) based on their algorithms.
This means you should take a look at what everyone else is doing, so look for (thematic) keywords that your competitors are using (keywords still matter, but the approach is different now in the beautiful, ‘things not strings’, RankBrain world). Use them in your own writing so that your post appears when people search on the internet.
Do this with your headline and with your body copy, which brings me nicely onto the next point…
Work that body (copy)
As we said before, you’ve wooed the reader with your headline. Now it’s time for the hard part of bowling them over with your riveting chat. How do you do it?
Be informative. Talk about things that are of interest to them. Don’t just gloss over things; instead, go into them in a little detail so that your ‘date’ knows you have something to say for yourself.
Make your writing easy to read because the easier it is to read, the more likely you are to hold the reader’s interest. Remember, it’s not Shakespeare you’re writing, which means keeping the language simple. In any case, no one likes a jackass!
Most important of all, write in a zesty engaging manner that shows a bit of personality. Is there any emotion in your copy, or does it have the emotional depth of a slug? If you find yourself reaching for some insect repellent, give the writing some inflection by:
- Mixing up short sentences with longer ones
- Adding questions or the odd exclamation mark – use the latter sparingly and only if you’re making a genuinely funny joke or saying something interesting
- Playing with punctuation a little
- Writing like you’d speak
- Including a list (see what I did there?).
Sharpen up your image
Whether you’re an online dater looking for love, a marketing enthusiast seeking expert tips, or simply a Net surfer wishing to gobble up some new content, everyone wants the same thing: to see a picture or two, preferably colourful and elegant, breathing extra life into the content. Drab pictures won’t do anything for your content except up the bounce rate, which isn’t exactly an achievement, is it?
No, so find pictures that are relevant to your copy, feature interesting subjects and inject some extra appeal into your content. Then watch them click away on your blog post!
Never in my days did I think I’d see a time that the craft of copywriting and the art of writing an online dating profile might become intertwined in one of my blog posts. But here it is.
Make your blog posts interesting and handsome and appealing (just like you!). Sprinkle them with personality. It will all make audience putty in your hands, you sexy thing you. But don’t pout. Never pout.