Website and SEO
How to Write Copy that Sells Your Video Content - Part 2
Headlines—Your attention, please!
As mentioned, your headline is the most important line you’ll write for your sales page, any page, or any piece. Simply stated, its job is to compel a prospect to keep reading.
So a successful headline moves the reader further down your page where selling will take place. An unsuccessful headline is the only line that will get read.
When writing your headline, consider applying the following tips, which creates the acronym, “HEADLINES.”
- H is for helpful. Write a headline that promises how your videos will be helpful.
- E is for emotion. Evoke emotion by addressing the reader’s pleasures and pains.
- A is for ask. Headlines posed as questions invoke curiosity and compel people to keep reading.
- D is for do’s and don’ts. Try headlines that suggest what to do—or not do.
- L is for lists. Readers love lists. Use a number in your headline.
- I is for inspire. Aspirational headlines will get the right prospects to continue reading.
- N is for nightmare. Speak to a problem that keeps the reader up at night.
- E is for empathy. Demonstrate you understand and care about your prospects.
- S is for success. A very strong way to position your VOD offering is to express the outcome of watching it.
Outlines—The smart way to tell a story
Does the word “story” alarm you a bit? Understood. What you’ll write to sell your video content isn’t fiction. Still, you’ll tell a story—and outlining it in advance will make doing so easier.
Look at the arc of a sale and recognize it will resemble a story. It’ll feature:
- A character—The character is likely to be the reader, but it could also be a customer.
- A challenge—What obstacle will be faced?
- A journey—What happens next? How will the challenge be overcome? This will be the midsection of your page and likely its most robust part. For selling a VOD product, it may be as simple as a list of milestones.
- A resolution—How’s story ends? Six-pack abs? Socialized dog? Accomplished dancer, singer, guitar player? Confident parent? Better sleeper? Be sure to understand in advance how your story ends happily and how to take your reader on a journey from challenge to triumph.
Whether or not you choose to include every classic storytelling element, make your copywriting task simpler by partitioning it into reasonable segments, with a beginning, middle, and end. Determine what each will include and put them down on paper/screen.
Outlining in advance should make it far easier to bring your story to life. Remember this key lesson: people like to read about people, themselves included, of course.
Long or short, the story you tell you should present a beginning, middle, and end. Think of it as three acts, like you would a play, movie or book.
Begin with a lead—Your first act sets the scene. You can do so with a sentence, paragraph or series of passages, depending on how much space you have to work with.
The important thing to keep in mind is your lead acts as a segue from the headline to the rest of your page.
Put your reader in the story. Write something that shows your readers you “get them”—and you’re with them. You might write a question, make a promise, or amplify the problem you addressed in the headline.
Leads often include quotes or statistics. The objective is to build curiosity for the story soon to come.
Build out the body—Your headline and lead set the scene. The body of your copy unravels it. It can be done in a book or script with hundreds of pages or on a web page with a few hundred words, or less.
Plug your outline in at this point and highlight the benefits of buying and watching your video offerings and applying the lessons they contain. Organize from the top down stressing the most important points first. This way, if you need to edit for space, you can do so from the bottom up. Journalists call this the inverted pyramid (a methodology for prioritizing).
The all-important midsection of your “story” addresses the customer’s challenge and explains how to overcome it. Be careful to strike a balance here. You want to suggest the solutions your videos contain, but not give them away.
Wrap it up—Resolutions occur in the second act. Your third act, or conclusion, is the place to wrap it up. Revisit the challenge. Revisit the solution. But also, remember, it’s time to make a sale. More on that to come in a forthcoming section of this article: the call to action.
Formatting—Deliver a smart onscreen experience
Let’s remind ourselves we’re talking about web-based interactions here.
As such, you need to present your story in the fashion online users prefer—keeping in mind the smartphone users that may represent more than half of your universe of potential buyers are seldom keen on taking in dense copy passages.
Understand, most readers are actually skimmers. Your information should be organized to appeal to them. Consider these formatting strategies to make your sales pages more screen-friendly:
- Break it up.If you’re writing a piece that will require scrolling or consume multiple pages, write and enlarge subheads to guide the reader along.
- Create lists.Use bullets or numbered lists to lend more order and readability to your copy.
- Use images and captions.The reader’s naturally going to see your images first. Write meaningful captions that help tell the story.
Social proof—Build trust and credibility
When it comes to persuasion, nothing tops word of mouth recommendations. I’ll spare you the statistics. People simply trust their peers.
“Good social proof is useful for all landing pages because people trust other people more than they trust marketers.”
~ Joanna Wiebe, Copy Hackers
Social proof, put simply, is some form of evidence yours is a trusted solution. By presenting social proof you aim to persuade those who haven’t yet made a decision that they’re about to make a good one based on the actions of those that have come before them.
Present social proof on your web pages in one or more of the following forms:
- Customer testimonials
- Ratings and reviews
- Influencer endorsements
- Trust badges
- Subscriber counts
- Social connections
- Social shares
- Clients logos and case studies
- Test results
The call to action—Move the reader to buy
Every page you publish should feature a call to action (CTA), a directive that instructs the reader what to do next: try, buy, sign-up, share, etc.
Your call to action may be featured in multiple places on your page. At the very least, one should appear at the end. You’ve written copy and told a story that successfully guided your prospect to the conclusion. Now it’s time to ask the reader to take action.
Consider the following best practices to write and present powerful CTAs:
- Remind the prospect of your value proposition
- Overcome anticipated objections (with guarantees, etc.)
- Create a sense of urgency
- Use action words and be specific
- Simplify the request by making your CTA singular (or at least limit the choices)
- Make your ask seem simple and small (“Get started now”)
- Include buttons that are impossible to miss
- Experiment with first-person CTAs (“Yes, I’m ready to learn how to…”)
The percentage of prospects that comply will be your all-important conversion rate. After some period of time, you’ll want to measure your conversion rate and consider it a baseline. Then, going forward, you’ll want to conduct experiments with the copy you’ve written, your page layout, and of course, your CTA.
Keep in mind, digital ink never dries. If you want to continue to improve your video sales, you can and should perpetually improve the copy.
SEOGo to Lesson 3