CEO of TREW Marketing. Author of Content Marketing, Engineered. Podcast host. Helps technical companies build trust and grow their business.
Your website wears many hats for your company and serves departments across your organization, from marketing and sales to support and human resources. Perhaps one of the most essential functions of your website is that it serves as your company’s 24/7 storefront, constantly providing information to potential customers around the world. Your website will likely only continue to grow in importance as the B2B sales process shifts to become a more buyer-centric digital model. By 2025, Gartner predicts that 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will take place on digital channels.
Furthermore, if you are a technical company, you may be surprised to learn that when engineers are researching a product or service for a business purchase, nearly 70% start by visiting the supplier or vendor’s website, according to research my company conducted with GlobalSpec. We also found that nearly 60% of engineers complete anywhere from one-quarter to three-quarters of the buying process independently online.
Considering these data points, your website content needs to be thoughtfully planned so that your site can both address the pain points of a casual visitor in the awareness stage and answer the technical questions of a prospect on the verge of making a purchasing decision. With web content designed to speak to visitors in any phase of the buyer’s journey, you are much more likely to meet the needs of your target personas and keep visitors engaged on your site.
Why Web Writing Is Unique
Web content is a truly unique content type. Unlike other content like white papers, where the goal is to express your organization’s in-depth expertise on a topic, webpages need to be clear and concise. You need to provide website visitors with just enough information to convey your expertise yet also leave them wanting to learn more. Taking this approach with web content will help get prospects to take your desired next step, such as filling out a contact form to download that in-depth piece of lead-generating content.
Another unique attribute of writing web content is that most web visitors are probably not going to start on your home page and navigate through your site in a preset order. When writing for your website, it’s crucial to strike the difficult balance of being consistent in your messaging across all pages without being repetitive while also creating content for key pages that can be independent and freestanding. Having a single “web champion” charged with reviewing all of your webpages can help ensure the content across your site remains clear, consistent and cohesive.
Now that it’s clear why content is an important part of your website, and why it’s unlike any other type of marketing content, let’s look at ways to make the web writing process easier.
The Four Resources You Need To Streamline Web Writing
The simplicity and success of any web content development project will largely depend on work done prior to ever starting a draft. Below are four key elements we recommend having in place before ever opening a Word or Google document to start your first draft.
1. A Solid Web Strategy
While a discussion on web strategy could make up an entire article on its own, to summarize, your web strategy should be much like the blueprints of a house. A good web strategy should define exactly what you are building and how you will build it — from the foundation, or the systems needed to support your site, to the content required to fill the metaphorical rooms on your site.
2. Approved Messaging
All too often, web projects morph into company or segment messaging projects, which means your web project will end up requiring a lot more time as messaging is developed and refined. To avoid delays and ensure consistent messaging across your pages (remember, every prospect’s web journey can start differently on your site), make sure you have approved corporate messaging in place before starting any web project. The same goes for messaging for your core products and/or services. Having this messaging in place will expedite the development of key pages.
3. Draft Page Templates
It is essential to provide your web writer with a draft page template that clearly conveys the space available for content for every section on each page and also shows how key visual elements need to be tied in. It is also equally important that your template is not completely rigid and can serve more as a guide for the writer. Some level of template flexibility should be possible because you should never need to sacrifice providing necessary information to a prospect because of design or template limitations.
4. Subject Matter Experts And Reviewers
It is highly unlikely that your web writer will also be your company’s subject matter expert for a particular page topic. Therefore, before embarking on any writing, you should identify the appropriate SMEs to work with within your organization. At the same time, identify any additional required reviewers beyond the page SMEs because it is important for all SMEs and reviewers to be onboard with your web strategy before content creation begins. Oftentimes, when a reviewer is brought into a web project at the last minute and not informed about the strategy, the reviewer will request changes that do not align with your defined goals.
Balance All Of Your Website Needs With Strategic And Engaging Content
Web writing is a balancing act. Your website needs to clearly speak to numerous audiences, from someone who just discovered your company and solutions, to someone who is on the brink of taking the next step and just needs a little more information. While good design and site usability are necessary and will help your visitors avoid frustrations, these website elements will only get you so far. Ensuring that your well-designed website is full of thoughtful, engaging content is the magic recipe for converting casual site visitors to actual contacts engaging with your sales team.