Types of Copy: Straight-Up Natural

22 July, 2008

keywords, web content, writing

There’s some kind of beauty in website copy that is simple and natural and produced without direct attention to the needs of search engines or even the habits of consumers. For copywriters the work of basic words-on-a-page is a cinch and the writers are a dime-a-dozen.

Willy-Nilly Copy

However, there remain dangers to writing willy-nilly, particularly when building a business, persona or brand online. Natural copy is all well and good, but one example of natural copy that was totally ineffectual sticks in my mind: the company for which I wrote at the time was hired to design, develop and write a new website for a realtor–her beat: the North Carolina coast, particularly Wilmington, her target market.

She came to us with a site already in place, but upset that she failed to show up in Google results for Wilmington Realtor or Wilmington Real Estate broker. She wanted to present her online persona as easy-going and down-to-earth. Her home page spoke sincerely to potential clients and fondly of her career and the people she met. HOWEVER, as appealing as was the overall message and the intent — the on-page as natural as it gets copy lacked one very key item: location, location, location. Here was a pro clearly focused on appealing to her customers with sincerity, but because she failed to ever mention “Wilmington, North Carolina” her message went largely unheard over the online din.

I suppose my rant has less to do with how to create natural copy than it does with how not to do it. I support natural copy whenever it makes sense and whenever it nets the intended results, but it’s still not to be written blindly. Natural or “organic” writing fails in any medium when it misses the most elementary points:

Who, what, where, when and how.

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