Simple Step, Better Web Copy: “Where’s the Beef?”

web copy meat

web copy meat

How many times have you clicked away from a webpage because the content delivers a big fat NOTHING, zero, nada. Fluff, word vomit, inane braindumping, and slipshod web content are still alive and apparently well. Maybe it’s just me–but give me just a little meat to sink my teeth into, for godsakes. “Where’s the Beef?!” she croaks.

One step — if you’re serious about your writing — makes you better than most hacks:

1 tangible data nugget

1 citable quote

1 statistic that proves you’ve stepped outside the drivel mucking around in your own head.

“According to a study by (reputable study group here) 87% of customers in 2008 subscribed to….(name of product or service here)…blah, blah, blah.

As weak as that sentence is standing alone, it still makes one page of informational copy better than most. If you’ve ever really spent time on Wikipedia you know that it so far has defended itself quite well against the constant barrage of users who’d like nothing more than to use the resource to kickstart their businesses and careers– as an overt advertising vehicle, (but it takes an army of editors to dodge the onslaught). Wiki editors use the term “weasel words” to indicate phraseology like: “they said,” “it’s generally understood,” and anything that sounds hollow and potentially hearsay-ish. Could be true: “they” may HAVE said… but tell your audience WHO THEY are (give them a backbone and name) and WHAT THEY said– make it real. Sound as though you know a little something about what the heck you’re writing about.

In sales-driven webcopy the meat and potatoes are “features” and “benefits.” Could be a usable concept in general webcopy, as well.

**1 step….could take you 2 extra minutes.

Lost to find reputable online research sources? Check out my Copywriters Resources page for a quick list of links to many of the better authoritative sources on the web, many used by NYTimes journalists. And if you have anything to add to it, please let me know.

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One Comment on “Simple Step, Better Web Copy: “Where’s the Beef?””

  1. eBookGuru Says:

    The where’s the beef question is the reason why I find so much work in the online realms. Copy on any page, no matter its purpose, matters. For many it takes a while to figure out why they aren’t selling that product or service – eventually they do though, and I have made a living helping those people for close to two years now.


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