What Facebook’s Latest Update Can Teach You About Quality Copywriting

Last week, Facebook announced new algorithm changes that will give priority to posts from users’ friends and family. As a result, posts from publishers will show up in news feeds less often, which will likely lead to a drop in traffic to hundreds of media sites.

With the update, Facebook aims to show users more of the stories they care about and better align news feeds with Facebook’s “core values” – great for users but for publishers, it’s going to hurt.

According to Parse.ly research, about 40% of publisher traffic comes from Facebook. That translates to a lot of now-at-risk advertising income, and not all publishers are taking the news well.

The effects have yet to be recorded but those publishers that enjoy a lot of Facebook referral traffic – such as Huffington Post, Business Insider, Condé Nast and Buzzfeed – can expect a decrease in web traffic. Those keen to keep that traffic rolling in will likely have to turn to Facebook ads.

The algorithm update isn’t really a surprise. Reach of Facebook posts from media sites was already dropping as Facebook continues its never-ending succession of updates to maintain interest among its 1.65 billion monthly users.

But as damaging as it may be for publishers that rely heavily on Facebook for traffic, this latest move from the social media giant can teach us a lot about how to write website copy for customers.

Showing Relevant Stories

In essence, this underscores everything Facebook hopes to give its users: stories that people find relevant to their daily lives. The formula is simple. Show users content that’s relevant to them, and they’ll keep coming back for more… and keep those billions of advertising dollars rolling into Zuckerberg’s bank account.

Just like on Facebook, return visitors to your website or blog often results in more sales. So how do you keep customers coming back for more? With website copy that’s relevant to their needs.

When you understand your customers’ needs and reasons for visiting your website, you can confidently craft copy that resonates with them. Dig deep and discover their problems that you’re able to solve, and then ensure your website contains quality copywriting that proves you’re the solution they’re looking for.

Avoiding Too Many Messages

Facebook’s news feed has come a long way since it first launched in 2006. It’s undergone numerous updates in response to new challenges. Its newest hurdle seems to be an offshoot of its own success: information overload. As they put it, “far too much information for any one person to consume.”

You and me both, Facebook. And the rest of us. In fact, this is a modern day challenge we all face. Each time we pick up our smartphones or open our web browsers we’re bombarded with messages from all directions. This constant barrage has been blamed for reducing focus, while more information doesn’t necessarily lead to more knowledge.

Bombard visitors to your website with too many messages and you dilute the overall impact. Clear, concise messaging is crucial to inspire readers to take an action on the page – whether that’s to download an ebook, learn more about your services, or buy a product.

For an effective, high-converting web page, focus on just a few essential messages, ordered by priority.

Entertain and Inform

According to Facebook’s research, people want two things from their news feed: they want it to inform and they want it to entertain.

Of course, what people find interesting and entertaining varies greatly. So to discover what content captures the attention of a specific user, Facebook tracks and analyzes their post interactions.

Your copywriting agency should strive to know the same about your customers. Before they write a word, great copywriters already know how to entertain and inform their readers. How? Because they’ve done the research, surveys, and in-person interviews they need to truly get what your customers are about.

Constantly Optimizing

Facebook states that they see their work as “only 1 percent finished.” In their quest to provide the best quality content and guide algorithm updates, they actively seek feedback from users.

If your goal is ultra-engaged readers and high conversions, your copywriter should never view your website copy as truly finished. They should test it, seek customer feedback and optimize it. Writing good copy requires a good deal of intuition, plus a shot of experience. And it needn’t be like stumbling around in the dark – data, optimization tools, and methods to elicit feedback should be a vital part of your copywriter’s approach.

A native Brit, Charlie comes to MarketSmiths by way of Paris, Montreal, and Sydney.

She’s written for both B2B and B2C clients while on the content teams for global brands, digital agencies, and as a freelancer. She loves nothing better than crafting captivating copy for clients. Her experience ranges from blog posts to news articles to landing pages, with a focus on nonprofits, travel, and tech.

When not writing, she’s usually following her own foodie tour round NYC, kickboxing, or planning her next weekend trip out the city.

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