The Who, What, Where, When, Why and How
The five W’s and one H as they are more commonly referred to, are the basic principles of journalism. These six interrogative words of gathering factual information form the foundation to writing a compelling article. With a little adaptation these same principles can be easily applied to writing effective website content.
All good writing begins with an attention-grabbing headline. The headline serves to get your attention, and hold you captive long enough for you to read further into the first paragraph.
Having the generic “welcome to our site” as the headline is a wasted opportunity to capture your audience’s attention. The headline should give some indication of what your site is about. Your site will be much better served by a headline that creates intrigue and serves to set the scene for elaboration.
You have roughly about 3 to 5 seconds to keep a visitor from clicking off your site. So you need to keep your content concise and compelling at the same time. Let’s take a look at how we can adapt the five warriors and one hero to write for websites.
Warrior 1. What
You‘ve got your audience’s attention, now you need to explain what is the main purpose of your business or website. What is your site’s reason for being? Is it to provide information or sell products? Basically the first paragraph serves as an introduction of what visitors can expect to find.
Warrior 2. Why
The scene is now set to persuade people why they should engage in business with you. This would be a good time to introduce the features and benefits of your business.
Benefits are the emotional reasons and solutions your audience seeks to satisfy their desires, fears and concerns. What’s in it for them? What do they have to gain by engaging with you? Why should they even care?
Warrior 3. Who
Who is your target audience? This is a very important question, as you cannot begin to write without a clear idea of who your target audience is. If you try to write for “everyone” you end up with uninspiring and generic content.
The best approach is to be really specific about who you’re targeting. This also helps establish the style and tone of the written content, and you will be able to answer your target audience’s concerns more effectively.
You should also tell your visitors something about yourself, your values and expertise.
This helps inspire trust and confidence in your audiences’ minds.
Warrior 4. When
When visitors land on your website, you need to tell them what you want them to do. Highlight any special deals, subscriptions to newsletters or free resources on your site.
Create a sense of urgency with a time-limited offer; urging your visitors to act quickly, otherwise they could miss out. By having a clear call to action, you direct your prospects to the action you want them to take and when.
Warrior 5. Where
Let your visitors know where you are located, even if you solely conduct your business over the internet. People like to feel that they are dealing with real humans.
Displaying photos of yourself, your products or premises helps to establish credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of your audience. Would you do business with a faceless and nameless entity?
The Hero. How
Now you need to tell people how you can make their life better. You can even tell them how bad things could become if they don’t take up your offer. You should then follow up with how great things will be after using your service or products.
How does your product, service, or information improve or meet your customers’ needs and desires? How does it work? How is your business different from others?
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and answer all of these questions from their perspective. Anticipate any resistance, objections and questions they may have and ease their concerns. Be truthful, have testimonials to show customer satisfaction and recommendations.
Remember to keep the writing style conversational, concise and direct. Make sure you have compelling offers and your site is easy to navigate. There shouldn’t be any lingering doubts in your customer’s mind, that you are a credible and trustworthy business.
The five warriors and one hero approach to writing makes for a solid starting point in guiding you through the steps of writing compelling website content.
Until next month, happy scribing.