How to Write Well For the Web (And Why it Matters)

This post was originally published on June 24, 2015. It was updated and re-published on January 7, 2019.

Whether it’s a blog, eBook, social media post, website copy or email campaign, (well-written) content is essential to drive your business forward, and a key component to online marketing for insurance professionals.

However, not all well-written content is necessarily well-written content for the web. A novel could be renowned for its beautiful prose, but that writing style might not motivate your audience to make a purchase. A well-organized, well-written academic thesis likely wouldn’t appeal to the average web user looking for a quick answer to their questions.

A cohesive content strategy establishes your online brand. It’s the first impression and voice of your agency. Great content can drive traffic to your site, generate leads (and higher conversion rates), and establish your agency as a thought leader in the insurance industry. But that type of content requires consistent, high quality, concise writing.

Here’s a closer look at how to write effective, quality content for the web.

Content Planning

Quality web content goes beyond just the writing. In order to truly be effective in today’s digital landscape, written content should be a part of a larger, organized content strategy informed by research.

  • Take The Time. There’s no way around it. Writing takes time and needs to be updated regularly. Create an editorial calendar or schedule time to brainstorm, write and edit content on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Whether it is a blog or website copy, you need to make sure that it doesn’t stay stagnant. As of December 2018, over 4 million blog posts are being published every day. If you aren’t regularly updating your own content, you’ll get lost in the shuffle.
  • Be Relevant. Know your audience. Who is your ideal client? What are their goals? What do you want to accomplish with your content strategy? Where those two align is your sweet spot, and should drive the focus of your content.
  • Edit, Edit, Edit. This is the biggest, most poorly-kept secret of good writers: there is no such thing as a perfect first draft. Writers aren’t inherently good writers, they’re great editors. They write, check, rewrite and edit again. It’s a process. When you finish a piece, put it down for a bit and take a look again. Does it communicate your point? Can you remove any unnecessary filler words? Any jargon or sentences that could confuse the reader?

Writing Style

In general, blog posts don’t need to be filled with complex sentence structures and big, obscure vocabulary words. This could vary depending on your target audience and the brand you’re trying to establish, but the most effective content tends to be clear, to-the-point, and easily digestible.

  • Be Direct. Help your skimming readers and don’t waste space. Take out single word modifiers that lengthen your sentence. Examples are “very,” “already,” “actually,” and “much.” Use the active voice (rather than passive) in your writing.
    Example:
    Using active voice and direct, clear language will help you effectively communicate your point across.
    vs.
    Active voice and direct clear language effectively communicates your point.
  • Switch It Up. As you’re reading through your copy, note the type, length and style of your sentences. Are they long run-on sentences? Too short? One word exclamations? Using a varying mix of sentence structures subtly makes your content more engaging. This might seem like nitpicking, but flowing content is much more likely to be read than choppy, rough prose.
  • Be Organized. Formatting and structuring your content is crucial. Organize your writing in bullet points, with titles and tags to make it easy to digest. Use clearly bolded titles and subheaders when necessary. People don’t read; they scan. Organizing your content makes it easier for them to read your work and find what they’re looking for.
  • Get In Their Face. We’ll say it again. People don’t read; they scan. Writing a college-style essay that builds up to your strongest point at the end means your audience will miss your point. They won’t stick around long enough to read it. Every word needs to be concise and to the point. Many readers will read the first few sentences to get the gist of the article. Make sure you put your top message there.
  • Read It Aloud. No matter how many times you read through it, mistakes can slip through. Reading your words aloud sounds silly, but it can help you catch subtle mistakes and improve readability.

Effective insurance content marketing strategies are not a set it and forget it type of thing. It is your voice, your brand, and your company that you’re putting out to the world. You need to work with content producers to make sure your brand is consistent and reflects your goals. Don’t be afraid to reassess your strategy if it’s not bringing you the leads you need.

 

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