The Web Content Spokesperson
By James Atkinson, LLB
A spokesperson is an important attribute in SEO copywriting and web content writing. Searchers respond to people much better than they do to faceless, formless company web sites. That’s why it helps to have a spokesperson who features prominently on your web site.
He or she is the “voice” and presenter of your web copy, both free content and your sales letter. Please see for example the importance of “authority” in Persuasion Psychology.
If you’re a small business owner, the spokesperson will probably be YOU. But a large company can aslo allocate a spokesperson to write, communicate, and market on behalf of the company.
You'll need to create a bond with your prospects and so the spokesperson should present him or herself in a way that your market can identify. If prospects like you, they will be much more likely to take the action you ask them to take. You need to consciously lay out the elements of your persona that will build trust with your audience.
As you read through my suggestions below, note down ideas you can use to create your own spokesperson. Use this plan as a kind of swipe file that you refer to when writing content.
It may help you consciously engineer the characteristics into your copy. You can use it to create a powerful, consistent image that could build a trusting bond between you and your prospects:
Creating a Great Spokesperson
Your spokesperson should be someone with whom your market can empathize and identify. Clearly, the spokesperson can be someone who not only needs your product/s but also uses it.
And of course, your spokesperson should be someone your prospects will accept as an authority figure. For example, there’s little point in having a teen being a spokesperson for financial products.
And, by the same token if you’re selling to teens an older spokesperson won’t usually do much to engender an authority figure – unless perhaps the authority is a rock star!
A Picture’s worth a Zillion Words …
Pictures of your authority figure should be prominently featured on your web site and blog or other social media. You should have a warm smile and look directly at the camera.
Looking away or frowning will make everything you say seem suspicious. Dress in a way that makes you look authoritative, or allows your audience to readily identify with you.
Pictures should help tell the story – show yourself enjoying the benefits and lifestyle your product has given you. Are there any props that can help tell your story?
Be careful though - cars, boats, big mansions and other props that try to engender instant wealth are, to my taste anyway, pretty repugnant. The internet is FULL of such images. I think such pictures give the wrong message.
Your goal with your blog picture is to engender TRUST.
Stand on Your Record
Your track record is a powerful way to demonstrate credibility. The more specific the facts, the more authority you can demonstrate.
Give specifics and details to convey maximum credibility. Make the dry facts and numbers come to life! Look for stories and experiences that illustrate the facts you’re presenting and make them more tangible. Try to tell your story using meta-narratives – explained in the next article.
“Before and after” stories are good because the “before” shows you were just like your prospects and makes them believe they can achieve what you’ve done. Transfer some of these statements to someone else’s voice in your sales letter.
Someone else saying nice things about you is much more believable than you saying them about yourself. If you have any satisfied customers or other authority figures who could give you positive feedback, ask them for feedback or testimonials.
Before They Believe You, They Have to Like You
Before your prospects believe your proof statements, they must believe that you are honest and genuinely want to help them. You can demonstrate these intangible qualities by offering your prospects something of value for free – a better understanding of how you can help solve their problems.
Here are some ways to help your prospects identify with and trust your spokesperson as they read your copy:
- Find ways to show that you are like your prospects. It shows you understand their situation and lets them identify with you. Show how you have the same desires, beliefs, frustrations, even faults, as your prospects. Use your prospects’ own language from the survey results to describe yourself.
- Write like you talk. Imagine you are sitting across your kitchen table from your prospect. How would you talk to them? Cut jargon and corporate-speak out of your vocabulary and just speak plain English in a casual simple way. Look for ways to make your language more personal. Refer to the prospect directly – use “you” more than “I”. Avoid “we” – it’s only properly used by the Queen of Great Britain!
- Compliment your prospects. Tell them they’re the kind of people you admire. If this is done sincerely and isn’t over the top it will make them like you and won’t sound like sucking up.
- Find a common enemy. Can you identify a common “enemy” who you can pin your prospects’ frustrations on? Who may be keeping them from achieving their goals – big government, greedy corporations? For example, in the internet marketing industry the hapless “gurus” seem to get a lot of bad press. An injustice angle lets you position yourself as an advocate fighting for your audience.
Let's look at how to build web content funnels.
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