July 28, 2015
What is the objective for this page?
How is the page you’re currently writing different from all the other pages on your site? This will make decisions about what to write much easier for any given page. It’ll also give you focused points along your visitor’s journey, which will help with decisions about where to send them, and focus your efforts when doing optimization.
What questions are we trying to answer?
Marketing is all about intent. This is a way of trying to get into your visitor’s mind. What questions do they have right now, which, as you answer them, will give them a reason to keep reading? How can you build your answer so that your visitor is educated, rather than just informed?
What answers can we give the reader to help them make decisions?
In filling this out, you’ll be writing a very, very rough draft of the actual page content. Talk this one out and fill it in as you explain it.
How do we want the reader to feel?
Your visitor’s entire state of mind is important. You’ve thought about what they know, but what about how they feel, which is arguably more important?
The answers to this question will govern what words are used in writing the page. Should they be inspiring (good for top-of-funnel pages), or reassuring (good for more in-depth content that might come later in the funnel)? Something else?
The answer to this question will also help you decide what information to include. If you want your visitor to be a little nervous after reading your page (maybe because you are trying to show them they have a problem that you can solve), you’ll focus more on problems, dire statistics, etc. If you want your visitor to have trust in your company, you’ll focus more on solutions, success proof points, etc.
What do we want the reader to do?
The success of much of your copy will depend on whether your reader takes action. That could mean giving you their contact information, or it could simply mean clicking through to a new page. The information on your page is the argument that convinces them to perform that action, so you’ll need to know in advance what it is. You’ll also use this as a way of determining how successful the page is, later on.
A question I don’t have in this list is, what is the target page length? Ideally, your page length should be exactly how long it takes you to answer the visitor’s questions, no more, no less. You might want to think about this, though, as a proxy for effort or for how concise you want your language to be.