As text makes up a large part of most websites, it’s an important thing to focus on. You can work on the structure of your text, or the style of your post. In this post, we will focus on another aspect: the purpose of your text.
A lot of people forget to properly formulate the purpose of their blog post or article. But if you do not properly define the aim of your text, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities. You shouldn’t write just for the sake of writing but because you have an idea of what you want your audience to know or do. Let’s discuss why defining the purpose of your text is important, plus, some great writing tips!
Three main text purposes
We can distinguish three main goals a text can have:
- Your objective could be to inform people.
- Another purpose would be to persuade people. You want people to buy your products or to return to your website.
- The goal of your text could also be to entertain or amuse. You could write a text to make your audience laugh or move them.
These three text purposes are not at all mutually exclusive. A piece could be informative and amusing at the same time!
Read more: SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide »
Long term business aims and text purpose
Your company or your website will have long term business objectives. You should think about those long term business aims while determining the purpose of the text on your website. If the texts on your website are in line with those goals, it’ll help achieve them.
Let’s look at an example. At Yoast.com, we write blog posts, largely to inform people about SEO. So the text purpose of those posts is to inform people. However, we also want people to become return visitors and to gain trust in our brand. Eventually, the long term purpose of our informative blogs is to gain enough trust for people to buy one of our products.
Search intent and text purpose
Besides thinking about how the goal of a text aligns with your business objectives, also consider if it aligns with the search intent of people visiting your post or page. People looking for information won’t like ending up on a persuasive page. Similarly, if people want to buy something and end up on one of your pages, but it’s not written persuasively, you’re missing out! Having a look at the search results for the keyword you want to rank with, will also help you create great content.
Link building and text purpose
If the purpose of your post is to generate links from others to improve your rankings in Google, you should think about the character of your post as well. To attract links from other sites, you should focus on writing informative or amusing posts. Persuasive posts, in which (sales) arguments are most prominent, will usually not receive as many links as purely informative posts. People are simply more likely to share an informative or amusing post than a purely persuasive post, as the ulterior motive of these posts isn’t as obvious.
Tips to use when focusing on one of the three main text purposes
In the following paragraphs, I’ll discuss the three goals a text can have in more detail. I’ll also give some tips and pointers you can use when writing either an informative, a persuasive or an amusing post or article.
1. Informative texts
In an informative text, you explain something to your audience. You want them to understand more about a topic or you want them to use your information (put theory to practice).
Some tips for writing an informative text:
- An informative text will usually need some preparation or even research in advance, to decide on the exact contents of a piece. So, take some time to clearly formulate the issue you want to address in your post.
- The style of an informative text should be clear and professional. Focus on the message itself, so your text has a professional and reliable character. Give your style some thought and make sure your personal way of writing doesn’t interfere with the message.
- The structure of an informative text should be clear. A logical structure could be to address a different topic in each paragraph. In the conclusion, you could summarize the information of your entire text. Our post on this topic has practical tips for setting up your text structure.
2. Persuasive texts
A persuasive text is a text a reader doesn’t necessarily want to read. The purpose of your text is to persuade your audience to do something it wasn’t necessarily planning to do, such as buying your product. For that very reason, writing a good persuasive text is very hard. You can focus on convincing your audience with emotions or logic. Of course, you can also choose a strategy in which you combine persuading with emotions and logic.
Some tips to write a good text persuading your reader with emotions:
- Try to use a lot of positive words (like fun, easy, quality).
- Make your post personal and write from the perspective of the reader. You could for instance address the reader directly using words as ‘you’ and ‘your’.
- Anecdotes or stories illustrating the awesomeness of your product are very nice to use if you are trying to convince people by using emotions.
If you want to persuade using logic, pay attention to the following things:
- Take some time to write down all of your logical arguments. Make sure you deduce your arguments correctly and make use of examples to illustrate your arguments.
- Focusing on persuasion using logic calls for a relatively distant and formal style.
Some general tips for writing a persuasive text:
- The style of a persuasive text should be very bold. Which means your sentences and paragraphs should be short.
- The structure of a persuasive text should reflect your arguments. Be sure to use separate paragraphs for your arguments (regardless of whether you have emotional or logical arguments).
- Use lots of headings and make sure you use the most important arguments in the titles of your headings.
3. Amusing texts
The main objective of an amusing text is to entertain people. Usually these texts tend to be funny. Amusing texts could also be moving or touching. A column is a very nice example of an amusing text.
Although some people just have a talent to be funny, to come up with funny anecdotes or with nice word plays, writing an amusing text can be hard. If you’re an inexperienced writer, it might take some practice. Try to master the informative and persuasive texts first. The following tips might also help:
- Using exaggerations and metaphors could be a first attempt to make your text (more) amusing.
- Amusing texts usually ask for an informal style. These texts are often very personal, containing the words ‘I’ and ‘my’.
It’s important to note that writing a text that’s purely amusing isn’t something many of you will do very often. Most texts will aim to be both amusing as well as informative or persuasive. For example, blog posts on a mom blog often tend to be amusing, but usually have an informative or persuasive purpose as well.
Keep reading: 5 tips for a readable blog post »
Thinking about the purpose of your text is something you definitely should take some time for. Take into account the long term aims of your business or your website as well as the intent of people visiting your pages. Finally, use our tips to make sure the style and structure of your post fit the goal of your text. Definitely read SEO copywriting: the Ultimate guide or check out our SEO copywriting course, for even more tips.
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