Can I repurpose brochure copy for my website?
This is one of the most common questions I get asked in my copywriting business. And I get that it seems like a good idea to save a bit of money and time.
It will probably do both – but it is also false efficiency. Because it may well mean that either your web copy, or brochure copy (or worse, both!), will not generate the leads you need to make sales.
There are two main reasons for this:
People read brochures and websites differently; and Websites and brochures serve different purposes.
Have a think about how you read a website you have never seen before. You might land on the home page, then go to service/products, then about us, then contact. But the person sitting next to you might land on the about us, then go to the services/products, then contact. And a third person may land on the site, not immediately see anything of interest and click away.
This is why each page of your site needs to be self-contained and engaging. People scan website copy, they don’t read it. A recent Neilson survey showed that you are lucky to get someone to read about 28 per cent of the words on any web page.
This is why website copy needs headings, bullets, internal links and a call to action on every page.
And that is before you even think about search engine optimisation and keywords, which need be included in your website copy, headings and meta data.
On the other hand, if someone picks up your brochure, they are likely to read it from the first line to the last, so the information can be presented in a linear fashion.
As to the purpose of web content compared with brochure content, while each piece complements the other, they are used in different ways.
Your target audience is used to seeing overt sales pitches in their brochures, whereas they prefer website copy to be more educational and informative, and to be led gently through the sales process (except for sales or lead pages, of course, but that is a whole other post)
So, as you can tell, it’s probably not a good idea to cut and paste your brochure copy on to your website (or vice versa).
But the good news is, you can use the content of one to inform the other in several ways:
Style and tone
No matter what marketing platform or tool you use, your brand voice and message needs to stay consistent. Otherwise you run the risk of confusing your target audience so much that they are unsure whether your product or service is right for them. Your style and tone forms the basis of your content, and should be developed with your ideal client in mind.
While you cannot cut and paste whole swathes of one into the other, you can cherry pick content. For example, if you want to use some of your brochure copy on your website, you will need to add headings, bullets and bold writing (remember, people scan, not read the web). And the reverse is true is you want to move web copy on to a brochure. And your brochure may be used to help with the content on several pages of your site; while to write your brochure, you might need to grab bits and pieces of content from throughout your website.
Supplement and complement information
Don’t repeat yourself on both your site and your brochures. You may use your site to expand on the material in your brochures, or reduce website copy for a small brochure.
They are interconnected in many ways, but they need to be unique.
Sales Pitch v Call to Action
As mentioned above, audiences are used to your brochure having a sales pitch, but your website should instead have a “call to action”. This may be to “shop now” or “request a quote”, or just click a link to another page.
If all this seems onerous (and expensive) the good news is when you work with a copywriter (or marketer), the more they get to know you and your business, the easier and less time consuming it is for them to write your copy. So it’s important to develop a partnership with your copywriter for the benefit of both of you. In the long run, it will save you money and them time.