BASICS OF GOOD COPYWRITING
Here at Craft & Cloud, we’re constantly stirring the soup.
Okay, our work might not involve literal stoves and soups. But… we do have websites and marketing materials to cook up, and they involve a number of ingredients!
One of which is … copywriting!
If your mind immediately goes to the process of securing your rights to a written piece of work (copyrighting), you are not alone. Many people do not realize that copywriting (which has become ever more important due with the growth of digital advertising) refers to “the process of writing text for marketing materials.”
Copywriting covers a broad range of writing, including ad content, emails, brochures, social media posts, blog posts, and website text.
Along with design and web development, copywriting is the third major ingredient of both your website and your digital advertising. Every project, whether print or digital, here at Craft & Cloud involves at least some copywriting.
What Makes Good Copywriting?
Copywriting is an art form, but it is an art form with a single purpose: to motivate people to take action.
This could involve anything from buying a product to sharing a post to downloading a guide – any action that a business would like a person to perform.
And copy (the term for the text itself) is important. It makes or breaks businesses by its effective or ineffective use of language.
The best copywriting produces powerful emotions whether or not the person actually buys the product. We have probably all experienced this – unable to forget the disaster an ad is warning us of, even if we take no immediate action.
“The best advertising should make you nervous about what you’re not buying”
– Mary Wells Lawrence
Copy is also notoriously subjective. Although there are principles to follow, marketing campaigns can always be compared and optimized.
Ultimately, copywriting is a dance between creativity and marketing principles.
Here are 7 Principles for Good Copywriting:
Copywriting must be:
First of all, copywriting is written for humans to read. This should be taken for granted, but in these days of algorithms and bots, sometimes we forget that our copywriting is supposed to be appealing to people just like ourselves!
Your copy must be written in a natural, conversational way that helps you to connect with your readers if you want to move them to the action. Avoid cheesy writing that addresses no one in particular as well as jargon and complicated language that your audience will not understand.
“The more your copy sounds like a real conversation, the more engaging it will be.”David Garfinkel, greatest copywriting coach
Reading your copy aloud is a wonderful way to test it out on a set of human ears – your own! Unless you have tried this already, you can have no idea how helpful it is for finding errors, omissions, and places in your writing where improvement is needed.
AI writing is another issue that many people are talking about these days. Although AI tools can generate ideas to get you started, the writing is far too generic to even begin to compete with a skilled copywriter. One big reason for this is the complete lack of emotion, an important part of copywriting that we will discuss more.
Key takeaway? If you’re a human, write like it!
It’s the crucial first step to success in copywriting.
- Focused on your audience.
Since we are talking to humans, it is critical to understand your audience or the group of humans that you are writing to. Buyer personas or descriptions of your ideal customer are extremely helpful to hold in your mind as you write to them. The work of building a buyer persona (a representative customer or audience member) or identifying your ideal customer, in itself, forces you to learn more about the people you are trying to sell to.
Ask yourself the following questions as you write: Who am I writing this to? What are their dreams? How does this product or service help them fulfill those dreams? What would motivate them to actually put down money to buy this product?
Another helpful thing to keep in front of you is the objections or questions that your audience might raise about buying your product. Would they tend to balk at the price, do they not understand how it works, do they question its value? The better you understand their objections, the better your copy will overcome them.
The great copywriter, Joe Sugarman said it well: “The ideas presented in your copy should flow in a logical fashion, anticipating your prospect’s questions and answering them as if the questions were asked face-to-face.”
Overall audience awareness and understanding is crucial to writing copy that engages people and leads them to interact with your brand.
- Fitted for the channel.
This goes hand-in-hand with focusing on your audience. Trying tore-use exact content from one digital channel in another one is usually not a good idea – pulling directly from your website for a social media post, for example. Although content can be repurposed, it needs to be tailored to fit the channel and the needs of your audience.
Content from your website usually doesn’t involve much of a hook or lead-in for grabbing a person’s attention, so this must be added for the specific audience when writing a social post, email, or blog. For another example, rewriting an email as a blog will involve adding more content, more links, and placing your customers’ problem within a broader industry- or demographic-wide perspective in order to supply the informational needs that blogs are written to fill.
Social media content should be different from other digital writing and each platform has its own unique characteristics. A Facebook post can be informational, but it would usually not feature the lead-in that an email or blog post would. Instagram posts require far more attention to visuals than some of other platforms. Linkedin is the most serious business platform, and the best content there usually includes a strong connection to a person’s professional life, although humanizing elements are always welcome, of course.
- Grammatically correct.
This is another obvious point, but it is worth stressing. Spelling and obvious grammar mistakes are instant black eyes for a business. No one wants to buy from a business either too stupid or too lazy to correct the spelling of a word in their headline or ad copy.
Although everyone is human and mistakes will happen, these types of mistakes actually CAN be avoided. Write carefully, read over your work several times, and use spellcheckers and tools like Grammarly to check up on yourself. For important, high-profile campaigns, have the ad copy reviewed by your whole team or at least two skilled editors.
Boring, aimless writing, simply produced to fill a page, will never move anyone to take action, especially in these days of short attention spans. The average human attention span is now 8.25 seconds, down 25% from 2000. This means that it is now easier to hold the attention of a goldfish (9-second attention span) than of the average human!
Your copy must grab the attention of your readers from the very first word if you are to stand a chance of converting them.
The average American is exposed to 4,000-10,000 ads per day. This number is nearly double the number of ads the average person was exposed to as recently as 2007 and is over five the number of ads seen daily by the average person 50 years ago.
Consumers are frankly tired of this sheer mass of advertising that is thrown their way every single day. Their conscious mind is simply unable to process anything close to this amount of material. They are tired of being constantly informed that they must buy this or that product – products that they simply don’t care about. They just want to tune it all out.
The solution? Two things.
- Understand your customers’ subconscious needs so well that you are able to create riveting content that gets past their conscious mind, pulling them in almost before they are aware of it.
- Write content of such high quality that the conscious mind also becomes wholly convinced of the benefits of your product. This content can include things like helpful tips, new information or other worthwhile material to make the reader feel it was worth their time to stop and read your ad or copy.
And benefits is exactly what you want your audience to focus on. Writing riveting copy does not involve writing about the features of your product; it means stressing the benefits that this product will bring to your customers’ lives.
“Your job is not to write copy. Your job is to know your visitors, customers and prospects so well, you understand the situation they’re in right now, where they’d like to be, and exactly how your solution can and will get them to their ideal self.”-Joanna Wiebe
“It has long been my belief that a lot of money can be made by making offers to people who are at an emotional turning point in their lives.”Gary Halbert, one of the founding fathers of modern copywriting
Great copy goes beyond simply describing a product; it taps into the emotion the audience feels about the product.
That is how copy moves people to action. The writing of a great copywriter produces something so much bigger than mere understanding of a product or service; it produces strong desires to own and achieve what that product or service promises.
Copywriters can only do this as they incorporate all the elements above. They need to write to humans with a deep understanding of their audience and they need to produce high-quality, riveting copy filled with emotion.
If you can do this, the sky is the limit for what your copy can achieve!
- Goal Driven.
Each copy campaign has a purpose. Always begin with that end in mind. Write down your objective for each piece of copywriting, from the 10,000-word blog post to the short Facebook ad campaign. Allow this goal to shape every word and your copy will be streets ahead when it comes to reaching and converting your audience.
Copywriting is an important ingredient of your website and advertising materials.
Great copywriting has the power to draw in many new customers and take your business to new heights.
Poor copywriting on your website and advertising materials will give your competitors a clear advantage over you and represents a direct hit to your bottom line.
For expert assistance with all of your business copywriting needs, reach out to Craft & Cloud Marketing!
We will see to it that your customers are fully engaged by your copy each and every time!
Visit us online or give us a call at 717-340-5539 today!