There’s writing, then there’s copywriting. We’ve got a three point check list of what you need to remember when you’re writing copy—and you’d be crazy not to read it.
When we find ourselves explaining the concept of copy-writing to the curious few that ask, we always end up making the same statement; “Copywriting is writing that sells.”
In a more literal sense, any text that makes up marketing or promotional literature is a piece of copywriting, and you can bet it’s been disassembled and dissected time and time again by a dedicated copywriter.
Copywriting is the art of taking a 3 word phrase and loading it with enough meaning to send stock flying off the shelves. It’s the art of connecting to swathes of the population at a time, in the tightest of character counts and without alienation. If that’s what copywriting is then there’s one thing it isn’t—and that’s easy.
We’ve put together the Three Golden Rules of Copy; so sit back, scroll down, and watch it get a little easier.
Keep it Real.
This tip is all about letting your writing embody the approachable, conversational tone that copy often has to take. Sounding overly preachy can alienate your audience and leave them feeling as though you ‘know better’ than them. Although it’s easy to list the countless benefits of your services, that doesn’t mean the people reading it will believe you. Be mindful of the tone your copywriting takes—sarcasm carries risk.
Look at the copy you’ve written and say it aloud—it is awkward? Would someone really talk like that? Would they understand the words and phrases you’re using? If they wouldn’t, fix it.
An old english teacher of mine used to refer to pointless and wordy sections in essays as ‘waffle’. Waffle is the undeniable enemy of great copywriting.
Get ruthless when you edit. If a phrase can’t be justified, don’t use it. If the first word that springs to mind doesn’t click with your customer base, don’t use that either. The flow and shape of your sentences themselves are just as important too—if you overload your copy with long, unfamiliar words it’ll all get thrown out of whack.
Don’t let personal fondness for a particularly satisfying phrase overrule the requirement to keep copywriting simple and sharp; if you’re not writing for your customer, you’re not writing copy.
Know your Customer.
Before you start to write, get to know your customer. There’s a few techniques for this, such as building character diamonds and writing customer profiles.
The customer that you’re writing for should be at the heart of every decision you make. Picture them sitting across from you—would they connect to what you’re saying? Would they feel valued, and feel as though your expertise had value too? An old copywriting tip is to push the benefits of a service as opposed to the features. It’s about going beyond what something does and understanding how it makes us feel.
There you have it. Three simple tips to help you understand the strategy that goes into writing copy. Of course, this is the tip of the iceberg. The morphing face of marketing and advertising throws up new challenges for copywriters every day, and in truth no amount of ‘tips’ will make you as good a copywriter as writing as much copy as you can will.
Although, there’s one piece of advice that cannot be ignored.
If you want to write great copy; you need to be reading it!
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