The Dos and Don'ts of Good Copywriting
Copywriting is a useful skill not only for writers who make a living out of it but also for other individuals who might find it helpful, such as business owners and marketers. If you have a good grasp of language and have some writing experience, you might want to hop in and do copywriting yourself. But how do you know that the piece you’ve written can sell? What practices ensure that you produce a compelling and convincing copy?
Follow a process
Good copywriting often follows a process. There are so many instances where novice writers blame the proverbial writer’s block when, in fact, it was a lack of process that caused them to stall in front of a blank page. There are a couple of steps at the beginning of the copywriting process that does not even involve typing down a single letter.
To be able to write about a product and convince people to buy it, you should have enough knowledge about it. This can be a bit of a challenge for a hired copywriter writing about an unfamiliar business, but it is an essential first step. The research does not stop there, though. There are so many things you need to know first to confidently write about something, several questions you need to answer before you begin. Who is your audience? What is your medium? Who is your competition, and how can you compete with their copy?
Once you have all the information you need, then, and only then, can you begin to write.
Be generous with details
Yet another characteristic that separates good copywriting from the noobs is the lack of genericity. If you skim through a copy and find the most cliche lines like “take your business to the next level,” you will likely feel inclined to do an eye roll and a puff. These kinds of generic and safe phrases lack depth and detail and make you look like you have absolutely no idea what you’re writing about. It’s the kind of content that makes your readers’ eyes gloss over, and their brains shut down in order to save on brain cells for more useful information.
What you need is a detailed composition that shows that you know the business. As mentioned in the previous section, a significant portion of copywriting includes comprehensive research about the product and all surrounding factors that may affect its sales. So instead of writing down some generic stuff, you can cope up with something more informative like “grow your business by increasing your client base through proven email marketing strategies.”
Cite expert-derived data
So now you know the importance of diving into the deets. The only problem is, are you credible enough to dole out advice? After all, you’re a creative writer by practice, and you might not have the extensive background of a professional marketer or a scientist. So, why would your audience believe you? Most likely, they’ve read other copies and have been disappointed before.
What you need are experts. Research-based information (true research) is one of the things you can include in the research phase of your copywriting. You can quickly gather these from statistics, polls, scientific evidence, published statements from credible figures, and many more. This way, your copy not only has enough substance but a strong backbone to help it stand.
Match your words with the visuals
People have a natural affinity for visual stimuli. The eye is naturally drawn to images at first glance, and photos usually stand out in a page full of words. That is why it is essential that the context of a copy matches the image. A disconnect between the writeup and the featured images can be glaring once your audience starts reading.
Some may argue that as writers, it is understandable to get caught up with only the words. And besides, there are plenty of ways to interpret a picture so that it somehow fits the context. Sure, you may get away with it, but it will surely rob you of the opportunity to harness the power of the combined force of imagery and written content.
Let your personality shine through.
The thing about loyal customers and business advocates is that they don’t just buy a product because they need it. Moreover, even new customers won’t buy from a business because the copy they read was good. They usually factor in the fact that they like you first and foremost. That is why it is crucial to reflect the personality of the business in your writing. If you happen to be the business owner, let your character shine through the content.
While you are going on with the business of learning the DOs of copywriting, it would also be helpful to keep in mind the DONTs.
March on blindly
Sure, writing without a plan may seem like an exciting idea. But that excitement abruptly ends the moment you find yourself stuck at a passage, moving in circles with your point, or staring at a blank page. Planning your content before beginning is one of those crucial steps that ensure that you actually finish it. Aside from extensive research, have an end in mind. Format a flow of points and picture how you would want your reader to feel as they read through the lines.
If you’re going to write a copy that caters to every reader possible, you are going to come up with an extremely vanilla writeup. It’s going to be too lukewarm and wishy-washy that while it caters to everybody, nobody would remember it. Everybody might get it, but nobody would love it.
But you may ask, why do billion-dollar companies sometimes go for the broad-range copy to market their products? That’s because they have the resources to back it up with marginalized components. But, if you’re writing for a startup or a local business, you won’t have the same advantage. The aim is to zone in on the audience who are most likely to purchase. For example, if you’re writing for a restaurant in Cali, you only need to sell to people in Cali mainly. There’s no point in wasting your efforts or sacrificing copy impact by inviting the entire continent.
Writing for yourself
Almost every copywriter out there, at some point in their lives, is guilty of being all about themselves whenever they write. While you may find your output pleasing to your eye, you must ask yourself, will my target reader understand and appreciate this? Avoid confusing, or worse, losing your audience because you used too much jargon. While you may know all the ins and outs of your own business, chances are, not everyone will understand.
Settling with mediocrity
It certainly wouldn’t help you to get cocky just as soon as you feel comfortable and confident enough to write copies. The thing is, there are constant changes going on around the copywriting world. Economies, markets, marketing practices, audience psychology, publishing, and everything else is subject to change at any given moment. Which is why it is important to keep on learning no matter what.
If you think your copywriting skills need some brushing up, here are a couple of courses from Skill Success that might just help you out:
Selling your product
Wait. What? Aren’t you copywriting to sell? So why is selling your product a bad thing in copywriting? The thing is, all of the features and technical advantages of a product does not really convince your readers to buy-in. While they may think that these information are what got them to their final decision, the truth is, you already hooked them in when you promised a solution to their problems.
Does it improve their lives? Make things easier for them? Help them reach their goals? Does it give them something they’ve always wanted? Good copywriting does not aim to feature a product and put it in a written spotlight. Instead, it convinces its readers why they need the product.