PS has worked as a freelance writer since 2012. When she's not traveling and writing, she helps people with web design and development.
Essence of Copywriting
Copywriting isn’t about copying stuff and rewriting it. It is commercial writing that acts as a fuel to speed up business growth. Copywriting demands you to write in a communicate way, which should also exhibit originality. Since you are here, willing to know about the advanced version of writing, you probably know how to convey your imagination through words. But how to use these words to act as guidelines for your readers and encourage them to take the desired action, we’re going to see that here.
You should learn to write a copy
- Creative writing is a challenging task. When it comes to business, it is equally challenging and rewarding. Truly, you get paid for every word you pour down for the growth of the business.
- Your words are intertwined with respective designs to craft an innovative communication style. It’s certainly one of the best creative jobs in the world.
- Copywriting is an essential part of this process. You not only craft strong messages but you also communicate with the audience background representative of the brand. Undoubtedly, your ability to seamlessly communicate with the audience makes you valuable and highly sought-after.
- Creative writing in the form of copywriting is a highly specialized technique. You have to show your creativity but in a way that it persuades your readers to think about the brand not about your writing style.
Many people compare Copywriters with Journalists
It apparently looks right to think these two individuals are actually one as their jobs demand them to inform readers about the latest news, services, and products.
However, if you are a budding copywriter or a journalist, you know these professions are pole apart.
Journalists have the freedom to share their opinions. They can craft an article that may or may not speak good about the brand. They aren’t expected to produce error-free content as it is later edited by the senior editor. They do follow defined structure, though.
On the other hand, copywriters have to be very specific about what they write. Each word must be effective enough to maintain the readers’ attention until the very end. They are also expected to produce content in perfect English as they are supposed to be excellent communicators. However, copywriters don’t have to follow any tightly defined structure, most of the times.
In short, Journalism is informative and Copywriting is Persuasive.
Kill your Ego
- According to the legendary copywriter, David Ogilvy, copywriting isn’t a stand-alone field. As a copywriter, you must be open to all every other field, you come across. This enhances your creative expression.
- At the same time, there’s no scope for your individual personality. You are not just informing readers, but you are also persuading them to take a certain action. You need to be the brand’s voice.
- Forget yourself and kill your ego to think vividly grasp the brand expression. You should learn how your words can fit the brand reputation. Also, which words can help you target the potential audience for your brand.
Adapt a natural style of communication
- While copywriters are expected to be rich in vocabulary, they also need to be natural while communicating. Their language must be understandable even by a 10-year-old.
- Sometimes copywriters (especially the beginners) forget that their voice is the voice of the business and business has only one aim i.e. to earn the profit.
- Every commercial industry is working to sell its product and service at a higher rate than normal and make a steady legalized profit.
- When it’s the time to sell, it’s where you come in. It’s your job to write relevant copies to stimulate customers’ desires. You have to lead the way for them to make the appropriate decision.
- Earlier when the competition wasn’t stiff and globalization was an unknown term, businesses only have to showcase their products and earn the money straight away.
- However, today, more and more businesses are establishing annually or even monthly. The competition is so intense that the company whose net worth is in millions today may fall down the very next day.
This competition has given a huge rise in the demands of copywriters (due to which many copywriters make millions per year). To produce an effective copy, you need to answer:
- Why you are better?
- Why they should consider you?
- Why you are more reliable than your competitors?
- Why they should come back to purchase your brand’s offerings?
Visuals lack commitment
Stunning visuals and graphic designs look appreciative and are viewed by innumerable customers. However, they are not quite effective while selling the products.
By making the ad way to visually appealing, the designer often draws customers’ attention away from the products and more to its work. This not at all helps in business growth.
This is where your copywriting skills come in. You provide tag-lines, benefits, and advantages to the customers. While customers may forget the visuals, they always remember the tagline For example, “Think Different” for Apple, “Just Do it” for Nike, “I’m loving it” for McDonald's, and so on.
Being a great copywriter isn’t as difficult as you think
To become a great copywriter, you only need to keep in mind certain important factors such as:
- Instead of expensive campaigns, search for the best way to reach the customers. Sometimes you may not even have to spend a penny and you may find a lot of potential customers at the right location. It can be both online and offline.
- Use a clear and communicative message. Don’t get twisted. Customers are smart and words speak volumes. The right words can stimulate their thinking, while the twisted ones can leave them confused and they may pass on.
There’s no right or wrong way
There’s literally no best way to write a copy. None of the copywriting courses are effective enough to guide you on how to produce the most effective copy. It all comes with experience and practice. Famous copywriters such as David Ogilvy never had any formal education in this field. They kept their mind open and kept on practicing.
You need to be open to ideas. Everything you see, read, and come across can help you write a great copy. So, stay active and alert.
Profiling the audience
Profiling is a fancy name for learning the specific about your target audience.
- What’s their personality?
- What are their likes and dislikes?
- What type of language they most resonate with?
- What is their economic profile?
- What is their geographical location?
- What kind of activities they regularly indulge in?
Accumulating this information isn’t really tough at the time of the Internet. Just one smart search can give you everything you need.
Consider these examples
Suppose you have to write a copy of toiletries product for women, who are 25 to 40 years old. To narrow it down, you are informed that they are working women, have a reasonable disposable income, and are regular customers of the client. This gives your mind a particular stereotype.
The profiling can be like: Your targeted customers are 25 to 40-year-old women who are busy maintaining work-life balance. They have household responsibilities and have to pursue their career as well. Having such a busy schedule means they have constant stress. So, when they will be reading your copy, they will most probably be tired and don’t have much time. When they are in the store looking at your product, they may have kids with them or are wearied out by sore feet. How do you cover up all this?
To grab their attention, your content should give them refreshment. Your message must help them know how they can reduce their stress. But at the same time, don’t go too long as they won’t read it. You need to give them a strong name and description. Use a friendly tone, empathize with the. Show them a clear benefit that stands out and if not, you are just wasting their time.
Suppose you have to write a copy for the customers of a computer supplier. Here, your targeted customers are other businesses. It includes managers of large corporations, who have to source computers for 300 people at a time. They handle company expenditure and want to receive spectacular service with extraordinary quality in return for money. They are also looking forward to their next promotions.
In this case, your writing tone must be simple yet extremely credible. Don’t over-promise or use quirky headlines. Your message must be powerful with clear call-to-action. In other words, you should write straight to the point. Business customers are always short on time, so you must write a copy that can be easily memorized.
Also, make sure to use facts and figures to support your idea since these people look for solid truth.
In Example 1, you can use an informal tone to cheer up your target audience. But in Example 2, this is a B2B copy, so you need to be formal and use the tone of a business person.
It’s all about the benefits, who cares about the features?
No matter your target customer, you never have to explain the product features to them. Every time you write on how the product can improve their lives. It can be right, but it may not be crucial for them. You don’t want them to think “So what?” for every benefit you mention.
For example, ABC smartphone has a 48 MP camera. Seriously, who cares? Now, you write, ABC smartphone has a high-resolution 48 MP camera that lets you capture distant objects clearly. This sounds much better.
Some features are quite lucrative that you feel the need to mention it. But it’s worthless. The most important reason is your audience rarely looks at an ad. Some times they are just browsing and when they see an ad, they often ignore it. So to garb their eyeballs, you need to give them benefits, something that can stop them right there.
Separating benefits from features is your job, no one else is going do that for you. If there’s only one crucial benefit, then say it out loud and clear. Don’t take back, you can explain only one benefit in your ad if it has the most impact.
Accept it, you can’t turn every target into an end-customer
Irrespective of your writing skills, it is fairly impractical to win every potential customer. Not every target audience will take the desired action. Some may be too full of their daily chores that they may not focus on your products, even if they need it.
On the other hand, some audiences may buy your product even if your copy is poorly written. So, there are both types of customers, one who will certainly buy and others who won’t at any cost. In this scenario, you really can’t make much difference.
Amid these two extremes, there lies a target audience who can hopefully become your end customers. This is the area where you need to focus the most. You can figure out these people by analyzing the previous ads and your target’s profile.
Hold their attention till the very end
- When you start to explain a certain benefit, don’t divert midway, finish it till the end.
- Stimulate their interest by your informative headline. Your headline should clearly explain what they are going to find in the copy.
- Your headline can also include a benefit that suits your target audience. For example, in the above example of toiletries, women are living a stressed life, so they need something that can take care of their skin without disturbing their daily schedule. So, this is a crucial benefit that they surely need.
- Give your copy a personalized structure, since there’s no proper structure to write a copy. You should plan your own theme and write accordingly.
- Adding facts and figures can impact your success rate. Numbers are very crucial, don’t use wrong facts as it may lend the business in trouble. But numbers have great power, use it wherever you can.
- Don’t over-promise, else your audience will know. Write only measured outcomes and make use of “you”. This customizes your copy and the audience feels the ad is specially made for them.
- Leave gaps intentionally. Delivering everything to your customers all at once gives them no room to learn more about your product. Your copy needs to raise their curiosity. For example, in the case of Apple products, you must have noticed how the representative only talks about the latest upgrade that may intrigue the audience. They never reveal full details and only focus on how people are using the product instead of detailing about its specifications (most of the tech geeks care about specifications along with benefits).
- Most importantly, your call-to-action needs to stand out. The audience should know what they suppose to do next.
Some people deny it but swipe file is extremely important
I have come across several blogs where bloggers complain about how useless a swipe file can be. Their thoughts don’t resonate with me. However, everyone has their own working ethics and I am no one to judge. What should be yours? Well, only you can decide.
A swipe file is a collection of ads, ideas, extracts from magazines or newspapers that help you write an effective ad. This is beneficial especially when you have writer’s block syndrome.
Besides a swipe file, here are some important tips to remember:
- Maintain consistency in your tone. When you have a marketing campaign running for months, you may feel the need to try something different. This doesn’t work actually. After the first marketing campaign, your consecutive campaigns are used to imbibe the business image in the customers’ minds. These campaigns help them recall what’s the business is all about. Changing the concept amid can cause them to forget your early efforts and you’ll have to start anew.
- Make your own word book. Make a collection of different words that are expressive and highly persuasive. You can categorize them or make a list of them. Words like start and begin, complete and finish, purchase and buy, and so on are somewhat confusing to use. You should include such words to prepare a great copy in a shorter time.
- Replace employees and staff with “our people”, “retail outlets” with “our shops”. Use words that your audience use in their daily life. Avoid jargon especially when the target is common people. In the case of B2B selling, using jargon show your confidence and credibility.
- Avoid abbreviations like AIDA, BANT, BR, as they can be ambiguous. In case, they are needed then write their full form either in brackets or at the bottom of your copy (for that place an asterisk beside the abbreviation).
Your swipe file doesn’t need to have a proper structure. It’s for your own good, do it the way you like.
Here’s another example of how to study your audience’s profile. Suppose you have to explain a back-to-work scheme for high school dropouts who are 16 to 17 years old. They don’t have any formal qualifications.
In this scenario, you need to use a formal tone and better avoid a street language. You are the representative of a work-life, so they should know how the professionals actually look like. After that, grab their minds by proving how much you understand your target audience, use statements like “it’s normal to feel like you haven’t been given the right opportunities or you have yet to achieve a lot because there’s something better out here, waiting for you to hold on” or “you may have realized that going to school was nothing but a waste of time but that’s period is over now and here’s a chance to make a start, a start that you always wanted”. Stick to simple vocabulary, empathize with your audience, be professional, treat them with respect, and use a warm and inviting tone.
Here we discussed certain principles that are crucial to success as a copywriter. Most of the copywriters earn fame and gain through experience and practice. None of the courses can ever teach you a street smartness and all of them talk about the same principles in different styles. So, start practicing and improve your copywriting creativity.
© 2020 PS Tavishi