5 simple copywriting tips
5 simple copywriting tips for better results
Do you want to improve the effectiveness of your marketing? Words matter.
Whether you’re writing for print or digital, these 5 simple tenets of copywriting will help you craft better copy that can get the results you want – more leads, more sales, more shares, more coverage.
Although the style of writing varies depending on what you’re writing and what it’s designed to do, any effective piece needs to hook your reader, engage them, guide them and motivate them to take action. These tips will help you hone in on some powerful ways to do that.
1. Don’t build arguments from assumptions
Perhaps we should just say that before you start writing, collect your facts and data. It may seem obvious but when it comes to influencing a reader with your words, truth and authenticity are always going to be critical to the impression you create – be that positive or negative.
With so much information available, the first challenge any reader has is to sort the wheat from the chaff. And with a lot of chaff out there, your job in writing is to make it as obvious as possible that you’re a credible authority on your subject.
Presenting facts and making claims you can substantiate is an essential part of good copywriting. If they’re accurate, you’ll achieve your goal. If they’re inaccurate or cannot be checked, you’ll shoot yourself in the foot and lose your reader.
Don’t shy away from using facts, analysis and concrete data in your material, in fact try to use as much as you can – it’s incredibly powerful.
Think about this; a (true) statement like ‘93% of Australian marketers are now using content marketing‘ is far more informative than ‘The majority of Australian marketers are now using content marketing’. Or, depending on your approach, even ‘7% of Australian marketers still aren’t using content marketing’ tells more of the story, demonstrates you know what you’re talking about and piques your reader’s attention.
From this point of fact, you can create enough interest to go on to make your argument.
Before you start writing, do some research and find some amazing facts. Sometimes, entirely new angles can emerge but mostly, they’ll help you cut through better than all the ground-breaking, mind-blowing, earth-shattering double-barrel adjectives you can jam into one sentence.
2. Know your audience
Just as you change your tone when you speak with different people, the words you use and the way you write needs to change for your audience so that you can artfully engage them and keep them interested in what you have to say.
As well as basic demographic information, try to develop an understanding of what makes your readers tick by answering questions like?
- What motivates them?
- What problems are they having?
- What is their typical day like?
- Why might they be interested in what you have / do?
- What other businesses do they support?
- What is important to them?
- How do they make their buying decisions?
- What are they concerned or worried about?
- What do they value most / aspire to?
Ultimately, your goal is to create a very clear profile of your reader. Of course, not every reader will be identical but you will come up with a picture and personality for the typical reader and this can guide the way you present the content you write and the tone you use.
3. Create a sense of urgency
Given the chance, most people prefer to ‘just think about it’ rather than make a decision. Your job as a writer is to provide the compelling, emotional and logical reasons to act now.
If you’re writing to sell or generate a lead then getting your reader to take action and do something (press a button, submit a form, subscribe to something or make a call), is going to be your number one priority.
There are many ways to create a sense of urgency. You can try:
- A time limited offer on a special price (E.g. Introductory offer)
- A time limited offer on inclusions (E.g. Gift with purchase / added extras / steak knives)
- Giving away vouchers or credits that expire (E.g. Send a cheque with a letter)
- Limiting availability (E.g. We only have 50 of these widgets / we can only accept 4 new clients)
- Leveraging off an event (E.g. End of financial year)
- Offering a free trial for a limited time (E.g. This month, you can try us out for 30 days and see what you think)
Of course all these tactics will only work if they are genuine and your reader is absolutely convinced they want or need what you’re offering.
In some cases, the sense of urgency can be created out of the consequence of not acting. What will happen to your reader if they don’t take action? For example, ‘Every day you wait is costing you another $457 in lost productivity’ makes the need to resolve a problem the most urgent priority. You’ve sold the need to take action, now your offer is there to provide an instant and easy solution to the problem.
4. Balance text with images
Sometimes it’s not all about copywriting. If you can explain or demonstrate something with tables, charts, diagrams or images, go ahead. Breaking up your content can make life easier for your reader, especially if they’re visual people.
The most important factor for both your words and images is relevance; use as much text as you need to get your message across and try to stick with images that actually support your message.
The amount and type of images you use will vary depending on what you’re writing. If it’s a brochure about a luxury resort, of course large, emotive images will be critical and you could allocate a large portion of your brochure to selling with visuals that compliment your words. On the other hand, if you’re writing content for your website about a system or process, try to stick with images that assist in the explanation and don’t feel the need to add irrelevant images just for the sake of breaking up your content.
5. Speak to one person
Most content has a specific target market. This is the audience profile we discussed earlier. There may be one or two secondary targets but it’s very rare for an audience to be ‘everyone’ although many businesses struggle with that.
Take Woolworths for instance, almost everyone goes to a supermarket so how do they determine who their target is? Rather than attempt to appeal to everyone, they set their sights on the people who visit most and spend the most: Mothers. And what motivates them? They want to know they’re feeding their family the best produce they can get (Australia’s Fresh Food People) and they want to be confident they’re not paying too much for it (weekly catalogues). Other Woolworths customers are happy with those things too but you’re unlikely to see a large marketing budget allocation dedicated to anyone outside their target audience anytime soon.
Nailing your copy comes down to being specific and accepting that you cannot be all things to all people. The moment your reader stumbles upon your content, they need to feel like you understand them and you’re speaking directly to them. Deliver up a page that doesn’t want to commit to a specific reader and more than likely, it won’t appeal to anyone.
Speaking to one person in your wording also gives you an opportunity to help your reader relate to you. Instead of saying ‘people feel confident they’ll always have their job on time’, you can speak to your reader directly and say ‘you’ll feel confident you’ll always get your job on time’.
DIY or professional copywriting?
Next time you sit down to write your next marketing piece, take a moment to get clear on these 5 simple copywriting tips. Do your research and then start writing as if you’re speaking directly to your reader about the truly amazing information you think they’ll love. Tip number 6 could be enthusiasm.
Professional copywriters spend a lot of time honing their words and crafting their sentences to boost impact. They can be helpful if you have an important piece you need to get right and coming from outside your business, they are often able to see and present things in a different light.
iFactory is a full service digital marketing agency that recognises the importance of good copywriting in website design, landing pages, email marketing and print media. We have a talented team of marketing strategists, web developers, designers and copywriters. We create websites, marketing materials and ongoing digital strategies that build credibility and boost enquiry. To find out how we can help you, call us on 07 3844 0577 or drop us a note.