Copywriting is strategically delivering words that get people to take some form of action.
In copywriting, every sentence you write must mean something to your reader.
Your opening sentence must hook the reader until the end. (Well, you need to do better than what I did here. A cold start for sure, but keep reading, things will ‘heat’ up, I promise you that!)
Keep the reader front and center
Strong copy is written one sentence at a time.
Learn what makes a good sentence (and a bad one) and your job as a copywriter will be easier.
Before you put finger to keyboard, some copywriting planning is due. You need to:
- Clearly state your aim with your copy. Is it to announce a new product / services / event / gathering / fund-raising / motivate people to do something / etc.?
- Correctly profile your targeted readers. He or She? How old? Greatest need? Biggest fear?
- Do the same thing for the subject / product / event / service / etc. you are writing about. Prepare your Fact Sheet and get your facts right. After you’ve done that, move on to translate those facts into benefits (Benefit Sheet) for buyers / users / customers. After you follow those steps, your copy will write itself.
Press releases are some form of sales letters
They aim to inform readers about a product / service to encourage them to take action.
Press releases serve two main audiences: potential customers and the media.
Each contact on your media list is a strategic decision, like chess, and you can impress people and get great coverage by putting a lot of thought and reasoning into it and marking it with notes.
Don’t sell / promote more than ONE THING in your copy, unless you a have a group of closely related items.
Those who did failed greatly.
Readers won’t remember so don’t lose their attention.
Readers are interested ONLY about themselves, so cut to the chase and tell them how your product / service will enhance their lives and reduce their expenses.
Concentrate on their needs, not yours…
Copywriting tips for beginners:
Your customers don’t care about your product, they only care what it will do for them.
Flatter your readers, make them aware that others have the thing you are selling and are already benefiting hugely as a result.
Using negative adjectives in your headlines works like crazy in grabbing the attention of the reader, leading to reading more.
Here are some examples: One-legged golfer… / Blind medical doctor discovers …
Your first paragraph should immediately build upon your headline.
Remember that with your copy, you are actually building a rapport with your targeted readers, clients, and customers.
Fear and Greed; top motivators in copywriting
What are your targeted readers afraid of, and what are they greedy for?
Get those two right, and your call to action will be answered.
Remember that Good Copy persuades softly, without using hard sell techniques.
Never assume that your product / service is right for every person out there.
“Predictability kills curiosity!” –Gary Bencivenga
Be RELEVANT, not BRIEF.
No one will read your copy if it is not relevant to him / her.
Skip your product’s / service’s features.
Speak about the benefits one gets for using it.
Talk about what your product / service does, not about what it is.
“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people are interested in.” -Craig Davis
Sharpen your copywriting skills
- Put the consumer / user / reader front and center
Many companies have found that using the Courier font in their sales letters proved to make more sales and cash, compared to Arial and Times Roman.
- People are lazy, so show them that buying your product / service is effortless, and they will thank you for it.
People are impatient, so show them that after buying your product / service, you will deliver it in no time, and they will thank you for it.
“Interest equals Benefit plus Curiosity (I=B+C).” -Gary Bencivenga
Let a human personality shine through your copy.
“People don’t buy from clowns.” -Claude Hopkins
Avoid using worn-out language (clichés): words and sentences plagued by overuse that they impress no one.
- Use verbs.
- Avoid nouns.
- Shorter sentences are easier to read and understand.
- Reach for the longer word if the shorter equivalent will not do.
- Never use a long word when a short one will do.
Positive language is easier to be understood, compared to negative one.
Omit Needless Words!
Use adjectives to add information, not emphasis.
Always check your Words Per Sentence (WPS) average. Less than 20 is better.
Give your reader something light and effortless to read, instead of forcing to plough through heavy clay, no matter how correct it is.
Your Call to Action has to be:
- Clear, Simple, Short, and Direct.
- It might be better for you to start writing from the back, starting with the Call to Action first.
- This will help you to focus more on your goal.
Kill your darlings:
Get rid of your most precious and especially self-indulgent passages in your copy, for the greater good of your work achieving its goal.
Your copy must drive people to follow your call to action, not to feel impressed by your creativity.
In 2013, Email marketing company MailerMailer studied over 1.2 billion emails and found that longer subject lines had lower open and click rates than those that were shorter.
Emails with 4 to 15 characters in the subject line had the highest open (16.8%) and click (2.4%) rates.
ON Power Words lists:
- Some words bring better results than others do with readers.
- As you go through your copy, make sure to replace the worn-out words with powerful alternatives.
- Lists of power words come to the rescue in this case.
- Either create your own list, or secure a ready-made one and keep it handy.
- Power words help in making your copy stand out against the continuous torrents of marketing spam that keep coming out every second.
You cannot motivate anyone to want something he / she does not already want.
You cannot create motivation.
It has to be already there, inside your prospect.
If it is not, you are wasting your time and appealing to the wrong audience.
Everyone is already motivated.
The only question is ‘By what?’
Your job is to find out what it is that motivates your prospects.
Either ask your prospects directly, or ask those who deal with them directly.
Then, show your prospects how they can get what they want through your product or service.
David Ogilvy once said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written the headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. If you haven’t done some selling in your headline, you have wasted 80 percent of your client’s money.”
Thank you for reading that far! You are a star, now go out and…
Unleash the copywriter in you!
Read also: Top Copywriting Books in 2016 and Why You Should Read Them
You can download the PDF version of this guide from Gumroad.com