How can I start a copywriting business?
10 killer tips for effective copywriting
Great copy converted.
This is the basic mantra that all copywriters must maintain throughout their lives. As I sit here now, I can hear the moans of "duhhhh" from the thousands of aspiring copywriters around the world reading this.
It's not a joke, but you'd be right that it seems like simple common sense. The problem many of us face is the challenge of remembering it. While hectic schedules fill our lives, many often lose track of the basics.
Old or new, here are 10 copywriting tips to keep you going.
1. Know the science
Speaking of the basics, the first thing to consider is the science behind the art. Copying should be catchy, attractive, immersive, etc., but there are proven stages that work effectively:
- To solve
- Offer actionable steps
To create a relatable experience, you must first address the problem. Interest increases as soon as the reader realizes that you or others are facing the same things. From there, you can offer a solution that solves the problem.
The next is to build credibility, which shows how effective the solution was. This is where research and data are invaluable. Remember that data is a tool and can be approached in different ways - look for the angle that supports your solution.
Once you've proven the solution works, it's time to share what can be done next to make it happen. From that point on, those who stayed will likely be your next leads in sales.
2. Use powerful keywords
The explosive growth of content on digital platforms is overloading the potential customer pool. Today even a corner shop can go online and promote their business. That means exponentially increased competition.
With such a flood of information, your copy needs to get attention in no time. It is not enough to flood your potential customer base with facts, data and other specific reasons to buy.
You have probably heard people call some novels or stories "soul-exciting". That means it elicits strong emotional responses. You can use powerful keywords to achieve this effect.
Here are some keyword examples:
- Curiosity - classified, secret, shocking, breathtaking.
- Greed - bargain, cheap, reduced, sale.
- Urgency - quick, now, hurry up, limited, deadline.
3. Digital is different from printing
Against the backdrop of traditional print media, it took me a while to realize this. Understanding how people use different media formats is important. What works for one medium may not work for another.
In the print space, copywriters are responsible for creating content to convert prospects into buyers. How companies expanded the reach of this copy is beyond the scope of the copywriter.
It's a little more complicated for the web. The question you want to ask yourself here is how effective do you want your web copy to be?
The role of expanding the reach of web copies rests with search engine optimization (SEO) experts. However, creating SEO-friendly web copies can have a huge impact on the overall impact of a campaign.
Understand SEO basics
Search engines look for specific content in order to find the right recommendations for those looking for something. SEO is a different discipline than copywriting, but you can use some basic SEO knowledge to create an effective web copy.
The key to this is structure.
Make your effective copy at the top as this is what your potential customers will see when they get to the page. Apart from that, however, you expand your content downwards.
Think of that as a summary, followed by a detailed story that goes much deeper. The earlier served copy is for your human audience, while the advanced copy helps search engines understand and recommend your content.
4. Extensive research
Beautify, flourish, improve - all of these words are icons for copywriters and their content. You need to be able to pull a rabbit out of your hat at all times. This means a lot of time for research and continuous learning.
Some may cite this as an experience, but it will not introduce new concepts to an obsolete mind. At the very least, keep in mind that your copy must actually be anchored - even if those facts were specifically chosen to support what you are trying to sell.
5. Know your target audience
Writing long, complex sentences is something we are all to blame at times. The same goes for those who sometimes inject rare or otherwise bombastic words (see what I did there?).
The adage of knowing your audience applies to all writers - copywriters without exception. Even if you are writing for a general audience, keep in mind that not all of them may be as skilled wordmiths as you are.
If you are trying to sell something, the surest way to lose that sale is to confuse or distract your prey. Do you really want them to migrate because you are not "clear"?
Keep your copy simple and effective.
6. Have an alternate copy ready
You generally learn this with experience, but even then not many will. The thing is, most customers are always sold on the premise that something new, fresh, different, or otherwise is more effective.
This may sound great in principle, but most of the time it is extremely difficult to get them to accept something new. This is where your "Plan B" comes in to save the day - it mimics tried and tested trademarks of your business.
Remember, this rejection is not a reflection of you or your skills as a copywriter. The bigger the business, the more traditional they are. It can be extremely difficult to convince a marketing manager that real change would work better.
Millions of dollars could ride on his shoulders.
This may not be the best advice or tip when it comes to text writing, but for the newbies out there - you'll thank me later.
7. Focus on the headline
Back to the subject of the content explosion: Many people just skim the headlines these days. You have very limited space in which to drag the reader in to read the rest of your pitch.
As with most content, the copying is the same and you should create your headline after your content is ready. This helps in a number of ways, e.g. B. by not being distracted as a copywriter and ensuring that it matches the copy.
Fully bring these powerful keywords that I talked about before and build a compelling proposition.
Compare these two headings for example:
- Access any media stream with this simple tool
- Brand X VPN allows you to unblock geoblocked content
Granted, the first line is a bit of a clickbaity and not suitable for all brands. The difference, however, lies in the different emotions that each example can inspire. Think carefully about the emotions you want to evoke in your title.
8. Don't reinvent the wheel
Copywriting is not about creating a market that doesn't exist. Your words alone cannot do that in a single instance. That's why bikes already exist - needs and wishes.
People will buy things they need or want. Writing a copy for the former isn't really difficult. For the latter, one has to understand that a wish cannot be created with a copy. Things that people want already have their market - your job is to stir it up into an unimaginable flame.
9. Stay positive
This doesn't apply to you (although it helps), but keep in mind that you need to use positive terms in your copy. Even if you can't always do this, at the very least you should fight against using negative terms when writing.
The main difference between positive and negative phrasing is also to better illuminate less than excellent circumstances. Positive phrases are much easier to digest, often more direct, and appear more expressive.
Here are some examples:
- Negative Phrasing - If you don't buy Product X, you will experience constant pain.
- Positive phrasing - Enjoy a pain-free experience with Product X.
10. Read your copy aloud
When you've built your perfect masterpiece, read it aloud. What looks good on paper and sounds good to your head may not go so well on your ears. Simply put, we sometimes write stupid things. When you read them out loud, these things come to the fore more vividly.
It's easy to forget that the words we put on paper are consumed by real people. When you write something down, it can come across very differently when you verbalize it. Be aware of the impact this can have on your audience.
Copywriting is a combination of art and science. Knowing the science behind writing effective copies is the foundation, while the bells and whistles are your art. You can't have one without the other.
By following a few rules, you can instinctively make an effective copy. Once you've done that, you'll be able to make impressive copies at speeds that will leave many to be appalled. If you're still having problems, learn what is affecting you.
Think about your most recent purchases from an ad and think about it. If it worked for you, it means the copywriter did something right, yes?
About Timothy Shim
Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. He began his career in the information technology field and quickly found his way into the print media. Since then he has worked with international, regional and local media outlets such as ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in technology from both a consumer and business perspective.
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