Copywriting: noun: ‘the activity or occupation of writing the text of advertisements or publicity material’
Copywriting: reality: ‘a science and art form of strategically composing and delivering text to entertain, inform and encourage readers to perform certain actions. Provide web copy and content across all platforms.’
Without copywriters websites would be bare. Adverts would be empty. Search engines would have nothing to search for. The internet would be irrelevant.
That’s a pretty big statement to make! But one that is entirely true. Words are as important to human existence as air, water and food. Without words history would have been forgotten, the future could never be written and life would be a quiet, lonely, colourless existence.
The earliest forms of written text date back to more than 5,000 years. That’s five thousand years of human knowledge passed on from generation to generation! Of course, we have long moved on from the cuneiform script created in ancient Mesopotamia. But the core essence of written communication remains the same.
Now that we have that history lesson out of the way for all of you ‘word nerds’ out there, let’s get down to business.
Today we are going to explore the five steps to copywriting success to show you exactly what it takes to tick all of those content and copy boxes.
1. Headline, Headline, Read All About It
You could create an absolute masterpiece. Something that the world’s most renowned writers would be proud of creating themselves. But if your headline doesn’t spark interest, chances are that it will never get read.
And vice versa. If you create a kick-ass headline but sub-par content, people are going to hit that back button within seconds.
So. Why are headlines so important? The answer is simple. People need persuading. Even if you have a huge audience out there, you need to give them a reason for them to give you their attention. And this is where headlines truly help.
A great headline will be catchy, easy to understand and explain the content right off the bat. Avoid excessively long headlines and keep things simple… which leads us nicely on to the next copywriting tip.
2. Stop Being a Word Wizard
You clearly have a way with words, otherwise you wouldn’t be a writer of substance. But here’s the thing. You may love to indulge in a little linguistic word play, in-jokes and puns… but if your audience doesn’t get it, you are going to alienate them.
Think of clever words and styling as the salt that you put on your meal. Too much and it’s ruined! Of course, if you are writing in a technical niche then clever words could be just what you’re looking for. But for the most part, clear, concise and easy to understand writing is what most people appreciate.
This isn’t to say that your audience needs you to dumb things down for them. The aim of the game is to provide easily digestible content that is a pleasure to read. The less confusion there is, the more likely they are to come back again and again.
3. Grammar is Everything
Grammar can make all the difference between what you say and how people take it. Fail to use it correctly at your own risk! But be warned, the end result can be read completely the wrong way.
Here are a few examples of why your grammar needs to be on point.
Capital Letters for Proper Nouns
‘I helped my uncle jack off a horse’ Vs ‘I helped my uncle Jack off a horse’
One will have people thinking you’re a pervert, while the other will have them thinking you’re a decent person. You decide what you prefer.
‘I’m sorry I love you’ Vs ‘I’m sorry, I love you’
Your/You’re and Then/Than.
‘Your dinner’ Vs ‘You’re dinner’
One leaves you fed, the other leaves you dead!
‘I’d rather eat my eyes then my dog’ Vs ‘I’d rather eat my eyes than my dog’
Don’t let people think you’re a lunatic. The correct word makes all the difference!
4. Know Your Audience
By knowing who your audience is you can tailor your content toward them. As an example, if you are putting together a piece about ‘organic gardening, ’you will want to do a little bit of demographics research to find your target audience.
If the majority of your current audience are more into mechanics, cooking or retail you will need to find a way to angle your article to cater to them. At the same time you want to be attracting more new people to your content.
Ultimately, demographics will reveal that all-important data about who is looking for what. Knowing this information makes it so much easier to write in a style that your intended audience will love while ensuring that the content is shown to the right people.
5. Copywriting That Stops the Search
At the end of the day, the most important thing about producing copy for websites and ads is to stop the search.
But what do we mean by stopping the search? Basically, you need to do your research to find out what your target audience is searching for and then provide all of the information that they need.
Answer the questions that they have. Answer the questions that they haven’t even thought of yet. Give them a reason to stay on your page rather than go to a competitor.
Stopping the search can be one of the most difficult things that a copywriter has to try to achieve. By providing well-thought-out, thorough, and easy to understand content, people will know that you are an authority on the subject.
And ultimately, this is exactly what a copywriter always aims to achieve. If you are new to the world of copywriting and looking for more fantastic tips, tricks and advice on improving your writing skills, check out this blog for more.