17 simple but sensational copywriting tips
November 10, 2013
You don’t have to be the world’s greatest copywriter to achieve incredible results from your copywriting. But you must be prepared to learn new skills and to implement them with obsessive attention to detail. Start with these 17 tips; honed over my 30 year copywriting career and watch those responses rise.
1. Be prepared when inspiration strikes. Record ideas and thoughts as they occur and revisit them when writing your copy.
2. Don’t stint on time. Rushing a letter or whizzing through an advert is a recipe for pouring money down the drain. Invest quality time – allow your mind wander, scribble down notes and bounce ideas off trusty folk.
3. Do your research! Get under the skin of your target audience. What are their deep underlying needs for your offering?
4. What are the three most important needs you’re satisfying? Lead with these.
5. Address the barriers that could prevent your reader from buying?
6. Unsure about your target audience and their buying triggers? Pick up the phone and ask. Invite a few to lunch. Network where they network. Read their journals. Visit their websites.
7. Don’t become hung up on finding a USP if you don’t have one. Focus on communicating with clarity, integrity, relevance and enthusiasm.
8. Stuck for a starting point? Visit a few competitor websites – but remember, there’s a lot of difference between being inspired and outright copying.
9. Don’t just consider your message, consider the communication too. Should you wrap this message in a blog or letter? How about web news or your latest press release, your newsletter or brochure?
10. Don’t assume a short message is always best. If readers are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, long copy can be very effective if it’s well written and relevant.
11. Avoid technical detail and stuffy language unless appropriate for your audience. Adopt an easy to read conversational style with rhythm and pace. Make the piece sufficiently jaunty for it to captivate readers.
12. Don’t boast! ‘We’re so delighted that we have taken on a new employee and are now the number one home sales’ business… our unrivalled reputation stretches before us…’ Yawn. Better instead to communicate benefits for the reader: ‘You’ll always receive a friendly, prompt response and an accurate up-to-the-minute update on your property when you contact us.’
13. Experiment with words. A relevant but unusual word can add intrigue. “You’ll love our seasonally inspired eclectic menu.” may attract attention a little more than “Try our seasonally inspired dishes”.
14. Recognise that people rarely make the decision to buy in isolation. What could have a positive or negative impact on their ability to do business with you? If times are tough you’ll need to demonstrate that you deliver exceptional value. Should you bolster your benefits with powerful case studies? Will you move folk into action if you deliver juicy and compelling facts and figures that underpin your value proposition? Yes!
15. Ask questions to maintain interest and break up paragraphs. “When did you last attend a copywriting workshop that really inspired you?
16. Be ruthless. If you’re standing back and admiring your work, you may be letting ego get in the way of a much needed edit.
17. Have a call to action! Make it easy for the reader to know what to do next. For example…
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