Copywriting is a fundamental block of your marketing content. A picture may speak a thousand words, but it won’t tell your readers how your product or service could meet their particular needs. Visuals and copywriting complement each other; however, it is the latter that, when properly composed and aligned with your communication objectives, will bring your readers one step closer to buying your product, signing up for a free trial, or requesting a quote. When I embark on a copywriting project, I like to follow six guidelines, five of which I will elaborating in this blog. These, among other guidelines, will help you sharpen your skills as a copywriter.
#1: Write with concision
Be economical with your words, without shortchanging the gist or intended impact of your message. Imagine you were a sculptor who inherited an unfinished clay sculpture of a black stallion along with a photograph of the actual breed for reference. You immediately notice that the stallion’s under belly is dis-proportionally big relative to other parts of its body. Although entirely conceivable for the stallion to carry a hefty lump (maybe it’s overweight or pregnant) the image does not correspond to the sculpture. So, you trim the excess fat with your chisel. As with copywriting, your job is to spare any excess text that your readers can do without.
#2: Write with creativity
Inject some creativity into your copy — add a dash of humour or use analogies to further illustrate a point. Studies show that creative copy tend to resonate more with readers and thus yield higher retention rates than copy that employ little or no creativity. Going back to the analogy of the stallion sculpture mentioned above, you sculpt an exquisite saddle with the horse’s name inscribed on each side of it. Nice touch!
#3: Write with a cohesive flow
I was recently asked by one of my customers, a sales consultant, to revise a white paper he authored that touched on the subject of best-in-class sales practices in automotive sales. I read one section, “Building relationships, one at a time,” only to discover that the text had nothing to do with the preceding header. I was hoping to have read something about how sales can be a personal and enriching experience for both the sales professional and client, but nothing to that effect. The header was misleading. Connect your header with its corresponding text. The header serves as a brief preview of what is to follow. This is a common mistake novice copywriters make.
#4: Write with conviction
In most cases, copywriters write to sell. From my experience, most clients look for this component exclusively, because, after all, their ultimate objective is to sell more of whatever it is they’re promoting. However, before you put your salesman hat on, make sure you don’t oversell — you don’t want your copy to sound like it was written by a fast-talking used-car salesman. Research and articulate the benefits and advantages of your client’s product over the competition or describe in detail how your client was able to solve one of their customer’s problems through a product or service that they offer. This would be far more credible than doling out unsubstantiated sales pitches (“Buy from us you’ll never be disappointed!”)
#5: Write with consistency
Ensure that the tone, style, and narrative you use is consistent throughout your piece. Don’t use the first person (“We make great products”) in one sentence if you’re going to use the third person in another (“Company ABC makes great products”.)