Whether you’re writing for a social post or a website, it’s important to remember that copywriting is both an art and a science.
It’s an art in that it’s a creative task, requiring a certain aptitude and flair. And it’s a science in the sense that there’s a formula you can follow to capture your audience’s attention.
There are many different things your organisation will be writing copy for at any given time, across a wide range of different channels and platforms. Therefore, when it comes to crafting compelling copy, there isn’t necessarily a one size fits all approach. For example, what works for an advert won’t necessarily work for a blog, and what works for a blog won’t work for a press release.
Whilst there are many different things you’ll need to consider for each specific form of content, here are some general rules you can apply for creating great copy that will grab your audience’s attention.
Whether it’s a short strapline or a piece of long-form content, you should always start with planning to make sure you know precisely what angle you’re taking before your pen hits the paper. This starts with thinking about what stage of the journey your reader is currently in.
Consider your communications plan and where your reader sits within that. For example, if they’re just starting out in the awareness stage then you’ll want to be writing attention grabbing and informative copy. If they’re in the consideration stage, you’ll need to be providing a solution to their problem. And if they’re at the decision stage, they’ll be looking for proof in the form of testimonials and case studies. We adopted this approach when crafting content for Wiltshire Council’s foster carer recruitment campaign.
Identifying who your audience is and what they’re looking for from your copy is also crucial to crafting good copy. How you’ll write will vary depending on your audience’s demographics, such as age, position and location. So it’s important to make sure you know as many of those those details as possible before you begin.
It’s also vital to make sure that your copy is audience centric. Organisations are often tempted to see copywriting as another opportunity to talk about themselves, but this approach isn’t particularly engaging for the reader. You should instead write in a way that directly addresses and meets your audience’s needs.
Anecdotes are often a key part of face to face interaction, and this is because virtually everyone enjoys being told a story. Storytelling can be a powerful copywriting technique for building a sense of excitement, trust and community with your audience.
One of the best ways to approach this is to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and talk about when you also faced that issue, how you overcame it, and how you got to the place you’re at now. When it comes to writing a story, it can be helpful to follow the IBCR structure (introduction, build-up, climax and resolution). Remembering of course to tie in how your product or service ties into that point of resolution.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that copy is in fact being written for humans. Therefore, it’s crucial to actually sound human. Copywriting is part of a conversation. You’re not simply asking your audience to attend your lecture - you’re seeking to engaging them in a dialogue.
This ties neatly into our next point…
One of the most common mistakes with copywriting is to overcomplicate it with complex words and jargon. But this is actually quite isolating for your audience and runs the risk of making them feel inferior for not understanding what you’re saying.
Keep your copy concise. Your aim should be to make your point without beating around the bush, so don’t be tempted to throw in extra words that just aren’t needed.
It’s very important to make sure that what you’re saying is correct when it comes to copywriting, so make sure that you’ve checked your facts. You’ll also want to make sure that you include references wherever needed to justify any information or data you’ve included.
Getting someone to proofread your work is also important as this will help ensure that what you’re saying is both correct and clear. It’ll also wheedle out any pesky spelling or grammatical errors that have managed to sneak in unnoticed.
Although there are many different elements to consider, copywriting doesn’t have to be complicated. When you get it right, it can in fact be one of the most cost-effective marketing tactics. However, one resource that you will need in abundance to craft great copy is time. And this is where we can help you.
We offer a range of copywriting services at Eleven, from helping you to create messaging structures to copyediting and proofreading. Whatever you’re looking for, get in touch with a member of our team and we’d love to discuss the ways we can work together.