Thinking is what people mostly do naturally and fluently. It would probably be strange if there was a special “thinking mode” that people could voluntarily enter or exit. Contrarily, thinking is the process that occurs in our minds on a constant basis, day by day, 24/7. If not obstructed by some sort of mental illness, this process is directly connected to speech, so we can always express what is on our minds, and are able to maintain communication with other individuals.
Since this process is so habitual, we often expect such fluency to extend to other spheres such as drawing, painting, and writing. Ideally, we should be able to convey exactly what we have in our thoughts on paper or another mediums. Rather often, people tend to underestimate the work of copywriters and editors, believing they could do it themselves if needed. In reality, however, this is not the case. Unlike talking–although persuasive and eloquent speaking is an art of its own–expressing one’s mind through words or images requires additional skills.
Many people seem to hate writing for some reason. Perhaps, it is the unexpected intricacy of putting the words together in proper combinations. Or, it may be difficult to keep one’s eye on spelling, grammar, and writing style. Either way, even a personal letter to a friend or a family member may look like an ordeal to someone who is not into writing–not to mention serious business writing, copywriting, writing for commercials and advertising, and so on. In this essay, we are going to talk about the methods and techniques that can make copywriting easier and more efficient.
First of all, regardless of what subject you are writing about, be specific. The Internet is full of articles and advertisements checkered with phrases such as, “We are the best in what we do, and hundreds of companies worldwide trust us,” or “Call us, and we will deliver you a product of superb quality.” The truth is that such phrases sound like they tell something about the product they describe, but in fact they do not. What is this “superb quality?” “Worldwide”–how many countries is that? Vague sentences making unsupported and unverifiable claims are the scourge of contemporary copywriting. Luckily, there is a way to beat it. Use numbers. People like numbers, people trust them. If you write about something incalculable, support ideas you come up with to links to outside resources: research, polls, interviews, and so on. “IT companies in 25 countries use our software solutions;” “233 companies in the United States use our software for effective task management”–this way of presenting information is much more credible. It allows verification, and it gives a person reading it a clearer view on what you are offering. So, you should remember to always be specific (Enchanting Market).
Some principles are universal. You must have heard the expression, “Less is more.” It is mostly used in the context of minimalist graphic, industrial, or interior design solutions–but it can also be successfully used as a rule for copywriting. You must have ran into superfluous sheets of text, and long reads which scream that the only reason for them being that long was the author’s need to meet the word count requirement. There is nothing wrong about writing long texts if you can structure and format them properly. Generally, is there are no specific limitations. Set a rule for yourself: to express your thoughts as concisely and persuasively as possible. Selling something in just a couple of sentences may be difficult, but if you master the art of it, your effectiveness as a copywriter will skyrocket. Check out TV programs as an example–those short descriptions of TV programs you see when browsing channels. Due to industry regulations, they must be only 190 characters long (Splash Copywriters). And still, reading such a brief description may be enough to make you interested in watching a show or programme. Or, take Twitter. It has been a surprisingly effective marketing tool for a long time, despite its format being limited to just 240 symbols. In other words, brevity forces you to focus your message, making it capable of surviving in the ocean of information surrounding customers every day, and penetrating the consumerist armor they wear.
Any text should have a structure to make it more comprehensible, but in copywriting, structure also serves the need of selling a product to a customer. Knowing the target audience you are writing for, you should be aware of the “buyer’s journey:” the decision-making process a potential customer goes through before purchasing a certain product. Ideally, you should be there for every step of the process to help dispel doubts, provide information, and subtly push a person towards becoming your client. A typical “buyer’s journey” in its simplified version looks like this:
– a person realizes they have a problem
– a person formulates the problem clearly, and starts looking for the means of its solution
– a person makes a final decision in favor of this or that solution (HubSpot)
If your text leads a customer through all the three stages, the ideal result should be him or her deciding to purchase your product as a means of solving their problem.
It is important, however, to not overpromise. Honesty should be your policy number one. It is a common practice among marketers to “create” problems for their audiences, and then “solve” them. Needless to say, such problems are designed specifically for a product that needs to be sold. A good example of such an approach would be all kinds of TV markets, where the arguments in favor of purchasing a good product are sometimes ridiculous and forced out. It is also common that marketers advertise a certain product excessively, making it look invaluable and unique. You should remember that if you want not just any customer, but a satisfied returning customer, you should be honest with them. Tell more truth than a customer would expect from you. Be your customer’s equal companion on their buyer’s journey, and they will trust you and your products more, even if they can see its flaws compared to other ones.
Often, companies advertising a certain product use testimonials as a way to earn additional credibility in the eyes of their customers. It is well-known that people ground their buyer decisions on the experience of others; this is why testimonials from real customers are so valued. However, sometimes companies delete negative feedback, leaving only positive comments. Or, they want a copywriter to write only cheerful or cheesy testimonials, believing it will help them win their customers’ trust. This is the wrong approach. On the contrary, cut excessively positive stuff. Just as the previous piece of advice suggests, be honest. Your clients are reasonable, smart adults, and they know for sure that nothing comes without drawbacks and flaws–respectively, there cannot be just positive testimonials and feedback. If they see only cheesy lovey-dovey comments on your product’s website, they will probably suspect something is wrong. Instead, give them a reason to trust you. Provide them with alternative opinions and experiences in the testimonials you write–but make it in such a way that they do not overshadow the positives. In other words, make your testimonials look like they have been left by real people, not by hired writers (Enchanting Marketing).
Copywriting is a difficult profession. Unlike many people probably think, expressing one’s thoughts on paper is not easy. Writing a text is something anyone can do–but writing a smooth and convincing text that will influence people’s decision-making process is a different thing. Fortunately, there are several tips that can make your writing more persuasive and credible. Consider using specific numbers and accurate information in your texts; be honest; be brief; be there for your customer at every step of their “buyer’s journey”–these are just some tips that will help you become a better copywriter. Just remember there is always much more out there to learn.
“11 Copywriting Tips: How to Write Ridiculously Persuasive Copy.” Enchanting Marketing, 10 May 2018, www.enchantingmarketing.com/copywriting-tips/.
“41 Killer Copywriting Tips That’ll Improve Any Business Fast.” Splash Copywriters, www.splashcopywriters.com/blog/copywriting-tips.
Hintz, Lauren. “What Is the Buyer’s Journey?” HubSpot Blog, blog.hubspot.com/sales/what-is-the-buyers-journey.