How to Write Copy Like a Pro
There is more to writing brochures, web sites, sales letters, radio or TV spots, and other promotional pieces than meets the eye. Professional copywriters spend years perfecting their art, looking for great ideas, keeping abreast of the latest news, understanding how to connect with prospects and ultimately driving sales. Promoting sales is what copywriting is all about. It doesn’t have to be beautiful or look pretty. It needs to sell goods and services.
Sell the Prospect. The copywriters job is to convince customers to buy products or services. If you write your own copy that is what your job is. You need to develop a strong understanding of your prospects. What are their wants and needs? What are their desires and dreams? What are their headaches and heartbreaks? Bottom line. What’s in it for them?
Understand the Prospect. Successful copywriters know their prospects intimately. To write copy that works you need to access demographic material and purchasing history as well as any other information you can get your hands on about the people who will read or hear what you write. Understanding your prospects and what motivates them takes you a long way toward creating copy that will motivate those who are exposed to it. Appeal to wants and needs. Demonstrate what your prospects have to lose or gain by not acting.
Stress Benefits. Before you start to write copy, make a list of all selling points/features. Selling points are attributes of your product. Then translate every selling point into a customer benefit. A benefit is what the selling point confers on the user. After you have done this, choose your product’s most powerful benefit to its biggest number of potential users. You may want to focus on this in your headline. Alternatively, you need to unearth a unique selling proposition (USP). This is a way to meaningfully differentiate your products or services from those of the competition. How is it different and better? Consider focusing on your USP in the headline.
Follow Writing Rules and Guidelines. Create an outline to organize material before writing. Use a conversational tone. Be concise and get to the point. You can build interest by using active verbs in your copy. It’s OK to use fragment sentences. You should use language correctly but may occasionally break the rules with bad grammar if it sounds better and is generally accepted in conversation. Meet your prospects at their level with language they will be comfortable with. Avoid jargon whenever possible. If you must use it, be sure it is the jargon of the industry you are addressing.
Use a Killer Headline. Grab reader attention right away with a headline that confers a benefit or piques curiosity. Be succinct and give it punch. Your headline must draw your prospects in immediately or you have lost them forever. They will never have a chance to read or hear your fabulous copy if they leave you after the headline.
Write Copy that Creates Excitement. Make sure your copy logically flows from the headline. Speak directly to your prospects with language that is authentic and relevant. Don’t be too clever. Avoid humor since it can be misunderstood. Then appeal directly to your audience’s desires. The simpler your copy is, the more effective it will be. You can do creative and imaginative things so long as it does not take much time to understand what you are doing.
Create Excitement. Start each paragraph with some excitement. This will keep your prospects from straying. Enlighten and persuade with passion. Let them know you have something they can’t get along without. Connect on an intellectual and emotional level to score big with your copy.
Substantiate Statements and Make Offers that Can’t Be Refused. How much time you have will affect how you shape your copy and what you include. You can use endorsements and testimonials or cite number and statistics for increased credibility. You might include an “As Seen in” from a well-know publication, which works as an implied endorsement. And don’t overlook giving away something for free with every sale. We all know how most people respond to the word ‘Free.’
Drive Action with Illustrations. Make sure illustrations complements your message. A strong illustration along with a great headline and powerful copy makes for an unbeatable ad. Use typography creatively but adhere to upper and lower case lettering because it’s easier to read. Make sure the product or company name is prominent and easy-to-find.
A writer needs to ask the right questions, conduct research, and gather background material. If you are writing your own material, you know what your needs and goals are. If you decide to work with a professional, listen to the advice you are given. The writer is your partner. The writer works with you and the designer to create outstanding marketing materials that will sell your products and services.
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