Effective Copywriting-It's about You, not Me
There are so many reasons to write. It's such a vital form of human communication, always has
been and always will be. However, written communication can be easily overlooked or misunderstood if its purpose is not clear and its message is misdirected. Take copywriting, for instance. Like any other genre of writing, it has its purpose which is different than writing, say, an essay, a report or a technical article.
Copywriting is essentially a commercial or a persuasive piece of text that is designed to speak to the consumer to compel them to purchase a product or service that will resolve a problem or pain point they are having. In order for it to be effective, it must be written in a language and perspective that will appeal to and be understood by the individual for whom it is directed towards. In other words, a good piece of copywriting is always written in the second person. Why? Because it's not about ME, meaning yourself; it's about YOU, the customer. It's about understanding the needs of your clientele and how your product or service will adequately meet those needs.
Although copywriting has been around since the dawn of print media, radio and TV, before the age of internet it was strictly undertaken by ad people from ad agencies who were schooled in the arts of effective copywriting. However in today's digital marketing arena, it becomes ever important for anyone in business to make it their business to understand the copywriting process and how it is pertinent in obtaining new clientele, as well as retaining an existing customer base.
Of course, not every business owner, entrepreneur, manager, etc. has the talent, time or patience to write compelling copy. If that is you, you may decide to hire a Content Marketing Writer. Or you may decide that you rather take the Do It Yourself route. With the advent of blogging for marketing purposes and do it yourself website templates, many business owners are taking it upon themselves to create their own content to drive internet traffic. If you wish to become one of those billions of self-help digital marketers, here are some valuable tips to remember and use when creating your own marketing content:
THINK LIKE THE CUSTOMER: I'll be painfully honest. You'll have to lose the ego! Your copy should not be about how wonderful you or your company's offerings are. The truth is your product or service is far less important than its ability to fulfill your customer's needs. Always keep in mind that your potential, even your present clientele are always thinking, "What's in it for me?" Think of many instances when you were on the receiving line of a sales pitch. You're not going to part with your hard-earned money just because someone tells you to buy because their product is the greatest since sliced bread. Most likely you will buy from someone who can demonstrate their products have value to you in meeting your particular needs and wants.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: Ask yourself, who is your ideal customer? For instance, let's say
you are an insurance agent. Well, everyone needs some kind of insurance. Does that mean that
your ideal customer is everyone or anyone? Yes and No. Of course many people are going to need insurance many times during their lives for different instances. However if you want to create an effective campaign you're going to need to concentrate on reaching a particular segment of the population with one particular service at a given time. Focusing on a demographic such as gender, age, ethnicity, family status, income, occupation or interests will allow you to tailor your message to a particular group who are most likely to buy a particular product at a given time.
BE COMPELLING: Because we are living in an age in which everyone is constantly bombarded with information, the average attention span of a human being has dramatically reduced. You literally have only seconds to grab someone's interest. Start with a question or catchy headline to draw your target audience in. Use simple language, personalize and get right to the point to you keep your audience engaged. Otherwise you'll lose them in a heartbeat by isolating them with industry jargon they don't understand or boring them to death by droning on with details that are not relevant to their needs.
GET YOUR READERS TO ACT: You can be as compelling as ever but if you do not tell the reader what you want them to do, you have wasted your words because they will
be clueless and move on. You must always end your copy with a CALL TO ACTION, whether it be an invitation to subscribe to a newsletter, take advantage of an offer, attend an event you are hosting, or any instruction that will signal your potential customer to take the next step on the path to do business with you.
MAKE YOUR COPY ATTRACTIVE: Your lay out of text should be pleasing to the ever scrolling eye. Keeping mindful of people's limited attention span, make a habit of using any combination of the following: bold subtitles, bullet points, white space and imagery, especially imagery. The human eye loves to focus on colorful images that support the message. Keep in mind, though, not to overdo it. The text and visuals must be congruent so one doesn't cancel the other out. Less is more. Quality over quantity is always the rule of thumb.
BUILD AND MAINTAIN CREDIBILITY: It's a no-brainer that your goal in writing copy is to attract new business and retain the clientele you already serve. However you should always think in terms of the long haul by building a reputation for your brand that is steeped in value. People will start to follow and respect you if you regularly provide honest and useful information that will benefit them. Prospects may not buy from you now but they will think of you the next time they are in the market to use your business. For example, useful tips and advice are always appreciated, as long as the copy is relevant, authentic and intelligible. Don't make outrageous claims that you cannot support with evidence, always stay current with fresh topics, and make certain your copy is edited to perfection.
If you decide, instead, to hire a Content Marketing Writer this doesn't mean you're off the hook from having to be concerned whether you have quality content or not. With your new-found knowledge now of what constitutes an effective piece of copy you should be able to determine whether the product is worth paying for. My advice is to pay for a test assignment or ask for a sample of their previously published work before agreeing to the assignment. Whether you decide to write your own copy or not, the above guidelines are a good source from which to monitor your own or another's writing. Good luck!