Convincing your target audience with words. Radio, television, written, digital. All takes the skill of a writer. A specific type of writer.
A copywriter. Who, performs the act copywriting.
Copywriting, when it comes to our marketing and sales content, is one of the most important skills a marketer can learn. It is how we convince people to act in a way we desire. Whether it’s a purchase, downloading content, or visiting our store. Copywriting is one of the main avenues we have to accomplish this.
Here, we are going to discuss the concept of copywriting, provide some examples, and leave you with a few resources for homework.
What is Copywriting?
Copywriting is the practice of writing text that is persuasive and causes the reader to act. The text in copywriting is called copy and is most commonly referred to in marketing and advertising writing.
The goal of copywriting is to write text, which is typically written in a sale’s driven format, the causes the intended reader to act when reading the call-to-action statement at the end of the written copy. Copywriting is a complex area of marketing writing and great copywriters are paid very well.
Copywriting can also refer to the spoken text that you hear in a radio or television commercial. Although this is not read by the intended audience, a copywriter has written the copy that is used in this medium.
There are many skills that can be learned to be more effective at copywriting. There are also principles, which have been established by great copywriters.
Important Copywriting Skills
To create successful copy, there are certain copywriting skills you can develop. These skills can improve not only your copywriting, but also your writing in general. All of these skills can be learned. You can use online tutorials, practice, and trial and error.
To get you started in the right direction, some of the more important copywriting skills to focus on include, but are not limited to, the following.
Good Writing Skills
The first skill that you should develop in improving copywriting is your writing skills. Good writing skills can allow you to craft a compelling story. A story which will engage your readers. Storytelling is an important skill in good writing. Good writing also helps you write to one person, not an entire audience. This makes it feel like you are speaking to the reader directly.
Being a good writer is the foundation for being a good copywriter.
Understand Your Audience
Good copywriting speaks to the audience. In order to speak to your audience, you need to understand your audience. This comes with researching the audience, then crafting a compelling message directly to that audience.
Understanding your audience is about creating a relevant message. Which, the relevancy will improve the response rates and engagement of your copywriting.
Use Features and Benefits
The next skill in copywriting is the ability to use features and benefits in your copywriting. In order to craft copywriting which uses features and benefits, you need to understand the concept of features and benefits. Then, create your copy around these.
Craft a Unique Selling Proposition
Similar to the value proposition, the unique selling proposition is what makes the copy unique. This builds on the value proposition of the product or service, then clearly defines why it is unique. This uniqueness is what would compel the target reader to act on the copy they are reading.
Focus on the Headline
Headlines are one of the most important, if not the most important, pieces of copy. If you focus on the headline, you can drastically improve the impact of your copywriting. Headlines will directly impact the click through rate and engagement of your ads, open rates of your emails, and click through rate of your pages in search engines. All of this translates into more traffic and interest.
Understanding psychology is an important part of copywriting. We are writing to people, in order to get people to act. So, we need to understand, from a scientific perspective, what causes people to act. This comes down to human psychology.
So, understanding at least the basics of psychology is an important skill in copywriting.
Learn Digital Marketing
As more marketing moves online, understanding digital marketing is a huge benefit to copywriting. Chances are, a lot of your copywriting will be for digital mediums. Whether that is blogging, website content, social media posts, or online advertising, there is a wealth of copywriting opportunities online.
Copywriting has a number of key skills, which if you focus on that core, you can quickly improve your writing. These are just some of the areas to focus on, but a good place to begin. Start here, practice, and then see where you need further improvement.
Common Copywriting Principles
The next area of copywriting are the core copywriting principles. These are the tried and true, long tested principles that apply to copywriting for traditional mediums and digital mediums.
Some principles you should consider using when copywriting is the following.
Write for an Audience of One
Write to a single person. As the reader reads, they should feel as though you are speaking to them directly. Then, they identify with what you are asking them to do. If you write to broad, you miss the target audience, and the copy does not read as though you are having a conversation.
So, write to a single person, like you are speaking with a friend.
Think Like a Salesperson
When copywriting, it is generally to sell something. This can be a product, service, idea, content, or many other things. So, you need to think like you are selling someone something. This is not the over-bearing used car salesman. It is the effective, consultative sales professional.
The point is, your copy needs to sell and convince your target reader to act.
Take as Long as you Need
The length of your copy is not important. Well, it is more important for some formats than others. Like advertisements. But, with regards to email, landing pages, blog posts, or even direct mail, take as long as you need to convince the reader and keep them engaged.
Stick to Urgency, Curiosity, and Self-Help
The three categories to focus on for convincing copy is urgency, curiosity, and self-help. You may only need to use one of each of the three at a time. If you need someone to make a purchase, create urgency. If you need a piece of content downloaded, create curiosity. And, if you need idea buy-in, help the reader.
These are not the only situations, but stick to these three in your copywriting.
Not all your readers will actively read every word you write. That means you need to make content easy for your readers to skim and scan, and get the point. Even get the point enough to convert. Use plenty of whitespace and headlines and make your content scannable.
Focus on a CTA
All roads lead to Rome. Just like Rome, all copy should lead to your call-to-action (CTA). The point of copywriting is to cause your readers to act. To generate an action, everything should drive to the action you want your target reader to take.
Focus on a single CTA and write all your copy for that action.
Attention, Interest, Decision, Action. Follow it. It is a tested sales principle and your copy should follow its structure. Regardless of length, you can touch on all points of AIDA. Use it to your copywriting advantage.
Write with Enthusiasm
In order to move your reader down the page and engage them, it is good to use some enthusiasm. Make your reader feel as though you are excited to tell them about what your copy is explaining. Your enthusiasm in your writing will make your target reader enthusiastic about taking your desired action.
These are just a few of the principles of copywriting. They will get you started in the right direction. Once you get a handle on these starting principles, you can begin to expand your copywriting.
A Few Good Copywriting Examples
Seeing as we have a good understanding of copywriting, it is time we take a look at a few examples. We want to get a wide range of examples to get an idea of some best practices that are actually being used.
Below are various styles of copywriting. You can take a look at each and use them to begin your inspiration.
Evernote’s Website Value Proposition
Evernote aptly describes what they do. They also touch upon the pain of having to remember things. We all forget something. This is a great example of a website value proposition.
Dollar Shave Club Landing Page
Dollar Shave Club, has always had great copywriting. From their first commercial, do their home page, they are skilled copywriters.
James Altucher has discussed how much time he spends on his headlines. He is a master copywriter. He always makes you curious, like this headline. You are bound to click to find out what happened.
These are just a few examples of some good copywriting. You can learn from these, take some inspiration, and create some great copywriting.
A Few Copywriting Resources
As you begin to develop your copywriting skills, it is good to have a few resources to turn to. Here are some of the more popular resources out there. But, there are tons of resources.
It is good to learn from the resources below, as well as read some psychology books, and even take a look at some of your direct mail as case study material. Below are some links to some resources to get you started learning and mastering copywriting.
Copyblogger is the copywriting resource for digital marketers. They even tell you that in their headline. If you’re serious, this resource is a must.
Kopywriting Kourse is all about writing and writing copy that sells. Neville, who runs the website, has a great sense of humor and style.
Ramit Sethi has built his entire business, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, on copywriting. He is probably quietly one of the best copywriters at the moment. Subscribe to email list to get great emails for inspiration. Then, maybe take one of his courses.
America Writers and Artists have some great courses. Like this one. Use their resources to learn writing and improve your copywriting. Another great resource at your disposal.
Ogilvy on Advertising, is a classic for anyone who wants to be in advertising. Read this book or any of his others and you cannot go wrong with learning from the master Advertising Man.
Claude C. Hopkins
Scientific Advertising, is another indispensable resource. Highly focused on writing sales driven copy, it is a great resource to help you think like a sales person.
These are a few resources to get you started on your copywriting journey. These will no doubt turn you onto more great resources. Now, it’s up to you to take control of your learning journey.
Copywriting is a critical concept and skill for any marketer. The concepts and resources here will help point you in the right direction. Either to start learning, or to begin improving your copywriting. Whatever your skill level, take the concepts here and begin your new training sessions.