Archive | October 2018

But I Don’t Know How to Write ‘Copy’ – Part One

copywritingAdvertising ‘Copy’ (Script) is your major sales vehicle. It tells people who you are, what you do, when, where, and why (The ‘5 W’s’ of Journalism.). Everyone does it, but not everyone does it well. As a beginner in business marketing, it is a major chore that everyone would like to to do well, but often don’t think hard enough about what it means, or what is involved.

Learning a few simple tips, though, will make your writing not only easier, but more enjoyable and successful. As you get more successful at it, the further you will sprint ahead of the pack that is merely adding words to their pictures. In turn, proper Content Marketing will turn more strangers into prospects, prospects into customers and customers into evangelists.

The answer to all advertising is a simple, although a long one. All Advertising ‘copy’ fits into certain rules, and although there may be lots of ‘rules’ to try to learn out there, when you research, the same points come up repeatedly. To save your time in searching for The Secret Formula, I have boiled it down to twenty easy to understand rules, and will use two posts to list them all. Not all of them should be used at the same time, but it will give beginners a check-list to follow to hit as many points as possible that will help you.

Most importantly, anything you write should be personal. It has to come from you. Write as one person, addressing one person: Here are some more ingredients to bear in mind:

  1. Know your UVP.

A UVP is a Unique Value Proposition: A one line statement that explains how your product or service differs from the competition. Think Coca-Cola, or Dove Soap. What comes to mind is their USP.

  1. Use layout.

Everyone puts a picture on top of their blog post, but if you don’t have one that supports what you are writing about, don’t use one. Don’t divert a reader’s attention from your USP. Layouts may include graphs, infograms, photos, but they don’t have to. Your layout should support your USP, and that’s all.

  1. Create a relevant headline.

This is the hook that makes readers read the first line. Make it about the entire piece, make it ask a question, but – again – stay on topic. What are you saying when you ‘open the door’ to fire that message?

  1. Write to your Prospects.

Who are you writing for? What do they want? Do some research on your perfect reader, and aim the piece at them: In layout, language or pictures, make sure that they understand it.

  1. Benefits, not Features.

It doesn’t matter what your ‘widget’ does, what matters is how it will benefit the reader. No-one is interested in how clever you are, what matters is how your product or service will positively affect those that you are writing for.

  1. Use Aspirational Appeal.

You can appeal to someone’s emotional side, no matter who you are writing for. Even business purchases are made from an emotional point of view: “You will feel better, because…”

  1. Dispel Myths.

When prospects say: “I don’t have enough time.”, or “I don’t have enough money.”, do they mean, I’m not thinking about this now? Are they saying “It won’t work for me.”, or “I don’t need it.”, or are they saying: “I don’t believe you.” This is your chance to take on any or all of these myths.

  1. Fire up your prose.

“The meeting is tonight” sounds informative, but; “The Meeting starts at 7 PM – Don’t Miss It!” sounds direct, and exciting. How can you re-write what you do to make this piece riveting? Keep your prospects reading to the end. Use questions, unfinished sentences, lists. What makes you read on, instead of closing the document?

  1. Be an Expert.

‘The more you tell, the more you sell’. Keep your piece short enough to be exciting, but in it, the reader learns something.

  1. Be Specific.

Whenever you write something vague, such as ‘in the future’, or ‘many people’, you create a question in the reader’s mind: “When, exactly”, they will say, or “How many people, exactly.” If you are talking about a group of people, find out how many, or when you have a target in the future, state it. “We expect that over 1,000 companies will be using our product by December 1st.” is way better than: “be one of our customers with many others in the next few months.

Everything you write should be aimed at your prospects and be about your business. I suggest you keep some kind of note-keeping device close to you, be it a notebook, or Phone App. Ideas will start coming to you at the oddest times, so be ready to note them down.

In Part Two, I’ll have another 10 points that you should be addressing.