What is copywriting (and what it’s not)?

So, it’s a new year. Have you been thinking about new beginnings? Perhaps you’ve already been business planning and are looking for a new way of marketing. You’ve heard of copywriting but are not sure what it is. Look no further…
Copywriting is writing to sell
Good copy persuades your prospects to buy your product/service and shows how you’re uniquely positioned to help them. You’ll build great relationships as a result of good copy and existing customers will trust you and continue to do business with you. But you’ll also attract new customers. Yay!

Good copywriting is…

1. Targeted at a specific audience

You must know who your target audience is (aka your ideal client). Then you can write directly to them. If you know your audience inside out it’s easy to grab their attention with something they’ll love to read. And find useful.
You’ll only hit the bullseye when you’ve got a target

2. Engaging

To engage your target audience write conversationally. It’s how you’ll build relationships.
Think how you’d speak to your prospects face-to-face and write like that
Would you use technical words? Would you speak in perfect English all the time? If not, stop doing it in your writing! Also show the real you. Not some mythical beast from Planet Fake! All good relationships are authentic and allow the other person to get to know you (or your business) properly.

3. Easy to understand

If you want people to read your copy (err you do…) it should be easy to understand. Plain language without jargon works best. But if you must include jargon use it sparingly and be sure your target audience will understand it.

4. Clear and concise

If you can say it in three words why write ten? So cut the fluff! E.g. ‘Save money now’ not ‘You can save lots of money if you buy now’ You got the message much faster with the first one, right? Even if you’re writing a long piece, don’t add words for the sake of it. Think of something else useful to say rather than adding fluff.
If in doubt, cut it out!

5. Well formatted

Well-formatted copy will make your text easier to read. Who looks at this and goes, “Yay, more, more, more!”

Well-formatted copy is so much easier to read than a huge block of closely spaced text like this. While a big paragraph may mean you can include lots of information, I find it encourages me to write drivel and add loads of unnecessary words. And no one wants to waste their time with that. Are you bored yet? I’m getting bored writing. But still I’d best go on as I’m trying to make a point and so far the paragraph is relatively small. It’s really weird writing like this when my natural inclination as a copywriter is to format well and cut the fluff. I’m going to make this next sentence spectacularly bad so if you are still reading you won’t want to any more so I’m going to keep writing without using any punctuation so it’s very hard to read what on earth is she doing yes it’s a terrible sentence but somehow I’m not quite able to spell things wrong as well that’s just going too far. Stop that now! I’m done with bad writing.

I’d much rather see…
Well-formatted text is: – Easy and interesting to read – Not full of drivel
Become a formatting geek and your copy will get way more traction. Bullets, numbered lists, short paragraphs and bold/ highlighted text all help.

What good copywriting is not…

1. A stonkingly beautiful piece of prose

Beautifully composed text with flowery language throughout is not normally appropriate. Remember you’re writing to sell. Not to win the Man Booker Prize!

2. Written with perfect spelling, punctuation and grammar

At least, it doesn’t have to be. Rules can be broken if it helps you sell. But a word of caution…
You must know when it’s okay to break the rules and when it is not
Persuading A-Level students (and their parents) that your English Lit course is right for them? Using perfect English could be wise. More on this here.

3. Just words to fill a space

No! Copywriting is so much more than white-space filler. Images and text enhance each other and the words are essential. Have you ever come across a beautifully designed, image-perfect website that grabbed your attention well-enough? But then you started reading and… …nothing. Would you give that business your custom? So now you know! Copywriting is writing to sell. If you’d like someone to do it for you contact me.
By | 2020-07-02T08:38:21+01:00 January 3rd, 2019|Copywriting, Copywriting tips|0 Comments

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