Copywriting certainly rocks! But how?
As a geologist in a previous life I couldn’t resist looking for some analogies. In this post I’ll share a few to help you write better copy.
But first, a little reminder…
What is copywriting?
Copywriting is writing to sell.
Good copy persuades your prospects to buy your product or service and shows how you’re the only one who could possibly fulfil their needs.
It communicates your USP (unique selling point), and as a result:
- You’ll build great relationships
- Existing customers will trust you and continue to do business with you
- You’ll attract new customers
And here’s how copywriting is like a rock…
1. They both have purpose
Let me introduce you to my friend, the Portland Stone. He’s a fairly average grey-white rock with small black flecks. Nothing special you might think. But…
He’s a fantastic building stone!
Many iconic London buildings – e.g. Buckingham Palace, St. Pauls Cathedral, and The Cenotaph – are made from him. And his clean, simple beauty makes him the ideal stone for residential homes too.
He has a purpose – he is structural.
And good copy is too. Use any old words and your ‘building’ (i.e. your promotional material) will collapse.
Copy is not ‘just to fill white space.’
You may think a website is great because it looks pretty, is all-singing and all-dancing, and it may even attract your prospects. But do they stay interested? Images and text work together to keep your audience engaged.
2. They both grab your attention
Have you ever been in a rock/ fossil shop?
They’re amazing places, full of the treasures of the Earth. Great mounds of fool’s gold twinkle enticingly in the corner, heaps of fossils gnash their teeth at you and piles of gems sparkle and shine in every hue imaginable.
Can you help being drawn in wondering what these creatures’ lives were like, how the rocks formed, and what the world was like millions of years ago?
Then the metaphorical hand reaches out, grabs and pulls you through the door magnetically forcing your fingers to your wallet. It’s impossible not to buy!
Good copywriting is like this.
A headline should grab your attention immediately and draw you in to the main text.
Here are two headlines:
- ‘How mindful walking can help you beat the blues’
- ‘Mindful walking: you can win at life!’
The first one’s pretty good. It states the benefits of mindful walking and arouses curiosity. If you suffer from the blues you’ll probably be interested.
But the second one is better. As well as stating the benefits and arousing curiosity it draws more deeply on your emotions. It uses the power words ‘win’ and ‘life’. And who doesn’t want to win at life?
3. They’re both engaging
Think of a rock climber. He’s totally absorbed in what he’s doing: “Where’s a good hand hold? Where can I put this piece of gear? Is this foothold too smooth?”
It’s how he avoids death! Especially if he’s not got a rope. (Whaaaat! Why would you do that Alex Honnold?).
And your business will die if you don’t keep your prospects engaged. They’ll get bored, won’t read on to discover the treasures you’re offering them. So they won’t buy.
To keep your reader engaged, do these three things:
1. Be conversational. It’s how we develop relationships. Think how you’d speak to your prospects and write like that. Would you use perfect English? Would you use in-house jargon? If not why write like it?
2. Be real:
- Contractions are okay. E.g. ‘You’ll’ not ‘You will’
- Use verbs, not nouns. E.g. ‘We specialise in mindful walking’ not ‘Our specialism is mindful walking’
- Be positive. People respond better to positivity. E.g. ‘Remember sale ends tonight’ not ‘Don’t forget sale ends tonight’
3. Get personal:
- It’s all about them. E.g. ‘Mindful walking will help you feel refreshed’ not ‘Our mindful walks help people feel refreshed’
- Use the active voice, not passive. E.g. ‘I drove the car’ not ‘The car was driven by me’
4. They’re both well formatted
Look at these two cliff faces. Which looks nicer?
The problem is writing can look like either. But I’d definitely prefer to climb the stripey layered one.
Well formatted text is:
- Easy and interesting to read
- Not full of drivel
So people will read it.
Become a formatting geek and your copy will get way more traction. Bullets, numbered lists, short paragraphs and bold/ highlighted text all help.
5. They’re both clear and concise
Copywriting should be like a pure diamond – crystal clear, shiny, bright and sparkly. Experts easily recognise purity.
It should not be like this fossil turd (coprolite) which is basically a dinosaur’s dinner! It’s a mish-mash of undigested bits and bobs squished together and ejected from our dino’s body. Nice.
So, when copywriting if you can say it in three words why write ten?
E.g. ‘Save money now’ not ‘You can save lots of money if you buy now’
What a faff saying the second one, let alone read it! It’s so much easier for your brain to digest the first.
If in doubt, cut it out!
How to make your copywriting shine like a diamond
Remember copywriting has a purpose like the Portland Stone. It’s structural and not there ‘just to fill white space.’
- Grab your attention and draw you in like a rock/ fossil shop. You can use your headline to do this.
- Keep you engaged like the rock face ‘speaking’ to a climber. He’s so absorbed he won’t fall off.
- Be well formatted like a layered rock. This is attractive and easy to climb.
- Be clear and concise like a diamond.
For a reminder here’s a handy download
But if you’d like me to do your copywriting contact me