What exactly is copywriting?
Copywriting is an art form that can benefit people in almost every area of life – personal and professional.
Essentially, it is an emotionally-charged way of communicating that engages the reader and helps guide them through an extended decision process.
The decision process starts with reading the first line, to the second line, to the third, to having a desire build inside them, to taking some action.
It can certainly be a powerful skill, hence definitely worth developing.
A few principles to guide your copywriting process
- Don’t worry about editing. Just empty all your thoughts on paper, even if they are horrible. The miraculous work won’t happen if you worry too much about what you’re writing down right now.
- Speak to your ideal customer. Create a profile and study it. Get to know them and how they think.
- The goal of the first sentence is to make the reader want to read the second sentence. The goal of the second sentence is to make the reader want to read the third sentence… and so on.
- Offer evidence in the form of testimonials, case studies, and social proof.
- Focus on specificity over generalities. It makes you more believable and becomes easier to create a connection.
- Take breaks. Your miraculous breakthrough will likely come when you’re at the gym, in the shower, or stuck in traffic.
- Never stop learning (more on this in a moment).
And for the words you write:
- Focus on benefits rather than features.
- Think about the emotions that go along with the reader at this point of their buying process.
- Be personal and human, using words like “I” and “We” as opposed to “the company” or “Company ABC”. Avoid technical lingo.
- Use white-space, 1-2 sentences per paragraph, headings and subheadings. All have the purpose of breaking up large blocks of text into easily readable and easily scanned content.
- Be concise and clear. I like to use a tool called Hemingway App for this (http://hemingwayapp.com). (Generally, the lower the readability grade the better.)
- Make your headlines compelling (more later in the book on this).
AIDA = Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
A popular framework to use in copywriting, marketing, and advertising is the AIDA model. If you’re not new to marketing, you probably heard of this before.
One of the reasons this acronym has been around for so long is because it works. It works in so many different ways, and yes, despite all the changes in the last few decades, it works for digital marketing as well.
Keep in mind that getting attention, building interest, creating desire, and spurring action lies in one powerful tool: copywriting. This is just a framework – the skill has to be developed regardless.
Recommendations for Continued Copywriting Skill Development:
- This book will teach you to write better by Neville Medhora
- The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner
- Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
- The Robert Collier Letter Book by Robert Collier
- Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz
- Advertising Secrets of the Written Word by Joseph Sugarman
- Get swipe files (copywriting work done by the pros) and rewrite them by hand. Spend 30-minutes each day doing this for a month. You’ll see at the end you are much better at writing just as they do. (Don’t type out the messages and don’t quit after a few days!) Try swiped.co.
This article is an adapted excerpt from “Getting Digital Marketing Right” (David J. Bradley, 2015).