Through the past week of reading and learning about copywriting I have picked up some insights. Here is my take on what 4 things every piece of writing needs when you write copy:
- Headline is the most important part of writing copy.
- Keep the wording in copy simple.
- Great copy keeps out the fluff.
- Write copy on benefits, not features.
Why I think these 4 things are important
I think there is a lot to be said about the above when they keep showing up in material I read. They keep showing up for a reason and I will explain below what I think about each one.
Headline in copywriting
They are the most important part of copywriting because this is the thing that is suppose to get the readers attention first. It is that thing that puts a desire for them to want to read more. If this doesn’t hook someone in the very beginning, what is their incentive to read anymore of the product that written copy is trying to sell? It needs to intrigue their interest, pull at their heart strings, and most importantly give value by showing them it solves a problem they are having. That is what writing great copy is about right?
By seeing your target market, and then presenting them with a solution to their problem in the headline. Pull them in!
Write copy that is simple
It’s easy to be technical when you write about something. It is an art to use every day terms to explain something technical. Look who you are writing for though. Unless 95% of your audience are all scientists when you’re writing about science, they aren’t going to understand huge complex jargon unless explained. It isn’t about sounding smart in copy, it’s about presenting benefits of a product or service so the customer so they will buy what you have. Most audiences won’t have the technical jargon inside so don’t use it.
Every good copywriter knows this rule. It is not a new concept. However making the wrong distinction when you write copy could be bad news bears! It may be the difference of keeping your reader captivated by your copy.
When you write copy, make sure you know the difference between features and benefits.
According to Learning Dynamics Incorporated, a sales training firm, cites poor ability to present benefits as one of the ten reasons why sales people fail to make a sale.”
This is why making an obvious distinction between the two is important. A feature is a distinctive fact about the product. For example, there is black grip tape on a skateboard. A benefit is what the product does or WHY that feature helps the end user. In the skateboard example, the benefit is that is helps keep your feet in place so you don’t fall off the skateboard. Grip tape also helps skaters preform tricks better.
Seeing the difference and showing the difference when you write copy will show you a difference in conversion if done correctly. Robert Bly suggests making a list of features and benefits in pre copy phase which will give you freedom to write copy with ease.
What Motivation Sequences Exist?
As copy writers we are teaching ourselves to write clear and concise persuasion. It is very important because long drawn out copy loses the audience reading. Part of this strategy also has to do with how to write copy simply.
As Robert Bly has shown,
simple words communicate more effectively then big words. People use big words to impress others, but they rarely do. More often, big words annoy and distract the reader from what the writer is trying to say.
long drawn out written copy is not what a copywriter is in business for. It seems counter intuitive doesn’t it? If you were to get technical on your audience, you might push them away rather than relate to solving their problem. When you write copy you want to give relief, not give more headaches.
Using Technical Jargon Is Bad For Your Health
When writing copy, it is a matter of “talking” to that person as if you knew them. A good way to get yourself in the mindset is to picture one of your good friends that might resemble someone from your niche market that you are going to write copy for. I feel that this makes it more personal not only for you, but will reflect that in your writing.
I always look back over what I have written to make sure it is simple and most importantly, that it makes sense. If the copy doesn’t make sense, the reader will firstly be confused. Secondly, the reader is going to lose interest in what you may have to say about how your product can benefit them. Also like I said above, making your written copy feel more personal, for instance using “you”.
What Is One Of The Secrets Of Writing Copy?
As Robert Bly states that copywriters refer to this writing style as “you-orientation.” It brings the reader into your copy as if you were talking to them face to face. With this and the mindset of keeping the wording simple (but still effective to the specific niche you are to write copy for.) When I say write simple copy I don’t mean write a child’s book though. What I mean is that keeping high tech niche specific words out. You can still use everyday terms that relay benefits to your customer and still get your point across. Our goal as a copywriter isn’t to overwhelm our customer but to persuade them in terms that make sense to them.
Not all of the people you are writing copy for are going to be savvy in the niche lingo…So to just be mindful of this is a good practice to have.
If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself. -Albert Einstein
Why Should We Keep Writing Copy Simple?
What is a copywriting swipe file?
Every other profession has these, just in different forms. When it comes to writing copy a swipe file is a list of previous headlines that the copy writer has done in the past for different circumstances in order to give himself a little inspiration. These are headlines from what I’ve been taught, so far, are probably one of the most essential parts of getting your foot in the door when it comes to persuading a potential buyer into going for what you have to offer them. I say that every other profession has this kind of thing because its like a reference guide when creating your own material.
In Bly’s book he provides 38 headlines from his own swipe file collection to give us an idea of how his looks and I’d have to say that I’m pretty impressed. It inspires me to one day know that I’m going to have a swipe file of my own successes (as well as learning from some of my failures.) I think that my strategy will have a good combination of both (not to get them mixed up though!) so that I can see what I may need to work on, and which headlines while I write copy pull better conversion rates.
What is so great about the 4 U’s in copywriting
Today I had the pleasure of re-discovering something that I learned during my business years of college that applies to copywriting. A headline is like a companies first impression to possible buyers for products. In the business world we are constantly trying to sell ourselves and convince others of our abilities and that we’re valuable assets. In the copywriting world the headline is a business mans elevator pitch. As Bly puts it,
…an ad or commercial has only a few seconds to capture the prospect’s interest before the prospect turns the page or goes to the refrigerator.
I think he is dead on with this one because if the headline of a piece of sales copy is not intriguing the target to want to go further, the rest of your product pitch goes to waste, will not get as successful of a conversion, and probably will not see an increase of sales.
How headline copywriting can serve you
In all forms of advertising, the “first impression”-the first thing the reader sees, reads, or hears-can mean the difference between success and failure.
As a new apprentice studying about writing copy and to better allow this to serve me in my business endeavors I decided to buy The copywriter’s handbook which is a good source to learn about writing copy through different mediums.
In the very beginning of the book it has a number of takes on what the number one mistake about advertising and writing copy. It basically comes down to this:
…But they sometimes lose sight of their goals-more sales-and the fact that they are “salespeople behind typewriters,” and not literary artists, entertainers, or filmmakers.”
What Bly is getting at is that so many advertising experts focus writing copy but try and make it look overly aesthetically pleasing or to entertain their target market, that they forget what their primary goal is.