5 Foundations for Developing Copy
By Cameron Katoozi, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing
Copywriting isn’t everyone’s strong suit; the goal is to create the most persuasive and compelling content while staying as concise as possible. Your writing should convince the reader to take action, by either engaging with your social media post, increasing click-through rates on ads, or encouraging them to buy your product/service. Whether you’re a master copywriter or you’re just getting started, here are 5 tips to keep in mind to write more effective copy.
Start With Your Goals
When writing copy for an ad, email, or social media, you should break down your goals into 3 questions:
- What are you trying to accomplish?
- Who is the target audience?
- Where will your content be seen?
First, we want to establish the purpose of this copy in the first place. Are you trying to convert leads? Are you spreading awareness of a product/service? Setting your goals will help you get started and narrow your focus.
Next, we want to think about the type of people who will be seeing the finished content. Having a well-defined target audience that includes details about your ICP and personas will help you determine what messaging will resonate best with these individuals to get them to act accordingly. If you would like to have a deeper understanding of ICP and the target market, check out our blog: Best Practices to Identifying and Engaging Your Target Audience.
Lastly, you need to think about where your copy will appear. Are your writing copy for a blog? PPC ads? Social media? Determining what medium who will use will reveal supporting questions. For example, when writing social media copy, you must consider character count limits, if your copy will be paired with a picture or a video, and what channels you will be distributing it on.
Do More Research Than Writing
Whether you are an in-house copywriter for your company or a freelance writer, you can’t create informed copy without preliminary research. You want to examine the industry to learn the newest trends, understand common pain points and challenges, and target them with solutions. With the proper research, you can make the copywriting process a breeze when you understand what potential customers’ pain points are and how you can cater your messaging to offer a solution.
All your research doesn’t have to be industry-related. Think about your most favorite ads you see throughout the day– what do they do that catches your attention? Learning new trends and messaging used in other industries can shed light on strategies and approaches you would otherwise disregard.
Research is half the battle and will save you time in the long run when creating high volumes of copy.
Keep it Simple
When writing copy, think of it as a sales pitch. Write something that is clear-cut and brief so readers can understand what you’re offering as fast as possible. This doesn’t mean you should reduce your vocabulary and throw out technical keywords but instead simplify your sentences and remove unnecessary fluff.
Making your messaging simple is equally as important as making your content visually simple and easy to read. We need to consider how the excess of new content on the internet is constantly shrinking attention spans. If it isn’t visually appealing, then individuals are less likely to read it. Make sure your layout is easy to read by using:
- Bulleted lists
- CTA buttons
- Short sentences
- Captivating color schemes and fonts
Focus on Customers, Not Your Company
It’s a harsh truth, but generally, people do not care about why your business is important unless it can positively affect their own situation – people care about what you can do for them. When writing, don’t focus on the features you provide, change the perspective of your messaging to how your product/service can benefit them. Be sure to include benefits in the headline to capture attention quickly. Overall, you want to lead with your value proposition, and why it is your customer’s solution.
Use Your Writing Voice to Leave an Impression
This is a harder task for some, but one thing to always consider is to never convey your message with a passive voice. You want to avoid sounding reactive, weak, and unfocused. Instead, use an active voice, which will always convey your message in a direct tone. Along with using an active voice, you want to use positive imperative sentences that are straightforward and build promise. This means changing words such as “might, wish, hope, could” with “can, will, do”.
For example, we want to avoid writing “Our service might help you with ____technical struggles”. This implies that your company may be unable to stick to its promise. Instead, you can say “we will solve your technical hurdles with ____ service”. An active voice ultimately strengthens your copy to leave a lasting impression.
Don’t Forget to Proofread
After writing copy, the last thing you want to do is re-read all your content for errors. Although it’s not worth ruining your first impression with potential customers – little errors can make a big difference. Personally, I like to proofread my work the following day so I can approach the copy with a fresh mindset. This way I can pick up on grammatical changes I would otherwise gloss over.
Punctuation should not be overlooked. To create copy that flows seamlessly and will emphasize your writing voice, use clever punctuation; it plays a huge role in writing with purpose. Not overusing commas, keeping sentences brief, and avoiding exclamation points are a few foundations to proper proofreading.
Simple spelling errors are commonly picked up by spell-checkers but don’t consider that a finished job. There are cadences of speech and acronyms that spell check doesn’t pick up on, leaving room for unrevised errors. To build credibility and trust with new clients, put an emphasis on your routine to make sure you always proofread your work, because attention to detail will improve your overall reputation.
Wrapping it up
Remember that you won’t become a professional copywriter overnight. These tips are the foundations of ensuring quality copy, though you can always learn more. Here are some additional resources to check out:
- LinkedIn Learning – Learning to Write Marketing Copy
- HubSpot Academy – Content Marketing
- Skillshare – Copywriting for Beginners
Being an effective copywriter can ultimately make a difference for new leads, whether they notice your offerings and how important it is to them. By combining these 5 tips, you can build an effective strategy for repeatable ROI and increased funnel activity.