We can all write words. And we’ve all got something to say. If you have your own business, or are charged with marketing someone else’s business, it is vital to be able to get your message across in a persuasive, engaging way.
But what if you can’t get the words to flow or you have so much to say that you end up with an outpouring that will confuse readers rather than convert them into clients? Perhaps you don’t know where to start. Or end. Well, there are some golden rules when it comes to creating engaging copy.
Know your audience
Decide who you are aiming your copy at – who is your target market? The way you sell a product or a concept to a single 30-something woman will be different to pitching it to a retired couple. Don’t forget the client/customer/audience throughout – tell them what they want and need to hear. Rather than a long list of features, tell your readers how your product will benefit them.
Know what you want to say
Before you start writing, make notes on exactly what you want to achieve – do you want to capture data for marketing at a later date, build customer loyalty, bring in sales or simply impart information? Whatever your end goal, be ruthless with your word count and keep your copy sharp. You can’t afford baggy waffle – if you don’t engage your audience within the first few seconds, you may lose them completely. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes – how many times in the day are you assailed by sales and marketing copy?
Remember when you were at school, on the endless treadmill of essay writing, and were constantly told that you need a beginning, middle and end to every piece of writing? That’s a pretty sensible place to start when constructing copy. You don’t want to launch right in to talking about your product, and equally don’t want to stop dead in mid-flow. So think about topping and tailing your copy and creating a story out of it. Not everything you learned about writing has to be stringently adhered to – if you want to start a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’, go ahead. Some rules are made to be broken.
Beware of getting too technical and littering your copy with acronyms and terms that won’t mean much to most people. You probably need to be talking to the masses, not preaching to the converted. Equally, don’t dumb down your copy so much that it’s difficult to grasp exactly what you’re talking about. It’s a fine balance and always worth checking your copy with people who aren’t as close to it as you and who can give honest feedback.
Call to Action
This is the all-important instruction to your reader and the one point you have been building up to – what do you want your reader to do having made it to the end of your engaging, informative copy? Who do they contact to get more information? Where can they buy your must-have service or item? Don’t waste your opportunity at the last minute.
Of course, there are many approaches you can take to copy writing, and many more aspects you need to consider than these. Everyone’s approach will be as individual as their writing style. But it can be a daunting task, even knowing where to start. If you are going round in circles and tying yourself in wordy knots, walk away for a while and get some distance. If inspiration doesn’t strike, perhaps try the services of a professional copy writer and let someone else take the strain. I’d be happy to chat through any copy needs you have and get an action plan together with you – drop me a line at email@example.com. Hope to hear from you soon.