5 Tips I Wish I Knew Before I Started Copywriting
In short, here’s the list:
- More Research, Less Writing (80/20 rule).
- One not Many.
- Write Like You’re Speaking.
- Less is More.
- Plan Out Your Copy.
To be completely honest at the time I got my start copywriting, the place I was at was concerned with quantity over quality. For the love of all writing, don’t go down that road… it doesn’t feel good in the end.
Now I’ll assume if you’re still reading, then you care about quality over quantity. First, that is great and an important element to make these tips work for you. Okay, let’s get started.
1. More Research, Less Writing (80/20 rule)
There’s an exception to this, if you’re an expert in the topic then researching won’t need too much time. I will say making sure your knowledge is still up to date does take a little bit of time.
Now if you aren’t an expert you’ll need to research. The more you know about the topic the easier it is to write about the topic.
Okay, so where do I research? Now that can be tricky depending on the topic. In a general sense, two starting points are Wikipedia and Google.
Wikipedia will usually give a formal explanation about the topic. I don’t know about you but to me, formal isn’t all that readable to the average reader. It does, however, inform and gives you a good chance to see other relevant aspects of the topic.
Now if you don’t trust Google let me stop you right there. Not only does that complicate the idea of writing content/copy for SEO but you’ve limited your research options.
An added bonus to using Google is that you’ll see what you have to compete with at a quick glance. Or more in-depth if you choose to include Competitor Research as part of your copywriting. Hint: You should when applicable.
Now easier to write usually also means faster to write. To a point, don’t try and short-change the proofreading and editing aspects of your writing. It also has the benefit of opening the door to become a niche copywriter. Depending on the niche, it can be quite lucrative.
2. One not Many
Maybe you’ve noticed it already from reading this article, write to one person. While you’ll likely be writing for a big target audience (the “many”) they all come to you as an individual (the “one”). Respect that and write to them as though you’re having a conversation with them one-on-one.
TIP: Make a quick persona. A persona in marketing terms is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. Hubspot has a Persona Maker you can use. You can be as detailed or vague as you want.
Here’s the persona I came up with when writing this article:
Name: Bob (why? because Bob is awesome)
Skill Level: Novice-Beginner
Goal: Learn about Copywriting to become a better writer.
Job: Anything that makes Bob unhappy but not enough to quit, at least not yet.
Now you have someone to talk to when you write. This can make it much easier to figure out the tone and how to engage a reader. In other words, you could write as though you’re having a conversation with the persona you made. On that note let’s go to the next tip.
3. Write Like You’re Speaking
Now if you tend to talk on a formal or technical level then this doesn’t apply. Also if you’re one to throw buzzwords around to sound like you know more than you do, that won’t work here.
The idea is to write in a more casual level similar to how most people speak. The appeal here is you can keep that conversation feeling going. When we speak to each other we tend to convey things in a way that’s easy to understand while still being accurate. So you get your point across while engaging the reader. When you combine those with the research from Tip #1 you have a great shot at building a rapport which leads to building trust too.
4. Less is More
That’s all to this section…
Okay, don’t go that extreme. While the idea in Tip #3 is to write like you’re having a conversation, have you had a conversation with a person who tangents a lot? It can be hard to keep up, right?
The good news is when you’re writing you can stop yourself from veering too far off point. A little bit can be good and even great when trying to engage your audience, just keep in mind context matters too. A blog title that’s three words is great, a blog article that’s three words, not so much.
5. Plan Out Your Copy
A great way to make sure you aren’t writing too much or too little is to plan the piece of copy. Now if you aren’t writing a list like this article, often you can outline your posts with either the PAR model or AIDA model. Even if you are writing a list article you can use either of these models for each list item.
Problem – Describe a problem that the reader might have.
Action – Describe the actions a reader can take to respond to the problem.
Result – Describe the results if the reader were to do the steps from the action section. Sometimes describing the likely result of not taking the steps can work as well.
Attention – The first step is to grab your reader’s attention. A strong title is often enough to accomplish this part.
Interest – Now that you got your reader’s attention it’s time to get them interested. One way to do this is with different headings and space to break up your content.
Desire – Why does the reader NEED what you’re writing about? Keep in mind this isn’t just a general need but specifically a need for your “product”.
Action – After convincing the reader they need your “product” it’s time to make it easy for them to take action. Often this is called a Call to Action.
I hope you will find these tips helpful to your copywriting.