“Copywriting is the act of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. The product, called copy, is written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to take a particular action.”
Content writing and content writing can be the same thing…you can do both at the same time. The best form of copywriting – is that which looks like standard content such as a blog or article, however what it does is take a reader through an experience. At the conclusion of that experience, they have everything they need to be able to take and action you as the writer, want them to take.
“People rarely buy features, they sometimes by benefits, people always buy emotion”
For me, copywriting has always been about relationships. This begins with a good understanding of an audiences needs and what they MOST WANT as their desired result or interacting with api or your products and services.
“Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer” – Shirley Polykoff.
Furthermore, it’s about helping your audience make sound, educated choices and helping them to feel secure so they feel they can avoid making a bad decision. It means being helpful, helping them through the steps they need to go through in order to be comfortable making a decision to buy.
All writers should be mindful of the fears and concerns people have around the things they want to buy. Understanding how a user needs to FEEL when purchasing what you are offering is critical to writing engaging content. Is their purchase money related, time related, or motivated by social reasons? Are they purchasing something because they need to meet some sort of personal goal? The point is, the WHY do they think they want something and HOW can it enhance their life?
Your potential purchaser doesn’t know you yet, you haven’t earned their trust or showed them value yet.
Copy and content writing starts with understanding what satisfaction ‘looks like’ to your audience. It also means being able to deal with objections and identify trust building points they want covered with them.
Top 10 Traits Of Good Copy & Content Writers:
- Customer Centric
- Aware Of They Own Biases
- Language & Tribe Research
- Value Centric
- Not Scared Of Elephants
- Clear And Concise
- Consistent and Congruent
- Qualification – Talking To The Right People
- Checklists And USP’s (Unique selling propositions)
If you study the intent and styles of successful copywriters, you will notice that they are highly customer centric. That means they are heavily focused on a customer’s desires and all the different ways the customer wants to achieve those desires – and avoid pain.
They also know how to deliver perceived value BEFORE they ask a reader to buy anything.
Aware Of They Own Biases
Copywriters should be aware of their own bias towards a product or service.
Just because you love something about a product or service, it doesn’t mean that’s the same reason your readers will. Top Copywriters talk to the reader’s view of a product, and filter out their own biases.
It’s super important, when writing as the creator of or contributor to a product or service, to do research on what customers are saying about the product: the good, the bad, and the not-so-obvious points. Don’t assume that what you like is their reason for buying.
Language & Tribe Research
Audiences are a little bit like tribes, or clubs & sports teams.
Tribes hang out together sharing activities and talking about the things they have a common interest in. They often have lingo or specific terms to describe tools or other aspects of their interests. They often have mutual loves and/or hates too and they will actively talk amongst themselves about both what they like and dislike.
Developing an understanding of the language and and an understanding of what’s most important to the tribes they are talking to is key connecting with them.
Good copywriters believe in delivering something of value early to satisfy the desire for instant gratification and to establish immediate credibility. The little good deeds you do early on can demonstrate to your reader that you understand what they need, and that you are most likely to be the best person/company to deliver that.
If you can offer them small yet really helpful chunks of information and resources BEFORE they buy anything from you, you are not just another marketer presenting just another marketing pitch, but someone who is already proving what value you can deliver.
You are proving that you’re serious about your intent to help them, that you actually can help them, and that you know what you’re talking about.
Give them a taste of feeling good and they will be much more likely to want more from you.
Not Scared Of Elephants
Why not address the big scary elephant in the room?!!! Good copywriters are happy to be the superhero and have the courage to take care of the elephants for their readers. Their elephants being all the fears and concerns the readers have around making a purchase. Don’t be afraid to address these concerns rather than gloss over them or, worse still, completely ignore them.
Readers want someone to recognize their concerns and deal with the things mere mortals (and not superheroes) are too scared to tackle on their behalf.
Nobody is perfect right? People are much more likely to relate to and trust someone who’s willing to be say “hey yep, I was a dork and screwed up”. We respect someone who is happy to openly admit their mistakes.
We also like to avoid pain wherever possible. Lets face it, we don’t like being the first to take a potentially dangerous leap if we can if we can watch someone else do it first.
If someone’s already been through something you were scared of, and made it through, you are likely to want to learn how to avoid any mistakes they made along the way. If they then showed you an easier, faster or more satisfying way to do it, you’d be grateful right?
Good copywriters are happy to make damaging admissions about past mistakes and share the valuable lessons they’ve learned. If a writer is honest enough to admit their mistakes – no matter how embarrassing they may be, readers may relate to the situation and hopefully want to utilize the lessons learned from it.
Clear And Concise
Copywriters are careful and precise. They value their audience’s time and recognize that they may have just one opportunity to align with readers and begin to earn their respect.
Consistent and Congruent
Just as important as being clear… being consistent also keeps a reader focused. Building familiarity also builds trust. If you’re talking about a specific thing in a specific way, or asking a reader to take an action, that message needs to be consistent across the whole of their content so readers feel secure.
For example asking someone to “sign up” on one part of the page and then “to register” on another, even if you are effectively asking them to do exactly the same thing, can be enough of a change in wording to confuse them. Keep the same continuity of language and instructions.
Don’t make the reader have to refer to their inner thesaurus to understand what is required of them to take the next step.
Checklists And USP’s (Unique Selling Propositions)
How many times have you walked into a store or looked for something online, liked what you’ve seen, and then left that store so you can do some comparison shopping for price or features?
Everyone wants to feel like they’ve gotten the best deal. It’s human nature to want to feel like you’ve done well.
Giving a reader not only a list of a product or services’ features, but also a list of unique benefits that only your company offers makes it harder for the competition to compete.
When done thoughtfully, this is a very powerful way to position a brand, product or service.
Qualification – Talking To The Right People
Good copywriters will tell you it’s much better to qualify buyers first and talk specifically to them, rather than try to sell to people whom the product/service isn’t the right fit for in the first place.
Once upon a time I used to write long copy sales letters for digital products sold on the Clickbank Marketplace. They rank businesses partly on their refund rates, the lower the better. So to keep our refund rate low, it was necessary to eliminate people who didn’t meet OUR criteria. We ONLY wanted people to buy our products who we knew we could help in a significant way.
We ONLY wanted the right people to buy and we would come right out and say “if you are looking for X, then this Y won’t suit you”. This was incredibly powerful from a credibility point of view, but it also ensured a much higher satisfaction rate with buyers.
We took an immense amount of care to ensure people understood what they were getting, why they should invest, why it was worth it from a financial point of view, and why they personally deserved it.
We also backed up the purchase with extra bonuses they did not expect to get so they were even more delighted with their purchase after it was delivered.
Good copywriters are not afraid to come right out and say “Hey – is this you? If not – that’s ok – you might find what you are looking for over here” (and send them elsewhere). It’s not only honest – it also solidifies your credibility to the people who are really your buyers.
My Personal Rules Of Engagement
Personally, I can’t write copy unless I believe in what I’m writing about. I need to feel like I’m genuinely helping someone learn something through my content. I know that what I’m trying to sell may not suit everybody’s needs and that’s okay. But if I have provided readers with some type of value, then no matter whether they buy or not, I feel I have helped them make a good decision. And if they become a customer, our relationship is already built on positive goodwill.
That’s the place to start with digital marketing, and what we talk about extensively in our Digital Marketing Principles course. It’s the key to success and it’s much easier to sell when you are not selling, but satisfying – through your content.