7 Quick and Easy Steps to Writing Ridiculously Good Copy
If you’re like most people, writing copy for your business or employer can be terrifying. Here’s how to get the creative juices flowing and make an impact.
The art of copywriting is still a mystery to many people. Many have never even heard of it and wonder “What Is Copywriting, Really?” Once you’ve figured it out, the fear of actually writing something can be crippling.
But, all is not lost. As well as being an art, there is an element of science to copywriting too. By that I mean there is a tried and tested formula for writing effective copy. And it’s really simple to follow – no strange symbols resembling hieroglyphs.
This formula is the basis of all great direct response advertising, which means it can be applied to the process of writing just about anything marketing related – websites, blogs, newsletters, direct mailers and brochures, to name just a few. Writing one component at a time will give you the perfect building blocks to construct a solid, effective piece of copy.
Now, you don’t need to include all 7 of these steps religiously – if it’s not relevant to add an image…then don’t. Rather use these steps as a guide or a starting point and take it from there.
Step 1: The Headline
Headlines have one fundamental role – to grab the readers’ attention! To do this your headline needs to be catchy. There are a number of ways to do that. One way is to address the problem your audience is having. Here’s an example, if you’re selling hidden platform shoes that make men taller, your headline could read something like this:
“How to boost your confidence in one simple step.”
Keeping your headline short can also have greater impact than a long, drawn-out sentence. I’ll be sharing more tips to write winning headlines soon.
Step 2: The Image
Images are a powerful tool when it comes to attracting attention. They’re easy on the eye, add interest and can be useful to break up a block of text. Inserting a product image is a good way to keep the readers’ attention and introduce your product. But, if you don’t have a relevant image for the piece, it’s best not to insert one and if you’re short on space, use it wisely.
Step 3: The Sub-headline
The sub-head needs to keep the readers’ attention. You succeeded in grabbing their attention with a stellar headline and a great image. But you’ve got to work hard to keep it. Elaborate on what you wrote in the headline and be clear what the piece is about early on – no one wants to read 2 whole paragraphs before figuring out what it is you’re on about. Something like:
“For the man left feeling like he’s come up short: fashionable shoes that add 5cm to your height. The only noticeable difference – your elevated self-esteem.”
It says exactly what it is you’re selling and starts going into the features and benefits – which leads me to the next step…
Step 4: The Features & Benefits
This step is crucial. If you get this wrong, I’m afraid all your hard work so far could be rendered useless. You need to sell the benefits, not the features. What’s the difference?
Features are the characteristics of your product or service; for example your hidden platform shoes are made of genuine leather. ‘That’s great. But so what?’
You see, humans are driven by self-interest. We go through an inner monologue when making a purchase. And if you highlight only the features, you will leave your reader with little motivation to buy. Why?
Because you need to address their inner monologue. How?
By telling them what’s in it for them. In other words, the benefits. Like; leather shoes won’t make their feet smell – so no embarrassing odours wafting from their feet.
By identifying and addressing your audience’s beliefs about why it’s not right for them, you can overcome their psychological resistance to buy. If you don’t make the benefits clear, they will simply move on to whoever is.
Plus, pointing out the benefits can clearly define your unique selling point – bonus!
Step 5: The Testimonial
It’s no secret that many people out there trust a review or testimonial as much as a personal recommendation. I guess it’s the online equivalent of good old fashioned word of mouth. And let’s face it, no matter how awesome you say your business is, it probably isn’t going to convince someone to “buy your shoes right now!” Everyone believes their product or service is the best thing since sliced bread.
But if someone else says it…well, that’s a whole different kettle of fish!
Step 6: The Offer
So you’ve covered a lot of ground – you’ve made it clear what you do, how it will benefit your target market and why you’re better than the competition. But they’re still not ready to commit.
You can’t let them leave now….you’ve worked so hard to keep them engaged this long! So what’s going to tip them over the edge? Make this purchase a no-brainer? Offer something for free or at a discounted price. Like free postage, or a buy one, get one free deal. Or throw in a free sample of leather polish for each pair of shoes purchased.
Give them that little extra incentive.
Step 7: The Call To Action
That did it! They’re going to purchase your shoes. Now you need to give them clear instructions. Your call to action has to be waiting in the wings, ready to steer them in the right direction. Like “shop online now”.
By the way, your offer and call to action can be combined:
“shop online now to claim your free postage”.
A call to action can be one of many things. You might be trying to gain leads, in which case you would want the reader to contact you. You may be looking for sales, so you want them to purchase from your online store.
Whatever it is, make sure it’s clear and persuasive.
Now you try! If you follow these steps, you’re sure to see an improvement in your copy and the response you get from it. Who knew it could be this simple? And for those of you who don’t relish the thought of spending a day writing a 1,500 word blog post, these steps can make the task less daunting – who knows, you might even enjoy it!
If you’re tight on time, or still a little worried about nailing your next piece of copy, why don’t you give me a call or flick me an email for more information on my services.