5 Key Rules for Copywriting Beginners

5-rules-for-copywriting-beginnersPromoting yourself with great copy can be the key to awesome marketing, but it’s often an aspect that sadly gets overlooked.

I totally get it. Putting a marketing message together and getting it right can be a daunting prospect to the uninitiated. Using the right words in the right places can have your ideal clientele beating a path to your door; it can seem like a mysterious, arcane art. Though it can take a lot of practice, copywriting is a valuable skill to master.

If you’re looking to get your teeth into writing copy for your company, check out these 5 key rules to writing excellent copy.

Want to skip straight to the writing? Check out my previous article: 3 Formulas for Persuasive Copywriting.

1. Copy isn’t just a job to tick off the list

Firstly a lot of organisations see copy as a “tick box task,” just a job to take off the old to do list. This is such a shame because well written copy can be such a powerful tool. If your opinion of copy is that it’s just an annoying job that’s waiting to be completed, it’s likely that the text you put together will simply “fill the gap,” rather than making the most out of the power you can wield with good copy. No matter how small your marketing efforts, promotional copy has the power to persuade and entice, so don’t squander that ability with any old content, and give copy the respect it deserve.

Always aim for clarity

When you’re putting promotional text together you may be tempted to prove your expertise by packing your copy with jargon and industry specific language. My advice here is simple – don’t. Those who are actively looking for what you offer may be completely new to working with your industry, so don’t blind them with science. If anything, being able to effectively simplify what you do shows your expertise more because it shows you know your field inside and out and can explain it well. Confusing language puts a stumbling block in the path of your reader; if they have to turn their attention away to look something up, you give them the opportunity to not look back. If you need to use a certain turn of phrase always proffer an explanation or think of a way of simplifying it.

Show understanding

This one’s important. My advice to “show understanding” with your copy is two-fold. You of course need to show understanding of your field and position yourselves as an expert provider; but understanding in copy also relates to showing that you understand the client and their needs. Demonstrate that you fully empathise with the issues that your client is facing and what you can do to alleviate that worry. The most important word in copy is not “I” or “we” (meaning you and your company) – it’s “you” (meaning your client). It’s not about what you do – it’s about how you can help your clients; so “flip the script” on what your company provides and come at it from the position of your ideal customer.

As an example, nobody wants to “buy insurance” per se; but they do want to know they can rely on a company that will help them out financially should the worst happen. Another example – no company just “buys graphic design services” for the fun of it; they want to make sure their design tasks are carried out by a professional who will create engaging images for their brand.

Clients are ultimately looking for a solution to something, so it pays to paint yourself as a “solver of X” rather than a “do-er of Y.”

Match your message to your audience

It’s important to match the language you use to the kind of audience you are trying to attract. If you use current youth slang in your copy, but you’re trying to sell stairlifts to the elderly, you’re unlikely to move many units. Likewise, if you promote how much your service solves X, but your average client is struggling far more with Y, that shows a similar misunderstanding of what your client really needs.

The key here is to carry out market research to understand your clients thoroughly. Market research is a huge topic with a lot of ground to cover, so check out this article about how to get started. If you’ve got a following on social media or an email subscriber list and you have some questions you’d like to ask your audience, simply asking them is easier than ever. Just use a Twitter or Facebook poll send out a Survey Monkey questionnaire by email, and commit to analysing and acting on the results.

Remember your practicalities

Copy is always there for a purpose; whether it’s to increase sales, promote a new product line, of perhaps to break into a new market. Every piece of copy you write will have a goal to aim for. Keep this goal at the forefront of your mind when writing any copy, and end with a strong call to action or “CTA.” This can be as simple as a “buy it now” button or a request to “visit us in store.” Position the action you want them to take as the obvious next step after reading your copy. If you don’t communicate what you want the reader to do next, how are they supposed to know?

On the topic of the practical side of copy, you may have a situation where you need copy to fit a certain space within a design. If you need text to fit into a small design space it’s no good writing an essay. Keep in mind all relevant practical elements when constructing any copy; that might be relating to the text length, the language used, or how you want the reader to act on the information you’re providing.

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If you want to read more about how to put a piece of copy together, check out my previous article: 3 Formulas for Persuasive Copywriting.

Hope this was useful to you! How does your company currently create copy? Did you pick up any useful ideas from this post? Are there any important elements to copywriting that you feel I’ve overlooked? Let’s chat down in the comments!

Image Credit: Andrys at Pixabay.