It’s a tough old life being a copywriter. I’m constantly being told nobody reads the body copy. And when you look at the statistics, they don’t sound too encouraging either. They state a whopping 90% of people don’t read the copy. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? But think about it this way. If 90% don’t read it then 10% do. Let’s use the Sun newspaper readership as an example – it’s roughly around 5, 500,000 people. If 10% of them are reading the copy in a press ad then that means around 550,000 people are viewing it. And if you get it right, the copy has the potential to convert an awful lot of readers into customers. Here are some tips.
Research. Research. Research.
Before I start writing the copy, I try to find out as much as I possibly can about the product or service. When working with a client I’ll always ask who the competition is, so I can take a look at what they are doing too. It pays to gather as much information as you can.
Find the unique selling point
Once I’ve done my research, I’ll hone in on what makes the product or service different from the competition. Sometimes you can find a few angles in – so I’ll take the time to explore them all. And if there really is no difference (it can happen), I’ll create something unique to that client. The more they can stand out from a crowded market, the better the chances of a response.
An attention-grabbing headline
If you can’t stop people in their tracks, you won’t be noticed. And nobody will ever read invisible. On the subject of headlines, if you’re working on a 48$ poster or bus side, never write headlines longer than nine words. It needs to be short and sharp, so people can read it if they’re driving past.
Make it personal
This is a really small point to make but an important one. Get the reader’s attention by using the word you. It means that they can be in no doubt what you’ve written is relevant to them.
Read it out loud
If you read the copy out loud and stumble over it, it means something is not quite right with it. You will also sometimes automatically say a different word to the one that you’ve written and instantly find a better one.
Talk to the customers
Wherever possible, write the copy as if you’re chatting to someone. It makes what you’re saying much more personable to the reader. And keep it simple. Dealing with complex is an inefficient and unnecessary waste of time, attention and mental energy.
Know your audience
Who you are writing for? How does that person think? What does that person need? If I’m not the target market, I’ll go and speak to someone who is. This can give me really valuable insights, which leads to copy the customer can relate to.
Explain why they should buy
The more informative you are, the more persuasive it will be. Why is the product important? Why is it a good deal? Why should they be interested? Why should they trust you? Why should they buy it now, rather than later? Never forget there should always be a call to action.
Facts are way more persuasive than empty claims. Besides, nobody can ever argue with facts.
Take time crafting the copy
Often copy can be treated as an afterthought. And what I’m finding is that people want it written as quickly as humanly possible. Wherever you can, try to factor in the time for an overnight test. I think looking at your copy with a fresh pair of eyes is one of the most important things you can do to ensure it reads well.