6 copywriting tips from our experts//
I have been a professional copywriter for 40 years, so you would hope I’ve learned something to pass on to those keen to weave words for a living.
What follows isn’t exhaustive. Were it so, we’d have had to serialise the blog and nobody has time for that – not least me.
So this is broad strokes. Soundbites, if you like, of the things that have stood me in good stead, writing for a myriad of brands in a plethora of industries and channels.
The best advice I ever received seems a good place to start. It was this – ‘think of a good beginning, think of a good ending and bring them as close together as possible.’ As attention spans shrink and the clamour for our attention grows, brevity and clarity will always be rewarded.
Despite my using the words myriad and plethora a minute ago, always choose the simpler word and the shorter sentence wherever possible.
There are exceptions – influenced by your audience, the context and subject matter – but the principle holds true. I’ve assumed for example that people reading this have an above average interest in the written word, so using myriad and plethora over many and a lot is enriching not perplexing.
Plan what you are going to write and do your homework. Know your subject – go deep and broad, know your audience and know the brand your words will represent.
Imagine in fact that you are giving a presentation to land a deal or secure a contract. You’d prepare right? Not just shoot from the hip and hope to land all the benefits, hooks and triggers that would or could have won over your audience.
Capture the attention, set the scene, make the case and seal the deal. You should move your target audience along this journey – awareness, interest, desire, action.
That last word is the focus of our fourth commandment. Ensure there is a call to action. Be clear in your mind what you want the audience to do, feel or believe as a result of reading your words and drive the point home.
It sounds obvious but write for your audience. Not for yourself, your peers or your client. Look through their eyes, stand in their shoes, speak their language. Think what they may not know, that if they did know, would change how they feel about a product, service or brand. What would pique their interest? What would stimulate desire, what would incite action?
Write, read, rewrite, repeat. Like all artistic endeavours, success requires equal parts inspiration and perspiration. It takes effort, research, insight, concentration, care and time. Sometimes words will come easily and sometimes they will need to be teased out. Enjoy it when it comes easy, but don’t doubt yourself when it doesn’t.
And finally, remember, your carefully crafted words will get changed. Even the most gifted authors and writers get edited, so get over yourself. Aim high, defend your work by all means, but be prepared to listen to another view.
Happy writing. Remember it’s just knitting with language.