When you think of a yacht, what do you think of? What words come to mind?
You think of luxury. You think of calm waters and a bucket of chipped ice with the finest champagne money can buy. Silk sheets, tapered trousers, suntanned legs.
You think of the words: posh, sumptuous and fancy. Ritzy, lavish, plush, opulent.
Those are some words. You certainly cannot deny that. Do you know what else they are? Flowery. They get the job done, but they take too much time to get there. They are fancy words in and of themselves.
And when writing copy, they are not the words you want to use. Small business owners need copy for their business growth. Advertising agencies use it for their marketing services. And if you are wondering how to become a copywriter, keep reading for all the insider knowledge.
What Is a Copy?
So what is this “copy” we speak of? To sum it up, it is any kind of text that you publish or print for your target audience. Sometimes, you find copy within other publications. But it is the actual words of a publication, not including the graphics or images that often come with the final product.
But if you are on the hunt for copywriting jobs or any kind of content writer position, you need to understand something else about copy. In the context of copywriting or copy editing, you are writing to sell.
What you are trying to sell through your copy will be different from client to client and vary from time to time. But the idea is to persuade your audience to take certain steps or a particular action. It may be to sell a tangible product or service or to opt into a newsletter by providing their email address.
This practice of selling through powerful words is what you would call sales copy. It is a practice that the best advertising copywriter masters throughout years of experience.
You will find copy anywhere. Take a look; you find it in email newsletters from your favorite brands and in that book you read before you go to bed. In organizational press releases and business presentations. In those little brochures they always have at hotels and on websites or apps. In social media posts, blogs and print news stories. The list goes on.
The next time you see any text, study it as a chance to learn copywriting.
What Is a Good Copy?
Now you know that you have seen copy just about everywhere. And you also know that you have seen some copy that left something to be desired.
What about those social media posts from the beloved influencers on your feed? You know, the ones that use poor spelling and grammar. Or an advertisement from a company you love to buy accessories from, where you did not know what they were trying to sell to begin with.
You have seen ineffective copy all around. So what makes a “good” copy?
That depends. Most of all, it depends on your audience. The best copy “hackers” do their research on the market they are trying to appeal to. Also, be sure to understand the ins and outs of different types of copy. For example, writing a blog post will require you to use different rules and styles than writing an email series.
And maybe you are not so great at writing ad copy, but you excel at writing press releases. You will learn the basics in due time.
We have everything you need to know about writing quality content below, but there is one more thing you must keep in mind as well.
Do not be fancy with your words, tone or style. Keep it simple and keep it engaging.
10 Techniques on How to Write Captivating Copy
Now, we have to deep-dive into the details of how to write captivating copy.
Were you wondering “what does a copywriter do?” this whole time? You may be looking for a copywriter job right now, or searching for the right copywriting courses and resources to stand out. You could be an established copy blogger for a copywriting firm or a freelance copywriter. Maybe you are a business owner looking for answers on how to grow your company.
There are a lot of resources out there to help you learn about copywriting. Some of them are confusing and act like you already know the basics. But we know better.
Here, you will find the top 10 techniques on how to write the best copy you can. We compiled this list after reading through countless resources and external copy about the same subject. Meta, right?
1. Think of Your Audience First
No matter what line of work you are in, you have heard this one before: “The customer is always right!”
That might not be true in every sense, but you always have to think of your audience before anything else. This is vital for a successful copywriting campaign or entire career in the field.
First and foremost, you have to build trust with your audience. You cannot use “clickbait” tactics like creating a headline that has nothing to do with the content in the body of your copy. It might feel enticing to you to draft a headline that you know will get a lot of clicks or general attention. But that feeling for you will quickly lead to a feeling of mistrust among your audience.
Also, a similar tactic to avoid would be bombing them with content. Constant emails spamming their inbox, a new blog post you promote to them several times a day and reaching with your content? None of those will work the way you think they should at the outset.
It does not matter how much you increase your “appeal.” Readers will catch on to these sorts of tricks and word will spread that you are putting out unreliable and untrustworthy content.
Know your readers. Write for them and their benefit, not your own. You can be persuasive without sacrificing genuine connections.
2. Write as Naturally as Possible
You have conversations every day. Why not have them with your audience, too? You should always write naturally, organically, like you are having a conversation with your readers or followers.
When you talk at your audience instead of with them, they feel like you are talking down to them. And nobody in the world likes that. If your audience wanted a lecturer, they would go to a class.
To accomplish this, picture a real person. It could be someone you know or an ideal consumer you think of in your head. Think of their face as you write to them. What do they like? Who are they? What are their hobbies and passions? What platforms do they use to consume content and communicate with their favorite brands?
Also, use the right language. You can refer to yourself as “me” or “I.” That’s fine. But do not center your copy on that. When you have a conversation with someone else, you say words like “you” and “yours.” It personalizes and, again, humanizes the experience.
Keep it consistent, too. Do not use first- and second-person pronouns interchangeably.
3. Don’t Try Too Hard
Think of a past experience in school. This could be middle school, high school, college, whatever works for you. Do you remember the students who used to use long-winded statements and ridiculous words to answer a simple question your teacher asked?
Your teacher could have asked something like “What did you think of Chapter 2 in X book?” And your fellow student may have answered with excessive language and words nobody else understood.
Remember that feeling of irritation and annoyance after hearing a response like that? It’s hard to forget. And it’s not something your audience will soon forget, either, if you take the same approach to your copywriting.
Whittle down your language. You may want to sound intelligent, but using too many big words sounds like the opposite of that. There is no need to prove yourself. You will over time, anyway.
Think about it like this: imagine that you find a product with the exact same ingredients as another one that costs ten times more. The two products have the same results but one is way more cost-effective. Why spend more money when you could spend far less for the same benefits?
4. Avoid Pet Phrases
You have heard of pet names. But pet phrases? This may be a new concept to you.
So pet names are your favorite words you use for your friends, loved ones, actual pets. You name it. Your pet phrases are those words or phrases you use all the time throughout your copy.
As you can imagine, that becomes annoying for your readers. Every time you read content from the same writer, do you want to see the word “therefore” in every paragraph? No, you do not. It’s the same sort of situation for your audience.
Go through your copy once you are done writing it and do not hold yourself up self-editing as you go. Read it out loud to yourself. See where you can eliminate the fluff and get rid of repetitive words.
Words do not exist to take on walks and give yummy-smelling baths to. They are there to carry out their purpose.
5. Simplicity is Beauty
We have mentioned this a couple of times throughout, but keeping it simple is key.
You know those books, the “X for Dummies” ones. They are so successful because they simplify content. It does not mean “dumbing it down.” It means you value your audience’s time.
And writing with simple words is harder than it may seem. We all fall into the trap of wanting to reach word counts and filling the spaces with banter.
But again, write however you want to in the beginning. Self-edit later, once you are done with the entire copy. Then you can wrangle your words in.
Idioms are fun, but do not use too many of them. Say what you set out to say, not too much. Be clear and do not use technical language that will confuse the layperson.
6. Think of Writing as Selling
Say you want to be a copywriter but you do not like the idea of incorporating selling into your writing. Maybe you think writing is a fine art that you should leave be.
What you do not realize, then, is that any kind of writing is selling. You are selling yourself, your book, your blog post. Whatever you write, you have to sell. Maybe you are just selling the moral of your story. Regardless of what it is, it’s sales. Plain and simple.
And if you take up the classic form of copywriting, you want to grow your following. So make your content sellable. Your audience will pass it around and talk about it.
7. Break Up Long Sentences Into Shorter Ones for Greater Readability
This is when simplicity comes into play again.
Readability is key as you write. You also want to mix it up for the sake of interest. So switch between longer and shorter sentences often. But ensure that none of your sentences are too long at all.
This confuses readers and more often than not, makes them want to click away from your site. Some never return.
8. Use Technical Details (for Technical Topics)
Stay. On. Topic.
The details you go into need to be relative to the topic you are writing about.
Plus, too many adverbs or adjectives waste time. In a day where people are busier than ever before, time-sensitive content matters.
So keep it concise. Own the power of tight copy. And ignore that desire to use big words. That is, unless you need to use technological language to describe your topic.
9. Ignore the Word Count
You never want to write for the sake of reaching a quota. You should write because you want to write. Because you are passionate about what you are writing about.
Clicking Command+Shift+C every time you finish a paragraph leads to an ensuing sense of panic. Am I meeting my word count? Do I have enough words? Maybe too little?
This is a dangerous train of thought to hop aboard. You will find yourself filling empty space with words that do not matter. What’s the point of that?
Instead, ask yourself if you reached your goal with your writing. If you have, stop.
10. Never Forget Your Call-to-Action (CTA)
Your call-to-action (CTA) is how you drive your point home.
What is the point of your copy? Finish out strong with a hyperlink that directs your audience to the action you want them to take.
A lot of information, right? We get it. But there’s more of it where that came from.
Because at Copywriter Today, we are more than your cut-and-dry copywriting services company. We are part of a full-service marketing agency that puts your needs first. We have vision, but we know you do too.
We want to collaborate with you to bring both visions to life, in concert with one another.
You may have a vision, but you also have a lot more on your plate. That’s why we take the pain out of content creation so you can focus on your business.
We will help you beat your competitors, rank higher in search engine results and so much more.
Click here to schedule your free consultation today.