Fantastic Copy and How to Write It (Part I)

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Image by Takashi Hososhima, cc-by-sa-2.0

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Words. Some people are good with them while others, well, aren’t. We know this. Obviously, there are a number of pieces that compose the public relations and marketing puzzle, yet one vital element is often overlooked — the copywriting.

But what exactly is copywriting? Copywriting involves crafting the written words or textual element of printed materials and online media — websites, advertisements, blog posts, brochures, emails, catalogs, press releases, white papers, social media posts or other forms of PR and marketing communication.

Sometimes people believe that because they grew up reading and writing, they are able to craft compelling copy on their own and on some occasions this is true, but on many others it could not be further from the truth.

While all of the disparate parts of an effective PR and marketing strategy play an important role in amplifying the message our clients want us to convey, the words that make up various content blocks are arguably the most important pieces of the puzzle. PR and marketing communication without effective copy is like attempting to build a puzzle without the perimeter pieces.

Effective copy needs to be persuasive, relevant, compelling, personal, entertaining and rich with information that supplies the reader with reasons why they ought to work with your brand or purchase your product. Clearly, copywriters need to be good with their words, and wordsmiths are preferable.

Now that I’ve explained a little bit about the background behind copywriting, this two-part blog series will discuss the importance of well-crafted copy and offer some tips for crafting effective copy that builds brand engagement and ultimately drives sales.

You Need Content and You Need It Read

The ultimate goal of copywriting is, obviously, getting what you have written — the content — read. Strategic content production is increasingly becoming a part of every company’s digital marketing game plan. Thoughtful companies and brands are looking for new and different ways to get their message to the people who matter and solid content production — like a company blog — can go a long way in attracting visitors, exposing your brand to a larger audience and establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Oftentimes, writers are so focused on making their point that they neglect the process of making said point. By structuring content in a way that allows the copy to build off of itself, copywriters can effectively compel readers to continue reading.

However, if no one reads what you’ve written, what’s the point? Copywriting intends to galvanize its readers into taking action — purchasing a product or considering a brand in a certain light. And that communication is made using words and sentences.

Crafting attractive content is important because if your copy sucks, and as a result you aren’t converting any customers, the entire company is at risk. Any digital marketing campaign is destined to fail without well-written and appealing content that entices the reader.

But, how do you get eyes on what you’ve written?

Keep It Simple

As ol’ Billy Shakespeare once famously penned, “brevity is the soul of wit.” What this means to me is that effective communication should be brief and concise. Good copy is written using language that is clear, easy to understand, succinct and simple.

As I mentioned before, you want people to read your content, so making it easily digestible is important. Your content can be conversational and you can even break a grammar rule or two (who doesn’t like breaking the rules occasionally?) to make your content more understandable or easier to follow. For example, in this post alone I’ve used sentence fragments and one-sentence paragraphs — don’t tell Ms. Campbell, my fourth-grade teacher!

Overall, keep it simple and clear. Never assume that your target audience is too sophisticated for numbered lists or bullet points — they’re not. It’s not likely you’ll receive a complaint that your writing is too easy to understand!

For more on the importance of copywriting and more tips for crafting effective copy, stay tuned for part two of this series in the coming weeks!

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