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How you put words together on a page matters when you are trying to attract and persuade readers. Following are some tips for crafting engaging copy that leaves an impression and leaves readers wanting more.
Know your message – Precisely understanding the message you need to convey is your first consideration when starting a new copywriting project. Whether you are selling a product or service or promoting an idea, the concept and how you want it to come across should be crystal clear in your mind before you begin writing.
Know your audience – Your audience is your second consideration when crafting successful copy. For example, you would write differently for children versus senior citizens or young adult students, and your writing style should be customized to the product or message that is being conveyed.
Just as you would adjust your verbal conversation depending on who you are talking with, the same goes for copywriting. Tailor the style of language to target your audience and to have the greatest impact. It helps your writing process to know the needs and wants of your audience or target demographic, as well as issues that are relevant to that group.
Craft a snappy headline – Hook the reader from the start with powerful copy that resonates and doesn’t come across as routine or boring. The headline is the first element of your copy that will attract attention, so keep it interesting and be sure to include a verb to make it more descriptive and compelling.
Start with a strong lead – This golden rule of journalism applies to copywriting as well. Just as the headline invites readers to click on the article, the first couple of sentences should engage readers to stay and finish the article. A boring first sentence will push the reader to click off the page and go somewhere else. Think of the lead as your pitch – you have just a few words and a small amount of space in which to interest the reader and ‘sell’ him or her on why to continue reading and consider the ideas you have shared.
Leave the reader with a takeaway – Even a short piece of copywriting should progress in narrative form with a beginning, middle and end, leaving the reader with a clear and cohesive idea of what was just presented. The narrative should conclude with a takeaway concept that is intriguing enough to stay on the brain after the reader moves on to another page or activity. Even if the body of the copy is not wholly unique (it’s been written before) – a quirky angle or insight can make your article resonate.
Craft compelling content – Write content that grabs eyes, keeps eyes and motivates readers to repost and promote your article within their networks. The more interesting and unique your content, the more credibility it will gain and the greater exposure your writing will develop over time. To keep it real, add a fresh angle, a little-known fact, a current statistic or an emotional appeal to pique interest.
Tap into basic emotions – Writing that awakens emotions, either positive or negative, is almost guaranteed to keep people reading. Be provocative. Raise questions. Share facts that are astonishing. Present a delicate situation or ask the reader to solve a riddle. In effect, your copy should manipulate the reader to think a certain way.
Get to the point -These days we are all saturated by information, so make the reader’s time worthwhile by writing plainly and directly. As famous grammarians William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White cautioned, “Omit needless words.” Each word you include should help you convey the overall message, because you get only one chance to persuade the reader.
Be credible – Whether you are writing with an agenda or simply educating, it’s important to be credible. In other words, when stating something as fact, it should be a fact. When making a suggestion, the idea must at least be believable, even in an imaginary world. Just as fantasy and science fiction movies draw fans, creative copy doesn’t have to be 100 percent fact to be successful, but it should at least be credible.