Copywriting 101: The Ins & Outs of Great Copy

If you were to tell someone that you were a copywriter, you’d most likely get a response like, “Oh, so you write stuff?” That is, unless you’re in marketing.

If you were to tell someone that you were a copywriter, you’d most likely get a response like, “Oh, so you write stuff?” That is, unless you’re in marketing. If you’re in marketing, you already know your copywriters are essential to a healthy campaign.

Copywriting isn’t just marketing; it’s an art – and a science – that requires you to think about the content you’re developing from several perspectives. You have to develop copy that persuades readers to take action; to do that, you have to think like the target audience.

What would make the audience click? What would draw them in? What is their pain point? What question might they want answered?

As a writer, you have to define key writing points before beginning to create content that builds into strong copy. To define those points, you must develop an intimate knowledge of the target market. In short, you have to uncover why buyers make decisions, and then turn that into enticing them to make the decisions you want.

It isn’t easy. There’s no glory; you very seldom get your own bi-line, for instances. –But it does serve a distinct purpose in any marketing campaign. Marketing copy can make or break the entire thing.

Copywriting versus Bloggging

Copywriting Defined

Just what is this “oh-so-powerful” thing? Simply put, copywriting is the business of convincing consumers. Creating the desire to want…

Copy is content developed for business or promotional purposes. Copywriters are professional writers who create copy. A copywriter’s goal is to have readers perform an action, such as buying goods and services or signing up for an email list.

There are different specialties within copywriting, focusing on different types of copy, such as:

  • Direct Mail
  • Print Advertising
  • Online Advertising
  • Email
  • Commercial Scripts and Jingles
  • Press Releases
  • Billboard Content
  • Brochures and Leaflets
  • Social Media Posts
  • Product Descriptions

Each type is targeting a different market, and needs to be written for that particular medium. Here are two examples.

Copywriting vs. Blogging 

Though somewhat related and – at times – cross functional, copy and blog content are two distinct content types:

  • Copy normally promotes a product or service, while blog content ultimately promotes a person or entity.
  • A copywriter seeks to compel action while a blogger seeks to educate and entertain.
  • Copy may end up in disparate places around the Internet, while blog content is mainly used on the blog creator’s website.
  • Most copywriters cover versatile topics, while bloggers generally stick to a niche subject.
  • Copy draws in readers, while blog content seeks to retain current reader loyalty.

Print Versus Digital

Copywriting for Print vs. Online

If you looked at the list of copywriting types and wondered what the difference was between print advertising and online advertising, you need to pay very close attention. As with blogging, there is a distinct difference.

Print can be long articles, sometimes two or three pages long. People who read magazines expect an article and aren’t turned off by a lot of content. They’re more likely to read several paragraphs before deciding whether they want to finish the article or not.

Online, you have to be careful of your audience. Most people are scanners online – even if they will sit and read a book for hours. You have to grab them in the first few sentences or you’ve lost them.

Copywriting Foundations 

So, what’s it like, this copywriting gig? What all do you have to do, just write a few lines and voilà? It’s just a bit more complicated than that… just a bit.
If you’re going to write compelling copy, you have to begin with a strong foundation. Using a product description as an example, there are several key information pieces you need for the copy to be strong. You need to:

  • Fully understand the product
  • Define the target demographic
  • Determine important features and benefits
  • Discover the most favored product traits

Once you have this information, you have the details you need to write powerful copy. Compile the information into a document you can refer to later. This information will influence the style and tone you use to describe your product.

Social Branding

Grasping the Market 

You’ll need to conduct research to uncover the wants and needs of your consumer. Copy is a tool businesses use to speak to their consumers. In order to effectively communicate with buyers, businesses must know who their buyers are and how they think.

There are many ways for you to accomplish this. One way is to survey consumers who fall under the business’s target demographic. You can use a free online service to create a poll and evaluate consumer responses, such as PollDaddy.

The Importance of Engaging Titles 

The title (aka headline) is the most important part of your entire article. Before a consumer reads your content, they look at the title to see what it’s about. At the same time, they decide whether they think the piece is interesting; in a fraction of a second, the reader decides if your piece is worth reading by reviewing the title. This is why it’s important that the title grabs the reader’s attention and generates interest in your content.

To accomplish this:

  • Make the title unique
  • Be very specific
  • Create urgency
  • Impart that the content is meaningful

Reading homework to learn more about titles:

Top 3 Things You Must Know About Headlines

The #1 Traffic Builder – Hint: It’s Probably Not What You Think

The Art of Persuasion

Writing compelling copy requires knowing what motivates consumers to take the action you desire. It takes product presentation.

In your product description, discuss how the product benefits consumers, rather than the product features. Also, provide specific proof as to what benefits your product can provide. Figure out what emotions consumers try to satisfy when they buy your product and write copy that promises to fulfill those desires. Finally, use the testimony of satisfied consumers to bolster the product. Incorporating these concepts into your copy allows you to relay the message that your product can solve the consumer’s problem.

Our Bonus

Copywriting 101 – The Take Aways

We tried to get a lot into this post, and we don’t want you to miss the highlights. If you only take a few things away from this, let them be the ones listed below:

  • Writing truly compelling copy takes intense research and effort.
  • Copy helps businesses and organizations sell their products or services.
  • Copy, blog and print content can share writing techniques, but they have decidedly different purposes.
  • Copy does not stand alone; you must build copy content on a foundation of your target demographics’ needs and wants.
  • Good copywriters take painstaking efforts to learn how their target market thinks, and use this information to compel buyers to take action.

So, whether you’re planning on becoming a copywriter, hiring a copywriter, or want to create copy for your own site, remember that it’s not easy. It’s an art… science… a lot of work. If it only takes you a few minutes – or even just an hour – to write your copy, you’re doing it wrong!

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