It’s a well written article and grammatically sound, but is it really great copy?
It can (sometimes) be quite hard to tell but here are six things to look out for:
We have all read an article that had an awesome, attention-grabbing title, only to drop away only a paragraph or two in having almost died of boredom. Why is that? It was well written (technically) and shared factual information and content, however did it truly create desire? The real pros are adept at stirring feelings and desire in their audience. This is fairly easy to do, for example, “our affordable beauty products mean it is no longer just celebrities who can achieve the perfect look." This simple sentence plays on our desire to emulate the stylish, alluring people we see on our screens and in glossy magazines. It incites envy because those glamorous, successful celebrities have access to all the best products, and so should we! Desire subtly created. We all buy with our emotions and then rationalise the emotional reason with something logical to back it up.
2. Specific words
Don’t fall victim to the classic mistake of too much, “I” and, “we” in your copy. Readers don’t care about some author they have never met, they care about what is in it for them. Play to this with lots of lovely, “you” and, “your."
3. Pain points
Does it address them? Have you uncovered the needs related to your audience/product/market and addressed the pain points effectively and seductively? If you haven’t then it’s highly likely your readers will lose interest pretty quickly.
When attempting to excite and captivate your audience with your lovely, well written article, it is best to keep things simple. Long, impressive words are all well and good but you will (no doubt) be hoping to appeal to a wide and varied audience and ensuring your copy is simple, clear and concise is the most effective way to do that.
Certain words are a great authors sure-fire recipe for success. Here are a trusted few; “Proven, Results, Save, Guaranteed, Maximise." Get plenty of these in your article and then sit back and enjoy the results (see what I did there?).
6. A strong call to action
Many years ago when I was doing a welcome speech to approximately one hundred and fifty holiday makers in a Grecian hotel, a very wise and savvy lady (who had clearly noted my nerves) told me that even if my welcome speech (about exciting things such as swimming pool rules and the bar opening times) wasn’t hugely riveting it didn’t matter. Wise, savvy lady said that as long as I ended with a strong close/call to action that clearly told those lovely holiday makers exactly what I wanted them to do, they would open their wallets and purchase lots of excursions. I thought what? That can’t be true? Well I would love to tell you that my first ever welcome meeting had the audience on the edge of their seats, hanging from my every word, but sadly not, it was a bit of a dud. The good news is that wise, savvy lady was totally spot on. The one thing I did manage was a very strong and clear close and (to my amazement) everybody did open up their wallets and buy lots of excursions.
I was fortunate that I had a relatively captive audience (turns out bar opening times = rather important), however in the world of advertising and marketing I’m afraid you will have no such luck. You have but a few seconds to grab their attention, pique their interest and create that desire.
Muddling through? Having a go?
Seems like an OK plan, right? You don't (after all) have to pay a writer to do it, so why not? It can't be that hard....
I spoke to an MD just a few days ago at a fairly large firm. I asked if there was any copywriting or editing I could assist with. He told me that he had spent five hours just the day before writing some sales literature that needed to go out to their client base (so quite an important piece of literature).
Mr Anonymous MD (you know who you are) said he read back what he'd written some five hours later and it was "pretty awful" and he hated doing it. We had a little chuckle at that. He then added that at least he hadn't spent any money.
Ah the many responses! I stuck with just two, these two; "I suspect you earn a fairly handsome salary as the MD of the company, so actually your five hours spent writing were rather costly, not to mention the other, better and more enjoyable things you could have been doing in that five hours." My second point was that a writer would (hopefully) not have looked back five hours later only to realise their work was "pretty awful."
Is your website copy exciting and packing a punch? Do your social media posts attract hits, likes and generate sales?
Great copy spreads your message and boosts customer retention and sales.
Is your message important enough to be written properly?
I love writing, but writing isn't just words. It is the ability to stir feelings, spread your message and unite people.