Copywriting is defined as is the act of writing copy (text) for the purpose of advertising or marketing a product, business, person, opinion or idea.

Whether you realize it or not you’ve probably written some kind of copy in your lifetime. Professional copywriters can charge astronomical fees to help you get the best conversion rates from your sales letters, sales pages or advertising. Because not everyone can afford to hire a copywriter, I’ve written down the 10 best tips for beginning copywriters.

  1. Focus on your title. The title of your copy is the most critical piece. If it’s not compelling, most people won’t even begin to read the rest. Even if the title is only 10 words it could take up almost as much time as writing 500 words. I recommend starting with the title so that the rest of your writing can support your title.
  2. Define your audience. Writing to a layperson will involve different terms than writing to a group of professionals who understand technical jargon. By defining your audience you can make your copy as simple as possible without patronizing your readers
  3. Encourage readers to act. The best writing in the world is useless if it doesn’t compel a reader to take the next step. Make it very clear what you want the reader to do after reading your copy, whether it’s buying your product, signing up for your newsletter or reading more detailed information.
  4. Always proofread and edit. Just like resumes, a single spelling or grammar mistake can result in failure. When I read something and notice a spelling mistake my confidence is immediately shaken. The site looks less professional and your attention to detail is questioned.

    Carefully review your own writing and ask a friend or an editor to look it over as well. We often can’t catch our own mistakes because we are so involved in the writing.

  5. Focus on the Benefits. When describing your product don’t just list the features but describe how they will benefit the reader. If you were selling a fitness product you wouldn’t go over the technical features of the machine but rather you should focus on the benefits of using the device regularly. The benefits often appeal to our emotional needs where we want to be liked, fit in and be comfortable.
  6. Structure your writing.Copy should short and to the point. Use small paragraphs that only contain a single point in two to three sentences.  Make it easy for readers to skim by giving them subtitles, bullets and callouts.
  7. Use story-telling. Some of the best ads tell a story to convince you to buy their products. A story is compelling, more easily remembered and emotionally focused. Another top 10 list showing the top ad campaigns of the 2012 Olympics demonstrates the power of storytelling.
  8. Test, test and test- Once you’ve written an advertisement, make sure to test its effectiveness. One word can make all the difference in some cases. Set up tests for different variables with split testing. The most important thing to test is your headline, but you can also test your call to action, the colour of everything from your background to buttons and visuals.
  9. Study other copywriters. Study the copy used by others in your industry. See what calls to action they use, their titles and what benefits they focus on. You can use your research to emulate their copy as well as to differentiate yourself and find a new sales angle. If any copy makes you feel compelled to purchase a product, study it and see how it appeals to your emotional needs. Many copywriters keep a swipe file of effective copy that they can refer to when writing their own copy.
  10. Have a strong ending. If your reader has made it all the way to the bottom of your sales page, they are interested and need a final push to convince them to purchase the product. Help alleviate their concerns by recapping the benefits and by giving a satisfaction-guaranteed promise.

What are some of the most compelling advertisements or sales copy you’ve seen? When you think back, what convinced you to buy your most recent purchase?

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How to Write Headlines That Work

August 5, 2012

I had read the Copyblogger article on “How to Write Headlines That Work” probably about 18 months ago and still remember it. I have also sent it to other writers to give them suggestions on writing compelling titles. When asked to submit an article to Digg, I choose to submit it. I think it offers [...]

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