You’ve probably read dozens of this type of articles by now, and you have heard all the same tips. Research your target audience, keep it simple, use visuals, have a great title. These are all great tips, and you should follow them each time you write copy.
However, with more than 25 million articles and posts uploaded and shared online, you need to do a lot more to reach your target market. Have a little patience and check out these 7 copywriting skills you need to acquire to give your business a boost.
Some marketing people can sell ice to Eskimos when they are face-to-face, but write terribly formal copy.
The charm and force of personality they have gets lost in the translation. You need to cultivate the gift of conversation when you write copy. Bring your personality into what you write to make it more persuasive.
You have to be able to engage your readers as if you are in the same room with them, and that means nixing the formality. Read it aloud and record it. If it sounds stilted or unnatural, revise it.
Better yet, have someone else read it and ask what he or she thinks. Of course, you still have to follow standard rules of grammar and spelling, don’t over think it. Write what you mean to say and go back later to polish it.
Keep it short
Simple words work well with any type of writing, but when it comes to copywriting, you also need to keep it short.
Some trends suggest that long-form content (more than 2,000 words) can improve reader engagement. It gives you more opportunity to build links, rank well in search engines, and experiment with ads. However, that is only true in some situations, such as when you publish a guide. It certainly does not apply to social media posts or email. Brevity rules in those situations.
The information glut that is the Internet has made people want to read less. It is important to keep the majority of your web copy short and to the point, ad to break up long paragraphs into shorter ones. Cultivate the skill of less is more.
Mix and match
Copywriting is essentially a marketing tool. However, you have to ensure that your copy does not sound like sales copy.
Your purpose is to engage the audience, and readers usually don’t like sales copy. You have to give them something of value to them such as information. They will not mind any sales or marketing copy an article may contain if they benefit it. The rule of thumb is 70% information and 30% marketing material. Make sure you have a strong call to action and a clickable link in there.
Use a real headline
The headline is definitely important, but not if it is click bait.
Provocative headlines can get you clicks, but you have to make sure you content reflects it accurately and factually. If you don’t deliver the goods, you will lose your readers and your site or page will get a reputation for being no good. They will click away, increasing your bounce rate and affecting your page ranking.
For example, if you say “A Natural Cure for Cancer,” then you’d better not be selling a seminar on the power of positive thinking. A good way to capture interest is to use trigger words in the first and last three words of your title.
Get some help
You don’t have to do it alone, you know.
Resources are available to help you create awesome copy, most of which are free. For example, you can check out 20 Websites With Carefully Crafted and Convincing Copy to give you an idea of how to get started. How People Read Online is an infographic on how you should format your copy, How to Write Magnetic Headlines can help you create great headlines, and Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer is a tool for checking if your headline will make the grade.
You have to do your research, and not just about your target audience.
Find out as much about your industry, field, or product, and use the information in your copy. Cite statistics and studies from credible sources such as journals or high-authority sites. Highlight the benefits of your business that can accrue to your readers.
You should be able to back up any fact or claim you put in your copy, though, especially if its purpose is to sell yourself or your business. Truly persuasive copy answers all questions and issues that may come up about a product, and deals with it rather than hides it. When the reader sees that you are not trying to sugarcoat the facts, you are more likely to gain their trust.
Tell a story
People like stories. It helps them relate to everything around them, and this can increase engagement.
Stories differentiate your brand as much as your logo or tagline does, but it engages more than the visual or cognitive dimensions. It appeals to a person’s emotions, and that can breed loyalty.
Take the story of Starbucks, for example. People associate the brand with more than overpriced coffee. The story highlights its mission of high quality coffee and first-rate customer service, and these appeals to them.
Tell your readers about your story. Take them along with you on your journey and forge a relationship with them. You can use stories to get your readers curious about your business, and eventually get them to care about it.
Effective copywriting requires a certain set of skills that goes beyond mere content creation. Your copy should attract, inform, engage, and convert users for the benefit of your business or website. It takes some work to get you to the point where these skills become second nature. However, with constant practice and some help, you should become very good at it.
About the Author:
Paige Donahue is an editor and blogger from Pennsylvania. She is independent, easygoing and would typically interact with the world around her in a spontaneous manner. You can connect with her via Twitter and Google+