Words sell. Simple as that. Good copy is to a product what the Declaration of Independence is to Nicholas Cage. A delicate balance of Art and Scientific method is key to great copy. So how do you write better copy? What skills must you learn, or what dark-lord do you have to make a deal with this time?
Spend some time with me in this article and I’ll do my best to lay it all out. After all, the pen (keyboard) is mightier than the sword – right?
You know when you’ve read good copy. Most of the time you realise as you’re swiping your credit or debit card, or entering in your details on a web-store. Copy reaches out from the page, or screen grabs you and demands action. Great copy is emotive, engrossing and persuasive.
The art form is creating a stream of words that inspire you to do something that, this morning, you hadn’t planned on doing. It’s that text message to your significant other asking where the best place is to store a baby goat – because you’ve just bought one.
It’s science because its effectiveness is rooted in psychology. Proven tactics that elicit a strong enough human response to result in a sale. Algorithms that gauge the success of the campaign. Tests, trials and experiments. Failure, success, constant improvement, tweaking and ultimately reporting. Assuring your drafts have both these elements in spades is a sure-fire way to write better copy.
When you’re about to undertake any project, be it building a new piece of furniture, rebuilding a car’s engine, or learning how to write better copy – you need tools. Little helpful resources that allow the magic to happen.
I mean, who’s got time to learn 100% of everything for themselves? So I’ve put together my list of little tools, hints and resources that make my copy creation journey a breeze!
This was actually a pay-it-forward from a mentor of mine, Nigel Moore. The idea behind this tool is to make your content easy to read – very consumable. By playing to a broader audience, you’re increasing the reach and effectiveness of your efforts.
HemmingwayApp.com makes your writing bold and clear. Imagine it as a spell checker, but instead, for ease of reading. Often when writing our words mimic our thoughts and become disorganised and numerous.
Using this app allows us to trim the fat and get to the point quicker! Your readers will thank you.
Unfortunately, with the introduction and subsequent take-over, of the internet and social media; the ability to form sentences has been lost for the most part. Grammarly takes steps to resolve this one text field at a time.
This browser add-in first started in the Chrome web store and gave us the ability to make sure how we had just written wouldn’t make us look like an idiot – the content was another story. Success saw the app become available as an add-in for Microsoft Office applications for use in Outlook and Word. It’s saved my bacon more than a few times.
Now you can even replace the native iOS and Android keyboards with it! No more damn auto-correct horror stories.
Sometimes the best ideas are remixes of successful efforts in the past. There are literally millions of content creators just like you in the world, some even better. There are resources scattered around the internet called Swipe Files that give you really good content and title ideas to build from.
Although it’s a paid membership, one of my all-time favourite Swipe Files comes from ThriveThemes.com. This file covers one of the most deceptively tricky aspects of content creation – headline creation.
Another great resource for you is the file offered by Ryan Deiss and his team at DigitalMarketer.com – they send an admirable (read: a lot) of emails to you, however, I do suggest you sign-up to their mailing list. They do come out with some gem tips on how to write better copy almost weekly!
What’s the point of creating great content if no one gets to see it? I mean, we’re not here getting our Rumpelstiltskin on, spinning pure gold just for the fun of it, amiright?
Conducting comprehensive keyword research allows you to be heading in the right direction from the start. Once you’ve had practice with writing copy enough, you’ll be able to push out 1,200 emotive and compelling words on any topic. You’ll want to know what to write about.
My personal favourite research tool comes from SEMrush.com. With this tool, you can incorporate individual keywords, keyphrase research and then build a Content Creation Plan from the results!
You’ve read up until this point and you’re now thinking about ways you can put this into practice. However, there are still some doubts in your mind about what good copy actually looks like. How can you write better copy without an example to go off?
Never fear, ClassicShaun’s got you! There are a few different classes of copy that you can write, here are some examples where the author has just swung for the fence – enjoy!
Personally, this is my favourite type to read and write. Everyone loves a story!
Humans love hearing about other humans. Stories that can be related to, empathised with and stories that educate us on how to overcome any challenges we’re facing. That’s the secret sauce we’re looking for.
The best part about this storytelling method is you can deliver it in so many different ways – a landing page, video or an email series! To ensure you stick the landing, however, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got these key sections:
Key to a great piece of copy for your purpose is coincidentally assuring your product or service allowed or was the solution. Fight the desire to jump the shark with your story. The key to its effectiveness is being relatable. Your reader must think, “Oh jeez, this sounds like what I was going through last week…”
A simple, quick and clean example of this comes from Warby Parker Eyewear.
Out of every marketing tip and trick I know – this is the one I appreciate the most. After being on the other end of campaigns for what seems like 20-years, I appreciate it so much more when a company or salesperson is blunt, upfront and honest.
There is no better way to build and develop genuine trust with a client or customer than by being honest and transparent. Aside from my patented Caramel Lattes, nothing is perfect. We, as consumers know this. So don’t be that hype-person that writes cheques the product can’t cash.
When the reader trusts you, they will be considerably more likely to believe you when you point out the good qualities of your product.
In an effort to guarantee I smile each time I see it, I’m sure, Avis got real. In their early days, they were second in their market being beaten out by a better known car-rental company.
Instead of simply continuing to work on their processes and thinking like every Disney princess, “Someday it’ll happen and everything will be great”, they took their second-place and ran with it!
Because sometimes it just can’t be avoided.
When you’ve got a lot of content to cover, and a lot of points to make the long copy is unavoidable. It’s better to anticipate those questions and answer them in the copy. Content that is long with facts and benefits will convert more.
Once you’re in front of your intended viewer, you need to keep them there. People want as much benefit-oriented information as they personally need to make the purchase. Some won’t read much of it before buying. Others will read every word.
The key is to make the presentation of this information — your copy and the visual elements of the page — context appropriate. It needs to look and feel like your audience expects content from you to look and feel.
Basecamp does a great job with this in their business story post. Although this example is technically another form of copy called Direct-from-CEO Copy, I feel it combines both nicely.
You’re the only one that can craft the ideas in your head into great copy. Only you can sit back and say, “Yes, I did learn how to write better copy, and now I’m awesome.”
Now that you’ve realised that your business does need a website, I hope that you now too realise that you need some great copy.
I hope some of these tips, examples and resources help you along the way!