28 Sep Copywriting Explained
We are a team of Guernsey-based copywriters who live to see our words on the page, a website or advertisement. So, of course, we had to put pen to paper and share our thoughts on the art of copywriting.
What is Copywriting?
Let’s start with a simple question, do you know what copywriting is? We’re often asked what copywriting is and why it’s a specialist skill, so I’m going to explain the role well-written copy plays in marketing and why writing for websites, advertising and editorial all take a different approach.
In its most simplistic form, copywriting is a way of crafting a compelling story.
Within the marketing mix, good copywriting will convert its readers into customers. It’s a written call to action that attracts attention, drives traffic and builds that all-important brand awareness.
Copywriting is both a skill and an art, there is no one-size fits all approach to nailing it, and every piece of copy is unique to both the brand and its audience.
The Importance of Research
You’d be amazed at how much research is involved in copywriting.
Before we even put pen to paper, or finger to key, a good chunk of time is spent doing our homework, we need to understand the purpose of the copy and what it’s expected to do.
This stage of the game is mainly about asking the right questions:
- Who is the audience
- Are they internal or external, familiar or unfamiliar?
- What do we know about them?
It’s not unusual to tailor copy that conveys the same message for different audiences, we just need to understand who those audiences are.
Then there’s the key message.
- What’s that all-important call to action? ‘Buy more of our …read about our…celebrate our…’
- How are we going to convey it?
- What extra information, unique stats or facts can we use to hook the audience and ensure that our copy has maximum impact?
If we’re going to be a mouthpiece for our clients it’s crucial to understand their tone of voice too. Formal and informal copy require different approaches and, much as I love a good buzzword, it doesn’t tend to have a home in more corporate copywriting.
Finally, there’s the format:
- Is it a newsletter, feature article, brochure or flyer?
- Are we talking to an online audience via blogs, articles or e-shots?
Online v Print
It’s important to explain the differences between online and print copy. Online audiences are different to print readers and the web is a far speedier and competitive space. Nailing that killer headline is absolutely vital when you’re writing for an online audience, if you don’t, your reader is likely to just read the headline and click on.
People tend to scan online copy too, far more than print, so it needs to be broken up into a more digestible format. Bullet points, paragraphs and short sentences are really important tools for keeping the reader engaged.
We’re also more likely to include sub-headings and lists when we’re drafting online copy, and images and videos are another great way of splitting the copy into a more attractive format.
The Rise of SEO
Of course, SEO copywriting has become another vital online marketing tool. This method of copywriting is about more than just stuffing a bunch of keywords into an article. Google has got wise to people who do that so it’s about drafting sparkling, original content that entertains or educates the reader as well as conveying those all-important search terms.
Styling Posts for Social
Social media is another form of online copy that needs careful consideration. Again, the headline needs to grab attention but, on the whole, you can get away with more lively and informal language. Here, every character counts and it’s important to adapt the posts for each platform. Gifs, videos, photos, polls and lists are all great ways of helping you to generate original content that makes your copy shine.
Don’t Forget your Second Pair of Eyes
Beyond copy crafting, I can’t emphasise the importance of editing and proofing enough, in fact, it probably deserves its own blog. It’s essential that a second pair of eyes provides the cut and polish required to make sure the copy is reader-ready.
We can’t tell you everything you need to know about copywriting here, but hopefully, this has given you a quick overview. Words are our world, so if you feel like you need to add some literary sparkle to your marketing, or you’re looking for some fresh inspiration to ensure your key messages truly hit home, get in touch.