I’m never going to confess to ever being one of the greatest copywriters in the world. I get by with a few tips that I’ve picked up from many of the gurus over the years as well as my own two main secret sauces, which are:
- Write like you speak
- Use your own voice
I suppose you can’t do 1 without doing 2, but the general rule is to have a conversation because good copywriting is all about having a good conversation.
People Want To Hear YOU
I have a saying that I use when coaching my clients about writing good copy – whether for their blog, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site – “I want to hear you in text.”
In other words, if we’re sat having a coffee and then you go away to write a blog post or update your social media status, I want to be able to recognise the person who had been sat with me having a coffee earlier.
Having done an MBA, I know first hand what it’s like to be forced to write a) in the third person and b) as if you’re some university professor.
Most people, even those in the boardroom, don’t have that level of intellect and yet we still force feed them with literary prose in the hopes that it will make them think we’re intelligent.
Personally, I think it’s dumb, and if I happen to land on a site and they’re making me having to think too hard to understand what they’re saying, I’m out of there … pronto.
Don’t Do That To Your Readers
You know when they say there are more fishes in the sea? Well, this is my attitude when I start reading blog articles or status updates that are so well crafted it sounds as though they had to obtain their doctorate to write it.
And something must have enticed the reader to your article or update in the first place, so why scare them off in the first few sentences because they don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.
Give Them A Reason To Feel You
Again, copywriting is all about having a conversation and there is nothing worse than speaking to someone and their eyes glaze over because they’re just not feeling you.
It could be because they’re not interested in your subject matter, or you’re talking about yourself too much, or you’re droning on. Trust me, I am guilty of all three at times, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
However, when it comes to compelling copy, there are a few things you can add to my secret sauces above to make your reader feel you:
- First, your topic must interest them in the first place. If it doesn’t that’s fine since you can’t write for the entire online community. Just ensure you’re writing for your audience and no one else’s
- Write a compelling headline – and make it benefits driven. In other words, tell them how it’s going to solve their problem
- Tell people what you’re going to tell them right at the start of your copy so you encourage them to stick around
- Structure your copy. There is nothing worse than an article that’s all over the place
- Keep your paragraphs short – long paragraphs are harder to read, especially online
- Use subheadings to break up the text
- Stick to the topic at hand – you can always write another article on a related topic and link to it in the original article
- Tell them a story. How did you know I couldn’t resist this one! A well-crafted story will draw your reader in and compel them to listen and using story headlines is a great way to get the immediate attention of your reader.
And Finally, Be Transparent
If you want people to connect with you at a deeper level, then it’s a good idea to show people you’re human … in other words, that you don’t always have it all together, but you don’t let that stop you.
The trouble with presenting a squeaky clean image when we present our products and services is that we lull people into a false sense of security.
We make them feel as though in order to achieve their dream or their goal, all their ducks have to be lined up. And most of us know that this just isn’t true.
So when writing your copy, consider highlighting some of your struggles. That will also give you some credibility because people will know that you’ve had to learn something in order to now be the solutions provider in an area you once struggled.
And say what you’ve got to say with heart.
David Ogilvy, known as The Father of Advertising, once said that “what you say is more important than how you say it.”
I don’t wish to argue with our copywriting greats, but whilst this may hold some truth, I believe that today, how you say it carries weight than what you say. If people are to believe in you, they have to feel you.
So be yourself, enjoy the conversation and draw them in.
Until next time,