Updated: Oct 11, 2019
Copywriting. Nothing whatsoever to do with that little C in a circle (contrary to popular belief) – everything to do with communicating to your customers. Whether it’s for a tweet or a TV ad, a war cry or a website, you need to choose your words carefully and this blog post is here to help you do just that.
When it comes to crafting copy, the medium is every bit as important as the message. So whether you’re writing for websites or perfecting your prose for print, tailoring your text accordingly is key to driving your desired response.
Type is all around us and is one of the most important principles of design. Considered typography will enhance your marketing messages, in the same way bad typography will distract from the message. In today’s world, good design and a strong message are crucial because our world is increasingly visual. Please take a few minutes to read our tips below and add that touch of typographic finesse to your company’s image.
1. In print
With online marketing peaking in popularity, printed materials are becoming somewhat rare – but the vast majority of people still prefer to read copy from card or paper than from a screen. If you’re mailing out a letter, grab the attention straight away with a Johnson Box – a bold, centralised header that encapsulates your message before the body text even begins.
And at the end of the letter, add a PS that reinforces your strongest call to action – it’s human nature to look down there even if we don’t read the letter! Above all, remember that with printed material, you only get one chance to get it right. Don’t risk a typo. Better to splash out on a professional proofreader once than to pay the printer three times.
2. On websites
Google will never buy your product or service – but when you’re writing for web, the big G is still one of your key customers. So you’ll need to optimise your copywriting for search, ensuring you get your ‘keywords’ (such as the name of your product) into your headings, link text and page titles. That might get the thumbs up from the search engines, but remember your paying public too. Don’t shoehorn keywords onto your page at the expense of good, flowing copy – and break up the copy with shorter paragraphs, sub-titles and handy bullet points to make your messages easy to read on-screen.
3. In emails
Email marketing is cheap, instant and best of all, measurable. But it’s also extremely popular – so expect your messages to share your customer’s inbox with dozens of others every day. The subject line offers your chance to grab the attention, so don’t waste it. Keep it short and snappy (below 50 characters), avoiding spam words like ‘FREE’ to ensure a safe delivery. Try to tell the recipient what’s inside - don’t oversell.
It’s crucial to power up your snippet copy too – that’s the first line of your email. On many modern email clients (and notably on the iPhone), the snippet shows up immediately after the subject line even before opening – giving you a second chance to convince and convert your customer. All too often the snippet reads “Can’t see this email? Click here” – make sure you take advantage with a more tempting message instead.
4. On social media
Engagement tools more-so than sales ones, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter invite a two-way #conversation between you and your customers. Show restraint within your copy not to sell too hard – particularly on Twitter where a stream full of product offers is the quickest way to get yourself ‘unfollowed’.
Twitter is a great learning ground for the kind of short, snappy, to-the-point copy that really works online. So don’t cheat by spreading your messages over two or three tweets – the #meaning will only be lost as your tweets are broken up on follower’s timelines.
5. One Last Word
If you take just one thing from this post, make it this: It’s all about YOU. That one little word is arguably the most powerful in any copywriter’s armoury, helping the customer feel personally connected to what they are reading. And that should explain why we’ve used it 51 times in this blog post alone!
A refreshing reminder
Remember your favourite ice lolly of the 80’s and 90’s? The FAB, surely? Who would have thought it would ever help you write better copy. The FAB comprised a tasty trio of layers, and so should the most basic of sales and marketing copy. Whenever you’re writing about your product or service, think FAB – features, advantages, benefits:
FEATURE is a fact. Something your product has or is.
ADVANTAGE explains why that feature makes the product more useful, or superior.
BENEFIT tells the reader what positive impact that advantage will make on their life.
In the same way that the top bit (with the sprinkles) was everybody’s favourite part of the FAB, it’s always the benefits within your sales writing that sell your product. After all, with more platforms than ever to carry your messages, being savvy with your copywriting is a marketing essential. Do you copy?