5 Steps to Stellar Copywriting

December 2nd 2014       Sally Ormond       great copy, headlines, how to write, quality copywriting, seo copywriting


stella copywriting

You know what it’s like. You’ve spent hours creating copy for your latest project, the deadline is looming and you quickly finish it, compose a covering email and then hit send.

Was it really your best work?

Does the headline really stand out?

Have you really given the reader what they want?

The answer is in the return email you get from your client – no.

Not only do you have to be a great communicator to be a great copywriter, you also need to know how to effectively evaluate and edit your work before your client sees it.

Let’s take a look at 5 steps you can take to make sure (or as far as possible) your copy is smoking hot.

Keywords and phrases

I0f it’s SEO copy you’ve been working on, you must make sure you’ve exploited all opportunities for using your keywords (and associated synonyms), but without over doing it.

If you were taught you had to have a certain number of keywords in your content, forget it. You don’t.

All you have to do is keep asking yourself whether your reader is going to love what you’re writing.

In other words write like a human because it’s your readers who need convincing (not Google) and Google wants high quality, informative content. It’s not interested in how many times you can squeeze a phrase into your work.

If, when you read it out loud (yes, something you should always do before sending your work off) it sounds stilted, unnatural and repetitive you’ve got it wrong. Write with personality, use your keywords, but also add in synonyms and remember that you don’t have to use your keywords and phrases exactly every time.

Grabbing their attention

Nothing grabs attention like a well throughout headline.

Let’s face it your headline will determine whether or not the rest of your content is read.

If it doesn’t jump up and grab your reader by the shoulders and shake them it’s not working.

Most writers opt for using their keywords in the title. That can work, but only if they can be used in such a way as to stand out.

Your aim is to make people want to read more and in an ideal world that will be achieved through a compelling headline that incorporates your keyword and main benefit. If that doesn’t work go with the benefit because that’s what’s going to grab your reader’s attention.

What does it look like?

You might be thinking that writing is writing and it doesn’t matter what it looks like, but if you do think like that you’re wrong.

If I placed 2 articles in front of you, one that was laid out in short paragraphs and the other as one solid block of text, which one would you rather read? I’m guessing the one in short paragraphs.

Even though both articles are exactly the same, the one broken up into small chunks looks easier to read.

Before you hit send, take a look at your document and split up those lengthy paragraphs.

You’re about to run out of breath

How many times have you read something only to be completely out of breath by the end of it?

Long sentences are hard to read. They slow you down. To maintain your reader’s interest keep your sentences short and your vocabulary simple. Yes, that means stepping away from the Thesaurus and using simple, every day language.

Talking of language, it’s a great idea to weave in sensory words, such as smooth, gritty, bump etc., to add a visual element to your work.

Check, check and re-check

Don’t you just love spell checker?

It’s simple, just finish your writing, check it and bam, all done.

Yeah, it doesn’t really work like that.

The spell checker is not and never will be a replacement for proofreading. Granted, it will underline your biggest howlers, but it won’t pick up incorrect word usage.

How many times have you sent stuff off only for your client to point out you used “your” instead of “you’re”, or you typed “our” instead of “out”?

You do have to remember that you are human and mistakes will slip through. If that does happen, apologise and put it right.

I do just want to say one thing, by following these steps isn’t a guarantee that your copy will get signed off first time. There are other potential problems that could arise that will mean amendments are necessary, but so long as you communicate with your client (or boss) you’ll maintain a harmonious relationship.


Tags: great copy, headlines, how to write, quality copywriting, seo copywriting
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