Hands up if you know, without a doubt, what a copywriter does.
You do? Congratulations, you are one of the few.
When some people ask what I do and I tell them I’m a copywriter, the normally say ‘Oh, really?’ nodding until they have to give in to their curiosity and ask ‘what’s one of those then?’
The term copywriter often conjures and image of me sat at my desk surrounded in paper, copying text from one piece to another.
That’s not what I do.
Basically, a copywriter is a person who writes marketing materials. It is sales writing – that which is mainly concerned with persuading someone (like you or me) to part with their hard earned cash and buy a particular product or service.
To make that happen your writing has to be invisible. No, that doesn’t mean using invisible ink. By invisible I mean it shouldn’t be showy. You writing has to be secondary – it is the sales message you want the reader to see, not your amazing prose.
To help you create something that sells rather than shows off, here are a few useful tips to follow:
1. You do not exist
Of course, you do really exist. If you didn’t you wouldn’t be able to write. But what shouldn’t exist is your hidden writer…that part of you that is longing to show off your literary skills. If your sales writing is to be successful you have to focus on your reader. Forget your own flare, you have to think about the readers because they are the ones that will be doing the buying. Think about what they like, their age, their likes and dislikes etc.
Small words and simple sentences are a copywriter’s best friend. Impressively high-brow writing won’t endear you to your reader. The best writing is simple and concise. Oh, and another thing, don’t use jargon, that’s a real turn off.
3. Who’s your customer?
Some people argue that writing to sell to a customer (B2C writing) is different to writing to sell to a business (B2B writing). In my book they are the same. At the end of the day, whether you are writing to a customer or a business, it will be a person reading your sales pitch. Companies can’t make buying decisions but people can.
4. The F word is banned
The primary aim of your sales writing is to convince someone to buy your product. To do that you have to show them how much better their life will be if they buy it. Which means telling them the benefits. Yes, the benefits not the features.
So as you can see, copywriting is all about simple, well written English that is designed to sell. No matter what format your writing is to take, keeping your language and structure simple is the best way to achieve sales.
By following this advice you will be able to get your readers’ attention (through a great headline), grab their interest (by using the benefits), make them want it and get them to buy (this is your strong call to action). Language can be a very powerful thing when handled correctly.