Since setting out in the world of copywriting, there are two questions I am constantly asked:
1. What does a copywriter do?
2. How do you write?
The first is simple to answer. Copywriting is sales writing. It is my job to look at a business, learn about its products, services, people and ethos and convey that in benefits orientated copy that speaks to the reader.
A copywriter should not only be a good writer, they also have to be a great listener. Because you will only determine what your clients want and your readers need by talking, asking questions and listening carefully to the answers.
Keeping your writing focused can be a challenge. When ideas start to flow, it’s very easy to get carried away. Before you know it, you would have created the next best seller. To suppress the urge to be like J K Rowling, constantly remind yourself why you are writing your copy.
Kiss it better
Sales copy exists to help someone’s problem. Yes, it is also designed to sell, but you’ll be selling to people who need your product/service to solve a problem they have. They are hurting and are looking for someone to take the pain away – just like you did when you were a child. When you fell over, you’d run to your mum – she would offer kind words, disinfectant, a plaster and a kiss. Ultimately, it was the kiss that made everything better.
Before you get excited, I’m not suggesting you dash out and kiss all your readers! But your writing has to emulate it; it has to take their pain away by providing the solution they’ve been searching for. By keeping ‘the kiss’ in your mind as you write will help you keep on track.
Sometimes people may not even realise they have a problem. It’s there, but they’ve buried their heads in the sand pretending it isn’t happening to them. Therefore your copy should always refer to the problem:
Do you have enough life insurance? Are you sure? What will happen to your family when you are gone? Is there sufficient insurance to clear the mortgage, pay university fees, cover the monthly bills?
A bit extreme, but you get the picture. By juxtaposing the problem and the solution, you are adding weight to your sales pitch. Your product/service will take away this pain – act now!
So remember, when creating your copy always think about your reader, who they are, what their problem is and apply your client’s product/service as the solution to that problem.