On the face of it, writing content should be the easiest thing in the world.
You have a product or service to write about, so surely all you have to do is tell the reader what it does and you’re there.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that, which is why you usually end up with a blank Word document open in front of you and an equally blank mind.
Getting started is often the hardest part of copywriting.
How do you begin?
What should your headline be?
These are the two questions that fill your brain preventing you from creating the killer content that’s buried deep within you somewhere.
Help is at hand. By following these simple steps you’ll find your writing a breeze (OK, perhaps not a breeze, but it will be easier).
Before you start writing
You might think that copywriters get a brief and then start writing and in a few hours, have a workable first draft.
There’s one thing copywriters do an awful lot more of than write – and that’s think.
Thinking is a huge part of content creation and should be the first thing you do.
What should you be thinking about?
Your overall objective.
What is the end goal?
If you don’t know that, how can you write?
Once you have a clear idea of what you must achieve, you can start to think about the content itself.
Identify the burning issues
Now you know what you’re looking to achieve, it’s time to start thinking about the questions your content must answer.
If there are any unanswered questions left in your readers’ minds, they’ll turn into unsurpassable barriers that will prevent them from buying.
It’s probably easier to jot them down on paper – think about what they won’t understand and how you can explain things to make them clearer.
It’s important your explanations are simple, that you avoid all jargon and buzzwords, and adopt a simple approach.
Find the right hook
Hey, look at that. We’re on the third stage and still haven’t started creating any content yet.
There is only one thing that’s going to convince your audience to read your content, and that’s your headline.
Using everything you’ve come up with so far, your headline should reflect the promise you’re making to the reader and what you’ll teach them.
Equally as important are your sub headings, which should reflect the questions your reader will have. Answer each of these and you will achieve your overall goal.
These will provide the framework from which you can hang your content. So, yes, the next stage is writing.
Creating your content
Don’t forget this is just your first draft, so it’s time to let you creativity flow unchecked.
Focusing on the benefits and the needs of your reader, start creating introductory content that will leave them in no doubt that you have what they need.
Each of the sub headings you’ve created will tackle one particular question. Make sure your content under these headings addresses the question without waffling. Keep focused on the problem in hand and then move on to the next one.
Time to edit
Now you have some content to work with it’s time to start refining it.
With your end goal in mind, work your way through your copy and cut any fluff, or add detail if you feel the clarity of your message needs to be enhanced. Either way, it’s important that every word counts.
The next step is to take a look at the language you’ve used. Ask yourself whether it represents the business correctly, is it easy to understand, are there any ambiguous phrases?
Look at your word choice – will the reader understand what you’re saying, or do you need to refine the vocabulary to make it more accessible. Also, make sure no jargon has slipped through the net.
You’ve reached the final stage.
Once you’ve proofed and edited and are happy that your message is coming through loud and clear, ask yourself whether your working headline still works.
Do your sub heads work? Do they create enough momentum to keep your reader enthralled?
Are there any weak areas that could cause your reader to switch off?
Think before you write
As you can see, the process of content writing isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
Before you can even start to consider the words you’re going to use, there’s a lot of preparation that needs to be done.
Think carefully about your goals before you start to write. That’s the only way you will be sure your content will steer your reader in the right direction and your end goals will be achieved.