You know, during my copywriting career, numerous people have asked exactly what do I do?
Some think my profession is legal – i.e., a copyrighter – wrong.
Some are under the impression that I copy things out for a living – also wrong.
Copywriting is all about persuading someone to buy something or influence their belief.
When I tell them this, they nod and ask, ‘well, why do people pay to write for them?’
That’s an excellent question.
Why DIY copywriting is a bad idea
With more of us turning to online purchasing, the need for compelling copy has never been greater.
Let’s say you’re launching a new business. You’ve spent months in the R&D phase and are now ready to unleash your product on the world. You’ve commissioned a jazzy website, which too up all your budget. Therefore, you have no option but to write your own copy.
It can’t be that hard, can it?
When writing about your own business, the problem is that you focus on the ‘what’. All you want to do is talk about your product and how great it is because that will make people buy, right?
Let’s go back a few steps.
You spotted a gap in the market, and that’s why you started your business. By spending hours developing a product that hit the spot, you lost track of the ‘why’ and began to focus on the ‘what’.
The thing is, it’s the ‘why’ that will make people buy from you.
What’s a ‘what’ and what’s a ‘why’?
That’s probably the most confusing subheading you’ll ever see!
OK, in simple terms, a ‘what’ is a feature, and a ‘why’ is a benefit, and it’s the latter that will sell your product for you.
For argument’s sake, let’s say you have produced a flashy bit of software that helps small businesses by reducing manual processes and streamlining systems.
Why did you spend time and money creating it? Because…
- It reduces errors, boosting customer service
- Reduces staff costs or allows the redistribution of staff so they can help the business grow
- Promotes greater efficiency and, therefore, productivity
What small business owner doesn’t want that?
You see, by focusing on the ‘why,’ you come up with the benefits that will make the biggest impact on your customers.
Copywriting with heart
Now that you understand a bit more about copywriting, here’s one more thing you should know.
Good copywriting is natural, which means it’s a lot closer to spoken English than written English. That doesn’t mean you can play hard and fast with grammar rules and disregard them entirely. But it does mean you can tinker with them to create copy that sounds natural.
Let’s face it if we all spoke the way some companies write (i.e., stuff, formal and uber strict on grammar), we’d sound as though we’d just stepped out of a Dickens novel.
Go ahead, split your infinitive, end that sentence with a proposition, but keep away from jargon and slang.
Why am I telling you this?
No, I’m not trying to do myself out of a job, but I’m aware that many small businesses don’t have the budget for a professional copywriter.
If this post helps just one or two of you create content that sells rather than describes, I’ll be happy.
And don’t forget, if you have a decent marketing budget, you can always call me.
Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd