Good copy is a funny thing. It’s incredibly tough to create but easy to digest. Good copywriting is simple, conversational, logical and easy to read. It has to capture the essence and spirit of the product, service or organization, while connecting directly with the reader.
The job of a copywriter is tough. First, you have to break down what you’re writing about to the most basic level. Copywriting isn’t the place to show how many big words you know. It’s about getting to the point and maximizing value. But it isn’t just about the product.
Knowing the customer is first step toward writing effective copy.
That last sentence is so important I’ll repeat it. Knowing the customer is first step toward writing effective copy.
Whether you’re writing advertising copy, a company newsletter, or a one-line call to action, a copywriter’s job is to get inside the head of the reader. What is their attention span? What are they expecting? How will the product bring value to them? Why should they go with one particular brand over another?
Knowing the target audience will help you understand how they’ll consume the copy. What type of expectations or past experiences do they have with the company or product your pitching? What type of action or response are you trying to solicit from them?
These are just a few of the questions good copywriters ask before crafting a pitch. The more you know about your target reader, the easier it is to appeal to their bottom line. A solid pitch is designed to let the reader know how you’re making their life easier.
Know the product.
Getting into the mind of your ideal reader helps you understand how they’ll use the product you’re trying to sell. The nest step is tailoring the pitch to meet their specific needs. There are plenty of ways to pitch the same product, but good copywriters find the way that’s most effective.
Here’s an example: I can easily picture four or five types of customer interested in buying a new lap top, but they all relate to the product differently.
The tech geek might want to know the specs of the processor, how many USB ports it has, how much data it can effectively manage and what type of software it supports.
The gamer is interested in internet speed, video quality, the sound card, what games are available and if it can handle a controller.
The business pro might be looking for wi-fi connectivity, ease of use, document compatibility and tech support.
The audiophile downloads dozens of songs at once and wants to be able to play his ever growing music library through a home stereo system.
Because we’ve identified the target audience and their needs, we can highlight the product in the best way to meet those needs.
Craft the Pitch Organically
These days a lot of bad copy is focused solely on using keywords. SEO principles are certainly a good place to start, but a good copywriter weaves in keywords naturally, without forcing them into places they don’t belong. Bad writers just jam them in, making keywords stand out like a clown at a funeral.
In my opinion, the best copywriting doesn’t feel like a hard sell. Most consumers don’t like being hit over the head with a pitch. They relate to products that fit their needs and sensibilities. That’s why it’s so important to do the legwork when it comes to researching the audience and the product.
What do you think? What do you look for in effective copywriting? Leave you thoughts in the comments below.