Copywriting is a key requirement for any business. It is needed to create great content that attracts organic traffic and ultimately leads to sales, which demonstrates the important role of copywriting in marketing. Therefore, copywriting has become one of the many tools marketers should know about and master or be knowledgeable enough to delegate it to the right copywriters. However, copywriting can be more complex than many people assume. In this extensive guide, we will cover what copywriting is, where it is found and why it is so important. Then, we provide you with a step-by-step guide to creating great copy, while equipping you with further tips and tricks. Read on to find our ultimate copywriting guide.
What is Copywriting?
Let’s start with what copywriting is. Copywriting is the art of arranging words in ways that promote prospective customers to take action. Powerful copy guides readers, persuading them to take action towards a desired goal or outcome. The primary objective of a copywriter is to engage its audience with content that is beneficial to them, naturally leading to trust and conversions.
Copywriters provide content that is used across multiple platforms. They have their place in all sales and marketing efforts.
Well written copy mixes organic sales efforts with the information and solutions that the reader is looking for. The most common mistake made by copywriters today is a lack of focus on what the potential customer actually wants, and the problem they are looking to solve.
The ability of copy to attract leads and turn them into customers demonstrates the importance of copywriting in marketing.
Where is Copywriting Found in Marketing?
Copywriting can generally be provided in two broad categories of long form and short form.
Examples of long form copy are websites/webpages, blog posts, emails, newsletters, case studies, brochures and press releases.
Shorter form copy can be in the form of tweets, Instagram captions, Facebook posts, billboards or Google PPC ads.
Both forms of copywriting play a role in marketing.
How Important is Good Copywriting for Marketing?
Copywriting will make or break your marketing efforts.
Poor copy often bombards readers with obvious sales tactics and does not focus on the target audiences primary reason for engaging with the words.
Good copy, especially long-form copy, should not be forced on readers but gather and maintain their attention willfully. This is achieved through the providing of valuable content that meets their needs & desires. Great copy can be a major boost for your marketing efforts and may become your secret weapon to land on top of Google pages.
The cost of bad copy could be enormous. For starters, a bad experience associated with your brand is never positive. Aside from that copywriting is often accompanied by some form of costly design work, graphics, and other external costs. With such high stakes, it’s important to use each word effectively and with purpose.
In Facebook advertisements, for example, you are paying for a very valuable limited space. An entire ad could be wasted by making a single bad word choice or displaying an uninviting design/formatting decision.
Copywriting mistakes can waste funds faster than you can type “oops!”
With proper testing you shouldn’t have to dump too much money into a bad ad before realizing something is not working, but not all mediums are as forgiving.
Now that you know how important copywriting is in marketing, let’s turn to our ultimate step-by-step guide to copywriting.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Crafting Engaging Copy
Whether you’re generating copy for an ‘about me’ page, a blog post or coming up with a social media caption, there are steps you can follow to ensure you get the most value out of each word. This is crucial to make sure your time and money is not wasted, and will ultimately ensure successful marketing given the important role of copywriting in marketing.
1. Content Strategy Overview
Before writing any copy you need to set objectives and desired outcomes that will be fundamental to maximizing the potential impact. In simple sentences or in a brainstorming like fashion, jot down:
What are you writing (main objective) – This could be aiming to persuade customers with a useful product description, teach readers how to use one of our features, improve SEO rank, etc…
When is the deadline set – This deadline is used to accurately/realistically assess the time and resources needed to accomplish the desired goal.
Why are you writing copy – maybe to improve search rank or SEO, generate leads, promote brand awareness, etc…
Who is your target audience – are you targeting potential customers or existing customers? If you have an existing buyer persona you can refer to that, but a specific target audience will be identified in this guide prior to writing any copy (in step 4 we will outline how to perform target market research more thoroughly).
Where are you sharing it – This could be on a company website, amazon page, magazine advertisement, etc… Write what makes sense to you now, and you will revisit it later to make more informed changes if necessary.
2. Benefit Analysis
Your text should be focused on the value it is offering readers, so you’ll want to generate a list of strengths and benefits. If you are writing a blog post describing a use for your product, this list would include the reasons why someone would choose your product.
Is it more affordable, of higher quality or offered in desirable colors? Ask yourself what the focal points are of whatever it is you are selling. What are the reasons-to-believe? If you are writing a blog post offering free information, ask why somebody would need to read this. Are you meeting the readers requirements and expectations?
A simple list of benefits followed by the reasons why these benefits are useful and better than competing products is incredibly important. These benefits will be the focal point and ultimately the sales pitch in your copy.
Categorically list all of the benefits to your business that could be valuable when copywriting in marketing. These could include:
- Production efficiency/deliver speed
- Performance and quality
- Expertise and knowledge
- Market position
- Certifications or awards
- Company culture/brand personality
- Brand story
- Social influence
3. Competitive Analysis
Who are your competitors, what are their strengths and what are their weaknesses? Performing a SWOT analysis is a simple technique you can use to identify the best course of action moving forward. By familiarizing yourself with the competition you can see what needs to be offered that will be of enough value to incentivize and persuade potential customers to follow your CTA.
Once you’ve identified relevant competitors you can compare your benefits list with theirs and determine which areas you are strongest in and where there is necessary room for improvement.
A good competitive analysis provides insights and opportunities that can be invaluable when taken advantage of. The goal here is to determine where you stand in comparison to competitors and the more lucrative areas where you should focus your efforts.
4. Target Market Research
If you don’t have a customer buyer persona you might as well be swinging blindfolded. Advertising to a niche, targeted audience consisting of your ideal customer is the most efficient way to grow a business. You want to communicate one message to a group whose problems are similar, along with the mediums they use where your copy will be shown.
Come up with 2 or 3 perfect “customers” who need and want to read your content. Typically they are similar to the buyers of your product/service (or you wouldn’t be creating content for them). A basic buyer persona can include age, gender, occupation, interests, income level and social media accounts used.
5. Methods of Communication
There are several questions that need to be clearly addressed before investing any more time and money in your copy.
- How do you plan on getting your content in front of the intended readers?
- Where does the target audience hang out online? (websites they visit, social media sites used, forums and groups they frequent)
- When are they there? (When does your customer need to see this content, and when will they).
- How do the readers want to receive this content?
This is an essential step in any marketing effort. The most effective way to get your message out is to put it where the people are looking for it. It’s that simple. The research done here can be the difference between highly effective copy that exceeds your goals or highly ineffective copy that wastes time and money.
6. Summarize Your Marketing Message
Keeping in mind all the steps you’ve completed so far, the focus benefits, opportunities, target audience and best medium to reach them, now is the time to put together a clear message. Focusing on the value the content is offering readers, put yourself in their shoes and combine everything to summarize your offering.
This is not your final copy, but a summary of what your copy is about. Include all of the necessary information for the audience.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make while copywriting for marketing is forgetting to put yourself in the mind of your ideal reader.
7. Develop a Strong Call to Action
What is your immediate desired outcome for the reader after coming across your content? This could be a request for an email at the bottom of a blog post, a sale on a PPC advertisement or a link for a potential customer to follow that is guiding them to the end of your sales funnel.
This call-to-action needs to be compelling and provide direction, while creating urgency. Make sure your call-to-action (CTA) is clear and direct, and beneath your marketing message. This is the base of your copy, all of the essential information and a strong CTA that will incentivize the reader to make the choice that you want them to.
With your marketing message and call to action, the next step is highly dependent on the copy you are creating. If you are creating a PPC ad you will need to strip this down into as little as 10 or 15 words, where a blog post may need an additional 2000 words with infographics and charts.
In a perfect world you only include the necessary information that will get your message out while keeping the readers attention. What the customer or audience is looking to gain from your content is what you want to show them.
Long form copy offers the ability to provide more information that can prove extremely valuable. Proper keyword research is necessary to take advantage of the opportunity effectively.
Short form copy such as single banner ad displayed on a website guarantees readers see your call-to-action. Combining it with your marketing message is extremely challenging, but can prove extraordinarily beneficial when done correctly.
Whatever copy you’ve created, run it through vigorous editing. Associating your company with quality work at every touchpoint potential customers have with your business the key to a strong brand and high customer loyalty and trust.
Importance of Design in Copywriting
Included with all copy is design decisions that can highly impact the emotions readers feel and the choices they make. Bad design choices can immediately lose the attention of your readers. Great design can be the difference between a profitable final sale or complete waste of resources.
A Checklist of Tips to Remember When Copywriting in Marketing
- Thorough market research has been completed and the market is fully understood
- Marketing message has been effectively established
- Target audience is identified, highly specific and well defined
- Call-to-action (CTA) is clear and well defined
- CTA promotes urgency
- Reasons-to-believe are strong
- Message and offer is of high value to the target audience
- Both text and graphics are designed with the goal of having readers follow through on the call-to-action
- The copy is written FOR the reader
- The copy focuses on the benefits it provides
- The copy has been repeatedly edited
The Problem with Ineffective and Bad Copy
The problem with copywriting that is ineffective and bad is that it can have the complete opposite effect then the desired one. Not only can the target audience ignore bad copy, but they could undesirable emotions towards your company that could trickle down to their peers, through word of mouth, in the opposite way the copywriter intended. In other words, the great importance of copywriting for marketing could also play against you if you invest in bad copy.
Should I Hire a Professional Copywriter?
Given the role copywriting plays in marketing, you may wonder if you should hire a professional copywriter. If you do not have the time to follow all of the essential steps to ensure that it will be effective but you have the resources to invest in a professional, you most certainly should. Well written copy for your blog, website or advertisements will go a long way in separating a company from their competitors.
What Skills To Look For in Copywriters?
When hiring or assigning a copywriter you should look for those who understand and are well educated about the topic they are covering. At the very least copywriters should include research notes and an article outline prior to preparing the finished copy so that you can vet and approve their ideas. While this will take an additional few hours and cost a bit more money, you can avoid sinking costs into poor or lesser quality content.
We can’t stress the importance of copywriting for marketing enough. Once you’ve understood what copywriting is and why it is so important, you will know that it is worth investing some time and effort in developing great copy. With this step-by-step guide to copywriting, you have the tools you need to create engaging copy that sells.