Updated for 2019. A guide for all new copywriters or anyone that needs help writing for a promotion, website, blog, event, email or social media.
These simple steps have helped me get results for myself and my customers.
1. Get to know the scene.
Starting any writing job can be daunting. Be clear on your brief. I like this one.
Define who your customers are, what you need them to do, and what you need to achieve.
Look at your competition and similar businesses.
Go on Twitter and other social media, scroll through timelines, sign up to newsletters, and read through websites and blogs.
It will give you a head start.
Knowing what your competition and other businesses are doing will give you more options.
Everyone is feeding from social media. Ideas, trends and language are borrowed and adjusted to suit.
You can still be original and break a few rules, but it will save you time and give you confidence in your writing.
This will also help you get to know your customers. Read all the comments and reviews and do as much research as you can.
2. Write for your platform.
Are you writing for a website, social media, a blog, email or print?
How will the end result look?
I will mimic what I’m writing for as much as possible because the layout can affect what you write, and images can change the whole feel and meaning of a promotion.
So for example, if I’m writing a blog I will alternate from a Word doc and WordPress. I’ll write the headline, the sub-headings, add the images, and then I’ll start on the content.
I frequently preview the blog to see what it looks like.
Many customers will view the content on a phone.
Always break up long paragraphs with sub-headings.
Whatever you’re working on, send a copy to yourself via email and look at it on your phone. You’ll be surprised how different it looks.
I sometimes leave it until the next morning so I can look at it with a fresh pair of eyes.
If possible send a test email or use a programme to view how your content will look on different devices and browsers.
Tactics and techniques for every platform.
Get to know each one.
Updating a website
A big job for anyone. A copywriter has the advantage of seeing a business through fresh eyes and will be tuned into defining the benefits and organising the job.
Be clear on the brief, do lots of research and get to know the business as much as possible. Here’s a helpful, step-by-step guide. Copywriter’s Guide to Rewriting Web Content from Gemma Hawdon. When writing for a website make sure you read up on the latest SEO.
Instagram is growing in popularity for small businesses. I prefer it to Facebook. You can reach a new community locally and beyond. It’s easier to build up followers and get your posts seen.
Instagram and Facebook will prioritse posts that have the most comments and interaction. So ask questions, use competitions, videos and interesting or entertaining images.
Twitter is all about the chat. It’s also good for event updates and trending hashtags.
LinkedIn is great for business-to-business. I’ve found many customers this way.
Buffer has some good blogs. How to create a Social Media Marketing Strategy for 2019
Good for helping customers, improving SEO and enticing target customers to your business.
Video blogging is big in 2019/20. But the written blog is by no means dead! People want answers, information and insight.
A blog can match you to your perfect customer.
Find blogs that you enjoy and can relate to. It will help you develop your own blogging skills. I like Medium.
What can you pass on to your customers? How can you help or entertain them?
Talk to new and existing customers through newsletters, and create build-up campaigns for events and product launches.
The key is to build a steady database of customers making sure the email addresses are clean and up-to-date.
Use incentives and promote your newsletter wherever you can.
Mailchimp make it easy.
Here’s my own beginner’s guide to email marketing.
Surprise your local community and reach out to the masses. It may be exactly what’s needed to give you the edge over the competition.
Try a creative mailing piece, press release or magazine article.
I found some excellent tips on PR, writing articles and press releases with Soulful PR with Janet Murray.
Help customers find you. Learn about SEO.
Google is intuitive and will recognise an informative and helpful piece of content.
If you use the right keywords you will be picked up in searches. But that’s just the basics.
Give yourself a better chance of getting found by your ideal customers. Beginner’s Guide To SEO in 2019 by Moz.
3. Keep it simple. Keep it sweet.
Keep it simple
The best results I’ve had (in terms of sales, website views or responses to content) are from short and well-structured pieces of writing.
It’s really tempting to write about every fantastic thing your business or promotion has to offer.
Most people won’t read long pieces of content.
Apart from a few exceptions like informative website pages, a blog, complex or luxury products. Stick to a few key benefits and add natural links to more information.
A short, targeted and confident message will encourage people to take action.
An example event email layout that got results for me.
- An enticing or emotive subject line. Step away from the computer… the first drink is on us!
- Headline. Copywriting event of the year 2019.
- An image.
- A benefit driven introduction. Join us for a day of marketing chat and advance your writing skills to compete with the best.
- Content.1-2 paragraphs or a bullet point list.
- A testimonial from a champion in your field or a happy customer. This could also be the headline.
- A strong call to action. Book now to receive your 20% early bird discount.
- Contact details and a link to your website.
Keep the structure simple and content short.
Keep it sweet
Write in a positive frame of mind and in the active voice.
You’re not writing a report. You’re talking to people.
Create a sense of action. I found a great blog to help you with this from Copy Octopus.
Be clear on your benefits and what you’re offering.
Ask the questions “So what? What’s in it for me?”
Some useful advice I received when I started out.
Show with an image or testimonial, or blatantly say what the benefits are. A financial saving, piece of mind, enjoyment, the problem you are solving with your product or service, knowledge to help you move forward etc.
Always include a strong call to action.
I found some businesses are reluctant to add one thinking it’s too pushy, but it’s not. It’s giving people the option to take up what you’re offering.
Be bold and confident. If you avoid giving people the option I would wonder why?
Grammar and spelling are important.
You will be judged on it.
4. Keep the customer at the heart of your marketing.
Get to know your customers.
Talk to regular and past customers, read reviews and comments, go to events, speak to customer services or staff on the ground level.
“Get a quote not a quiz” – Aviva. They’ve tapped into what customers find annoying and used their simple approach as a sales pitch.
I moved to marketing from a customer services background. It seemed like the marketing team were oblivious to what customers really needed and wanted.
We were constantly sorting out invoicing issues, delivery or transport mix ups, confusion over prices and details, the list is endless.
And then I moved to marketing and did exactly the same.
It’s inevitable. It’s easy to forget the whole customer process and just focus on what you’re doing.
Know what’s important to customers and clear up any problems. You can then concentrate on the benefits.
Why do people go to you? What makes you unique?
Do you have a particularly smooth buying process, do you give customers piece of mind with your tight security checks, or get through the jargon and do the hard work for customers?
Maybe you have friendly, experienced staff who know their products inside-out, nice comfy arm chairs and calming surroundings, or offer an Eco friendly approach (high on the agenda at the moment).
Whatever your business, find out why customers like and respect you.
Use what you find to promote yourself.
A final note.
It is difficult to know what people will respond to. Sometimes it’s the least likely promotion that will get results.
Like a two line, plain text email with a link to your website, or a heartfelt or funny blog on your website that’s not really related to your business but helps you gain trust with your customers.
If you’re working on a campaign use a variety of promotions on different platforms. And if you use the same promotions all the time, it might be worth shaking things up.
Rules are there to be broken and change will make people look.
Useful blogs and websites.
I hope you enjoyed my blog.
I am freelance copywriter in Pembrokeshire.
If you would like me to write for you, please do get in touch.