Consider the complex character of strong copy. One day it drives home its point with forceful simplicity. On another day, it scores with rock-the-boat boldness. Come back later and you might find it in a playful mood, making a good-natured pitch for an act of self-indulgence.
Well-crafted copy taps into the hearts and minds of readers and delivers stories and messages that make compelling human connections. When done right, it can inform, provoke, inspire and sell. But if your copy is confusing, uninteresting or just plain irrelevant to your reader, it will not only fail on its mission, it will make it harder the next time you try and get through to your audience. The craft of copywriting works essentially like this:
- Producing weak, convoluted copy will make prospective customers turn a blind eye to your current and future communications.
- Producing clear, memorable, persuasive copy will keep your audience tuned in and ready to take the ride with you each time you have something to say.
By conducting this quick 5-point inspection each time you review copy in development, you’ll have a process for making modifications that can add up to a high-impact, results-oriented message.
1) Does your copy pay off your headline? On average, five times as many people read headlines as read body copy, so crafting an attention-getting headline significantly increases the chances of achieving your goal. But not if you don’t follow through and fail to deliver what the headline promises. If your headline is “Get the GPS That Avoids Traffic Jams,” the copy should spell out the who, what, where and how of a navigational device that helps you steer clear of traffic. If it doesn’t, you’ve duped the reader. They will hold it against you.
2) Is your copy engaging? Keeping things simple and factual isn’t enough to draw the reader in and create real interest in your message. Find fresh ways to say routine things, be a storyteller, appeal to the reader’s emotions, needs or tastes, and make your copy crackle with imagery, rhythm and clarity. It’s not about being clever or cute, it’s about presenting your message in a way that generates enthusiasm and makes a real connection to your audience’s self-interests.
3) Is your message easily understood? A lot of copy challenges readers to sort out what’s being said by leading them through an obstacle course of wordplay, unnecessary adjectives, redundancies, run-on sentences and technical jargon. Remember: Your job isn’t to show how clever or knowledgeable you are, it’s to speak the language of your audience and remove all obstacles to getting your message across to them. Keep it short, sweet and easy to digest.
4) Does your copy persuade and motivate? Concise, reader-friendly copy will increase your odds of engagement, but unless you write convincingly about the sales points that will motivate your readers to buy a product or service, it’s all for nothing. Make sure your copy is as sales-minded as it is communication-minded by knowing your customers and what’s important to them. Explain logically why they need what you’re offering, write about benefits (not features), and ask them to take a specific action.
5) Is your copy relevant? The purpose of advertising copy is to communicate ideas and information about a product or service that’s of value to the reader. Going on about yourself, your business or your accomplishments is a self-indulgent waste of time when what your readers really care about is what they need, want or desire. Stay relevant by uncovering the reasons why your best prospects would want to buy what you’re offering and place all of your emphasis on how they will come out ahead by doing business with you.
Effective copywriters deliver meaningful messages in a fresh, informative way. To put the craft of good copywriting in your corner, use this 5-point inspection process to make sure whoever writes your advertising is making a true connection with your customers. Spark their interest, speak their language, and move them to action. The bottom-line results of your efforts will speak for themselves.