Social media advertising may be forcing marketers to focus more on image and video-based ads, but that hasn’t made copywriting any less important.
Images and videos may draw the user in, but it’s copy that’s going to convince them whether or not they make a purchase. It remains an integral component of advertising, even amongst other form of writing.
Copywriting is unique. Because unlike other forms of writing, where you can be excused if the language is flowery and the settings are meticulously detailed, you need to be precise and deliberate in your message.
Here are 5 ways to improve your copywriting approach:
Do Your Research
Before you get started, you have to do the research into what you’re writing about and to whom it will be for.
Go online and do research into the product or service you are promoting, then look even further into the demographic you’re appealing to. Just like with any research paper you did in school, your best work came when you thoroughly researched the topic and confidently wrote and elaborated on it.
The same applies to public speaking. If you’re trying to get a point across, it’ll be difficult if you only halfway know what you’re talking about.
Once you’re knowledgeable enough to speak confidently, your speech will sound a lot more self-assured.
Don’t Be Passive
Here’s a big problem that a lot of writers, especially inexperienced copywriters, will run into when starting out.
Copywriters want to have an active voice, but will sometimes catch themselves using passive voice. In an active voice, the “subject is doing the verb’s action” and “acts upon” the verb.
Here’s an example of an active voice:
“Sarah mailed the letter”
Simple, right? Sarah is the subject, mailed is the verb and the letter is the object.
Now, let’s take that same sentence and make it passive:
“The letter was mailed by Sarah”
Somehow, the object became first, the object became last, and the sentence added two words that didn’t need to be there in the first place.
Taken from copyblogger.com, a must-have bookmark for any copywriter, “In English, readers prefer the SVO sentence sequence: Subject, Verb, Object.”
This is important in general copywriting, but is essential in social media copywriting where character counts come into play. In the previous example, those seven characters (five for the letters and two for the spaces) could make all the difference.
Keep it Simple
In any form of advertising, your message needs to be direct and captivating.
Copywriting isn’t like your novel where you’re ushering in a new era of literature and flowering the language with long words, extremely detailed settings, and the feelings of each character involved.
No, in advertising you need to get to the point. People are being constantly bombarded with information, especially online, and it’s only the most direct and jarring advertisements that get any form of attention.
Just think to any 30-second advertisement you see on TV. Sometimes these ads will feature a whole story, which seemingly borders on irrelevant, for 25 seconds and then the last 5 seconds you’re finally introduced to the product.
You may remember the story in the commercial, but do you remember what it was trying to sell?
Get to the Point
“JUST GET TO THE POINT!”
How many times have you wanted to say that to someone that was rambling, but couldn’t because it would be rude? Well, in copywriting, if someone’s rambling it’s much easier to walk away from the conversation.
Don’t go off on tangents and stay on topic. If you’re selling a specific brand of computer, talk about that specific computer. Don’t talk about the history of the computer or the origin of the word ‘computer’. People are too busy and easily distracted to hear an entire lecture, so give it to them straight.
Edit, Edit, and Edit Some More
And this doesn’t even include spelling or grammar checking, which is the easiest yet most overlooked part of the writing process.
With any form of writing, you should always go back and re-read the copy to see if there are any discrepancies; irrelevant messaging, unnecessary words, passive voice, poor transition, sentences that don’t sound free-flowing, etc.
Reading the copy out loud is probably the most effective method of deconstructing your copy and eliminating anything that can be seen as harmful to the readers’ experience.
By reading it to yourself, you’re putting yourself in the shoes of your reader, which you should have been doing the entire time.