Entries Tagged 'Effective long copy' ↓
August 2nd, 2013 — copywriter, copywriting, copywriting tips, Effective long copy, email copywriting, Facebook pages and timelines
Whether you need someone to work on an off line or online project, it’s essential the copywriter you choose has certain qualities.
The ability to write is obviously right up there, but being an effective writer goes a lot deeper than being able to string a few sentences together.
Really? OK, a copywriter rarely gets involved in design, but they must have a creative side to be able to look at your project from a number of different angles. They must be able to come up with concepts that will make your project stand out.
A bit of nous
Because copywriters usually are not industry specific, it is imperative they have the ability to grasp a subject quickly. Frequently, copywriting projects only last a few weeks or months (especially when it is in relation to website copy or brochure content), so they have to get up to speed with your product/service PDQ in order to write about it in an intelligent, coherent and persuasive manner.
You’ve undoubtedly heard many copywriters talking about ‘speaking to your audience’. But to make their copy resonate with your customers, they have to show empathy for the issue they have (and the reason why they need to buy what you’re offering). Only when they place themselves in the shoes of your customers can they create copy that will deliver the emotional connection needed to make the sale.
Although your copywriter knows how to write to sell, it’s important they also listen to your goals. After all, riding roughshod over your ideas is hardly going to ingratiate themselves to you.
A good copywriter will listen first, weigh up the project and then provide feedback. After that, the collaborative process begins so a mutually approved course of action if determined.
Not only do they have to be able to work to deadlines, they also must be able to follow direction, manage multiple tasks and be completely focused on the details of your project.
The last thing you want it to have to be constantly chasing them up to see how far along with the project they are.
Your copywriter should drive the project through to completion.
Not afraid to stand their ground
A copywriter won’t bully you (a good one, anyway), but they have to manage your expectations, so, should you want to take the project in a direction they know won’t work it’s important they have the guts to tell you.
After all, if they follow your instructions like a sheep knowing it’s not going to work, the project will be doomed. And, because they wrote it, it’ll be seen as their fault.
Therefore, any professional writer will point out when you are wrong and tell you why. Listen to them; they know what they’re talking about.
That needs a bit more explanation. Simple, as in writers of simple language. They’ll steer clear of any jargon or technical mumbo-jumbo and create content that is clear, concise and easy to understand.
They are not there to make you look intelligent by littering your content with long words no one understands.
They will also produce content (especially if you commission them for multiple projects) that is consistent in voice and tone, keeping your marketing materials on brand.
When you’re a copywriter there’s no room for ego. Everything you write is for others, so it’s essential it follows the customer’s style and brief. It is essential your write can cut and edit the material without any emotional attachment to it. Its purpose is to sell, not gain kudos for the copywriter.
Understand the web
If your project is an online one, it’s also essential your copywriter understands how to write effectively for the web. That means they understand the use of hyperlinks, internal linking structures, search engine optimisation and how to cultivate a persuasive momentum that will keep the reader hooked.
Other than that, it’s also important you gel with your copywriter. Give them a call and have a chat to get a feel the type of person they are and whether you can work together.
It’s really important the client/copywriter relationship works to get the best out of your project.
Sally Ormond – Briar Copywriting Ltd, Twitter and Google+
July 24th, 2013 — copywriting tips, effective copy, Effective long copy
How many times have you heard that the best copy focuses on the benefits of your product or service?
It’s true – your customers (and potential customers) are only interested in what you can do for them. They don’t care about you, your company or even what you sell. They just want to know how you’re going to make their life easier.
Mind you, when it comes to actually writing the copy, focusing on the benefits is tricky.
For starters, how do you know what they are?
When it comes to the features and specification of what you’re offering, you’ve got loads to write about, but the benefits? That’s a whole different ball game.
Before you start writing you need to work out who is your ideal customer.
Who are you writing for?
If you could pick your ideal customer, what would they be like?
Think about their age, occupation, likes and dislikes, what keeps them awake at night and what they want to get out of life.
Once you know everything about them, you’ll be able to write to them with passion to engage them in what you’re saying, to convince them their lives would be so much better with your product or service.
What about the benefits?
Once you know whom you’re writing to, it’s time to work out the benefits.
That means it’s time to do some research.
The first stage is to list all the features and specifications of what you’re offering.
Then, take each of these in turn and decide how they benefit your customers. How will they make their life easier etc.?
The next step is to think about the problems you will help them avoid backing up your benefits.
Finally, write down all the buying objections you can think of (e.g. in relation to cost) and how you would address them using the benefits you’ve already identified.
As you can see, writing copy isn’t quite as straightforward as you would think. If you want people to buy, you must:
- Address them directly
- Appeal to their needs and wants
- Demonstrate how your product/service will benefit them directly
- Address all potential buying objections
That’s quite a tall order for anyone, which is why many businesses bring in a professional copywriter.
Image courtesy of Photokanok/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
August 24th, 2011 — copywriting tips, Effective long copy, internet marketing
Yes, the age old debate rages on – is long copy better than short?
The simple answer is ‘it depends’. Your market, product and method of selling will all have an impact on the decision as to which is right for you.
Many people will argue against long copy saying that it doesn’t work because people just don’t have the time or inclination to read swathes of copy.
But the truth is long copy does work – quite often much better than short copy – but only if it is right for your product and it is written well.
The secret to effective long copy
Before I launch into how to write it, you first have to determine whether you actually need long copy.
The length of your copy is largely determined by:
- Your product
- Your audience
- Your context
Let’s take a look at your product first.
What is it that you want to sell through your copy?
If it’s expensive you will probably sell more through long copy. It’s not going to be an impulse purchase so your copy will have to carry a lot of benefits and persuasive, emotive language to convince your potential buyer they really need your product.
Perhaps you’re selling an information product. You’ve probably come across sites that sell the latest-get-rich-quick-without-putting-any-effort-in scheme. Your copy has to be stacked with benefits to make your reader believe it’s for them and, the more benefits you have, the longer your copy needs to be.
If you’re selling something that’s packed to the rafters with features you’re going to need a lot of copy to list them all and give the direct benefit of each of them. This could be a new type of computer, the latest TV or some other technologically advanced gadget. The more complex the product the more copy you will need to convince the reader they really need it.
Getting your long copy to work
It’s all well and good when the experts shout ‘long copy is better than short’ but unless you know how to write it you may struggle to make that adage work.
This is where your audience comes in to play.
Understanding who you are selling to is vital in any sales process but especially here.
Your audience will determine how you put across your information.
Now we’ve all seen those incredibly long websites that sell the aforementioned latest-get-rich-quick-without-putting-any-effort-in scheme. Just about all of them include red, bold, underlined and highlighted words.
Personally, if I see one of those I run for the hills.
Because I’m not interested in it – it could be the best copy known to man but I won’t read it.
Your presentation has to match the market you are aiming for. People who are looking for the next get rich quick idea will be used to seeing this type of format – it sold them on the last idea so it’s highly likely to sell them on the next.
But if you’re a major online retailer selling the latest high tech 3D TV and you use that format, you won’t sell a bean. In this case your language, copy and visual style must fit in with your brand and image. If it’s in your familiar style your readers’ are more likely to trust the information you are providing them with.
Don’t forget the context
So far we’ve seen that your product and your audience will have a huge effect on your copy. But, as alluded above, so will its context.
If you’re a high end retailer your copy has to fit with your image.
If the 3D TV retailer above decided to use garish colours and highlighted text their potential customers will be heading for the hills.
Your copy and its visual elements (images, diagrams etc.) have to fit with what your audience expects to see.
The final word
Of course, even if you produce some stonking long copy not everyone will read it word for word.
Some will skim it (so make sure you use descriptive sub headings), some won’t read it at all whilst others will hang on every word.
The only way to find out what works best for you is test your copy and refine it until you reach the optimum format for you.
Oh and if you don’t think long copy works on the web – it does.
Granted, not everyone likes reading from a screen (me included) but long copy works here because they can’t see or touch your products. Because there is no physical experience your words have to show all features and benefits. Give it a try and see if it works for you.
Over to you
What has your experience been of long copy?
Have you have any particular successes or failures? Perhaps you have some other tips you can share?
If so please leave a comment below.