What is copywriting and why do you need it?
A lot of people ask me: 'What is this 'copy-writing' of which you speak? Can I do it? And why is it important to my business?' So to address these questions, I've penned this here blog...
Copywriting is writing that persuades us to take action. Actually most writing does this. Whether it's a stop sign in the street, a politician's speech or your summer novel - all of them want you to think, feel or do something.
In business, copywriting includes the words on your website, sales page, brochure, social media bio and any other marketing. Essentially, it persuades your clients to like or trust you, to sign up to your list and to buy your products.
To be honest, I've never been a fan of the word. No one really understands it. I've read somewhere that it comes from the advertising world. Damn them. Copy in this context simply means writing by copywriters which is rather confusing.
Where it fits into your business
Copywriting ties all the elements of your business together and makes them sing a sweet song to your dream clients.
For instance... you may have a product or service. Perhaps you've thought about your company values and figured out who your ideal client is, then worked on your brand messages and design. How do you got about communicating all this effectively to the world? Yep. You need some words.
And the words have to be great to make your business shine (and not spoil all your hard work). Don't make the mistake of thinking people won't read them. Even the most beautiful things need explaining. Especially when it comes to parting folk from their hard-earned cash.
Why you think you don't need it
Good writing kind of disappears. When the words flow effortlessly, we read and we feel, and it's the feeling we remember. We almost forget that the words entering our brains and hearts are inspiring these thoughts and feelings. When we report back to our friends it usually goes something like this: 'It's going to make me rich/slimmer/more qualified!' We don't say, or even realise, it was well written, made us feel special or appealed to our insecurities.
As a writer, it can be irksome when people ask me, ‘What’s so good about words? Why does it matter when I have a great web design?’ But I understand. So after slapping my forehead (privately) I explain the magic.
Why you need it
Imagine for a moment you're hanging out at a party. The host approaches you. You're excited, intrigued about what they'll say. You expect warmth... but get an obnoxious, self-serving pitch. They go and on about themselves, use clichés, wrongly assume things about you and use jargon that makes you feel stupid. Would you stick around?
This principle is the same for all the words we put out into the world, whether spoken or written. People will click the back button or throw away that brochure if they don't like what you have to say.
You need to talk to people to sell to them and the way you talk matters.
With great copy you engage the right people, they'll like you and, in time, trust you. You'll gain loyal fans (customers), stand out from the crowd and increase your profits. Fact.
It doesn't standalone
I'm not going to pretend that copy alone will sort out all your problems. Otherwise the internet would be awash with plain white pages full of text. You need a good service/product, colour, pictures, functionality and a marketing plan.
You could indeed be a wordsmith, but if you aren't clear about your company values and USPs, who your ideal clients are or what channels you're going to use to reach them, great words simply won't be enough. Likewise, having a fabulous brand and marketing plan without beautiful words isn't going to work either.
Truth bomb: if you're publishing sales pages and blogs on your website and not pushing these out to your tribe no one will see them!
Can you do it yourself?
Yes if you learn how. Good copywriting requires some business savvy, knowledge of your brand and ideal customer, a bit of customer psychology and the ability to write (and edit) well.
But you can also hire it out. Sometimes this is great, allowing you to focus on the bits of the business you love, sometimes it's just too expensive - especially when you're starting out.
Hiring a copywriter will save you time and effort, and help you get results, but I recommend you learn the basics (see below) so that you have a grasp of such an important part of your business. If you do go on to hire someone, your knowledge will save your copywriter time (and therefore save you money).
Although I do pen blogs from time to time for other people (and enjoy it), I advocate you try to write your own blog. While a clever copywriter can emulate your voice across your website, and use tried and tested techniques for your sales page, your blog is where you can play about with content and form - and get personal. So, unless there's a massive difference between your blog and the rest of your content, it's fabulous coming from you, my beauty.
What you can do this week
If you're new to business:
- Start with some reflection. Think about what you want to say and who you want to say it to
- Do your research. If you're going to appeal to your ideal clients and persuade them to like your stuff you need to get to know what makes them tick. This can entail talking to them at networking events, online forums or submitting a survey via Survey Monkey
- Read up on copywriting (blogs and articles like this one :)). I've written some other blogs relevant to this topic Words that sell and When price doesn't matter
- Keep the writing simple to start with and focus mainly on the benefits of using your product or service
If you're already running a business:
- Take a step back and review your copy objectively (or get an ideal client to look at it for you)
- Is it consistent across your marketing?
- Are there any spelling errors or broken links?
- Are you mainly focusing on the benefits and outcomes of your product/service?
- Can you make the words simpler (and therefore more punchy?)
Now it's over to you. Remember, your words matter! x
Any other thoughts on copywriting I haven't addressed here? Then get commenting below!
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