I love to write. I enjoy thinking up new content, coming up with engaging titles, and developing compelling narratives. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I started out as a teen blogger, and now I find myself in the middle of my third decade writing for various platforms and publications. Along the way, I’ve developed a clear understanding of what makes for a good piece of content, and what drives a reader to action.
The Essentials Of Good Copywriting
In the interest of full-disclosure, let me tell you upfront that I’m not a seasoned professional. I’ve been fortunate enough to have developed my skills through trial and error, through my interactions with some of the best copywriters in the industry. Below, I’ve compiled a list of the most essential lessons I’ve learned along the way. Consider this a cheat-sheet to help you as you develop your copywriting skills.
1. Craft A Compelling Narrative
Creating a narrative is a lot like crafting a compelling story. You want your readers to be drawn in right from the start, to feel as though they’ve been transported to another world, away from their everyday lives. The best narratives are often simple yet engaging, filled with fascinating characters, and dripping with drama. When crafting your narrative, start with a hook.
For example, let’s say you’re writing a piece on fashion trends for women. You can choose to start your piece with a bang, by using a shocking or surprising statistic to grab the reader’s attention. Or, you can choose to begin with a humanizing story about a regular woman who struggles with what items to buy for herself and her family. Your choice will likely depend on your intended audience, but in either case, you’re setting the scene for the piece by creating a compelling narrative.
2. Develop An Understandable Credibility
Inevitably, no matter what kind of content you write, you’ll have to deal with some sort of credibility issue. Whether you’re an expert in your field or are just starting out, you need to develop an understanding of how to make your readers believe you. To start, strive to be as objective as possible, and avoid being overtly biased in your writing. Even the best writers in the world fall victim to bias at times, and it’s never worth the risk of losing credibility.
Sometimes, being a little less than upfront could be the best way to go. For example, if you’re writing about fashion trends for women, you might want to subtly suggest that some styles are better suited for some body types than others. Or, you can discuss the merits of a particular piece of clothing, but refrain from giving your personal opinion on the matter. In these ways, you’re setting up your readers for the content that you’re about to present, without fully committing yourself.
3. Highlight The Main Ideas
While it’s always nice to be able to summarize your piece in a catchy slogan or tagline, ensuring that your readers understand your main points is more important. The best copywriters know how to weave a series of related ideas together into a compelling narrative, while avoiding too many lengthy, complicated sentences. Instead of trying to cram your entire thesis statement into one short piece of copy, break it down into several more easily digestible chunks.
For example, if you’re writing a piece on fashion trends for women, you might want to start by discussing what is already available in terms of affordable, stylish clothing. From there, you can segue into a broader discussion on whether or not it’s better to follow the styles of the more well-known designers, or to come up with your own original ideas. In this way, you’re not only establishing your credibility as an expert, but you’re also providing your readers with an opportunity to think for themselves, and to connect with your content on an emotional level.
4. Craft Thorough Meta-textual Content
With every piece of written content, whether it’s an article, booklet, or e-book, you have the ability to add some level of depth and meaning through the use of various textual forms. The best copywriters know how to play with words, how to embed subtle yet effective meaning in their work. Take the time to develop a good mental Rolodex of all the different textual forms, and how to use them effectively. For example, if you’re writing an article on fashion trends for women, you might want to consider using subheadings, bolding, and italics, to draw the reader’s attention to certain words and phrases. Or, you could choose to write an engaging captions, or add some multimedia, such as a photograph or YouTube video.
These are just some of the basic tools that every copywriter should know how to use. With practice, anyone can become a master. And, at least for me, knowing how to write compelling copy has been a game-changer, both professionally and personally. Now, when I have a question about my articles or platform content, I can always turn to my copywriting mentor, for advice and guidance. If you’re interested in learning how to write compelling copy, consider pursuing a writing-related degree or certificate program. You’ll be able to carve out a specialized niche, as a professional content-writer, and benefit from the experience of a lifetime.