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Where to Start with Copywriting

You’ve decided to grow a business, start a blog, or launch a product via an online store. Pretty exciting!

But to grow that business you need to convince people to buy from you, rather than your competitors. And to get them to do that, you’ll need good copywriting skills.

What is copywriting?

Simply put, copywriting is the art of attracting, converting, and delighting people to grow your business, blog, or product.

Why do you need copywriting?

As a business owner, marketer, or product creator, you’ll most likely have considered the importance of good writing. But maybe you haven’t thought about it in terms of copywriting. Let’s explore.

The Human Element

When someone buys a product or uses a service, there’s a human element to the transaction. Sure, the technology behind your product or service might be of high quality, but at some point that person has to actually use it.

If you want someone to buy your product or use your service, you’ll need to consider how you can draw them in with good copywriting. The following are some proven tips to achieve that.

1. Use a conversational tone

This might seem obvious, but often business owners and marketers think that writing in a conversational tone will make their writing seem more natural. While there’s nothing wrong with using informal language, especially when writing for humans, you should not do so carelessly. For instance, let’s say you’re writing a blog post about fashion trends for a living website – you wouldn’t want to write ‘fashion trends’ every other word, as it will come across as very unreadable.

When you write in a conversational tone, you put yourself in the mindset of your reader and speak directly to them. For example, ‘you’ not ‘I’ in the following sentence, “I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the latest fashion trends as much as I have.”

This applies to all forms of writing – whether you’re writing a novel, an article, or a press release.

2. Use active, declarative, and specific language

Now, this might seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but sometimes we get so absorbed in the idea of a blog post that we don’t stop to think about the actual words we’re using. For example, if you’re writing about how awesome your product is, you might say “This is a fantastic product! It does such-and-such and allows me to do such-and-such”. But that’s boring, isn’t it?

Instead of saying “This is fantastic!”, which can come off as somewhat forced, try using language that the reader can associate with themselves. For example, “I love how seamless this integration is. It takes a lot of headaches out of maintaining separate blogs.”

Notice how easily the two sentences differ. The first one comes across as very enthusiastic, while the second one comes across as more mature.

3. Use the active voice

This is almost exactly like the previous tip, but it applies to a slightly different situation. When you write in the active voice, you take out the “I” in front of every sentence, as it is the subject of the sentence that performs the action. For example, “Using the active voice makes for more concise and compelling copy”.

So if you had a blog post about fashion trends, and you wrote the post in the active voice, each sentence would begin with “The active voice makes for more concise…” instead of “I think that the active voice makes for more concise…”. It’s the same with the “It” in “This is an IT product that…” instead of “I think that the IT product…”.

4. Write only for the reader’s benefit

This is probably the most important piece of advice that I can give to aspiring copywriters. When you write for the benefit of the reader, you assume that they know nothing about the topic you’re writing about. So, you begin by offering them information that they might not have, and continue by helping them to understand the subject matter more clearly. This entails establishing yourself as an authority on the topic, rather than just someone who has experience in a similar context.

For example, let’s say you’re writing a blog post about e-commerce for a business-to-business magazine. Your article might begin with something like “As a marketer for X product, I know that…”

Instead of just saying “I know that…”, write “I know that customers of your online store have to navigate several steps…” – or even “There’s a lot of complexity when it comes to…” This is all information that the reader could use, and it gives you the opportunity to educate them on the topic, without appearing overly-formal.

The Technology Element

If someone is reading your blog post or buying your product, there will always be a technological component. If you want people to do something – such as subscribe to your newsletter or make a purchase – you’ll need to provide the means for them to do so.

In the scenario above, the B2B magazine would probably include a hyperlink to the store’s website in the article, if they’re going to encourage their readers to make a purchase. So, it’s essential that you understand how to create effective, readable hyperlinks.

1. Always use an identified linking structure

If you’ve ever been stuck trying to figure out how to create a hyperlink, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. A linked structure is a series of words or phrases that, when clicked on by a visitor, will take them to another location. For example, let’s say you’re writing a blog post about organic food, and you want to include a recipe for chocolate cake – you could include a short phrase, such as “Want a delicious chocolate cake recipe?” or you could include the entire recipe.

When someone clicks on that link, they’ll be taken to a page with the recipe, rather than the blog post they were initially browsing. This is because the recipe is more relevant to what the blog post was about, rather than having no connection to it whatsoever. When crafting a linked structure, think about the reader and what they’ll want from the piece you’re writing. If you want to encourage someone to make a purchase, you can use terms like ‘special offer’ or ‘discount code’ in the linked text – whatever works for you.

2. Use only the appropriate links

When someone clicks on a hyperlink, they’ll be directed to another page. When you write a blog post or marketing material, you have the opportunity to include multiple links in the text – to other websites, products, or social media sites. Make sure that you only use links that are relevant to the topic you’re writing about, and that are tied to an identified source. For example, let’s say you’re writing about the importance of having a website for your business – you can include a link to a website builder, as this might be something that your reader would want to know about. But, if you’re writing about fashion, a retail website might not be the best choice, as they’re usually geared toward retail sales rather than informational or educational purposes.

3. Format the links appropriately

When someone clicks on a link within a text, it should appear as though they’ve been directed to another piece of content – not a different website or app. If you want to include a video in your blog post or marketing material, make sure that the link points to that specific piece of content. If you want to include an image in your blog post or marketing material, make sure that it’s a relatively small image and that it fits the narrative of your writing. Keep your images relevant to the topic, and make sure that the colors and contrast are sufficient for those trying to read the post or are on the verge of falling asleep.