Learn what makes your copywriting effective and how you can apply it to marketing your brand to an engaged audience
Writing captivating brand copy is not just a skill; it’s an art. Excellent, persuasive copywriting requires creativity, style, craft and knowledge. But writing compelling copy can also be considered a science. Keeping your audience reading and coming back for more consists of trial and error, improvements and breakthroughs as you develop content that’s engaging and enticing.
Essentially brand copy is the written equivalent of a company’s logo and design. It is the story that communicates a brand’s values and personality.
To master the art and science of writing great content, you need to understand the most important aspects of the process. We’ve unpacked some key points to help you produce content that is not only practical and persuasive but also inspiring and memorable.
But remember, writing powerful copy doesn’t happen overnight. It takes practice. As the Father of Advertising, David Ogilvy, once said: “Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well.”
Content research is a major aspect of copywriting. Understanding not only your product but also your market and audience is a significant part of your writing process.
To begin with, you need a sound knowledge of the brand you are marketing. Apart from thorough research on the type of product or service you are selling, you need to have an intimate understanding of your client’s ‘Brand DNA’. This will help you identify their goals and vision, as well as who the product’s target audience is.
Understanding your audience is essential to developing persuasive content. For this insight, you need to explore what social platforms your audience uses; what they search for and what questions they are asking online. Ultimately, you need to know what makes them tick and what their desires and problems are. With this knowledge, you can speak directly to your audience in a voice they can trust.
2. Know your audience
If you understand your audience, you can give them what they want. This means publishing useful content. Useful content respects your audience’s needs and tastes. It is either educational, entertaining or inspiring. Combining all three can be key to success, but not necessarily. If you’re writing for a manufacturing company, for instance, you’ll aim at focusing on informative content; whereas a travel company may require more inspiring content.
Every piece of content published must leave your audience wanting more. Everybody loves a story; it’s the way we humans are wired. We want to know what’s going to happen next. Content writing is no different. It needs to tell a story and leave the reader asking for more. But it also involves strong headlines and an enticing call-to-action (CTA) to engage and hook your audience fully. To complete the story, just like a book bound in a beautiful cover, enticing content also needs an attractive website with awesome design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to keep your audience coming back.
3. Consider your tone of voice
Your tone of voice is essential in conveying the meaning of your content piece. It’s not what you say, but how you say it. As Maya Angelou said: “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
It’s essential to choose the right tone for the right audience. If you’re writing a piece of travel content aimed at Millennials who prefer adventure backpacking, your tone will be very different from writing a piece aimed at Baby Boomers wanting cruise liner packages. The right tone of voice helps you connect to your audience and helps your content do its job.
Creating the wrong subtext with a poorly chosen word or phrase is an easy mistake to make. But there are handy writing techniques like word choice, story and connotation to help you master your tone of voice.
In truth, there is no such thing as a synonym. Every word has its unique meaning and nuance. For instance, a synonym for the word ‘helpful’ is ‘accommodating’. Yet the two words carry a very different tone. To be ‘helpful’ conveys a feeling of willingness, eager to be of service. Whereas to be ‘accommodating’ could express a sense of helping without really wanting to or doing it out of necessity. The words you choose will convey certain feelings and emotions, so it is important to select them carefully. A good writer knows his or her audience and chooses words that convey the right meaning for them. Understanding nuance and connotation will help you select the stories and language that create the strongest connection with your audience through their values and beliefs.
To embrace nuance and connotation, stay abreast with popular culture on social platforms and learn to understand the subtle meanings associated with films, books and characters to which you may refer.
Meeting client requirements
At the end of the day, a copywriter needs to meet his or her client requirements. Your vision of the brand may not be what the client wants. So, you need to understand exactly what the client’s vision and goals are. Again, this is where studying and knowing your client’s brand DNA comes into effect.
To make sure you meet your client requirements, ask them these three crucial questions:
1. How do you define your project?
Sometimes your client may not have a clear idea of what they want and will require your input to help them find it. But by the time you are ready to put pen to paper, you both need to know what the project’s mission statement is and what key words reflect this best.
2. What are your existing marketing materials?
One of the best ways to understand your client’s product and learn about their company is to read existing marketing material. If they want to change the content completely, identify what the problems are, and how best to solve these.
3. What’s your target audience?
Your client will need to give you a good idea of who their target audience is; what the audience is looking for and how their company offers them what they want. Extracting this information will enable you to produce copy that meets your audience and your client’s requirements.
Remember, a well-written brand copy has power. It is the difference between making conversions or losing an audience. No matter what strategies you use, never forget that a brand’s performance will always hinge on the overall experience your written content gives its reader.