How Great Copy is Like a Compass

Great Copy is Like a CompassThanks to guest blogger Nicole Breit.

Copy is as important to business as oxygen is to most life forms. In other words, it’s absolutely essential.

So why do some businesses treat it like an afterthought, rather than the medium for their message?

Copy is no less than your business’s first chance to make a great impression.

Powerful copy attracts customers so your business can do what it’s supposed to: help the good people find your wonderful products and services. Of course, that means sales! Your second most important reason for being in business!

Think of Great Copy as a Compass
Your copy is, in a sense, a compass – its task is to point your customers directly to you. To extend the metaphor, you also need a keen sense of direction before you sit down to write copy. You need to know your audience, and how best to communicate what they want to hear: exactly how your product or service will meet their needs. And you need to guide them to where you want them to go, with a well-crafted call to action.

5 Tips to More Effective Copywriting
To help you along with your next copywriting project, here are 5 copywriting tips:

1. Before you start writing, brainstorm ten traits of your ideal client. The more you know about her, the more easily you will draft copy that speaks directly to her and keeps her attention.

2. Know what you want your copy to do before you start writing. What should your call to action achieve? An email to book a complimentary session? A new subscriber to your newsletter? Attendance at an event?

3. Craft a great headline! A general rule of thumb is to make your headline no more than 7 words – the limit most readers have the attention span for. Here are a few examples of winning headlines:
• The Secret to a 7 Figure Income
• Get Rid of Money Worries For Good
• Free Ebook on Getting Fit Over 60

You’ll find some headline copywriting tips from veteran copywriter Gene Schwartz here.

4. Don’t risk losing your reader. Tell her up front what you can do for her. What pain will you take away more quickly, effectively, or affordably than someone else?

5. Let your writing sit for a day or two before proofreading. Please don’t skip this important step! If you have the budget for it, hire a professional to look over your copy; if not, find a friend to review it. Often writers are too close to their writing to notice errors that are obvious to someone reading with fresh eyes.

Don’t Forget Your Call to Action
Your customers are hungry to know what it is you can do for them. Give them what they want by telling them all the fantastic benefits of working with you. Then craft a compelling call to action that prompts that phone call, motivates them to buy, or whatever action is the purpose of your copy.

Remember that the call to action should gently persuade the reader to act, and it should also remove any psychological barriers to doing so. Knowing exactly who your ideal client is will help you anticipate and alleviate any fears she may have about responding to your call to action. Lastly, your call to action should invite one action only, whether that is to subscribe, call, or buy now! Read Debra’s blog post about calls to action.

Nicole BreitAbout Guest Blogger Nicole Breit: Nicole is the owner of Sparrow Writing + Editorial Services. She specializes in SEO web content and professional ebook services for heart-centered entrepreneurs. She is the co-author of Communicating with Confidence: The Creative, Ambitious Entrepreneur’s Guide to Better Business Writing, which launched July 15, 2012. Email her at nicole[at]nicolebreit[dot]com, or follow her on Twitter @NicoleBreit.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the five tips on copy writing, Nicole. It’s great to see proofreading in your top five. One of the things I also try to do early is reflect on the reader’s perspective (which is rarely the client’s). Whether that’s telling a brief story that has them nodding, offering tips they can implement immediately or writing in a way that sounds like you’re talking directly to each viewer. Sometimes outlining the WIFM early works, but it can be more fun (for the writer and the reader) to play with a different type of experience than the standard marketing approach.
    Nanette Levin recently posted…Writing tips for the next big thingMy Profile

    • When it comes to consumers, they always want to know the benefits (or WIFM). However, as you suggest @Nanette, playing with a different type of experience (or “breaking the rules” of standard marketing) is always worth testing out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. ~Debra

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