Musings

5 Tips for Writing Compelling Copy

Posted by BSG Team on May 11, 2016 10:30:00 AM

typewriter-1580800-639x427.jpgCopy must be compelling, but does your copy also have to be clear and concise?

Simple answer, yes.

Brevity and clarity ensure that your message is digestible. It is important because you want your words to be quickly read and easily understood, all the while compelling readers to act.

You can easily train yourself to write clear, concise  AND compelling content.  You have to do a little research and even more critical thinking.

Before you start composing your next marketing email or landing page, try some of these tips. It may take some extra time and thought, but we promise the effort will be worth it.  You will come away knowing exactly how to create messaging that compels readers to act.

1) Create a buyer persona.

Don’t use a minnow to hook a shark. The most effective fishermen vary their bait depending on the fish they aim to catch. They also adjust their technique depending on the time of day, the water conditions, and the season. They soak up as much information as possible about the fish and it’s environment, ultimately using their knowledge to attract and hook.

It is the same with marketers. The most successful ones learn as much as they can about their target prospects before casting them their message. This allows them to highlight irresistible benefits throughout their copy.

You should identify your target prospect's problems and specific needs so you can offer them compelling solutions. Start by answering a series of questions about their personal background, their company and the position they hold, and their challenges, goals, and shopping preferences. Yes, that’s right, you need to create a buyer persona. Then you can gather information can then use that knowledge to attract attention and inspire action.

2) Make it emotional.

Purchases aren’t driven by logic. The features of your product or service are not enough on their own to seal the deal. Features appeal to your prospect’s logical brain but the sell hinges on emotion. A good commercial make us want to laugh or cry and stays with us for years.  

Remember Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign? It was so powerful and thought provoking that it went viral before viral was even a thing. The campaign has been active for over a decade and the commercial has had more than 18 million views on YouTube alone creating countless emotional moments.

3) Draw analogies and metaphors.

Value is a potent human driver. As a copywriter, your first responsibility is to figure out the value in what you’re selling and then put it into clear, concise, and compelling words.

It can be very hard to do. And if you’re new to copywriting, it could feel almost impossible, like trying to daylight past a rooster. That’s where analogies and metaphors come in. They’re especially effective at putting concepts into perspective.

Here are a few examples of metaphorical taglines:

  • Tropicana: Your Daily Ray of Sunshine
  • Miller High Life: The champagne of bottled beer
  • Werther’s Original Popcorn: It’s What Comfort Tastes Like

These brands combine use taglines to tell a story or create an image. And you can too. As long as your juxtaposition makes sense -- as long as it connects the dots and isn’t trite.

4) Avoid weasel words.

Weasel words are used to make a vague or ambiguous claim, enabling the specific meaning to be denied if the statement is challenged. People who want their statements to maintain plausible deniability use weasel words. Usually we associate them with politicians but copywriters use them a lot too, especially if their product’s promise is weak or loose.

For example:

  • "Leaves dishes virtually spotless." You are supposed to think "spotless," rather than "virtually" spotless.
  • "Listerine fights bad breath." "Fights," not "stops."
  • "Lots of things have changed, but Hershey's goodness hasn't." Notice that it does not say that Hershey's chocolate hasn't changed.

Avoid the weasel words whenever you can. Your copy will be stronger and more compelling for it.

5) Create urgency.

You don’t want your readers to get too comfortable. If your copy leaves readers with the impression that your offer will always be there, patiently waiting for them, they may use it as a reason to procrastinate.

Your copy should create a sense of urgency. Set a deadline, using time-sensitive language or play the scarcity card.

The aim is to make your prospects feel uneasy about waiting. The more uncomfortable they are, the more likely it is they’ll be to act.

Practice these tips and techniques when writing copy and, over time, you’ll move from novice to expert and steadily inspire more people to take action more often.

Do you have tips for crafting compelling copy? Share them below.

Topics: Blogging, Writing

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