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Whether you’re looking to hire the best copywriting agency or simply want to improve your own skills, knowing and following some golden writing rules can help. These rules provide guidelines for what to look for and can help you deliver your message far more effectively. From CTAs and strong headlines to customer focus, here are five rules to keep in mind when copywriting.
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Do the Research
If the goal of copywriting is to persuade readers to do something, then the information persuading them must be accurate and well-researched. You’ll lose your reader’s trust and make your company look bad if it’s not.
So, always research your topic thoroughly. That means reading over what others have written, summarizing it in your own words, giving credit where credit’s due, and double-checking for accuracy.
Focus on the customer
Copywriting is customer-focused, so knowing and using your customer’s language is crucial. Customer-centric copy builds a connection that can blossom into a conversion. Speaking the customer’s language isn’t only about using words and phrases they’ll relate to and recognize – it also means understanding (and speaking to) their worries and challenges.
To do that, you’ll need to explain how your product or service benefits the customer. Remember that benefits differ from features. Benefits describe what something does, whereas features only explain what it is. Customers want to know how your product or service will directly benefit their life, so make sure you lay that out clearly and simply.
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Write a strong headline
Whether you like it or not, more people will read your headline than the entire piece. To ensure readers click through, scroll down, and act on the call to action (CTA), you must spend the right amount of time on the headline. Usually, your first headline isn’t your best, so brainstorm as many as possible. A straightforward method is to state the main benefit and wrap it in words that hook people into reading more.
End on a call-to-action
Most online articles aim to get the reader to do something by the end. The easiest – and most effective – way to do that is by ending on a call to action. These range from signing up for a newsletter to leaving a comment below the post.
To craft the perfect CTA, ask yourself the following:
Where is the customer in the buying cycle? Are they ready to purchase, or are they still gathering information?
Is your offer simple, or do customers have to fill out a long form just to subscribe to a newsletter?
Is your CTA in line with what customers want?
After considering the above questions, remember to use strong verbs that inspire action – “download,” “start,” or “sign up” – rather than weak verbs that are vague.
Edit for simplicity
Your first copywriting draft is unlikely to be your last one. So, after completing it, take a break and then come back to edit. Focus on cutting extraneous words, including a mix of short and long sentences, and expressing your thoughts as concisely as possible.
Online content should be scannable, allowing readers to get the gist of it as quickly as possible. To help them do that, copywriters should use headers, subtitles, bullet points, and other elements that allow people to scan a piece quickly.
Keep these five golden rules in mind next time you sit down to write, and you’ll soon have some killer copy on your hands.