Published on July 10th, 2012 | by The Playwrights1
The Anti-Journalist’s Guide to Copywriting – 5 Ways to Write Winning Copy Every Time
“Content is King”. Or so we are regularly told. Google is certainly trying to shift the focus toward quality content, but being a wordsmith doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Marketers in multinational companies right through to an entrepreneur in a start-up need to nail their online copy, but this is sometimes more difficult that it seems.
The truth is – everyone can write. While some of us get degrees and study the art of crafting a sentence, some of us avoid words like the plague. But when the time comes, and you have to put finger to keyboard; how can you craft killer copy? Here are five top tips on writing winning web copy, even if you’re not a confident or proficient journalist:
1. Write What You Know
This is perhaps the most valuable thing to understand. Even those who make a living with words are good at what they do because of this. The key to crafting killer copy, is writing about what you know. If your area of expertise is marketing, write about every aspect of marketing you can.
Your insider knowledge is what sets you apart from others in the field. You will be able to impart unique knowledge, offer a new outlook, or even give a controversial opinion. When you write about what you know best, you’ll find it much easier to fill a page or three.
2. Know Your Audience
Once you’ve picked your topic, you need to know who you’re talking to. If you’re posting sales copy on your website, writing a business blog, or guest blogging for someone else; you need to write in a way that appeals to them.
For copy on your own site, you should know your customers, audience, and clients. You’ll know what matters to them and what they’re interested in. With this in mind, tailor your copy to appeal to this niche. If you’re guest blogging, read through some of the comments left by their readers to see what makes them tick.
3. Rework, Rewrite
One of the things that sets copywriters apart from wannabe-journalists is the ability to consistently create unique content. When you don’t really know what to write, it can be difficult to keep on top of your blog. But it really is easier than it seems.
Reworking your old content is a great way to come up with some new ideas. Turn old ‘How To’ posts into an infographic, make a video into a podcast, or turn your images into a slideshow. All of these require no copywriting at all, but refresh your ideas.
You can also return to old posts and do a follow up; if something in the industry has changed, if you’ve learned something new, or have something else to add. Follow up your ‘5 Ways to…’ post with a ‘5 MORE Ways too…’. This will be beneficial to both your readership, and your copywriting experience.
4. Quality vs. Quantity
This is a debate even seasoned copywriters’ face from time to time. But keeping the mantra of “content is King” in mind, it is always advisable to keep the quality of your posts at the heart of your writing. However, the two do go hand in hand.
A quality post cannot be completed in 200 words. To fully make your point in great detail, always aim for 500 words minimum. This way you can strike the perfect balance. As long as you find a writing style that works for you, you’ll be fine.
No matter how brilliant, compelling, and ground-breaking your article – poor spelling and grammar can demean everything you say. You want to appear as the authority on your niche, but by spelling things incorrectly, you look like a novice.
Sure, small errors are to be expected, but make sure you always proofread before publishing. Read your article through when it’s completed, print a copy out to read again, and ask someone else to read it too. If you’re publishing the piece yourself you can always fix any errors later, but you should always proof your articles.
By following these five steps, and with a little practice, it is possible to fake it like a pro – and write winning web copy every time. The more you write, the easier it will become to write in the future. As long as you have something to say, you should be writing about it.
This post has been written by Clare Evans from Bird & Co Equine. The company specializes in online marketing, and web and graphic design.