Being a good writer is not a guarantee of success as a copywriter. If you’re looking for someone to create effective marketing or web content, you should be looking for someone with an innate understanding of human nature.
We’re all fickle beasts, us human beings. We have very short attention spans, and many of us are looking for instant gratification. If we don’t find it on a particular website, blog, TV channel, social media platform or offline publication, we’ll look for it somewhere else… within just a few seconds.
Content creation for marketing purposes is all about capturing a moment, as well as an emotion. And it succeed, the copywriter you choose needs to know how the minds of your target consumer operate.
Consumers don’t like waffle
They prefer French toast. Consumers want the sweet spot without the effort. They don’t want to trawl through a 1,000-word post to get the information they want. They want to scan the first few paragraphs, pick up what they need and leave.
So, a marketing copywriter must get straight to the point. Eye motion technology has discovered that most people consume web content by scanning it very briefly – from left to right. It’s therefore not enough to put all the good stuff at the top of an article; a copywriter must get their main points across at the beginning of each sentence too. And before you say anything, that’s something I’m struggling to do whilst writing this article.
Working as a copywriter in the UK, I’ve seen content creation for marketing purposes change drastically over the last 10 years. Shouting louder than your competitors will not win you new business. In fact, the opposite is true; you’ll simply alienate people and hurt your business’ image.
There are now three key principles every good copywriter will adhere to in order to create great content.
- They don’t waffle… get straight to the point
- They write for real people, not search engines or marketing professionals
- They always keep things as simple as possible
Consumers don’t like hard-sell tactics
The used car salesman is a dying breed. Consumers don’t want to be pressured into making significant purchases; they want to take their time for the right deal, shop around and consider all the options fully. The job of a marketing copywriter is to help consumers do these things in the most engaging, concise and informative way possible.
So, rather than talk about price, what makes a particular product better than the competition or how consumers just can’t afford to live without what you’re trying to sell, a good copywriter gets stuck straight into the benefits available.
A great copywriter will talk directly to your customers. A great copywriter will answer your target consumer’s questions before they’ve even been asked.
How do copywriters sell stuff?
As a copywriter, it is my job to talk to all of your clients (potential and existing) on an individual basis – with a single piece of content. And I employ a range of techniques to strike up the personal relationship that is required.
- Talking directly to your customers.
- Talking about the benefits of a particular product or service first, rather than its features.
- Being a consumer myself. I always write from the point of view of the consumer. This dictates the vocabulary and tone I adopt – which can change depending on the audience.
- Keeping the message simple. I try to write short sentences when creating web content for marketing purposes. I avoid technical jargon, and I create a logical flow to the texts I write.
- Using lots of white space. Consumers are busy; they have mouths to feed and places to be. They certainly don’t have the time to read 2,000 words of dense text on the virtues of your particular products or services. Using lists, sub-headings and short paragraphs makes skim-reading easier.
- Writing well. And that’s all I have to say on that.
When the internet first found its way into living rooms in the 1990s, web content was all about keyword stuffing and writing for search algorithms. This doesn’t work anymore. Yes, Google still looks for particular keywords and phrases, but it also looks for quality, meaningful content… as well as value for the reader.
Search marketing is the future of marketing in general. If you can give your customers value in the form of content that meets their needs, you’ll be able to sell Pimms to the Eton brigade… financial advice to London bankers.
The best copywriters help businesses to sell stuff by making friends and helping consumers. We don’t sell anything directly; we help our readers to reach their own, well-informed decisions.