AmberWhat am I selling (at emotional level)?To whom am I selling? (audience)Why am I selling this now (will it make sense to the customer)?What do I want my reader to do (CTA)?
AmberBe an expert!
AmberMind Map: (a diagram that links ideas around a central key word or idea) Get Started: For most people the hardest part of copywriting is getting started. We all experience writer’s block at one time or another, and it stinks! Luckily there’s lots of brainstorming techniques that can help you get past the blank sheet of paper staring you in the face. Here’s just a few:Do cluster writing (a type of prewriting that allows you to explore many ideas as they occur) Create a venn diagram (used during the pre-writing process to compare and contrast ideas)
JillThe customer will always ask, "What's in it for me?” So that’s how you need to present your information.
JillYour customers are humans, so it’s important to remember that you are writing to people and not buying machines. Here are some ways to help you keep that top of mind and appeal to your audience on an emotional level. Grab their Attention Hold Interest Invoke Desire (Talk about benefits, give real examples, offer a solution to their problem)Cause Action (Make your reader do whatever it is that you want them to do)
AmberSo we talked about ways to get started and think about your audience. Once you’ve brainstormed and have a fair idea of the direction of your copy, there’s some simple structure and stylistic guidelines that will help make the actual writing process simple and painless. Think Less Is More - People read 25% slower online than offline, so you need to write less copy so they will read it. Put Key Points Up Front - Keep your most important points at the beginning of paragraphs, bullets and lists. Keep It Short - Make sure your paragraphs are no more than 3 lines long. Otherwise you might lose your reader's attention. Remember Odd vs. Even - Odd numbers are easier to remember than even, so keep this in mind when writing lists.Don’t Get Too Salesy - A good ratio is ¾ Free Info vs. ¼ sales info.
AmberThe Rhythm of 3 - List your examples in groups of three. The rhythm gives a great cadence to your copy (i.e., Happy, Joyous and Free).Cut the Clutter - William Zinsser wrote "clutter is the disease of American writing." The quickest way to improve your copy is by removing any unnecessary words like "that" or "to."Vary Sentence Length - It’s important to vary your sentence length to hold your reader's attention. And don't be afraid to use sentence fragments - this isn't your college English class.Utilize Bucket Brigade Words - Bucket brigade words help you move your copy forward. They include remember, and, but, consider, however, for example…and more.Consider Your Font Style - Sans-serif fonts, such as Arial, Verdana and Helvetica, are easier to read online than serif. If people find it difficult to read your copy, they won't.Think Pictures vs. Text - A best practice is to use 80% text to 20% pictures.
JILLThe from label is pulled in from your “company name” in your VR account. It’s not advised to change this – so pick a good one and stick with it Subject line is the number one thing that compels people to open your email. So make it good! If your email isn’t opened your message will be missed. We’ll talk more about writing subject lines in a minute. Preheader text: Suplementary info that further compels people to open your email. Don’t just repeat the SL. This won’t help. Place your most important information above the fold so it will be seen in the preview pane, or as soon as the email is opened.
AMBERThis last bit is pretty much common sense, but these are important steps that can really help with quality control yet are often overlooked.These 5 keys to effective copywriting will unlock the door to awesome marketing copy for your businesss. So get writing, and remember to have fun doing it!
Copywriting 101: Tips to Writing Effective Copy Presented by Amber Cleave (@Gldnamby) and Jill Bastian (@Jillieb3) #VRWebinar
Agenda Getting started Features vs. Benefits The Human Element Structure & Style Writing for Email, Social Media and Blogs Repurposing Content Checking It Twice Helpful Resources
Getting Started: The 4 Key Questions Ask these 4 Key Questions before you begin to write What am I selling? To whom am I selling? Why am I selling this now? What do I want my reader to do?
Getting Started: Finding Copy Ideas What’s New? Any Advice? Stories to Tell? Exclusive Content? Killer offer? Read the news and headlines See what’s happening on social
Getting Started: Brainstorming Review background info Make a list Write a friend Cluster writing Venn Diagram Mind Map Free-write
Features vs. Benefits Features are what a product has Benefits are what it provides the customer – What’s in it for me? Made of steel (feature) vs. You never have to replace it (benefit) Home delivered (feature) vs. Save time and money (benefit) VS.
The Human Element Think AIDA: Grab their Attention Hold Interest Invoke Desire Cause Action
Structure and Style Think Less Is More Put Key Points Up Front Keep It Short Remember Odd vs. Even Don’t Get Too Salesy
Structure and Style The Rhythm of 3 Cut the Clutter Vary Sentence Length Utilize Bucket Brigade Words Consider Your Font Style Think Pictures vs. Text
Structure and Style “Voice” should reflect your company Show some personality Write for your audience – industry, business or consumer? Personalize If you have a story, share it!
Writing for Email From the Inbox From Label (how audience recognizes you) Subject Line (compels people to open) Preheader text (supports subject line)
Writing for Email Fully Opened Email Body Copy Calls to Action (buttons) Side Bars
How to Write a Subject Line Keep it short and sweet: Optimum SL length is 30-50 letters , or 5-8 words Consider your “from label” – If your from label is your company name (recommended), there’s no need to repeat it in the SL Put the most valuable information up front (don’t be too generic) Make sure your SL won’t truncate or get cut off on an important word, such as a date or discount Test often: There is no sure-fire SL formula Offer a benefit: 50% off now. NO lines! Mention offers and incentives Be timely Create a sense of urgency Stand out Get (positive) attention Keep promises (The CAN SPAM ruling states that for any commercial email, you must have your subject line relate to the content of the email)
Writing for Social Media - Twitter “Tweeting” might be shorter (140 character limitation), but that doesn’t mean easier! Leave room for others to retweet and perhaps use a #hashtag (if you use the full 140 characters, they have to edit in order to retweet you) Shorten URLs (e.g. bit.ly or owl.ly) so they don’t hog characters Retweet (RT) – it says a lot about you, both from the content you share and the fact that you are doing it at all. Teach: Teach others something new or hand out a tip Compliment: Send someone a compliment about a tweet they posted or their service or an article or blog post Refer: If you have learned about a good deal or service or sale - tell others about it. Share: Share good news or a funny story or an inspirational quote Help: Think “Pay It Forward” Create a community
Writing for Social Media - Facebook Keep it to no more than 4 lines, and 1-2 is better Phrase it so it is “Like” – able. There is no “Dislike” option yet. Include links, photos, or videos that fans might want to share Develop a personal style on Facebook: A great connector or way to start is to write the same way you speak. Show some of your personality. Make your information sizzle: Give lots of valuable information, and don’t hold back
Writing for Blogs Value to reader Entertain Increase natural search Create business/sales Marketing your biz Dialogue with readers Provide expertise, leadership, educate
Headlines Write your blog post titles with Twitter in mind A descriptive, enticing, and short post title helps out folks who want to tweet and retweet it Titles should be captivating and search engine spiders should be able to find them Brevity (same as subject lines) Make a promise OK to write like you talk OK to ask questions Capture attention Writing for Blogs
Repurposing Content You don’t need to recreate the wheel every time Repurpose & Share Content – Email, website, blog, social (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn) People prefer longer updates in email newsletters Save Facebook, Twitter and similar micro-communication for information snacks – link back to your blog or website Grab these “snacks” from newsletters *According to Sticky Communication: http://www.stickycommunication.ca/2010/12/email-newsletters-go-mobile-social/
Check It Twice Spell check Proof read Read copy out loud (this will help you hear what your readers hear) Show it to someone else
Copywriting Resources The VR Marketing Blog: http://blog.verticalresponse.com/ The Lounge: http://lounge.verticalresponse.com/group/copywritingtips How To Do Everything: http://help.verticalresponse.com/ Copyblogger: http://www.copyblogger.com/ Current copywriters/Direct marketers: Donna Baier Stein: @donnabaierstein, Brian Clark: @Copyblogger Chris Brogan: @chrisbrogan www.verticalresponse.com/education-support/guides