I’m setting myself a fun copywriting challenge today. How do you fancy reading a short blog on the joys of copy but minus abbreviations like ___ and ___? And let’s not forget that vital cog in the digital marketing machine, _____.

You up for it? Great. Let’s get going.

First things first: what is copywriting?

Sadly, I’ve been asked more than once (by the same person), ‘But Sarah, is copywriting not summat to do with patenting a crazy invention that won’t sell (maybe in Wilko, but that’s it)?

‘No, my darling, it has nothing to do with your Dragon’s Den rejection and everything to do with using wonderful words to sell your customised cat chariots.’

Copywriting is simply the creation of content that is used to sell.

I’ve read a lot of copy and quickly discovered that the bulk of it could be split into two camps: cheesy, cliched LOUD sales speak and kooky, quirky, chatty nonsense. There is another little camp that sits squarely between the two. This camp homes the fairly sensible holiday makers who enjoy two glasses of wine with their gas stove mushroom risotto. They’ll go to bed at a reasonable time but not before ironically singing Eurovision classics in the camp pub karaoke comp. You know, people like us, eh?

Before you all come after me with your blunt pitch forks and vague annoyance, I know I’m simplifying things a little but for the purposes of this blog, let’s pretend I’m right (it’s fun!). Here are some straight-up copywriting tips to help you sell your product or service. They’re tips because rules are silly:

  • Headlines rule (oops). But don’t be too ‘clever’. Draw attention with simplicity.
  • Keep your text simple and to the point. Short sentences work. This holds the reader’s attention.
  • No one likes a wall of words. Use bullet points, short paragraphs and white space. Choose your words carefully! The reader barely skims 99% of what they read (disclaimer: non-scientific claim, made by me).
  • Focus on benefits over features. Your reader wants to know what’s in it for them, not how many doodads and dongles your product boasts.
  • Keep the jargon to a minimum, unless you’re selling actual jargon.
  • Find your voice and use it! Honesty and integrity work wonders (and are great bringers of karma).
  • Remember AIDA – Attention / Interest / Desire / Action. THAT’S AN ACRONYM, SARAH! YOU WEASEL! I know it is and I’m sorry. But it’s terribly useful in a cold, calculated kind of way:
    • Attract Attention with a great headline
    • Hold Interest by telling a story
    • Offer a solution to create Desire
    • Encourage Action by making it easy to order or by offering a time-limited discount / bonus product

I think it’s time for me to go and make a cup of tea. I hope this has been useful, folks.

And remember, if you’re far too busy doing and creating to write copy then get in touch with me and I’ll do it for you: allaboard@shipshapecopywriting.com. Tel: 07917 881209.