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Copywriting: Goals & Methods

With the holidays coming up, I’m preparing myself for all the standard questions that arise around the Thanksgiving table. And I’m preparing for the quizzical looks that always come when I answer them. It usually goes something like this:

Great Aunt Gertrude: So, what did you say you do for work?
Me: I’m a copywriter.
Uncle Wilhelm: You file copyrights?
Me: No, I’m a writer – words, sentences, periods, all that stuff.
Gertrude: Oh, now nice. When is your book going to be published?
Me: It’s not that kind of writing, I work for a marketing company – I’m a copywriter.
Markie the Dog: Well that’s silly. No one uses a copywriter anymore. What do you think this is, Mad Men?

Ok, things went a little crazy there at the end, but you get the point, right? Most people either don’t know what copywriting is or they think it is an outdated concept.

But I’ve got news: copywriting is here to stay.

The Necessity of Written Communication

Everyone says it: video is the future of marketing. And I get that concept, but let’s hold off on conducting the funeral for writing and copywriters. Here’s why:

  • Video will only reach a portion of your audience a portion of the time. Assuming that your entire marketing strategy can rely on video is a mistake.
  • Even video requires writing – scripts, captions, and descriptions will still take writing and that will never change.
  • The written word is powerful, it has changed cultures and shaped people’s experience for thousands of years. I’m not ready to throw that out because Facebook says video is more popular. But maybe I’m just an old-timer.

If you’re in business, written communication with your customer base is essential to your brand. It will be a foundational reflection of your business values, so don’t underestimate the power of good copywriting!

Copywriting Goals

So, copywriting isn’t dead, but what can it accomplish for your business? There are a few primary goals that you can fulfill with excellent copywriting. First, you should be drawing the attention of potential customers. This is what most people think of when we talk about copywriting – Mad Men-style advertising pitches that are compelling to strangers.

Second, copywriting can help you form connections with existing customers. Emails, social media, newsletters – whatever you’re doing to keep contact with your customers relies heavily on solid copywriting. It is easy to take existing customers for granted, but it is important to value them through investing time in your written communications.

Third, and more fundamentally, your copywriting should have the goal of eliciting a response from its recipients. This might sound obvious, but it is shocking how often a business will release written communications that have no call-to-action. If you aren’t pushing your customers toward action, what is the purpose of investing the time and money in copywriting?

Copywriting Methods

Having goals is great, but it’s not helpful if we can’t get from where we are to where we’re going. And so, understanding the goals of copywriting is only half the battle – we also must have methods for accomplishing those goals. These methods are more conceptual than practical, but that is because copywriting takes so many different forms it is impossible to show a clear, step-by-step process.

  1. Be Surprising: Good copywriting is surprising. This is essential when customers have heard every sales pitch under the sun. Being surprising means that you’ll have to address your topic tangentially rather than straight on. Be creative, chase topical connections, and make your copy stand out by being surprising.
  2. Start Strong: If I pay for a book, I’m willing to give it a chapter or two to get rolling. But when I’m ready a blog or advertising copy, you have one (maybe two) sentences to catch my attention. Open with your best material or risk losing your reader’s interest.
  3. Be Conversational: You’re not writing for a college professor anymore. Make your writing friendly, personal, and conversational. No one wants to read an academic tome on why your product is good. Instead, keep things light – your readers (and bottom line) will thank you.
  4. Be Simple: Avoid industry jargon and focus on communicating your message in the simplest terms possible. This is a hard one for people who love to write because they are itching to show off their prowess. But copywriting is a time for clear communication, not literary show-offs.

As I said, the specifics of what these methods mean will depend on your specific industry. But they are a good baseline for thinking about your copy and written communications.

Fusion Group USA

As a marketing and advertising firm, Fusion Group USA understands the importance of well-written copy. That’s why we keep skilled copywriters on staff – unlike many agencies that just wing the written portion of their jobs.

Professional and clean writing can make the difference between a sale and lost customers – so don’t skimp on your businesses communications. If you need help, we offer content writing for your website or blog, social media management, and any other marketing or advertising service you might need! Contact us today to get started.

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