What is Copywriting?
Every business needs advertising. Which means every business needs copywriting.
Copywriting is about words - the words that you use to create sentences that describe and sell your product or service.
When you string those words together, they create pictures in your reader’s brain.
Some pictures could be rich in detail and grab the viewer by the eyeballs.
Some pictures will not even get a second look.
When you put a series of those pictures together and you get a film strip.
Run those film strips fast enough and you get a movie.
Think about one of your favourite movies. Your imagination goes all over the place as the movie plays. It doesn’t usually get fixed on one point. The movie director wants to push and pull on our emotions as we watch to keep us engaged and moving along with the scenes.
If we do get fixed on a point, then something is wrong with the flow of the movie.
If your reader gets fixed on a point then you’ve paused their flow and you end up with buffering in their brain.
Everyone hates a buffering situation and if that happens you’ll most likely lose the viewer or reader.
Most of us spend countless minutes and hours daydreaming about about things our subconscious and conscious minds have cooked up. Each of these daydreams is a mini movie.
Our job then as business owners and copywriters is to get OUR movie into YOUR readers brain.
The whole point of writing copy - Copywriting - is to inspire an urge in your reader to act.
We need to use words that motivate our reader to take the action that THEY want to take and that YOU want them to take.
That’s the explicit and fundamental purpose of all sales copy.
Copy’s explicit purpose is to spark a particular response. That’s true for a movie script, emails, sales letters, Google Ads or a simple message to a friend.
The words we use in our business have to be used with the intent to get a response; otherwise there’s no point to writing anything.
It’s necessary then for us to focus the flow of our writing.
Everything you write must have a purpose.
It’s necessary to focus the flow of your purpose as you structure your sales copy and to focus of your reader’s interest and desire in the direction of doing what you want them to do.
There is no point in writing copy without an explicit intended action to be taken by the reader at the end of it. Otherwise, it might be a great conversation, but it is not copy.
Imagine if a good friend comes to you with a problem or need.
At first they might not come right out and say it, but they’re looking for your help. They want your direction.
When they come to you they are looking to be moved along a path toward a solution.
That solution should be the particular problem that you can solve.
Likewise a business prospect is looking to be moved along the path toward the fulfillment that you offer.
Marketing is everything we do to move the prospect from desire to fulfillment.
Without any action on the prospects part, all of our efforts are meaningless.
Without action you’ll end up with no sales.
No sales, means you’re out of business.
Copywriting can then also be thought of as the art of directing that movement.
Copywriting is the skill of persuading the prospect that your solution of fulfillment will best suit his/her needs.
No matter how sophisticated, educated or conscious, we all need persuading.
Think of those times when you have a particular need. You walk into a huge big box store. You stop and start scanning the scene, looking, hoping for a sign that might guide you in the right direction.
Then you finally find the section and eisle that might have what you’re looking for.
Then what. Your brain is still scrambling to deal with the overload of choices.
You can see where this is going. You still need someone’s assistance - we still need persuading.
Here, we’ll use our copywriting to HELP our prospect to identify with your product or service.
Copyrighting is the bridge between your offer and your prospect’s search.
Clear, sincere transparent, copyrighting is YOUR gift TO the prospect.
Another way to think of copyrighting is selling with words.
This might make your uncomfortable, but this isn’t preschool.
People want and NEED to be told what to do.
Don’t think for a second that your prospect can make their choices all by themselves.
That’s a disservice when what they’re looking for is guidance. They’re looking for someone’s smarts to help them make the best selection, which is what they’re after.
It’s our job as a copywriter to persuade your readers to take an action, to take them over the edge that they ALREADY want to go over.
They need our help or a nudge to go over that edge that they’ve already set their mind on - or they wouldn’t be looking for you in the first place.
You have to help them take the action they want to take, and that you want them to take.
Of course you also want them to feel that they’re in control of that decision.
When I was in highschool, I used to work a local grocery store.
Some people would come in and head right to the produce section. Some people would head straight for the bakery section, and some people would go to the dairy section.
At some point, they’re going to wander over to the other sections.
But when they first came in the store, they head was set on heading to a particular section.
As a writer, we have to be tuned into what the mindset of our prospect is.
IF we can understand that mindset, we can better understand the market.
IF and when we write to that mindset, we’ll have real emotional authority and power.
Of course, we need to be ethical about this magical power and keep the wellbeing of the reader in mind.
Unfortunately most businesses think it’s enough to simply put up a website with a description of who they are and what their background is. I.e. We’ve been in business since 1867 and give great customer service....yada yada.
They think it’s sufficient enough to start a stampede of people buying what they have to offer.
Think about this...
How many times have you landed on a page that was offering something that you might have wanted and you left almost immediately.
Maybe the copy was boring. Maybe the design of the page was ugly.
You knew right away you weren’t in the right place because the person wasn’t writing to you.
It didn’t get YOUR focus. All of us need to be compelled to stay in place and keep reading the copy. That’s why it’s so important to know the structure and flow of what you’re writing.
The job of sales copy is to get through to your reader’s preoccupation with themselves to pay attention to what you are offering them.
There is an acronym that is used in the copywriting business. WIIFM—it stands for “What’s In It For Me?” That’s what your reader is always thinking. What’s in it for me? So as you write your copy, pay attention to the fact that your reader is looking at your copy and thinking “yeah, but what’s in it for me?”
This is relevant because the reader is looking for something and wants to know if what you’re offering will help them accomplish:
What they want to get done?
When they do get it done?
What will they have?
How will they think?
How will they feel?
What will others say of them?
How will they be changed?
This leads us into market research. If we know the mindset and hopes and dreams of your reader, we want to be able to write to that. What we’re actually writing about are those pictures or points in time when your reader will own your product and what it will do for them at that time.
As a copywriter, then I’m also in the persuasion business.
If a person is out of sorts because they have a problem they’re looking to solve or they
have a desire they’re trying to fulfill (this would imply they cannot fulfill it themselves), they may be somewhat insecure.
This applies to all of us, because we need help and we can’t necessarily trust our own judgment and don’t want to make a mistake.
The desire is intense enough that we want help to fulfill it. They (the prospect) want your OFFER to be a success, so they can stop looking and settle down and feel good again.
Start paying attention to your own copy, and don’t take it easy.
Take a look around at your competition to. Start seeing what attracts you and what doesn’t attract you. If you don’t start paying attention to copy, it’s like trying to do something that eventually you’re not skilled and practiced in. It will not have the depth and the power that it might have otherwise.
The objective of all sales copy. It does not matter whether that copy is a branding page, a sales page, or squeeze page. Your subject line, email all of that is sales copy—how you write it guides your reader to take action.
That’s the only thing you’re after.
It doesn’t matter whether the action you want them to take is to opt-in for your free newsletter and give you their name and email.
Whether the action you’re after is to help them make the decision to buy your product or service or fill out a survey, participate in a contest, anything that you want to invite them to do - you’re asking them to take action.