It’s so very easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re writing copy.
So much information to consider and take in, it can go around and around in your head to the point where you just don’t know the best way forward – and you end up staring at a blank page.
Avoid ‘blank page syndrome’, prevent confusion and get the gigs by avoiding four common copywriting mistakes.
1. Being an ‘affordable’ copywriter
Let’s face it. Every business owner looks to save money, bargain for discounts, use the most cost-effective strategies. So, it seems reasonable that when they need a copywriter, they should look for one that is ‘affordable’.
At first glance, it may appear sensible for them to ask: ‘Why should I pay up to $100 per hour or more to a copywriter when I can get essentially the same content for $30 an hour?’
Do you want to have a reputation for being ‘affordable’?
If you agree to take on work at $30 an hour, and continue to do so, you’ll never attract high-end clients and will struggle to make a decent living.
If a business owner tries to low-ball you on price, don’t be tempted to agree. Instead, remind them of the old English proverb, ‘You get what you pay for’. You could say, ‘Do you want results-driven content, written by a copywriter with a proven track record? Someone who has insight and expertise and who will maximise your ROI?’
‘Or do you want to settle for saving costs in the short-term while jeopardising long-term profits?’
If you put it like that, any savvy businessman will be able to see the logic in what you’re saying.
2. Not enough planning
In copywriting, there are two distinct stages – planning and writing. Too many copywriters go too quickly to the writing stage without spending enough time on planning.
It is important to do the necessary research and then spend enough time on analysing how to distill all of the information you’ve acquired into a seamless, engaging, converting message BEFORE you start writing a draft. A good and proven way to approach the planning stage is:
1. Get to know the seller
2. Get to know the market
3. Get to know the product or service
4. Turn product features into benefits
5. Answer every known objection
6. Develop an offer, with a call-to-action
7. Develop a messaging hierarchy (how to place your key points in the most effective order)
8. Create a headline
While following this process, the key question you should continually ask yourself is ‘why’? For example, ‘Why does the competition use that particular marketing strategy?’
Everything you do in copywriting needs to have a valid reason – otherwise you’re wasting your time. And if you know the ‘because’ for everything you’re doing in the planning stage, your copywriting will be able to explain, and therefore be persuasive.
3. You don’t know what you’re selling
It’s important to always remember what it is you’re selling.
You’re NOT selling the product or service
You’re NOT selling the features of the product or service
You’re NOT even selling your client, and how buying the product or service through them is a smart decision.
COPYWRITING IS ALL ABOUT SELLING BENEFITS TO YOUR BUYERS – AND SHOWING HOW THEIR LIVES WILL BE BETTER BECAUSE OF ALL THE PROBLEMS THEY’LL AVOID.
And to get to the bottom of what any benefit is, you need to think, ‘How does this benefit reward the reader on an emotional level?’ Studies show that messages that focus on a reward trigger activity in the brain that mimics what occurs when you actually receive the reward.
It is important to note that features ARE important in copywriting – but they play a supporting role. They can justify the claims that are made about benefits.
4. Visual intimidation
The overall design of your copy is extremely important – if the reader has trouble reading because the layout is poor, they’ll switch off – and it’s highly unlikely you’ll get them back.
Think of a newspaper or magazine layout editor. Their job is to design the look of their publication by assembling text and images in an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-read format. In the same way, a copywriter needs to think about how the finished copy will look to the reader.
Some key questions that you need to ask when in the drafting stages are:
Is the eye-pathway at an optimum level?
Is the headline or tagline sufficiently highlighted and placed appropriately?
Is the text broken up into 2 – 3 sentence blocks?
Is there a strategic use of highlighting, bold text and bullet points?
Are columns evenly weighted?
Do the images support the action you want the reader to take?
A smooth and seamless reading experience translates into maximum conversion.
If you’d like to read more compelling copywriting, look out for more blogs in this series. Or if you’d like to share your thoughts, contact me at [email protected]