The Fundamentals of Copywriting

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How easily do we skip Ads in our day-to-day life? Because they are everywhere Ads are something which people avoid like a plague. So with this scenario, grabbing the attention of your target group through your ads is quite close to winning a war on the battlefield. The entire responsibility to do this, however, falls on the shoulders of the Copywriter. The copy is the heart of any Ad and writing that copy is essentially an art that copywriters master over the years. Here are some basic ground rules or fundamentals that you can keep in mind to write a copy that cannot be ignored or overlooked!

1. No One is Interested in Reading your Copy

Before you even start thinking about how you should frame a copy. Fit this in your head very straight and clear: Nobody really gives a damn about your copy. This is a golden lesson that I learned from Steven Pressfield. He basically talks of an Ad copy as just a transaction that you undergo with your audience. They give you your time. And in return, you must give them something which is worth their time. This is an interpreted gist of what he says in one of his blogs which you can find here.

So by his principle, when you are writing an Ad copy, focus on what can you give your reader in return of his time? And it better be good. Your Ad copy needs to be precise, honest, interesting, useful and possibly funny for it to be worth the readers time. With this base in mind, you can easily carve a successful Ad copy for your product.

2. Fewer Words. More Meaning

This in a way is a continuation of the first point. When you’re focused on making the Ad Copy worth the reader’s time, one of the biggest responsibility that you have on your head is to not waste your reader’s time. So try to insert all the information that you need in the shortest way possible while also keeping it quite simple to comprehend. So boil your message down to the shortest version of it without losing the essence and you have a great copy for yourself!

3. A Ton of Research

Copywriting

In the pressures of deadlines and workloads, shortcuts can be tempting to opt for. But you have to put in the work to come up with an exceptional Ad copy. It takes time, and you might think what difference does it make anyway, but it really does. It is like the oil-based primer a painter uses before making a masterpiece, so that colors glide smoothly on the canvas. So spend hours reading about your product, it’s competitors, where it came from, who founded it, what are the general interests of the target customer of the product, etc. These are just a few important questions you should touch on but once you start researching I am sure questions will flow into your mind as you keep opening new tabs of knowledge! So get on it!

4. The 5Ws and 1H

This is probably the most important point in this listicle so grab a pen & paper! Once you have these pointers in place, you can’t really go wrong.

What is the product that you want to sell?
The key here is to understand what is the Unique Selling Proposition(USP) of your product? What is it that makes your product stand out from your competitor’s product. What quality of the product is so appealing that the user will have to go for it. Once you have it down, make sure that the USP is well highlighted in your copy. It essentially comes down to turning the best features of your product into benefits that your consumers can reach. To get in-depth knowledge on how exactly to do this you can check out this online class.

Why are you writing this Ad Copy?
You need to know what is the client’s end goal with this Ad Copy. Is it to increase the sales of the product, or is it to increase brand recognition, or it to introduce a new product? The outcome makes a lot of difference in how an Ad copy needs to be framed. So find your end goal.

Who is your Target consumer?
Ask yourself what does your ideal customer profile looks like. Their gender, age, location, likes, dislikes, the standard of living, income, and everything you possibly can find out about your target group. The step into their shoes. If they are to come across your ad, what will make them buy the product or at least pay enough heed to read your entire Ad copy?

When & Where is the Ad going to be placed?
Another important thing to know before you write the copy is where is your ad going to be placed. It could be an outdoor billboard ad, or a newspaper ad, or a digital ad. The placement of the ad makes a world of difference in how to write the copy. A billboard ad will be more picture-centric and will have very fewer words, while a digital Ad can contain some more details. Time also plays an important role here, what day is it going to go up, what time, etc.

How should the user feel after reading your ad?
What emotion do you want to invoke in your consumer? Write your copy around that. It could be fear, joy, want, or even anger. You have to think about what emotion would drive the consumer to step out and buy your product. For eg, a life insurance Ad invokes fear in people and creates a need for an insurance policy. So decide what is the emotion that will lead you to conversion.

5. Don’t Write A Smart Copy

The most cunning copy will get you a lot of attention, not necessarily money. Have you ever come across some really smartly written ads on billboards or online, which crack you up, or make you take a picture of it and send it to friends? But more often than not, we don’t really remember which brand’s ad was it. That defeats the whole purpose of the ad, doesn’t it? So write an Ad copy that is smart but not so smart that it takes away all the attention from the product. Try to feed in information into the consumer, without making it boring for them. That should do.

6. Go Dig in your ‘Inspiration Goldmine’

As a copywriter or anyone in the Ad industry should make it a habit to save any impressive work that they come across at any given time in a specific folder. So over time, you have this gold mine of good Ad copies which you can go back to get some inspiration from for your new work. This way you feel inspired to start working on a new piece and also you can borrow some of the elements from those already successful ads. It’s a practice nonetheless. So if you don’t have an ‘Inspiration Goldmine’ already, this is a good time to start collecting.

7. 60% of your Copy’s Success lies in the Headline

Success

Your headline decides the fate of your ad. If you catch the reader’s attention through your headline you have won half the war. Once the reader reads the headline, he will be able to contemplate if he wants to read the rest of it or not. So keeping the ideal consumer persona in mind, you have to write a headline which will showcase exactly why he needs to buy your product right away to make his life better. While also adding the hint of curiosity in it, so that you compel your target consumer to read the rest of the copy. Also, it’s always great to chalk out a few options for the headline, and then choose the best from the lot. Don’t go with the first thing you come up with. You can take inspiration from a lot of ads around or also take an online class to hone your craft even more. There are a lot of great online courses out there like this one.

8. Dump the Thesaurus

Remember when you are writing an Ad copy, the audience is not looking to be impressed by your vocabulary skills. So steer clear from all the heavy words which are quite unnecessary. Stick to words which are easy to comprehend and also choose words which are frequently used by your target consumer. For eg, if your ad is targetting a much older age group, slangs like ‘Omg’, or ‘That’s lit!’ won’t really get through to them. And vice versa. So back to the 4th point, really research on what your ideal consumer personality looks like!

Also, avoid using hollow words like maybe, try, most probably, perhaps, but, promise, etc. Use strong words which can generate confidence in your reader.

9. Keep it Clean

Clarity is key. Once you are done writing your copy, step out of your desk, go out for a coffee, and come back to it and read it again. Is the message still as clear as you thought it was? If not, simplify it more. Referring to the second point, fewer words carrying more meaning. So the message of the Ad should reach the audience as fast as it can and clear as it can. In the design department, spacing also plays an important role in the Ad. So make sure you space out your text well, and use effective elements like bullet points, boxes, pointers, wherever necessary.

10. End with a CTA

Call to Action

This one’s an obvious one. Always end with a Call to Action, otherwise what is even the point of your Ad. Once the reader goes through your Ad, it is very easy for him to just move on from there, turn the page, scroll down, drive away, etc. You need to create urgency in the reader’s mind to take action. It could be as simple as googling your brand, later that day. Or even more so, placing an order, or liking your Facebook page. Depending on the client’s end goal, you have to present the audience with a suitable call to action.

There! The golden rules of CopyWriting. If you follow all of these fundamentals, you can make sure your Ad Copy is better than 80% of the copies out there. For even more precision in your work, you can even refer to a lot of free and paid online classes for Copywriting. One of my suggestions would be this free Masterclass from Eduonix. Other than all these points, it is of course very important to just go with the flow, go where your gut feeling takes you, and just get creative with it. So stick to your guns, and start writing!

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