Helmut Krone, the man who helped develop the famous Volkswagen’s successful copy “Think Small”, gave a hint to how he writes his copy.
He said: “I start with a blank piece of paper and try to fill it with something interesting.”
Sounds pretty simple, right?
You can also be like him. But…
How do you fill your own piece of paper with something interesting? How and where do you get your ideas?
Even when you know what to write, how do you do it like the expert copywriters do it?
Fortunately, I’ve taken the pain to gather all the steps you need to write a successful and persuasive copy that will go viral and get you your desired result.
Here are the five steps you need:
- Do your homework
- Do all necessary findings
- Arrange your ideas
- Write your first draft
- Proofread you work
1. Do Your Homework
Copywriting, like other professional tasks, requires adequate preparation. Preparing for a copywriting assignment is like laying a building foundation. You have to do your homework to write a successful copy. That’s what professional copywriters do. And here’s how to do it like the experts.
Determine the aim of your copy
You have to know the purpose of your copy. What do you intend to achieve? It’s important to determine your main objective right from the onset. Your aim shouldn’t be broad. Be specific. It could be to:
- Build your email list
- Make sales
- Make readers fill a form
- Make potential clients request your copywriting service
- Make potential clients request your coaching service
- Create awareness or
- Give a product review
These are possible objectives. Yours may be one or more. It may also include what you want your audience to know and how you want them to think or feel after reading.
Determine where your copy will appear
Different media have a different approach. How you approach a social media ad is quite different from how you approach a sales page or a website page.
A Facebook ad will require a captivating headline, a short copy, and a simple picture to pass the key message. Facebook users are out to chat with their family and friends and to share pictures and videos. Logically, you approach them like another friend. Otherwise, a large percentage will scroll down and skip your copy.
Your copy should fit the medium it will appear.
2. Do All Necessary Findings
Obviously, no successful copy has been written without research. This is the only way you’ll gain full knowledge of what to write and how to write it.
This can be done primarily by interviewing your client (who is probably the manufacturer or owner of the business). And secondarily by reading past information about the product.
There are two major things to focus on during your research: Your audience and the product.
But how do you go about it?
Know your audience. Find out what appeals to them and what they are more concerned about. If you’re writing a copy for a new product, find out what users of the old version or a rival product say. This way, you learn what they are thinking and how to address their issues.
You can learn about your audience by reading reviews and by interviewing your client. Some expert copywriters go as far as marketing the product from door to door just to gather as much information about the customers as possible.
One legendary copywriter – assigned to write a copy for a vegetable oil industry – dug into hundreds of comments and found a comment that confirmed that the oil remains in the pan even after frying. Signifying that only little amount of the oil is lost after the first use.
This comment was eventually used as an idea for the tagline of the successful copy which made a lot of sales.
Who you’re writing to matters a lot. This will help you determine the language and tone to use.
If you’re writing a copy for a machine aimed at engineers, for example, it should contain more features than benefits. This is because engineers are more concerned about the specifications of the equipment they use.
But if it’s aimed at consumers, spell out as many benefits as possible. Unlike like engineers, consumers are more concerned about benefits. They will most likely not know what benefits they’ll derive from the specifications. Tell them.
This is by far the most important thing to do. How can you successfully promote a product or service you know nothing about?
Obviously … by research.
Get all previous information about the product. Brochures, blueprints, plans, newsletters, or anything that will give you even much more information than you’d put down.
The beauty of doing this is that you’ll have enough information during the writing process. Most ads fail because the copywriter doesn’t give much information about the product. Don’t do that.
Make a complete list of the benefits and features of the product. Ask as many questions about the product as possible. Questions like:
- How does it work?
- How efficient is it?
- How cheap is it?
- How quickly can it be delivered?
- Is it guaranteed? On what condition?
- How is it different from rival products? If it isn’t different, what feature can be highlighted to make it appear different?
Learn as much as possible about the product. Some features and benefits of the product are best known when you use the product yourself.
3. Arrange Your Ideas
Following your research, your next step is to organize your thoughts. This will make your copy coherent to your readers. You can effectively structure your ideas using any of these methods.
- Sequential Method – By giving step-by-step information of how to do something or use a product. More appropriate for “how to” guides
- Chronological Method – It involves giving a history from the past to present. Effective if your copy is in the form of a story
- Cause and Effect Method – Creating a problem and presenting the positive effect of using the product as the solution
Now you can prepare an outline…
Prepare the blueprint of how you want your copy to look like. Headings, lists, testimonials, and all other things should be positioned.
This is where you decide where to place images and other visuals. Decide how the layout and design should be to help your readers understand the information you’re giving to them.
Outlining helps you to place your key points at the greatest positions of importance. This way, your copy will be complete and logically organized. And you’d be able to focus only on putting down your ideas when you start writing. It makes it easier to move from one heading and subheading to another.
4. Write Your First Draft
This is the most difficult part for many writers and copywriters. You can, however, find it easy if you use your outline as a guide. Your body copy is an expansion of your outline into paragraphs and sentences.
Don’t worry about grammatical errors or sentence structure when you start writing. Don’t go back and fix up words you’ve already written. Just keep writing what comes to your mind.
Don’t stop the formation of ideas. Let the ideas flow.
Remember it’s your first draft. You’ll trim off the unnecessary parts later on.
Your copy should basically be divided into these sections…
- Body Copy
- Call to Action
An effective way to write a successful copy is to write at your most productive moments. And use any method that works for you. Some writers begin with the headline, move to the introduction then the body copy.
You may want to write the body copy and headline later. Choose whatever works well with you. What works is what’s best.
5. Proofread Your Work
No matter how good you are … your first draft needs some editing.
This is where you rewrite and rearrange your write-up into a more logical sequence.
First, read your work to yourself and trim unnecessary information. Don’t give your readers what they don’t need. This will bore them. Be honest and find faults in your draft.
Read your draft several times for coherence and consistency. Read it like a first-time reader and see if it conforms to your criteria for a persuasive copy.
For a long copy, don’t try to edit everything at once.
Second, clean up your copy by proofreading for mechanical corrections like punctuations and spellings. Also, check the accuracy of your facts. And if possible, ask others to review your work and make suggestions for improvement.
As with other professions, perfection in copywriting comes with practice.
As you write more copy … you’ll know what strategies work best for you … gain more control over the English language … and develop new skills to become a better copywriter.
Every great copywriter was once like you. Who says you can’t be better than you are right now?