What is copywriting?
Copywriting is anything written to use in your marketing, from writing adverts to be displayed online, to writing Tweets, to describing products or services on your website. These days it covers a pretty broad range of purposes and styles and it is essential to any marketing campaign. It can be tricky to do marketing without words.
But writing is hard. There is no getting round it. For a number of very good reasons our clients often find they need to get some words down on the page but lament the difficulties this involves. As it happens, we spend a lot of time creating all kinds of copy, for websites and social media as well as blog posts (like this one), flyers and even support documents. Each type of writing has its own nuances and approach but there are some of the key things that we find can help in almost any case.
Copywriting is an essential part of pretty much every marketing campaign. It’s becoming more and more important to produce lots of high quality content, especially for SEO. So if you want to get more involved in your marketing and create copy yourself, here are a few tips to get you started.
How to start copywriting
An obvious one but easily overlooked. If you’re in an office, on a computer or even just have a phone in the room, you’re never far away from external (or self imposed) distractions. Making an effort to go to a new or different place can make all the difference and put you in the “write” mindset. I personally really get stuck in when I’m hyper-caffeinated in a coffee shop, but this is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea.
As well as doing the obvious, like putting your phone on a genuinely silent mode (vibrating can still be infuriating), there are things you can do on your computer. Simple tools like zenpen let you get on with the task at hand rather than allowing you procrastinate by going through every font your computer has to offer.
There are also things you can do to deal with more abstract distractions. If you’re struggling to clear your head then exercise is a fantastic solution. The whole team at Alloy takes their training seriously and there’s nothing quite like a high intensity strength workout to freshen up your focus. If you’re not into lifting heavy weights then even just going for a walk can really help. If you’re really keen to stay indoors you can give meditation a go which as been shown to improve focus and concentration.
How to create a content strategy
Regardless of how full of ideas you are you should always make a plan. Creating meaningful communication is always going to need some kind of logical flow. So you need to think about where you start and where you want to end up. What’s the key point you are trying to make? How you going to make it? Coming up with this kind of a plan can be just as tough as starting to write but once you’ve got it together it should be much easier to make meaningful process.
The process for creating a plan is of course going to be determined by the purpose of your writing. If you’re writing copy for a website then you’ll want to carry out competitor research and a thorough marketing analysis of your business to identify the key USPs. Coming up the the few sentences at the top of your home page may take longer than writing all the other pages combined and may be the last bit you do. Anything that you write for use online should also keep keywords in mind – which words and phrases would you expect your customers to be using?
If you’re struggling to come up a plan don’t keep looking at a blank page. Go and find some inspiration. Have a look at what else is around online, Google for topics related to the content you’re writing, line up a chat with a friend who knows more about the topic than you. If you’re feeling brave, line up a chat with a friend who knows less, forcing you to provide a detailed explanation. In our experience, as soon as you start looking at something other than a blank page the ideas tend to start pop up up by themselves.
How to check copywriting
This is more of an issue for some people than others. It’s not normally a problem I have personally (speed is of the essence in my opinion) but after a certain point, endlessly rewording one sentence isn’t going to make that much difference. Some people struggle to get to point where there are “completely happy” with a piece of writing but this doesn’t have to hold everything up. Your efforts should be proportional to the exposure of the writing. If it’s for the front page of your website that may be seen by thousands of people over many months, then don’t rush it, but don’t spend two hours rewording a 140 character tweet.
No matter how much time you spend on your writing, something that really does need to be done properly is proofreading. Not only will customers think much less of you should they come across typos or mistakes, even Google can pick up on badly written text which can impact on SEO. If you don’t have the time to come back with completely fresh eyes, or have someone else check your work for you, then tools like Grammarly offer a much more advanced version of a spell checker which can help pick up on the things you can easily miss yourself.
If you’re still struggling to put pen to paper, or to put the finishing touches to your magnum opus, then get in touch with our talented team of copywriters. We’ve had tons of experience crafting all kinds of copy for marketing and would be delighted to help.