Fundamentals Of Copywriting

Want to get a better grasp of the fundamentals of copywriting?

I’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide.

1. Know Your Audience

Understanding your audience is a key aspect of learning how to become a copywriter.

Whether it’s your clients target audience or an audience on social media, you want to get to know them deeply.

You’re not trying to impress the company that pays you, but about reaching out to the people who will read your final work - the customers, website visitors, or readers. You're creating marketing materials that need to resonate with them.

Your job as a copywriter is to build a bridge between potential customers and the product or service you're promoting. You want to show them how what you're selling can add value to their lives.

Many companies have something called an ideal customer profile. This is a snapshot of their ideal customer, complete with details like age, gender, education level, income bracket, hobbies and interests, buying habits—even beliefs. These details are gold for any copywriter niches because they allow you to shape your marketing message in such a way that it speaks directly to these prospective customers.

First, identify who exactly your audience is. If there's no detailed buyer profile available from the client, don't worry—you've got options. You can visit websites similar to what you're writing for or read up on relevant marketing materials. Online forums are also great places for gathering insights about what people in your target audience want and need.

For more tips and tricks, check out our blog post about how to start freelance writing with no experience.

2. Do Your Research

Writing with depth is like sharing a story you've lived. It's about breaking down complex ideas into digestible bits, making it feel as if an expert is explaining things to a friend. This approach requires basing your facts on reliable sources and sprinkling in where you got the information from time to time. Always be genuine and honest in your writing; it should reflect something you'd stand by no matter what.

When someone types a question into Google, they're looking for an answer that's straightforward and easy to understand. Your goal is to provide that answer in the most relaxed yet informative way possible.

Let's talk about copywriting fundamentals, which are equally applicable to website content writing - including blog posts and articles. A key principle here is providing proof of product or service effectiveness. To do this effectively, exhaustive research becomes necessary before you start writing about any product, service, or topic.

Your research should focus on:

  • Product features
  • Benefits to users
  • Operational aspects
  • Competitive advantages
  • Technical proofs supporting claims

Where can you conduct your research?

I like to use:

  • Interviews
  • chatGPT
  • Google
  • Forums like reddit
  • Review sections

Keep all your findings organized in one place; don't discard anything as it may come handy later on.

3. Understand the 3 Fundamental Rules of Selling

Rule 1: Connect, Don't Push

People dislike feeling pressured into a purchase. Instead of aggressive sales tactics, focus on understanding your prospects' needs. Offer solutions that genuinely improve their lives, making them feel valued rather than cornered.

Rule 2: Leverage Emotions

Emotions often outweigh logic in buying decisions. Emotions drive purchasing decisions more than rationality does. This might seem counterintuitive because we like to think of ourselves as logical beings who weigh up pros and cons before making decisions. But research from sources like Harvard Business Review suggests otherwise.

When writing copy or creating content for your website, tap into these emotional triggers - both negative ones like fear or greed and positive ones like curiosity or love.

For example, if you're selling home security systems, evoke feelings of safety and peace of mind (positive emotions), while also subtly reminding prospects of potential dangers (negative emotions).

Rule 3: Back It Up With Logic

After an emotional purchase, customers seek logical justifications to avoid buyer's remorse. Provide factual details that reinforce your product's value, whether it's durability, fuel efficiency, or long-term savings.

If we think about the home security systems, you can use a stat like:

80% of burglars said they would be deterred from committing a crime if they knew that a home was equipped with a security camera system. You want your family to be safe, right?

4. Talk About Benefits, Not Features

Listing technical aspects or 'features' may seem like the obvious approach when writing about a product. Features are the hard facts—like an Intel Core i7 processor in a laptop. While these details have their place, they don't necessarily resonate with the reader.

The Power of Benefits

Benefits, on the other hand, are the game-changers. They forge an emotional connection by showing how a product meets the customer's desires. For example, instead of stating the laptop has a high-speed processor, say it allows for seamless multitasking.

Emotional Drivers in Buying Decisions

Emotions, stirred by perceived benefits, are often the real catalysts behind purchasing decisions. People invest in products they believe will enhance their lives, whether by increasing efficiency or boosting personal skills.

Examples of Features vs. Benefits

  • DSLR Camera: High-resolution sensor (Feature) vs. Capturing authentic experiences in stunning detail (Benefit)
  • SEO Services: Increased website traffic (Feature) vs. Potential growth in business sales (Benefit)"

So when you’re copywriting, remember this golden rule: focus on how your product can benefit the reader. This is key to keeping them engaged and interested in what you have to offer.

5. Attention Grabbing Hooks And Headlines

The art of copywriting is a bit like fishing. You cast your line (or in this case, your words) into the vast ocean of content, hoping to hook a reader. The bait you use? That's where headlines and leads come into play.

A good headline should:

  • Set the tone
  • Highlight key benefits
  • Communicate value
  • Suggest uniqueness

If you can pair it with an image, it can make it even more powerful.

Here’s are some examples:

fundamentals of copywriting show don't tell

The Big Idea

The 'big idea' is the main benefit your product or service offers, essentially telling readers how it will improve their lives.

The Intrigue of the 'Big Idea'

The 'big idea' is a thought-provoking concept related to what you're selling. It serves to engage the reader intellectually, making your copy more compelling and memorable.

The Importance of Retention

Capturing attention is just the first step; retaining it is equally vital. In a world saturated with content, losing reader engagement means they'll quickly move on to something else.

6. Be Clear, Not Clever

In copywriting, the goal is to make your words feel both personal and straightforward. You're not penning a formal report; you're having a conversation. Imagine explaining your point to someone over coffee—keep it that simple.

Your copy should resonate with your audience. Use their language, their jargon - make them feel like you're one of them. This doesn't mean dumbing down your content; rather, it's about ensuring that your message is easily understood and relatable.

Imagine writing a letter to someone close to you when crafting your copy. A conversational tone can add warmth and personality to your text, making it more appealing and engaging for the reader.

In terms of perspective, switching between the first (I/we) and second (you) person can create an intimate bond with the reader.

It makes them feel like they're part of the conversation rather than just passive observers. While third person (he/she/they) can also be used in certain contexts, first and second person are generally preferred in copywriting as they foster a closer connection with the reader.

7. Use CTAs

In copywriting, the call to action (CTA) serves as your final pitch, directing readers toward a specific action like clicking a link or making a purchase.

It's where you clearly state what you want the reader to do next.

But just telling them isn't enough. You need to equip them with all the necessary information they'll need for this action - whether it's contact details, links, or an explanation of the process.

It's like giving someone directions; you wouldn't just tell them where to go without explaining how to get there.

Now here comes an important part: managing expectations. Let your reader know what will happen after they take that step. Will they receive an email confirmation? Will they be redirected to another page? Whatever it is, make sure there are no surprises waiting for them at the end of their journey.

Sales materials often conclude with something called a unique selling proposition (USP). Think of this as your closing argument in a debate; it summarizes why your product or service stands out from the crowd.

Crafting effective CTAs and USPs requires deep knowledge and understanding of both your audience and what you're offering. But when done right, these elements can significantly boost engagement and conversions.

Who is Dakota?

I show you how to build a high-paying creative business without doing work you hate.

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