As much as things change, sometimes it’s refreshing to know that some things stay the same.

Like good copywriting, for instance.

The characteristics that make good copywriting have remained the same for decades…as long as print advertising has been a way of marketing to people.

What is copywriting, really?

According to Wikipedia, copywriting is the act of writing copy (text) for the purpose of advertising or marketing a product, business, person, opinion or idea. The addressee (reader, listener, etc.) of the copy is meant to be persuaded to buy the product advertised for, or subscribe to the viewpoint the text shares.

So the thing that makes copywriting different from writing for a novel, an article or a blog is its intention.

If you’re writing for your website or marketing materials, you’re writing copy with an intention to drive someone to take action. The first thing to consider is:

What is the objective of your copy?

1. To generate inquiries
2. To generate sales
3. To answer inquiries
4. To qualify prospects
5. To generate traffic
6. To introduce a new product or an improvement of an old product
7. To keep in touch with customers and prospects
8. To transmit news or product info
9. To build brand recognition

After you know what the objective is, it makes it clearer as to how “hard” to drive your reader to take action. Taking action to buy something takes more work than getting action to sign up for an email newsletter. After you are clear on the objective, then you want to…

Answer questions about your product

1. What are the features and benefits?
2. Which benefit is the most important?
3. How is the product different from the competition’s? (Which features are exclusive? Which are better than the competition’s?
4. If the product isn’t different, what attributes can be stressed that haven’t been stressed by the competition?
5. What are the applications of the product?
6. What problems does the product solve in the market place?
7. How is the product positioned against competing products?
8. How does the product work?
9. How long will the product last?
10. Is it easy to use? Easy to maintain?
11. Who else has used the product and what do they say about it?
12. Is it guaranteed?

Finally, you want to consider your audience.

Answer questions about your audience

1. Who will buy the product?
2. What exactly does the product do for them?
3. Why do they need the product? Why do they need it NOW?
4. What is the customer’s main concern when buying this type of product? (price, performance, delivery, maintenance, quality, efficiency, availability, reliability…)
5. What’s the character of the buyer? What type of person is this being sold to?
6. What motivates the buyer?
7. How many different buying influences are you trying to appeal to? (i.e. parent and child, husband and wife, etc.)

When you have these things clearly answered in your mind, then you can draft your copy. Or you might draft your copy, then go back through and add in these answers to make it more compelling for your audience. Either way, being clear on your intention, your product’s positioning and your audience will help you go a long way in compelling your audience in your copy.

If you have questions about copywriting or need a copywriter, you can check out my sister site, or send me an email.

In love with words,

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