Don't force your copywriting
- Chris Haycock
- Tuesday, March 26, 2019
And then it suddenly dawned on me that I was doing it all wrong.
I hated it with a passion. It made my brain hurt because I was looking at it the wrong way. I thought it was all about impressing people with my grasp of marketing-speak.
But around 6 years ago I realised I was making copywriting far too difficult for myself by over-analysing it. Initially I hired a copywriter for a short while, but looking at what they produced I knew it was something I could do too.
I soon discovered that the most effective copy was quite informal - almost conversational.
So I started writing in a more human way, avoiding all the marketing guff I thought I'd learned over the decades.
And I realised that when it became more human, my writing became more persuasive.
The penny dropped. It was a revelation!
Here's five tips I follow make your copy sound more human:
- Write as if you're actually talking to someone over a coffee. It'll be a bit rough, but you can tidy it up later.
- Relax your mind. Don't try to follow guidelines. Just let your mind speak.
- Don't use complicated words that your reader won't understand. Simple = understandable.
- Have fun and enjoy it. As you're writing, let those words flutter around your mind, and smile (as I am right now).
- Stop and do something else if you get writer's block. Go and do something else for a while, and don't force it.
- Speak from the heart. Writing is at its very best when it's laced with passion. Or poison!
You're at your very best when you're relaxed, so keep a pen and paper (or your phone) ready for action at a moments notice.
Some of my amazing friends on Facebook gave me some additional tips for copywriting:
Copywriting always has an objective (and so includes a call to action). Copywriting is written from the reader's point of view, using 'you' and 'your' more than 'I', 'us', 'we' and 'our'. Copywriting answers WIIFM ("what's in it for me") by turning features into benefits. When you do it right, no-one notices the words you've used but they *do* get the message.
Jackie Barrie, Copywriter
I'd add just one more point to this list; as I feel it's fundamental. A writer, of any industry or ability, should absolutely read more than they write. Without thoroughly understanding your audience, your subject matter, your competition, and your brief, your content will never reach its full potential. No matter how creative you are as a writer.
Neely Khan, Neely There
I'm not a copywriter, but I enjoy writing, and would say the top one from the list above is write as if you are speaking to someone over a cup of coffee. It's hard - especially if you've spent forever in a corporate company who are 'guff' central and 'marketing' is a giant blob of people across several continents! The have fun bit is also important - I never write anything now when I'm stressed - just no point.
Richard Francis, Sensescape
Over the years I slowly grew into writing for speech radio, which is very different to the 'standard' written English, the stuff we're taught at school. The only drawback is you can't easily snap out of it so you end up writting formal letters in a very informal way.
Ray Khan, Plugstreet / former BBC Presenter