Does the Talent of Your Copywriter Matter?
The Impact of a Copywriter in Marketing
“You make that look so easy.” When you excel in a skill, you hear that all the time. But you know better, don’t you? The hard work and focus you put into your work is anything but easy. And, yet, have you ever caught yourself reading the work of a copywriter and saying to yourself, “That doesn’t seem so hard” or “the actual writing doesn’t really impact a marketing campaign all that much, does it?”
Or maybe…just maybe…what you had read was a professional copywriter making effective copywriting look so very easy!
What a Professional Copywriter Brings to the Marketing Table
So, what does an experienced, professional copywriter know that the company intern or your office assistant – hardworking and intelligent as they may be- doesn’t? What sets effective copywriting apart from the kind that’s generated by a marketing company still following the “typing monkeys” model of the 1990’s?
There are several qualities that distinguish outstanding writing from the lackluster. And if you want to optimize the impact of your company’s website, marketing tactics, and anything else that depends on effective communication, you’re going to want to know them.
First Up, Copywriter Basics
Professional copywriting is among the most crucial aspects of marketing and advertising of any kind. Breaking it down into its most elemental definition, copywriting is the act of composing words -whether written or spoken- used to evoke an action from a target audience. A copywriter is the person creating that composition.
Effective copywriting is akin to the marketing technique known as “a call-to-action,” except the concept is on a larger scale. It is the job of a professional copywriter to influence the target audience’s feelings, thoughts, or responses regarding a product, service, brand or marketing campaign.
When effective copywriting hits the “sweet spot” the audience excites Google and other prominent search engines, bolstering a company’s slogan or brand on the ever-important Google, Bing, or Edge page positioning.
An effective copywriter conveys the marketing message in a way that is short and sweet, making content catchy to read and easy to remember. But that’s not the only skill needed by a good copywriter. Any professional copywriter worth his/her salt makes sure the writing has the following six traits.
6 Traits of Effective Copywriting
1. A good copywriter influences buyer perspective.
Have you ever heard of nudge theory? Depending on the field of study, it has nuanced differences. In marketing, a nudge is the well-placed kernel of a message that creates a slight shift in perception, evoking a breakthrough action.
Nudges are more important than ever in today’s competitive markets. All of us have learned to relegate marketing messages to white noise. So, one more all-caps ACT NOW! -whether visual or audio- really isn’t going to cut it. But an expert copywriter knows how to persuade a reader to drop his guard by taking an unexpected approach.
Every marketing campaign can be approached from multiple angles.
One of the most important jobs of a copywriter is to discover those that resonate the most with your target audience. An innovative copywriter will take a step back from approaching a topic head-on, so he or she can better envision the prism effect of that topic.
One helpful technique is to ask yourself: why does this topic/product/campaign matter? Keep your mind relaxed and write down as many that come to you. With each answer that pops up, challenge it a bit. Make it justify itself.
You are on the hunt to discover the bigger story behind your message.
2. Effective copywriting finds connections beyond the ordinary
For example, a copywriter has been assigned an ad for a new running shoe design. A head-on approach may be to find a way to sell the high-quality elasticity of the sole. Perhaps how lightweight the shoe feels.
But what if that copywriter steps back and thinks about the kinds of experiences the running shoe might evoke when a customer looks at it, tries it on?
The copywriter doesn’t have to be a runner to know what the act of running is really all about. For some it may be about fitness, energy, being able to engage more actively in life beyond the run. For many, it’s actually a type of meditation: a time of solitude, peace, restoring sanity so the runner can better deal with an otherwise hectic life.
Effective copywriting engages as many of the target audience’s five senses as he or she can.
What does the runner feel, hear, smell, during the running experience? An ad should connect with customers on a “dopamine” level. When a customer sees an ad or product, the areas of the brain connected to meaningful or pleasurable experiences should fire up.
3. The lead bursts out of the gate.
Copywriters that know their stuff create leads that snap the eye and brain to attention. The well-written marketing lead makes the customer want to keep reading. The entire ad should be a domino effect of curiosity and interest. The lead grabs your attention and makes you want to read the second line. The second line leads you to the third, and so on.
If you’re lead doesn’t wow the reader, you don’t have an effective marketing campaign.
4. The effective copywriter listens before writing.
Virtually every product has several competitors. So how do you communicate the unique qualities of your product to the target audience? Communication requires listening. So, start there.
What a concept, right? Yes, listen to the core audience. What do they look for in a product like yours? You’ll likely get some pretty generic answers in the beginning: quality, convenience, ease of operation…all the standards. But keep asking and keep listening. The more conversational you can make the research, the more relaxed and further down into the emotional level the people you’re speaking to will go.
To do this, you’ll need to calm that hamster wheel whirring in your head.
But it’s worth it. Investing time through honest attention to people who fit a campaign’s demographic is one of the essential skills of a talented, professional copywriter. So take the time to seek them out.
This is not to say that organized focus groups aren’t valuable. They are. But any time a copywriter goes beyond the pale in seeking out a little one-on-one (or small group-on-one), creative boundaries disintegrate, and spectacular campaigns can catch fire.
5. Be real, not hype.
How many times have you seen campaigns that include exclamations like Groundbreaking! Revolutionary! Award Winning! Best Solution!
Sorry, did all that shouting make you doze off?
Hyperbole and jargon are what copywriters fall back on when the creative well has gone dry…or when a copywriter is just plain lazy. It’s a tempting trap that all writers have fallen into or, at least, walked dangerously near.
Everyone has struggled to find a fresh, original way to express what really makes their product or brand rise above the competition.
Effective copywriting avoids this trap by always focusing on the human element. Even in this age of bots and web crawlers, it’s the emotional currents of desire, need, pleasure, or love that ultimately pulls the customer to your product. The fact is, a great copywriter understands that a powerful marketing campaign doesn’t need to yell. It speaks with simpl