Writing Copywriting content for product information, and copywriting for sales success.
When we learn to write commercially, we have to think outside of the box, try to be different in our approach.
But at the same time, it is important to remember that communication with the reader is the core objective, so we turn to story telling techniques to help us create a strong connection with the reader.
Search Engines and Your Content
There’s no way around it, modern search engines use complex sets of algorithms that figure out exactly how useful the content that you write is.
As a content writer, or copywriter, you need to have at least an overview of what a search engine looks for, and does, when it evaluates the content that you write.
The search engine algorithm is more interested in the reader than in you as a writer.
We write persuasive information to help a customer make a decision. The search engines will help that potential buyer to find just the right information to help them along their way.
In copywriting, we want to draw the reader into a story about a product. We want to make them feel that they are in the right place, reading the ideas about the product. Our ideal reader is already in the market for exactly the product that we are writing about.
Copywriting is salesmanship with a typewriter.
Copywriting is all about creating content that pushes emotional buttons in the reader. They feel it, they relate. Their motivation to purchase is heightened through reading your copywriting.
Content marketing is more informational writing. You are creating an interesting read that will motivate the reader to keep reading, and click through to another article or sign-up to a newsletter.
The most powerful type of communication in the world, is storytelling.
Mostly, content writers make the same mistake that companies make; they make the seller, or the company into the protagonist.
Why should a reader be interested in reading about how wonderful, and heroic the company is? There is absolutely no reason. So, you need to make the customer using the product the hero. Hero’s solve problems, so do products. Combine the person reading with product, and you will have a hero to follow, who is helped along by the guardian at the gate – the seller or company who makes the product.
“We have become so accustomed to hearing everyone claim that his product is the best in the world, or the cheapest, that we take all such statements with a grain of salt.” – Robert Collier
Advertising has become a part of our everyday lives, we can’t avoid it. Go for a walk, and we’ll see adverts on cars, buses, and anywhere where there is space.
So, we have become numb to the claims of advertisers who simply try and tell us that their product is the best.
The other type of thought that advertisers use is subtle ideas of association. They’re hoping that we’ll start to think of the connections between ice cream and fun. In the old days, that worked well. But only for a while.
You have to write copy in a way that you lead the thought process.
Help the reader make connections with subtle hints about what those connections might be. But a writer must stay on the path of truth about the product. Wild claims of a product being better, doesn’t help a customer make a good decision. It does turn them off your writing.
A car gets you from A to B. But really, we’ve all learned to accept that a car will reflect our social status. A few years ago, a big car, with expensive looking paint work and classical lines was an example of upward mobility. It indicated not only that you are able to purchase an expensive car, but you make good choices to fit in with your chosen clique of people in society.
Today, those statements wouldn’t ring true.
A small, useful set of wheels that gets you from A to B is useful, and even the thought of owning a car for the sole purpose of social status is a faded idea of times gone by.
Selling a car based on its real purpose, how safe it is, and the ability to maintain it at low cost, is today’s car market pitch.
Or, rent a car when you need one.
Joseph Sugarman, one of the top advertising copywriters of the twentieth century, and author of “The Adweek Copywriting Handbook“, (affiliate link to book)points out a simple truth about copywriting, ‘The goal of copywriting is simple,’ – “to cause a person to exchange his or her hard earned money for a product or service.”
That’s the goal. Get the reader to pay for the product, to get their credit card out and type in those numbers, and purchase.
A good copywriter knows that to convince a reader with copywriting, will be a reader who is on the lookout for either the exact product written about, or something similar; some people are looking to buy something, that will do something, but they don’t know what it’s called, or where to buy it. Your copywriting might be the best thing they’ve read in ages.
In other words, you could say that a copywriter writes for customers who are already primed to buy. Those readers just need a little shove in the right direction. They need to know that if they push the button, and purchase, they will buy from a reputable seller.
They need guarantees that they’ll get their money back if it all goes pear shaped, quality assurance, and a little education on the product to help them understand that what they buy will do what they want.
That last one, ‘what they buy, will do what they want,’ is all about showing the reader the benefits of the product.
You can’t ‘push’ products onto people. Nobody in their right mind buys things they don’t want.
It’s starts at the search box. A searcher Google’s the words into the search box. Then Google suggests a slight change in the wording with, “Did you mean…”. This is Google’s way of helping the potential buyer to find exactly what they are looking for.
Google knows that it won’t fair well if it doesn’t help searchers find exactly what they want, quickly. So, it suggests ideas.
As a writer, it’s your job to make sure that your heading, subheading, and lead in to the article is spot on topic and shows the reader – and Google – that the article is the right place for the right customer.
Don’t sell features, at all. Sell up the benefits of a product, and you’ll hook the reader more quickly.
Cat food doesn’t come in airtight cans that never rusts, and have a long shelf life. (feature).
It does come out of the can fresh and moist, just like your cat expects it be, it also makes your cat extra happy as he or she chomps away on their lovely wet food. (Benefits of use).
As a copywriter, you can practise and study what makes good copywriting. But if you don’t also study the product, you’ll be lacking in knowledge.
The difference between a good copywriter and mediocre one is that the good copywriter will always spend time learning about the product until bells start ringing. Moments where you become enlightened about the product. This gives them the edge on other copywriters, and content writers, when it comes to clinching the deal. You must understand more than the person you talk to about it.
Remember, you are selling the product. You must be in a position to talk convincingly about its benefits.
A deeper understanding about the product also gives you insight. Your own appreciation about the benefits, and the quality of the product will grow with knowledge. This shows up in your writing. It helps you to write with a natural, and positive slant to the words.
If you believe in the product, you will really want to write something good about it, and readers will be motivated to buy it.
There is nothing worse than writing about something that you are neutral about, or actually wouldn’t use yourself. It’s a grind, and you won’t sound convincing.
I’ve made income through selling my writing abilities to companies. I’ve written content for information, updates for emails, and copywriting pieces that sell services and products. I’ve never been able to write about a product that I don’t like. If I don’t trust what I’m told about the product, I switch off inside, and push it away. I can’t write about those type of offers.
I know this, because long ago, I tried to write about everything I could get my hands on. I wrote pieces about trending products and services, then discovered why it was so difficult to finish a piece.
You are probably the same. You won’t sound convincing about anything, especially, when you don’t take it seriously.
The practice of copywriting is a skill that takes time to learn.
There are lots of companies and individuals out there who need to hire copywriters. You can spend all day pitching your skill to companies you find on the internet, and get some feedback, offers, and finally land a gig that might turn into a regular gig with a happy client.
If you practise the skill of copywriting, and really grasp the difference between a piece that is content for a funnel situation, or an email and understand its purpose, or a pure copywriting piece that convinces the reader to buy, and has great CTA at the end that makes the want to spend their money, then you can start making a living writing copy for a living.
Not forgetting that all starts are the hardest part of any task. We all start cold, unknowing, and wet behind the ears. Practise does make perfect. But, the desire within the practise makes things develop more smoothly.
Most copywriters will tell you that there are a lot of writers out there. And many are battling for a position on the market, all pitching like crazy, and it’s true.
There are not that many really good copywriters on the market. People expect everything to be automated these days, they forget about human input, effort of study, and that your abilities are the results of your initial efforts when studying.
You can train yourself to be a great content writer, and a highly effective copywriter who gets results – it all requires effort and will.
So that’s the way to the top of the tree.