One problem with copywriting is that there’s so much advice going around, you can’t keep it all in your head while you’re writing. In the end, admit it, you just put it all to one side and write what comes instinctively.
I found myself in conversation with a really good copywriter recently, and had precisely this conversation. We concluded that the best approach might be to find just one strategy, and to use that until it became second nature, before moving on to another. I asked her which strategy she would begin with, in marketing communications, and the answer was: “Use actionable language”.
For example, if you’ve just written a piece describing your latest blue widget, and you’re about to put a label on the top as a headline, think about making that headline actionable. You might be pleased with yourself for remembering to concentrate on the benefits, rather than the features, but a benefit alone doesn’t make a good headline. “Smaller blue widgets make installation easier” is certainly an improvement over “Blue widgets are smaller”. But we still haven’t got something which encourages or commands the reader to take an action, even if that action is just to read the article.
An example might be “Find out how our smaller blue widgets make installation easier”. Alternatively the headline could appeal to the reader’s interest and a sub-heading could provide the actionable content: “Installation costing you too much? Find out how smaller blue widgets can help.”
This kind of writing is all over the web, and it works. There’s never been a better time to be a marketing copywriter, as everyone needs to compete. But you don’t need to call in the experts if you keep the basics in mind.