How do you get from plain content to profit-boosting copy? By following these 10 steps. You can also use these steps to improve copy you’ve already written. If the copy hasn’t performed well, look over the following tips to see what’s missing.
STEP ONE: Plan
Most people jump into writing copy without a good plan. This is a mistake. There are so many points you must cover. It’s easy to forget things when you’re facing tight deadlines, a wave of ideas, and a heavy workload. It doesn’t take long to plan. A basic outline of everything you want will do. Then your team can flesh out the plan together in a meeting.
STEP TWO: Choose your DIY copywriting team
You only need 7 members, so don’t go overboard. Think about how different employees suit each position. Consider which role suits your personality. I suggest that supervisors and managers take on the project manager role. You can find a character outline on each role here.
STEP THREE: Include online AND offline marketing
Don’t forget your offline marketing! Not everyone has easy access to the internet. Now most companies are online, offline marketing makes you stand out. Another benefit to offline marketing is more visible copy. Ignoring an advert on a web page is easier than ignoring a brochure in the letterbox. Always tie online and offline copy together, for example, advertise your website in your brochure.
STEP FOUR: Go back to basics
You’re probably an expert in your field. Your customers aren’t. Make sure your copy is ‘dumbed down’ to their level. If the general public doesn’t understand you, you’ve lost potential customers. Everything you plan must relate to Joe Public, not just CEOs and Directors.
STEP FIVE: Make timeless copy
I know certain industries like IT progress quickly, but try to write about something that will be relevant for years to come. Even better, predict where the industry is going so you’ll be ahead. It’s hard work updating copy on a regular basis, so write something that will last months, even years.
STEP SIX: No sales talk
“BUY OUR STUFF!!!!!!”…No. Don’t turn into that annoying salesperson. Be yourself. Customers prefer someone they can relate to. Always focus on them, not you. Selling the benefits of a product works. Selling features doesn’t. If customers don’t see how a product benefits them, they won’t buy it. Make every benefit clear. Don’t make customers think any more than necessary.
STEP SEVEN: Get the right length
Go online and see how long different copy is. Certain copy may be short: articles, ads, leaflets, etc. Certain copy may be long: white papers, speeches, scripts, etc. Do your research BEFORE you start, and keep in mind that lengths may change over time, for example, web owners used to prefer short web pages but now Google is rewarding longer ones.
STEP EIGHT: Be yourself
Whatever works for the competition won’t necessarily work for you. Be your own brand, not a poor imitation of someone else’s. People know when a company is copying another. It reeks of desperation. People are attracted to leaders, not followers.
STEP NINE: Call to action
Your copy should push customers into action. A gentle push, not a shove. End your copy with the next step they can take. Don’t miss out on such a great opportunity to sell!
STEP TEN: Eye-catching photos
Text is nice but pictures are nicer. When you distribute copy, always have some pictures. They break up a wall of text and the right photos are eye-catching. Make sure the picture fits your copy and don’t use controversial pictures just to attract attention. Remember, gimmicks don’t always sell!
Now you know exactly what it takes to transform plain content into profit-boosting copy. It won’t take long to improve copy that hasn’t performed as well as expected. Just look over each point and ask yourself, “Have we done this?” If not, now’s the time. If you’re starting a new project, stick these ten steps where the whole team can see them every day.