[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] The first 3 things you must do before you start writing your content or blogs – Part 1 of SC’s foundation level copywriting skills.
So you’re going to write your own content and that’s great. But like most skills, it’s important to bear in mind that the success and flair of any skill is very much founded in the preparation and the practice. But while I can’t help you practice your writing, what I can do, in this first of my foundation series of posts about the basic skills of copywriting, is remind you of some of the many factors that you need to research and investigate before you even get close to putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard.
1. Aims and objectives.
Whilst writing meandering prose for the sheer delight of expressing your inner thoughts and desires, can be an unmitigated pleasure in its own right, it rarely has a place in copywriting or content for your business. So before you start writing your content have a clear notion of what the aim of this particular article or page is, whether that’s driving traffic to your website or a landing page, wanting people to call you or just building on your client engagement, your authority and your reputation.
Your writing needs to have a purpose. It all should form part of your overall marketing plan and strategy and knowing your objectives will help keep your writing focused and will help you formulate a strong and clear call to action (and no that is not the same as being pushy or salesy and no I’m not telling you to spell out your aims in your writing).
2. Your audience.
Imagine your copy is a conversation. Think how hard it is to hit the right tone and topic if you have no idea who you are talking to. And bear in mind how you feel when you pick up the phone and an unfamiliar voice asks for a moment of your time. Are you suspicious, wary and on your guard? Or perhaps, like me, you quickly hang up if you suspect it’s a cold caller.
Like a phone call or conversation, your copy has got to instantly resonate with the people you want to read it and how do you do that? By knowing as much as you possibly can about them of course. How old are they, where do they live, what do they earn, what do they do at the weekend, what do they eat, where do they go on holiday and what keeps them awake at night? The more you know, the more you can fine tune your writing so when they click on your content, it’s like a familiar friend talking to them about something they care about. Use social media, surveys, comments or paid methods but whatever you do, spend time gathering information about who you’re talking to. And you may find it helpful to create a person or avatar out of the information you collect and give it a name, so that when you write, you write directly and personally to that person.
3. Your voice.
As part of your overall business plan and marketing strategy, you should have already identified your business brand and identity, or in other words your voice and if you haven’t, well it’s time to do so now. Your voice is of course likely to be intrinsically linked to the information you’ve gathered when identifying your target audience and it’s very important to have a united voice, if more than one person is writing your copy.
Now imagine for a moment having a conversation with your grandmother, a toddler and your teenage son. You’ve all been to see a film and you’re discussing it. What granny found funny was probably wasted on tiny toddler Tom and Tania teenager may have thought the film was “just lame”. The tone of your voice and even the aspects of the film that you focus on will differ with all 3 of these family members and your copy needs to do the same. That said, do bear in mind that the different nuances in our many conversations are quite subtle so whatever you do, don’t try be too own with the kids if you’re not!
Thinking about your aims, your ideal target audience and your voice should be foremost in your mind whenever you approach your copywriting and are an intrinsic part of everything you write, from your website, your sales letters to your social media posts. And whilst this part of the process may be time consuming, the more you invest in it, the better your content will be. But don’t think you’re ready to start writing yet because you’re not and in part 2, I’ll be looking at keywords and SEO and you don’t get much more important than that!
Want a professional to check over your existing content and give you some constructive feedback about how you’re doing? drop me a line and take advantage of my feedback package. It’s free for websites with less than 7 pages and is a great way to start your 2015 marketing strategy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]