The Story of Copywriting

August 31st 2010       Sally Ormond       copywriter, freelance copywriter, marketing tips

copywriter

How many times have you opened a new Word document ready to start writing only to end up staring at a blank screen for hours on end?

Starting a piece of copywriting is always the hardest bit. What sort of opening should you go for? What direction should it take?

Even if you get off to a flying start and come up with a cracking headline, producing anything else that does it justice can be difficult.

The best way to start is to plan what you want to write. Think back to your school days and the three elements of story telling that your English teacher constantly banged on about.

Remember what they are?

  • The beginning
  • The middle
  • The end

Writing sales copy follows exactly the same process.

Tie in your copy with your headline

The best headlines will include the primary benefit of your product or service. If you manage that, get the same benefit into your copy straight away:

Headline: Miracle Glow removes all stains first time – guaranteed!

Copy: Fed up with washing clothes again and again because of stubborn stains? Well now’s the time to take action…

Get the idea?

The beginning

Your copy should start with a problem that needs to be solved. As with the example above, the problem was having to rewash clothes because of stubborn stains. This indicated to your reader what you are talking about and the purpose of your writing.

But it doesn’t always have to be a problem. The flip side is if your product or service is going to give pleasure (e.g. make them wealthier or more attractive), start with that benefit.

The middle

Your headline and initial paragraph would have drawn your reader in. Now you need a section that will convince them to buy.

This is the time to introduce the product or service that will overcome the initial problem or provide the favourable outcome. Taking the washing powder example again, you could say something along the lines of:

Now you can remove all stains first time with Miracle Glow. Second washes and extra products will become a thing of the past. Just one product will give you ultra clean laundry every time.

The end

This is where your reader enters the story. Up to now you’ve told them the problem they have and how you can solve it for them. Now’s the time to ask them to do something.

This is your call to action and is one of the most important aspects of your writing. It has to be commanding – tell them precisely what you want them to do:

Get your free sample of Miracle Glow now by calling xxxxxxxxxx

Your reader is left with no doubt that they have to call you to try out this amazing new product.

So, as you can see, being a copywriter is a lot like being a story teller. By following this simple format you’ll draw your reader in. Your compelling copy will convince them your product is for them and your call to action will make sure they buy.

Why not give it a try next time you’re staring at a blank screen.

Tags: copywriter, freelance copywriter, marketing tips
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