Ever wonder what the secret is to writing copy that sizzles?
You know, the kind of content that turns that one-off assignment into a long-term client.
When you take on a copywriting assignment, you have to connect with your client’s target market. Get this right, and you’ll be a lot more likely to convert readers into subscribers, and subscribers into buyers.
Think of it like grilling the perfect burger with just the right amount of seasoning and cooking time. Do it right, and your clients will be satisfied, and their audience will be hungry for more.
So what’s the secret sauce to writing copy that sizzles?
It starts before you write a single word. The prep-work you put in to serve your clients tasty copy can make all the difference between bland and boring or mouth-watering and delicious.
Want to learn how to write copy that sizzles? Here are six ways to crush your next copywriting assignment:
1. Speak the language
It’s your first order of business for writing copy when you pitch a prospect or land a new client. And you typically have to ramp up fast with your own homemade immersion program.
- Study the website and blog posts.
- Read current and back issues.
- Ask Google to serve up more info about your client and target audience.
- And pay attention to the language and word choices that makes your client unique.
If you skip this step and jump right into writing copy, you run the risk of serving your client nothing but disappointment. Don’t do that, OK. Learn to speak the language first. For example:
- As a parent you might think sick means someone who’s unwell. But if you’re writing for a client teenage audience, their readers may thing sick means awesome or cool.
- If your client’s customers are millennial females you wouldn’t write in a style that would appeal to boomer-generation males. You need to speak their language.
2. Master tone and creativity
If you get in on the ground floor with a start-up, or an established client wants you to handle writing copy for a new product launch, tone and creativity are critical. You might be tasked with writing copy for a video, social media campaign, article, or even a product name and slogan. And you’ll need some creative juice to make it happen. Some examples to get you thinking:
- Soft and gentle sells baby products: Pampers Swaddlers: “Love at first touch.”
- If you’re selling a sports car, speed and punch might be the right way to go like Mazda’s “Zoom, zoom,” tagline.
Some industries and clients are bound to take a more formal approach to copywriting than others. But learning to master tone and creativity will help you write better copy, stand out, land more assignments and more long-term clients.
3. Know the pain points
Your client’s target market has a problem, a pain point. And your client has the solution.
As a copywriter, it’s your job to write copy that resonates with readers and encourage them to take action.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by digging into those pain points, making an emotional connection, and helping readers know there’s a way out.
What are the pain points of your client’s target audience? Some common pain points can include:
- A hectic or busy schedule
- Budget limitations
- Lack of resources
- Not enough knowledge or education
- Low self-confidence
- Relationship problems at home or work
- Fear of failure
- Health problems
- Or some major decision that will impact their life or business
Once you know the pain points your client’s target audience is struggling with, describe the pain point. Help the reader experience the emotional struggle associated with it. And you’ll be one step closer to writing copy that gets results.
Try this copywriting exercise
You’ve got a gig writing copy for a cell phone company targeting parents thinking about buying a phone for a kid.
- What are the pain points for the parent?
- Can you make an emotional connection?
Answer these two questions, and you’ve just done some important prep work to write great copy.
4. Get to the point…fast
We all know how important it is to write clear, clean, concise copy. But with sales content you’ve got to get to the point right away.
Statistics show you have two sentences, or 10 to 20 seconds, to capture the reader’s attention before they move on to the next website, ad or article. (It’s the same reason writing effective query letters or letters of introduction to land gigs is so important.)
Using an engagement question is one of the best ways to get to the point fast. Here’s an example for selling lawnmowers:
- “Do you need a new lawnmower but don’t want to spend your life savings on one?”
If the prospect needs an affordable lawnmower, you’ve got their attention right away.
Now grab them with empathy and the answer to their problem like this:
- “We understand. That’s why we came up with a revolutionary lawnmower that’s easy on the pocketbook.”
5. Sell the sizzle
In marketing there’s a saying, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” In other words, sell the benefits not the features.
Here’s how copywriting guru Robert W. Bly explains this:
- Feature is a descriptive fact about a product or service. It’s what the product is or has.
- Benefit is what the product does. It’s what the user of the product or service gains as a result of the feature. For example, a one-year warranty is a feature. The benefit is peace of mind.
What are the features and benefits of your client’s product or service?
6. Get to know your client
It’s probably the most important step in the process before writing copy of any kind for your client.
You can get a lot of the info you need to write for a client by learning to speak their language, but nothing is better than a person-to-person conversation.
- Schedule a discovery call.
- Interview your client and find out how they connect with their customers.
- Ask about their failures and wins, short-term goals, and big-picture objectives, and get to know them.
You’ll gain invaluable insight by doing this that will help you write better copy for your client.
The secret sauce for writing copy that sizzles
Want to learn how to write great copy that satisfies your clients and makes their audience hungry for more? Follow these six steps to tap into the mind of your client and their peeps, and you’ll be able to make it happen.
Suzanne Boles is an award-winning content creator, feature writer and marketing coach. She also teaches writing courses at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada.