The most important skill in business and life is the ability to sell.
We sell our ideas, sell our products, and sell ourselves.
And it’s not all about money either.
When you approach a woman at the bar, you aren’t looking to make money off of her.
Well, you might be. Do you also have a bedazzled cup and cane?
No, you’re looking to sell yourself as a solid candidate to take her out to dinner or take her home right then.
Selling is about getting your point across effectively.
It just so happens that when you are selling a product or service, you want to get that point across very clearly.
That’s exactly what copywriting does.
Copywriting is the most effective form of writing for delivering your message clearly.
Unless you are writing a fiction novel, all of your writing should be copywriting.
Obviously your business website and marketing materials should adhere to the principles of good copywriting, but think deeper:
- Applications, cover letters, and resumes
- Your emails to colleagues and clients
- Feedback given to others
By the end of this article you’ll understand why I feel this way.
Effective copy (written words) is concise and easy to read.
There are three basic rules to copywriting that help you achieve this:
- Use simple words. Big words don’t make you look smarter, they make you look insecure.
- Write short sentences. The shorter the better. You want to get your point across with the least amount of words possible.
- Paragraphs should only have two to three sentences max. People have a short attention span and like to skim content. Make it easier for them to do that.
It sounds condescending, doesn’t it? Treat the reader like they are dumb?
Copywriters don’t write this way because the reader is dumb. They do it to make it as easy as humanly possible for the reader to understand the message.
And yes, many readers are dumb.
People have a lot on their mind. You know how every time you re-watch a movie you notice something new? The same goes for reading.
Keeping the writing simple improves comprehension the first time around. Good copywriters are concerned with effectiveness, not whether the copy is cute or creative.
It’s always the amateur clients who want something creative. The pros care about conversions aka effectiveness.
Make note of what the pros do.
By following these three simple rules your writing will be much more effective than the average writer that knows nothing about copywriting.
Easy enough, right?
Form a Connection
Now that you understand how to be easily understood, it’s time to put that ability to use.
Effective copy is engaging. You engage the reader by giving them something they can relate to and by appealing to their emotions.
People connect with other people.
Remind the reader that there’s a person on the other side of your writing.
- Tell stories
- Let your personality show in your writing
- Use conversational language
Your reader wants to connect with you, but it’s your responsibility to make that connection happen.
Another fundamental element of copywriting is focusing on benefits, instead of features.
Benefits vs Features
Features describe characteristics of a product or service. An iPhone features Bluetooth technology and Retina display technology.
Benefits are what the customer gets from those features. Using the examples from above, the benefits are being able to talk on the phone in the car without getting pulled over and seeing every little detail in the photos from your bachelor party.
See the difference?
The best companies are masters of selling benefits.
Apple doesn’t sell features. They sell a lifestyle and an experience.
You’ll be amazed at how much more engaged your readers are when you focus on benefits over features.
Headlines that convert the highest offer a clear benefit to the reader.
Notice how I broke this rule with this article. That’s because this blog is a hobby for me and I don’t have to worry about conversions. Plus, I just really wanted to include the ABC’s bit.
What does your reader care about? That’s what you write about.
It’s as simple as that.
You know the phrase — always be closing.
That could easily be re-written to say always be copywriting. Because the result is the same.
Life is sales.
You’ll find a lot of people who disagree, but I’ve never met a successful person that doesn’t believe this to be true.
Remember, selling isn’t always about making money. Selling is about getting your point across clearly.
Copywriting helps you get your point across and form a genuine connection with the reader.
After all, what’s the point of writing if no one cares to read it?
Until Next Time,
What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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