Something that should certainly be obvious, but often seems to be missed is how important your company or brand’s copy is. For the uninitiated, copy is just the written communication coming out of your brand or company. Copy is how you communicate with the outside world. Copy is everything from the emails you send out to the advertisements you post online to the writing on your website. Everything is copy and copy is crucial to getting your message across to customers. So, let’s discuss how to write good copy. You can trust me here, writing copy is literally what I’m doing right now.
The most important part of writing copy is considering who it is that you’re writing the copy for. As with a lot of the things I will touch on, this is true for every form of writing. You’re not going to use the same language for an email sent to a business partner in an official capacity as you will use for your weekly blog posts where you have carefully crafted a casually informative tone because you don’t want your readers to feel like you’re preaching to them. (A little look behind the curtain there.) With the business email your audience is a presumed authority, even if they are on the same level or even below you in the corporate hierarchy. With the blog post, you are acting as the authority because it is presumed that someone reading your blog is coming there for the information you are sharing because they trust you to be truthful and informative. In text messages between friends, to use a third example, your language will again be drastically different than the above examples because you are peers and speaking on the same level with many shared experiences. Every single act of communication requires a consideration of the intended audience, but it’s something that is shockingly often overlooked when businesses and brands are writing their copy.
The tone you’re writing with goes hand in hand with the audience. Which means this section, while also very important, will be pretty short. It is crucial that your tone matches your audience because of the appeals and roles I outlined above. There’s really not a whole lot to say about tone outside of what was already said in the audience section, but it still needed its own section in order to highlight the importance. So before I move on I will simply offer the advice that if you don’t nail that tone right away, that’s not only fine, but completely normal. It often takes a bit of audience interaction and also practice in capturing the tone you are after in order to finally get it.
It should go without saying, but the content of your copy is also incredibly important. Sure, a lot of people go online and just shout into the void with nothing of any significance, and that’s fine for a casual hobby, but when it comes to your business you need to make every single word count. Part of content is also knowing when to stay brief. If you’re sending out an order confirmation or a shipping notification don’t send several paragraphs of unrelated nonsense. Give the customer you have already converted the information they need. If you try to get too cute with your copy your product has to be that much better because now you’ve annoyed potential future customers by trying to be overly familiar or overly verbose. When you write advertising copy you need something that will grab someone’s attention and that immediately gets across the information they need to know. There is a lot of talk about declining attention spans, but that’s not quite accurate. The issue is increased competition for the same reservoir of attention in a person. When writing copy you are competing with everything else that is vying for the attention of your audience, so you had better make it worth it for your audience to give you their attention.
There is obviously more to successful copy than what I have outlined above, but most of that is nuance that comes through practice. Writing is, after all, like any other skill. You can only get better through repetition and honing your craft. If you keep the three things I have brought up above you will still have a leg up on the competition and that head start will only lead to increasingly good results. Eventually your copy will be so good that you will be turning more of those leads into customers than you ever thought possible. It’s all just a matter of consideration and practice.