This post is a bit off-piste but I recently attended a copywriting course with work and found it really interesting so thought I would share what I learnt here for any other bloggers/writers.
What is Copywriting?
In basic terms, ‘copy’ is just words. Copywriting is making those words sound good. You can also use copywriting for SEO purposes but it’s much more fun if you’re not trying to cram a load of key words in to your writing.
Good copy should be easy to read. That means it makes sense, flows well and doesn’t contain jargon. The main tip I took away from the day was to write how your reader speaks, don’t be really formal if you don’t need to be. I did learn quite a few tips and tricks to improve my copywriting and I’ve summarised them all below.
AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action and is a common marketing technique. It’s a good formula for a piece of writing if you want the reader to do something (i.e. the action) after reading.
Attention – It sounds obvious but you need to grab your reader’s attention in the first place. This can be a catchy headline, a bit of harmless clickbait or something intriguing.
Interest – Great, you’ve got your reader’s attention, now what? Attention spans are at an all time low. How often have you opened a blog post or news story and just skimmed the first few lines before moving on? Pretty much every time? This is why paragraphs in a news story decrease in importance the further you read. After your attention grabbing headline or strapline, it’s time to get the reader interested. Talk about something that your reader cares about. No one cares about you until you’ve proven that you care about them or can do something for them.
Desire – If someone is still reading then they’re starting to buy in to your story. Now is the time to get the reader to start desiring the ‘action’ at the end. Good techniques to use here are storytelling and backing up your claims with evidence. People buy on emotion and numbers sell.
Action – The action is the most wanted response. What do you want your reader to do after reading your writing? Enter a competition? Leave a comment? Or apply for a job? Make it clear what you want the reader to do. This is the ‘call to action’.
The most powerful word in writing? You. By speaking directly to your reader and using words such as ‘you’, ‘us’ and ‘we’, the reader is more likely to carry on reading and feel like your writing matters to them. You’ll notice that Politicians use this technique A LOT!
VAK – The three senses, Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic.
Most people have a preference to one of these three senses so it’s best to use all three to make sure you’re appealing to everyone. Examples of each are:
Visual – Can you see yourself…?
Auditory – Do you like the sound of…?
Kinaesthetic – How would it feel to be…?
Some people move towards a goal, while others move away from a problem. This one works well for job adverts. For example, moving towards a goal could be ‘Looking for the next step in your HR career?’ and moving away from a problem could be ‘Hate commuting to London every day?’.
Rule of 3
Some Psychologist called Gestalt figured out that humans like a list of three. So use bullet points and examples in threes. You’ll notice that I used this technique earlier in the post.
And there you have it! A quick overview of some copywriting basics. Once you know some of these techniques you’ll spot them everywhere. So many adverts use the rule of three that you’ll actually start to find it amusing. Well you will if you’re a word nerd like me.
I hope you find these techniques useful and can put them in to practice. Let me know how you get on! (This an example of a call to action if you didn’t notice…).