Copywriting is the cornerstone of your marketing efforts. It allows you to communicate your messaging to your audience and showcase your brand personality.
In one of our previous blogs, Why is Copywriting important? we explain the difference between good and bad copywriting. Ultimately, good copywriting will engage your audience and evoke a reaction, motivating them to respond to the call to action in your message. It will also enhance the audience’s user experience with your products as they go through the purchasing process.
In more technical aspects, copywriting also impacts your SEO. High-quality content has a higher likelihood of increased visibility and ranking in search engine result pages.
If good copywriting can take your business to the next level, bad copywriting can definitely bring you down.
Bad copywriting is generic and vague. It will leave the audience wondering what they just read, before completely forgetting about it when they find a better piece of content.
By sharpening your business copywriting skills, you can keep your audience engaged.
7 ways to improve your business copywriting
Great copy generates leads, grows your brand and helps with your SEO. If your copywriting isn’t doing what it’s supposed to, it’s time to spruce it up and get it noticed by using the tips we’ve shortlisted below.
1. Conduct research
Conducting research beforehand will give you a clear idea of what to discuss in your content, particularly if it’s about the latest trends or updates in your industry. It will also help you learn what’s already been discussed and published online, allowing you to identify any gaps that you can fill with your expertise.
Thorough and original research takes time and effort and this is what underpins all great copywriting, it’s more than just reading and using the top hits of a Google search (which aren’t necessarily the best resources to use).
Original research isn’t just looking at credible resources online but also involves doing your own primary research such as conducting interviews with experts or conducting surveys.
This enables you to create personalised content, which is one of the most crucial drivers of marketing success today.
Amazon, Netflix and Grammarly have become industry giants because they’ve learned how to balance personalisation with machine learning algorithms, allowing them to offer highly tailored content for each customer.
Content that is relevant and important to your target market is what will pique their interest. Finding out what this content is can be difficult, but these are some great starting points for a small business:
- How your current content is received by your audience
- How your competitors are creating content and promoting their products
- What kind of content is most suited to your target customer
- What relevant topics will engage your target audience
Now, there is no such thing as a ‘new idea’, but by doing original research your content becomes personalised, relevant and important to your target audience.
2. Develop a content style guide for your branded content
A content style guide lists the fundamental dos and don’ts of creating content for your brand. Developing and following this style guide will ensure that you have a consistent tone and branding as you create content.
Without a style guide, content made by different creators will be all over the place. Having a documented style guide will ensure that writers can pick up on creating your content since they have a set of rules to follow.
There’s no reason to create your style guide from scratch. You can go with established guides to writing, such as AP Style or The Chicago Manual of Style. Or go with one of the newer guides that are available like Mailchimp or Mozilla.
It’s important to know the purpose of your content and what you want it to do for your audience. Is it to enlighten? To entertain? To explain complex issues? This will help you know what type of language to use such as language to inform, persuade or humour.
Similarly, setting your voice and tone will also help with what language to use. Do you want your tone to be formal, informal, caring or direct? The language used to offer legal services would be very different from the language used for a children’s clothing line.
It’s also important to document rules for your graphics. If you add images of logos to your content should they be left, right, or centre-aligned? Do you need to provide a caption for each image? Again, guidelines are required so that your content style always shows consistency.
3. Create a structured hierarchy of ideas in your copy
It’s natural to have a lot of ideas and thoughts flowing once you’ve done your research, but this can make it more difficult to identify the main ideas you want to highlight in your content. The best way to create structured and coherent articles is by following the ‘inverted pyramid’.
The inverted pyramid style of writing starts with the most important piece of information first so the reader can get the main point straight away, regardless of how much they read.
This writing style is different to academic writing, where the content typically focuses first on the details, leading to the conclusion which appears at the end.
The name inverted pyramid comes from placing the broad facts at the top of the story, followed by smaller and smaller details.
This style of writing is perfectly suited to online writing because we know that people don’t read carefully online. They have little patience for content that doesn’t engage them and scroll to what they want or need.
Don’t be disheartened or think your research has been done in vain. If you’ve grabbed your audience’s attention and given them the points they need, then you’ve successfully done the job.
The inverted pyramid style hooks an audience and helps them better understand the details that follow to increase the likelihood of further engagement with your business.
4. Consider the design and layout of your copy
We live in a highly visual digital world, text and design have never been more intertwined than it is today. Knowing the principles of design can positively inform the way you create your content.
Design principles are guidelines that improve usability, influence perception, increase appeal, and minimise confusion. Less is more, you could say.
Layout design is the process of arranging visual elements like text, images, and shapes, making it easy for users to understand. Good layout design is both dynamic and clear, creating visual points of interest that guide the reader through a piece of content.
To be effective you must also understand the foundations of each medium you use, as well as how to combine them in a way that is both visually appealing and informative. For example, copy for social media graphics should be sharp and concise, they’re typically not longer than two sentences so that the final design isn’t too text-heavy.
Having a multimedia designer would take the guesswork out in understanding design and layout, as this would be a part of their skill set. They bring many great qualities and skills that would be beneficial to any business that wants a strong online presence.
5. Use the active voice
The active voice is much easier to read than the passive voice. Active sentences are less wordy and are more direct, whereas passive sentences can generate clunky sentences that can come across as too formal.
Here’s an example of using the active and passive voice:
- Active voice: Story League creates impactful content.
- Passive voice: Impactful content is created by Story League.
Using the active voice also propels the reader to act. This is especially useful when you have a call to action. For example:
- Active voice: Contact us to help you write impactful content.
- Passive voice: Write impactful content by contacting us to help you.
A good rule of thumb is to use the active voice to create punchier sentences to keep your reader engaged.
6. Incorporate social proof
Social proof can add depth to your copy as it showcases what your existing customers think about your brand and products.
Social proof is described as a psychological phenomenon in which we see behaviour as more correct if we see others doing it. For example, in situations where we are uncertain about what to do, we would usually mimic the behaviours of people around us.
In addition to this, a behaviour known as the ‘halo’ effect causes us to judge things better if they are endorsed by others, namely experts, celebrities or user reviews. These endorsements are a perfect example of social proof in your copy.
Featuring reputable people and mentioning the number of customers that have used your services, is strong messaging in your ad campaigns and can offer instant positive impressions of your business. Similarly, customer testimonials also provide this.
Another popular example of social proof is known as user-generated content, and as the name suggests this is a great strategy for others promoting your business for you.
User-generated content is often used on social platforms such as Instagram. Here, you can ask your customers to use your brand’s hashtag or you can repost your customers’ social media posts on your platform.
For some businesses, almost all of their Instagram photos are from their customers, which is a powerful endorsement of just how great your products and services are.
7. Edit and proofread your work
No copy should ever be published without going through at least two to three rounds of editing and proofreading. Customers are very discerning about the content they consume, and one spelling mistake can turn them off.
The difference between editing and proofreading is that editing focuses on improving the quality of your draft while proofreading focuses on eliminating errors.
Editing is the process of polishing your draft by restructuring sentences, setting the right tone or clarifying meaning to improve its readability. The draft may undergo several revisions until it’s in its best version.
Proofreading is a final check of your writing to ensure it’s error-free. It involves correcting grammatical errors, spelling errors and punctuation errors.
It’s tempting to publish your draft immediately after writing but it’s better to take a break and proofread the draft with a fresh mind.
Copywriting is an art and a science and hiring content experts will ensure that you create masterful copy that converts. Contact us if you’re ready to take your brand content to the next level and we will help you in creating impactful stories.
If you’re in search of top-notch copywriting services, look no further. Our team of content experts is ready to elevate your brand with impactful storytelling and masterful copy. Contact us now to take your brand content to the next level.