Ever sat in front of your computer and simply stared at a blank document for God-knows-how-long? You know what you’re supposed to write about, but you just don’t know how to write it.
Well, we’ve all been there.
Sometimes writer’s block just hits too hard, and it’s completely natural. Even if we have the concepts in our head, getting those words on paper to end up with something beautiful and compelling is still a challenge sometimes, even for experienced writers.
When this happens, it’s a good idea to utilise proven copywriting hacks that will get your creative juices flowing.
We have six copywriting hacks to keep in mind to get rid of that mental block and make copywriting a breeze.
Great copywriting hacks you should use
1. Use easy to understand language
First things first: remember that you’re writing copy, and not a piece of high literature or a philosophy book. If you want readers to keep reading it’s best (most often) to target your writing style towards the layman.
You’ve probably had the urge to use deep words and adjectives to beautify your prose. But in copywriting, it’s best to avoid that.
Forget the big words, drop the long list of adjectives. Readers don’t have the time nor the patience to wade through chunks of text that only serve to bulk up your page (and prove your greater intelligence).
Use a casual or personal tone, as if you are having an actual conversation with your readers.
Readers don’t want to decipher any subtext in your copy. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t tempt them to leave your page to look for other articles that lay down the information that they need in a much easier read.
The best way to write about a topic is to assume that the reader isn’t as well-versed in the subject as you are. This doesn’t mean that you assume your reader is stupid. It just means that since your article is there to educate, it must be friendly to those who are newbies on the subject.
Aside from this, monitor the language used by your ideal customers. Look up some jargon writers use in your field. Know the difference between American and British English and use the one that caters to the majority of your target audience.
Lastly, know your readers (i.e. your customers)— know their interests and preferences, and use this information to write copy that’s directly relevant to them. Your audience will read on once they feel that they can relate to what you say. It makes them feel like your article was made specifically for them and their needs.
2. Write gripping headlines
Your headline is the first thing that your potential readers will see. It’s what pops up when you share your article on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites.
Headlines will make or break your audience’s interest in opening your article or blog. They’re your hook. So, it is important that you don’t overlook writing one that engages your audience straight away.
Optinmonster covers “21 Viral Headline Examples and How You Can Copy Their Success”, which gives great advice on how to write the perfect headline for your compelling copy.
The Optinmonster blog highlights the power of the trigram “will make you” in headlines. “Will make you” assures the definiteness that what you’re going to share will lead to the result that your readers need. It is direct and powerful, and according to a survey by BuzzSumo, headlines that use this phrase got double the Facebook shares of the second most popular trigram.
Further, it describes how these five types of headlines are likely to go viral:
- List Posts
- How-to Posts
- Resource Posts
- Question Posts
- Heart-to-Heart Posts
And to boost the impact of your headline, add an infectious agent, to instantly elicit curiosity and the reader’s desire to feel the emotion you claimed your piece will evoke.
Examples of these infectious agents are:
While your well-thought headline will go viral, it means nothing if it doesn’t appeal to your ideal customers. Still keep in mind that the words you use must be in line with what your target audience wants to read about.
3. Tell a concise story
It has been proven over centuries that the most memorable way to deliver a message is to tell it through a story.
The structure of a story in itself makes it an outstanding form of relaying information. Having a relatable main character, tension, challenges, character development, and resolutions gets readers hooked and keeps them invested from start to finish.
With stories impacting the emotions of the readers, they will be more remembered than lists of data laid out bluntly, with no progression whatsoever and nothing to keep the reader interested.
Our blog, “How to tell a great story”, explains in detail tips on how to write stories that are compelling. We talk about the Hero’s Journey as applied to the journey of an entrepreneur. The ‘Entrepreneur’s Journey’ answers the following key questions, in this order:
- What led you to business?
- What challenges did you face?
- How did these challenges change you?
- Why are you the best at helping your customers?
Here are more tips to follow in telling a good story:
- Always start with a hook. Apart from your engaging headline, make your first paragraph just as powerful.
- Use the inverted pyramid structure so your audience can still learn your main point, even if they don’t finish reading the article.
- Start with the most important information and answer the 5 Ws and H.
- Write the body, which is your main story, packing all the details that elaborate on your first paragraph.
- End with additional information, which is the least important part.
- Don’t make yourself the hero. Make your audience feel like the main star, even if your entrepreneur’s journey is technically about you. Phrase your story in a way that people can relate and feel that they’re the ones in your shoes.
Now that you know why storytelling is a powerful tool in delivering a message, remember that part of what makes a story impactful is the pace and length. Keep your story concise.
Just remember KISS, or “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” And if the word “stupid” bothers you a bit, “Keep It Short and Simple” is a good alternative.
As mentioned earlier, your readers won’t have all the time to spare for a winding story. They want something direct to the point: engaging and meaty enough that the whole message is retained in the readers’ minds. When you meander too much, your readers lose their focus and eventually forget what you were talking about in the first place.
Less is more.
4. Prove the claims you make
“Social proof” is very important in business. And why won’t it be?
You can’t blame potential customers for wanting reassurance that your products and services are effective before they spend their money on it. Positive and realistic testimonials and reviews play a big role in gaining your audience’s trust.
Writing case studies is a great way to prove the claims you make. There is transparency in it, since you mention and describe who your client is.
Case studies discuss what the problems of the client were, what your company did to solve it, and what benefits the clients reaped from it. It also includes the positive results that using your product or service has led to.
If done well, this type of copywriting becomes a giant customer testimonial and can be used wider than just on your blog or social media and in things such as pitch decks and proposals.
Apart from case studies, your copy should also have data and evidence that prove what you say. Quote research articles and surveys and include facts and numbers taken from related studies. These not only add knowledge for your readers, they also make your brand more reliable as a source of information.
Any evidence that backs your brand’s trustworthiness is always a point in your favour.
5. Subtly repeat your message
Repeating a message throughout a piece of writing is not a bad thing. In fact, it is beneficial to the reader.
When you read the same thing over and over, it’s more likely for you to remember or even memorise it, right? The same principle applies here. Subtly repeating a message will make your readers remember it more easily.
Repetition of a message also benefits readers who don’t read the entire piece and simply jump to the header that is most relevant to what they need from your article. Sprinkling reworded versions of a message throughout the piece allows readers to really capture it and understand the importance of it.
Lastly, repetition of keywords is a technique in SEO copywriting. The more times you include a certain keyword, the more likely that the search engine will assess your piece as “relevant” to that word. The more ‘relevant’ your piece is to a query or topic, the higher the chances that your article will be on the first page of Google. Just avoid keyword stuffing.
Just remember to word your message a little differently each time you repeat it.
Formatting makes a big difference in long form copy.
Even readers get intimidated by huge blocks of text.
Readers are more drawn to text that’s easier on the eyes. Once they see that your article consists of paragraphs that are 10 lines long, they quickly get turned off. Whether for leisure or for education, people like reading articles that are easy to digest.
Here are some tips on formatting:
- Divide your article into subheadings: That way, readers won’t have difficulty finding the portion that answers their query. Chopping up your long article into more ‘bite-sized’ parts also serves as a break for the readers before they move on to the next portion of your piece.
- Use bullet points: When mentioning lists, it’s best to use a bulleted or numbered list. It’s easier to remember and it looks great too (Google loves a listicle).
- Write short paragraphs: The longer your paragraphs become, the more daunting they will be to the reader. Ideally, have two to three sentences for each paragraph to make it easier to read.
- Use images and graphs: If you still feel that your piece is too heavy on the eyes despite following the formats above, add images and graphs. They break the text and give readers something else to look at apart from the endless stream of monochrome words.
A call to action (CTA) tells your readers what they should be doing next.
All your content should have this, since your main purpose for writing copy in the first place is to convert your readers into customers. Your copy is for entertainment and education, yes, but more than that, it is still essentially a sales pitch.
The intro of your piece got the readers hooked; the body got them invested and gained their trust. Now that you’re reliable to your readers, you can convince them on what they should do next. Where do they click to subscribe to you? How do they contact you? What’s the next step if they wanted to buy your products?
Your CTA should be as gripping as your headline, if not more. If you got them to click on your article, get them to become your customer. According to Unbounce, over 90% of visitors who read your headline will actually read your CTA, as well.
The best CTAs have a powerful, commanding tone. Keep it short, and make sure that it’s straightforward.
Most importantly, give your readers something valuable. That way, they’ll feel like they’re missing out if they don’t take your offer.
With all these copywriting hacks in mind, you’ll be able to easily conceptualise how you want your piece to be. Not only will you more easily manage the inevitable writer’s block, you’ll also be able to deliver copy that’s functional, educational, impactful, and memorable.
Writing great material does wonders for your business. But how to begin in choosing what your material should be about is a different story. Copywriting needs to have a strategy behind it to more effectively convert your readers.
We know that copywriting that converts needs to be created in six stages to maximise success.
“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.” – David Ogilvy, Founder of Ogilvy & Mather Advertising agency.