Copywriting is a bit intimidating. Somehow, this compound word that pairs copy with writing suddenly becomes Greek to those who don’t “speak” it. Honestly, though, copywriting is pretty simple stuff. When you forget about magic formulas and insider secrets, copywriting is just what happens when you write content meant to advertise, market or sell.
When your writing stops being purely informational and suddenly turns promotional, you’re a copywriter. It’s that simple. You don’t even have to sell anything to make that transition.
Common Cases of Copywriting in Disguise
Calls to action are the most common case of dabbling in copywriting in day-to-day business. Sometimes, even purely informational content can become promotional. Examples include end-of-blog invitations to readers to subscribe, sign up for a free white paper, take a survey, or become fans on Facebook.
You’ve probably done these things dozens of times, without even realizing it. You were accidentally copywriting. What could happen if you did it intentionally?
In addition to calls to action, email subject lines are another area where the inner copywriter emerges. When it comes to email marketing, it isn’t always about the size of your list (though size does matter); of equal importance is list engagement, measured by open rates and click-through rates.
Other unexpected ways you’ve been copywriting all along include: product descriptions, employment “want ads”, social media posts that are goal-oriented (gleaning comments, likes, shares, etc.), or your company resume or “sell sheet.”
The Secret to Mastery is Measurement
Since you’ve been copywriting all along, the next logical step is to do it better. The good news is that copywriting isn’t anything fancy or complicated. You don’t have to write for an academic audience. You can use a conversational, even intimate approach. While proper spelling and punctuation are mandatory, some rules of proper grammar don’t apply.
Marketing is all about tailoring your message to your market. You adapt your messaging based on their needs, education, lifestyle and culture. If you truly understand your target market, everything else just flows.
Establish a Baseline
Once you’ve figured out where your inner copywriter likes to shine, start measuring your performance. If you use an email client like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp, find out your average industry open rate. Then, compare that to the stats for your industry (freely available from both clients) and see how you measure up. This serves as your baseline.
If working within Google Analytics, do the same thing (though you’ll have to spend more time researching industry averages for your comparisons.) If you can’t find industry averages, pick a point in time when you felt you were doing really well or really poorly and see how present data compares.
Test & Tweak in Tiny Increments
When trying to beat previous records, it’s very tempting to start over. Unfortunately, you’d be throwing out the baby with the bath water. The content you’ve got comes with something important – supporting data. When you start over, your data does, too. Instead, aim to make changes one at a time so you’ll know empirically which will perform better, consistently.
If you have a static online sales page for your product or service that’s been running as-is for six months, instead of making an entirely new page, start out by using the current content but with a new headline – no other changes. After running that headline for a span, compare the new change to the old content (using the same amount of time in the comparison period) and see which converts better. Keep the winner and then tweak a new element, like adding a graphic into the call to action. Then lather, rinse and repeat.
The opportunities are endless.
Marketing is an art and a science. These copywriting tips will help you find even greater success with your copywriting. Being the next best-selling author isn’t necessary to succeed as a copywriter, but you do need a little addiction to data and details to succeed as a copywriting marketer. When you can do both, the world is practically your oyster.
For more insights into your success, take a moment to explore our website for guidance and top-tier tactics. You can also weigh in with a comment about your best and worst copywriting capers below.