The best writing comes from enthusiasm. But even when you’re the #1 fan of your writing topic, coming up with a witty, engaging, and enticing message can be difficult.
From copywriting to content creation, we’ve all experienced the bang-your-head-against-the-wall writer’s block and experienced being completely unsatisfied with a draft copy. It’s not comfortable, and it can make you question your writing skills. But, we’ve also experienced the energizing burst of pride when we come up with amazing copy, that reminds you why you write in the first place.
So, how do we escape the writer’s block and venture into new, engaging copy? Sometimes, getting back to basics is the key.
Reminding yourself of certain guidelines can help you break free of boring copy and uncover the perfect wording to get your strong message across.
To go through writing tips, we first need to understand the difference between copywriting and content creation. While they need to work together, they are not the same.
The goal of copywriting is to get the reader to take an action. That action may be to make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, or learn more about a product or service.
Content creation is more about the value the content offers itself. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a written piece, but it does need to communicate information, a message, a new perspective – whatever your message may be. It’s meant to entice the reader or viewer to want to learn more, take an action, and become a customer.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the tips that help me write anything at all, let alone something great. Most of the time, the hardest step to overcome is getting your words down.
Write in order of inspiration. If you want to start at the intro and work your way down, great! If you want to start at paragraph 3 take a jump to paragraph 5, and then the scenic route to your introduction, that’s great too. You’ll eventually tie everything together, but starting with the section you’re most excited about will quickly get your creative juices flowing.
Just start writing and write fast. If it’s a blog post or article, get your thoughts out in the open and know you can refine later. If it’s something short like a tagline or a title, write several versions and grow from your initial ideas. There are no bad ideas at this point (and if they are truly bad, no one needs to know but you). Letting go of your concerns that your writing isn’t good enough will free you to write something bad – which will eventually lead to something great.
Be strategic about your writing location. I choose to write in a different place than where I check emails or look at spreadsheets. This could be heading to a coffee shop, or simply sitting on the couch instead of at the desk. Choosing something less restrictive notifies your brain that it’s time to be creative.
Now that we are all comfy and have our creativity hats on, let’s write some great content.
While most all industries have room for enthusiastic, creative copy, not all industries have the flexibility to use informal grammar or a cutesy tone.
Understanding the limitations of your company and industry can help you understand the limitations of your tone. Readers have certain expectations for content from your industry, and while you can toe the line to shock and grab the attention of your readers, crossing it will lead to cognitive dissonance in your readers.
You can’t write kooky copy without offering value or information. Otherwise, the reader won’t have any reason to want to learn more. Before writing anything from long-form content to a short tagline, ask yourself this:
What does my reader hope to learn when they look at this page/blog/ad/piece of content?
If you can solve a problem (or explain how you will) with your copy, you will entice your readers to continue learning about your product, service, or idea.
For example, let’s take a look at Apple’s current homepage:
In three short words, Apple tells us that buying the newest iPhone means not having to deal with any slow load times or lagging issues you may be putting up with using your current phone.
The tips in this section will make you question everything you learned in high school English. Because, instead of analyzing the symbolism of Lord of the Flies, you’re trying to build an emotional connection with your reader. It is much harder to do that with formal phrasing in the third person. So, try to loosen up a little bit to convey a more welcoming, approachable message.
Use incomplete sentences to grab attention and get your message across quickly. You probably see this tactic every day driving past billboards or perusing social content. Messages like:
0% APR for the first year? You bet.
Everything you need. Nothing you don’t.
Shorter sentences are easier to understand, so they tend to be more impactful.
Leverage “I” and “You” to personalize your message and help paint a picture for your reader. Using “I” and “you” in your copy instantly creates a connection between you and the reader, and conveys a message of “we’re in this together.”
The data doesn’t lie – so when you use numbers in your copy, people automatically trust it a bit more. Presenting specific names, details, data, and stories will show that you know what you’re talking about and show your (or your company’s) personal connection and dedication to the content topic.
Quotes can have a similar trust impact. Including perspectives from prominent people in your industry that complements your opinion will bring your point home.
Making a strong or impressive statistic, story, or quote the focal point of your content will draw the reader’s eye to the information that will impress them the most.
Several words are easy to use off the cuff, but several words evoke much more powerful emotion. For example:
Instead of great, use…
Exceptional, superior, remarkable, staggering, breathtaking, out-of-this-world, etc.
Instead of ‘get’, use…
Leverage, find, procure, gain, earn, win, come into,
Instead of ‘tasty’, use…
Mouthwatering, sumptuous, luscious, delectable, succulent, juicy, etc.
Using more descriptive words will enhance your message and make it seem more exciting.
And if you’re having a hard time getting your point across, analogies are the best way to make abstract concepts easier to understand. Instead of writing out 10 sentences explaining your point, you can write a couple that gets the same job done by connecting your concept to one your reader already understands.
Content strategy and copywriting are our jam. Why produce awesome content without having and knowing your target audience, without providing relevant and useful information? Great content is relevant, compelling, and aligned with your marketing objectives. Want to create great content? Reach out to our team.