Don’t Rush Your Copy!Posted by Nicole
Correction: businesses, large and small, need great copy. The kind of copy that hooks a reader, keeps her reading, convinces her she wants to hire you and all but dials the phone for her.
If copy is your business’s first chance to make an impression, leaving your copy to the last minute is an obvious no-no. Unless you mean to sell yourself as sloppy and disorganized (which is exactly the impression you will make with uncorrected typos, and poor sequencing of ideas, or “flow”.)
See why copy shouldn’t be rushed?
Web Copy is a Great Navigation Tool
Your copy is kind of like a compass – its only job is to point your customers to you. But you also need a clear sense of direction before you start writing. You need to take the time to think about what you want to say and strategize the best way to say it. There may be research involved. And, just like professional writers do, you will want to let your writing sit for a day or two, so you can see with fresh eyes how it can be improved.
Even if you hire someone to do the copywriting for you, you should not treat your copy as an afterthought. You need to spend some time thinking about the desired result. Presenting a hired writer with only a vague idea of what you want to say will result in someone else spending time to get to the heart of the idea – and will cost you more in terms of time and money in the end.
Great Copy Begins with the Business Plan
Fortunately, you probably already have a strong starting point to focus your copywriting project – and that’s in your business plan*. The starting point for all copy is, in its most concise form, your vision for your business. If you don’t have a business plan yet, think about what the goal of your business is in two or three sentences. Everything else you do to support your business, including copywriting, stems from those simple goals.
With all of that in mind you’re ready for the writing part. While most of us know what we need copy to do – grab attention, keep the reader engaged and motivated to respond – not all of us know how to make this one-two-three punch happen.
Tips for Writing Great Copy
Here are a few pointers to help you get started:
• Think about what exactly you want your copy to do for you. Are you trying to create interest? Make a sale? Prompt an enquiry or call? Get a new subscriber to your newsletter?
• Now think about who you are writing for. Who is your target audience? What is the demographic your business is trying to reach? This information will help you with appropriate tone, voice, and language.
• Tell your readers what they want to hear right off the bat. Why should they hire you? What problem will you help them solve? What makes you unique and sets you apart from the competition? What makes you the best person for the job?
• Provide the right length and level of detail in your copy, remembering that attention spans are short (especially on the web).
• Use active verbs, and don’t waste words. Find the quickest path from point A to point B and take it.
• Let your writing sit for a day or two before proofreading it. Better yet, get someone else to proofread it for you. Often writers are too close to their own words to be able to see errors, even after taking some time away from a draft.