Mad Men fans almost everywhere remember the pivotal first scene where we understand just how talented Don Draper is at his job.
Faced with an almost-impossible copywriting task, he rose to the occasion to solve a huge problem meant for his client, Lucky Hit. In spite of research warning customers of the dangers of cigarettes, Draper delivered the iconic motto — “It’s toasted” — to differentiate the brand name from its competitors.
Now, we all definitely aren’t advocating designed for smoking cigarettes (or many of Draper’s health choices). But fictional or not, you can’t deny the memorability and catchiness of the tagline.
It’s easy to recognize great copywriting when you see it, but there are actually several characteristics that really separate outstanding writing in the rest of the pack. Want to know them? Read on below to find out.
What is copywriting?
Copywriting is one of the most critical elements of any and all forms of marketing and advertising. Copywriting consists of the words, either written or spoken, entrepreneurs use to try to get people to take an action after reading or hearing all of them.
Copywriting is like the call-to-action, but on a bigger scale: Copywriters are trying to get people to feel, think, or even respond — or, preferably, to Google the slogan or brand to learn more in regards to the campaign. And where a post like this one has the luxury associated with hundreds of words with which to make a case, copywriters only have a number of words to make their case.
But short and lovely isn’t the only characteristic great copywriting. Keep reading to learn more features of truly memorable duplicate.
6 Traits of Good Copywriting
1) It tilts your own perspective.
Sometimes, all a note needs to break through is really a slight shift in angle. We’ve grown so familiar with blocking out marketing text messages, we don’t even observe them anymore. One of the most powerful things a copywriter can do is break down a reader’s guard with an unexpected approach. Every story has a myriad of angles — your job as a copywriter is to find the one that resonates.
This particular ad from Sage Therapeutics pressing the importance of talking about following birth depression works because instead of asking readers to care about something they don’t know, this puts them in the position of experiencing the struggle that mothers suffering do. Did they miss some visitors who quickly passed from the ad thinking it was to get adult pacifiers? Most definitely. However the ad resonated that much more thoroughly with those who go through it.
The next time you take a seat to write, try out this approach. No longer take the topic head on. Rather, ask yourself why it issues. Each time you write down an answer, challenge yourself to push it more. Find the larger story taking place behind your message.
2) It finds connections.
In 1996, Steve Jobs allow the cat out of the bag. He was speaking with a journalist from Wired on the subject of creativity and described:
“Creativity is just connecting things. If you ask creative people how they do something they feel just a little guilty because they didn’t do it, they just noticed something. It seemed apparent to them after awhile. ”
Let’s say you need to write an ad for any new pair of sneakers. You could take the assignment head on. You could write about the elasticity from the shoe’s sole or the lightweight design. Indeed, many have got. Or you could put all of that aside and instead attract the connection between the product as well as the experience it evokes.
2 things are happening on this ad. First, the duplicate recognizes that for many, working isn’t about running at all — it’s about solitude, peace, and restoring state of mind to an otherwise hectic lifestyle. Second, not only does Nike connect the ad towards the experience of running, it really connects to the sound those shoes make as they hit the pavement.
This ad is about the complexity of one’s life fading away plus being replaced by simpleness and clarity. As the copy progresses, the sentences easily simplify and the copy’s complexity is definitely slowly replaced by the simple and rhythmic pounding of terms: run, run, run, operate. The same rhythm one hears when all but their footsteps have faded away. That’s connection.
3) It has a wonderful lead.
The following are all headlines or leading sentences from Urban Daddy, an email-based magazine drawing attention to new products, experiences, and eateries.
- “Six times. That’s how long you have until 65% of your body is turkey. ”
- “There are eight, 760 hours in a year. And just one hour in which a stand will be dispensing gratis latkes with homemade applesauce and sour cream in Harvard Sq .. Yeah, it’s not fair. Yet 60 minutes is sixty minutes. ”
- “Ewoks. Discuss living. ”
What’s common among each of these leads? They make us want to read the next series. I mean, seriously, how much do you want to know where that Ewok thing is headed?
May possibly be an adage in copywriting that’s loosely credited in order to copywriter and business owner May well Sugarman, which roughly states that the purpose of the topic is to get you to read the first line. The purpose of the first line is to get you to read the 2nd line, and so on. In short, in case your first line doesn’t infatuate your readers, all is lost.
4) It is born out of listening.
Seeing the plans to launch yet another gym in the greater Boston region, an outsider may have called the Harrington family a wee bit crazy. The market was already flush with fitness centers, including a new breed of luxurious ones that seemed to be in an arms war for the flashiest perks. Gyms across the area were offering massage providers, smoothie bars, and fleets of personal trainers. And GymIt wouldn’t have any of that.
What did GymIt have got? An understanding of its core market. Before launching its new gym, the brand do a ton of listening to its major market of gym-goers. For several in GymIt’s target market, the particular added benefits associated with luxury gyms were nice to have, yet came with a lot of baggage — namely expensive rates plus overly complex contracts.
GymIt decided to simplify the gym-going experience for people who predominately cared for about getting in and exercising. The copy in its release campaign and across its marketing materials reflects that will understanding.
In an old blog post, Copyblogger ‘s Robert Bruce put this nicely. “Humble yourself and truly serve your audience, listen to their particular needs and desires, listen to the language they use, ” he said. “If you listen carefully, your own audience can eventually provide you with everything you need, including much of your copy. Get out of their way. ”
5) It eliminates jargon and hyperbole.
Groundbreaking. Revolutionary. Business Solutions. Targetable Scale. Ideation. Evidence-based approaches. Industry-wide best practices.
Have We lost you yet?
Whenever writers struggle to convey what exactly is truly special about their company, product, or service, they sometimes fall back on jargon or hyperbole to underscore their stage. The truth is, good copywriting isn’t going to need dressing up. Good copywriting should speak to the reader in human terms.
This isn’t to state you should never celebrate awards or even achievements. Just be direct in the way you describe that achievement. This homepage from Basecamp does a nice job of highlighting its popularity in concrete terms.
6) It cuts out excess.
Good writing gets to the point — and that means cutting out too much phrases, and rewording your own sentences to be more direct. In an ad celebrating its “academic” readership, The Economist playfully demonstrates this below.
How do you rid extra words from your writing? It can half practice, half knowing where to cut. This article from Daily Writing Tips is one of the most effective summaries I’ve found on precise writing. Included in its tips:
- Reduce verb terms: For instance, change “The results are suggestive of the fact that” to “The results suggest. ”
- Reduce wordy phrases to single words: You can change “in purchase to” into “to. ” Another example: Turn “Due to the fact that” straight into “because. ”
- Avoid vague nouns: Phrases formed around common nouns like “in the location of” or “on the topic of” clutter sentences.
- Look at the full list of brevity ideas here.
In general, if you can afford to slice without losing the meaning of the sentence, do so. Push you to ultimately strip down your phrase count. Turn 50-word website copy into 25, then push yourself again to produce that 25-word sentence straight into 15 words. It’s not regarding brevity so much as it is regarding making sure every word counts in your writing.
Since our last point was about arriving at the point, I’ll keep this brief: Words matter . Every time you take a seat to write an ad, webpage, video script, or additional content for your company, you have the opportunity to break through to individuals. Find those opportunities within your marketing and make sure that you’ve made probably the most of them.
Editor’s note: This post was originally released in November 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.