Questions I get asked all the time, especially by well-meaning family members, include: ‘What’s copywriting? Is it different from just writing? Does it mean you copy stuff? I could do that!’
Surprisingly, copywriting doesn’t involve copying things. Oh, the joys of the English language and our misleading phrases. A copywriter is someone who writes copy, particularly for advertisement or publicity releases. Copywriting is any words you see outside of a novel, book or article; whether it’s on websites, brochures, leaflets, posters, adverts, blogs, social media content and press releases.
Most people know the importance of having an online presence as a business. But you may not have analysed what you need to create that great website. You want it to look and sound professional, but how you do that? By having clear and impactful words alongside great images.
Writing vs Photos – This means war!
When it comes to photography, we all seem to know what we’re doing. We may not be able to take a great photo, but most people can tell the difference between an amateur or professional photography. You can tell when a photo’s blurry or badly framed. Although you might not be able to analyse why one photo is better than the other you will still know which one looks best.
Writing is different. Words are much more subjective, and when used well they become invisible. Good writing is often the last thing on people’s minds when trying to promote their business or project, and most cannot see the difference between good and bad writing.
What is good copywriting?
Good copywriting, like good photography, should be immediate and emotive. Yes, even writing that is selling a product or service. It should inform the reader, make them trust you and want to keep talking to you. Imagine meeting someone new at a party. You want to make a good impression. You might share information that you think they’ll find interesting. You might shape your language to find a common interest or show your identity.
Here are a few pointers to think about when creating good copywriting for your website:
- Why are they there? Your website isn’t a suspense story, share vital information at the top of the page.
- The tone of voice: Do you want to appear formal or informal? Friendly and talkative or an expert in your field? Think about your audience and the impression you want to make.
- Your personality: Do you want to appear as an individual or a group? You may want your website to be more personal, as though you’re talking directly to your reader, perhaps with humour or slang you would use in real life. Or do you want to appear as a business speaking in the third person and using industry jargon?
- Readability: Do you know the average age and language level of your audience? The length of sentence, word length, the number of syllables and paragraph length, can affect how easy your website is to read.
Why do I need copywriting?
First impressions matter. Think about meeting someone for the first time. You want them to feel happy to have met you and wanting to talk to you again – or if you’re anything like me you will. The words you use to communicate are important to how your customer or audience will feel about you and remember you. Through our choice of language, we reveal our knowledge, upbringing, prejudices, intentions, aggressions, world view – I could go on.
A carefully crafted introductory paragraph for your website can affect how your readers respond to you. Whether you’re running a business, at the beginning of your start-up journey or managing a project, think carefully about the words you use to represent your identity. The right words can have a powerful effect.
Looking for help with your writing?
If you want help with writing for your website or marketing materials, here I am! Contact me for a copywriting quote.
Say hello on Twitter and tell me what you think of my blog: @NiciCopywriter