How to Write Your Own Copy – A Quick Guide
Should You Go it Alone?
Not everyone has the budget (or hours) to outsource their copywriting. This is especially true of small businesses; such enterprises want to minimise their expenditure whilst maximising time spent on lead-generation. Conversely, business professionals – (who often aren’t specialist writers) – are often called upon to produce persuasive, call-to-action copy. If you’re sagely nodding your head, then you probably fall in to one of these two categories. You already know commercial writing isn’t easy and wonder how you can acquire the specialist skills necessary to make your words work well for you.
My honest recommendation is that you should hire a professional to do the work. I’m not just saying this because I’m a copywriter – my comments are based on experience. I frequently encounter business owners who’ve spent circa Aï¿½1,000 on a website, but are reluctant to invest a third of that cost on the writing process. In an attempt to save money they undertake the project themselves or hire someone on a shoestring budget to do it for them. The result is unfocused, unconvincing copy that isn’t even search-engine-optimised.
If you must go it alone (and if you work for someone else, you have no choice) please refer to my short collection of tips, below:
Plan Your Work
Before I begin work for a client, I ask them to complete a questionnaire. This is quite basic, but provides me with the following information:
(i) what they do;
(ii) how they do it;
(iii) what they’re selling;
(iv) what that product/service does; and
(v) why that product service is unique.
Sometimes, I’ll follow up with a short phone call, just to iron out any discrepancies. I’d advise you to do the same. Using the above headings, write down some ideas. You can then use these bulleted-points to form a structure. Without a plan, your writing will lack logic, purpose and impact.
Less is Better
Your customers lack patience. They want quick answers and will lose interest if things aren’t immediately clear. Online browsers, in fact, have an attention span of about 51 seconds – which means you’ve little room for verbal acrobatics. Keep your writing tight, crisp and relevant and you’ll retain their attention.
Optimise Your Copy
If you’re writing digitally, it’s important to include some keywords and phrases in your copy. Don’t overdo it, though; otherwise your writing will appear contrived. Also try to include definitions of your business that aren’t too generic. Online competition for a phrase like ‘marketing consultant’ will be in the millions, so use ‘experienced online consultant’ instead. If you’ve access to a keywords.