Copy Writing

How to Prepare for a Copywriting Project

One of the most effective elements in marketing is copywriting. To get the best in your marketing efforts you will need to get your copywriting right. The art and science of effective copywriting involves strategically assembling words (written or spoken) that will get people to take some form of action.

The goal of any copy is to inspire and persuade readers by giving them the right and useful information about the product being advertised. If the right facts are properly included in the copy, the better the conversion will be. When you have a file full of the right facts’, writing good copy becomes easy.

You simply pick the most relevant facts and describe them in a clear, concise, direct fashion.
You will know when a copywriter has not done his homework well, when you see a copy full of poetic lines, fancy phrases, rhyming words, slangs and puffed‐up expressions scattered all around just to fill empty spaces on the page. The words may sound nice and highly poetic, but that’s not what sells because the copy doesn’t inform and inspire.

I will give you the exact procedure I use to get all the information I need to craft persuasive, fact‐filled and inspiring copy for my clients. This technique outlined here will be helpful to you as a business owner or copywriter. If you need to write the copy for yourself then you will know how to go about it. If you have to hire a professional to help you will know what to make available for him to do a good job for you.

Get all previously published material on the product.

If it’s an existing product then there’s a mountain of literature you can dig out online or offline. If the client did not give you all the required literature you need then you may have to go all out to find them. Whatever you gather will be helpful in crafting a great copy. The materials could include the following.

• Tear‐sheets of previous ads
• Brochures
• Catalogs
• Article reprints
• Technical papers
• Copies of speeches
• Audio‐visual scripts
• Press kits
• Swipe files of competitors’ ads and literature

Even if the product is new you can still get some useful information about it. The birth of any new product is accompanied by loads of paper work. You can talk to your client to send them over. These papers could include:

• Internal memos
• Letters of technical information
• Product specifications
• Engineering drawings
• Business and marketing plans
• Reports
• Proposals

These materials will go a long way to help the copywriter to produce a copy that truly represents your product and also inform your customers well. The materials alone can make up to 80% of what is needed to write the copy. The copywriter can source for the other 20% by asking questions.

Ask Questions about the Product.

• What are the features of the product/service?

  • What are the benefits of the product/service?

• Which of the benefits is the most important?
• What makes the product standout from the competition?
How does the product work?
• How efficient is the product/service?

• What industries can use the product/service?
• What are the particular problems the product/service solves?
• How reliable is the product?
• How economical is the product/service?
• Who has bought the product?
What are their comments about it?
• What materials, sizes and models is it available in?
• How quickly can the manufacturer deliver the product/service?
• How efficient is the customer service and support the manufacturer offer?
• Does the product have guarantees?

Experience the Product/Service

Before you begin to write the copy for the product, get the product, use it just as the consumer would, play with it, test it, take it apart and put it back together, demonstrate it to friends around as a salesperson would.

If it’s a service you’re writing copy for, try to use the service yourself if possible. Look out for those who use it and talk with them. You can also talk to people who use a competitor’s service. If it is a special offer you’re to promote, try to examine the offer. Try it out on people around. Find out if they do understand it, whether they like it and wouldn’t mind paying for it.

Experiencing the product/service yourself will cause you to write passionately about it. Passion is transferable, your readers or prospects will contact that passion and connect vitally with you as they read your copy.

Ask Questions about Your Audience

You need to know very well the people you are marketing to. “A copywriter should have an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy toward them” – George Gribbin

Understanding your prospect is key. To motivate someone, to persuade someone, to sell anything to anyone, you need to properly understand that person.

• What is the product/service market?
• What could be the customer’s main concern? (delivery, price, performance, reliability, quality, service maintenance, efficiency)
• What is likely the buyers’ motivation?

10 Questions to Help You Unravel the Market

  • What keeps your prospects awake at night?
  • Do they have a language? (Slangs, professional jargons etc.)
  • What are your prospects afraid of? (Losing money, death, old age, failure etc.)
  • What do they secretly, ardently desire most?
  • What are they angry about? And who are they angry at?
  • Who else is selling a similar product/service to them?
  • What is their bias in decision making? (Religious, analytical, emotional etc.)
  • What are your prospects top three persistent frustrations?
  • Who else has tried selling them something similar, and how has that effort failed?
  • What trends are occurring and will occur in their businesses or lives?

Determine the Objective of the Copy

After gathering all the information about the product and about your audience you now need to determine the primary objective for the copy. Write down clearly what you want the prospects or your reader to do as a result of your words being read. You can prioritize them as follows.

As a result of reading my copy my audience will:

  • Know – what I have set out to tell them
  • Think – that what I am describing is relevant to them
  • Do – something as a result of having read my words

The objective may be one or more of the following:

• To generate inquiries
• To generate sales
• To answer inquiries
• To qualify prospects
• To transmit product information
• To build brand recognition and preference
• To build company image

A clear cut objective for the copy will guide you how to go about writing the copy. Ask the right questions and find the right answers to ascertain the main goal of the copy before putting pen to paper.

To produce a good copy you must take time to study well the product: know all its features, it benefits, past performance, and markets.

Money should not be the main reason you accept to work on a project. Before I accept any copywriting project I endeavor to find out if I can go the extra mile for the client and his product. I want to also be sure my values agree with what the client and product stands for. What motivate me to take on a project most times is the values of the company or business.

When you have gathered all the information that is needed, begin to tailor the most relevant pieces together. Remember that not everything you gathered can be used. Carefully select the best and most relevant among them and arrange them sequentially.

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