If you haven't yet learned to discern good copy from bad copy, you will have a difficult time writing your own. Tim, a graphic designer friend of mine, recently learned difference when he tried to write his own web copy.
Tim had a phenomenal website. His work was not only best in state, but best in all surrounding states. He had done high-end graphic work for a number of national clients. But suddenly work dried up.
Tim asked me to take a look at his website to tell him what I thought, not of his web copy, but of his work. However, being a professional copywriter, Tim's real problems glared out at me. His work was great. His copy sucked.
Not only was Tim's copy filled with spelling and grammar errors, but most of it was fluff. He included copy just to fill space, ignoring fact that potential clients would want substantial information that could not simply be provided in samples of his work.
Tim made all mistakes of a novice copywriter: awkward sentences, too much technical jargon, misused words and punctuation, and worst mistake that any copywriter can make, lack of clarity and failure to communicate.
If copy doesn't communicate there is no purpose in it's existence. The number one communication barring culprit is unclear writing and confusing ideas.
When you write your own copy, keep in mind that, just because you know what you're thinking doesn't mean anyone else will. Most people can't get away with simply writing what they think. It's better to consider what your audience needs to hear.
Highly skilled copywriters follow approximately 7 basic guidelines. They may not follow all of them all of time, or they may follow all of them all of time. But you can be assured that they follow at least some of 7 all of time:
1. Know Your Audience - Society is broken into different demographics: men, women, teenage girls, teenage boys, single moms, working moms, middle aged men, business people, Gen Xers, etc...The tone and focus of your copy depends on which demographic you need to target.
Before you even begin to write your copy, you must ask yourself:
*Who will be interested in my product or service? *Why will they be interested (Price, delivery, performance, reliability, service maintenance, quality efficiency, etc...) *What motivates buyer?
2. Understand Your Product or Service - You may think you've considered all aspects of your product or service, but here's a list of questions to ask yourself just in case:
*What are all features and benefits of my product or service? *Which benefits are most important? *How does my product differ from competition, and if it doesn't differ, how can I make it seem different? *Is my product/service a need or a want? *Does my product/service solve any existing problems? *Is my product/service reliable, efficient, economical, etc...? *Have people bought my product or service, and if so, what do they say about it? *Is my product available in different materials, sizes and models? *How quickly can my product/service be delivered? *Is my product/service guaranteed? If not, should it be?
3. Find your USP (unique selling point) - This is your product or service's most attractive and unique benefit from buyer's perspective. The USP should be focus of copy, around which mention of other benefits hover.
4. Write Benefit Oriented Copy - Inexperienced copywriters tend to focus on featured product, company, or service, failing to mention how it will actually benefit buyer. People are only interested in a product that says, "This is what I'm going to do for you."