When you imagine a copywriter sitting down to compose a leaflet, blog post or print ad for your company, you probably see them opening their laptop, loading up Microsoft Word and getting straight down to business. Right? Wrong. So, how does a copywriter arrive at their final draft and why is this important for you and your business? Read on to discover the 6 essential steps I use to craft meaty copy that connects with your clients.
Step #1 - Client Research
Before I even put pen to paper, probably the moment your creative brief hits my inbox, I'm on the net furiously researching your company, product and competitors. This means reading your website and social media channels in depth, checking out your reviews, and seeing how and what you're marketing differs from your rivals.
Why is this important? Well, it helps me to get a sense of who you are as a business - your brand identity, how you like to talk to your customers and a deep understanding of what you have to offer. It also helps me to see how you could take advantage of mistakes your competitors are making and how you could emulate things they're doing well.
Any copywriter who skips this fundamental step is likely to produce work that lacks your unique personality and awareness of your brand. They might use the wrong tone with your customers or not properly understand the product or service you're trying to sell. In other words, it's going to fail to connect with your clients and, ultimately, fall flat.
Step #2 - Interviews
An article without a quote is like bread without butter. It's dry. This goes for press releases too. So, this means I might need to interview you or a member of your team to get hold of some juicy words to jazz up my composition. It might seem a bit time-consuming, but these are the gripping details that keep your customer reading right up to the end.
Step #3 - Brainstorming
I love nothing more than a good old-fashioned brainstorm. And copywriting is a creative process, just like art. Do you think Michelangelo just started painting the Sistine Chapel? My guess is he probably got his notebook out and made a few plans first.
The great thing about getting all of my ideas on paper is that I can explore lots of different options for your business, but also that I can compare them to find the best ones. And you'll know that because I've considered as many options as possible, when I bring my ideas back to you, you can be sure that you're getting the cream and not just the milk.
Step #4 - Drafting and Revising
After you've given me the green light on a great idea, I can start to give my keyboard a workout. Once a rough draft of your work is in place, I'll go through it in detail and revise the text to make sure it reads well, has impact and transitions from one idea to another in the right places. So how do I do this?
Firstly, I'll read the text aloud to see if passages sound smooth or if I stumble over any of the words. From there I might reorganise my sentences or paragraphs, cut out any unnecessary phrases or substitute words for more attention-grabbing alternatives. I'll repeat this step as often as necessary to make sure your final draft is clear, concise and easy for your customer to understand.
If you have any important keywords, I'll be trying to make sure they're as inconspicuous and natural-sounding as possible within the body of your text. There's nothing that turns off a customer faster than a bombardment of keywords inserted in peculiar places.
Step #5 - Polishing
This is when a copywriter really starts to get clever. The thesaurus comes out and the gloves come off. The art of polishing is about choosing the best words to complement your brand style, without compromising on readability.
The biggest mistake a copywriter can make is to go so overboard on the big words, puns and idioms that your customer doesn't have a clue what they're saying. Simple is best, but it's got to be simple that's brimming with personality; that keeps your customer engaged and hungry for more.
With the average customer on the web only sticking around to read 20% of a page, your content has to command attention. That's why a talented copywriter is vital for you and your business.
Step #6 - Proofreading
Nobody likes a spelling or grammar mistake. And I mean nobody. Your customers certainly won't appreciate it and it will make you look less than professional. In fact, a survey by Real Business showed that a whopping 59% of people interviewed would avoid buying from a company that makes spelling or grammar mistakes. So what can you do about it?
The most important thing is to hire a qualified copywriter with proven language-awareness. Having worked as an English Language teacher and a professional proofreader for many years, I understand how crucial it is to produce copy that's not only pristine, but uses the right tone and style too. You can't underestimate the peace of mind that comes with knowing your promotions are print-perfect.
At Bloom, I not only follow these 5 steps to produce great copy your customers will love, but I can integrate the design for you too. Integrating your design not only saves time spent going backwards and forwards between two different freelancers, it's also a lot lighter on the wallet.
I can't wait to share my design steps with you, so don't forget to come back and check out next week's design-focused post.
What did you think about my 6 step process for creating compelling copy? Did any of the steps surprise you? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts.