“A quotation at the right moment is like bread in a famine.”- The Talmud
I like opening and closing with quotes, I think they have a unique way of capturing the essence of a ‘thing” in just a few words. And that’s really what writing good copy is about.
As a creative professional and entrepreneur, working in the corporate world of communications, I have experienced how good copy can be the difference between “aha moments”, and that squinty face expression we make when we don’t get something and it starts to give us a headache.
I am proud to say I have written and developed a few ad pieces that have, and still do, render viewers “un-squinty”. Below I list five tips that will help anyone to write better copy and develop better concepts.
I can’t stress the importance of this step. It is number one on the list for a reason. Everything flows from your research. Whether you’re writing for your own company or writing for someone’s company, you need that foundation to start building. So you need to find out what similar companies have written about and how they position themselves with their copy. In this step, you should try to confirm your target audience and curate your copy to speak to them. Research helps you to find a way to differentiate your brand from the competition while still staying true to your brand. This step also helps to safeguard your copy from embarrassing situations such as duplication and incorrect positioning. I have personally experienced a similarly embarrassing situation where my copy was completely out of sync because I didn’t do the proper research.
Swipe file of Ideas
Now, this is the kinda fun side of the process. Go out and find inspiration from all over to fuel your creativity and copy development. Words and images that resonate with the brand or inspire your creative development should be explored and filed. The content can be in any form, so it could be past print ads, posters, websites, social media posts, etc. How you choose to store it again is up to you. Pinterest boards are great ways to store and organize ideas, or you can go simple by creating a desktop file. Do what works best for you. But what you’re doing is creating a catalogue of work that you can use to draw inspiration when developing your copy.
Make it Emotive
Some of the most memorable ads use and manipulate emotions. That’s just fact. But for it to be truly impactful, the brand has to be genuine. You can write and develop some great work but if it isn’t true to the brand values, there will be some misalignment and then all your efforts will be futile. You may get some awareness but no follow through. There are a few emotive angles that can be used and incorporated into your copy. Here’s a brief list:
Happy go lucky
To make things even more interesting, fusing one or two of these elements can make your copy and concept that more dynamic.
Keep it Simple
Using simple easy to absorb language makes reading your copy an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. Don’t finish your vocabulary on a piece at the expense of losing your audience in the communication. Also, try to stay away from trends and fads, they will die and so will your creative. Think about your audience and how they speak and interpret information. This will also guide how extravagant you should get with your use of words.
Feedback and Consumer Insight
So you have done your research and sifted through your swipe files, found an emotive space and simplified your words, and now you have a few copy options or at least a better direction for your piece. One of the best ways to choose from your options is to test it with potential consumers. Now, this does not need to be a big operation, just a few friends, and family who fall within your target audience. Depending on the format for your copy, find the best possible way to deliver the copy options or direction. You may only need to explain the context and then give the copy options to see which one they like best. Of course, the option chosen most frequently is the obvious winner.
These steps will help you to formulate advertising copy that should resonate with your intended audience, bring awareness to your brand and increase the probability of buy-in.