Words. They are the most powerful tool humans have. No other animal has them. They are what make us human. Words record our history and instruct our future. Words can start wars. Or end them.
It is with words that we interact with others. Even from a distance. Words have enabled us to pass on knowledge to endless generations. You can give words. But you can never take them back. And their effect lasts forever. Importantly, we can use words to get other people to do the things we want.
The Story-Telling Animal
We are also the story-telling animal. We love to spin yarns… and listen to them. Nothing holds our attention like a story. We are ‘wired’ to receive them – even when they are fantastical. Words transport us to other places. Other times. Other worlds.
Why good copy matters
Clearly, words are important. So let’s take a closer look at what copywriting is and why it matters. Copywriting is the process of writing advertising promotional materials. Copywriters are responsible for the text on brochures, billboards, websites, emails, advertisements, catalogues and more. This text is known as “copy.”
“The art and science of strategically delivering words – whether written or spoken – that get people to take some form of action”.
It was also famously described as “salesmanship in print” way back in 1904 by a chap called John E. Kennedy, who would become one of the forefathers of modern advertising.
In simple terms, copywriting is designed to get people to do something: buy that car, call that number, choose that brand, or simply understand what it is your business does.
Today, we’re all writing more than ever
It’s a strange twist of technology that given we rarely write letters to each other these days, all of us are writing – and reading – more than ever. Why? Because of our daily use of email, text messages, blogs, social media and the internet. Arguably, the written word has never been more important.
This means the written word – or copy – is at the very core of today’s marketing. Now, they call it content… and content marketing. But it’s still just copy. From websites to brochures, to on-line video or radio, it is words – and the way we use them – that are critical in attracting and engaging your audience and making sales.
Clear, Concise, Compelling
Good copy should be clear (I understand that), concise (there is no waffle; it gets to the point) and compelling (this has got my attention, and I’m engaged).
Poor grammar, meandering sentences and bad punctuation are something to be avoided, as your audience will move on to something else. No-one ever complained about easy-to-read, good English. But if something doesn’t make sense – if your audience has to re-read it and re-read it again – you’ll lose them in a blink.
Writing for your Audience
However, while a newsletter or brochure might be grammatically correct, if it’s written in a style that’s too dull, stiff or overly formal your readers will soon find something more interesting to do. Equally, a website might contain content explaining how brilliant you think your business is. But if the writing is long-winded, complicated and written from your point-of-view (We make the best widgets) and not the audience’s (Our widgets will save you time and money), no-one will stick around long enough to hear what you have to say.
Outsourcing your copywriting to a specialist
Just because people are all writing more doesn’t make them good writers. Good writing takes time, and most business people don’t have that luxury. It’s often a wiser decision to outsource that task to someone who specialises in copy. They’ll do it faster… and get you a better result.
We’ll leave you with this thought: It’s important to choose your words wisely and to craft good copy to get the result you want. What story do you have to tell? We’ll help you tell it.