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Sholem AschIt probably won’t come as a surprise that I love writing in all its forms. As a child, I loved nothing more than to write stories, plays, poetry – I experimented with words, threw caution to the wind, let sounds roll from my tongue on to the paper with no preconceived ideas about how the words should fall together. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but then my only aim was to bask in the pleasure of writing. Our cellar is full of boxes packed with words I have written over the years. Many will never see the light of day, and that’s okay.

 

Copywriting needs purpose

Copywriting is different from this kind of creative writing in many ways (although they share a lot of common ground – something I plan to cover in a future blog). The words I write as a copywriter are always intended for an audience. They are not my private musings or a way to convey my feelings. I hope they won’t end up in the cellar, unread and wasted. For a copywriter, every word has a clearly defined purpose and it’s my job to never lose sight of that.

 

Define your purpose

Before you sit down to write some copy for your business (or before you brief a copywriter to write on your behalf), it’s really important to think about where, how and why your copy is going to be used.

  • Is it for a website or print?
  • What do you want the copy to achieve? What do you want them to do once they’re read it?
  • Do you want people to visit a landing page, sign up to a coaching programme, pick up the phone and book a treatment, or let you through the door for a meeting?
  • What tone of voice is appropriate? Quirky, playful, assertive, packed full of personality? How old are your customers? What field do they work in? Is humour right for this piece or do you need to be a bit more traditional?
  • Is this the first time a person will come into contact with your company?
  • Does the audience already have a connection or experience of your brand?

Without goals, you’re just writing into the ether and hoping that the echo resonates with someone, somewhere.

 

Example: e-newsletters

An e-newsletter is a perfect example of the kind of copy you might find yourself writing on a regular basis. The chances are that you’re using a newsletter as a list building tool, a way of capturing contact details for potential customers so that you can contact them with news of special offers, new services, or targeted campaigns. List building is essential because it’s easier to sell to people who already know and trust your business than people who know nothing about you.

By understanding the purpose of your e-newsletter – to engage regularly with existing and potential customers who have connected with your brand – it becomes easier to plan the content. For example, you might want to give them access to articles packed full of information that will make their lives easier or solve a problem. You may want to let them know about a fab new webinar you’ve got coming up or get them to pop over to your website and book a place on the new programme you’re running. Your style can be chatty, friendly, reassuring – whatever works best for your customers.

Goal

Review your data

Of course, it isn’t enough to set goals for your copy. How will you know whether your copy has met its goals without tracking the results?

Look at who’s opening your newsletter, what headlines get the best open rate, how many click-throughs you’re getting; monitor your web traffic; set up a landing page for every campaign, so you can capture data and measure how many people are clicking through to your site because of a Facebook advert or AdWords, for example.

By understanding your goals and measuring their success, you can begin to figure out what works well with your customers, and what doesn’t.

So, what are you goals? When was the last time you reviewed Google Analytics or looked at which blog posts generated the best response? Is your website structure right? Are you using keywords your customers will be using to search for you? Have you given much thought to the words you use at all?

 

If you need help defining your goals for your copy or writing with purpose, I’m always happy to help. Why not get in touch to see how we can work together?

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Emma Heasman

Emma Heasman has been an in-house and freelance copywriter for the past 13 years and launched The Freelance Copywriter in 2003. Ever passionate about copywriting, she now works with small businesses to help them write copy that speaks to their ideal customers. Connect with Emma on Google+

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