Tag Archives: copywriting

What do you understand by copywriting?

There are many writers who cannot/do not draw a distinction between copywriting and content writing. Originally the word “copywriting” comes from advertising whereas, content writing, as far as I know, is a more recent terminology mostly used for creating online content. Although I might be wrong because even for newspapers, magazines and even course books, what you do is write content. Anyway, about copywriting.

Copywriting is basically content written to promote a product, a service or an idea. Copywriting can be done for a website, for a radio advertisement, for a print publication advertisement and for television. In copywriting you have to come up with highly engaging, entertaining and contextual content whose primary purpose is to increase sales or promote an idea. Writing blogs and information articles cannot be called copywriting, but it surely is content writing. Even on your website whatever content you publish that prompts your visitors to do business with you is copywriting, including your sales copy.

The thought came to my mind that although I’m writing content for various business websites, I never draw a distinction between a home page, the primary pages and information pages, although I charge more for the homepage and the primary pages (product descriptions, services, profile, about us etc.). A big reason perhaps is that the client is not bothered about what I call it. He or she simply wants text that helps him or her sell more. But if the client really wants to appreciate the criticality of the content he or she is publishing on his or her website, then he or she must understand the fundamental difference between content writing and copywriting.

Copywriting is about selling

As I mentioned above, the primary purpose of copywriting is to sell/promote a product, a service or an idea. It can exist in the form of a story that eventually leads its audience to the final goal – purchase of a product or a service or an endorsement of an idea. If you simply produce text then it is called sales copy and when you write it for audiovisual advertisements you call it a script. Since copywriting helps businesses sell, some copywriters can ask exorbitant amounts of money for coming up with even a couple of paragraphs. Copywriting does the job of educating the audience and selling the idea at the same time, although selling the idea is of utmost importance.

Content writing is about informing

From the perspective of websites, content writing paves way for a more effective copywriting, or vice versa. You first inform your audience with content writing, and then you sell your product or service with effective and compelling copywriting.

So which is important, copywriting or content writing?

Going by the amount of money charged by copywriters, I would say copywriting is much more important compared to content writing, but this doesn’t mitigate the role of content writing. If your audience is not informed it is all the more difficult for your copywriting to work.

Am I a copywriter or a content writer?

I can wear both the hats, I mean that’s why I’ve been writing sales copies and I always write the homepage when I take on a content writing assignment. On the homepage the primary purpose of your content is to engage the visitors, inform them as concisely as possible, and get them hooked to your website. The text must be informative as well as entertaining. It must be created keeping in mind the core audience (techy, geeky, spendthrift, miserly, etc.). It must be able to convince. I manage to achieve that.


Multiply your conversion rate immediately with compelling headlines

Your headline is the first thing a visitor sees when he or she lands on your website or blog. A headline is not just the title of your page. It is not something that you need in bold and enlarged typeface just because straightaway starting with a paragraph doesn’t seem good. A headline presents the most compelling reason to go through the following text.

You must be wondering sometimes why there is so much hype around creating headlines when they just seem like the titles of the articles or blog posts proceeding them?

You must have often come across the expression “screaming headlines”. What are they? These are the headlines that often make you pick up a newspaper (I know, I know, not many people these days pick up the newspaper) or a magazine from a news stand. The entire newspaper and tabloid industry survives or thrives (as long as it lasts) on the ability of the headlines to draw people towards them.

The same happens on your website or when people come across your link on search engine result pages, other websites, and social media and networking websites. It is your headline that draws people to the actual page. If the headline is not compelling enough they are not going to click the link.

So how do we create compelling headlines?

When you are walking through a local market you often come across signboards on top of the doors of the shops. Every shop tries to attract you through the signboard and the words present on it. They may simply mention the service or product they are offering. They may also highlight the most special offer they have got for you. If they are offering a discount or there is a sale going on there is 100% chance they will have a banner proclaiming the irresistible bargain of the day. They even sometimes have moving advertisements or banners and posters at various prominent locations from where they can be easily viewed. But mere words don’t attract you towards them. It is the offer that catches your eye.

The same psychology applies to your website or blog headlines. Whatever you are writing, draw from it the most exciting reason why people should go through your content and formulate the headline from that reason. For instance if you are going through this blog post you want to know how you can increase your conversion rate tremendously by creating compelling headlines. This may not sound like a very exciting headline but there are many people who are quite desperate to improve their conversion rates and they will definitely want to check what I am trying to say here even if they are not very much impressed.

Address the main pain point in your headline

When I look at your headline I should be immediately able to know what you’re trying to offer. Of course you cannot tell me everything in a single sentence but this will definitely want me to read further. Suppose I am suffering from an old backpain. If your headline goes something like — “this revolutionary technique will definitely cure your backpain no matter how old it is” — I am definitely going to read this. Similarly, if you are looking for an effective content writer “content writing service that actually boosts your sales” may catch your attention more compared to “best content writing services on the Internet”.

Include the most important keywords or key phrases in your headline

This works well both in terms of getting targeted search engine traffic and influencing your visitors in a positive manner. All major search engines take headlines very seriously; in fact for them they are so important that they use your headlines as anchor text when they show your link on the search engine result page. It has been established beyond doubt that there is a greater probability of search engine users clicking links that actually contain the search term they have just used. This shows them that your link contains information about the exact phrase you are looking for. So using your primary key words and key phrases within your headlines definitely increases your search engine rankings.

Using keywords within your headline also increases the overall conversion rate of your copy because people immediately want to read the finer text if the headline uses the same language that they have been using in order to arrive at your page.

Create buzz on social media and networking websites with your headlines

The social media and networking scene is similar to a crowded marketplace: everybody is shouting and there is lots of noise and jostling. Everybody you are following or befriending has interesting stuff to post and whatever you post may fast scroll down the timeline. If you create a headline that cannot be bypassed it increases your chances of getting more traffic from websites like Facebook and Twitter.

Considering the importance of headlines I often spend and ample amount of time trying to come up with headlines when I’m working for my clients. OK, I also try to create decent headlines when I’m writing for my own website.


How to make your content more informative

There can be various purposes for publishing content on your website or blog but when you want to generate business from your content, you need to impart the right information as clearly as possible. What’s right information depends on how your customers and clients perceive your content, not you, unless there is a parity.

Whenever you are writing content (or working with a content writing service) for your business you should step into your customers’ shoes. This means not only presenting the greatest benefits of your product or service, but also addressing their concerns before they raise them themselves. This means highlighting even the negative aspects of your product or service. But this doesn’t mean you’re conveying something negative about your business: you are simply informing your visitor so that he or she can make the right decision. Here are a few things you can consider to make your content writing process informative:

  • List all the benefits: What do your customers gain when they purchase your product or service? Don’t go on a boasting binge. For instance, if you want to avail my content writing services it doesn’t matter much to you if I’ve done my higher studies in linguistics or if I read abstract literary classics in my spare time. You are interested in knowing whether I can consistently provide you quality content or not, and if yes, what system I have in place to ensure it. Additionally, what benefit you get by working with me and not by working with another content provider?
  • Who might benefit the most: Don’t try to sell your product to everybody under the sun (although this seems very desirable). When you are selling, you’re not selling a product or a service, you’re selling a benefit, a usage, a value. So whereas selling combs to bald men may seem quite smart, you are simply cheating people and when they realize it they’re going to have a really bad feeling about your conduct. Help people make a better purchase decision.
  • Clearly mention if there are any drawbacks: You may think, what am I talking about? Am I trying to help you increase your sales or lose your prospects. The truth is, if you think there are too many drawbacks then may be you should reconsider your offer, and if you think their are more benefits then drawbacks then your customers are going to thank you for informing them. Don’t let your customers find out what your product doesn’t do — tell them on your own and also tell them when a particular feature will be available in case it is currently missing.


Conveying your ideas better through story-telling

Does your content or copy tell a story? Story-telling engages your readers. When you’re reading a story, there is something in it that grips you, that exhorts you to read further. You want to know what’s going to happen next. Whether you can relate to the narrative or not (mostly you can) reading a story is always more than reading uninspiring, drab text

Smashing Magazine has an interesting post on creating a better use experience with story-telling.

A good story is like a journey, and when you start reading it, you join that journey. There is a beginning, there are various ups and downs, joys and conflicts, and finally there is an end that changes something inside you. The beauty of every story is that it brings about a change: significant or infinitesimal.

Although the post mentioned above mostly talks about design, you can apply the art of story telling better on content writing. I’ll soon write about this to further elucidate my point.


Doing better networking using social media

Networking is an exercise you have to conduct almost everyday if you’re in a business of selling — whether you work for an organization or for yourself (as a freelancer). Networking as a concept has existed since time immemorial but it has been taken to an entirely new level by social networking websites like Twitter and FaceBook.

Networking doesn’t just mean hanging around with people, although it also doesn’t mean befriending others just for commercial gains. It basically means knowing the right people (people who have use of your products and services or who can recommend your products and services to others) and establishing a communication channel so that you can reach each other when needed. It may involve:

  • Attending the right gatherings
  • Keeping in touch and communicating on a regular basis
  • Letting people know how you can serve them

This Mashable blog posts highlights 7 things you can do for better networking. Basically, networking takes time and effort and some people do it as a full-time job, although this is not called for if you have to run a business. For instance, being a content writer, if I post messages and updates on FaceBook and Twitter all the time and keep interacting people will soon think, “Heck, when does this guy do his work?” And this is true indeed. If you don’t strike a balance you’ll end up neglecting your core business.

For most, keeping in touch is enough. Keep in touch, and help people if you can. Sometimes go out of your way, but you don’t have to be unreasonable. Give people an incentive/reason to remember you in good stead, and convey to them that you are available if they require a particular service, content writing and copywriting in my case, for instance.