The Essential Copywriting Guide for Business Owners
There's no substitute for good copy. And not just the kind of copy that reads well and fits nicely on the page. The kind of copy that reels you in hook, line and sinker. The kind of copy that feels so creepily relatable it's like the person who wrote it snuck a quick peek in your diary beforehand.
That kind of good copy.
If you didn't graduate with an English degree or pen poetry in the back of math class, copywriting might come as a bit of a struggle. But like all investment-worthy skills, crafting words that attract your audience like flies to honey can be practiced and developed. Eventually, good copy will come easy—and so will landing leads and closing sales.
This post will give you the essential basics of how to craft copy that'll knock your audience's socks off. But before we get started, let's talk about why good copy matters in the first place.
Why Copywriting is Important for Your Business
In the age of information overload, your copywriting is critical to getting people to read what you have to say. But before we get into how to write engaging and persuasive copy that'll keep them coming back for more, let's talk about why good quality content matters in the first place.
Simply put, copywriting is important to your business because it's a way you can differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
The best copywriters out there are able to create content that stands head and shoulders above everything else, becoming engaging enough for people to read through all their marketing material (or at least some of it) before they decide which company to buy from.
Your copy will tell your story, give vital information about your products and services and educate people on solving the specific problems that only you can cause. When you do it correctly, copywriting can increase your profitability by convincing the reader that you (or your product) will solve that problem.
Copywriting Dos & Don'ts For Business Owners
Because copy is one of the major ways people will get to know you and your brand, it's important for it to be the best you can make. The overall goal is to attract more attention to your business online, which means you have to write in a way that makes you stand out while still remaining true to yourself.
The most important thing you should remember when writing copy for a website is these two rules:
#1 Good Copy Is Clear and Concise
The majority of people don’t have time or patience to read through long-form text on their web browser without even being motivated to.
#2 Good Copy Is Exact and Direct
The vaguer you are with your copywriting for a website (or any other medium), the less likely it is that someone will understand what you're talking about and take the actions you want them to.
Here are some other dos and don'ts of good copywriting that business owners should follow.
Do speak directly to your customer.
Use words and phrases that are going to get them interested in what you're writing. Paint scenarios with your sentences that are eerily close to what they're going through at the time. Speak to not only their pain and challenges but to their hopes and dreams as well.
Don't go overboard with your word choice.
Stay within the context of your business and industry. Even if you have a very niche business, don't get so distracted with the specifics that you lose sight of a larger message. You want your copy to be easily digestible to the average person, so avoid crazy-big words that require a Google search to define.
Do keep up with the times.
While you don't want to include too much slang in your word choices, you do want to keep up with how people are talking and communicating online. It's important to use words that people are actually using and understanding, not just ones you think sound good.
Don't forget to be yourself.
Make sure that whatever style you're writing in is one that you're comfortable with. Don't try to mimic a voice or style if it isn't what you're used to writing in, because people can tell when someone is being fake (and they don't like it).
Do keep it conversational.
Write as if you are having a conversation with your reader instead of doing an infomercial where everything's made to sound perfect and clean. Think about how you might talk to your spouse or best friend.
Don't be afraid to be personal.
This is your business, after all. You should show the human side of it in both your copy and other content you create. This will help people connect with what you are writing about more easily because they can relate on a more surface level.
Do focus on providing value.
Instead of just telling people what you do, provide them with some type of value that is relevant to the topic. For example, if your business sells dog treats then talk about how they are healthy for dogs and can help their coats stay shiny.
Keep this thought in mind for anything that you write online: would I want to read this?
Where To Focus On Good Copy
Businesses today have to maintain a strong online presence—and copy one of the most effective ways to achieve that. While many companies opt to hire a copywriting agency, there are ways for you, as a business owner or marketing department head that can improve your copy.
Start with one and work your way through this list.
Your website is the most important place you need good copy, because if people are looking for a product or service and they cannot find it on your site then they will leave.
Everything on your website should be fine-tuned to match your brand and attract your ideal customer. Opportunities for good copy are everywhere—even your FAQ page.
Social Media Accounts
You should have at least one post per day about what’s happening with your company so that new visitors can connect with you quickly. Social media copy is about being personable and conversational, but still professional.
If you don't yet have a blog for your business, now is the time to create one. Blogs not only provide your audience with valuable information that's relevant and engaging, but they also help to nurture relationships with potential leaders. The more people learn from you, the more they begin to trust you. And the more they trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you.
Copywriting Best Practices
There are tons of copywriting courses and programs out there that can teach you how to write good copy. But if you're just getting your feet wet, keep these things in mind:
- Use short sentences and paragraphs. This makes it easier for readers to get the information they need quickly while still providing enough detail to understand what you are talking about without feeling overwhelmed or confused.
- Stick with one idea per paragraph. When outlining a blog post, think of each paragraph as a section. Each section should focus on a specific idea so that everything is clear and concise.
- Use bulleted lists. Lists keep your points organized if you have multiple things to mention in one paragraph or sentence. This will also make it easier for readers who are scanning through the content without reading every word
- Avoid jargon, buzzwords, and acronyms. Any language that only you and a small group of people understand should be out. Write for as large of an audience as you can.
- Question everything. It's easy for business owners to get caught up in their own egos about why something is important. As you're writing, ask yourself why someone would care about this.
- Don't be afraid to delete. Good copy is rarely written in a single, first draft. It's perfectly fine to go through four, five, even 15 versions of something before you write something that hits home.
- Aim for a conversational tone. When you're having a conversation, you don't want to sound like an authoritative figure who is telling people what they should do. Instead, try and make it feel as though the reader is just chatting with you about the subject matter in your post or article.
- Avoid complex sentences. Complex sentence structures can be distracting to your reader and overall message. Keep it simple, and you'll be able to write something that is easier for your reader to understand.
To be a good copywriter, you need to practice often. Look for every opportunity to craft a more compelling message and over time, your skills will start to sharpen.
Every business can benefit from having high-quality copy on its website, social media channels and marketing materials. It's what sets the company apart from others in their industry and helps them stand out to potential customers.
So if you're looking to improve your copywriting skills and attract more attention to your business, remember that practice makes perfect—and the best time to start is now.
About the author:
Over the past decade, Liz has worked as a copywriter and digital marketing executive for a multitude of companies from startups and mid-sized businesses to working as the VP of marketing for award-winning, platinum-selling artists. Leveraging an understanding of the nuance of language in marketing, Liz founded Amplihigher, a content marketing and copywriting agency, designed to connect consumers to companies in a way that results in next-level brand expansion.