Writing compelling copy is both an art and science. It requires creativity, imagination, a certain capacity, and that “je ne sai quoi” to spin and entertain and engage. While marketing writing is not as sexy as novel writing, it can certainly be just as awe-inspiring and captivating. Good marketing writing persuades, it elicits emotion. Good writing combines and intertwines words and phrases to communicate an idea, to paint a picture for its reader. Writing effective copy is also a science. There are formulas that work. A “test and learn” approach is key. One must test, try, fail, discover, and improve to achieve success.
Here are a few different types of copy for a variety of uses:
1. Plain and Informational (Think Vanilla Yogurt)
This is the most basic form of writing (think green salad without the dressings or croutons). It’s simply introducing the product or service without a whole lot of style or “pizzazz.” Here are the facts. There is no spin. There are no frills. This type of copy likely won’t earn you a literary award, but it works when only straights facts are needed. (For example, frequently asked questions or a user manual to put together IKEA furniture). There is no conversation. There is no “crackle.” But the facts are clearly laid out.
2. Storytelling Copy (Relatable & Real)
Ahhh, a good story. Who doesn’t like a good story? Show me people that I can relate to. Take me through a tale of real-life trials and triumphs. How was your company or product the cure for your character’s problems? Who are the characters in the story? Can I relate to them? Are they like me? Show me a dialogue and lead me to a resolution. A good story helps the reader to visualize how they might interact with your product in real life.
3. Conversational Copywriting (Pull up a Chair – Let’s Talk!)
In this style of copy, one writes as if there is a real-life conversation happening. The language is friendly and conversational. It’s language similar to that of two colleagues sitting down for lunch with a potential client. It’s a relatively straightforward approach that allows the copywriter to identify with the reader. You don’t have to be a great copywriter to utilize this approach successfully. Real conversations aren’t perfect; they’re raw and uncensored. Sprinkling in a bit of humanity and imperfectness will only make you more relatable.
4. Imaginative Copywriting (Close Your Eyes)
In this writing style, similar to storytelling, you’re taken through imagining your life in a certain way. You get to pretend what it would be like to live your dream, whatever that might be. The idea is to paint a picture for the reader; show them how they can move towards their ideal life, or simply make their life a little better with your product or service. Folgers does a great job of this in their ads by re-creating the feeling of waking up to a nice cup of coffee. (Just writing that made me feel good).
5. Big-Wig Copywriting
It’s a well-known fact that third-party endorsements help to increase credibility and sell products. It’s why PR works. But it can be equally as compelling to involve your CEO or founder in direct communication between his or her customers. This approach shows a certain down-to-earth appeal and personal feel that levels the playing field. It can effectively position your company as approachable, caring, friendly, warm, and involved. (Think Christine Magee of Sleep Country Canada).
6. Frank Copywriting (The Straight Goods)
Some copy will explain the ugly truth about a product from the get-go. You don’t start with the good stuff, you start with the warts. When selling a used car, you might point out the endless repairs needed. Expectations are low from the start. But then you could lead into what’s great about the car: leather seats, power steering, good gas-mileage. You get the idea. This approach fosters an honest discussion about what to expect. Where there’s honesty, there’s trust.
7. Technical Copywriting
While technical copy can (sometimes) be a snooze, it can serve an important function: educating your reader on a topic that’s important to them. Think user-guides and scientific “how-to” articles. This type of copy can be overwhelming and verbose, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to present all the facts and benefits up front. You can divide up the content into short snippets, or simply show the reader a few paragraphs at a time and have them fill out a form to read the rest.
Back to You
Do you have anything else to add to this list? Over to you…
About The Author
Content brought to you by Tanya Roberts, a Vancouver-based online marketing consultant that specializes in slick content strategy to rock your website traffic, build your brand, gain leads, and increase sales. Tanya is an experienced marketer, copywriter/editor, freelance writer, internet/online marketing consultant, and social media specialist. You can also find Tanya on Google Plus. Results matter; here are a few of mine.