17 + 1 Tips for crafting compelling copy...ByClaire Fuller |MarketingFundraisingCreativeDigital |20 March 2019
In our recent blog (How to make your print stand out in the digital world) we explored the notion that whilst design plays a vital part in making the right impression, it’s also important to choose your words carefully too!
So, amidst busy workloads and the constant barrage of content demanding our attention, we’ve put together the following tips to help you create engaging and inspiring copy!
Clarity is good
Research has shown that in most cases, copy that’s clear and concise is more effective than using words that try to be too clever or quirky. Part of the art of great copywriting is that it should almost be invisible/seamless as a skill, the words should simply flow as a natural extension of the person/organisation writing them
One point should be the leader
No doubt you have a very important point to make, but don’t spend all your time working up to it. More people read the beginning than the end of a piece (I’m sorry, but it’s true), so leading with your strongest/most important point is often most effective. If a point is important it can be really powerful to say it at the beginning, the middle and the end
Now IS the time
You never know when the next big story’s going to hit so keep a notebook with you and make a quick note when you see a story, article, subject etc. that inspires you. You never know, it might provide that all important inspiration for your next newsletter or appeal
Show your personality
Your copy is an extension of your brand, so your choice of words and tone should reflect your style, values and key messaging
Interest is important
You need to grab attention and encourage people to WANT to read on, so take time to make sure your copy is interesting and compelling
Delight your audience
One of the key factors of great copy is in knowing what people want and then satisfying that need. An audience that feels valued, who believe they are getting what THEY need from an organisation is more likely to engage and develop a lasting relationship with you
Content that raises a chuckle is likely to be read more than a bland report. (Apply with caution though) Humour should only be used where it’s appropriate to your organisation, the emphasis of the piece, your audience and your ultimate goal
Research your topic
The more knowledge you have about your topic, the more accurately you will be able to convey your message and the greater ability you will have to be creative and approach your story from different perspectives
Tools are available
Use spelling and grammar checkers (and proof readers) to check the accuracy of your content before it is circulated. Opinions can quickly be formed (and may be difficult to change) if readers feel that your content is rushed and inaccurate. Writing frameworks such as AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) can be a great help in structuring your content too
On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the main body of text, so make sure every word of your headline counts! Tips for creating great headlines include:
- Don’t try to be too clever – straightforward and simple often has a greater impact
- Give readers a reason to read on – say something that interests them
- Write the main copy first, then pull out the strongest phrases
- Consider the 4U’s formula – Urgent, Unique, Useful and Ultra-specific
Engage with emotions
Some of the most successful direct mail pieces are those which work with the emotions of the reader. When writing to appeal to the emotions of your reader, try considering “what is their deepest desire right now”
Relevance is relevant
Many people follow the news on a regular basis, so if it’s possible (and appropriate) for your copy to coincide with a relevant news story this could increase the engagement and reach of your content
Everything should have a purpose
Don’t just create content for the sake of it. Each mailing you send, or leaflet you produce should have a clear purpose that both fits within your overall plan and is relevant to the people who will be receiving it
Appeal visually and personally
There are many factors affecting the appeal of your copy. Copy can have greater “eye appeal” by using some of the following:
- Clear fonts
- Short paragraphs
- Headings and subheadings
- Bullets or Lists
- Relevant use of italics, underlines etc.
The copy itself can also be made more appealing if it clearly speaks about benefits to your audience, uses an active voice and includes great use of imagery and description
Tell the story. People engage more with content that they can empathise with and see their own part in. It’s helpful (where relevant) to share stories of the life changing difference that the support of donors has made (and continues to make) to your beneficiaries
Where you have statistics available to share, be specific rather than referring to them in general terms. This builds credibility and trust by showing that not only do you “know your stuff” but you’re willing to share it too!
Include a strong call to action. No matter how compelling your copy is, unless you give people the opportunity and ability to respond or get in touch, it’s unlikely that you’ll see the results you’re looking for. Be specific and clear about what you want people to do and why they should do it
And in case you hadn’t spotted it already – our 18th (and perhaps most important tip) – Consider the Reader. Whenever you are writing copy, whether it’s for an appeal letter, to share transactional information, to promote an event, or to thank someone for a gift, it’s always important to consider who you are writing to. You could write the most beautiful piece of long copy (in your opinion) but if it doesn’t include the vocabulary, style, or type of content that your intended reader is expecting or interested in, this makes it much less likely that they will engage and read on.
There are many more general tips we could add to this list, but if you’d like some tailor-made help from our experienced team of copywriters please give us a call today. We’d also love to hear from you if you have any more tips to add.