What is Copywriting?
In the earliest days of publishing, when advertising first began, the job of copywriter referred to a person who wrote the text of advertisements. These small ads, called display ads, typically ran a small graphic with text.
Copywriting proved pretty simple in those days. You might write 20 to 50 words and be done.
What is copywriting now? Today it proves much more complicated. Although some business publications suggest you try to save money by writing your ad copy on your own, Bake More Pies is here to tell you that you will end up wasting money that way.
Ads cost money to place. Advertising can get expensive.
You need expertly written copy that grabs reader’s attention.
You have to sell your product or service with your words. You might know how to verbally pitch a customer, but translating that to a quick written message takes a special talent.
Poorly written copy wastes your money. The ad placements you purchase do not provide a healthy return on investment. Pithily written ad copy provides you with the ROI you need. It garners you new customers that move through your sales funnel to convert, meaning purchase.
How Complex Has Copywriting Grown?
Copywriters still author newspaper and magazine ads. They now write direct mail campaigns, too. While those began as letters, you might now also send postcards.
Direct email campaigns use a similar length to those written for postal mail, but with different techniques and styles. An offshoot of direct email, the texting campaign, requires succinct sales copy that gets to the point, as do Twitter campaigns.
Billboards and store signage require short, to the point messages. The text must match the photo on the billboard so the ad quickly communicates from a distance and passing cars.
Other social media requires different techniques. Advertisements on Instagram and Facebook can include almost no text. That means your graphic or photo must speak one thousand words.
Websites and blogs use an offshoot of ad copy called web copy. This content requires you to communicate in an active voice that the browser plugin can easily translate to other languages. This content creation requires knowledge of writing copy and search engine optimization (SEO).
While the words on the webpage communicate one message, the page itself may include ad placements of other kinds such as banner ads or display ads. Those ads can use static graphics or video.
Video ads require a combination of talents to write. The copywriter must know how to author advertising and to write scripts. This knowledge means understanding how to format a teleplay script and conceiving the needed setting, actor expressions, emotions and superimposed messages. How these are written varies according to whether the ad will run as a standalone video or as an interstitial ad, meaning within the confines of another video, such as those you view when you watch a movie or television show on Vudu or Vimeo.
By now, you probably understand the humor of a business publication suggesting you try to write your own ad copy. Do you really have time to take off from running your business to learn how to do all of that?
What Does Strong Ad Copy Look Like?
It’s better to have an expert write it for you. You should, however, know what to expect from the copywriting in general terms though. This means becoming familiar with the tone, style and goals of advertising copy.
If you have ever picked up one of the books that explain how to write advertising copy, you should know that most teach how to write a direct mail letter. They also teach how to write it for the 1950s to 1960s audience. That’s why the messages always sound over-the-top and hokey to modern readers.
Pick up any general-interest magazine. Read-only the ads. Do you notice how subtle an ad for Dove, Dial, Oil of Olay, Right Guard and other common products sound? They avoid heavy-handed words and focus on solving a consumer problem. They explain how their product does it better than their competition.
For example, the moisturizer Oil of Olay frequently has its product tested alongside its competitors as well as in standalone tests. Its ads will include statistics that document how long it took for a user in a product test to see results. These ads often also include a comparison of the efficacy of their product to their competitors.
That process does two vital things great copywriting should do:
- It explains your product’s benefits.
- It exploits the weaknesses of your competitor’s product.
While doing this, well-written advertising also addresses the target audience to explain what’s in it for them. The ad copy shows that the company knows its customers and their problems, called pain points in marketing. Well written ad copy focuses on the customer and their problem or need. It includes far more “you” than “we.” Your advertising should show that you care about your potential and existing customers.
The most important part of the ad though is its brevity. You must say what you want to say succinctly. When studying advertising or marketing in college, future copywriters learn two important acronyms:
- TMI – too much information.
- KISS – keep it simple, stupid.
These two acronyms guard every ad written, regardless of its type. You remain succinct, so you do not overburden your reader or listener with TMI. You keep your message simple, knowing that smart people communicate in a manner that conveys their thoughts in a way the majority can understand. You KISS, so your potential customer can understand it regardless of how much else they have going on around them. Most people do not listen to the radio, read a magazine or newspaper, or use the Internet in a silent vacuum. They have kids crying or yelling in the background. They have a housemate or spouse talking over the television. The barista calls their order as they scan your ad.
Your advertising copy must sing, and it has to be a short song, proverbially.
Beyond Writing Copy – What You Need to Know
Still more exists to writing strong advertising copy. You have to know how to CYA, cover your ass, another gem copywriters learn in college. That means you need to know and understand the laws regarding advertising, false advertising, libel, plagiarism, misappropriation of name and/or likeness, and defamation of character.
You also need to understand the nuances of writing for one medium over another. You have to use the right format with the correct writing style. While the essentials of writing ad copy remain the same, each medium has its own specifications.
Every advertising piece must contain a CTA, call to action. That one sentence tells your potential customer to come to visit your store or buy your product.
Let Bake More Pies Help You
Call or email us today to learn more about the advertising copy and content creation that can bring you more customers. Our expert copywriters can help you create the ad text, content, graphics, and video that help you sell more. Let our copywriting expertise work for you!