Welcome to one of the most complete guides ever written on copywriting. This copywriting complete guide will cover everything from the basics to some more advanced aspects.
After reading this guide, your copywriting will improve significantly. You’ll learn a lot of things that you’ve probably never thought of. These things will be eye opening. There is a lot of psychology behind writing great copy as you’ll find out.
Throughout this guide, I suggest taking notes. It has been scientifically proven that hand writing notes on paper exponentially increases retention and comprehension of whatever information you’re reading.
Excellent copywriting is a key component of marketing.
Preparing to become a great copywriter will require curiosity, wisdom and lot’s of life experience. The best copywriters read a lot. They are curious about life and have lot’s of hobbies and interests.
What makes copywriting different than any other type of writing?
The answer is the desired outcome of the piece of copy. With copywriting, the goal is to get the reader to take the desired action. This could be getting the reader to buy something, or submit their email, or anything really.
Although it has similarities to other forms of writing it is different. Similar to a story writer like J.K. Rowling, the intent is to write engaging and interesting content for the writer.
The difference is, we want our copy to actually initiate an action or decision from the reader. That is the only thing that makes copywriting different.
Let’s start with the first steps on how to learn copywriting.
Before even beginning to write a single word, you’ll need to know a few things.
Effective copywriting speaks to the reader. When someone reads copy, they should feel as though the writer relates to them. As a result, it’s important to realize copy will not be relatable for everyone. Don’t try to make your copy appeal to everyone. Just get to know the specific audience your copy is being written for.
That takes us to our first step in learning copywriting:
It’s important to research your audience. You may already know a bit about the audience. In fact, you may even be part of the audience you’re writing to. If this is the case, great. It will just be that much easier for you to relate to them.
Let’s say you’re writing copy for an ad about one of those deep tissue massage guns. Now I know for myself, I’m kind of part of this audience because I get sore muscles. I’ve even considered buying one. I just haven’t came across the right ad that has convinced me enough.
Whatever solution the thing you’re selling provides, search the niche as a whole. So watch YouTube videos on people talking about their experience with deep tissue massages. Try to find Facebook groups and social groups for people who get massages. See how they talk, maybe they’ve even mentioned the specific thing you’re selling.
To relate to them, you must first know what their pains, fears, and desires are.
A great copywriter should also know a lot about human psychology. I recommend reading Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.
As you know more about the psychology behind persuasion, you’ll notice something. You’ll find this applies to almost any niche as well. It’s that almost everyone has the same pains, fears and desires.
Whether you’re selling a product, collecting leads or offering a service, you must know a lot about it.
To continue the example of the deep tissue massage gun, begin by researching everything about the product.
I’m talking about the features, the benefits of the features, the benefits of the benefits. Know the size, weight, material, quality, everything!
Go to Quora, search “deep tissue massage gun”. Read what people are saying about it. This will give you great points to address in your copy. Do this with Amazon reviews for the product as well and YouTube videos.
Doing this research will show you the strong and weak points of your product. If many people seem to like the battery life of the massage gun, highlight this feature in your copy.
Keep your target audience close and keep your enemies closer.
There are lot’s of ad spy tools out there to spy on your competitors with.
What’s even better than these spy tools, is your target audience. Are they mentioning any specific brands often? Is there a dominant leader in your industry?
Find the most successful competitor in your niche and study their every move. This goes back to having curiosity as well. Question everything. Why did they choose to structure their copy the way they did? Why did they say that? Why did they do that? These are all questions you should ask yourself when spying on competitors.
In copywriting, your angle is basically the problem or specific thing you’ve chosen to focus on in your copy.
It’s important to test many different angles in your ads. For the deep tissue massage gun, here are a few angles:
Notice a few things about these two examples:
1. You can get pretty specific with your angle. I could’ve narrowed down to a specific sport and target the audience of the sport. The ways I can present this massage gun are essentially limitless.
2. In the first piece, I’ve shown a benefit of the product. Then I explain the benefit of the benefit of the product. One thing I didn’t do was address a problem. To improve the piece, I should’ve started with something like “Struggling to make gains in the gym? Did you hit that dreaded plateau on your bench press?”
The desire behind any copywriting angle can be broken down in to 8 main categories.
Another great book I recommend is called Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman. In this book he introduces the concept of the Life Force 8. These are the 8 desires that we humans are biologically programmed to have.
Life Force 8:
For your particular offer, which of these 8 desires can you satisfy with it? When writing angles for your offer, try to incorporate as many of these as you can. Stacking multiple in one angle can often be very effective.
Captivating copywriting is like a slippery slide. At the top of the slide, you have control. You can walk away. However, the second you move your butt just a little down the slope, you’re taken away.
Once you’ve read just one line of great copy, you’ve fallen down the slippery slide that forces you to keep reading to the end.
There’s a certain mindset I’ll reveal. You’ll know exactly how to create a slippery slide in your copy with this mindset.
Always use the following mindset when writing:
The purpose of each sentence is to get the reader to read the next sentence.
This rule should be applied to the entire structure of your copy, beginning with the headline.
This powerful mindset was introduced to me by Joseph Sugarman in his book The Adweek Copywriting Handbook. By writing each sentence with this purpose you’ll create a slippery slope.
Headlines and subheadlines should be very brief. Everything should be to the point.
This brings us to our next point.
Don’t worry about this at first. Your initial draft copy should be a tidal wave of thoughts and ideas. Let it all out. Worry about streamlining it afterwards.
After you’ve gotten on your ideas on paper, start editing.
For each paragraph, think of how you can shorten it while conveying the same message. Do this for each sentence as well.
Unless you’re explaining technical features, use simple words. Your copy needs to be understood by readers of all levels. Explaining tech features is the exception since you will want to sound authoritative.
Always ask yourself, is there a simpler way of saying this?
Here are tips for editing your copy:
There are a few words we often use in our copy that we don’t need. Often you can get rid of “the” and “that” in your copywriting. Sometimes you need it, most times you don’t.
Consider rearranging sentences or entire paragraphs to improve the flow of your copy.
Look at the variety of sentences in your copy. Examine it as a whole. To improve rhythm and readability, vary the lengths of sentences. Never have sentences too long either. The readability of your copy will be much better with some very short sentences mixed in throughout each paragraph.
Whenever you can, try to use scarcity, rarity or urgency. The key is to make it believable or realistic. You should give a valid reason for why the offer is scarce, rare or urgent.
If you’re offer has limited availability, explain why! If it’s rare, expain how!
If it’s urgent that the reader takes action right away, explain the reasoning. Instead of “Buy now”, say “Buy now so you can start enjoying the benefits tomorrow.”
If you’ve properly researched your audience and offer, you’ll know the common objections. Instead of trying to shy away from them in your, answer them.
Maybe a common complaint for the deep tissue massage gun is the battery life. Don’t ignore this in your copywriting! Address it.
The reader could think, “I would buy this massager if people didn’t complain about the battery life”
To address this, write “I know what you’re thinking. What about the battery life? The battery life lasts up to 1.5 hours of constant usage. Don’t worry though, your muscles will be fully relaxed long before this! Plus the batteries are rechargeable and it only take 4 hours to fully charge a dead battery.”
Now I have no idea if anything I just said was true, but you get the idea.
Since the reader can’t actually hold your product, take them through the experience of it. This can be done with a story or a hypothetical scenario of using the product.
Here is an example:
“Imagine you’re walking down the street. Suddenly your left calf cramps up and you yelp in pain. A man asks you if you’re okay. “Yes,” You reply, “just a cramp.” Just then you realize that you haven’t gotten a massage in months! You always avoided it, the whole experience was always awkward. Plus, if you booked now you’d have to wait atleast a week. This cramp is too intense, it can’t wait that long. That’s when it finally dawns on you. Your deep tissue massage gun! You pull it out of your bag and go to town on your left calf. Instant relief! No expensive, inconvenient, awkward massage necessary!”
This example sells the concept of what it would like to own the deep tissue massage gun. Painting a picture for the reader like this can be a great way to sell something in a longer form of copywriting.
It’s important to portray yourself as a credible authority in your niche.
Authority can be derived from a statement as simple as “The largest supplier of deep tissue massage guns in the industry.”
Credibility can be gained from social proof, testimonials, or a famous person in your niche vouching for your offer.
Powerful copywriting must have power words. Pretty much all copy should contain the word “You”, “Because” and sometimes “Imagine”. “You” is a big one because your copywriting should never address a crowd, it should speak to each individual.
The word “new” catches peoples attention. There are alternatives to this word as well. If you want to give the newness feel, try using “Breakthrough”, “Exciting”, “Astounding” or something like that.
Words that create rarity and exclusivity are power words. “Forbidden”, “Secret”, “Revealed” and “Special” all work.
Hitting pain points of your audience will result in action from them. Use words like “Hate”, “Reject”, “Failure”, “Stress” and any other word associated with pain.
The most important thing you can do is practice. I recommend checking out a website called CopyHour.
Use the CopyHour method of practicing. This means you hand write really good copywriting on paper. Yes, it sound ridiculous, why not type it in Word right?
The answer is simple. There is some sort of mental connection that’s much stronger when you physically hand write something on paper. I don’t know the science behind it, I just know it works.
Spend an hour each day hand writing really good copywriting that others have written. If you need examples, look at Motley Fool. Their copywriter, Dan Ferrari, is one of the greatest right now. Simply Googling famous copywriting examples will do the trick too.
There is a lot more to copywriting than people assume. To really become good, continue to educate yourself on the topic.
There are a lot of great books out there on copywriting. Combine reading with practicing. You’ll become a master eventually. I hope you found this guide helpful!