One of the best ways to significantly improve your copywriting skills in any industry is to follow a checklist that can guide you through the process. With a checklist, you’re able to break down the process of creating compelling copy into manageable steps.
Once that checklist is broken down into those manageable steps, you’re able to continually improve your checklist and overall writing system over time – which should always be your main goal.
Let’s take a look at the steps that you should be following as you work to improve your copywriting skills and create copy that converts:
Identify a Single Person to Write For
While identifying your target market is one thing, experienced copywriters also understand the importance of identifying a single person to write for. During this process, you want to really break down the demographics of exactly who you would like to target. On top of figuring out their age, gender, income level, etc., you should also do your best to identify everything possible about their goals, fears, and habits.
When you really begin to know and understand the exact type of person that you want to target, it becomes much easier to engage in a conversation with them in the same way that you would talk to a friend – which is an essential aspect of creating copy that converts.
Write First, Edit Later
Legendary fiction writer Stephen King is famous for, among other things, encouraging writers to write their first draft without stopping. While he is a non-fiction writer, his advice is important for copywriters as well. Assuming you already have general knowledge of the product or service you are promoting, just start writing.
Write with bad grammar. Write in short choppy or long drawn out sentences that don’t make sense. Overall, just write until you can’t write anymore and don’t think about what is wrong with your writing.
Imagine yourself having 3-5 minutes to babble on to a friend about how the product or service you’re attempting to sell can benefit them and then write in exactly the same way that you would do that.
This process is important because, as copywriting expert Belinda Weaver says, the skill that separates great copywriters from good or average copywriters is their ability to have a conversation through their writing.
Highlight Key Points
According to the Nielson Norman Group, the average visitor will read only 20% of the content on a web page.On top of that, it is a known fact that the attention span of website visitors has been declining over the years. For that reason, it is essential that you do everything in your power to present as much scannable information as possible.
Bullet points and sub-headings are a great way of doing this and are a tremendous method for catering to scanners. As is writing your copy in short, concise blocks such as what you see in this article.
Once you have written your copy, take sections of your content and analyze the main points that you’re trying to get across to your reader. From there, break those points down into bullet points and use intriguing sub-headings that will continue to peak the interest in your reader.
If you’re unsure of exactly how to do this, think of things that the person you have identified as your target would be interested in as a customer of your product or service. If that yields a blank, put yourself in the position of the customer and think of the things that would be important to you.
As English professor Howard Luxenburg puts it, the purpose of writing is nothing more than getting your reader to read the next sentence.
Create a Compelling Headline
Whether you’re writing copy or creating an article, your headline is an incredibly important aspect of getting your content read. As Copyblogger points out, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of those 10 will go on to read the rest of your copy. With that in mind, it is essential that you focus on creating something that is magnetic, intriguing, and compelling enough to get potential customers excited to read your copy.
To do this, go back to the person you identified as your target and think about what would get them excited to continue on.Is it a certain feature? The fact that doing so will save them money? These are the types of things that you will want to focus on with your headline.
Feature a Unique Call-to-Action
The process of identifying the demographic you would like to target should also include an identification of exactly what you want them to do. For this, a unique call-to-action is essential. While it isn’t always necessary to identify this at the beginning of the identification step, it certainly is essential to do at some point in time along the way.
Your copy should always have a distinct goal in mind, whether that be joining an email list, purchasing a product, or asking for a consultation for your services. Once that goal is determined, you need to figure out how you’re going to present that goal to your reader. Conversion expert Michaal Aagaard from UnBounce provides writers with a tremendous resource for creating unique call-to-actions that convert viewers.
One of the things that he points out, however, is that you can’t be comfortable sticking with just one. A/B testing is essential to be sure that the call-to-action that you are using is your best option. After all, you have to understand that no matter how many articles or books you read about conversion, copywriting, or creating call-to-actions, the only way to determine if what you do works is to test it.
So, create 2-3 different call-to-actions for your copy and don’t be afraid to tinker with different aspects like how often it appears in the actual copy, where your button is located, and the overall length of your call-to-action. For more help with testing your copy, the team at Meqouda has a lot of solid resources.
At the end of the day, improving as a copywriter starts with developing a system for exactly how you are going to write your copy. While no two writers will develop their copy in the exact same way, having a system for creating your content is an essential part of improving.
As any great writer will tell you, your journey with improvement should never end. So go out and find out what works for you. Try different methods. Figure out what system is best for your unique set of skills. Hopefully this checklist will serve as a solid resource to get you started. Good luck!