If you’re an entrepreneur, then you already know that copywriting plays a major role in everything from marketing to networking, B2B or B2C. It’s what makes every email, landing page, press release, lead magnet, and yes, even video, so great.
Not only does it sell your goods and services, it also sets the stage, presenting your brand to the world, showcasing what you’re all about, and why people should care.
Without copywriting, all aspects of your marketing campaign would crumble.
Of course, there is one major difference to note here: there’s copywriting, and then there’s exceptional copywriting. Anyone can type out copy and post it, but not everyone can write something worthy of reading, let alone skilled enough to actually increase your conversion rates.
Skilled copywriters understand that to deliver something high quality, they need to be talented wordsmiths, grammatically accurate, and of course, out-of-the-box thinkers...
But here’s something else they know a lot about: the fact that most business content lacks emotion and passion. They know most business writing is littered with generic statements and cliché illustrations. Which means they go out of their way to connect on a human level, because they know that they’ll stand out by doing so.
Lucky for you, this guide is all about adding emotion and passion to your copywriting. You don’t need to be the best writer of all time for this, after reading this guide, you’re bound to improve quite a bit.
Let’s get started.
Addressing Desire, Adding Facts
First thing’s first, most sellers stick to the facts, right? “Look at this new video game controller, it features state of the art technology to improve your gaming. With adjustable tension thumbsticks, and shorter hair locks on bumpers, you’ll notice the difference.”
That’s fine and all, features should be discussed. But see, those are facts. Features are what an object has, what it comes with, what it does. But in no way does that actually translate to desire until a human approach is taken.
“With its shorter hair locks for faster fire, adjustable tension thumbsticks that improve precision, and swappable button styles, the new and improved X gaming controller is bound to improve your gaming. Be the talk of the town in style, accuracy, and skill, with a controller that knows exactly what you want out of your gaming experience. Because you deserve more than to be hindered by something dated and unoptimized.”
Notice the difference.
Sure, features were covered, but desire was too, because you were suddenly transported to a visual imagery of excelling at your gaming hobby/career. You likely imagined success, a super responsive gaming experience, and plenty of celebration by your peers. And you were understood: you no longer want to lose a match thanks to a sticky, old analog stick.
But there’s more than one way to add desire to your copywriting. There’s also the approach of explaining your business mission, which should be pretty heartfelt to begin with, right?
For instance, Twitter’s is “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” As a company, they believe in freedom of speech and ideas, regardless of who you are, or what your job title might be. And as a result, the vast majority of the population has a Twitter. People get to express their opinions on news, politics, trends, and yes, even other people, instantly.
This is pretty heartfelt though, considering many people don’t feel like they have a voice. Giving them a platform is like validating them as people. It’s saying “you matter too.”
And if you look at Twitter’s blog, their about page, and literally every shred of their marketing, down to interviews they’ve been a part of, they initiate this message. They even have a whole page dedicated to the actions they’ve taken as a company to push the boundaries of acceptance and ideas in everything from politics to civic engagement.
This is perfect for Twitter users looking for a way to change minds, express themselves, and share ideas. It appeals to them, and makes them want to join the conversation.
Feel Their Emotions
Of course, to add this element of desire, it’s important to understand people’s emotions. The more you can connect over common ground, the better off you’re going to be. It’s going to be easier to sell your goods and services when you know who your audience is.
This is why it pays to start a company based on something you have experience with. For instance, someone who starts a glasses company after struggling to find frames that reflected their individuality would have tremendous success compared to someone who doesn’t even wear glasses. They would be able to appeal to their audience better, more authentically, because they wear glasses themselves. The wilder, the more unique the frames are, the more targeted the audience becomes.
But there’s a niche for that.
So imagine if it was all run by someone who looked super unique, and wore quirky frames. It would make sense, and it would be walking advertising. The founder would be knowledgeable of the pain points, in this case feeling like most glasses have boring frames, and not feeling very celebrated as an individual. And they’d provide a solution that suited them best, and that would surely meet the needs of those with the same pain points.
This brings us to a pretty stable, universally agreed upon formula:
Problem → Agitate → Solution
We covered the problem, but what’s agitate?
This is when you bring up their pain and frustrations, and highlight what those feel like. For instance, imagine reading something like “Most glasses have boring frames, so even though you’re a colorful individual, full of unique qualities, you’re forced to look like everyone else. It’s an unfortunate reality for many, feeling lost, or muddled in a world where glasses hold you back from being your best, most original self. But what if your glasses could suddenly become a beacon of unorthodox fashion? How would it feel to express yourself front and center, wearing frames that no one else could possibly imagine?”
Note the focus on feelings. There’s a sense of pandering to their emotions on what they might feel like, and how that would change should they get access to better frames.
That last question is the perfect gateway to the solution: which is where you present your products/services. At this point, you should have people nodding their heads along with your presentation. They should be intrigued, and ready to hear what you have to offer them. If your products/services are good enough, and directly solve a problem, then they will likely become customers.
Lead With Passion
A word of caution to start: fiction writers and copywriters are worlds apart. On one hand, fiction writers are creative, writing their own characters and storylines, often transitioning that craft from hobby to careers as script writers for TV and film, or video game narrative designers, or authors. On the other hand, copywriters deal in facts, taking on the approach of guides and instructors, educating audiences while also potentially selling goods and services.
And yet, there is something every copywriter could learn from fiction writers: leading with passion. For instance, let’s look at a passage from Hamlet, written by the father of passion himself, Shakespeare. To keep it easy to read, we’re translating it into plain English:
“Recently, though I don’t know why, I’ve lost all sense of fun, stopped exercising―the whole world feels sterile and empty. This beautiful canopy we call the sky―this majestic roof decorated with golden sunlight―why, it’s nothing more to me than disease-filled air.”
― Hamlet to Guildenstern, Act II, Scene II
This is classic Hamlet, feeling rather emo, after his university studies get interrupted by his father’s death. His obsession with death and decay begins to take over his life, and then to add salt in the wound, he has to deal with his mother’s remarriage to Claudius, his uncle. That’s the jist of the play, there’s more to it, as you might very well know.
But notice Hamlet’s language. He knows that he feels differently, and that his view of the world has taken a dark turn, but he has no idea why. It’s almost matter-of-fact, but it is a hidden desperation as well, as if he’s wanting Guildenstern to believe him, and possibly help him out of this hole he’s fallen into.
Now, of course, this is all fiction. But what if a copywriter were to write with the same level of intensity? Imagine for a second that a copywriter was endorsing therapy. Maybe he/she had experienced depression and anxiety, and knew what it felt like before seeking help from a professional.
“It had come to my attention that I was stressing far more than ever before. I had stopped exercising, stopped finding joy in the little things. I’d even stopped enjoying all of my hobbies. The world seemed to be against me, and my time was spent worrying over what new hurdle I’d have to overcome next. But eventually, I knew something needed to change. It was a dangerous state of mind, one I couldn’t continue to live with, so I signed up for some therapy sessions with Dr. Brawley. It took me weeks, months really, of opening up to him for me to finally realize that everything would be okay. But with every session, I felt less and less lonely, as if a weight was gradually being lifted off my back. And now… I’m grateful that I was clear-headed enough for a few seconds to recognize that I needed someone to help me.”
Is it believable? Certainly. Is it emotional? Yes. How about passionate? Yes, because it really digs deep into the feelings both before and after seeking help. There’s a level of distress preceding Dr. Brawley that soaks the passage with passion. And a sense of relief by the end, especially with the final statement.
Now, obviously this is influenced by Hamlet, so the whole theme is a bit depressing, but passion doesn’t always have to be. You can be passionate about a person, a place, a thing, fill in your noun here. Perhaps someone is passionate about their health, after completely changing their lifestyle, and lowering their cholesterol. Or maybe they’re passionate about San Francisco, because they grew up there and have all sorts of memories and stories to share with others.
Whatever it is you’re passionate about, hopefully you started a business around it, because that will make things easier. Someone who is passionate about surfing could start a surf shop. Someone who absolutely loves to cook can start a catering business, or even a YouTube cooking channel.
In other words, passion is what shines through organically when you feel something deeply, positively or negatively. And when you make your passion your business, then you have a winning formula.
Now that you have a better grasp of emotion and passion within your writing, you should have a pretty solid epiphany: writing anything in a stale, matter of fact, way is going to get your message across, and highlight important product features….
But it won’t actually captivate your audience.
To actually resonate with them, and convince them that buying from you is the best possible decision they could make regarding their problem, you need to dig deep and find a way to embellish the copy with real personal experience, and feeling like you would a journal entry.
Remember those? Well, they came in handy.
Now, intensifying that emotional appeal is critical. Otherwise, you’re left with a very surface-level emotional pander that comes off unrealistic. After all, when you feel something intensely, you really feel it.
Think back to something you really loved. It could be a pair of jeans, maybe a particular ice cream shop, or even a car. And say you were to describe that thing in detail, and perhaps share a story about it.
Odds are you’d start to naturally share some emotional signs. Something would stick out in your mind, and you’d try to describe that feeling, or experience. Maybe you really loved your first car because it was the site of your first kiss, your first breakup, your first friend ride along, and so much more.
That’s the effect you want to have within your copywriting if you can help it. Loving hot dogs, but having no real emotional tie to them, doesn’t make for exceptional writing, nor a very good business for that matter.
But how does one add intensity to their writing anyway?
Simple: by leading with a sensory description. One that screams memories, experience, and knowledge. One that simply cannot be disputed by anyone else.
In my case, I am passionate about my beloved California, as it’s where I’m based. Los Angeles alone is a mecca for everything that makes life fun. Beach, burritos, a nice climate year-round. Ask anyone what they do for a living and you’ll get answers like YouTube streamer, photographer, food stylist, movie set gaffer, actor, singer, lifeguard, etc. And frankly, nothing beats a sunset around here, unless maybe you’re standing next to a 250-foot Redwood while gazing at the sunset.
If I were to write about my specific experiences here in the Golden State, I would naturally do so in detail, with plenty of feeling. And you know what? I’m sure that I could make a pretty decent living writing CA travel guides, or going on adventures and scripting my own videos. Perhaps even both.
Of course, there’s another way to add intensity to your writing, and surprisingly, it has to do with regret. Talk about a plot twist.
Using Regret to Your Advantage
Imagine for a second that you’ve appealed to your audience, and shown them your products/services. Now it’s time to get them to buy something.
Well, there’s nothing more powerful than regret. It’s the whole reason why so many people try to avoid it at all costs. That fear of missing out, or of a really good deal slipping through their fingers, is going to haunt them for a while, if not the rest of their lives, assuming your goods and services are that exceptional.
Just think of things that are limited edition, or perhaps steeply discounted that you later had to pay a markup price for.
Creating scarcity for your product really does trigger a fear of missing out (FOMO), an effective selling technique that ramps up the intensity of emotion.
However, it is important to note that marketing gets a bad rep for things like this. The tricks, the gimmicks, the luring of people in droves, it’s all frowned upon. But you can approach this tactic ethically by creating a real sense of scarcity rather than an artificial one.
In other words, if you claim that there are only 50 prints of a limited art release, then there should only be 50 total in the world. Not 51, not 60, and certainly not enough for a second wave claiming “limited edition” again.
If you claim your ebook is only free for the first 25 readers who sign up to your course on social media marketing, then that should be held as truth. There should be no other free downloads after 25 people have signed up for your course.
Otherwise, you’ll put your credibility into question, which is never a good thing. Remember, as a business, part of your success is attributed to being trustworthy. You likely earned that trust from your customers when you first started up, by gifting people things, offering advice, sharing your own experiences and stories, etc. The minute you show them that you can’t be trusted, however, you will likely be facing a loss of customers and sales.
To take on an ethical, yet effective approach, give people the information they need to make up their own minds, and gently nudge them toward a sale by adding the element of authentic scarcity, or exclusivity (limited number of seats or products).
Side note here: this guide is meant to be in-depth, detailing what it takes to write exceptional copy that connects with your audience. If you’re getting overwhelmed, or you lack the time to put out high level writing, please talk to a digital marketing consultant. They’re connected, and skilled, so they can guide you along the way, or point you in the direction of a copywriter up to task.
Let’s assume there’s a man―we’ll name him Jack. Well, Jack is a hardcore gamer, spending the bulk of his free time playing games, getting characters leveled up, running dungeons with his friends, and of course, comparing his skill to others.
Well, Jack gets wind of a new game, one that features all of the elements he’s come to love in games. Things like an expansive open-world, online gameplay, and PVP (player vs player).
It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s not quite enough of an incentive to get him to purchase the new game.
Because he already has a game that’s dear to him, one in which he’s created so many memories with his friends. He knows the game world like the back of his hand, there’s history there. If he were to start a new game now, he’d be forced to start over from scratch, and entice his friends to join him.
This is where fear comes in. A fear of starting fresh is a huge one for many people, in many of life’s instances, not just with gaming, as is the case with Jack. But there are many other fears. Consider these:
Loss in property value
Entering private information on an online form
The need for the product waning
Let’s look at “product’s origin” for a second. Imagine there is a man shopping on Etsy for the first time in his life. He has no idea what he’s doing, but he does notice that many shops are selling the exact same stuff, down to the last detail.
After a lot of digging around online, he finds out that many of the sellers are starting their own shops after purchasing products from other artists on the platform, hence the repetition.
He has no way of knowing who the artist really is then, because every shop he comes across selling the same products is advertised as the artist behind the work.
For someone trying to pay the actual artist behind the work, and not someone profiting from someone else’s hard labor, this is a huge problem. It’s enough for them to walk away, rather than purchase anything.
The same can be said about any of these fears.
All of this means that you should be aiming to dispel those fears, if you are to sell anything at all. Going back to Jack, our video game player example, imagine if the new game had quality of life changes that completely made his main game look dated.
Translation: his main game doesn’t have fast travel, or any means of travel that is exciting or streamlined. But this new game makes traveling all around the vast map a breeze, which means more questing, more social interactions, and more game time spent productively.
All of the quality of life changes that this new game brings to the table are taking gaming news by storm, in fact, with people commending the designers for making a huge open-world game much more than it has ever been.
The hype is real, and now, Jack’s friends are all talking about this new game, expressing their interest in trying it out at least.
Is Jack’s interest peaked? You bet it is.
In other words, offering a new and improved version of something that people already love is going to win you major points in business. It’s a great way to dispel fears, because the pros outweigh the cons.
Describing your products/services also helps, mainly if the angle is “how easily you can X” or “how you won’t need to deal with Y” anymore.
The use of emotional words to describe the hassle that’s being omitted by making the purchase doesn’t go unnoticed. Words that trigger solidarity, and relevancy in frustration or wishful thinking, really matter. It makes people feel heard and understood.
Just make sure to back up any and every claim with facts. You can’t simply make false claims without actually delivering, or you will be called out and possibly even sued for false advertising.
Afraid of Loss?
People don’t generally like to lose. They hate having unfulfilled desires and dreams, because it makes them feel like failures. If you’ve ever launched a product unsuccessfully, or failed to implement SEO/keywords, or lost a B2B prospect to a competitor, then you already know what that feeling of losing feels like.
That means your lead generation, and even link building, would greatly benefit from offering simply, easy solutions to the problem. Landing pages that made obtaining a solution simple. Online shipping that guaranteed free-shipping every time people spend a minimum of $25, or even Instagram feeds that made living with your products/services seem stress-free, are all great ways to convey your message.
When combined into your marketing, it sends out a unified feeling of loss aversion that few companies know how to replicate, effectively boosting your brand presence and helping you network with more influencers. It could lead to collaborations with others in your field, or at the very least viral content that gets shared and picks up traction in terms of press coverage.
When freedom from loss is a CTA button click away, you bet more people are going to convert. More of your Google and Facebook ads are going to pay off when you take this approach, because everything you do will stand for ease of use, and better payoff.
Imagine if your chatbot suddenly told people that it had a special discount code for them, or a risk-free trial. More people would give your offerings a try, because there wouldn’t be anything riding on it. Even if there was (payment), it would be at a steep discount.
That’s one way to get rid of a fear of losing. Plus, you can always check up on progress by using Google Analytics and A/B testing. Doing so will allow you to see which of your approaches is the most successful, and which ones you could possibly do without.
Copywriting is one of the main cornerstones of marketing and advertising. It spans every email, newsletter, ebook, blog post, tweet, caption, webinar, course, etc. Without the right copy, you’re destined to deliver something lacking in both skill and persuasiveness, which equates to a loss in sales, and connectivity with your online community.
The mark of an exceptional copywriter is being able to pander to the audience in question through feelings, passion, and of course, the removal of objections. Being able to connect with them through similar experiences, real emotion, and a genuine want to help others.
It’s hard work. You have to care, and you have to be more than knowledgeable. You have to be authentic.
Regardless of how much of your audience scans (warm leads who already know what they want and are searching for specific information), or reads (prospects in the early stages of research), your content needs to be suitable for both, full of useful, actionable information that really makes people feel understood and even appreciated.
Oh, and let’s not forget all the odds and ends, like SEO,
Understandably, this might make you feel like your head is spinning. It truly does take a lot of patience, practice, and time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, unsure of your own skill, or you simply lack the time, don’t hesitate to reach out to a copywriter. And if you want some recommendations, contact a digital marketing consultant. They often network with copywriters, or even employ them themselves.
So, what part of this guide did you find the most useful?
Let me know in the comments section below, I love hearing from you all!