Copywriting can be challenging.
With all the variables, you might get hung up along the way.
Before you know it, you’ve spent a little too much time on one ad, email, or article. What’s worse is your staff isn’t even sure who handles what or how to fulfill their assigned roles. Sounds like a tough situation.
Don’t worry though, in this article, you'll learn the ways to make your copywriting convert better.
You can use a few tips and tricks to smooth out your copywriting workflow. You’ll be able to create pieces of copy you’ll be proud of. You might even have some fun along the way.
Decide what you’re going to write. This seems obvious, but many people skip this first step and walk into the project blind. Good thing you’re taking the time to create your “map” ahead of time, isn’t it?
How long do you want your article to be? How much of your topic are you planning to cover? Will you dive into one or two concepts or give a more superficial summary of many?
Imagine your topic is going to be “5 Ways to Open a Banana.” Is it relevant to your business? Will it push your product to make your readers take action? Is it original and unique enough to grab their attention and keep it till the end of the article?
You’re selling fruit knives. Would this article be relevant? Not at first glance. People usually peel bananas with their hands and don’t need special cutlery. But what if they’re tired of opening their bananas the same old way? What if they’re looking for a different perspective?
Is this an original idea? The Chiquita Banana website already has an article of 7 ways to open a banana, but none of them include knives. They’re only using their hands in different ways.
You may feel disappointed that your original idea turned out to be not-so-original. But do you have to start over? No. Look for a different angle. There’s a lot of ways to open a banana with a knife, and it could be less messy.
Who is your audience supposed to be? Where are these people that are going to want to open their bananas with knives? You’d need to research this. People might not want your product, after all. They might instead use it on other fruit. But for the sake of argument, let’s imagine that you’re able to create a whole new market for banana fruit knives.
How long do you want your copy to be? Is this a blog article or a landing page? Is this something you’ll send out as an email or something you’re going to send out with “snail mail?” Decide ahead of time how long you want it to be and how comprehensive your article’s scope will be.
Some experts think it’s better to write the article first, then choose the keywords later and plug them in. You should research your keywords before you even start writing. There are many simple ways to do this without paying for software.
Social media eavesdropping. Check sites like Twitter and Instagram for trending topics with #hashtags. Which ones do people use the most? Are there any that would mesh with your article? Say you find “#bananamadness.”
Google has a free service called “Google Trends.” You search for a keyword you want to use, and it tells you how often people search for it. It looks like it doesn’t have much traction, except for a week in the middle of last October. You could try to find out why this happened, but for now, let’s stick to the basics for keyword research.
If you need to find alternative keywords, use Google and see which words drop down after your word. Click search, then look at the bottom of the page and for related searches. It’s fun to look for keywords if you’re willing to experiment.
Now you know what you’re writing. But do you know who’s writing it? Effective copywriting usually happens in teams. Every member of the team needs to know their responsibilities.
Make sure everyone knows who handles what tasks. Of course, a lot of the roles overlap. But having defined work goals makes it easier to understand who is accountable for what.
Set up deadlines. This part is essential. Without deadlines, you can’t coordinate one team member’s efforts with the others. Deadlines motivate people to do their jobs now rather than take care of them later.
Many people skip this step and go straight into writing this first draft, but this is a mistake. An essential part of defining your workflow is to create an outline to act as a road map for your team to follow.
Freewriting is another approach to getting started. Once you’ve decided on your topic, write without stopping to judge or examine what you have. Some people call this being “in the weeds” or a “flow state.”
Structure — It may be helpful to decide the format of your article ahead of time. Other times, you may wish to free-write and then plug your words into the structure as needed. No matter what you do, keep these common formats in mind.
Myth — You can only open bananas one way.
Truth — There are many ways to open a banana.
Myth — one kind of knife is enough to handle any type of food prep.
Truth — It’s more efficient to have different knives for different tasks. Some long, some short. Some serrated or curved. Sharpened or dull.
The first draft can be intimidating, but with a good outline, you’re halfway there. Write freely for the first draft, then cut out the less important bits in your revisions. It’s better to get all the ideas out there at first. Or, if you prefer structure, you can go line by line with your outline and fill it in.
Revision is necessary, and you will need the opinion of other people on your team. It may take several iterations to come up with something acceptable and appealing.
Learn more about the art of high-converting copywriting here.
Editors are in the business of quality control. They measure what you’ve written against existing standards to make your copy fit. They also manage the writing process, creating structure so your project keeps momentum.
Editors are familiar with technical jargon in your industry. The right tone and appropriate language is an important part of copywriting.
To a degree, you can self-edit. Several websites analyze grammar and other issues for you. Grammarly highlights simple grammatical errors and suggests alternatives. Hemingway is more concerned with syntax and creating simpler, easier-to-read sentences.
You can also cut out or replace weasel words, filler words, and overused phrases to make it more concise. It helps to self-edit, but you need the input of a qualified editor. This quality control ensures that your copy will pass the test.
Hire a knowledgeable editor with industry-specific knowledge. They must be well-versed in structure and the scope of your type of writing. Having standards ensures consistent work that doesn't contradict or repeat itself. It’s that final bit of polish to make sure that your copy shines.
Know the strategies for effective copyediting here.
Your company should have a designated role for adding media to your content. Images, charts, and videos with consistent quality give your work a professional look.
If your company has the resources, this role should be separate from that of the content writer. The copy and media should match, but someone with skills can make sure it meets company standards.
Social media lets your audience distribute your content themselves, free of charge. Entertaining and informative material motivates readers and builds loyalty. This loyalty carries over to future projects. Think of it as relationship building.
Project management software makes the creation process easier. Having everyone’s roles defined and a timetable for due dates makes sure everyone is on the same track. It allows you to expect flaws and delays — bottlenecks that highlight inefficient processes.
Tracking software also documents projects to inform comparisons to present and future products. It’s easy to collect data about what does and doesn’t work for your organization.
It avoids inconsistency. “Shadow software” that your IT department doesn’t endorse leads to incompatibilities. Making sure everyone has the same software streamlines your workflow.
Another barrier to consistent quality is “Tribal Knowledge.” Your company delivers a sort of unspoken culture that no one's ever documented. It could be the fact that you have to clear your cache before you log into your website. It seems obvious to people who’ve done it before, but new workers won’t know to do it unless you tell them.
Defined roles and parameters make for a smooth content creation process. Explicit goals, strong research, and task delegation make the process much more effective.
Many companies skip the outlining process and go straight to writing their copy. Pre-planning, or making an outline or chart, gives your work a certain flow and consistency. Having a foundation to build on means that everything will fall into place with ease.
It’s vital to have a strong, effective editorial process. A good editor catches mistakes and adds industry-specific vocabulary to add some professionalism.
The great thing about the internet is that you’re not limited to one type of media. Graphics, videos, and even podcasts add more rich content to your copy. A media specialist has the skills to produce strong, effective media.
Another nice thing about the internet is that your pages don’t have to be static. Analysis of web traffic and comments on the site provides valuable feedback. You can use that feedback to change your website as you need to, to make your copy work for you. Dynamic content means that you can make it better and better with each iteration.
The software enables your team to see the project development in real-time. Concrete deadlines and clear standards make your workflow more obvious and explicit. When everyone is in on the process, better content results.
Everyone can have fun writing copy. Structure and instructions make it much easier to build a product of which you can be proud.
Learn how to design an effective B2B content strategy here.
Now you're better prepared than ever to take the first step to writing clear, effective copy. As Thomas Edison said, “Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.” The good news is, the perspiring part will be no sweat when you’ve followed all the information in this article.
Create a clear plan for creating your copy and content, and the rest will fall into place with ease. Follow these tips, and your life will be even easier. Not to mention, your business will have a much better chance of thriving.
Whether you’re overhauling your editing process or spending more time on outlines, the results will show in your copy. Better engagement, more conversions, and a more loyal following of customers and fans.
Now you know what it takes to achieve that. All you have to do now is write the best copy to be the most effective for your business. That may have sounded intimidating before you finished this article, but it should be a cakewalk now.
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High-converting direct-response copy for growing B2B companies and disruptive digital brands.