It’s true that poor copy can make a bad impression. But this is an excellent reason why you should pay more, not less, attention to the copy you use. This is more pressing than ever when you are expanding into the US and writing for a new audience.
In this guide we’ll take a look at copywriting – and how to use it to create effective, persuasive material that shows your American venture off to its best advantage.
On This Page
- So, What is Copy Anyway?
- Why Does Copy Matter?
- Copy Vs. Content – Is There a Difference?
- Direct Response Copywriting
- How to Create Compelling Copy
- Know Your Audience!
- Why are you writing this again!
- Speak to Your Niche and Audience
- So, How Long Should my Copy Be?
- Copywriting for Different Types of Content
- Web Content
- Blogs & Article Writing
- Direct Response Copywriting
- Email Marketing & Social Media Copywriting
- Mount Bonnell Copy Services At a Glance
SO, WHAT IS COPY ANYWAY?
In a nutshell, copywriting is the way you use the written word to help grow your business. It includes the writing on your advertising materials (such as a PPC Ad), the emails you send out, how you describe your product/service on your website, and campaigns you run to entice new customers.
But, it would be a mistake to think copywriting is only explicitly concerned with advertising. Copywriting forms a core part of your content strategy – how you develop your SEO, the things you post on social media, what you share in a blog post – and much more.
There is a wealth of different styles and tones to copywriting – ranging from the very direct, to the more subtle. But, at its heart, copywriting is using words to help your business to increase positive outcomes – in PR, branding, social capital, and awareness – as well as in direct sales.
WHY DOES COPY MATTER?
Copywriting is important because it’s where the “meat” of your marketing information usually lies. Yes, it’s essential to have an attractive website and to add videos and other visual media that can draw attention and engage your audience. But, once you have your customer’s attention – you need to keep it. That’s where copy comes in.
A skilled copywriter can:
- Describe to your audience how your product or service solves their problems
- Create a compelling narrative to entertain and engage your audience
- Show how you are unique as a business and how this is beneficial to your audience
- Help your website and other materials get found by your potential audience (via SEO and pulling in attention)
- Give your audience helpful, inspiring, exciting or entertaining information
- Develop a strong brand voice and tone that is recognizable and familiar to your audience
- Help you to nurture clients and develop conversations and relationships
Copywriting is what hangs your marketing efforts together – it gives interested readers a chance to deepen their understanding of your business, and ultimately to help your company growth.
COPY VS. CONTENT – IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?
Some people will hold that copywriting is only there to encourage a potential prospect into taking action, whereas content is about branding and reputation-building.
In one sense, this is true. Content can be described as “the long game” when it comes to building your business. Content in areas such as blogs, white papers, how-to guides and other information you offer is not necessarily used to encourage immediate action from potential customers.
However, unless your aim with content is to be purely altruistic, its eventual goal is the same as copywriting – to drive customers towards buying what your business is selling.
The long game of content is longer because it uses information sharing to build your authority and the goodwill of your audience. Great content will help to enhance your reputation as a trustworthy and reliable source. The eventual outcome is to increase sales – just like copy.
DIRECT RESPONSE COPYWRITING
Direct response copywriting is any kind of copy that encourages the reader to take a specific action once they have read it.
This can range from signing up for a newsletter, to buying your product or service. It can mean joining an email list, watching a free webinar, responding with a comment or sharing your content on social media.
There’s a lot of different styles of direct response copywriting out there, and a wide range of techniques on offer.
Direct response aims to get a more immediate response than other forms of content, so it often goes in for a much harder “sell.”
Sometimes this can go overboard – when you see websites with huge, obnoxious countdown timers, unlimited money back guarantees and urges to BUY in large lettering and red font.
Direct response copywriting doesn’t have to work this way though! If you apply the advice in the next few sections to all your copy, you can produce effective copy that inspires action, without having to beat people over the head to try and get it.
HOW TO CREATE COMPELLING COPY
There’s plenty of guides out there which claim to show the tricks to writing copy that acts like magic to convert disinterested potential customers into ones who can’t wait to get their hands on your product or service. From headline writing to using “power words,” processes for “agitating” “pain points” and then delivering your “fascination bullet points” – copywriting can begin to sound incredibly gimmicky.
While it’s true that in the past, some businesses have had a certain amount of success with manipulative techniques, it’s also true that audiences, and American audiences, in particular, are getting weary of having hyped-up marketing messages rammed down their throats every time they check their media.
Great copy these days focuses on building genuine connections with the audience, rather than using gimmicks, tricks or shock-laden “new” techniques to try and grab attention. Think about how tired you are of clickbait headlines and over-zealous sales claims. Your audience is, too.
This doesn’t mean that copywriting techniques aren’t useful. It’s essential to organize your content and present it in a way that can engage your readers – that is, stir some kind of curiosity or provoke a positive emotional reaction.
To do this effectively, you need to be aware of why you are creating content and who you are creating it for.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!
As Joanna Wiebe says:
“Your job is not to write copy. Your job is to know your visitors, customers and prospects so well, you understand the situation they’re in right now, where they’d like to be, and exactly how your solution can and will get them to their ideal self.”
Before you can get compelling copy written for your American audience you need to know them and your new niche. To do this, you need to have real conversations with real potential customers. You can also research using social media.
Don’t just focus on what’s going wrong (many companies scour Twitter and the like to check for negative experiences or opinions) but actively engage with your target audience about what’s going right, what they want and how they want to learn about it.
When you know your audience, you can help them to solve their problems or challenges using copy as part of your solutions.
WHY ARE YOU WRITING THIS AGAIN? TAILORING YOUR COPY TO YOUR SPECIFIC NICHE AND AUDIENCE
It’s easy to get lost in the maze of marketing techniques and processes and forget why you’re creating a piece of copy in the first place. This can especially be a problem when you start using marketing tools as a way to achieve specific outcomes – rather than focusing on serving your audience with copy that’s actually helpful to them.
For example, you might want to improve sales for a particular product or service area you’re developing. Or, in the case of expanding your business to the US – build a new base Stateside. You can spend a considerable amount of time and resources focusing on the outcome you want, and completely forget about what is actually helpful to your audience.
When creating any piece of copy, you should ask yourself:
- What is the purpose of this piece?
- Who is this piece aimed at?
- In what way is this piece of copy solving a problem or adding a benefit to my reader’s lives?
If you ask these questions every time, it will change the way your copy is written. Getting people to your website or social media pages is only step one of engagement. Having them stay there depends on giving them more than an exciting headline, or shallow article.
SPEAK TO YOUR NICHE AND AUDIENCE
If you’ve done your customer research and asked yourself questions about the purpose of your copy, you should have a great idea of your audience. Use this knowledge to tailor your copy to this audience and your niche.
This can mean using different styles and tones, as well as language quirks. Does your audience like formal, technical information? Or do they prefer an informal, chatty style? Where is your audience located? How does this group prefer to be spoken to?
For example, Americans can often get impatient with what they see as “non-native” language – that is, English that is written with a European tone and cadence or using spellings that aren’t Americanized.
What sort of information is your audience looking for when they visit your website or blog? Do you want to give short, snappy answers to the main questions, or would your readers prefer a deep dive into each subject?
You should also consider how each piece of copy might change depending on the platform you’re using and the channel. A social media post will be different to a white paper or how-to guide.
The key is to think carefully about your audience for each piece – and how much value the words you are putting on the screen is adding to them.
SO, HOW LONG SHOULD MY COPY BE?
Your copy should change in length as well as tone and style depending on its function and where you’re placing it. For SEO purposes, longer articles are seen in a better light by Google’s algorithms because they judge that it’s more likely a 1500 word article will contain more useful information than a 500 word one.
This is true – so long as you ensure the information IS actually useful and not just filler to make a longer word count. Remember, it’s better to have a handful of well-researched and genuinely valuable articles than pages of content that doesn’t offer much to the audience.
In other instances, you might have only limited space – such as headlines and blurbs on your website pages, or in a social media post. In these cases, you should make your copy as clean and straightforward as possible while still delivering a useful piece of information.
In shorter copy, it’s often a great idea to focus on only one “big” benefit, feature or piece of information. Then ensure you go into detail about your product or service elsewhere in your marketing materials.
The bottom line is – your copy should be as long as it needs to be to give accurate information, offer an insight, answer a problem, or entertain your reader.
COPYWRITING FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF CONTENT
At Mount Bonnell Media, we have extensive experience working with copywriters both in Europe and the US who can help you to create great copy for a variety of content. The styles used in America can be very different from European forms – where often more focus is placed on technical details, rather than emotional connection and narratives.
We’ll help you to bridge this gap, learn more about your audience, and start conversations that add real value to the people you’re writing for.
Below we’ll walk you through a few ways MBM can support you with your copywriting.
Web content copywriting can include anything from the words you use to describe your services on your website, through your business narrative and story.
Your business narrative is about more than just your “About Us” page on your website. It’s about your unique journey and what that says about you as a businessperson as well as your business.
Have you ever read an “About Us” section that’s just a boring laundry list of achievements or a timeline of business operations?
Did that make you feel interested and excited about the business?
Your business story should be well-formed and be something you refer to (directly or indirectly) in your copy. It should inform your writing, even if you don’t actually explicitly refer to it in each piece. It’s important because it forms part of your brand and the reason you are expanding into the US.
When you know your story and understand your personal and professional ethos, it underpins all of the copy you create. So, for each piece of website content, you should have your narrative in mind.
If you’re struggling with this aspect of copywriting – we can help.
We offer European business owners a program to help them tell their story with support ranging from a telephone consultation with our storytelling expert to intensive workshops and video and podcasting support.
BLOGS & ARTICLE WRITING
Blogs and article writing can give your audience an insight into your product and service and position you as an expert in your niche. Many businesses put up a blog because they’ve heard that they should – and then fill it with boring updates, short and shallow articles or corporate news.
Essentially, they waste what can be a fantastic space for creating conversations with their customers and developing their business narrative.
We can help you to create articles that are engaging and informative for your readers. This might mean offering in-depth looks into a specific part of your industry. Or it might mean writing how-to guides and articles. You can choose to add funny or lighthearted blogs, and maybe even articles that are beyond the scope of your business – but still offer interest and insight to your reader.
We will also assist you to optimize your articles and other web content for SEO. For more on SEO and its importance please check out our guide here.
DIRECT RESPONSE COPYWRITING
Mount Bonnell Media can help you to create direct response copy that gets your point across without using cheap or manipulative tricks and gimmicks.
We’ll help you to craft landing pages, special offers, email opt-ins and adverts that will show your business off, and work in partnership with your audience to add real value.
We can help with a range of copy styles and forms – from long landing pages and sales letters, to short, snappy advertising copy for PPC Ads, and more.
Or ethos of bringing authentic storytelling into your business marketing will help to tailor your copy directly for an American audience. We have local experts based in locations around the US as well as Europe who will work with you to craft expressive pieces in a way that connects to this group.
EMAIL MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA COPYWRITING
Email marketing and social media marketing are potent methods to get your message out to the right people and build your business brand. We support European business-owners to build winning social media strategies and use email marketing to increase sales and build customer connection.
Many businesses focus on the strategy of email marketing and social media – asking questions like – when should I post? Which channels should I use? Should I automate, segment, and personalize my email marketing?
But, every great strategy for email and social media has to be underpinned with great copy. We’ll help you create story-driven email sequences as well as help you to craft engaging social media posts that stay on brand and target your desired niche.
MOUNT BONNELL COPY SERVICES AT A GLANCE
Mount Bonnell Media are here to support you to create fantastic, high-value content that adds positively to your brand and reputation, as well as driving sales and engagement.
We can help you with:
- Developing your narratives for a US audience. We run tailored workshops and consultations to help you identify, clarify and tell your European business story to your American customers.
- Direct Response Copywriting. Get effective, authentic copywriting that helps you connect with your audience – without resorting to gimmicks and over-promising.
- Email Marketing Copywriting. We’ll help you craft that perfect email – whether you want to introduce yourself to a potential new customer, add a newsletter that nurtures your customers, or tell people about a new service or special offer.
- Web Content Copywriting. Mount Bonnell Media can help you to develop the copy on your website so that it showcases your business and draws your readers into deeper engagement. We’ll help you develop your business story and use copy to add value and interest to your readers. Our skilled copywriters will ensure your web content is SEO optimized.
- Blog and Article Writing. We’ll help you to deliver high-value articles that offer your reader informative and entertaining information. Don’t get lost adding blog after blog that offers poor information and only clutters up your website. Instead, work with us to develop quality articles that position you as an expert in your field.