Since becoming a copywriter, explaining what I do has become something which occurs regularly.
I recently gave a presentation at a networking group which included some examples of how a copywriter can help with your business’ writing. These examples were useful to my audience, so I decided to share them here too.
I’m going to show three different kinds of copy, and use each of them to pick out two areas which a copywriter might look at. I hope they’ll help you see the difference a copywriter can make.
Whether it’s for your social media accounts or trade listings, a profile piece needs to be clear and concise. Such a small piece of writing needs to tell people immediately why you’re special, and what you can do for them.
Here’s an example of a trade listing profile piece I wrote for a local heating engineer.
1. Find the Focus
The original profile was very matter of fact – it told the reader who the engineer was and what he did. Those things are important but won’t pull the reader in.
I focused on what brought somebody to this directory, I wanted to make it clear that we could answer their questions.
This is why you can trust this engineer, he’s reliable, honest and will charge you fairly.
Hopefully, you can see – although it’s not as clear here as it is on the website – that I’ve played with the layout a little.
I haven’t done anything particularly complex, but taking the blocky text we started with and providing more headings, structure and white space, has made the whole piece more readable.
Layout is incredibly important, whatever your copy. If something looks difficult – or boring – to read, most people won’t even try.
The text on your website performs a hugely important task, it needs to speak to your potential client – creating a clear picture of your business and why they should take a chance on you.
Some people believe it’s the workings of the website which will wow their customers, others focus on the images. With so many considerations it’s easy to overlook the importance of the words on your pages but, if the visitors don’t stay to read your copy – it’s unlikely they’ll get in touch, or buy from you, either.
This counsellor was investing in a new website. The words on the left show the text from her old website, written by a family member in an afternoon.
3. Find the Focus – again
I’ve repeated this one because it’s important… Think about where this text is going to appear, think about who will be reading it… and why.
The original copy focused on the counsellor and her skills. However, in talking to her I knew that her process – and her passion – was putting the client at the centre of the conversation and helping them feel comfortable there. The new opening makes this clear for the reader.
It was all about the reader for this counsellor – it should always be all about the reader!
4. Call to Action
At the end of the text above you can see the Call To Action (this is important to copywriters, they’ve even abbreviated it to CTA). This is the prompt for the reader to make a commitment.
On the original copy, the contact information was already clear and simple. On the revised text, however, we’ve gone a step further by identifying a benefit to the reader and giving them a reason to actually take the step to make that contact.
Finally, I wanted to show how a copywriter can help with the writing of blogs.
Many companies have a blog. Because these posts are focused on aspects of the business it may not be clear how someone who’s not a specialist could help.
This post is part of a promotion being done by a local will writing company. They wanted to tell people about funeral plans and why it’s important to make one.
On the left is some interesting, thought-provoking information about how distressing organising a funeral can be. The text encourages the reader to look at eliminating some of that pain for their loved ones.
5. Put a title on it
One thing you might notice is that the original piece didn’t have a title.
Determining the right title for a post is complicated, it’s important to be clear what the article is about – and also to identify the appropriate keywords so that a search engine will pick it up. You need to consider the emotions the title will generate, and you want to pull people in. It’s part art, part science – and the subject of many blog posts on its own.
6. Tell a story
A blog needs to be readable, and if possible relatable.
The information already provided might pull in some readers, and would certainly be relatable to anyone who had already experienced this situation. However, by creating a story, these very real worries of organising a funeral are given an immediacy and clarity which can be lost when we’re just dealing with facts. This ensures the post is relatable to people even if they haven’t had this experience.