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Your top tips for better copywriting

Updated: May 10, 2020

You have a story to tell, but have no idea where to start. You have the concept, but scuffling to put it out there and connect with your audience. Worry no more - we have some tips for you to turn a mediocre brand into a resonating and striking piece.

1. Be original

The leading copywriter Steve Harrison calls ‘relevant abruption’, and that is bringing what people know by face value, and use an eye catching message they were probably not looking for. Steve Jobs describes creativity as just connecting things, and so ideas aren’t really new, but an amalgamation of former ideas and connectivity’s. Your job as a creator therefore is to find the gaps and connect the dots.

A few examples of great slogans:

Dollar Shave Club: "Shave Time. Shave Money."

This little jest cleverly incorporates two of the service's benefits: cost and convenience. It's punny, to the point, and it perfectly represents the overall tone of the brand.

The New York Times: "All the News That's Fit to Print"

The tagline was created in the late 1890s as a movement of opposition against other news publications printing lurid journalism. The New York Times didn't stand for sensationalism. Instead, it focused on important facts and stories that would educate its audience. It literally deemed its content all the real "news fit to print." We're not really advocating the paper here, but purely reflecting on the marketing merit.

Tesco uses this slogan on its delivery vans (alongside a picture of some juicy tomatoes):

Freshly clicked, freshly picked.

Tesco draws a parallel between picking tomatoes off the vine (how we still love it!), picking them out in the supermarket and clicking to the buy them online. This tackles a common concern online shoppers face when they are being lumped with second-rate or out-of-date produce when they shop online. No customer wants to feel they are just another number, but there is a fun loving human picking their produce with care and love.

2. Be witty

It’s about saying what has been said many times before and making it new and original. Witty isn’t necessarily funny, it can make an audience nod, smile or even connect with an idea. Whilst originality grabs audience’s attention, wit earns the audience’s respect. You engage your reader and let them create meaning and you make them feel they are on the same level. Don’t passively spoon feed the information, make your readers work for it.

3. Be emotive

Make your readers feel something, whether that is a tear jerking message, a memorable joke they’ll always remember or that nod of recognition where they were able to connect with you. Just be human about it, and remember humans buy from humans. Every ad you’ve come across has had something ‘emotional’ about it. So if we think of ads for baby products, they will most likely appeal to parent’s love for their children. Charities appeal to people’s humanity by showing tear jerking situations that makes you appease for your inner humanity. The stronger the emotion, the more likely your customers will remember it!

When Coca-Cola recently changed its tagline from “Open Happiness” to “Taste the Feeling,” it maintained its focus on happy images of people connecting and engaging one another. The ad uses both sensory language and semantic field of happiness, a feeling sought by everyone.

Originality, wit and emotions can be dialled up or down depending on the intentionality and purpose. You can be a ruthless straight talker, drop a few subtle hints via word play, turn an add into a riddle, be cold and distant or opt for a 360 tear jerker. Or, you can do it all, in small doses. It’s up to you! Whatever your voice will be, be it, and own it.

Copywriting is a little like Art

Holding up a mirror, telling powerful truths and enriching culture. But whilst art is complete in itself, marketing has a ulterior motive whether it admits it or not. It’s trying to sell after all! Marketing is not content just to paint you a beautiful bridge, it has to tempt you to cross it too.

For more on copywriting tips, pick up Tom Albrighton’s book on Copywriting Made Simple: How to Write Powerful and Persuasive Copy that Sells.

If you’re looking for a copywriter, we’re here to help! We combine the required artistry, linguistic flair and interpersonal skills to understand your brand’s vision and the story you're trying to tell. Simply get in touch to book in your discovery call.

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