Whether it is advertising copy, online copywriting, content or magazine writing you do the rules remain the same. I hope you find this blog a practical help and look forward to hearing from you.
Do you plan to succeed?
Let’s hope so because I plan to succeed with every copywriting assignment, well nearly every one if I am truthful. Using some plan or structure is vital because structure is the picture frame that gives your copy poignancy and focus. Getting your point across has never been more difficult as we are literally bombarded with thousands of words, and images everyday and it is getting worse. This makes planning what you write essential in order to cut through the communication chaff that is out there in the cloud or on the ground. Remember you want your copy to stand-out and be memorable.
A planned structure is as important for online copywriting, as it is for offline copywriting, so there are no shortcuts. As a copywriter I find the best way to build my writing structure or storyboard synopsis is to first think about the subject and try and find a smart angle, a theme or thread that helps me to build up the story. Stories do not and should not be long either. In advertisements, for example, we are talking about one or two sentences at a maximum. People remember stories much better than a series of statements, so find a good hook on which to hang your words. Often the obvious theme is not the best because it has been done many times before, so pick an unusual angle that stops people and makes them think.
For example I was recently asked to write a brochure, leaflet, web copy and advertising copy for the launch of a new hygiene service aimed at staff working in offices, hospitals, schools and restaurants. It was tricky as these are quite different environments with different needs. I found an angle that brought the message about hygiene home and closely connected each working environment. Instead of thinking about hygiene as a 9-5 issue I decided to think about hygiene as a 24/7 issue, making hygiene important to think about at home, at work and at leisure. This drew me to the idea of creating a family who represented these 4 different environments, so the children went to school; the mother was a doctor; father a restaurant manager and the grandmother worked in the office. This “family 24/7” angle built relevance and emotion into the storyline and got peoples attention because they could easily relate to it.
Once you have found your killer theme, whether it is for web copy, a brochure or content writing for an e-newsletter then it is time to create your storyboard or synopsis. Here you are looking for a captivating opening, a focused message/s and a good close, like all good stories. The synopsis should break your storyline into manageable and sequential chunks that build to a strong finish. The synopsis basically tells the story in short and is a great way of getting a helicopter view of what you are trying to achieve. It also lets you play around with the parts of the story you want to create until you are happy with the running order of what you intend to write. If you do not have this or some other method to your writing you may find you cannot see the proverbial wood for the trees.
Copywriting is part art part science. As a copywriter to be able to write fluidly you need to create a framework first before you let your creative juices roam. I promise you if you follow this advice you will find it much easier to write, and actually it is much quicker. Rewrites and changes also become fewer, which makes life much more enjoyable.
So remember plan to succeed and never fail to plan.