“Let Us March!” Creating Content That Captivates & Converts
Want to ‘write good’(!)? Knowing your product & audience will move the needle much further than a witty tagline.
Copywriting might not come naturally for you, but hey that’s okay. After reading the article below, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a worthy wordsmith — one that can pen everything from social media captions to best-in-show blogs that lure customers in like a saucy siren.
Let’s highlight some stats to start with.
- Around 7 million blog posts are published per day.
- The top 3 content marketing tactics are social media content (83%), blogs (80%), and email newsletters (77%)
- Headlines with eight words had a 21% higher clickthrough rate than the average title, according to the folks at Outbrain.
Yup — there’s lots of content out there already. Lots. But rather than add to the noise, the trick is to try and cut through it — to stand out among competitors and speak directly to your target customers.
You need to grab their attention – but where do you start?
Here are some best practice tips provided Dave Barton, founder of copywriting agency, tbc/wtf. He’s worked with some on the biggest B2B tech brands out there — such as Microsoft and Oracle — as well as some up and coming startups.
Despite what many may think, copywriting isn’t just about words. It’s about conveying intentions and emotions. At Khula Design Studio we always say it’s about establishing a relationship with your reader — setting an authentic tone for the nature of your interactions.
Or, in other words, it’s talking to them about something that matters to them — in a way that they’ll relate to and act upon.
Know Your Audience
It’s vital to know who you’re writing for. The more you understand about them, the easier it is to address them in the right way. That doesn’t mean you need to know the age of their cat or their inside leg measurement. It just means appreciating who you’re addressing, and what will resonate with them.
Selling toothbrushes to 45 year olds? Talk about the importance of dental hygiene.
Selling toothbrushes to 6 year old kids? Talk about crocodiles.
Decide The Impact You Want To Have
Copywriting is commercially-focused. It needs to influence people – whether that means asking them to ‘sign up’, ‘buy now’ or ‘give me two minutes of your time’.
It goes without saying that you want your prospect’s attention – but what are you actually trying to do? Persuade? Inspire? Activate? Explain something?
The intention drives the impact. Writing’s a bit like acting in that respect - there’s a meaning behind every single line that we need to convey: and it’s not necessarily the same meaning as the word that’s on the page!
Appreciate The Context Of Your Interaction
Are you attracting new customers? Coaching existing ones? Driving traffic to a landing page? Online? Offline? Via a banner ad, social media message, or piece of direct mail?
Content may be king, but context is certainly queen. Knowing where, how, and when the message will be delivered affects the copy you’re creating too.
Know The Rules (And Then Break Them)
Depending on the context, there are ‘technical rules’ around copywriting. For example: focus on keeping a blog title under 70 characters so it doesn't get cut off in search engine results. For web development, this is important to help with SEO best practices.
But just as important, is playing with them. Sometimes this means communicating with clarity — particularly important in B2B when products and services can appear complex.
However, other times this means speaking to your audience about something they expect in a way they don’t expect, or talking about something they don't expect in a way they expect.
Don’t be scared to give your words some flourish: a hint of enchantment and a big dose of personality — as long as you understand what personality you’re conveying and know that it’s the kind of voice your audience will not only want to hear, but will actually listen to.
Always Address Your Audience
The one golden rule — to always remember — is to make sure you’re speaking directly to your audience. Be open, honest, and human with them. Seek to establish a kind of ‘alarming intimacy’ with them — whether you’re selling software or sandwiches.
Talk about what matters to them — their pain points, the solutions they’re looking for. And do it in an authentic, relatable way. That’s what’ll incite them to action.
It’s both arrogant and unrealistic to assume that your product or service will appeal to everyone, everywhere. So decide who you want to target/who’s most likely to engage with your message and go from there.
And, if you don’t get the results you want, try something else. Keep testing. Keep experimenting. Find what works for you.
As a design studio, we are constantly testing, iterating and seeing what works and doesn’t work for our audience. Over the time, we are gradually becoming more and more aligned with what our audience wants and needs. In return, it helps improve our online presence’s performance and improves our SEO score. We just need to keep iterating, and keep marching. Being agile is the key!
“Good advertising is written from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone.” – Fairfax M. Cone
Some guidelines to abide by when writing captions:
Know your audience
Identity your brand voice
Place the most important words in the beginning
Make it engaging.
Set the right expectations. A blog title needs to be more descriptive than the title of a magazine article. ...
Keep it short and sweet.
Include a keyword but don't go crazy.
Learn from others.
Ask Questions To Encourage Engagement.
Use Emojis To Show Your Personality.
Tag a friend or two
Include a call to action
Here are a few Power Words for writing emotional headlines:
Here are some blog title examples that work and can you help you get into the notion of writing:
How to _____ that drives ______
How to get rid of ______
Ultimate guide to ______
Creative way to ______
Top 10 things to ______
Supercharge your ______
What no one tells you about _____
Most effective tactics to ______
Tips for a busy ________
Insane _____ that will give you _____
Questions you should ask before _______
Smart strategies to ______
How I made _____ in ______
Most popular ways to _____
All in all, good writing — or at least good copywriting — shouldn’t draw too much attention to itself. It shouldn’t be ‘showy’ in a vacuous way. It has a specific job to do.
As was said in Ancient Greece – when Cicero spoke, the people said, "How well he speaks" but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, they said, "Let us march.”
Always aim to get them marching.