Copywriting has been touted as the next big career. The ability to spin words into powerful tools to convince otherwise indifferent people to take action is a talent which a lot of people are eager to master everywhere, not just in New Zealand.
Are you looking to break into the New Zealand copywriting scene in 2018? We are not promising that it would be easy, but if you understand these steps, you are well on your way to establishing yourself as a copywriter.
What is Copywriting?
Despite the recent proliferation of copywriting agencies and freelance platforms for copywriting, a lot of people do not know what copywriting is. If you introduce yourself to some people as a copywriter, you could be asked to supply more information regarding your vocation as a lot of people are unaware of what copywriters do and how they do it.
Copywriting is the process of writing promotional texts and materials for the purpose of advertising a brand or service, or other forms of marketing. It involves writing copy that sells an idea, product or service. The aim of copywriting is to raise or increase product awareness and by so doing, persuade a person or a group of people to take a particular action.
Copywriters help create content for magazine and newspaper advertisements, direct mail, sales letters, white papers, newsletter, brochures, broadcast messages, and other marketing communication. They also write radio commercials, jingle lyrics, billboards, catalogues, scripts for television or radio commercials, taglines, social media posts, web pages, blog posts and online advertisements.
Common Myths About Copywriters and Copywriting
Copywriting is one of the most misunderstood professions around. There are a number of misconceptions regarding copywriting that range from people thinking it means copying and writing someone else’s work from elsewhere to believing it solely involves writing promotional content.
You may be guilty of some of the widespread myths below:
- Copywriters are literary geniuses
Although it is safe to assume that copywriters must possess a flair for words and can craft a decent article with little or no grammatical or syntactical errors, it doesn’t take a master of English or a literary genius to be a copywriter. The belief that you have to major in a particular field or have multiple qualifications before you can be a copywriter is inaccurate. Even though copywriting as a field is a distinct practice which requires imagination, brand expertise and market knowledge, it does not require any specific field of study or qualification.
- Only large businesses and brands use copywriters
What comes to mind when you think of the clients that copywriters write for? Do you imagine they are Fortune 500 companies and multi-billion dollar brands that are household names? If you do, you are only partially correct. Businesses of all sizes require and seek copywriting services.
It is easy to think that only big brands that rent out billboards and pay for big adverts require copywriting services. However, copywriting can equally help small business owners by giving them the boost they need to grow.
- All writers are copywriters
A lot of people assume that being able to write anything at all is the same as writing copy. However, this could not be any further from the truth. Copywriting involves the learning and mastery of certain distinctive skills which are quite different from what is obtainable in normal writing. Unlike a normal writer, copywriters have to empathise with the customers’ concerns, allay their fears and persuade them to patronise their services.
- The bigger the words, the more professional the piece of copy
The aim of copywriting is to get the message to as many people as possible. Big and fancy words directly negate that. They make your copy come across as overzealous and pompous.
Clarity and persuasion are the priorities when writing copy. Your copy has to be understandable to as many people as possible, especially its intended demographic. Even though it is reasonable to use industry terms while writing for a specific field, it should not appear forced or be too much.
- Copywriting is easy
When some people in need of copywriting services for their business are given a quote by a copywriter, they think, “How difficult can it be to just write?” A lot of people wrongly believe copywriting requires little skill and effort, probably because there are no strict academic requirements and everyone can write in the general sense.
The truth is, it takes a level of experience, expertise, discipline and innovation to write in a way which persuades and promotes a brand or service. Copywriters have to cultivate the skill of writing persuasively and keep up to date with new marketing methods and trends.
Copywriting, Content Writing, and Content Marketing: Is there a difference?
Copywriting, content writing and content marketing are quite similar and often used interchangeably. However, they are not all exactly the same. Let us start by comparing copywriting to content marketing.
Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers and customers into repeat buyers. Copywriting, on the other hand, involves getting a reader to take a specific action which is not restricted to making a purchase. Apart from making a purchase, copywriting could also involve getting the reader to subscribe to an email list, signing up for a service, downloading a particular file or calling for more information.
While content marketing is for blogs, podcasts and email autoresponders, copywriting is for ads, direct mails and sales pages. It is safe to say that for good content to flourish, it requires copywriting skills.
As the name implies, Content writing has to do with writing content, such as articles, blog posts or magazine features which are journalistic in nature and are often long and SEO-rich. The big distinction between content writing and copywriting lies in the purpose of writing it. The purpose of content writing is to entertain and entice the online audiences so they stay longer on websites and engage with the brand whereas the purpose of copywriting is for promotional advertising or marketing.
Generally, copywriting involves content writing, but in an attractive form, so that it grabs the attention of the audience immediately. But, copywriting has a greater task to perform – selling the real worth of a brand, its products, and services.
Copywriting for the web Vs. Traditional Print
When it comes to writing copy intended for web or print medium, there are vast differences. This is why a print copywriter would seldom make a good web copywriter and vice versa. This is because of the distinct variances entailed in writing for both media. Some of the key differences between web copywriting and print copywriting are:
Unlike traditional prints, when writing web copy, you not only have to appeal to your prospective clients, you also have to think about search engine optimisation (SEO).There are clear requirements when writing for the web in terms of the number of times a specific keyword should be used and how to make copy achieve high search engine results. Traditional prints, however, do not have such requirements as they are subjected to search engine algorithms.
- Link building
Just like SEO, link building is an important element any professional copywriter is expected to include in their online articles. Once in a while, we see a newspaper where the copywriter forgot the medium they were writing for and says “click here to read more”, or something of that nature. The process of building links which lead back to a particular website or creating anchor texts, while important in web copywriting, is of no use in traditional prints.
Articles and copy written for the web are often shorter than those for print. Studies have shown that people read 25% slower on a computer screen than from printed pages and are also less likely to focus on the contents of the online article than they would for a printed one. Because of this, traditional content is often 50% much longer than web content.
The Fundamentals of Copywriting
To be able to be proficient at copywriting, you have to know the basics. What should you do? How do you start? Here are some ground rules to follow when it comes to copywriting.
Understand the product or service for which you are writing
To effectively persuade your readers to take action, you have to fully understand the value of the product you are trying to advertise so you know how best to relate it to your audience. Specify the benefits of the product and tell your audience the reason it is better than those of your competitors.
Also, try to anticipate the needs and questions they may have about what you are promoting. You do not want to come across as uninformed or partially educated on the subject matter as that is enough to make you lose prospects.
Use a conversational tone
One of the basic principles of copywriting is to speak to the audience in a way that is not condescending. You don’t want to come across as either too formal or informal. The sweet spot is in the middle where it feels like you are talking to an acquaintance or a friend so try to convey your message in a relaxed and conversational manner. Also, your copy should be clear, concise and to the point. Minimise the use of jargons or fancy words as you would want as many people as possible to understand what you are saying.
Know your audience and focus on them
While writing for a New Zealand audience, write using references a New Zealander would understand, make use of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms particular to them. That way, they feel you are talking to them directly. Also, ensure you talk more about your audience and their needs than about how great your product is.
Powerful Call to Action (CTA)
Finish your copy with a powerful and persuasive CTA in an active voice. Your CTA must be specific about the action the prospect should take. Wipe out every ambiguity. Create a sense of urgency using your CTA that would make them want to take action now, not later. That way, you are guaranteed more conversions which ultimately is the goal of copywriting.
Proofread before submitting
After writing your copy, go through it with a fine tooth comb. Grammatical and spelling errors will make you lose credibility as a copywriter and equally lose clients. 74% of web users pay attention to the quality of spelling and grammar on company websites while 59% of them will avoid doing business with a company that made obvious spelling or grammar errors.
Do not assume that going through your copy with your spell checker in your typing software is enough as not all mistakes will be caught. Therefore, you have to carefully go through your copy or ask an editor to proofread it before posting.
Direct Response Copywriting
A common misunderstanding is the assumption that direct response writing is the same as other forms of copywriting. This is not true. Direct response writing is a form of copywriting that spurs the reader to take the desired action immediately. The aim of direct response writing is to get the customer to make a buying decision immediately. It is all about now; this minute, leading the customer to a point where he decides to make the order immediately after reading the piece of copy.
The major difference between other forms of copywriting and direct copywriting is that other forms of copywriting focus on a long-term game. The aim of other forms of copywriting is to get the audience acquainted with a particular brand or product so that at some point in the future, you will see it on supermarket shelves, remember it and likely buy it. However, with direct copywriting, the aim is for you to get the product now! It sounds incredible, right?
Another difference between direct copywriting and other forms of copywriting is that the response or conversion rate can be tested unlike in other forms of copywriting. You can measure or test which of your direct response campaigns attracted more users and use that information in future campaigns.
Direct response copywriting makes use of offers, powerful CTAs, branding, and persuasive business copy in landing pages, email copy, sales letter, video sales script, brochure adverts and press releases to achieve maximum conversion.
For instance, if you run an ad about your pizzeria on the radio and TV, it is indirect response copy. You may have planted your pizzeria in the minds of the listener but that does not guarantee they will remember you or seek you out when they are hungry.
Now consider direct response copy for your pizzeria. It would try to elicit a response from the reader by employing a personal approach where copy directly addresses the reader, appealing to his/her emotions – in this case, hunger and focusing on how to satisfy it. An offer may even be added to further close the deal. In this case, it could be a 15% discount on your pizza to first-time customers or free delivery.
Like all tough tasks, copywriting starts with the right tools. You need these tools, apps and software in order to effectively tackle your copywriting and move from a novice to a pro.
- Google docs: This tool is for writing, editing and sending copy. It is perfect if you are collaborating with someone as you can access the document on separate computers from anywhere without needing to meet physically.
- com: It is a comprehensive website that can help you with words for your copy.
- Websites for free, high-quality stock images to use for copy that requires picture like Flickr, Shutterstock or Pixabay
- Copyscape: It is a free web-based tool that allows you to check your copy for plagiarism or duplicity.
- Grammarly: It is a web tool for editing finished content. It serves as virtual editor, correcting misspellings, wrong grammar and poor punctuations.
- KWFinder: It is a service that allows you to research keywords and gives you the perfect keyword ideas
Top Tips on How to Write Effective Copy
In order to continue producing effective copy, there are standard steps you are supposed to follow conscientiously. Here are some tips which, if adhered to, will help you achieve effective copy.
Laying a Solid Foundation
The key to writing effective copy is to start off by understanding every detail of your product and who you’re selling to. How will the service, product or brand you are promoting help the customer? Why is your particular product the best available? The answers to these questions are the foundation for your advertising campaigns.
How to Better Understand Your Customers and Write More Compelling Copy
This involves audience research. You have to find out as much as possible about your intended customers and how they feel about your product. What words do they use to describe your product? Have they been disappointed by another brand before? What is the best way to get their attention – through promos or discounts? Knowing the answers to these questions will enable you craft more compelling copy.
How to Write Attention Grabbing Headlines That Convert
What is the first thing readers see in any article? It is the headline. The godfather of copywriting David Ogilvy was quoted as saying “It follows that unless your headlines sell your product, you have wasted 90% of your money…”
It goes without saying that headlines are very important in copywriting. Your headline catches the attention of the visitor and if it falls short or disappoints, you will lose them. 80% of web users will read headlines, but only 20% will finish the rest.
To write captivating headlines, ensure it is unique and specific. Also, keep your headline short enough to encourage the reader to continue and catchy enough to make him want to know more. Avoid writing click baits or using controversial headlines that promise false guarantees or courts controversy.
Persuasion Secrets of Professional Copywriters
When it comes to copywriting, persuasion is an important factor. Now, how do you persuade your audience?
Focus on the benefits of your product and how it will make the reader’s life better and not on its descriptions. That is to say, if you are writing copy for a phone, rather than focus on its different or new features, focus on its uses and in what way it can help the user. Also, be specific about your product. Rather than give your readers a vague number or detail, be exact.
Do not forget to appeal to the emotions of your readers. In a lot of cases, emotion beats logic when it comes to making a purchase. Finally, make sure there are testimonials and positive reviews from your customers in your copy. This helps you gain credibility.
How to Close the Deal with Your Copy
After applying these tips, how do you bring it home? Here is how:
A persuasive call to action: They are the most important part of your copy and can compel your reader to take that next step.
A sense of urgency: Find a way to convince them to take action either by reminding them of the dangers of not complying, using active verbs, adding that your product is in limited quantity, or that your offers will expire after some time.
An irresistible offer: Some offers are just too tempting to resist. They include discounts, free deliveries, free installations or free gifts.
Providing a guarantee: This can be in the form of getting their money back if they did not enjoy the service or offering a free trial period.
Long vs. Short Copy – Which is Better?
This question has been pondered upon by many copywriters and the answer has always been indefinite. Luckily, SEO agencies and specialists tested both long and short copy for both their SEO and conversion rates and came to the conclusion that in most instances, long copy is better.
Posts with over 1500+ word count will rank more readily as search engines will take your variations of keywords to make your copy turn up in many search results. Search engines often favour thorough copy of at least 2000 words because they give more value to the readers.
This does not mean you have to fluff up your copy in order to reach the cut-off. A short post with superior quality will still rank higher than a substandard article.
How to Combine Copy and Design for Optimum Results
Design and copy work hand in hand to produce an effective campaign so should be granted equal attention. A good design will positively influence the results of your copy, so ensure the colours, fonts and layouts you chose are of top quality. Also, see to it that your website follows current design trends and is visually appealing. Use your design to set the mood for the piece of copy.
Now that the design aspect is covered, ensure that the piece of copy you are churning out is of top quality. If the design is good and copy isn’t, there won’t be any sales. Be sure your copy does not contain redundant information as too many details may jumble the focus of your audience, making them forget the most important aspects of your marketing programme.
If the design and copy are in disharmony, tweak them till they are well-suited to each other.
Why Your Copy Shouldn’t Be about You
Forget about you and your ideals. As funny as it sounds, customers care about themselves, not you. So your copy should be less of “we are, we do, we can…” and more of “you are, you will, you can”. In other words, make your copy customer-centric.
Another way to not make your copy about you is to use simple language. You may be accustomed to using big words but when writing copy, break down your words and replace unknown words with simpler synonyms. People leave a web page within 10 to 20 seconds, so do not alienate a potential customer with unnecessary high-sounding words.
Copywriting Formulas and Cheat Sheets: Simple Steps to Get More Readers
After crafting perfect copy, the next step is to get people to read it and grow your audience. How do you do that?
- Identify your target audience and write for them
- Churn out high-quality content regularly
- Optimise the content depending on the medium it will be displayed.
- Distribute and promote your content
- Get your audience to subscribe to your services and email listings
- Get them to consume and spread the word about your work
The Best Copywriting Resources
If you are wondering where and how to kick-start your copywriting career, here are five copywriting resources that will help.
- Copy Hackers
- Kopywriting Kourse
- Practical Online Copywriting for Business
- Copywriting Masterclass
How to write local copy for the New Zealand Market
In order to be a force to be reckoned with in the New Zealand copywriting market, you have to master the art of writing copy in such a way that it reads like home-grown content. Here are ways to go about it.
You have to understand the awareness stage of your user and construct befitting copy. Some of your users already know what they want and have an idea of what to expect from you while some are completely oblivious to what you offer and how to go about it. It is up to you to understand their needs and tailor your copy to fit both classes of users.
Understanding What Your Users Want
Focus on your audience and their needs, problems and desires. Your copy has a target audience and it is your job to appeal to them and rein them in. If you are writing for a specific audience, you are supposed to attract them using some keywords and piquing their interest in a way they can relate to.
Explicit Data Collection
Your readers are the final consumers of what you are selling so understanding them would better help you sell to them. Form a close relationship with them and initiate a dialogue in order to collect data about them. You can even put out a survey to learn more about them. This information will come in handy when writing your copy.
Get Your Wireframe Right
Wireframes are a visual guide to elements on a web page which convey content, layout and functionality. Copywriters use them to show how their copy should be presented to achieve high conversion rates. The structure of your copy can change completely if it is not well supported with a wireframe so get it right.
Writing Your Copy
This is where you put all the surveys and data collection to good use. Use the research and information you have garnered as a formula for writing effective copy. Mimic their language adding the data you collected as a way to lure them in, satisfying all their questions and you’ve got a winning piece.
Editing for Maximum Impact
After writing everything you are supposed to, edit copy before submitting it. Do away with extraneous words or information and add some power words like “free” and “save” which are known to boost CRO.
New Zealand Internet Marketing Statistics
According to Statista, from 2015 to 2018, about 89% of the population in New Zealand were active users of the Internet.
E-consultancy has recorded that since the first online purchase experience in 2000, internet marketing especially using internet-enabled devices is now ubiquitous. Online grocery retailers in New Zealand are experiencing astonishing growth even though it is one of the few countries where eBay could not get a foothold.
Understanding Basic Copywriting Formulas
There are a lot of copywriting formulas guaranteed to help you get over writer’s block. Some of them include:
AIDCA: This stands for:
- Attention – hook the reader with a bold statement or question
- Interest – engage the reader with fresh and unique information
- Desire – stroke the reader’s desire and emotions
- Conviction – convince them that your product is for them using reviews, testimonials or any other trust-building method.
- Action—clearly tell the reader how to get your offer
4Ps: They are:
- Picture – create a vivid and relatable story that mirrors the reader’s pain or aspirations
- Promise – explain how your product will bring an end to the prospect’s pain
- Prove – remove their doubts using testimonials and money-back guarantees
- Push – convince the prospect to take action
Elements of Excellent Copy for a Business in New Zealand
To create outstanding copy for a business in New Zealand, these are the guidelines to follow:
Include what your products are made of (aka materials)
Be sure to tell your audience the materials your product is made from. It is a quick way to build trust. If it is organic, contains chemical, made from home-grown or imported materials, let them know.
List detailed measurements and dimensions
The dimensions of your goods are very important whether you are selling clothing or furniture in order to avoid uncomfortable situations. You do not want a disgruntled customer who would lower your reviews because you failed to explain if the shirt was small or extra-large.
Format like your reader is in a hurry
Formatting is essential to the success of your copy because it complements your product descriptions. While formatting, consider photos, bullet points, paragraph breaks, buttons and mobile optimisation. Use clear and bright pictures and optimise for mobile users.
Use bullets and paragraph breaks to arrange your copy. Sentences should not be longer than 3 lines and paragraphs should not be longer than 5 lines. Bullets should only be used for short, straight-to-the-point sentences and paragraph breaks should only succinctly describe the information contained in the section.
Write for the person who would LOVE the product
Of course, we know you expect for your copy to convert more than one person. However, write like you are speaking to just one person and not a throng of web users. Speak to that one person who needs your product like you know their pain, desires and frustrations and understand them.
Paint a picture of how it feels to use your product
Describe how it would feel to use your product. Is it a hair product? Talk about how it leaves the hair feeling silky and lustrous. Paint a picture with words including the feel, taste and the feeling people get when they use your product. It works like a charm.
Keep your tone consistent with your brand
Let your tone be in tune with your brand. Do not lose sight of the voice your brand is known for while writing your copy. If your brand has a whimsical or quirky tone, do not veer off course by writing copy in a formal and strict tone and vice versa.
Make them feel something
As earlier stated, appealing to the emotions of your readers never fail. Buffer published a study on the science of emotion in marketing and it shows that emotions stimulate the reader to take action.
Connect features with benefits
Connect the features of your products to their benefits. Does your product boast of hand-stitched Italian leather? Good, but how does that benefit your prospect? Adding that the hand-stitched Italian leather is extra durable and can be used for years without wear or tear is a great way to connect features with benefits.
Banish clichés and empty phrases
Be wary of filling your copy with empty phrases and redundant words. Say what you have to without resorting to worn-out phrases and hackneyed descriptions.
Use sticky or sensory words
As a copywriter, you have to be able to use words to create a fantastic and enticing imagery that your readers cannot afford to say no to. How about saying “lustrous, fresh-flavoured, brown-black medium-sized eggs with a smooth buttery finish” instead of “caviar”?
Use lively language
Make your copy lively and humorous. At some point, your readers may feel bored and may want to leave. It is up to you to make your copy ‘unputdownable’, using lively and bubbly copy. Also, use words associated with the product you are writing for.
Create a sense of urgency
Triggering FOMO in your readers is a sure-fire way to get them to take action. When they feel they would miss out on an unbeatable offer, it helps tip them over, turning fence-sitters to customers.
Stick some social proof
This could inform you of starred ratings, reviews, testimonials, case studies, certification badges or list or badges of your reputable clients. It goes ahead to show your customers that other people have patronised you with satisfying results.
Feature past and present users
Make your product more trustworthy and personal by mentioning past or present users. Mine your reviews, whether past or present and use them to directly address the fears and the unexpected benefits of your product.
Copywriting Not Yielding Results? What to Do When Your Content Fails
If your content underperforms, don’t just beat yourself up or shrug it off and move on. With these steps, you could revive it or better still, incorporate it in your next copy for maximum return.
- Engage influencers: 67% of marketing professionals stated they engaged influencers for content promotion. Having influencers share your content with their audiences will skyrocket your reputation and also build your audience.
- Post at ideal times: Kissmetrics conducted a research which found out the ideal times to post on social media and send emails with the weekend ranking as the most period for publishing posts and sending emails. Try to post during these periods to boost the rate of your readership.
- Make your content shareable: Make it easy for people to share your content in order to www.generate maximum engagement and also boost your SEO.
Becoming a copywriter for the New Zealand market especially in 2018 is a tough nut to crack as the supply is by far greater than the demand. The silver lining is that the percentage of excellent copywriters is not as great as you would expect, therefore, if you groom yourself and consistently adhere to these steps, you will leave a mark in no time.