In this episode you will learn about using copywriting the right way in your business.
Jonathan Kranz is an expert in copywriting.
This is the 90th session of Smart Brand Marketing.
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Setup a “Reasons Not to Hire Me” page on my site. Most visited page on Jonathan’s site (and gets most feedback).
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The Art of Copywriting and Why You Would Need It
Creating compelling content is no easy feat. Sure, creating content that anybody can find to be informative or, at least, decently written is easy but, in most cases, the entire thing is just derivative. Creating content that everybody can relate to? Now that takes skill.
The creating of material for advertising purposes is the core underneath the concept of copywriting. The question, however, is this: do you need it for your business? The short answer is yes. As for learning the art of it, it’s something that you should do by covering the basics first.
What Copywriting is for?
First things first, just what is copywriting? Don’t be fooled by the semantics because copywriting is just content creation in print. In fact, copywriting is basically the act of salesmanship in the form of print as the aim of it is to create persuasive written content that should urge people to trust a brand, part with their money to subscribe to a service, and every other goal your business might have online.
But what does it exactly do for your business? Here are some effects that effective copywriting does for any brand.
- 1. Understanding the NicheEvery content writer out there constantly has to find a balance between what is informative and what is relatable. Too much focus on either aspect can result in content that is either too emotional without being compelling or too informational without tapping into different stimuli that can cause people to do certain actions.
Everybody can write but it takes a skilled copywriter to come up with something that is both entertaining and informative. In fact, they are your best men for tapping into very specific niches in the market, especially those that you have yet to target.
- 2. Building a Brand ImageAlthough branding is something that you absolutely have no control over with, you can do something that might just tip the scales to your favor. This is where copywriting comes into play as good content can help shape your brand’s image in the market.
It often does this by setting your brand as an authority of sorts over certain subject matters. If said content delivers information in a confident and authoritative manner, your credibility in the market improves. And the more your page produces credible content, the more people will flock to your page to consume whatever content is there. Of course, this only happens if the content made is 100% accurate and written in a manner that is professional yet easy to understand.
- 3. Providing ValueValue is a major concern nowadays as consumers care less about being loyal to a brand compared to subscribing to them to solve certain problems in their daily living. For instance, audiences right now don’t look for the best cleaning products for their kitchen but are looking for the best solutions to cleaning the kitchen. It’s less about identifying who’s the best business in the market and more about learning of what are the most ideal solutions for certain challenges.
It’s this shift in consumer behavior that has affected the way content was written in the last few years. Back then, copywriters were content on churning out derivative content like listicles but this all changed when Google introduced a major algorithm update that reflected current consumer behavior.
Now, content that is both informative and entertaining is the norm. This means that so as long as your content provides solutions to certain problems, you are providing value to your customers which, in turn, affects your pages ranking in the search engines.
Are You Copying or Stealing Content?
You might have described these two acts as the same but there is actually a difference between copying content and outright stealing it. So which is which?
Copying content, for starters, is basically using a certain portion of somebody else’s work without giving proper credit to them. Be it a passage of text, a video clip, a piece of image, failure to give proper credit to the creator of this content in your own work is classified as copying or plagiarism.
Stealing content, on the other hand, is using somebody else’s work, part of it or the entirety, without gaining their permission. It operates on the same system as plagiarism but tends to be far more blatant with equally far reaching consequences.
So, if copying and stealing content is conceptually different from each other, which one is far more acceptable? Don’t get the wrong idea. Choosing between plagiarizing content and stealing content is like picking between a cobra and a rattlesnake. Both are not okay and, if possible, you should avoid doing either.
However, if you have to use somebody else’s work to prove a point in your own piece, it’s better that you only use the smallest portions of it and credit whoever is saying it. This would be acceptable under copyright infringement laws as opposed to claiming somebody’s entire body of work as your own.
With that said, it would be better if everything you put out online is 100% years to avoid any issues with other writers and creators.
Should You Go Freelance?
Like with any other online specialization out there, there is the option to go for the fully freelance route when it comes to copywriting. Some copywriters have even made a name for themselves as freelance agents as well as earn considerable amounts of money from their efforts.
The question is if going freelance is still an option today? The answer is yes but its best that you don’t do so unless you have a full idea of what to expect from being a freelancer such as:
- 1. Having to Insist on the Value of Your Work AlwaysThe beauty of being a freelance agent is that you can virtually command how much you are going to be paid for your work. The problem here is that the amount you want to be paid with and the amount that clients are willing to pay you for will never be the same at all times.
You might think that your work is valued at $25.00 per piece (and that’s a modest rate, mind you) but your client would be willing to pay only $5.00 for each. Reading your contracts properly can save you from a lot of headaches here but that won’t fully spare you from dealing with cheapskate clients altogether.
Then, there is the fact that you’d have to deal with other copywriters who underbid on projects just to get a client’s attention. Of course, clients would hire these people since they are effectively getting the same content for less.
- 2. The Editor Being Your Friend and EnemyThe relationship between a writer and an editor can be a boon for any business. If these two people agree with each other, the content being produced can be phenomenal as there is the writer that produces great content and the editor that can guide them to take that quality even further.
However, in some cases, the relationship between writers and editors is like that of a painter and a snooty SoCal art critic. You might think that you have submitted the most creative, imaginative and expertly researched piece only for an editor to tell you to revise it because it looks derivative and poorly made. You have to understand that editorial styles are a matter of preference. Some editors can be forgiving and some are not. It’s often the latter that can make any writer wish assault was not a crime.
- 3. Some Clients Will Treat You Like TrashIt’s unavoidable, sadly, but there are times when you would have to deal with utter jerks of business owners in this kind of work. There might be an instance when you get berated for doing a poor job, meaning the client won’t pay for it, only to find out that your work was actually good and the client was using it for their marketing campaigns. There are even cases of clients refusing to pay the full amount that they owe to writers, cutting off communications with them once the bulk of the project has been done.
As disheartening as these instances can be, just keep in mind that two wrongs don’t make a right. Responding to a jerk move with a jerk move will only make you no better than these guys. And you’d rather move through the market with a nice reputation.
- 4. Adapting to SurviveThe problem with being freelance is that you have fewer nets to fall back into if everything goes wrong. For instance, if a project of yours goes bad, you have no one to blame but yourself. Of course, this also means that you won’t have co-workers that can cover for your deficiencies compared to working with a company.
This means that you have to get good at a lot of things if you want to remain competitive here. Aside from being a copywriter, you should also be your own secretary, customer relations representative, and marketer just to keep the flow of work going.
- 5. Being Free from BureaucracyDo you know what’s the primary reason why a lot of honest workers into petty, unethical, dog-eat-dog cutthroats? More often than not, it would be a sense of stifling bureaucracy that can suck the life and creativity out of anyone. It’s also this overbearing need for protocol that often sparks workplace conflicts.
However, the good thing about being freelance is that you no longer have to deal with being chained to a job while still maintaining an active career. You get to do what you love, dictate what direction your career should take, and get paid for it in the end. What’s not to love about that?
The Most Important Element in Copywriting
There are many elements that make for a great copy which includes writing skills and a strong promotional campaign. There is even the fact that the way you write things will matter as some will tell you to be more informative or more entertaining or relatable.
However, here’s the thing: all of these elements pale in comparison to the one element that matters the most. And that element is your market. No matter who wrote it, how well it was written, and how well it was promoted, your copy would not be effective in driving traffic to your pages if nobody gives a damn about it.
This might not be a groundbreaking concept but success in any business lies in “finding a hungry market”. After all, there’s no point in building up hype if the demand was not there in the first place.
Here’s the problem, though: finding a hungry market is something that a lot of marketers don’t talk about because, well, it’s a skill that is not well documented even if the best tend to do it. However, things may be easier on your part if you ask four questions which are:
- Who are these people?
- What do they want from you?
- Why do they want that? And;
- How do they want it?
Answer these questions as clearly as you can and you might just determine whether or not that niche is the best segment of the market to target with your copywriting campaign.
Once you have identified if that segment is your best target, the rest of the process such as honing your message and promoting it should become easier for you to achieve.
Always think of it this way: copywriting is about providing for what the market really, really, really needs, not selling to them or educating them on what you think they need. If you can tap into that need, then you should be able to connect with your market. And strong connections can take you so far in this kind of business.
What do you think makes for an ideal copywriter? Are there any other strategies do you know of that can help your business create better, more relatable content? The comments section below is open for all kinds of discussions.
- Stealing vs Copying
- Working with huge companies vs small companies
- The $5 burger
- The one page you need to do copy for
- b2c vs b2b
- Training copy
- End of innovation
- Market trends
- Future of copywriting
- The Ron Popeil pitch
JONATHAN IN ACTION
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