There are two responses when I tell people I’m a professional copywriter; first, people assume it’s all very Mad Men, glamorous and exciting (it isn’t, usually) or they just look blank and don’t really know what that means.
Basically, anywhere you see words that describe a product or a service, that explain what a business or brand do, the names of products, the slogans and catchphrases, the blurb on the box, the catalogue listing, the flyer pushed through your front door, the words spoken in an advert…all of those were created by a copywriter.
The bulk of my work is writing the copy (words) for website pages – everything from the about us to the boring legal T&C bumph, and then creating marketing copy to promote the business – which can be for a blog, a press release, a letter or email campaign, personalised outreach to specific clients, white papers or surveys, reports and social media posts.
A lot of small businesses – and even some of the bigger ones – disregard the importance of these words. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “we’ll just bung anything there, nobody reads it” or seen confusing, jargon heavy or pretentious writing, paragraphs littered with spelling and grammatical errors, broken links and no clear message to the target audience (the customer) so even if they do get there to read it, they don’t know what action they need to take (“buy now” or “enquire” – a call to action) and people will click away from a page that doesn’t quickly give the information they want, or an option to buy.
The words you use on these pages – digital or printed – need to convey messages clearly, quickly and effectively – and in a voice that engages the audience, and builds trust and rapport.
You really can’t “just bung something there” and expect it to convert effectively into sales for you, any more than you can expect people to buy an item without being able to see a picture of it; information is vital – and the more of it you give your target customers, the more likely they are to buy.
The right copy describes your products, tells a story, builds a relationship and hooks people in – and if you’re doing it well, your customers won’t just engage with it themselves, they will also want to share those messages or snippets of information with their own networks – and thus you reach a wider audience of potential customers.
Don’t let a vital component of your outreach and engagement strategy slide off your radar; don’t assume that you can bodge the process or cheapen the experience for your audience and still do well – people want to be respected, trusted and communicated with honestly. No jargon, no exaggeration, no untruths or grand promises. Just be a human, communicating with another human, and the relationship will lead to sales.
There are many sources of cheap copywriting available – we call them ‘word farms’ – where you can throw a few coppers per piece at an agency and freelancers will scrabble around, bidding for the work, undercutting each other’s prices until you’re getting six articles, a catalogue description and a mailshot for less than a tenner.
You’ll get precisely what you pay for – and, in precisely the same way that cheap components make inferior products, cheap services get you cheap work – with none of the experience, finesse or experience that a professional, committed copywriter can bring. Things like an understanding of your industry, the psychology of language and communication, building relationships through storytelling, sharing the key messages and building layer upon layer of information to coax a reader through the buying process, using well researched keywords and long-tail key phrases which hit the SEO balance without cramming them in like confetti and losing the purpose of the piece.
If you disregard the quality of your copy, your readers – your customers – will see that; they’ll see the lack of focus, see that it’s rushed, thoughtless, cheap – and they will get the impression that you don’t particularly care about the product or service being described. It’s slapdash and thoughtless, and builds an impression of a business who doesn’t care about much beyond quick, cheap sales – with no customer engagement, and no real self-respect or respect for the customer. Poor copy makes everything you do purely transactional – and if your customers know that, they’ll drift away to someone who makes them feel more wanted.
If, however, you invest in well researched, well written and properly optimised copy you will find yourself being better engaged with your target audience, who will feel nurtured through their choices and purchases, who will feel a human connection with your offering, who will get to know who you are – and that relationship is what’s going to keep them coming back for more, and sharing your messages with their network to support your business growth.
Of course I think copywriting is important – it’s what I do – but it isn’t purely self interest that makes me want people to put more thought and passion into their content; it’s knowing that caring just a little bit more will show – and your customers will benefit, which means that your business will benefit too.
Do you want more consistent sales? More return customers? To reach a wider audience and make more sales? Do you want people to shout about you from the rooftops and tell their friends and family where they shop, and recommend you?
Build your engagement – and do it with the right words, to the right people.
And if you’re not sure how – I can help. And it will be the best investment you’ve ever made in your brand. Give me a call or pop some details in the contact form so I can get in touch.
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