In this video from content specialists Purple Feather, a homeless man sits in a city square. A sign propped beside him reads, “I’m blind, please help,” but he is largely ignored. Suddenly, a woman stops, grabs the sign, and scribbles something new. Donations for the man increase dramatically. The phrase she wrote? “It’s a beautiful day, and I can’t see it.”
The video is titled “The Power of Words,” and it shows how using the right words can grab attention and get people to act. But a good copywriter knows that it’s not as simple as choosing words and scribbling them on paper.
Great copywriters have curious minds, and are not afraid of research. They know that in order to pen a compelling message, they must be familiar with the topic at hand. Their words will sound more confident if there is sufficient knowledge behind them. Taking a deep look at whatever subject is being written on is key to forming the right message. Say a new ad has to be written for a company that makes and sells wristwatches. A good writer will look into how a watch is made, how long the company and industry have been around, current styles and trends, and anything else that can spark a new creative message or lend the writing a sense of authority.
Audience and Tone
The more writers know their audience, the more relevant and targeted their copy will be. An ad aimed at millennial women is going to use different language than one that is directed toward aging veterans. Understanding the audience will help a writer create copy that makes an emotional connection, and convert readers into paying customers. Writers should also be aware of the format they’re creating copy for, and be able to write accordingly. A blog post will have a more conversational tone compared to a press release.
The age of smartphones has left humans with an eight-second attention span. That’s one second shorter than that of a goldfish. To combat a reader’s wandering eye, a writer needs to get their point across clearly and concisely. And the best way to accomplish that is with editing.
Unless it’s a college term paper that needs to be fluffed up to hit a word count, writers must delete unnecessary words and consolidate ideas. They should also carefully read through to find any sentences or words that can be rephrased or replaced. If customers receive a brand’s email blast and see a chunk of text filled with four-syllable words, they won’t bother reading it.
Often, it helps to pass a piece of writing off to a fresh set of eyes. After spending a long time working on something, the words start to blur together. That’s when mistakes and typos get overlooked. Getting a fresh perspective can often improve copy. At Harmon, our agency rule is that no piece of writing goes out to a client or printer without at least two people reading it.
If you’re having trouble wordsmithing your marketing materials or website content, the Harmon Group is here to help you find the right words. Contact us today to get started.
Until next time,