How this client testimonial sums up the secret to copywriting Monday January 30, 2017

Copywriter Nottingham blog post on great copy
One of my clients summed up very neatly what I’m trying to do when I’m copywriting. In a review, he said “Camilla understands what I want to say but writes it how it needs to be read!”.

In just a few words, Phil stated what I think is the essence of copywriting – the translation, that process of taking a message and transforming it into something that appeals to a specific audience. It all starts with the question – how do you leap the sometimes yawning chasm between what you want to say and how it needs to be perceived? And what’s the best way to communicate your message without losing your meaning?

Different perspectives

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You only have to spend time with another person to realise that we all see the world differently and express ourselves in varied ways – even when we’re talking about the same subject! Going even further than that, we all have different associations with specific words or phrases. Some of us have a higher threshold for jargon. Some of us can’t abide formality and others run a mile from a casual written style. Why do we forget that, even in the midst of a brief conversation? When we remember the differences between us, we can make the copywriting process much more powerful.

Staying connected

Here are a few thoughts on how to stop your message getting lost on the way to your audience:

Find their perspective
Got a clear picture in your head of what you want to say? That’s great, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that other people will get it. Think carefully about your audience’s perspective on the subject. How do they see it and what kind of copywriting approach will work for them?

Shrink the space

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It’s very likely that there’s a gap between the way you see your product or service and the way your audience sees it. That gap isn’t just about language, but perspective – so there are multiple aspects to think about. How can you allow for that and find ways to bridge that abyss? Copywriting is essentially about shrinking the space between a business and its customer. The smaller the space, the better. Sharing the right messages in the right way can achieve this.

Ban the bland
Always ask yourself if what you’re writing will translate. Is it so vivid in your mind that you assume it will instantly communicate across to another person? Or is there a risk of using ambiguous or bland language which simply doesn’t mean anything to the very people you want it to appeal to?

Hear clear
We all hear what we want to hear. Be careful that you don’t write what you want to write instead of sharing what’s of interest to your readers.

Keep your core
Another thing which can lost in the space between a company and and its customers is the authentic. Be sure to find a way to connect the two which retains that authenticity. In other words, don’t become so focused on people and their perceptions that you lose sight of your company and its values.

Listen between the lines

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Listening between the lines is essential to the copywriting process. There’s what a client says and what they want and good listening ensures that both bases are covered. I listen out for the subtle messages they share in our conversation. This could be about how they want the business to be seen, the type of clients they want to appeal to or the priority they want to place on certain messages.

Stop assuming
Assumptions are a very dangerous factor in communication. They are the basis of many an argument big or small. What assumptions are you making about your audience? Are you assuming that they’re a step closer to buying into you than they really are? How can you address these pitfalls?

Seeing vs. saying

Copywriting isn’t simply the process of rewriting content into plain language or reducing a message down to its simplest points. It involves gaining an accurate understanding of what someone is trying to say – the intention shapes the words. Copywriting is definitely not just about using fluffy words and applying an informal or chatty tone of voice

You may know what you want to say, but are you sure that’s what people are actually hearing? Because, without the right approach, what you say and what they see won’t be the same thing.

By Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, Nottingham, February 2017

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