Copywriting Basics

If you’re looking to sell online, being a skilled copywriter will make all the difference in your sales. Copywriting is different from the writing styles you may have learned in school because its main purpose is to persuade. This style of writing can be seen in advertisements, website copy, emails, blog posts, and more!

Here is my process for writing efficient, fast, and persuasive copy.

1. Create your Outline

One of the most important factors in creating persuasive content is to have a well-structured argument. Think about the elements you know you’ll want to include in this content, and fit them into your outline.

Here is an outline I often use:

General outline for persuasive copy

2. Research

Next step is to do your research! This requires you to find credible resources to back up your claims. I suggest using tools like Google Scholar, to find supporting research papers and the MozBar free Chrome Extension to check the authority of sources on regular Google searches.

I like to include a few key numbers in my copywriting like statistics or percentiles because numbers are hard to argue with and draw the eye by breaking up text. I suggest having 3-5 solid sources for a 700-1,000 word blog post.

Resources:

3. Start your VERY rough draft

Next I like to start writing sections of my copy. In this step I’m making sure:

  1. The research fits in with my outline and
  2. that the most important information is clearly stated.

Here are some of the pieces of information you want to ensure are crystal clear in your copy (source: CopyBlogger.com)

  • Description
  • Purpose
  • Price
  • Features
  • Benefits / Prime Benefit
  • Guarantee
  • Prospect
  • Objective
  • Offer
  • Deadline
  • Method of Payment

Now you should have a first rough-draft of your copy with all your sources and key points included.

The reason I like to create a “VERY rough-draft” before putting lots of time into word choice, sentence structuring, etc. , is because writing copy can often feel overwhelming. I find that allowing myself to write badly in a first draft makes writing a more readable draft a little easier.

Resources on writing motivation:

4. Write!

Time to write your first draft! I suggest keeping it as clear and concise as possible. Remember that your readers are not as knowledgeable as you on this subject and trying to include too much information can overwhelm them and result in no action.

In my industry, articles blog posts 700-1,000 words are common so that’s how long I write most of my blog posts. Do research on your competition and industry to see how long the top ranking site’s content is. If the leaders in your industry’s blog posts are 500 words long, don’t write a 1,000 word blog post.

Other elements to keep in mind when writing your first draft:

  • Format copy into short paragraphs. I like to keep my paragraphs at a max of 5-6 lines.
  • Include keywords (important for SEO)
  • Include a relevant image with alt text that includes keywords (important for SEO)
  • Break content up into H1, H2, and H3 headlines/sub-headlines. (important for SEO)
  • Tag other blog posts and pages of website in copy (will help keep people on your website)
  • Bold key phrases and facts for those who only have time to skim your copy
  • Lists are your friend (they’re obviously my friend)
  • Tie all features to their direct benefits to the customer. (Ex. the benefit of your meditation app isn’t that it has unique mantras, it’s that your unique mantras are proven to improve customers’ moods, and here are some testimonials.)
  • Write in second person and use words referring to the customer like “you” and “you’re”. This article isn’t about you so there should be minimal “we”, “I”, and, “our” ‘s.
  • MAKE SURE THERE IS A CALL TO ACTION– you must tell people what to do after reading your blog post

5. Write a Compelling Headline

Headlines/subject lines are extremely important for your copy. People don’t read articles with bad headlines. If your target audience isn’t drawn in with your headline, it doesn’t matter if the actual copy is amazing, because they won’t read it.

There are so many opinions on how to write a good headline, but I like to keep them short and sweet. If you know you’re target audience, its shouldn’t be too difficult to write a headline you know they’ll want to read.

My favorite headline tactics are:

  • Using a number
  • Creating a guide or a “how to..”
  • Ask a question (people can’t help but respond in their head)
  • Being direct/ stating your main idea
  • Use “Persuasive Words” (this is a good one)

Other Resources:

6. Edit

My #1 tip for editing is to read your work out loud. Reading your work out loud allows you to notice when the writing doesn’t flow. It also ensures the logical flow of your persuasive argument.

My #2 tip is to keep your work short and concise, every word should count.

Lastly, make sure you take some time between editing sessions. Taking a day or a few hours off from writing always gives me a fresh set of eyes when editing.

7. Review

After editing I have a super basic review process. I simply show my article to a few different people and ask for their impression. If your reader can’t understand your article in 5 seconds, adjust your headlines/ sub-headlines and clarify your offer.

I also always put my writing through the Hemingway App, which gives you tips on improving your writing.

So, those are my steps for writing persuasive content in the copywriting style. This is my process but there are many factors to copywriting and many different approaches. Below are some high-authority resources where you can learn more about copywriting strategies.

Resources:

Leave a Reply