Everyone's a copy and content writer, right? 9 cool copywriting tips

by: Kevin Williams 22/04/2016 Categories: marketing

'I’ve learned that any fool can write a bad ad, but that it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one.' - Leo Burnett

Everyone's a copy and content writer, right? There’s no test to pass, no professional association, no ongoing certification. So whoever writes the words for your organisation, how do you know whether what you've got is any good? Try this little lot:

Start with GIGO
The old technology adage, 'Garbage in, garbage out,' is equally applicable to copy. The better your brief, the better the copy.

Don’t buy a dog and bark yourself.
Brief your writer well, give them reasonable time and money to do the job, trust their judgement and support their work. If necessary, ask your copywriter to describe their methodology and explain what they’ve written. If they can sell it to you, you can sell it on.

AIDA* is not just an opera
You know how it goes, grab Attention, create Interest, generate Desire, demand Action. Does your copy do this?

Don’t ask the wrong question
It's not ‘Would I write the copy like this?’ Rather it's ‘Does it do the job?’ In other words, will the words achieve the brief's objectives?

Forget the cooks, there's too many copywriters
Copy cannot be written by committee. Amendments and additions by a small knowledgeable team may enable you to hone it, but someone must be editor-in-chief and take the final decision. (Get everyone's comments together and brief the writer on all the changes in ONE pass. Ideally copy should never need more than a second draft.)

Talk to yourself
Read your copy out loud. It's a good way of judging flow, logic, content and pace. Plus, if you wouldn't say it in the flesh, don't say it in your copy.

Is it 'on' everything?
Does your copy suit your brand's language, style, tone of voice, sector and target audience? (One client, a partner in an accounting software business called Exchequer, used to say that a word or phrase wasn't 'Exchequery.' Simple.)

'If it doesn't sell, it isn't creative.' David Ogilvy
Ultimately the test is in the till. Was your copy compelling and engaging, did it generate click throughs, responses, leads and SALES? (Trouble is, by the time you're trying to calculate your ROI on your copy, it's often too late.)

Actually, it's never too late
Always test, track, review and refine your words - from headlines to body copy. You'd be surprised how little changes can deliver big differences to results.