9 Copywriting Secrets of How to Engage Your Readers
Updated: Mar 6, 2019
“She’s got such a talent with words. She’s bound to be a writer one day,” was what my teachers told my mum and dad when I was 12.
And, all grown up, I thought that copywriting for a living would be a doddle.
Oops. How wrong was I! Put talent right at the back of the queue. It’s the skill that counts.
Inflicting your artistic ramblings on your readers is tempting. It all feels so marvellous in your head.
But, copywriting isn’t about fulfilling your dreams. It’s about fulfilling your readers’ dreams.
So, when you’re writing blog or press articles, web copy or social media content, you must engage your readers. Otherwise, you become another blob in the content universe.
1. Write for Somebody, not Anybody
Listen up. This is important!
Your copywriting can never be engaging unless:
· you know who it is you’re writing for,
· why they should read your copy, and
· how you can entice them to do so.
I usually think of a person in my family or friendship circle who would be interested in the topic I’m going to cover. I know very well what makes them tick. And, I use this on choosing the tone and the angle of my piece.
If the topic isn’t something that would appeal to anybody I know I create an ideal reader image, also referred to in marketing as ‘buyer persona’.
I write down:
· Social status/job
· Personal situation
· Anything else that could be relevant.
I promise you will have a specific person you can write for after completing this short and painless exercise.
Hubspot has a great free tool you can use to find your ideal reader.
Everybody has ‘pain points’. Identify them at the same time as you’re developing or thinking of your ideal reader.
Find a way of showing them why they must read your copy.
Now think about showing the benefits of reading your copy. How are you proposing to resolve their issues?
Everything in engaging copywriting builds on having identified the ‘who’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ for your article first!
2. Give Your Article a Clear-cut and Irresistible Title
Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Would you click on the title “Copywriting Tips”?
At best, you’d think, “What kind of tips?” or “For whom?”
In reality, you don’t think at all. You’re oblivious to having ever cast eyes over such an insignificant set of words.
Now, put your copywriter’s shoes back on.
What is it you’re offering? Will it help? Is it fabulous news?
What’s in it for your reader?
Remember! If your title is boring, nobody will read your article.
Your title is your shop window. Flaunt your wares!
Check out this Hubspot blog post for some great examples of attention-grabbing headline copywriting.
3. Start With a Strong Hook to Hold on to Your Readers
So, your expectant readers click on your irresistible title to find:
“Let’s begin with point 1. Blablabla…”
Boom! You’ve lost them.
Start your copy with something that your readers can relate to. Tell a (very) brief anecdote. Awake their curiosity.
Write two or three short sentences that make them want more of what you’ve got.
Flypchart’s perfect blog introduction guide shows some useful copywriting examples.
4. Add ‘Visual Icing’
As humans, we are visual creatures.
Science proves that our brains can process images much quicker than text. And, like magpies, we are drawn to shiny things.
In social media, visuals such as photos, graphics and videos show to boost engagement by a cool 180 per cent! (Source: The Next Web).
Adding visuals to support your copywriting is like putting artful icing around a chocolate cake: impossible to resist.
Here’s a guide to finding the best royalty-free visuals for your special ‘icing’.
5. Talk to Your Readers
Yes. I’m talking to you!”
Talking directly to your readers makes them take notice.
Be friendly and conversational. Use “you” and occasional rhetorical questions.
Wouldn’t you prefer reading something that talks directly to you rather than to your next-door neighbour?
6. Speak Your Readers’ Language
You have identified your readers and their pain points. You have ideas on how to ease their pain and have whetted their appetite for more information.
And, your readers know that you’re talking to them.
But, do they understand what you’re saying?
Making sure you’re not speaking German to an English audience is as important as all the above.
Whether it’s terminology, slang or insider jokes, get to know what your readers are talking about and how they’re doing it:
· Check out the relevant hashtags on social media;
· Scout other blogs and reader comments;
· Read topic-related forums on LinkedIn and other platforms;
· Listen in on conversations during your daily bus commute or on radio call-ins.
You’ll soon be fluent in their language, able to write at a ‘native’ level and become one of them.
7. Tell a Story. Don’t Sell
One key to engaging copywriting is to combine what you want to say with a personal story. This can be yours or somebody else’s.
Testimonials are a great tool to make your readers trust you. Rather than selling a product or service, you relate a personal experience. For this, you can use a direct quote.
Let the story speak for what you’re selling.
8. End With a Bang and a Unique CTA
The end of your article is almost as important as the beginning.
Great copywriting engages the reader beyond the article.
Ending with a ‘bang’, such as an open-ended question or a bold CTA statement is like throwing the ball into your readers’ court.
Encourage your audience to discuss their thoughts on the article or their experiences with the issue in question.
Encourage your audience to click on that colourful CTA button, promising to help them with all their needs.
This takes the engagement to the ultimate level: interaction. 9. The Finish Line
You are nearly at the finish line of your copywriting masterpiece!
You need to add a few finishing touches:
The title (yes, again)
Revisit your title.
The “Father of Advertising”, David Ogilvy claimed that the headline is worth 80 per cent of copywriting.
That means that you have to spend as much time as you need to get it perfectly right.
Can I improve on this?
Does it match with what I have written?
Remember: your title is your shop window!
The featured image
Add a killer image to head the article.
Choose a featured image that highlights your title. It must be of high quality and so tempting that you can’t take your eyes of it.
So, go on! Now you know my secrets. You’re ready to fulfil your readers’ dreams.
Do you have anything to add to this article? I would love to read your views on and experiences with engaging copywriting.
And if you think: “Nah, I can’t write like this!”, let me do it for you.
Get in touch, quick, before you let it slip away!