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August 2013

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Do You Know the 5 Steps to Copywriting Success?


by Debra Jason, The Write Direction

Perhaps you're a small or large business getting ready to launch a marketing campaign. Or maybe, you're a mom- or solopreneur working hard to get your name out there, but have an overflow of work you can't handle without extra assistance.

Are you one of those folks who has made the mistake of hiring your cousin's sister's brother because they'll do it for free?” Perhaps you thought “it's easy to write so why pay a professional for something anyone could do?” In the end, you may have quickly discovered that you didn't get the desired results you'd hoped for.

Wonder why?
Well, think about this . . .
If you have a toothache, you go to a dentist. If you're sick, you go to a doctor. If you need a brochure or Web site designed, you go to a graphic designer or Web programmer. And, whatever your line of work is, you hope people will recognize you as the specialist in your field and hire you when they need someone with your expertise.

It makes sense that, if you don't have creative talent and are not a marketing copywriter yourself, you would contact a professional to do the best job for you.

How Do You Know You'll Get Great Results?
Working on any promotional literature, be it a Web site, brochure or a direct mail package, is a team effort - a partnership created to develop the best tools for promoting your product/service. Each person in the partnership has certain responsibilities.

The purpose of this article is to help you be aware of your role - obtaining and organizing the valuable information a copywriter needs from you.
Being organized and prepared before you meet with the writer for an input meeting will save you time and money in the long run. And, it increases your chances of getting the results you're looking for - record-breaking ones.

Here are 5 steps to help you gather the appropriate information you need to pass along to your writer:

1. Define your goals - convey them clearly.
What is it that you want to achieve with the project you're going to assign? Do you want to:
  • Sell more products/programs/services?
  • Gain name recognition?
  • Increase your exposure?
  • Create a brand image?
  • Generate new leads?
Remember, if your objectives are too complex then you risk confusing your copywriter. Simply state your goals. It sets your copywriter off in the right direction - to create an effective, results-oriented promotion for you.

As a professional copywriter, I take the time to listen to you. Tell me what it is you need to say. I'll tell you how to say it. I make sure that I clearly understand your goals, translating them into fresh ideas that sell your product/service.

2. What does the project entail?
Marketing isn't just one element or another - it is several components that come together like pieces of a puzzle. So, let your writer known which components she's going to write. For instance, are you asking her to write content for a:
  • Blog
  • Brochure or self-mailer
  • Direct mail package
  • E-mail autoresponder(s)
  • Newsletter
  • Postcards
  • Press release
  • Sales page
  • Social media update(s)
  • Videsales letter
  • Web site
3. Don't be shy - tell her everything.
You know your product/service best. A copywriter knows how to write to sell that product. So, don't be shy. Tell her everything about it. If your copywriter asks you a lot of questions, be grateful. It's her job to be nosey. The more you can tell her, the better your chances are of getting the content you want - as soon as the first draft.
  • What is the single strongest benefit of your product/service? List all of the additional benefits.
  • What are the challenges/issues your prospects face?
  • How does your product/service solve those challenges . . . make your customers lives easier, more fulfilling?
  • Why should someone buy your product/service over the competition's? What makes yours special?
When you're asking your writer to write for the Web, be sure to provide a list of keyword phrases. Think about prospects searching for a product or service like yours, but not knowing about you or your business, what keyword phrase(s) would they type into Google to find a professional like you?

Your writer's goal is to create a compelling piece that converts prospects into loyal, paying customers. If you have existing printed materials (marketing plan, brochures, testimonials, etc.), she will ask to see them. Don't hold back. Don't make her guess. It's your responsibility to share what you can.

4. Know your audience - introduce her to them.
It is important for you to know who you're speaking to. Who is your ideal client/customer?

Imagine you're introducing your copywriter to one person in your audience. Then, tell her what you know about them. Start with demographics. However, be sure to fill her in on lifestyle information as well. What activities do they enjoy? Do they dine out or eat at home? Is your product/service familiar to them? Does it fill their needs or desires?

Do your best to answer these questions and tell your copywriter what you discover. Keep in mind that the tone of a brochure or Web site differs if you want to reach single women, 25-35 years old vs. professional married women in their 50s or 60s.

The more you can tell your copywriter, the easier it is for her to “get acquainted” with your audience before she starts to write. The end result is a piece that attracts their attention, makes an impact and motivates them to buy your product or service.

5. Hire a copywriter who is not only talented - she values honesty and integrity.
The project you're about to assign - be it a brochure, Web site, direct mail package - sends a message out to the world about your product/service. You want to make a good first impression.

Your copywriter should also make a good first impression - with you. Of course, you want her to be talented. But that's not enough to get your project done. Have you established a positive personal rapport? You should both feel comfortable sharing opinions and making compromises to achieve your goals.

Working with my clients is a team effort - a partnership created to develop the best marketing tools for your product. Talented copywriters take pride in the fact that these relationships include honesty, mutual trust, integrity and respect. Remember these 5 steps next time you're looking for great results from your copywriter.

What's your experience been like? Have you struggled with writing your own content or have you hired a professional? Please share your thoughts in the comment section of my blog at http://www.writedirection.com/5-steps-copywriting-success-part-2

I'd love to hear from you. Thanks.

Past president of the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association (RMDMA), Debra Jason started The Write Direction in 1989.
A recipient of the RMDMA's "Creative Person of the Year" Award, she inspires you to communicate your message in a way that captives and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans. Marketing with heart, not hype. You'll find Debra online at http://writedirection.com or at http://facebook.com/writedirection. She may be reached at (303) 443-1942.

©Copyright 2013. Debra A. Jason dba The Write Direction. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or using any information storage/retrieval system now known or to be invented, without written permission from the author.




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