write better copy

What Is Effective Copywriting? 10 Tips To Write Better Copy

Learning how to write better copy is both a science and an art form. 

Think of copywriting as art because you’ll need to be creative and write with a sense of style and beauty. You want to present a special level of knowledge, mastery, and aptitude that people are drawn to.

Advertising in an artistic way allows website owners to create content that’s not only persuasive and practical but also inspiring.

But learning how to write better copy isn’t only about your artistic approach. It’s also a very specific science. You need to develop a content strategy that drives visitors where you want them to go. Copywriting is strategic and scientific because copywriting lives in a universe of things like:

  • Testing
  • Predictability
  • Trial and error
  • Education
  • Improvement
  • Breakthroughs

In other words, you will be able to prove the value of the strategic copywritten content. And a scientific approach to advertising allows site owners to develop and test ideas. In reality, this is how you’ll know if your content marketing campaigns are performing in the way that you need them to.

In poor copy, either the science or the art (or both) are missing from the equation. In copy that performs, both of them are abundant.

In this guide, we’ll take a close look at ten different types of effective copywriting. By the end, you’ll be inspired to start producing the artistic and scientific copy that will help drive your content marketing forward.

Plain Copywriting

This is by far the most basic way to approach writing copy. Basically, plain copywriting involves introducing your product or service without any style or gimmicks. It’s just a simple and easy-to-understand presentation of benefits and facts.

In other words, there’s no story behind what’s presented, no superlative statements, and not a lot of sizzle.

An example of this is the Google Marketing Platform.

When you write this type of copy, definitely don’t expect to be at the top of the list for any literary awards. But if you know how to craft a factual sentence, you’ll easily be able to produce plain copywriting.

Simply give your users the info they need to make an informed product decision. 

Storytelling

Almost everyone loves hearing (or reading) a great story. It’s human nature to enjoy hearing about other people; especially people that we find interesting.

We relate to people who have suffered through impossible challenges and can explain to us exactly how those challenges were overcome.

In storytelling copywriting, your product or service would be the catalyst for how the challenge was overcome.

You can use storytelling copy in any number of places, including:

  • A series of emails to your email list
  • A landing page
  • Written blog posts
  • Videos

No matter the format you use, there are four traits that should be included in every story.

The Opening

In your opening, you want to introduce what caused the pain. Explain how the person once had an easier life, and how it was so drastically changed by a certain series of events.

Conflict

What threats exist to the character in the story if they don’t properly respond to what happened to them? What does life look like as they take on this challenge?

Dialogue

In stories, people are drawn to conversation. After all, human interest at its very root is mostly about two people having a conversation with one another.

But we’re also drawn to written dialogue because it’s easy for us to read. In fact, popular writer Chuck Wendig says, “Our eyes flow over dialogue like butter on the hood of a hot car.”

Always work some dialogue into your storytelling, and people will engage more with it.

Solution

In the end, your product or service gets introduced as the solution for the problem the character was having. And if you share some specific results, you’ll increase your product’s credibility and drive more conversions.

In fact, sharing specific (and true) results with your audience will increase your conversions by nearly 350%.

And remember, your story doesn’t need to be overly dramatic to make an impact. It only needs to catch the interest of the people you’re trying to reach. This is why researching your audience before writing any kind of copy is so important.

write better copy

Writing Conversationally

Conversational copy involves a lot of “you and me” verbiage. In this copywriting style, you’ll write (or speak, if you’re producing videos) as though it’s a conversation between yourself and an individual prospect.

The language you’ll use is very similar to someone in sales sitting down for a meal with a prospect and making a genuine presentation. It’s an approach that’s very straightforward and works to identify with the reader or viewer that you:

  • Know exactly how they feel
  • Feel exactly the same way
  • Know how to solve the problem by doing X, Y, and Z

Remember that you don’t necessarily need to be a polished and seasoned copywriter to write conversational copy that converts. Most often, your passion for what you’re promoting will automatically show through to the reader.

A great way to get started with writing conversational copy is by recording a conversation with a customer about your products. Then, transcribe it and start using it as a rough draft.

Write Better Copy By Using Imaginative Copy

The song “Imagine” by John Lenon is a perfect example of imaginative copywriting. In it, he talks about how we should imagine that there’s no heaven or hell, no religion or war, and no countries. And whether you agree with his assessment of the world or not, he was using a very impactful tool for persuasion: he presented imaginative copy.

As someone who wants to learn how to write better copy, a strong approach is to ask your audience to imagine, for example, an easy way to drop 20 lbs. Or to imagine how amazing it would feel to become a successful entrepreneur.

When you begin writing imaginative copy, use terms such as:

  • Pretend for a minute
  • Discover
  • Picture this…
  • Close your eyes
  • Imagine

Then ask your audience to imagine their lives in a given way. Or to pretend exactly what it would feel like to live their dreams, whatever those dreams are.

As the copywriter, it’s your job to create imaginative copy that paints a detailed picture of what achieving a big goal will feel like, and how your solution can help. Imagine some ways you can use your imagination to write better copy.

Long-Form Copywriting

The idea behind long-form copywriting is that the more you tell your audience, the more you’ll sell. And copy that’s long on benefits and facts tends to convert very well.

But why?

Unlike in-person conversations with salespeople, written copy only has a single chance to convert readers. Because of this, it’s important to lay everything on the table when your message lands on new eyeballs.

When tackling long-form copywriting, it’s important to learn the role of bullet points. They’ll help you make sure that the most important parts of your copy stand out from the rest.

When you follow the basic, most effective rules of good content marketing, always keep in mind that you don’t need to lay out every fact and benefit right away. Instead, it’s often more impactful when you leak a long presentation throughout several days (or weeks) with a registration-based content library or automated email system.

By doing this, you turn long coy into short snippets that are more easily digestible.

Killer Poet Copywriting

Most of us have our favorite authors and writers on many different subjects. But we shouldn’t be so enamored with the writing styles of others that we attempt to imitate them at the expense of selling or teaching.

After all, your goal isn’t to convince your audience that you’re smart. Your goal is to educate and sell with your copy.

David Ogilvy was once quoted as saying, “We sell, or else.” But you also need to do it with style. The key is finding the right balance between the sales “killer” and the poet.

Writing copy in the killer poet style means that you’re writing as a means to making sales, and the copy is beautifully designed and contains a moving story.

Stated another way, a killer poet will combine selling with style, marketing with creativity, and a story with a solution.

Top Down Copywriting

This is also known as direct-from-CEO copywriting. While it’s a well-known fact that an endorsement from a third party will help you sell, it’s also extremely effective to position your pitch as a direct line of communication between your company’s founder and their customer.

This approach is a down-to-earth way of leveling the playing field between yourself and the customer. It tells them, “Our CEO isn’t a remote, cold-hearted figurehead that’s only out for profits. She’s friendly and approachable, and genuinely cares about you.”

Frank Copywriting

Some of the most effective copy starts out by explaining the full (and sometimes ugly) truth about a product. It doesn’t begin by discussing how great a product is. Instead, it talks about its warts.

Say for a minute that you’re trying to sell an older used vehicle. You may point out all of the endless repairs that you needed to do on it, from its leaky transmission to a broken sway bar.

After that, you would introduce the brand new tires, leather seats, and turbo engine.

What you’re trying to communicate with the buyer is that the vehicle will probably need some TLC. Some may even go so far as to proclaim that there is still a lot of work to be done on the car before it can be fully enjoyed.

But here’s the interesting thing: When you’re open, transparent, and honest about the weaknesses of your product, your customer will immediately begin to trust you. And when readers give you their trust, they’ll be a lot more likely to believe what you say when you detail all of the positive attributes of what you’re selling.

Copywriting With Superlatives

There are times when you’re allowed to make some outlandish claims when it comes to what you’re trying to sell.

Claims such as:

  • Nevada mine turns out revolutionary material that could make a fortune for investors
  • Stores all across the country are currently selling out of what people are calling the new miracle in diets
  • Follow one strange loophole to secure car insurance for only $8

However, you should only make such extraordinary claims if you already have enough proof to back up what you’re saying. The evidence to use should involve research, testimonials, statistics, or all three when possible.

The biggest issue with using superlative copywriting is that quite often it’s difficult to make such huge claims and not appear like you’re trying to over-hype what you’re selling. So make sure to use this sparingly.

Overall, it’s best to follow the policy of removing as much hype as possible.

The Science of Rejection

Rejection copywriting has a way of turning conventional marketing wisdom on its own head. Instead of trying to convince someone to buy your product, you discourage them.

This can be viewed as directly challenging your readers, and leverages the concept that only a select set of individuals have an invite to use your product. This method of copywriting can be a perfect match for when you are running a membership site.

One good example of rejection copy is done by American Express Black Card. It’s a credit card that’s only available to the most wealthy and elite people in the world. And the only way you can open an American Express Black account is if you receive an invite.

Another example of rejection copy is on a popular dating site called Beautiful People. If you’re looking to join this dating community, you’ll need the existing members to vote you in.

The fear of potential rejection has a way of getting the reader’s attention. After all, nobody wants to be turned down. And especially not by an advertiser.

The approach works well in certain situations because it plays on our desire to belong. It activates pride and helps to generate a deeper level of curiosity.

Some of your audience may even think, “How could they possibly think that I’m not good enough to join? I’ll prove them wrong.”

Write Better Copy and Convert More of Your Audience

The best and most effective copywriting combines many of the techniques we’ve discussed into one piece. And, depending on the product or service you’re looking to sell, you should spend time testing and tweaking how you combine each technique.

Remember, effective copywriting is about perfecting the art and science of it. When you learn how to apply these principles to your personal copywriting style, you’ll begin driving more interest and conversions.

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