Want to write good copy? Think like an author.

Tue, 19/02/2019 - 14:58


When you change your mindset, you will find that your creativity improves and you can craft copy that speaks to your audience. How do you do this, you wonder? Well, you will need to start thinking like an author. 

This might sound like something you do every day (after all, you are a writer) but you might not know exactly where to start if you are new to the content marketing game. Below, we discuss how to think like an author to create relevant and valuable copy. 

Think about how stories are structured

Think about your favourite novel or short story. There is a definite structure to the story, it does not happen in a disorganised manner. This makes it easy to read and allows the reader to connect to the story without feeling lost or confused. And your copy should read the same way. 

A story begins with a larger scale problem (think Fahrenheit 451’s dystopian future in which reading is banned), moves on to a threat and then finally a transformation. A good story also includes a protagonist experiencing conflict (someone like James Clavell’s Peter Marlowe from King Rat). Now, you can take these elements and use them to craft copy that your readers enjoy and relate to, which will drive them to become customers for your client’s brand. 

The larger-scale problem

Before you put pen to paper (or cursor to document) you need to think of larger-scale issues that are happening in the world. For example, if your client is a health food brand, the “problem” in your “story” could be the obesity epidemic that has burgeoned over the years. 

The problem that you address in your copy should be obvious to the people reading it. After all, your content is meant to help them, not confuse them with subtlety and double-speak. Look for a problem that people are seeing in their everyday lives, as this is what they will be searching for online and is the type of copy that they are looking for. 

Who do they root for?

Your story, or copy, needs someone for the readers to root for. Now, this could be a character created for a campaign (but remember to keep it positive and helpful) or it could be the reader themselves. But, without a protagonist or “character” to interest them in the story, people will soon lose interest and move on. 

Returning to the health food theme, the protagonist of your campaign could be someone who is interested in losing weight naturally and who wants to look into a better diet. This is someone who the audience can relate to and root for, which will add value to your copy. If there were no lead characters in your favourite stories, they would fall a little flat. The same reasoning should go into your copywriting. Make the audience the protagonist or create a relatable one for them to enjoy.

Is there a threat or conflict?

Now, this does not have to be an out-and-out threat to your readers or the characters. The conflict or threat could be something like trying to find the right car for a road trip or having to choose a house. Or you could make the threat ill health or debt, depending on your clients. 

If there is no conflict in your copy, there will be no interest. But more than this, there will be no value for your clients as their brand will not be used to solve a problem. For example, if your client sells food to caterers, a threat could be trying to plan for a large wedding. Their wholesale food options will provide the solution to this problem. Without this problem, consumers will simply click away to other content to suit their needs. 

Provide a relevant resolution

If Harry Potter had not defeated Voldemort, the story of the wizarding world would not have come to a neat and satisfying ending. And similarly, if you do not provide a solution to the threat or conflict in your copy, there is no value or relevance to your copy. 

The ending of a story is just as important as the beginning. Your solution needs to resolve the conflict in a way that makes sense and that does not feel like a hard sell. But, the transformation needs to come from the reader. For example, if you are creating a campaign focusing on how to lose weight healthily, the call to action (CTA) for your health food client needs to be the trigger for this resolution and transformation. Those few lines at the end of your work can make all the difference for you and your client. 

Change your thinking

As all Ayn Rand fans know, “Words are a lens to focus one's mind”. Thinking like an author when writing copy will help you to create articles, blogs and website pages that speak to your readers and stand out from the rest. The structure of your copy is of vital importance. 

If what you write does not follow a cohesive pattern or if the ordering of what you write does not make sense, then readers will become confused and disinterested. And Google will give it a low ranking, causing your client to lose authority online. Copywriting should be looked at in the same way as fiction writing, create something that readers will enjoy and half the work is done for you! 


Need Assistance with Digital Strategy?

Rogerwilco’s team of strategists, business analysts and data scientists is here to help.