The word copywriting is all over the net but I’m not sure everyone defines it the same. Wikipedia defines copywriting as:
“Copywriting is the use of words to promote a person, business, opinion or idea. Although the word copy may be applied to any content intended for printing (as in the body of a newspaper article or book), the term copywriter is generally limited to such promotional situations, regardless of media (as advertisements for print, television, radio or other media). The author of newspaper or magazine copy, for example, is generally called a reporter or writer or a copywriter.”
I define copywriting as the act of using words to sell or influence. My expanded definition is shorter than the Wikipedia version too: Copywriting is written persuasion created to make your target audience act in a certain way, such as click, watch, read, buy, or register.
Storytelling is a great copywriting tactic. Stories are entertaining and engage the reader in a more subtle way than the triple-decibel BUY THIS! blast-messages we get hit with everyday.
Long before human beings learned to read and write we used storytelling to transfer knowledge and influence one another. A million years of storytelling has altered our genetic code. It’s now in our DNA to listen to stories, decide what’s important to us and then apply that to our lives.
If you want your audience to associate with your brand, your products and with you, then tell them a story. At a strategic level, it’s not much more complicated than that.
The best way to get your audience to take action is to include these five elements in your story:
- Uniqueness and
Measurement: Most people grant numbers more credibility than they do general comments. Whatever it is you do for your clients, using numbers to quantify the benefits will make your claims more believable than claims that lacks numbers.
Comparison: Give your audience before and after examples of the benefits of your product or service. Demonstrating results in a before and after scenario gives your claims perspective.
Time: Similarly, providing a time-frame around your results helps your audience understand the true impact of your product or service, especially if the benefits were produced quickly.
Uniqueness: Since you want to stand out from your competition and have your own brand, it’s important to make your claim as unique as possible. That’s really hard in a web-connected world, but that’s also why it is so critical.
Compelling: The compelling element answers the question: “Who cares?” You may be able to clean reading glasses faster than anyone in your city but I doubt many people will pay for that unique skill.