There are just 3 simple principles to writing good copy. "Copy" in this instance means anything written by you or your company which is meant to attract customers to your business. The same 3 principles apply whether you are trying to increase donations to your non-profit, trying to convince people you are the best doctor in town, or working hard to sell someone your product.
To help you remember the 3 principles most easily, here they are in A-B-C format:
A is for Always.
Always think about the other person when you're writing copy. What does the reader need? What do they want? What do they care about? The customer's attention span is about 3 seconds (seriously - they've done studies!) and most people - even you - spend your days thinking mostly about yourself, your problems, your needs, your wants, your posessions, etc.
Bad copy says, "To celebrate my tenth year in business, I've decided to offer anyone who shops at my shoe store..."
Good copy says, "Big Sale on Designer Shoes! Save 10-25% on the best brands to celebrate our 10th year in business."
(Hint: count the number of times you use the words I, me, we, our, or mine in the first 2 paragraphs. Then get rid of at least 60% of them).
B is for Burnish.
To "burnish" means to rub something to a shine or gloss. It's not enough to slap some words down and hit the Send button! Take to heart the famous writing adage: "There is no great writing, there is only great re-writing." By the time you read these words, I will have tweaked them at least four times, checking for better and stronger ways to convey my message to you. I will double-triple checking for poor grammar or typos. After that, the editors at Entrepreneur.com will do it again - twice! Especially if English isn't your strong suit, write the first draft and then have it checked out by someone else. There's no shame in using an editor or editing yourself. Ideally, set your words aside for 24 hours and read them again before you send them off into the world.
C is for Call to Action.
Never, ever write anything without including a "CTA", as marketers call it. This could be as simple as "Buy Now" or "Click Here" on a website or at the bottom of a blog, or as subtle as "87% of dentists recommend..." which implies if the consumer took the same action, they would achieve the same result. (Think about all those beer commercials that imply that you too can be like the most interesting man in the world if you just drink their brand). Instruct the readers on what to do next, overtly or subtly. Lead them to the action you desire them to take.
POP QUIZ! Can you find the CTA in the following bit of copy?
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Copywriting is actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it. These ABCs will help you write good content - content that produces your desired results. Keep these ABCs in mind and your results will improve every time you write.