Monday, March 24, 2014

The key to writing Body Copy that sells


Is your Copy selling what the headline promised?

Think different. Change your outlook. Turn your ideas upside down. Break a few rules. Squeeze, twist, and stretch the idea upside down when thinking of the concept and soon you’ll get into the groove of delivering the right concept for each of your clients. Then go ahead and write the body copy.
This means getting on with what the headline has said and expanding it in the copy with clever yet simple, easy to grasp words. It should go smooth as knife in butter. You don't have to repeat the headline but explain why the benefit mentioned in the headline is possible with your product. With competition huge - every word counts.

Very often, people will tell you that nobody reads the copy. But, ask yourself when you buy a product, don’t you read the copy and remember the gist – the keywords stay in your mind. And the brand-personality the ad has created will stay like it does for all of us. And, if you don’t then the job is not done. But there are ads which speak volumes with just a headline. But, then a picture speaks thousand words, right + your headline take the ad where a bunch of sheep crossing and the line ‘Traffic Jams in paradise’. Actually that’s just my take on this image for a famous ad. Find it in Phillip Ward Burton, Advertising Copywriting.
Use Action Words
When you write the body copy see that you use action words i.e verbs over descriptive words even nouns. Just try adding ‘ate’  ‘en’ ‘ize’ ‘ ify’ to the noun and transform to those that denote action now, not  the past, just happening as you speak. The future – e.g. we started with… when you talk of reliability and service etc.. Use the past only when you have to re-iterate the body of work, experience or sales achieved or in a corporate about us. But, cut quickly into the present, too much of singing glories isn’t going to work.
1. After the headline the first para must convey to the customer that the message is right and it works for them. This is crucial. Whatever the type of headline; ensure that the copy gives factual info; only see that the style & tone is even.
For example if the headline speaks about why XYZ brand can get your child ahead or gives you the job you desire or whatever your headline has promised the customer is already intrigued. The product could be a shirt and your take could be confidence and reason could be the smooth and wrinkle-free or the cut being tailored to fit. You have to explain this in the copy. 

2. Emphasize the main selling point with facts and figures. Then move on to the other relevant points. If there are a host of benefits then make it a long copy ad. Then you break them into subheads. Even the arrangement/layout/font face of the ad could work as subheads. Check long ads and mark why you feel they are good/bad long copy ads. You could use bullets, numbers or underlining the subhead as a means to make the copy digestible.

3.Make it crisp and short unless the ad needs to explain it in great detail. Like with the shirt, it could be the stitching; the machinery used - speak in an interesting chatty manner or like you would speak to a friend. Write to your reader (the target audience). Imagine, just one person when you write. Don't write to please everybody.  

4. Then sum up the whole thing, in the last para with your headline benefit re-iterated and this is where call for action takes place - so go for it and if you have brought your reader with your headline and copy so far - don’t lose a prospect because of a loose ending.  

5. The copy is complete with details of how you can get the product (call for action) ; the brand logo, tagline, contact details.As a copywriter you are responsible, for the ad being perfect with no mistakes. Double check the mobile no., street address and so on. 

Remember:

  • Keep sentence lengths interesting – short and long not in any order.
  • Use action words in the present tense
  • Go from familiar to unfamiliar
  • Avoid clich├ęs like the plague
Also remember to:
Research the product

There might be changes mostly minor or major. Either which ways if you have done your job well then you will want to go that extra-mile. That’s the reason you must research the product, the competition and get details from the client before you start. The brief should be very clear. You get details right at the start or you will end up writing over and over. 

Understand your Client

Clients’ as is their nature are very protective about their business and their product. Some clients interfere with everything sometimes giving you the headline or suggesting a line be removed which you know would collapse the copy. There are copywriters who do not let a single word be changed; either they have reached the level that they can do this with confidence or then often an egoistic nature comes in the way. You should keep a balance and be clear why you’re writing the copy and which points have to be highlighted in the copy and why. When you are sure, the client most probably won’t interfere. Stand your ground.

Listen to your client

I prefer the client communicate with me. I change the copy if needed but prefer nobody writes over what is already written... really hate that! And, good clients take that as passion for your work. But I do listen to the client, very, very carefully. You could judge from intonations - the knowledge they have - take notes there and then. Note the special words used in that category and it will help you take the right route for the copy.