The words that accompany online marketing are often undervalued. An afterthought once the visual designs are done.
It’s easy to forget the impact great copy can have…and, equally, the negative impact of bad copy.
Good writing doesn’t just convey the essential information about your products and services. It gives the reader a sense of who your brand is. It has a purpose; whether it’s to persuade, educate, amuse or intrigue.
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, good copy sells.
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”
The problem is, everyone thinks they can write. And it’s true – in a sense, everyone can write. In the same way that I, technically, can make a Victoria sponge. But I’m not sure it would meet Mary Berry’s standards.
To achieve a professional result you need professional input.
Professional copywriters create copywriting that sells. They embody your brand and deliver your key messages, coupling this with a keen understanding of language and SEO. And they do all this within the required deadlines.
In this article we explore five excellent reasons to hand over your copywriting needs to a professional.
1. It takes longer than you might think
“The first draft of anything is shit.”
This article is around 1,500 words long.
My first draft took one and a half hours to write.
I printed it out and proofread it on paper the next day, then made those amends to the electronic version. This took another half an hour.
It was then passed onto a colleague for further proofreading. They also spent half an hour reviewing it.
Finally, I spent half an hour going through their feedback and finalising the copy.
So, in total, this 1,500 word article took 3 hours to write.
Let’s imagine that you’re not writing an article, you’re writing a whole website.
This will probably be somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 words long (assuming you’re not also writing any blog posts). So, multiplying up, you’re going to need between 10 and 20 hours to write that copy…assuming you can write as fast as I can (and I’ve had quite a bit of practice).
Do you really have that time available? And, if you do, is it the best way for you to spend it?
2. You’ll put it off and delay your project
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
“No I won’t!” I hear you cry.
We’re not saying that you won’t start out with the best intentions. But how realistic is it that you can really block out two to four hours at a time to sit and write?
Without making that urgent customer call back.
Without having one of your team interrupt you.
Without just checking your emails in case that important one’s arrived.
Without having a quick look at the news or social media first.
Great copywriters love copywriting. They will spend hours at a time ignoring the phone, their colleagues, the news, even the need to go to the loo – because when they’re in the zone they’re at their happiest, and nothing else matters.
Now, there’s a chance that you’ll love copywriting this much and perhaps even consider a career change at the end of it.
But I doubt it.
In our experience, most people really struggle to push their other responsibilities aside and dedicate the time that is needed for copywriting. We’ve seen way too many projects delayed because of this. In fact, in over 20 years I can count on one hand the number of times a client has completed their content on time.
Don’t kid yourself and don’t add to your to-do list; get someone experienced to do it for you.
3. The voice of your brand is not necessarily your voice
“I write to discover what I know.”
Your brand identity should be a precious (and profit-generating) asset. It should engender loyalty, make you stand out from your competitors and, in many cases, enable you to charge a price-premium.
We won’t bang on about the importance of brand identity here, but you can find out more in our article “What is Brand Identity and why is it important to my business?”.
Everything your company does and says should align to your brand and this, very much, includes your written material.
A good copywriter will take your “tone of voice” (how your brand speaks) and write as if they are your brand.
Here’s an example. These are both tasting notes for Saint Émilion wine. Can you guess which is from the Harrods website and which is from Lidl?
I don’t think I need to spell out the answer.
Maybe you like one of these better than the other, which perhaps suggests which retailer’s core market you are closest to? Either way, you’ll probably be drinking more or less the same wine* whichever shop you buy it from – only at Harrods you will be paying more than twice as much for the privilege.
Having a constant and consistent tone of voice is vital to how your customers see your brand and professional copywriters know how to capture that tone.
4. Google will thank you for it
“A word after a word after a word is power.”
Much of the copy we write will be published online and, usually, one of the objectives is to help our client’s website rank well in Google searches.
A good copywriter should have a thorough understanding of how Search Engine Optimisation works and the relationship between content and ranking. For example, they’ll know that…
- Google rewards well-written, relevant and engaging content.
- Google checks for spelling and grammatical errors.
- Google frowns upon duplicate content – whether it’s the same text appearing twice on your own website or content you have copied/scraped from another site.
- Google also doesn’t like “keyword stuffing” because it sees it (quite rightly) as an attempt to manipulate rankings.
If you’re thinking of writing your own content, you need to study Google’s Advanced SEO advice before you do.
5. Compelling copy converts customers
“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly - they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
OK, so you’ve optimised your content for Google, so it attracts plenty of traffic.
But is the phone ringing and your inbox pinging?
When a visitor lands on your web page, or sees your advert, or opens your email… you don’t want them to stop there. To get a return on your investment of time spent creating that content, you need them to move from being a reader to an enquirer.
Good copy is at the heart of this journey (although the accompanying visuals can be just as important). You need to engage with the reader, speak their language and efficiently convey the benefits of taking that next step.
Here’s a great example from Farrow & Ball:
They are clearly tapping into a stress-point which will resonate with many of their clients.
If you watch the advert, it’s also scripted with very on-brand, tongue in cheek humour:
Research by websiteplanet.com emphasises the importance of good copy. They tested Google Ads and landing pages with exactly the same content – but one version had typos in it. The Ads which contained errors resulted in 70% fewer click throughs. In addition, because of the low click through rates, Google charged them more for each click.
The error-strewn landing page had an 85% higher bounce rate (people who left the site without going to any other pages) and visitors spent 8% less time on the site. Read the research in full.
Accurate, well-written copy converts readers into customers, and that goes straight to the bottom line.
Save time and hassle – let us do it for you
If your brand requires sumptuously mellifluous copy which beguiles and seduces your discerning readership…or copy which simply tells it like it is…we can help.
We include copywriting as part of all our web design and digital marketing services.
If you need our help, get in touch to find out more.