Powerful copywriting is an important skill for a huge variety of disciplines, from content marketing, to sending a persuasive email to a colleague, to presenting a report to your senior management team.
Being able to convey your ideas in a clear, concise and persuasive way is a crucial skill that can set you apart. This is particularly true for social media marketing where brands are competing for attention and only have a fraction of a second to hook their audiences. You might be trying to get people to have conversations, drive engagement, and build trust. Or you might just have something to sell, an idea, product or service and you have to tempt them in and lure them into your way of thinking so that they do what you want them to do!
Either way, these are 5 tips you can put into action immediately that are guaranteed to make your writing more powerful and impactful. It’s worth testing these tips with a few of your recent pieces of content to see how they could work for you.
1. Talk directly to a segmented part of your audience
The first tip is all about ensuring your content is more tailored and relevant to your specific audiences. This is particularly important if you have a broader audience made up of a mixture of lots of different people with different interests and needs.
To make your content more powerful, start thinking more specifically about talking directly to a segment of people. An example of this is ‘If you’re a Communications or Marketing professional who uses social media, this is a blog that will help you to write more powerful copy.’
That’s much more irresistible to that group of people and remember you don’t need loads of people to read your copy, you just need the people that it matters to or affects. Trying to appeal to everyone often has the opposite effect and your content could attract no one because it’s too generic. So focus on deep engagement that people can’t resist.
This tip works for all organisations and generally all topics. It’s about leading with what they’re interested in and making it clear who the information will benefit. Keep in mind when you post something, does your ideal audience know the post is for them – if not, tell them!
2. Communicate benefits not features
The next tip is an oldie but a goodie and it’s something that’s easy to forget when you’re communicating on social media.
Let’s look at an example. Say you’re a council with a new text update service about bin collections. You could put a post out saying ‘We’ve got this amazing new text service, you should sign up for bin updates.’ This message on its own is fine, but it could be much more impactful if you lead with the benefits: ‘Save time and effort wondering when your bins are going to get collected by signing up to our new text updates service’.
By doing this you’re putting your own needs and interests to the back, and leading with what your audience will care about most. This can be a difficult mind set switch but it’s well worth taking the time to consider because it can help you in all kinds of communication.
Even when you’re not trying to get someone to buy something or sign up to anything, you can still use this tactic in other social media posts to stimulate engagement. For instance if you want to encourage people to watch something you might say ‘This video is a real tear-jerker’. Which is focusing on the emotional response the person will have, rather than just saying this is a video you should watch.
Consider how you can make outcomes and benefits a stronger part of your copy!
3. Use the Who, Why, When, What formula
This formula is a really useful way to help you structure social media content and ensure that you haven’t missed any crucial information. It’s as easy as asking yourself the following questions when you’re writing each post:
- Who is it for?
- Why should that person care?
- When can they get it?
- What do they have to do next?
A good example of this working in practice is ‘Comms and Marketing teams, if you want to create better and more powerful social media content, register on this course now! Here’s the link that you can click on.’
4. Have a clear and specific call-to-action
This next tip might seem straightforward but it’s easy to forget when you’re caught up in telling a story or sharing an important message.
If your call to action is a little wooly or not completely clear then it doesn’t matter how great your copy is, your audiences won’t necessarily take the action you wanted them to. So you’ve missed an opportunity!
You have to be clear about what you want people to do and be upfront about asking them to do it. It’s easier for them and you, they’re looking for instructions on what to do if they enjoy your content. So think about different ways that you can have clear calls to action like:
- Click to find out more about…
- Take this quiz.
- Sign up for free here.
- Share this post with a friend who might be interested.
- Comment below if you have an opinion on this subject!
These are all ways to be a bit clearer about what you expect people to do. If they don’t know, they’ll probably do nothing but if you ask them they’re much more likely to do it!
5. Don’t ask fake questions!
Our last tip is to avoid asking fake questions! You’ve probably seen these before but they’ll be questions like ‘Are you planning to get fitter this year? We’ve got some excellent new gym equipment, you should sign up here.’
This isn’t a real question because it’s unlikely that you’d expect people to reply to it, instead it’s just preparing the reader for the brand’s offer. This style of writing does nothing for the power of your copy and if anything the fake tone is off-putting and doesn’t help you build trust. It’s important to make people feel like you’re actually listening to what they’re saying and that you care about their thoughts, feelings and feedback.
So instead of those questions, ask real ones and encourage people to share their opinions on related topics and start conversations that are authentic.
A great example of this is switching out ‘What are you doing to get fit?’ for ‘What’s better to wear in the gym – loose fitting clothes or tight lycra?’. That question is pretty easy to answer, you either don’t have an opinion at all, or will favour one of the two. So people are much more willing to interact with you because it’s an easier way to get involved.
Once you’ve got people engaging, in the comments and in your discussion you can then tell them that you’ve got new equipment in the gym. This is a much more sophisticated way to make your copy work for you so you’re not selling right from the beginning. You’re asking a meaningful question and then continuing the conversation with a group of people who have already shown interest in your organisation and gyms.
So think about how real your question is and whether you really want to know the answers, or are you just trying to find a different way to say things that sounds less like sales?
Have you tried any of these tips or do you have your own? We’d love to hear them, please get in contact and let us know @CrowdControlHQ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.