Short one today.
Very little sleep.
Short, broken sentences.
I was invited onto a Facebook live in my friend Gina’s Brand Hacks group today (if you want to learn about branding, there’s no one better than Gina), to talk about copy and humour.
It was a lot of fun.
Someone asked about what books I would recommend for someone new to copywriting.
That’s my first instinct too when wanting to learn something – buy a load of books.
With copywriting though, the best thing you can do is start writing.
Put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, every single day.
“How do I get better though?”
To get better, you don’t need a load of books, you need some questions to keep you on track.
Here are some to get you started.
From now on, whenever you write something, ask yourself four questions:
- Who is this for?
- What do I want to tell them?
- Why should they care?
- What do I want them to do after reading this?
Whatever you write – whether it’s a blog post, MySpace update or a lust-fueled note to your athletic lodger, make sure to keep those questions in mind before you click send and you’ll get better.
Just in case you’re unclear on any though, let’s have a closer look at each:
WHO IS THIS FOR? – Makes sure you have a clear idea of your audience.
It’s OK to have different markets and readers, but each piece should be for SOMEONE.
If it’s not for someone, it’s for no-one, and a piece for no-one isn’t worth writing.
Who is THIS piece for?
WHAT DO I WANT TO TELL THEM? – What is the point of the article?
What are you going to tell them?
How does this article make their life better?
Even a sign saying, “DON’T TOUCH – WET PAINT!” has a point.
WHY SHOULD THEY CARE? – You have the audience, you have the information… but why should they care?
Why is this important?
Why should they pay attention?
Your audience needs to know why they need to read this. if they don’t, they won’t.
WHAT SHOULD THEY DO AFTER READING THIS? – Have a “Call to Action”.
Contrary to popular belief, a CTA doesn’t have to be a link to buy one of your things.
Maybe you want them to read another article on your blog.
Maybe you want them to subscribe or download a PDF.
Think of what you want them to do next and tell them to do it.
If you don’t, they’ll start to think for themselves and they could wander off anywhere!
If you want to improve your writing, you don’t need a load of books, you just need a few helpful questions.
I hope these are useful.
Have a great start of the week,
P.S. My “Smack My Pitch Up!” is still available for pre-order.
Grab it before the 8th and you’ll get a free email consult – that means you can get your networking pitch sorted with even LESS effort on your part!
You can grab your copy here (don’t forget the discount code FIERCEANDLOYAL to get 25% off!)
P.P.S. By the way, the copywriting book I recommend for beginners? This one.