How do you achieve authentic copywriting?
9th August 2021 | Posted in copywriting
Without some empathy for your readership, the words you share will really struggle to achieve your goals. So how to you find the right way to deliver your message to your intended audience?
Understand the audience
Defining the target audience is a first priority.
A good way to do this is to create profiles of individuals within that audience, together with their needs and aspirations. If it’s not already happened by the time the copywriter is involved, then this is an excellent first exercise to get marketing and copywriting working together.
Define your tone
Once you’ve got a clearer understanding of who you are talking to, then you can look at how you can approach them for the most successful effect.
Where along the line from ultra-professional to mega-chatty do you want to be? Serious or with a smile? Provocative or sympathetic? Deep insights or a rapid read?
Determine the geography
Where your target audience is will affect how you write for them.
If you’re writing in English, is it American English or British English? Some audiences won’t care, and others could be deterred by language that doesn’t resonate with their own.
And for many, they may be reading in a second language, and structures such as puns don’t necessarily travel well.
You’ve already defined your audience and spent some time thinking about what keeps them awake at night and what gets them up in the morning.
Now use that knowledge to drive your copy. Keep a picture of that profile target in your head. Even better, think of someone you know with those needs and dreams, and write for them.
If you don’t know your audience very well, it’s very easy to start telling them what they already know. You’re coming across ideas and information that’s new to you, but not to them. You spend too much valuable time here and they’ll know that you’re not an expert in their field – just some bod who’s trawled the web to find their content. They’ll be highly dubious about your message.
It’s also incredibly easy to cross the line into patronising when you’re attempting humour. Writing for an audience group that you really don’t know is tricky. It’s a fine distinction between raising a smile and raising a frown. I know, I’ve been there when trying to write clever copy for young drivers looking for motor insurance. It didn’t work.
Know when to say no
When your income depends on the number of jobs you can complete and invoice, it’s very tempting to say yes to almost everything and do your best to meet the challenge. But if you’ve got the skills but not the knowledge, that is going to show.
I was recently asked to work on a website and funnel for an audience that I didn’t know at all. Young American women starting out in the world with enthusiasm and excitement, who might be attracted to online training in fashion and makeup. There just wasn’t a single touch point where I could say, yes I empathise with this audience, their language, their spirit or their goals. So I was honest and said no – and was promptly offered a different project for an audience that I got, totally.
That won’t always happen, but you can lose trust between marketing and copywriter if you pretend. Your audience will find you out.