Copywriting existed long before there was the internet. As much as the internet has contributed to copywriting, it has also harmed it to a certain degree. The secret to successful copywriting is connecting. But when marketers and content creators focus too much on the mechanics of SEO, that connection with the audience can suffer.
Believe it or not, it’s a lot like music. There are plenty of people who know the mechanics of playing an instrument. A lot of them took piano lessons growing up. But taking lessons does not make one a musician capable of connecting with an audience.
Making a connection requires more than just mechanical skills. It requires interpretation, a strong presentation, and emotional investment. Successful copywriting is very similar. You need to be able to connect with your audience if your message is going to resonate.
Persuasive Writing in E-Commerce
E-commerce is a good avenue for comparing good technical writing with writing that makes a connection. The experts at Salt Lake City’s Webtek Digital Marketing say e-commerce SEO calls for a hard-to-achieve balance between technical and persuasive writing.
Copywriters need to employ a certain amount of technical skill to structure a headline and product description in such a way as to achieve good SEO results. But then they also need to employ persuasive writing that convinces visitors to buy. Persuasive writing makes that connection. It shows an understanding of the consumer’s needs. It empathizes with the consumer’s desire to solve a particular problem.
Understanding the Audience
As with anything else in marketing, a fundamental principle of successful copywriting is understanding your audience. This is nothing new. Marketers and SEO experts have been discussing the topic seemingly forever. Copywriters cannot effectively reach an audience if they have not identified that audience.
These days, it is not unusual for marketers to develop customer personas. But there is a danger in doing so: creating personas based on a misunderstanding of the ideal customer, rather than who the customer really is. There is a substantial difference.
Speaking Their Language
Hand-in-hand with understanding the audience is speaking their language. The most effective copywriters can write in more than one style. They have extensive vocabularies capable of appealing to all sorts of people across very broad marketing landscapes.
This particular aspect of copywriting cannot be emphasized enough. Far too often, brands approach copywriting from their viewpoint rather than the customers. They write in terms that customers don’t understand. They use acronyms that are foreign to people outside of their industry.
Industry jargon and marketing buzzwords are equally problematic. In a business-to-consumer (B2C) scenario, customers are definitely not impressed by jargon and buzzwords. They want the straight dope. In a business-to-business (B2B) scenario, customers are not fooled by jargon and buzzwords. They understand them because they speak the same language themselves.
Move Beyond Business to Make a Connection
What it all boils down to is moving beyond business to make a personal connection. Coca-Cola’s polar bear ad campaign is a perfect example. First of all, Coke only breaks out the polar bears at Christmas, when people are already in a warm and fuzzy frame of mind.
More importantly, all the polar bear commercials revolve around the concept of family. That is important during the Christmas season. Through those commercials, Coke is able to move beyond the business of selling soft drinks to make a human connection that people remember.
Copywriting can be a purely technical exercise. But to succeed, copy also needs to connect. No amount of technical skills will matter if a copywriter doesn’t connect with the audience.