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50: Copywriting

by Speakeasy Podcast Network
April 25th 2021

In today's episode, Rob talks about the value of copywriting and provides a guide of questions you can ask yourself to help you create engaging copy. 

What's happening friends, welcome back for another episode of Waynecast. I'm Rob Johnson. On today's show, I want to talk about copywriting. And actually this is the second time I've done this recording. The first time I was actually recording into my Macbook instead of my Yeti mic, which goes to show you even the most experienced podcasters can make mistakes. And my goal is that those mistakes just occur on my show rather than someone else's. So far that's been a pretty good policy.
But today I want to talk about copywriting. I think copywriting is probably one of the most undervalued skill sets in the marketing world. I tell my team regularly that copywriting is just as important as graphic design and it's just as much of a skill set. It's an art form. There is an art to it.

Writing for an ad can make the difference between somebody thinking that your business or your product is vanilla and fits in with everyone else is it's the exact same. Or it can cause a disruption in the market and get people to talk. Now, video, photography, all of those things can also have a similar impact, but so can copywriting. And that's why I wanted to do a show specifically on this today because I think the guide I've put together is really helpful and I think it can serve businesses really well.
So even if you don't have an outside marketing team, if you don't have a marketing consultant, I'm pretty confident that you can take this guide, ask these questions to yourself and be starting with a pretty good baseline, a pretty good foundation for your own copywriting.
So this is actually the first podcast we've had a script, so it's a little strange. Usually everything I do is off the cuff. Um but being this is relatively new. I wanted to make sure I have these points down pretty firm.

So that way we can talk about them and hopefully this video can get seen by dozens of people and the podcast can be listened to and it can be a really good resource guide for business owners and even agencies that are starting out and looking for more help in terms of good copywriting.
So for me, there's a series of questions that always need to be asked as you write copy for an ad or a piece of content or description, let's say in Youtube or Vimeo. Now one of the biggest fundamental errors that businesses make is not distinguishing content from advertising. So really quickly, content is something that goes up on a feed organically. So, for example, you're at the office, your work site, you take a picture you post it on socials, you caption the photo which is your copy. And that is no money behind it. It's just a piece of content that goes up to your existing followers. An advertisement is something you're putting money behind. You're targeting your followers or a new batch of followers for your advertising efforts.

So for example, if you're a makeup company and you want to target a new demographic outside of your followers, you can place an ad on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn wherever. You can eliminate your existing audience and you can add basically your behavior, your demographics, your interests. So again, going back to the makeup company example, you might want to target women aged 35 to 55 who have clicked the shop now button on Facebook in the last seven days and also who are in the top 50% in terms of income for their given zip code. Now Facebook has all of that data and it's going to be more and more limited as the years go on and its privacy starts to get locked down from Apple, and I'm sure Google is eventually going to follow suit. But nonetheless, that's what you would do in terms of advertising. So content, no money placed behind it, advertising, there's money placed behind it.
So I want to get to these five questions that I ask myself every time I do copy and I think are really helpful in terms of sorting out why you're writing what you're writing and giving you direction on what you should be writing.

So the first question is "Is it simple?" and by simple, I don't mean is it at a third grade level. What I mean is is the message clear, concise? Is it accessible to those within your demographic? So for example, if you're writing copy for a roofing company expressing simple value is a great option, but it's not the only thing you should be doing. You should also be talking about the history of the company, telling a story. You should talk about the owner of the business, you should tie in the community. All of those pieces need to be in place in order for a marketing campaign to be successful.
In order for a marketing roadmap to be effective, it needs to be simple but it also needs to be focused on more than just selling. So "Is it simple?" as the first question. The second question is "Does it drive action?" Now for marketing and I would argue for every single industry, sales should not be the focus of your copywriting. awareness can certainly be a primary focus, but it really shouldn't be, "Hey, we have 10% off product X for the next 14 days."

Those are effective. They have a place, there's a time and a place to do things like that. But you also need to look at awareness, reputation and just education as a core fundamental driver of building your audience. Because the more value you pour into your audience, the more willing they're going to buy when you have something new that's coming out or when you do make an offer. So does the ad drive action? Does the piece of content drive action? Are they signing up for your blog? Are they signing up for your podcast? Are they are you highlighting a member of the community in promoting their website? What is the action? What's the result or what's the goal of the copy that you're writing?
The third one here is what's your angle? So one of the highlights of a business and the best way that I can get a business owner to answer this is let's say you're in an elevator and someone says, "Hey, um I saw down in the lobby, that you're a business owner." I don't know how they would do that, but let's say they did, you're in the elevator and they say, "What do you do?"

What are those things in that 62nd elevator ride that you're going to tell them about your business? So for us as a marketing company, I might say, you know, "We're a small business advertising agency. We only work with the businesses within the communities that our offices are in. And we have a pretty sweet podcast studio that a lot of businesses seem to like."
Simple. highlights something that's different about a marketing company. Only working with people that are local and podcasting is a unique angle as well. So what are the drivers, what makes your business different? And a big piece of that goes into step four which is or question four, I should say, "Is it all encompassing?" and by all encompassing, what I mean is does it capture the essence of the company? Does it capture your angle? Does it capture the tone? Does the tone match the graphic? Does it match your branding colors? Does it match your style? Being all encompassing means that everything from the copy to the graphic, to the tone, to the style, everything is inclusive of what you want people to see when they see your company.

That's why branding matters. Having a brand kit matters, having color palettes matter, having taglines, things that you talk about, sales materials. All of those things are important. And if you don't have them, it's gonna be really hard to drive action. It's going to be really hard to distill your message and keep it simple because you don't have a message yet, you're still developing that. So I recommend business owners read the book by Simon Sinek called Start With Why, which can really help to uncover why you're doing the thing that you're doing and it can help you write creative marketing. It can help you write creative copy for your efforts, so you can hook people and explain the value that your company is bringing.
And again, business owners, this doesn't have to be what you do, that's what marketing companies are for as well. So it's good to have, here's my direction, here's the bullet points. Now, let's collaborate together and turn it into something awesome and you need to know your why, but you don't necessarily need to be the one writing the copy and running the ads.

You just need to have the vision for what you're doing. So that way someone else doesn't define your vision for you.
So when we talk about all encompassing, I want to give two different examples. So let's say there's a roofing company, they've been around for three generations, they've been in the community 60 years. Here's two different pieces of copy that one might see and I actually saw this one, in a Louisville roofing company, we represent one down there, but there's a competitor that's actually running this ad. And it says "Our team sells roofs at a great price call today." and there's a 10% off coupon in the graphic.
Now is the 10% going to drive someone to that company well maybe, I mean coupons work, right discounts work. But if you tell a story, if you insert something that makes them feel good about the decision that they're making, then it's a win win. So here's an example of, I would say a better copy. "For over three generations, our family has been helping other families stay safe from the elements without breaking the bank. Call experience, call company X"

Now there's a lot of things happening in that first sentence. We're talking about the establishment of the business, how long it's been around three generations. We're talking about a family dynamic, their family as a family based roofing company has been helping other families stay safe from the elements. So there's security and then there's also a financial value without breaking the bank, meaning that they're affordable, they're reasonably priced.
So there's a lot happening in that one sentence and it's seeing a lot more than "We sell roofs at a great price. Call today.". What you're doing is you're establishing a family dynamic. You're establishing, you know, financial certainty. You're establishing safety. All of those things matter, and it can make someone feel something when they see an ad or when they see a piece of content and it can cause them to make a decision or keep your company in the memory banks for when you do need a new roof in this case.

So you can clearly see which one is better based on that. So question five is "Is it error free?" Now, I've made a ton of grammatical mistakes and anyone that knows me knows that, I'm not really that concerned about copywriting being error free in the beginning of a creative process. Because it's gonna get fixed, I'm going to see it, you know, the creative manager is gonna see it, the client's gonna see it. It's going to go up a lot of different rungs. So four or five different sets of eyeballs will be on it to make sure that the grammar and that the spelling is all correct. What matters more to me is the message.
Now that being said, "Is it error free?" Is one of my five cap stones of good copywriting. So why? Well the biggest thing is because if you have a misspelling or if you have a grammatical error, it can take somebody out of the experience of what you're trying to convey to them. So, for example, if you have the wrong there in a sentence, someone can be reading along and say, "Oh well if they're not going to take the time to read that, why would I trust them with my business

If they can't even get this sentence right?" That might be illogical. Like people make mistakes right? Like I've put typos in ads before, like that happens. But nonetheless, the human brain is, I will say an unconventional thing and it's not always that balanced in terms of its judgment. So when you have a typo, someone might say "Oh well they can't even write a sentence, I'm not trusting them with my business." and then they move on and that can be something that subliminal, it could be something that happens passively. The person might not even know they're making that association, but that's the feeling that they got from the copy that was written.
So error free ads really do matter for copywriting. And that's why it's the fifth point. So is it error free? Is it free of distractions for the reader? So, to recap here, we want ads to be simple. We want them to be clear, concise, accessible. We want them to drive action.

Whether it's educational, sales, community engagement, awareness, we want to make sure there's an angle. So what's your angle? What is the highlight of the company? What is the one thing that if a newspaper article is written about your company, they would talk about being a difference maker. It would be a market disruptor. Number four is all encompassing. Does it take a note of everything that the brand stands for, and does it distill it into something that someone can understand again simply? And five is it error free? Is it free of distractions so the reader can start and finish without being distracted?
Those are really the five things I think are the five questions rather someone should be asking themselves when they engage in copywriting. This is by no means an exhaustive list. There's probably a lot of other great questions and points and and tips that need to be touched on. And that's why I always recommend, you know, great books and I can link up some in the show notes, Youtube videos, blogs.

It's like anything else. There are layers to this. And I think for this this is a very good starting point, if you're looking to write good copy.
All right friends, well that will wrap up episode, I think this is 50 of Waynecast and I will catch you guys on the next one and hopefully this recording, which is the proper microphone and we're in good shape. So if you have any questions, it's rob@waynemedia.com. You can find all of our information at either waynemedia.com or speakeasynetwork.com. Someone took speakeasypodcast.com and they won't sell it. It's frustrating. Nonetheless, the websites are on the ticker below. They are also in the show notes, you have any questions, comments, you know, feel free to drop them in the comments section or email them to me directly. Be glad to chat with you about them. Thanks so much for listening. I'll catch you on the next one. Take care.

50: Copywriting
50: Copywriting
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