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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

How to Write Engaging Headlines and Captions (Copywriter Best Practices)

Did you know that 40% of consumers say that they have at least 50 unread emails in their inbox? And yet in a 2019 study that surveyed 1,000 businesses, email was ranked as the second most effective means for building brand awareness.

Writing engaging copy, however, doesn’t just involve emails. It involves your entire marketing strategy. From your Google and Facebook ads, down to your social media captions, every piece of content you publish and promote requires quality copywriting.

But not every startup or business can afford a full-time copywriter. Nevertheless, every copywriter has a few basic principles and guidelines that they follow in order to help them produce the highest results. And it’s these guidelines that we’re going to share with you!

1. Define Your Audience

However big or small, the first step in any marketing campaign or strategy is to define your audience. What this means is that you have to clearly picture who your ideal customer is.

Do they play golf on the weekends? Are they a full-time parent? Do they prefer environment-friendly products versus plastics?

These are just some basic questions you have to ask yourself about who it is, exactly, that you serve. Pinning down your ideal customer persona is essential if you want to write copy that they’d be interested in reading.

2. Connect with their Pains and Problems

The easiest and fastest way that you can connect with your ideal customer is to quickly define the problem they’re having, and how your product or business can help them solve that problem.

Of course, it helps not to sound like an infomercial from the 90’s. Identifying the main problem is the first step to building a connection with a potential customer. And to do that, think deeply about what it is your product helps them achieve or solve?

Can your product help parents turn their children’s filthy, grimy shirts spotless in minutes? Can it sweep your entire house clean of dust and pet hair? Can it help small businesses increase their online conversions and sales?

Stating the problem helps narrow down the audience you’re communicating to. It draws in individuals that are currently experiencing those pains, and turns away the people that aren’t and won’t at all be interested.


3. Focus on the Benefits Rather than the Features

Now that you’ve addressed the elephant in the room, your next job is to make sure that you mention how your product or business can help solve that problem.

Take note, though, that only a fair number of people are interested in how much faster, stronger, cheaper, or cooler your product is compared to the competition. Don’t focus too much on the features. Focus instead on the benefits.

What are the benefits? Sweet-smelling, spotless laundry. Zero dust and allergens lying and floating about the house. Time and financial freedom for entrepreneurs that want to get out of the 9 to 5.

These are the benefits. They relate more to the real-life experiences your customers will have once they choose to partner with your business, rather than the maximum horsepower your engines can provide.

4. Verbs not Adverbs

Now we get into the nitty gritty of writing, and this is the King of all copywriting tips! Famous horror writer, Stephen King, himself puts this piece of advice high on his shelf: delete all your adverbs.

Nothing makes your writing sound weaker than a bunch of adverbs strung together. Even that phrase “sound weaker” is already a testament to the lacklustre experience that adverbs bring to the table.

Rather than using the phrase “sound weaker” then, we could transform that into more powerful verbs like: cripple, exhaust, undermine, or dilute. In fact, let’s try that for a moment and compare the results.

A. Nothing makes your writing sound weaker than a bunch of adverbs.
B. Nothing cripples your writing more than a bunch of adverbs.

Notice the difference? Now go, seek out those adverbs and eliminate them from your copy.

5. Be Clear & Concise

In this day and age, with the number of distractions in the world ever-increasing, it pays to be clear and concise from the start.

That means, in the very first few sentences of your copy, you have to already state the problem, offer your solution, and lay down the benefits of that solution. In the world wide web, first impressions matter the most.

Don’t meander around with your copy. Be clear-cut and concise. Make sure that your audience understands what it is you’re trying to tell them and try to fit your entire message within the first paragraph or two of your copy. Because sometimes that makes all the difference.