Jamie Harper

Jamie Harper

Spend days duking it out with synonyms, sometimes for global brands.

The importance of writing with purpose (and how to do it)

Copywriting
Jamie Harper
Tue, 01/09/2015 - 20:45

The best writing is purposeful writing. Whether you are updating your blog, crafting a sales letter or working on a landing page, irresistible copy requires you to zero in on a few fundamentals: your audience, your topic and your writing style. Vague prose won’t cut it, your reader is too busy.

Write for a specific person

You’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again. One of the key elements of good copywriting is knowing who you are writing for. What are their interests? How do they talk? Are they familiar with your brand? The more you know, the better you can tailor your language to suit.

Once you have done your investigative work, try to focus on an audience of one. Writing is normally easier when you have a clear image of a specific reader in your mind’s eye. It helps the clouds part.

More audience profiling tips: >> Want persuasive copy? Stop thinking about yourself.

Write to solve a specific problem

It’s true what they say. Try to please everyone and you end up pleasing no one. When it comes to marketing copy, a lot of writers make the mistake of trying to reach as many people as possible with as little communication as possible. Bloggers are the worst offenders.

But approaching your writing with a catch-all frame of mind makes for vague nothingness. Stop thinking in terms of how many people you reach, concentrate on reaching the right people with content they will value. Is it better for 10,000 people to see your post and be totally apathetic or for 100 people to read it and be wowed? Exactly.

Don’t be afraid to write specifically about niche topics.

Make one point and make it well

Focus on one point at a time. This applies at every level: the sentence, the paragraph, the page, the paper. Anecdotes and metaphors can be elegant ways to emphasise your message, but avoid over-elaborating. Things get stodgy fast. And wandering nomadically from topic to topic is a sure-fire way to lose your reader.

When you concentrate on one idea at a time, two awesome things happen: 1) the clarity of your message comes out; 2) your prose begins to flow. Logically. Coherently. Naturally. Writing that would otherwise be good is often hamstrung by too many ideas jostling for position. Keep it simple.

Good planning is your friend for life

Profiling your audience. Deciding on your topic. Organising the logical flow of ideas in your writing. It might all sound like too much effort, especially when you are busy and are juggling priorities. Don’t be fooled. Whether you are writing 25 words of packaging copy or a 5,000-word white paper, every minute spent planning will save five minutes when you come to write. More or less you should know everything you want to say before you write your first word in earnest.

Keen to whip your web copy into shape? We can help.

Jamie Harper

Copywriter,
London Design Works.

Communication pervert with BA (Hons) in English Language Studies and 1.25 million words in the portfolio. Spend days duking it out with synonyms, sometimes for global brands. Spend downtime wondering what kind of hands the person who invented shrink wrap has.

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