28th April 2017

The Golden Rules of Copywriting

It’s very easy to get distracted by the practical side of things when you’re copywriting. I know I, for one, have a tendency to get caught up in the intricacies of grammar and spelling instead of thinking of the bigger picture. Whilst accuracy is important if you want to be giving people the right impression, copywriting is about much more than that.

It’s about customers.

Knowing your audience is essential when copywriting. Whether it’s your website content, a brochure, direct mail or an advertising campaign, you need to know who you’re speaking to and what they want to hear. Once you’ve worked out who you’re talking to, you need to engage with them in the right tone of voice, without preaching to the converted or patronising them. Every word you write is helping to form the character of your brand and ensuring buy-in to what you’re offering.

Take a look at Innocent smoothies. They have created a friendly, informative look and tone that appeals to healthy, environmentally-aware adults who don’t have time to make their own smoothies. But they also appeal directly to the children who these parents are trying to steer clear of fizzy drinks. For both, it’s the perfect carton to read while you eat your oats in the morning.

This is a steep contrast to the Ritz Hotel in London, which aims to appeal to the upper-class, wealthier Brit, or a tourist looking for a quintessentially British experience. And they don’t disappoint. Their writing is emotive of a unique, luxury experience. Not for children.

Or, if you’re like Coca Cola and don’t have a specific target market, spread a message with universal appeal – such as that of positivity and happiness – that doesn’t put you into any sector.

It’s about communicating.

Perhaps an interesting analogy is that copywriting should be treated like learning a new language. If you’re a beginner with a limited vocabulary, you often have to take a bit of a trip around the houses to express what you want to say, finding an odd route to articulate your point. And it may not be perfectly said, but regardless, you are communicating.

Some of the most engaging and memorable creative campaigns play with words to help them stand out. What about Compare the Meerkat? They’ve created a whole language and personality that is by no means grammatically correct, but has captured the imagination of a nation and set them well apart from their competitors.

It’s about creative.

When you’re communicating with an audience, the relationship between the copywriter and the creative team is essential. With a powerful image behind them, just two words could make a creative campaign. Keep it simple!

‘Precision parking’: two words that, alone, don’t give you much. However, put them next to a hedgehog parked perfectly in-between two goldfish in water-filled plastic bags, add a Volkswagen logo, and you have a humorous and memorable message that tells you all you need to know. I’d happily park my hedgehog there if I had Volkswagen precision parking.

Volkswagen Precision Parking

  • Nigel Da Silva,

    You also need to know when not to write anything, because the visual tells the whole story – anything added would detract from the message … and yes, it does happen.

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Anna Berry

Account Manager

Anna is the part of the Client Services team, providing support to clients throughout brand development projects.

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