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Three Big Ideas

When planning out a piece of copy, most copywriters use the AIDA approach, which stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. This has been a proven method since the 1950s. While it can be effective, there is an even better structural approach, which is composed of three big ideas:

1. Using promises to engage emotions. Customers make purchasing decisions based on what companies are promising them. Rather than make readers search for a company’s promise, a copywriter should highlight that promise and define it explicitly. Promises register better than benefits because readers process promises emotionally. A well-written promise is specific and triggers at least two emotions, one of which should be curiosity.

2. Using secrets to unlock readers’ emotions. Secrets are tempting to readers for two reasons: They represent rarity and provide a sense of inclusion. Making readers feel as though they have been trusted with a secret will also make them feel more powerful.

3. Using stories to create connections. Stories and storytellers have been around as long as humans. Stories told in copywriting should be quick, suspenseful, and surprising, otherwise readers may lose interest.

Developing Customer Empathy

Successful copywriters exhibit insight and empathy, making each reader feel as though the writing is intended specifically for him or her. Writers must utilize personal copy, which demonstrates true understanding of readers, instead of personalized copy, which merely reflects that they have inserted data that was gathered about readers. It can help writers to think of their target readers as fictional characters, imagining their day-to-day lives and responding to them. Writers must also shift their perspectives from what interests them to what interests their readers.

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

Compliments can have a wonderful effect when delivered with sincerity. The key to flattery, or exaggerated praise, is to ensure that the core of the compliment is true so the reader will not mind the exaggeration.

The Ancient Greek Secret of Emotionally Engaging Copy

The ancient Greeks were among the first to use language to inspire action. They were more politically minded than today’s typical copywriters, but a lot can be learned by examining how the Greeks built their arguments.

Aristotle’s theory of persuasion rested on three main components:

1. Ethos, the character of the speaker and what gives him or her a credible voice.

2. Pathos, the emotional appeal of the argument, or how the reader becomes engaged.

3. Logos, the intellectual reasoning behind the argument.

Copywriting needs to use the same three components in some combination. Most copywriters are more comfortable with the logos aspect of their sales pitches, so starting with ethos is a good way to find new approaches.

Connecting on Social Media

Business writing for social media is rapidly becoming a necessity for every modern professional. There are three major factors writers must keep in mind when using social media:

  1. What to say.

  2. How to say it.

  3. How to protect their reputations.

In order to be effective, copywriters need to make their content original, fresh, and authentic. They can do this by using blogs, videos, and webinars. All of their content must follow the same rules as traditional copywriting: It should be engaging, clear, friendly, accessible, and trustworthy.

When writing for social media, writers must remember that brevity it important. Social media copy must be tailored to catch readers’ eyes as they scan through their newsfeeds. The beginning of the subject line is most important for sparking interest, and the entire line should be no more than 29 to 39 characters long. The writer’s job is to cut away as much as possible until the core of the message is all that remains.

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