There are many keys to writing GREAT copy. This one, while not a secret–any copy writer worth his/her salt knows it–is as important to your success as the words in your message.
The key to great copywriting is not in the writing. That’s right, and I’ll say it again…the key to great copywriting is NOT in the writing.
It’s the interview. That’s right – 90% of the work happens before you turn on your computer, punch a key, or write a sentence. If you ask the right questions, you will intimately understand your audience and the writing will be easy. Once you completely understand your purpose the words will flow like water over Niagara Falls. Here are 10 questions to help you write GREAT copy:1. Facts – These are the who, what, when, and where questions. They give you just the facts and nothing else. Most of these questions can be answered, with a bit of research, prior to your interview. So if you want to be ahead of the game, come prepared to confirm instead of collect answers to these questions.
2. Reasons – Why the clients product or service? Find out why the client thinks their product or service is needed and why their’s is the BEST choice for the intended audience.
3. Problem/Solution – What was/is the problem and how does the product or service solve it? The answers to these questions are key to producing clear benefits in your copy.
4. Descriptors – Adjectives turn words into a picture. They describe a scene so readers can connect via their imagination. One trick to drawing these words out in an interview is to get your interviewee to describe their product or service in the third person. For example: “Imagine your best client is referring you to their best friend. What would they say?”
5. Feelings – Understanding feelings is important for establishing the proper tone for your copy. Should your tone be happy and upbeat or calm and subdued? When in the interview, be sure to ask about how the reader feels both before and after the product/service experience.
6. Actions – Verbs are the most important words in your copy because they inspire readers to take action. One method for drawing out action words is the question, “What does your product/service help people do?”
7. Typical Customer – The more detail you can gather about the customer you are trying to reach with your ads, the more easily you can put yourself into their character and come up with winning copy. Go deeper than traditional demographic info and get creative with your assessment. Where do they shop? What’s their favorite food? What are they doing on the weekends? What kind of clothes are they wearing? Although your interviewee may be thrown off by these types of questions, the detailed descriptions will help you visualize your audience when you are writing and get into their mind.
8. Personification – Particularly useful if you are selling an intangible, such as a service. Try using questions like, “If your service was a person, how would you…fix them up on a date? recommend them for a job? introduce them to your mother?” Again, you may have to warn your interviewee to simply trust the process.
9. Competition – With so much noise on the market today, a thorough understanding of the competition is key to standing out. Ask the tough questions like “What advantages does your competition have over you?” “What advantages do you have over your competitors?” Knowing what you’re up against can help you focus on which benefits to feature.
10. Analogies/Metaphors – A master copywriter will quietly weave analogies and metaphors into the ad copy. Doing so solidifies the brand awareness of the product or service to an existing object or experience in the reader’s mind. Try testing analogies/metaphors throughout your interview and see if any resonate with your client. If you get a resounding “YES!!” you know you’re on to something.
P.S. The above was found on the WriteMarketingIdeas.com blog. I agree with about 90% of what it says and have revised it just a bit to make it fit my own way of doing things.
Using some or all of the above questions when you go for that all important ‘first’ interview will solidify your expertise in your client’s mind. It will help you get the job and will give you that all important ‘insight’ into the products or services that you are about to promote.