Writing copy for advertising material is a skill that can be mastered through practise. By applying these guidelines, one can learn how to write copy that sells a client’s products.

How to Create an Advertising Strategy

From producing long copy ads to crafting punchy headlines, copywriters are responsible for a brand’s language. Before launching into writing copy, any copywriter first needs to understand the advertising strategy.

An ad consists of two parts: the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. The ‘what’ is the strategy – the plan, the ad’s big idea or concept, its selling argument; the ‘how’ is the execution of that strategy – the particular form it takes: the images, language, layout and media placement (radio, print, television, etc.). To develop a strong strategy, copywriters need to understand three elements: the product, the consumer, and the marketplace.

  • The product: What exactly is the client selling?
  • The consumer: Who is the client selling to?

The marketplace: How does the client’s product (and its advertising) fit into the array around it?

In George Felton’s Advertising: Concept and Copy¬ – 2nd ed.(NY: W.W. Norton & Company) he writes, “Your goal is to understand the parts of the advertising scenario so well that you see how they all fit together – to know enough to write an ad that works, that talks to real people about real needs.” Thus writing copy for ads does not happen in a vacuum, but many elements, as mentioned above, should be considered.

How to Write Slogans

Slogans are also called taglines, theme lines or payoff lines. Many brands use these lines effectively as a means to create brand recall and recognition in the consumer’s mind. When applied correctly, slogans can contribute to a brand’s identification and increase awareness. Slogans are meant to be short, simple, to the point and easily recognisable. Here are some guidelines to help copywriters to think up slogans:

Elevate the product: Look for the product’s greatest benefit, emphasise it.

Differentiate from the competition.

Don’t sell features, but benefits: It’s not about what the product offers, but how those features can be turned into real benefits for the consumer.

Find the human truth: Say what people are thinking. Through tapping into the consumer’s mind, copywriters can make the advertising communication more real.

Try parallelism and opposition: By placing ideas or notions against or next to each other, copywriters can highlight the product’s benefit.

Tweak, twist, or add a cliché: Play around with well-known phrases, twist them and see what happens.

Use metaphor.

Play tricks with type and punctuation: If it works for the brand, bring in punctuation that adds more meaning to the message.

Don’t be clever, be clear: The most successful slogans are those that stick to one message and are to the point.

Keep it short, simple: Effective slogans are the ones that are short and crisp.

Above all, solve the problem: Slogans need to solve advertising problems and should say what is most needed.

Ten Tips for Writing More Effective Copy

  • Use the following tick list when writing copy for ads:
  • Don’t use fancy words.
  • Omit adjectives and adverbs.
  • Describe the benefit of the product, not the feature.
  • Write like the consumer speaks.
  • Keep copy focused on one main idea.
  • Focus on one, clear Unique Selling Point (USP) of the brand.
  • Try to find words that stick, like Nike’s ‘Just Do It’.
  • Check spelling. There is no excuse for a copywriter to make spelling mistakes
  • Test consumer’s reactions to the copy, adjust if necessary.

Craft copy again and again, until it’s just right.

Tips for Copywriters: How to Write Copy That Sells

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