Most Copywriting Tips are Vague and Generic–Not These 9

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Great copywriters aren’t born, they’re made. In fact, you don’t even have to be a great writer to nail the copywriting thing.

You just need to follow the recipe for great copywriting and master the ingredients that go into it. 

1. Sell How People Want To Be Seen

Persuading someone to do what you want, especially when it comes to buying something, requires strategy. You need to tap into that person’s emotions, their hopes and dreams, fears and desires. 

This means understanding the concept of identification. Identification is how people see themselves in a given situation, and this is driven by their current circumstances, problems, and goals. 

And all of this is driven by their personalities, lifestyles, values, beliefs, attitudes, and interests. These are the psychographics that drive audiences to take action.

People aren’t thinking about products or services. They’re trying to solve a problem or get something they desire.

When you can tap into a person’s desire or pain point with your copy, you stand a much better chance of persuading them to choose your product or service. 


The audience you’re speaking to feels like you get them. They identify with your message and see themselves in it, even if it is on a subconscious level. They start to trust you. This moves them a step closer to the action you want them to take.

Take a small business owner on a growth trajectory. They need to attract top talent to make that growth happen. They know they won’t get the best of the best if their business comes across as disorganized. They want interviewees to view the hiring process as seamless and professional. 

Gusto, the HR/payroll software company, understands this and targets its copy towards that specific persona. Gusto is clear that size doesn’t matter, they have a tool that keeps HR tasks on track and employees satisfied.

Gusto webpage that says "One place to keep your team happy and productive."

As the famous copywriter Eugene Schwartz noted in his book, Breakthrough Advertising, “People do not buy the steel in a car, the glass in a vase, the tobacco in a cigarette, or the paper in a book. The physical part of your product is of value only because it enables your product to do things for people.”

What your copy should do is satisfy a person’s self-image. 

2. Supercharge Your Productivity

Approach your copywriting career like an athlete approaches an elite event. The best athletes don’t wake up in the morning without a plan to build their skills and crush their goals. They know exactly what they’re going to do each day. They have a plan in place to become the best athlete they can be.

The same concept applies to becoming a more productive, effective, and efficient copywriter. You need to develop a writing system—one you can stick to and follow every day.

Once again, we can look to the copywriting genius Eugene Schwartz for guidance.

His system was to write in very precise spurts of 33 minutes and 33 seconds, five days a week for 3-4 hours each day. He would set a timer to stay on track and during that time couldn’t leave his desk. 

Didn’t matter if he wrote something, daydreamed, or absently stared into space. The point was he disciplined himself to be at his desk, Monday through Friday, day in and day out, without fail.

At the end of each session, he would take a 10-minute break, get up, and do something totally not related to writing. The breaks allowed his subconscious to flow without constraint. Sometimes a great writing idea would come during those breaks.

While you don’t have to follow such an exact routine, the general idea is sound. Identify your best time for writing, then develop a schedule you can follow, and stick to it. Build in breaks to let your subconscious bubble ideas to the surface. Use a timer to stay on track. 

Over time, you’ll build solid writing habits that will help you overcome writer’s block, stay focused, and even become a faster and more effective writer.

3. Keep It Simple

When it comes to effective copywriting, less is more. You want to state a thought with as few words as possible. You also want to avoid jargon or complex language.

Copywriting is not the time to wax poetic or lean into technical terms that a layperson won’t understand (unless you’re selling to experts in a particular field). Short sentences and simple words are impactful and effective.

Trello, the productivity management tool, uses 20 words on their landing page to succinctly convey what they do and who they’re trying to reach. No fluff, no compound sentences. Simple and to the point. Very effective.

Trello webpage that says "Trello brings all your tasks, teammates, and tools together"

You want your reader to easily follow your messaging and arrive effortlessly at the end result. This is how you grab their attention and get them to take the action you desire.

4. Use Your Eyes and Ears More Than Your Mouth

The best copywriters—and writers in general—spend more time listening and observing than actually writing. The old saying “God gave you two eyes, two ears and one mouth” is helpful here.

Your role is to take yourself out of the equation as much as possible. You want to be a fly on the wall. 

The goal is to absorb all the knowledge and insights you can about your audience and the market itself. You want to get inside their heads. You can only do that when you stop talking and start watching and listening.

Follow industry news, pay attention to pop culture trends, study demographics and psychographics, monitor social channel content and comments, interview customers, and read reviews about products and services.

This information helps you understand your audience. When you do, you can write more effectively to them.

5. Meet Your Audience Where They Are

Not every customer is in the same place on their buying journey. 

Some people don’t know they have a problem they need to solve. Others realize they have a problem but aren’t sure how to solve it. Then there are some who know what their problem is, have done their homework, and are comparing solutions.

Eugene Schwartz (yes, he’s back), laid out five different stages of customer awareness:

  • Unaware – not sure they have an issue to resolve
  • Problem aware – know the issue but no idea how to solve it
  • Solution aware – know there is a way to solve the issue but not precisely how
  • Product aware – know about the different products that can solve the issue
  • Most aware – know your product is probably the best option to solve their issue

Your role as the copywriter is to write words that meet your audience where they are in the awareness spectrum. You want to move them closer to the “most aware” stage. It’s at that stage you can turn them into customers.

For example, if a prospect is problem aware, you want your copy to speak to their issue. Your headline should capture their attention by restating the exact problem they have. With their attention piqued, your copy can move into mentioning a solution.

On the other hand, if a prospect is product aware, your copy should focus on explaining why your solution is the best solution. 

Writing persuasive copy means knowing where your audience is on the awareness spectrum.

6. Sell the Benefits, Not the Solution

Great copywriting resonates with the reader. 

An effective way to do this is to focus on how your product or service will solve their problem or improve their life. This puts the focus on the customer, not the product.

Too many copywriters waste time and words touting the features or functions of a product, with little regard for why a prospective customer should care. Customers don’t care about what your product can do, they care about how it will make their lives better.

Barkbox, the monthly subscription box for man’s best friend, nails this idea. It doesn’t waste time talking about the bells and whistles of the actual products inside the box. 

Instead, the brand focuses on the impact each subscription box has on the pups and their owners. Cute, smiling, happy dogs and satisfied, proud dog parents.

Barkbox webpage that says "Dog people get it"

Maintain the focus of your words on how your product or service benefits the reader. It’s the best way to turn prospects into customers.

7. Build Trust With Social Proof

Don’t underestimate the power of what others are saying and doing online. Crowdsourcing is integral to modern marketing. Savvy consumers rely on this kind of information to make educated decisions.

Monitor social channels, and make note of trends and accolades that you see there about the brand, product, or service. Keep an eye on third-party review sites relevant to your brand or industry.

Incorporate the information you find there into your copy whenever possible, whether it’s case studies, testimonials, or review excerpts.

Include social proof in your copy to build trust and credibility. 

8. Optimize Your Headline

80% of people read headlines, but only 20% go beyond that. This puts a lot of pressure on a very limited number of words. You have to nail your headline and give people a reason to click and stick around.

Your headline should do several things:

  • Grab a reader’s attention
  • Talk to their pain point
  • Incorporate SEO strategies

The great news is that writing awesome headlines doesn’t have to be hard. You can find the headline formulas that work for your target audience, and keep using variations of that formula across your copywriting projects. 

If you’re brand-new to writing headlines, you can also check out our complete guide to headlines for all the basics.

Velocity Partners, a UK-based B2B marketing agency, understands the power of grabbing a reader’s attention with a headline. Three simple words, including one that speaks to reader identification. As a reader, you can’t help but be intrigued, be part of the 20% that keep reading, and follow the CTA down below.

Velocity Partners webpage that says "Meaning, Metrics & Mojo"

There’s no one right way to write headlines. It will always depend on what you’re writing and who your audience will be. The key for success is understanding the mechanics behind the process and incorporating it into your unique situation.

9. Create a Compelling Call to Action

Motivating your reader to action is the ultimate goal with all copywriting. This makes your Call to Action (CTA) an extremely important part of your copy.

Unfortunately, many copywriters treat it as an afterthought. They lean hard into the overused and expected CTAs like “Buy Now” or “Sign Up Today.” There is nothing wrong with this approach, but there’s nothing engaging or inviting about it either.

Those CTAs do have a place on the page if you’re writing copy for products or services in a traditional or highly-regulated industry. But if you’re copywriting for a brand that has personality and a unique voice, you have a bit more creative freedom. 

The healthy drink company Innocent understands the best way to use a CTA (and a headline). Instead of “Read More,” the company leans into the play on “we’re innocent” and entices the reader with “the full story” CTA. Pretty irresistible. It also flows with the playful nature of the brand’s overall voice.

Innocent webpage that says "we're innocent"

The key to successful CTAs is making them memorable and on-brand whenever you can.

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