Mad Men fans everywhere recollect the pivotal first scene where we learn just how talented Don Draper is at his job.
Faced with an almost-impossible copywriting chore, he rose to the occasion to solve a huge problem for his client, Lucky Strike. In spite of research warning customers of the dangers of cigarettes, Draper delivered the iconic motto — “It’s toasted” — to differentiate the brand from its competitors.
Now, we definitely aren’t advocating for smoking cigarettes( or many of Draper’s health choices ). But fictional or not, you can’t deny the memorability and catchiness of that tagline.
It’s easy to recognize good copywriting when you see it, but there are actually several characteristics that really separate outstanding writing from the rest of the pack. Want to know them? Read on below to find out.
What Is Copywriting?
Copywriting is one of the most critical elements of any and all forms of marketing and ad. Copywriting consists of the words, either written or spoken, marketers use to try to get people to take an action after reading or hearing them.
Copywriting is like a call-to-action, but on a bigger scale: Copywriters are trying to get people to feel, believe, or respond — or, ideally, to Google the slogan or brand to learn more about the campaign. And where a blog post like this one has the luxury of hundreds of words with which to make a instance, copywriters only have a few terms to make their case.
But short and sweet isn’t the only characteristic of good copywriting. Maintain reading to learn more characteristics of genuinely memorable copy.
6 Traits of Good Copywriting
1) It tilts your perspective.
Sometimes, all a message needs to break through is a slight shifting in slant. We’ve grown so accustomed to blocking out marketing messages, we don’t even assure them anymore. One of the most powerful things a copywriter can do is break down a reader’s guard with an unexpected approach. Every story has a myriad of angles — your job as a copywriter is to find the one that resonates.
This ad from Sage Therapeutic pressing the importance of talking about postpartum depression works because instead of asking readers to care about something they don’t know, it sets them in the position of experiencing the struggle that moms suffering do. Did they miss some readers who quickly passed by the ad reasoning “its all for” adult pacifiers? Most definitely. But the ad resonated that much more thoroughly with those who read it.
The next time you sit down to write, try out this approach. Don’t take the topic head on. Instead, ask yourself why it matters. Each period you write down written answers, challenge yourself to push it further. Find the larger narrative happening behind your message.
2) It discovers connections.
In 1996, Steve Jobs let the cat out of the pouch. He was speaking with a journalist from Wired on the topic of creativity and explained 😛 TAGEND
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seems apparent to them after awhile.”
Let’s say you have to write an ad for a new pair of sneakers. You could take the assignment head on. You could write about the elasticity of the shoe’s sole or the lightweight design. Indeed, many have. Or you could set all of that aside and instead describe the connection between the product and the experience it evokes.
Two things are happening in this ad. First, the copy recognizes that for many, operating isn’t about operating at all — it’s about solitude, peace, and restoring sanity to an otherwise hectic life. Second , not only does Nike connect the ad to the experience of operating, it actually connects to the voice that those shoes make as they made the pavement.
This ad is about the complexity of one’s life fading away and being replaced by simplicity and lucidity. As the copy progresses, the sentences simplify and the copy’s complexity is slowly replaced by the simple and rhythmic pounding of words: running, run, operate, run. The same rhythm one hears when all but their footsteps have faded away. That’s connection.
3) It has a stunning lead.
The following are all headlines or resulting sentences from Urban Daddy, an email-based publication drawing attention to new products, experiences, and eateries.
“Six days. Thatas how long you have until 65% of your body is turkey.” “There are 8,760 hours in a year. And simply one hour in which a stand is likely to be dispensing gratis latkes with homemade applesauce and sour cream in Harvard Square. Yeah, itas not fair. But 60 minutes is 60 minutes. ” “Ewoks. Talk about living.”