5 Copywriting Tips: The CURVE Method
Is your copywriting abreast the CURVE, behind it, or ahead of it?
Put 1,000 self-proclaimed copywriters in a room. 740 are just typists. 249 are just sophisticated, sneaky plagiarists. 10 still have a decade of work and 10,000 hours between them and the title. Only 1 is a copywriter.
While there are plenty of great copywriting tips, there is no such things as an effective ‘copywriting trick.’ I.e., there’s no easy way to provide value to prospective customers in a way that turns them into actual customers: while the most skilled copywriters make this look easy, creating the illusion of ease requires a lot of hard work. So, if you’re okay with being a snake oil salesman masquerading as a copywriter, you’ll bemoan the grit required to do what follows. However, if you’re looking for straightforward copywriting tips for beginners, you’re in the right place. For more advanced tips, visit our copywriting sales cylinder page.
An Introduction to the CURVE Copywriting Method
When a brand decides to build a copywriting-based approach to driving sales, there are 5 key determinants of how effective they’ll be. These copywriting tips aren’t necessarily listed in the order in which they should be considered, nor is any single copywriting tip superior to another. However, all 5 of these copywriting tips are interrelated and, therefore, more effective when used in concert. Keep in mind that the sum of these 5 tips is not a formula; rather, it’s exactly as we call it – a method. Formulas require discrete inputs, whereas methods require effective judgment.
Attention is a scarce commodity. If your writing is unclear, the consumer has neither the time nor the motivation to think twice about what it means. Think this through from the consumer’s perspective: if the first several seconds of their interaction with your brand is confusing, you haven’t given them a reason to believe interacting with you any further will be different. Among the most important aspects of clarity is the concept of brevity, but even more important to clarity is brevity without sacrificing relevant details.
1. The Meaning of the Words in Your Copy Must Be Unmistakable
Clarity is unmistakable meaning, not open to interpretation. The shorter something is, the clearer it is and brevity = short. While Dictionary.com’s definition of brevity is ‘the quality of expressing much in a few words; terseness,’ we’ll define it in more quantitative terms relevant to copywriting: a high value-to-number-of-characters ratio. 6 words with fewer characters than 4 words with more characters is better, provided the spaces between the 6 words are included in the sum. Otherwise, your copy may create a string of ‘ghost’ characters totaling more than the sum of the seemingly better 4-word option. However, it’s not always just about brevity. Sometimes copy is unclear because it doesn’t tell the prospect what to do next.
2. Clarity Means No Omission of Relevant Details
Clarity also involves thinking through how the selected words will affect the presentation of the concept in ways that involve more than the words themselves, across a range of devices and mediums. For example, sometimes the best email marketing copywriting tips are the ones involving ‘device damage control’. You may think you’ve crafted the best possible data-driven subject line for your email, but if it’s more than 32 characters, many of the email recipients won’t be able to read the full subject line on a mobile device, cutting it off at moments that wreak havoc for a brand. For example, we’re pretty sure this company wasn’t trying to tell people about the transformative effect of a well-built bra given the ellipsis, but that’s what their customers saw. This may have led to a high open rate for ne’er-do-well men on the email blast list, but not for the right reasons.
Photo Credit – Extendyourreach.com
If you want a tool for easily counting characters to ensure you don’t replicate the above copywriting fiasco, visit wordcounter.net. However, clarity isn’t just a sound aim in a given writing philosophy. It’s a major factor in ‘readability.’ To search engines like Google, readability is a large component of both how users interact with your blog in terms of dwell time and how bots crawl and make sense of the page itself, so it may be queued up for potential readers correctly by the search engines. Clear copy is readable copy, and readable copy helps your pages rank higher in search results for targeted keywords. For more SEO copywriting tips and information on what an SEO copywriter can do for your brand, visit our copywriting services page, or our SEO services page.
Uniqueness is paramount to creativity, and most know copywriting is all about creativity. However, in the copywriting context, creativity isn’t just about witty remarks, funny concepts, or unique ways of looking at one’s product or service. Creativity of the highest order favorably positions a brand in memorable and relevant ways. This high order copywriting skill is so impactful that it has existed and can be traced back to the 15-the century, in scenarios otherwise unrelated to copywriting or marketing.
America Was Named After a Brilliant Copywriter’s Unique Work
In their landmark work on marketing entitled ‘Positioning,’ consultants Al Ries and Jack Trout describe how America was named, and why that process makes for a great copywriting lesson. If Christopher Columbus discovered America, why isn’t America called Columbusica, or something more eponymous to the 15th-century Italian voyager?
Because another and lesser known Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci (the man after whom America was clearly named), wasn’t motivated by finding gold, riches, and fame like Columbus. Instead, Amerigo was motivated by providing unique value to others as a cartographer, and strove to define America in relation to other geographic locations across the globe for the benefit of other voyagers. Amerigo accomplished this by positioning America as a new continent separate from Asia and helping others locate it on a map, whereas Columbus merely plundered the new world in search of riches. Amerigo may not have even known what copywriting was, but he was better at it than Christopher Columbus.
Moreover, Amerigo’s unique take on the new world can even be said to have been formative to the American free market system. I.e., capitalism is as follows in a nutshell: If we don’t provide something of unique value to others, we’ll starve, much like Christopher Columbus starved before dying in jail. So, which copywriter are you? The one who uniquely approaches phenomena for the sake of benefiting others, after whom great ideas, products, and services will be named; or the one who writes sloppy articles and headlines merely for a paycheck?
If you’re looking for social media copywriting tips, you’ll want to read this section. The bulk of requests for social media help that we receive via our consultation request page, at least as they pertain to copywriting, are a byproduct of 2 mistakes involving relevance:
1. The Copy Carries Too Much of the Wrong Thing in the Wrong Way
This involves prioritizing irrelevant elements of copy into the visual elements of a social media post where design is the focal point of the message, like grammar. Yes, even as a copywriting agency, we are stating that an overemphasis on grammar at the expense of design is poor copywriting, because the goal of copywriting is to sell a brand, product, service, or idea; not to impress the increasingly small number of grammarians frequenting social media platforms.
Additionally, people don’t visit social media platforms in mental states conducive to proclivity for grammar: there are no reading glasses, cups of coffee, or Mozart playing in the background when uploading stupid selfies to Instagram. Instead, social media platforms are frequented in low-IQ-potato-chip induced stupors, which jettison grammar for stimulation. So, don’t hire an English major to manage your social media platforms unless they understand this design principle.
Now, while there are exceptions to this tip (i.e., you’re a copywriter for a reputable news outlet whose brand is built on credibility by claims made via the written word), there’s no denying that a colon looks ugly in a tagline or in the header of an infographic. As long as people can understand what you’re writing while they’re reading it, the length and style of what’s written should be considered in tandem with the design, not separately from it.
2. The Copywriting Is Irrelevant to the Purchase Behavior of Your Prospect
While relevance can be extended more widely at the top of a sales funnel (on social media platforms) than it can at the the point of the sale, each stage of your customer’s journey must be relevant to their worldview, desires, and needs in the context of your product or service, or they won’t purchase what you’re selling.
This means your word choice, tone, subject matter, and scope must match what you know matters to your buyer persona (and yes, these things are distinct from grammar). If you don’t know what a buyer persona is or who the customer persona is for your brand, you shouldn’t be copywriting at all yet. Instead, visit this HubSpot page to learn how to identify your customer persona first.
Verity is the state or quality of being true. One of the biggest problems I see with most copywriting is the fact that it seems unbelievable, even like a downright lie. While it’s tempting to make enticing claims to widen your net, not everybody is your customer, nor should they be treated as such. Again, a lack of verity is about instant gratification at the expense of more customers in the future. Copywriter’s without verity would rather publish now and get clicks than edit and get sales later.
No, your product is not simple
No, your product is not easy
No, your product is not inexpensive
No, your product is not the ‘best,’ at the ‘top,’ or ‘industry-leading.’
The worst part?
Even if your product was all of the above things, the consumer still likely wouldn’t believe it, because so many brands make these claims that consumers are downright desensitized to them and tune out upon hearing them from anyone, anywhere.
Okay, so what else can be said in your copywriting then? The answer is simple – anything honest. Instead of using superlative language, use comparative language. The comparative language in relation to your competition. This will help create a memorable identity for your brand in the prospect’s mind.
Finding the right comparative language must be completed in relation to your competitors, not to become them. Failing to recognize this is what turns most brands into ‘me-too’ wannabes. You’re likely not the market leader, but that doesn’t mean you have to fail. Admit your negatives to a prospect, and they’ll be more likely to believe you when you describe a positive aspect to your service or product.
If you’re going to make any sort of claim to superiority in your copy, be sure to back it up. For example, WordWoven is about restoring the lost power of the written word via profitable, branded solutions, so we provide access to our performance portfolio as proof we can do what we say we’re capable of doing.
End-Result of the Sale in-Mind = Better Copywriting
Last but not least: Is the copy created with the end result of the sale in mind? Works of copy that are reverse-engineered from the point of sale to the appropriate stage of the sales funnel pack a larger profit-driving punch. While metrics like clicks, click through rate, engagement, and shares should be measured throughout the copywriting process, the most effective copywriters always think in terms of capturing the sale with their words before focusing on the aforementioned milestones. The purpose of copywriting is to sell, and if you’re a ‘copywriter’ who doesn’t agree or think about sales first, you’re not really a copywriter.
One area in which copywriters can practice this principle and trace the efficacy of their work across the entire sales cycle is by embedding UTM parameters into the links of their email CTAs, hyperlinks, and web pages, or anything else with a web address/URL where their copy resides. However, before doing so, you’ll want to complete the two below steps, or you won’t be able to trace how well your copy works at the point of sale:
1. Establish What Copywriting Parameters You Want to Track, and What Each Means
Use the Google’s Campaign URL Builder to set up the bumpers for your nomenclature, and brainstorm ideas with leadership in your marketing department. Consult sales and sales development departments as well in this process, and let everyone involved know once the final nomenclature is established. For further definition of the various campaign fields in the Google Campaign URL Builder, visit this PRAGM page on the subject.
2. Ask Your Webmaster to Set Up Web Forms and CRM Lead Tracking for Your Copywriting
You’ll need to work with your webmaster or solution architect to ensure these variables are traced at the level of your company’s CRM. Once that step is completed, you can trace how your lead-generating copy compares to other lead sources across the post-lead-generation cycle. If your existing copywriting lacks any of the above 5 elements and you’re unsure how to facilitate each into your copywriting toolkit, booking a free copywriting consultation with a WordWoven copywriting expert is the next logical step. At the very least, you’ll receive informative tidbits on next steps, regardless of whether we earn your business.