Words that work – write better copy

By Danielle Scheepers

Posted on 11th July 2018

“So, what is it that you do?”

“I’m a copywriter.”

“Oh…. (pause) so does that mean people come to you when they have a really good idea?”

“Umm… no. You are thinking of copy right. I copy WRITE, I mean write copy. Basically, it is a fancy name for words.”

That, friends, is the conversation I have with possibly three out of four people that I meet. What most don’t realise is that copywriting permeates every aspect of modern society. Every word on a billboard, radio advert, magazine cover, and all online content is created by phantom culture shapers known as copywriters.

Our business is to subtly show you the benefits of, well, whatever company we are employed by, so, everything! But – and this is a BIG but.

Not all copy is good.

Sometimes it feels forced and salesy, or just over done. Good copy is like the smell of coffee. It wafts into your routine, subtly beckoning, reminding you of something you already enjoy without being invasive or demanding. But how to create it?

Get in their heads

People essentially envision themselves a certain way and then align with the brands that speak to the identity that they have decided on for themselves. In terms of creating copy, this is golden, as you can push heavily into the idealised values, thoughts and outlooks of your client.

What is your audience already thinking about? What are they worried about? Or in the case of Nightire, dreaming about? The aforementioned brand is aimed at women that value quality. These women want elegance above all else and will spare no expense when it comes to comfort and image, even importing nighties made of bamboo fabric “inspired by the big-city-life.”

Here is an example of copy from their home page:

“Not many people care what they wear to bed, which is a shame as you spend about a third of the day in your PJs. We’re happy to shell out for fancy suits and pencil skirts, but when it comes to our home-wear; a grubby pair of last year’s shorts and a freebie t-shirt from that 5km run we did once upon a time, will do.

But no more. Because you’ve just discovered Nightire. Good on you.”

Simple and elegant, with relevant points and a set apart air aimed at the elite. Voila.

Humour the reader

Never underestimate sharp wit and the careful placement of a good punny to get a point across. Humour is not only disarming, it also shows off the human element of a brand, which makes it more relatable.

Humour turns words into gold. No, seriously. People connect to the story of a brand almost as readily as they do to the product, which makes it possible to sell almost anything. A great example of this is the Urban Daddy newsletter which playfully advertised rubber band guns in such a way that you end up believing that no self-respecting adult should ever be without one.

Phrase so it pays

See if you can name the brands attached to these slogans. Ready?

  • Give that man a Bells
  • Just do it
  • Guess who got it all this morning?
  •  I’m loving it
  • Finger lickin’ good

Chances are that if you have been alive for more than two minutes, these slogans are deeply embedded in your psyche. Why is that? They are catchy, “clean” (not wordy) and summarise the objective and outlook of each brand brilliantly.

A good slogan can make your brand a household name. Try to give some thought to making it relatable and relevant, you want it to catch people’s eyes and make it stick in their minds.

Be authentic and become amplified

There are many ways to say something. The individual voice of the company needs to be the focus. Do the words you use portray the brand in the way you want? Does it sound as though the people writing the phrases are actual people and not just robots programmed to spit out key phrases and SEO propaganda?

Also, as human beings we are drawn to authenticity, originality and sincerity. Good copy is written from a pool of life experience, almost aimed directly at the single person reading the ad. Like a friend to another friend. Your copy should say: “Hey friend, even if no-one else does, I get you.”

People are not that complicated, make sure they feel seen, heard and appreciated. Do not try to manipulate them. Stay true to your brand and come up with phrases that grab their attention and keep it. Forever.

Or just contact us and we will do it all for you.



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