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3 copywriting tips to use at work

At a glance

  • Whether writing a data report, a blog post or social media copy, you have only seconds to grab a reader’s attention.
  • You can use different copywriting tips like story archaeology and IE3 (inspire, educate, entertain, entice) to create narratives that engage your audience.
  • AI copywriting tools can be helpful for initial research and SEO keywords, but copy still requires finessing (and proofreading) from humans.
  • Learn how to create products or services distinguished from those of the competition with a Bachelor of Science in Business with a Marketing Certificate from University of Phoenix!

Copywriting in action

Have you ever been distracted from an article by a clever advertisement? Or been surprised to find you read a report all the way through and were actually entertained?

If so, then you have experienced the phenomenon of good copywriting. This is a skill used heavily in marketing but also leveraged in other industries. Done well, it should come across as flawless and effortless. But don’t be deceived: Crafting compelling and concise copy is harder than it looks.

Learn in-demand business skills with a Bachelor of Science in Business. 

3 copywriting tips to implement today

Whether you’re a marketer or copywriter who wants to improve the quality and speed of your output, or you specialize in a different field, like SEO, but recognize the value of good writing, the following copywriting tips can help.

1. Hook your reader

We’ve all heard the stats around attention engagement. Some reports claim you have eight seconds to snag your target customer’s attention. Others put it at three seconds. Either way, you have to move fast.

That’s why you need a great hook. Something concise that draws your reader in and makes them want to keep on reading.

OK, but how do you write a hook? Here’s where to start:

  • Offer a quick take on a situation that’s out of the norm. For example, I once started a social media post with, “I don’t want attention. I’d rather have influence.” That claim made people stop — and they engaged.
  • Ask a question that makes people pause and think. This could be related to your content in even the most tangential of ways. For example, I opened an article that chronicled a person’s weight-loss transformation with the seemingly out of left field: “Do you know how a diamond is formed?” Readers weren’t expecting that, but the metaphor worked. Each line in my introduction built on that concept, and it segued perfectly to the article.
  • Provide an eye-opening statistic. A great example of this is: “44% of people with a side hustle think they’ll always need it.” That headline makes readers stop scrolling — especially if they have a side hustle!

Of course, a good hook will only get your readers through one or two paragraphs. Here’s what to do next.

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2. Tell stories that sell

Great copywriting includes great storytelling. It’s as simple as that.

Stories are what bring copy to life. They give readers something to connect to, and that is how a relationship is built. You want your current and potential customers to feel something when they read your words. This not only cultivates a sense of satisfaction in readers but also encourages them to, you guessed it, keep reading.

There are two ways I uncover and develop the best stories: the story archaeology process and the IE3 method. Let’s define both and see how you can use them.

Story archaeology process

Story archaeology can take one of three pathways:

  • Story mining: This is when you draw from your own experience to share something you’ve learned, usually an important or seminal experience others can learn from as well.
  • Story observing: This can include something you lived, but the story and experience are really someone else’s. As the copywriter, you observe the situation and gain from the lessons lived by others.
  • Story exploring: This is where you actively search for good stories. These aren’t stories you experienced yourself, but you can find them online, in your community or neighborhood, and through podcasts, books, blog posts and other resources.

IE3 method

Once you’ve identified stories you can use, it’s time to leverage them to foster a connection with readers. There are four ways that I’ve found work best, and they make up what I call the IE3 method:

  • Inspire: Stories that are motivational or transformational.
  • Educate: Stories that teach and share information.
  • Entertain: Stories that use drama or humor and are easy to digest.
  • Entice: Stories that act as testimonials and calls to action to close the sale.

Now, just put it all together. Use your hook and keep them reading. As you do, reveal a great story and make sure it hits on at least one element of IE3. 

Then, watch how your audience reacts to your copy!

3. Leverage AI copywriting tools

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been dominating conversation in most industries these days, with more than a few people worried about how it will affect their current positions and long-term careers.

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The same is true with copywriting and marketing. Further, it is becoming readily apparent that AI copywriting tools could make a writer’s role even easier. But not the way you might think.

On its own, AI-generated copywriting has a tendency to be littered with errors. So, rather than rendering writers obsolete, AI can be used to expedite the overall process. You can use it to generate outlines for blog posts or social media copy, assist with research, optimize for SEO and even create copy ideas for anything ranging from podcasts and videos to webinars and landing pages. Then, you buckle down and do the work of actually writing.

After all, customers want that human touch. We already get annoyed when a human being doesn’t answer the phone. Do we really want more of the same with our content and advertising?

Besides, if everyone is pulling from the same AI data, content is poised to become pretty boring and homogenous. Your own stories and experiences are what set you apart; they are your greatest asset as a copywriter!

How different professions rely on copywriting skills

“Tell me a story.” 

That’s what my director would always tell me when I wrote a report. This was an audit report, mind you.

It wasn’t work I was used to “telling a story” with. However, my director wasn’t talking about just any story.

I was to tell a story with our findings. She wanted me to use the data we uncovered to paint a picture and provide a solid basis for our recommendations. 

Storytelling was a crucial element in my auditing career. Using plain language to describe complex programs and convey in-depth concepts allowed a variety of stakeholders to use (and understand) what we did.

This same is true in many other industries as well. You could use storytelling in healthcare to describe how a specific diagnosis was made in a patient’s journey.

What about architecture? You could tell the story of the idea behind a building and encourage readers to lean in as you break ground.

As you see, copywriting and storytelling can be used as a way to “sell” your work to readers in any industry. It’s all in the way you convey it.

In this case, for example, I’m selling you copywriting tips and information that I hope will help you in your career. And I must’ve done something right, because you made it to the end.

Hone your copywriting skills at University of Phoenix

If you’re looking to become a better copywriter, University of Phoenix can help. The University offers a Bachelor of Science in Communication degree and a Bachelor of Arts in English degree. These programs include a wide range of communication courses designed to help you enhance your copywriting skills. Visit phoenix.edu to learn more about how UOPX can help save you time and money on your degree.

  • Bachelor of Science in Communication: This degree is twofold, providing students with information on crafting logical arguments and effective storytelling. It also covers the business side of communication, including the fundamentals of social media communication and public relations. Graduates will be equipped with skills to pursue careers like copywriter and media relations specialist. 
  • Bachelor of Arts in English: This degree prepares graduates for creative opportunities in a variety of professional settings by exposing students to different rhetorical situations and genres of writing. Students can learn how to use the composition and rhetoric of literature to make a creative difference in industries like technical writing and digital content. Classes cover research and writing for professionals, writing for social media, technical writing and more. Graduates will be prepared to pursue careers like technical writer, copyeditor and proofreader. 

If you’re interested in taking a single course from the University to hone your copywriting skills, check out the available options. 

*Prerequisite required

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Domzalski is an entrepreneur, copywriter and storyteller. He’s an effective communicator with a passion for helping people better their lives financially. His writing has been featured on multiple outlets including AOL, FanSided, Forbes, GOBankingRates, MSN, Nasdaq and Yahoo. He lives in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on his website and check out his Copywriting Storyteller newsletter.

 

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