the art of copywriting

For some people it's skydiving, for others, it's public speaking, and for a mere few there is a fear of a blank page and the blinking cursor mocking every attempt at a keyboard strike. For me, however, there is a melodic, almost meditative feeling that joins me while I write. The best way I can describe it is that I feel like a pianist with my fingers working tirelessly to create a new piece, to create art if possible. This feeling is probably unique to those who have decided to pursue writing as a career, but the fact is that, while we don’t all have to be pianists, we do all have to be able to write with some legible quality in our everyday lives.

In marketing terms, we write to a brief. This means that all the creative people are singing the same tune and ensuring that the work stays ‘on brand’. This brand is something that is unique to your business and, if Breadbox Marketing has had anything to do with it, you will know your brand’s tone, style, audience, and personality. Having this knowledge is the first part of writing anything for your business and creating a piece that communicates your brand correctly. Does your brand use abbreviations or is it more professional? Can you use slang or puns? Would you ever reference pop culture – does your audience care about the recent Kanye West and Taylor Swift spat?

Once you have the personality of your brand figured out, and the rules that surround it, then there is the need to execute that in a way that sounds articulate. My advice: dedicate time to writing and get into the ‘zone’. Writing needs a certain part of the right side of the brain activated and that means creativity, so try music to get things started. When it comes to our more left-minded friends, let me give you a very logical tool to think about when articulating your thoughts – active sentence structures are almost always preferred.

 

Active: Subject, predicate (verb), object

Passive: Object, predicate (verb), subject

 

Active: Kayne West tricked Taylor Swift

Passive: Taylor Swift was tricked by Kanye West

*See, our brand can clearly reference Taylor and Kanye without a problem.

 

Okay, with that semi-figured out, then there is the question of narrative mode and narrative structure. The choice of narrative mode (I, we, you, or they) will largely come down again to your brand’s style, but it will also depend on what you are writing. Whichever mode you choose, just stay consistent!

Taking your readers on a journey is also very important. Every good piece of writing will do it – from a social media post to a tender submission. This is what we call narrative structure, and it can mean the difference between a good piece of writing and a bad one. We can almost guarantee that readers are bored; with the abundance of material thrown at us every day, we are starved for a bit of suspense and a need to go on a journey to stay engaged. Don’t say everything in the first sentence, spend time setting the scene for your readers and get to the point succinctly soon after. Which social media post are you more willing to like? My bet is on the one with the considered narrative structure (or you will shy away for the topic of pelvic floor altogether and skip this section):

a) With your baby getting heavier and wrigglier every week, it’s important that your focus doesn’t completely shift away from you. Listen to your body’s aches and pains and seek guidance from a physiotherapist to help you strengthen your abdominal and gluteal muscles and pelvic floor. + Share image of mother and baby.

b) Visit a physiotherapist to help you strengthen your abdominal and gluteal muscles.

Yes, there is more to being a good writer than just getting the apostrophe in the correct place. Although if I see another university graduate mixing plural spelling with possessive spelling then I'm throwing in the towel right now! – Happy writing.