You know your business, don’t you?
The ins. The outs. The ups. The downs. If there is something to know about your business you know it.
But, here’s the problem you’ve got – you don’t know how to write about it.
No matter how long you sit and look at your blank word document, you just can’t seem to get what you’re thinking down on the page. It all comes out in some weird business speak where Synergy has suddenly become a part of your vocabulary.
In all honesty, it’s not that you’re a bad writer.
It’s because writing for yourself is hard.
You see your business through the eyes of the owner, not the eyes of the customer. What is an exciting feature to you means nothing to your reader.
Even as a copywriter myself, I find writing for my own content much harder. So you’re not in this boat alone.
There is a solution, though. One that makes your writing sing and dance, whilst make the reader want to buy into your products. And it’s really simple to use.
It’s called, AIDA.
And you’re going to learn how to use it. Right now…
The TL;DR Version
TL;DR means Too Long; Didn’t Read.
Before I dive into the in-depth version of the content, I want to give you a quick round up of everything you’re going to learn, and it’s main points. So if you have to read and dash, you’ve got some information you can use right away.
AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.
Whether you’re writing a sales letter, your company home page or a blog post, this is a simple strategy to follow, which makes sure your copy does the job.
• Attention: Grab their attention. Then keep it. The best techniques for this are headlines, questions and stories. The first 50 words of your copy in the most important, so make them count.
• Interest: Your writing is only as good as the people it helps. Show the reader why they should care about your product or service. Then answer the question they’re asking themselves – “What’s in it for me?”
• Desire: You’re told them why they should care about it. Now, make them want it. What are the benefits of this and what’s going to happen if they don’t do what you’re saying?
• Action: All that emotion you just created needs an outlet. And they’re ready to do what you tell them. Give them a big call to action and you’ve made yourself a sale, got more comments and shares or signed them up to your e-mail list.
You can apply this strategy to any copy you write. You can even apply it to a single paragraph if you want. Just like this one:
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Get their attention. Tell them why they should care. Show them the benefits. Give them on immediate action.
Do that and you’ve just written a powerful piece of copy.
If that’s all in the information you need, feel free to close the browser here. But if you want to invest your reading time in something that will really grow your business, I suggest you read on…
Step #1: Attention
There are three main ways to get your readers attention.
1. Headlines: something eye catching and attention grabbing.
2. Stories: as you just learned about.
3. Questions: Ask your audience something profound.
The whole concept of headlines is a little beyond the scope of this article.
Because, well, there is a lot that goes into them. Headline writing itself is an art form. And, if you want a whole article on it, let me know in the comments and I’ll write it.
But here’s what you need to know about headlines:
- They are the reason someone starts to read your article
- Always reference the reader with a variation of you and your
- The headline should create an emotion in the reader
- People will complain about your content; but not about your headline
- It’s the single most important part of your article
So, when you’re crafting your headline, these are ideas you should really consider.
The golden rule of headline writing is this: you should say a lot but give away little.
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You’ve told the reader what the article is about, but without giving away what the article is. It’s intriguing and it makes you think, ‘wow, I need to click that…’
In the centre of the town where I live there is a coffee shop called Ziferblat. It’s a cool little space where you pay for time, not coffee. They charge you 10c a minute and provide everything else for free.
As I type this I’m sat here drinking a free cappuccino and picking at a piece of cake. I’ve been here around 20 minutes and I’ve spent about $10 less than what I’ve eaten.
But why am I telling you this?
Because it got your attention, that’s why.
It’s a story. And, as a human, you’re hardwired to listen to stories. It’s almost effortless for you to read. You want to read the next line.
At the heart of good writing, that’s all it is. Getting people to read your next line.
So when it comes to your copy remember this: stories sell.
Even if you have to make it up – as writers often do – tell a story at the start of your blog post. Think of something relatable to the point you’re making.
It will not only get the readers attention, but it will hold it. So if you learn one thing from this post, let it be that. If all else fails, tell a story.
So, you can’t think of a story?
Then, it’s probably time to start asking your readers some open-ended questions, isn’t it?
Because no matter how hard you try, you can’t stop reading the next line looking for the answer, can you?
Questions are a powerful tool for grabbing attention. Especially if you ask a burning question someone wants the answer to.
Think of it this way: what question is your blog post/article/sales page trying to answer?
Then ask it.
It really can be that simple. If you come across as the person with all the answers they’re looking for, you’ve got their attention to hold.
Step #2: Interest
Joe Pulizzi, of the content marketing institute, once said that a blog post is like a miniskirt, “It has to be short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject”.
And I would agree. To an extent.
All copy should only be long enough that it’s interesting. Whether that is 3,000 word spread or a 140 character tweet. You shouldn’t say more than needs to be said.
So the first part of this section is to make your writing interesting to the reader. Make sure what you’re talking about is on-topic.
The second part, then, is to make your reader interested in what you’re trying to sell to them. Whether that’s your e-mail list, your brand, your product of your service.
The way you do that is simple. You need to answer one simple question: What’s in it for me?
Why should the reader care? What are they learning? How does it add to their life? What do they stand to gain by investing their time in reading what you’ve written?
If you don’t answer this question there is only one possible outcome; they’re going to close their browser and forget they ever read a single thing that you wrote.
But you’re better than that aren’t you?
Put yourself in this situation:
You’re in a coffee shop with a potential client. You’re not allowed to use any business jargon at all. And you only have six words to sell yourself to them.
What do you say?
For my business it’s, ‘great writing that makes you money’. That’s what’s in it for them, more money.
When you find your answer, you can attack the WIIFM? question.
Desire is an emotion.
It’s more than just wanting what you’ve got. It’s about them making a connection with it. Buying into it. Becoming a part of it.
And, after the headline, this is the most crucial part of your copy.
The burning question on your lips then is, ‘How do I make someone feel desire?’.
Simple answer? You tell them the benefits of your product.
Benefits, Not Features
A benefit isn’t what your product does.
It’s what your product can do for them.
- You didn’t buy your mobile phone because of the processor it has. You bought it because it allows you to connect with people.
- You didn’t upgrade your WiFi connection because it was fibre optic. You upgraded it because it meant you could connect even faster.
- You didn’t read this blog post because it contains information on copywriting. You read it because it could make you more money.
But, as a business owner you focus on features. What makes up your product. Because each and every day, that’s what you obsess over. And it’s what, on a logical level, sets your product apart.
And that’s the difference.
You aren’t dealing with logical people. You’re dealing with emotional ones.
Here’s the (literal) million-dollar question: what are the benefits of your product or service?
- What does signing up to your e-mail list do for them?
- What does buying your product do?
- What does your service give them that nobody else’s can?
- What happens if they don’t do it?
A powerful call to action can be worth a lot of money.
It’s been the cornerstone of marketing, sales and money making since the dawn of language:
- Buy now
- Call this number
- Sign up for updates
- Book an appointment
- Click here
- Comment here
These are simple calls to action you see each and every day. And you do them, too. Even if you don’t realise it.
At the end of every post, whether a blog post or a sales letter, there should be some form of call to action. A way for the person to interact with you.
In the world of hyperlinks and click-through’s this has never been easier either. So, if you need some stock, ready to go, calls to action, the list above is easy for you to use.
But, you’re much better than that list aren’t you? There are some much more powerful calls to action. They create emotion and feeling in your readers.
Here’s a few examples:
These are all great calls to action, because by simply clicking the button, the use gets what they want.
Instead of click here focus on the benefit of clicking, commenting or buying from you.
Or, tell them that they would be an absolute idiot if they didn’t do it. Whatever makes them click, right?
BONUS: 10 Quick Professional Copywriting Tips To Help You Master The Art
You read the whole article.
You didn’t cop out and just read the summary. Which, in my eyes, makes you a hero. And you deserve the hero’s reward.
There is a ton of information in this article. Some short and sweet. Some instantly actionable. And, some of it, for you to tackle at your leisure.
But this section is actionable right now. Even before you leave the page. Because these tips have helped me build a copywriting business, and now they’re going to make you money.
Get your notepad and pen, because you’re about to have the quickest masterclass you’ve ever experienced:
#1: Just write – Your first draft isn’t your final draft. Don’t sit and stare at the screen. Write whatever comes into your head. Even if you think it’s terrible. You can’t edit what’s not there, can you?
#2: Read it out loud – This is key to finding your voice. If you read the article out loud and it doesn’t sound like something you would say in the company of friends, it’s not authentic. Time for a change.
#3: Less is more – Cut out any words you don’t need. If it doesn’t add to the copy, then it doesn’t need to be there.
#4: Get rid of the word ‘very’ – You can make your point clearly without it, and it sounds lazy. Very fast, and fast both mean exactly the same thing.
#5: Comma’s aren’t what you think they are – You were taught in school that comma’s mean the reader is going to take a breath right? Well, that’s not what they’re really for. The reader will take a break when they need to break. Instead, use it to add more information, like I’ve done here.
#6: Be honest – Brutally so. Don’t worry about offending your audience (or your editor). Speak from the heart and you will always be able to build an audience.
#7: Don’t isolate your reader: ‘Most people’ don’t read your copy. They aren’t huddled around their computer reading in a group. It’s one person reading it, like you’re reading this. Talk to them personally.
#8: Edit. A lot. – Your first draft is flimsy. Your second draft is a bit better. Your third draft might be ready to show people. Your fourth draft is ready for the audience. It doesn’t need to be time consuming, but the more you edit, the more professional you sound.
#9: Ask yourself ‘so what?’ after each paragraph: Seth Godin once said, ‘Why waste a sentence not saying anything?’. If you write a sentence, statement or paragraph that doesn’t stand up against this question, delete it.
#10: It’s all about testing: I write, on average, around 1,000,000 words a year in articles. I’ve done a lot of testing on what works for me. You haven’t had that opportunity; so don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t work. Adapt and change until you find what really does work.
Writing copy is hard. Much harder than you would care to admit.
But you’ve just learned a solution to make it easier. AIDA is simple, easy and effective. It also applies to just about anything you’re writing.
So, using it myself, here’s your call to action:
Go away and write one piece for your blog, site or sales page using this method in the next 24 hours from when you read this.
Then, link to it in the comments. And I’ll give you some feedback.
Ready? Get writing…