Copywriting and content writing are not the same. Content is mainly to provide information, entertain, or a combination. And it’s useful for SEO. Think blogs, articles, etc.
Copywriting, on the other hand, is written to inspire action: sign up for a trial, register for an event, or buy. Ads, website copy and a ton of other writing fall into this category.
Recently a friend challenged me to take a piece of content and explain how I’d rewrite it so it’s more of a copywriting example.
The example I use in the video below is an article I wrote years ago for Prevention magazine.
There was no call to action. Just the facts, stats and straight-up info.
Here is a (very) simplified set of steps to show how I’d approach this task. Note: It’s not much different than starting from scratch:
1. Determine a call to action (CTA)
What do you want the reader to do at the end of your copy? Begin with the end in mind.
2. Look at how the reader is landing on your page
Are they landing on your page from an ad? or a search engine? What’s their decision-making stage of awareness? Are they pain aware, looking for a solution but unsure of what that may be, for example?
3. Decide on a copywriting formula
PAS (pain-agitation-solution) is a good one for most copy and the one I use by default most times.
4. Create an engaging headline
Spend most of your time here – 80% of your audience won’t make it past the headline, so it’s gotta be killer. You may want to do this AFTER you’ve written the copy.
5. Write according to the copywriting formula
6. Set it aside overnight or longer
Do NOT skip this “marinating” part! It’s amazing how much better you can make your copy when you look at it with fresh eyes.
7. Edit it
8. Test it
Ues A/B testing or a service such as UserTesting.com.
9. Adjust according to the results of your testing
Here’s an example of how I turned around an article for Prevention magazine I authored into a copywriting version (for the sake of this post, not for publication):
For more info on some of the topics I mentioned above, check out these related posts: