It is, quite literally, everywhere — attached to movie posters, advertisements in magazines, and lengthy websites about, well, whatever. It is what drives people to have to think, remember, or share.
We’re of course talking about copy. The words on a page. The words in this blog. And it is often the difference between creating something memorable — something that people won’t forget even (or especially) if they try — and something that a person forgets as soon as they flip the page.
But it’s also something that can easily fly under-the-radar for small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to delicately comb over pages and pages of words. But for those businesses, it often isn’t a priority because, like a lot of things, they simply don’t have time to pay close attention to it. But they should, and here’s why.
It’s the Difference Between Selling and Marketing
Marketing is obviously central to any successful business. Without marketing — whether it be through simple things, like flyers or more extensive things like advertising campaigns — a business would fall flat on its face because people just wouldn’t know about it. Simple as that.
But there is a huge difference between marketing something — raising awareness and bringing attention towards a product or service — and selling. Being annoying. Being invasive. And that difference, more often than not, lies in the copy.
Successful, compelling copy finds ways to insert itself into peoples lives. Say, for example, consumers have a problem that some sort of service or product aims to solve. Good copy would focus on that problem and convince readers of the copy that it would be a perfect fit for them. Poor copy, on the other hand, would simply focus on such things as price and urge people to purchase it. But consumers — all of us, really — are smarter than that.
Ads that Work vs. Ads that Don’t Work
Copy also drives the success of advertising. Regardless of the medium — print or web, for example — copy is an essential piece of the advertising puzzle. Though images are what our eyes are immediately drawn to upon viewing an ad, it is the copy that educates us about the product, or how it will serve a purpose in our lives.
And it is that copy that ultimately decides what ads will sell and what ads won’t. The images are, more often than not, what people will associate with that copy. And if that copy isn’t memorable, or it doesn’t resonate with anyone, those ads can and often will fail.
That’s why for any business it is important to consider who a particular ad is targeted towards. Ads through social media, for example, can be easily targeted towards specific demographics and people with specific interests, and catered to each of those individual markets.
But traditional forms of advertising, depending on where those ads are place, must take into account a much broader range of demographics. In these cases, careful consideration of who will be seeing those ads is extremely important, because messages that may resonate with one demographic may not resonate with another demographic.
Copy Gives Businesses a Voice
And it is ultimately that copy that works to give businesses a voice. Copy, more often than not, reflects some sort of personality. Smart copy will reflect the unique aspects of a business and make it appear different (or at least sound different) from every other similar business.
Sure, social media is driven by conversation, and engagement, and wit (and whatever else), but it is also driven by smart copy that reflects the voice of a specific business. Each business should have a particular voice, and its copy — especially through social media — should reflect that unique voice. That is, a plumbing supply company shouldn’t sound the same as a food truck, and vice versa.
But copy should be fun. Just as Lee Clow, the brilliant mind behind Apple’s many advertising campaigns, would argue that advertising, as a whole, should be “fun”, I too argue that copywriting should be fun. Copy that isn’t fun will simply bore people.
But copy that is useful, engaging and fun can drive anyone to do anything.