Only as Good As Your Word: The Importance of Copy
We, as human beings, have a base desire to communicate with one another. Not through caveman grunts or clicks, but in real live words. These words are spoon-fed to us at a young age so we learn to use them properly. It seems it is no different now that we’re older. They’re sung to us in jingles: “Break me off a piece of that…” repeated monotonously: “Keeps going and going and going,” and whispered into our ears like lullabies: “Taste the Rainbow.”
WORDS BUILD TRUST
This is all part of their appeal.
Think of your favorite ad and try not to smile at how you remember every last detail down to the exact words, melody, and emphasis on syllables—even if the ad is 50 years old. Oscar Mayer, Coca Cola, Alka-Seltzer, Meow Mix. Sing one out loud and I bet you someone else will happily butt in on your solo.
And what do all of these slogans accomplish—other than being inconceivably catchy? They use words to build a foundation of trust. They make products and services matter. If people can trust you or your brand, they can let down their guard enough to let you in—to influence their tastes, trends, lingo, fashion, food habits, or even their way of living.
YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR WORD
You are truly only as good as your word because in copy, you have a voice. You can give consumers something to relate to and believe in. A brand—like any individual—has a unique personality. It can be adventurous, sentimental, assertive, comedic, or heroic. Copy helps to forge and communicate this personality to the world. Design and aesthetic are the face—the first impression, while copy is the real substance underneath the façade.
Please, refer to the two companies below, as you will see a side by side comparison of what they wrote on their website and how their writing style affects what you perceive.
If you are looking at the left image, Uber does a great job and I’m intrigued to learn more. The copy is concise and full of personality. (uber.com) | On the right, the copy is a little impersonal and vague. This doesn’t speak to me. It takes a long time to get the point across, and I don’t know what to focus or read first, and the first paragraph has so many grammatical errors and incomplete sentences. (comspeco.net)
WHERE TO START?
Copy should be meaningful, memorable, and familiar. It should get stuck in your head like bubble gum to the bottom of your shoe. The real question you need to ask yourself is: how will you stick? How can you craft words around your company that people want to buy into?
All you really need to do is make a connection. If you truly learn your audience, you can use copy to speak their language—and speak it fluently. It takes the few, simple words that strike at their core. You want to be hard and crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy inside. Attract them with bold, seductive language—and keep them craving more with the emotional underbelly.
Yes, you need an original brand identity.
Yes, you need catchy taglines and compelling website copy.
But fundamentally: do you stick?
Do you resonate with your audience and hit home for them in some way?
4 TIPS FOR BOOSTING YOUR CURRENT COPY
1. Be Memorable—whether emotional and heart warming, witty and compelling, or simple and honest. This will help you stand out from the clutter.
2. Be Truthful. Let the consumer know what you can offer them in simple terms and why they should care. And, make sure to emphasize the values that your business holds tightly to.
3. Be Approachable. The more you understand your target audience and ideal consumer, the easier it will be to convince them that you have their solution. Be their friend, and win their confidence. Building trust means breaking barriers.
4. Be Relevant. Identify your competitors, update where needed, and know it’s okay to give in to some trends. Progression is positive—and your consumers like forward motion.
The good news is… if your consumers are reading about you already, you’ve somehow convinced them you’re worth their notice. You’ve won half the battle. Now to keep them interested… that’s where great copy comes in.
In the words of Einstein, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” If you give them a story they can truly believe in, they’ll gobble it up without leaving a single crumb behind.
So now, I challenge you to take a look at your existing copy and evaluate if your copy measures up to your word. Look at your social media channels, blog posts, text on your website, your mission statement, and all marketing tools that are used to communicate your brand.
If you have any questions about copywriting in the 21st century, feel free to reach out to us about any questions and comments, we love hearing from you!