how to be persuasive in copywriting

Your Guide to Persuasive Copywriting

We’ve all come across internet copy that is good — and web copy that is not so good.

So what’s the difference?

While a great deal of it comes down to skill (talented copywriters turn out better content than less skilled professionals), the big difference between outstanding and poor is a level of persuasiveness.

Sound complex?

It is.

Persuasiveness boils down to many things.

It’s about human psychology, the herd mentality, and emotions, to name just a few things.

If you’ve ever wondered how you can create persuasive copywriting, this guide is for you. Read on to learn more.

Learn all about #persuasivecopywriting and how to weave elements of psychology into your online copy, in our guide. Click To Tweet

5 persuasive copywriting tips

What Makes Copy Persuasive?

Persuasive copy has a primary purpose: to get people to convert.

When the copy is compelling, it plays on a reader’s emotions enough to get them to take a given action, be it to click, download, purchase, or share.

To do this, copy must match the following standards:

  • Well-written. Persuasive copywriting is professional-grade, free of errors, and clear.
  • Succinct. Copywriting that is too long or too jumbled loses the meaning very quickly. Because of this, the most persuasive copywriting is short, sweet, and to the point.
  • Intelligent. Nobody is going to be persuaded by copywriting that doesn’t come off as intelligent. To be persuasive, copywriting must be smart, forward-thinking, and well-rounded.
  • Relevant. What is persuasive to one audience won’t necessarily be persuasive to another. Because of this, persuasive copywriting in a given industry must be of interest to the company’s target audience.
What makes copy persuasive? @JuliaEMcCoy lists 4 #persuasivecopywriting standards. Click To Tweet

How to Create Persuasive Copywriting: 5 Keys of Success

Crafting persuasive copy is truly an art form. While it’s one thing to be a good copywriter, it’s entirely another to be a persuasive copywriter.

Writing persuasive copy takes a unique set of skills and a fair bit of expertise.

Luckily, it’s not out of reach for anyone who wants to dedicate the time and effort to learn it.

If you’re dying to craft more persuasive copy for your site, follow these key tips:

1. Focus on the benefits of whatever you’re offering

Think about the television commercials of today. Very few of them just list a litany of features before cutting out. Instead, nearly every successful commercial on tv emphasizes the benefits of its product.

Consider something as simple as one of Buick’s most recent ads, which shows a happy couple leaving a beautiful wedding venue and climbing into their sleek Buick commercial. As this happens, one groomsman says to the other, “Didn’t I tell you to decorate their Buick?” “You did, but that’s not a Buick,” the other replies. The camera cuts to an image of the pastor’s old station wagon, draped in “just married” signs.

The point: a Buick will make you seem sexy, high-class, and sleek. The ad communicates this without ever mentioning any of the specific features of the Cascada.

This is a prime example of persuasive content. If the commercial had listed the Cascada’s features, it would have lost its audience immediately. Since it focused on the benefits, though, it’s racked up thousands of views on YouTube, and millions more on television.

Case in point? Making your content more persuasive means focusing on benefits rather than features. When you can sell your customers a lifestyle, you’re in business.

How do you create #persuasivecopywriting? Tip #1: Focus on the benefits rather than the features of your product or service. Know more about @JuliaEMcCoy's 5 keys to successful persuasive copywriting. Click To Tweet

2. Get specific

Persuasive content doesn’t use generalities.

Why, you ask?

Because people don’t connect with generalities. Instead of hearing that “a lot” of people subscribe to a blog (so you should, too), people want to hear that millions of individuals have already signed up.

For an example of someone who does this well, consider Tim Ferris and his “7 Reasons to Subscribe” post.

tim ferriss

Instead of saying “I have tons of monthly readers,” he says, “1,000,000+ monthly readers means something – the content works.”

Are you sold? I am.

This is incredibly precise, and it works because of that.

The takeaway? Be as specific as you possibly can in your content – in everything from the statistics you use (What percentage of people do X? Where did the statistic come from? What year was the study you’re referencing conducted?) to the words you use. Generalities and vague pronoun references get you nowhere – specificity is essential.

'Be as specific as you possibly can in your content – in everything from the statistics you use to the words you use. Generalities and vague pronoun references will get you nowhere.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on persuasive copywriting. Click To Tweet

3. Appeal to reader emotions

Persuasive content is emotive content. When readers, viewers, or fans connect emotionally to a piece, they’re much more likely to remember it, even after the advertisement, blog post, or video has disappeared from their screen. Consider the Airbnb “Belong Anywhere” campaign, which showcases various Airbnb hosts welcoming guests to properties around the world.

If you didn’t tear up a bit, your heart might be made of cardboard. If you did tear up, you might be thinking, “Over an ad for vacation rentals??” Heck yes. And why? Because this ad appeals to your emotions – it appeals to the foundational human desire to be a part of something big, expansive, and loving, and Airbnb is using those emotions to position itself as a platform that can provide that feeling, in abundance, for anyone who wants it.

If there’s anything to be learned from this ad and others like it, it’s that appealing to viewer emotions is a very powerful thing. In addition to making a connection that outlasts the ad itself, appealing to human emotions also makes your content much more persuasive.

'Persuasive content is emotive content. When readers, viewers, or fans connect emotionally to a piece, they’re much more likely to remember it...' - @JuliaEMcCoy on persuasive copywriting. Click To Tweet

4. Use word of mouth

According to Bright Local, 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online testimonials exactly as much as they trust a personal recommendation from a valued friend. With that in mind, one of the easiest things you can do to make your content more persuasive is to add plenty of previous customer testimonials.

This does two crucial things: first of all, it boosts consumer trust in your brand and product. When people see that dozens or even hundreds of other people have left positive reviews, they’re much more likely to believe you themselves. Secondly, it helps you present yourself as a competent, professional, experienced company, which is awesome for upping the persuasiveness factor.

'According to Bright Local, 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online testimonials... one of the easiest things you can do to make your content more persuasive is to add plenty of previous customer testimonials.' - @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

5. Feel it yourself

If you don’t buy what you’re selling, your customers won’t either. Because of this, it’s essential to be as passionate as you claim to be about the material you’re writing on. Unless you feel an authentic level of excitement about and belief in a topic, it’s going to come across as stale and phony.

Because of this, the most persuasive copywriting is penned by writers that truly care about their topics. If you’ve found your excitement to be lacking lately, try stepping out of your viewpoint and into your customers’. What is it about this product or service that’s life-changing? What sets it apart from all the rest? By taking a moment to reconnect with these things, you equip yourself with the authentic passion needed to create persuasive copywriting for your readers.

If you find that you can’t step outside of yourself enough to get that truly authentic voice, consider hiring a professional writer to do it for you. Because professional writers are third parties, it’s easy for them to create passionate, excited content that accurately describes the benefits, perks, and unique aspects of your product, good, or service.

'If you don’t buy what you’re selling, your customers won’t either. Because of this, it’s essential to be as passionate as you claim to be about the material you’re writing on.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on persuasive copywriting. Click To Tweet

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Persuasive Copywriting Starts Here

The web is lousy with copywriting, but persuasive copywriting stands out a head above the rest. Because persuasive copywriting requires real skill and real emotion, it’s the material that customers are most likely to remember, and it’s the type of writing that will ultimately benefit a company the most.

Without a doubt, you’ve come across persuasive copywriting before. It’s the content that makes you sit up in your chair and think twice about what you’re reading. It’s the content that makes you excited, makes you happy, makes you feel an urgent need to do something. If you’ve never created persuasive copywriting before, though, now is your time.

This is one of those things that’s made rather than born. As long as you know how to write copy, you can write persuasive copy, and this guide tells you how. By ensuring that your copy is specific, focused on benefits rather than features, emotive, chock full of testimony, and written from a place of authentic feeling and emotion, it’s easy to encourage readers to connect with it.

While persuasive copywriting does many things, its primary purpose is to drive conversions.

There’s no better platform for conversions than a base of users that is engaged, connected, and enthralled by your content.

And it’s one of the best ways to ensure the health and wellbeing of your company in the long-run, from Google rankings to conversion-oriented words on your website.

Need great writers to help you create persuasive content? Contact our expert copywriting team today!

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Writing for the Customer: The Artful Copywriter

Who doesn’t love a good secret? I know I do. I can’t help but feel excited when someone leans over, lowers their voice, and says, “Hey, can you keep a secret?” My imagination begins to concoct at warp speed, and I find myself feeling like a giddy little schoolgirl.

I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty good at keeping secrets, which is why I hear so many. I especially like hearing secrets about my craft: copywriting. Every so often one of these secrets is worth passing on to the upcoming generation of writers and marketers. If you’re a copywriter, marketer, business owner, or up-and-coming in the industry, move a little closer to the computer screen. I have some secrets to share with you…


Copywriter and Copywriting: A Textbook Definition


The dictionary defines a copywriter as “a writer of copy, especially for advertisements or publicity releases.” The word originates from 1910-15, but writers have been around for eons in comparison. For the writer, copywriting is simply another tool in our satchel.

Wikipedia says that copywriting “is writing copy…for the purpose of advertising or marketing.” The purpose of the copy is “to persuade someone to buy a product or influence their beliefs.”


Copywriting: The Art

Textbook definitions of the copywriter who performs copywriting are educational, but they fail to convey the art of the trade. Writing copy is like sculpting. Have you ever worked with clay on a pottery wheel? It can be an incredibly relaxing experience, or so I was told the first time I attempted it.

A few years ago, I was on a stress relief kick. A friend of mine who sculpts for a living recommended pottery class. Initially, I found the activity to be more of a stress causer than releaser. But after a lot of practice, I learned a bit about the art behind the craft. I was able to work the clay on the pottery wheel, and it became something that was somewhat recognizable.

The experience taught me a valuable lesson: to become proficient at a craft one must not only learn the art behind the craft, but also have some amount of talent that can be developed into precision skill. Copywriting for the copywriter is no exception. After spending over a decade on my craft, I’ve learned the ultimate secret—the secret that dates back to the very creation of the writing craft:

The secret to amazing [copy]writing is ensuring that every sentence makes your reader want to read the next.

Here’s another secret: I learned the above secret very shortly after starting a career in literature and writing. However, it took me years to truly understand the ins and outs of it.

Writing copy is like growing up again. The day you begin, you write as an infant. As your career grows, you learn new techniques and take in different forms of criticism. At first, you respond like an adolescent, convinced you know best. Eventually, you mature. As your mind opens, you begin to learn proficiency and discover how the tools at your disposal can be wielded to create unique, compelling, and breathtaking copy. One day—if you’re lucky—you’ll take your place among the masters, the very writers you looked up to and idolized.


The Number One Mistake New Copywriters Make

We’ve established the purpose of copywriting: to create copy that persuades. In most cases, copywriters are writing advertising and press release material. The number one mistake new copywriters make is writing like a cheap advertisement.

Don’t get me wrong; sometimes you’ll be called upon to write a piece that is pure advertising. The client’s instructions regarding this will be quite specific, though. These projects will be some of the simplest you undertake as a copywriter because the creative requirements will be low. On the other hand, most copywriting projects require the art of copywriting: writing without advertising.


The Artful Copywriter’s Toolbox

How does a copywriter write without advertising? It isn’t easy. In fact, it can be just as frustrating as that first pottery class I mentioned earlier—or any “first” for that matter. In order to master the art, you’ll need to use every tool at your disposal with skillful technique. Let’s take a look at three of the most powerful tools copywriters can use:

  1. “Speak to one person.” I quote this from a superb Mashable article about startup copywriting and writing compelling content. A lot of writers mistakenly think that they must write for a large, diverse audience. If you try to take this approach, you’ll likely overthink and stifle the piece before even writing it. Here’s a secret about your audience: they’re all human. What should this mean to you? It’s important to understand your target customer. You need to know the issues that are important to them and the solutions they’re seeking, but at the end of the day, every potential customer in that giant audience is human. They all respond and connect to the same basic things: emotion, need, desire, want, and resolution. Speaking to one person means speaking to these basics.
  2. Grab attention and hold it. If you use the first tool, you’ll have a head start on grabbing your readers’ attention. Seizing attention when writing copy is about more than crafting a gripping introduction. In today’s world, people are skimmers. They look at a piece of copy and first see the headline and subheadings. If those perk their interest, they pick a place to start reading. You can write a gripping introduction that rivals the opening scene of a Cinemax film, but it might not be where every reader starts reading. This is why every sentence must make the reader want to read the next.
  3. Focus on positives. Most good copy contains positives and negatives. It’s important to balance any negatives with positives, and focus more heavily on the positives. Copywriting should focus less on product or service features and more on benefits. Potential customers connect better to benefits because they look for them. When’s the last time you shopped purely for features? Most of us know what we want a product or service to do, and we look for the benefits of choosing a particular product or business over another. Features tend to be something we skim over, nod our head at or shrug our shoulders at and move on.


How to Write Without Advertising

Unfortunately, there is no set formula for writing without advertising. However, there are some industry standards that can be used like a compass:


Provoke a reaction: the best copywriting grabs and holds the reader’s attention, no matter where they start reading. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use the entire piece to provoke a reaction. By tapping into the human experience, you can provoke just about anything. Here are some of the tools at the copywriter’s disposal:

  • Use descriptive illustrations
  • Incorporate the personal experience of a customer
  • Incorporate the personal experience of the copywriter
  • Use emotionally charged words
  • Use a metaphor that is built upon from the introduction to the conclusion

Make the reader curious: why did Alice follow the white rabbit down a daunting hole? She was curious. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but when we’re curious, we tend to ignore everything until we satisfy that curiosity. Seeds can be planted throughout copy, provoking curiosity. You can do this by:

  • Using loaded questions and leading up to the answers
  • Weaving an illustration or metaphor throughout the piece
  • Using several illustrations or metaphors
  • Sprinkling tips throughout the piece, telling the read you’re about to reveal some juicy secrets

Persuade without selling: this is perhaps the toughest tool to wield because it takes a good amount of creativity. It’s fine to introduce a concept, product or service, but this should be done gently. You don’t want the reader to feel like they’re being propositioned to buy. You want them to feel as if they’re gaining knowledge and becoming an informed individual.

You might start by introducing a prevalent problem or issue the audience is concerned about. Use this opportunity to connect with the reader. Show them you “feel their pain.” Next, introduce the concept, product, or service, but don’t talk much about it. Let the reader wonder. As you write the body of the copy, incorporate illustrations, metaphors, and experiences that build on the benefits and solutions the audience seeks. Then, ever so slightly nudge them with more mention of the concept, product, or service. By the conclusion, your reader should be thinking, “Gee, I want to know about that.” Give them what they want. This is how you persuade without saying, “Buy me!”


The Evolving World of Copywriting


Two decades ago, copywriting was practically all hardcopy. Today, we live in a technological era. Copywriting—like everything else—has shifted to the intricate web of the Internet. Professional copywriters are adapting to become “Google-Friendly.”

Cyber copywriting is a challenging new art. Not only does it involve the creation of high quality and compelling content, but it also requires the expert insertion of SEO keywords and phrases plus linking. Google sets the bar high, and for the really good writers out there, we love the new standards.

SEO focus is shifting. Instead of forcing us to stuff keywords into copy, creating a grammatically challenged and irritating piece of nonsense, Google is now saying quality content is more important than keywords. Why the shift? Because the potential customer—the reader—wants quality, compelling, educational material; they want a good read!


Copywriting and Business

It doesn’t matter if your business is small, medium, or large. If you own a business, you should tap into the artful talent of a skilled copywriter. Skilled copywriters can write:

  • Informative and interactive web content
  • Compelling press releases
  • Educational and technical articles and documents
  • Inspiring blogs
  • And much, much more

Copywriters are perhaps one of the most under hired professionals out there. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I can write! I just don’t have enough time, but give it to me and I’ll write that for you.”

Let’s be honest: creating the idea for a piece of copy is a million times easier than writing it. If you aren’t writing for a living, you simply will not produce the artful quality of a professional copywriter. Just how much goes into copywriting?

For starters, take a look at Copywriting 101 from CopyBlogger. Just take a moment to skim through the bold headings throughout this piece, which offers resources for learning the basics of copywriting. I count 32 different topics, and this is just the basics of copywriting. Professional copywriters go beyond the basics to the intricate techniques of writing and editing.

Does the average “I can write if I just had time” individual truly understand the grammatical and spelling side of the English language? Do they know which words to use to temper a negative message with a positive spin? Can they tap into emotion, painting a picture with only words? How quickly can they produce a 500 to 1,000 word article that is chalked full of quality information, well written, perfectly formatted and 99.9 (or even 100) percent free of grammatical and spelling errors?

Contrary to popular opinion, writing isn’t easy! Copywriting is no exception. In fact, I would say copywriting is more difficult than general writing. It takes both talent and developed skill to:

  • Get to know the audience
  • Select the proper research
  • Incorporate the truly helpful facts and statistics
  • Weave in a metaphor or illustration that everyone—regardless of background or education level—can understand and connect to
  • Write the actual copy, incorporating all of the footwork
  • Proof the copy intelligently to not only improve it, but to also ensure it is as well written, formatted and as free from errors as possible

Don’t trust the art of copywriting to just anyone. Believe me; the artful copywriter will appreciate you if you don’t. Where can you find us? Well, we’re holding down the fort in copywriting agencies and freelance markets in your local, national, and international communities. We are your best and last defense when it comes to weeding out bad copy and replacing it with compelling copy.




Today’s Fabulous, Growing Career: Copywriting

Because of the Internet, the copywriting profession has blown from a small existence of professionals being paid exorbitant rates in a journal or media based career to dozens of people working from home in any given American city. Sitting and typing away with a baby or two in the other room… a tea break or two midday… and yes, this is a career, folks!

Copywriting? What’s that About?

So let’s talk about it. What is this wonderful work-at-home-opportunity all about? Being a copywriter is thought to be a very inviting and easy way to make money; this is true to a great extent. You can work from the comfort of your own home with no specific work hours, rest when you want in a comfortable bed – not having to dose off on your office chair worrying about getting caught–go on long vacation, and on top of all these, get paid well. What more can you ask for? In fact, it might even seem too good to be true – but this is one instance where this saying does not apply.

The ONE problem here: not many people are aware of what a copywriter is exactly. The common mistake that people make is that they confuse it with ‘copyright’ which is a totally different thing. So these people assume that you come up with copyrights to protect peoples’ inventions and discoveries from being stolen by others. This is far from the truth, as copywriters are basically people who write marketing materials and other business copies that bring in new prospects for the business through more customers, leading to sales and profits. The job of a copywriter is very much a part of the marketing aspect of an organization.


Copywriting Explained

So what is copywriting? Copywriting work involves producing brilliant articles specifically for advertising and promotional activities, both online and offline (although a huge percentage now is online). You see the various billboards, promotional emails, catalogs, and other advertising material out there – well, the wording on them is written by copywriters.

It is estimated that copywriting is a $2.3 trillion industry, according to the AWAI, and a fast growing one at that. Unlike informative writing like the news and editorial articles, copywriters focus on getting readers to take action by persuading them to want a product or service and finally buying it. They are essentially a salesperson, trying to sell business though the power of words.

On the contrary, the word copyright, which so often is applied to the job description, is completely different. Copyright is having legal rights to use, reproduce, sell, publish or distribute a person or a company’s work. Unlike copywriting, the purpose of copyright is to safeguard these knowledgeable assets of a person or company from being used or taken advantage by some other party.


Factors That Attract People to the Industry

For many who are fascinated by copywriting, it is because they are very much interested in working from home such as for mothers with infants or anyone who hates going into a corporate office every day. A huge aspect here to remember is that everyone who actually succeeds was innately gifted in writing in some way or another. In other words—it was their calling, their God-given gifted talent. And the other parts can be learned. Today, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to work from the comfort of their home?

Another attractive aspect of copywriting is you really do not need a large investment to get started – all you need is a good Internet connection and computer. And, best of all, there is no education qualifications specifically required – although some skills are needed which are explained later.

This industry is growing rapidly, and people employed within it are able to pull 6 figure salaries working full-time, while many part-time works are still enabling them to earn the full-time salary of an employee in another industry.


Qualifications Needed for Copywriting

As mentioned earlier, there are no specific qualifications that you need to acquire to be a copywriter. To be successful, you won’t need to possess any degree or even a high school qualification. Unlike most jobs that require a specific degree in that area and extensive experience in a certain age, copywriters do not need any of these.

There are successful copywriters who have no formal education above high school, while there are some who have not even made it through high school. Moreover, there are still many teenagers who are only 18 and yet, make a considerable earning through copywriting.

All you need as a qualification is the ability to write an article and even that doesn’t need to be in formal writing styles that are taught to us in school. On the contrary, it is believed that copywriters write the way that normal people talk – as it helps to communicate with them on their own level and get the message directly. If you have and know how to use a computer and Internet then you are set. The rest of it is self-learned through various online guides and tips.


Is the Six-Figure Salary Margin Really Achievable?

This is completely possible and if you search on the Internet, you will come across many who claim to be doing so. It depends on how much effort you put into it and the way you go about it. There are copywriters that have been able to negotiate some very valuable contracts with top companies that bring in an income of around $300,000 per annum for the copywriter.

To be successful you have to be business-minded and have good negotiation skills along with the ability to spot and react to opportunities that come your way. Even if you work part-time or work during the holidays or in your spare time, you can still make a considerable amount of money.

The beauty of copywriting is that you have no targets other than your own for how much work you want to do, unlike in other jobs where you work for a company. How much you make and the effort you put in is totally up to you, giving you time to enjoy life as well.


Where Should I Begin?

Getting an Internet connection and computer should be no problem at all and you probably have both if you managed to read this online.

Even though there is no need for any formal qualification, it would be better if you had someone to guide you on the right path with useful advice that comes from experience. You have three options in this matter:

  1. You can do your own reading through the countless number of sites that a Google search can easily find for you; learning from them through on the job training.
  2. You can buy a study pack or tutorial aimed at teaching the art or copywriting such as the AWAI Accelerated Program or any other reliable product you can purchase; there are even classes that you can attend to get better at it.
  3. Become part of a well-known and established copywriting agency which is a prominent player in the industry. You can work with and get tips and advice from other people who work for the company and learn and grow quickly.

In the end, whatever method you choose, copywriting will enable you to bring home a considerable salary in the comfort of your own home and with freedom to work as you wish – all through your dedication and hard work.


More Information

Seeking more info on copywriting and all there is to it? We’ve listed some of our favorite resources to help you out.

  • Express Writers Blog: We typically publish informative posts daily that are written by our own very experienced, trained and qualified writers for your benefit.
  • Hubspot Blog: One of the leading inbound marketing software providers online and a huge proponent of content marketing and online copywriting.
  • Blog: Get all the latest in SEO for your online copywriting. SEO + copywriting is a powerful combination for online content usage today.
  • Copyblogger: A great resource for copywriters.