Himanshu Rauthan July 1st, 2020

The Ultimate Guide To Copywriting In 2020

copywriting guide

With the years passing us by, attracting prospects to your business and resources is also changing. Businesses are going online and copywriting is playing an important role in promoting them on the internet. 

But what is that one thing that’s compelling people to buy products and services by just searching a few queries on a search bar? 

The answer is content.

Today we see many web pages that are loaded with content; content that is convincing enough to convert your readers into customers. 

So here it is, copywriting is the practice of utilizing any piece of content that implies the art and science of using words in a copy, promotional enough to sell products or services and forces a prospect to take action. 

Many factors come into play for growing a business effectively including:

But the major portion that contributes to business growth is high-quality content. Check out these stats:

So now that we have checked the definition of copywriting, let’s move ahead to check the importance of copywriting.

Copywriting: Why Is It Crucial For Business?

We have seen the best marketers investing most in developing a content strategy for their business growth. So stating that copywriting is crucial for your business would be an understatement. 

Let me cover the importance of copywriting for a business and why you should invest in good copy.

Great content is the core of a great copy. Also, a good content strategy costs 62% less and generates 3 times more leads.

A copy loaded with great content is much more engaging than television advertisements or a cold email.

About 60% of people prefer buying a product or service after reading informative content about it. Talking about branding, 70% of the audience would prefer learning about an organization through articles rather than an advertisement.

The stats until now have shown how important it is for a business to curate a great copy for:

  • Generating Leads
  • Increasing awareness among the target audience
  • Engaging the audience to your content

Still not convinced?

Let’s consider more statistics. 

Business owners have started to realize the importance of a good copy to reach their customers’ minds. Thus, it’s not surprising that on an average 25% of the budget is spent on content marketing.

As business owners, it’s very necessary to plan a good copywriting strategy due to the omnipresence of content. Content is present to make people aware of your ideas. We on a daily basis create and engage with content on various channels such as:

Social Media

If you want to reach your audience using limited words and thoughts, social media copywriting can be the perfect solution. Social media is a platform with an ever-increasing number of audiences towards 3.1 billion in 2021, which makes it an important area to promote business.

Number of social media users worldwide 2010-2021(in billions)

Website

Having a website today is nothing new but to make people aware of it is the real task. A good copy plays an important role in making your website rank on top of search engine result pages (SERPs). 

As per Julia McCoy, a serial content writer, entrepreneur, and author,  61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.

Email

Email is amongst the first and oldest forms of personalized marketing in the digital world. Many alternative channels are becoming popular, but still, emails play a prominent role in the marketing world. 

From an engaging subject and interesting body to a compelling call-to-action(CTA), copywriting is needed everywhere.

So these are some well-known areas where copywriting is indispensable for any business organization.

Types of Copywriting

Based on the site owners’ need and dependability, copywriting can fall in 2 categories:

  • SEO Copywriting
  • Direct Response Copywriting

SEO Copywriting

If your goal is to top the SERPs and gain some organic traffic for your website, SEO copywriting is the right choice. 

SEO copywriting is all about writing content that uses relevant, niche-oriented keywords and focuses on a target audience. 

For creating an SEO friendly copy, you need to ask yourself one question: 

Who is your target audience? 

The minute you answer this question correctly, the path to ranking your content on the SERPs will become easier. 

Many content curators forget the real goal of writing for the audience. Instead, they write for keywords.

Let’s have a look at different components that contribute to Google’s Ranking Algorithm.

You’ll see “trust” and “authority” having the largest share as compared to other components. 

To summarize, I would say that SEO copywriting is all about creating content that shares some value to its readers and is compelling enough to be ranked on top of the SERPs. 

3 SEO Copywriting Takeaways

Let’s have a look at some of the best practices for SEO Copywriting.

Headline

The headline is the first thing that is read by the readers and is an important element in leaving a lasting impression on your readers.

“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. —David Ogilvy”

A headline in SEO copywriting is all about creating an attraction for the visitors so that they could scroll further to read.

The headline also plays an important role in boosting the click-through-rates(CTRs) when your page appears in SERPs. To become a successful copywriter, think, and plan on your title first. Then carry it forward with your content.

This is arguably the best practice regarding headlines but some people might take a different approach. 

Bonus Tip:
Headlines that use numbers in their text are mostly considered winners as per Conversion XL. Try including some sort of figures to make it more vivid.
Content

After the headline comes the most vital part of any SEO copy i.e. content. After all, the whole copy is based and relies on its content. Before beginning right away, understand your readers (target audience) and the information to be shared with them. 

Google Panda 4.1 update talked about penalizing thin or shallow content. As per the experts, a typical post (SEO copy) is approximately 1000 words. It is not about the length but how much value you share with your visitors. Many find it difficult to rank highly dense content due to the shallow information they provide whereas small articles might rank at the top as readers find it highly informational.

Bonus Tip
Try including at least one of your targeted keyphrases at the beginning of your introduction, if not the exact keyphrase, try addressing the keyword intent.
Keyword Frequency

The number of times your keyword or keywords appearing in the content is keyword frequency. 

Take an example:

“An article that targets best ps4 controls as a keyphrase, then how many times it is used in an article is considered as the keyword density for best ps4 controls.

Here is the formula for checking the exact keyword density:

For a Keyword:

Nk/Tw*100

Where Nk is the total count of keywords and Tw is the total number of words used in your content.

For a Keyword Phrase:

(Nk*Np/Tw)*100

Here Np is the total number of words in a phrase.

The ideal keyword density is considered as 1 to 2 percent for getting SEO benefits. I would advise you not to be too calculative; just avoid some common SEO mistakes like:

  • Stuffing header tags
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Excessive keyword insertion

To make it brief, SEO copywriting is all about implementing SEO best practices and naturally pushing your content upwards in the SERPs. Also, SEO copywriting is all about captivating your audience by leveraging psychology and persuasion. 

Direct Response Copywriting

Direct response copywriting is a derivative of TV advertising where the motive of the writers is to engage people not only in reading but also memorizing their copy. The main goal behind a direct response copy is sharing value while raking in conversions.

If you analyze closely, it is much more than a normal television advertisement. The idea is to generate content by which the reader is ready to take action upon digesting the words.

Here are some examples of actions that you may want your readers to take:

  • Make purchase
  • Sign up for a newsletter
  • Download a resource, a freebie or something
  • Follow on social media

Direct Response Copywriting Takeaways

Let me share some tips that can make your copy a powerhouse of conversions.

3 Tips Before Writing Your Copy
#1 Determine your goal:

Before curating the copy, determine the goal behind its creation. Every author should decide what action they want their readers to take after reading the copy. If the publisher wants the reader to buy a product, download something, or subscribe to articles or newsletters, the mode of conversion has to be predetermined.

#2 Plan your path:

Now that you’ve decided your goal, this is the time when you have to be particular about what channel or medium you will use. Some common paths chosen by marketers are:

  • Emails
  • Personal Messaging
  • Creating a sales page with long-form information
  • Advertisements
  • Social Media Announcements
#3 Share, don’t demonstrate the value:

Try to share value with your copy. Instead of telling the community how much value you’re bringing to the community, try to bring a positive change. Tell people how your product is going to add value to their lives instead of showing how valuable your product is.

4 Takeaways While Writing your Copy 

Once you have decided on your goal and found your medium where you want to publish your copy, it’s time to get into action.

#1 It all starts with a headline

As mentioned in the SEO Copywriting section, the headline is the first thing that the user reads. 

The legendary copywriter David Ogilvy has said it much better:

“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

If the heading doesn’t capture the attention of the reader and fails to arouse any curiosity, your copy goes in vain.

Have a look at David Ogilvy’s best selling copy that used a heading to arouse curiosity:

#2 Adding Compelling CTAs to your Copy

The main goal behind writing a Direct Response copy is to drive actions. Thus, placing CTAs in the copy is the best way to capture reader action.

The characteristics of a good CTA are:

  • Make the reader crystal clear about the big benefit they are going to receive on clicking that button
  • Make it transparent to that next step once that action is undertaken
  • The CTA should be free of any doubts and confusions

Above is an example from SEMrush that showcases some of the perfect CTAs needed in a copy.

The reader knows exactly what’s going to happen when they click the button.

#3 Write to define your readers

Each and every word of your copy should define your readers. By defining the readers I mean that the reader should be convinced that the copy is exclusively written for him or her. 

Upon reading your copy they should understand that the product or service is going to bring a positive change in their current scenario. Many business owners try to work upon the fallacy of how great their product is, which is a wrong approach. 

While writing the copy keep the readers in focus instead of creating a hype of the product. 

Have a look at another example by SEMrush.

# 4 Invest time in Long Form Copy

We have become too busy in our lives. Everyone needs quick results within a span of a few microseconds. There is a misconception that short-form content outperforms longer forms of content every single time but that isn’t the case.

When it comes to direct response copy, try to invest time in a long-form copy. 

Here are some benefits of writing a long-form copy:

  • Long-form copy allows readers to engage with content with the desire to learn more.
  • Long-form copy gives copywriters the chance of packing in more information which might not have been possible in a short-form copy.
  • Long-form copy delivers more value to your readers.

Here is an example from WordStream’s own analytics that depicts their progress when they switched to long-form copies.

The above screenshot depicts how the average visit duration rose gradually after they focussed on more words from late 2012.

Direct Response copywriting is all about crafting words in a fashion that targets your readers’ emotions and most importantly addresses their worries, fears, and immediate needs.

Copywriting in 2020

Having discussed the important forms of copywriting and how crucial it is for a business, let’s have a look at the future of copywriting in 2020.

Copywriting, a traditional tool of marketers to promote a product, has already passed through major changes over the years. Copywriting started as a method for persuading readers to become potential customers. 

Modern copywriting is an outcome of what I call a digital earthquake. With the introduction of the internet, everything changed and thus changed the role of copywriters. The digital earthquake brought the culture of blogging, SEO, eCommerce, social networking, personalized marketing, and much more. 

This means in the coming years we will experience more transitions in copywriting. Let’s go through some copywriting trends for 2020.

5 Copywriting Trends 2020

Here are the top 5 copywriting trends for 2020 that are essential for a successful content marketing strategy:

#Trend 1: Channelize or Repurpose the Copy

Let me ask you, readers, a question: 

What is the main motive behind curating great content? 

The answer is to make your copy reachable to as many people as possible. Thus in 2020, it would be necessary to channelize or repurpose your copy on various platforms regularly. 

What does this mean? Does it mean that one has to create a unique copy for each platform on a daily basis? 

That seems to be a daunting task. 

If you thought so, then you got me wrong. By channelizing I mean picking up a single copy and publishing it across various platforms. 

Just pick one of your best copies. It could be anything, consider your email newsletter with the highest open rate. Turn that email content into a social post or a website blog.

Here is the average share of different forms of content:

By repurposing a unique copy across various platforms, one can :

  • Reach new audiences
  • Boost organic traffic
  • Diversifies a single copy across various platforms
  • Compel the reader to navigate through different stages of the buyer journey

#Trend 2: Visual Content

Apart from textual and readable content, visual content is also becoming a huge move in the copywriting world. Video content has already established itself as a go-to option for many B2B and B2C organizations. 

Many marketers consider videos an effective way of building trust among their audience. In the present scenario business owners are much more focused on building a long-term relationship with their audience instead of just selling them a product. 

As said by Mark Schaefer, Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions:

“The new era demands a focus on ignition, not just content, on trust, not just traffic, and on the elite people in your audience who are spreading and advocating your content.”

Videos are a great way of igniting emotions. Therefore I have included videos as an important point of copywriting trends 2020. Popular video platforms include:

# Trend 3: Optimize Copy for Voice Search

Voice search has been a booming technology in the recent past, with the invention of smart devices such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. Thus, I would encourage optimizing your copy with the users’ voice intent.

Another big reason for voice search optimization is mobile as a preference for searching for information. As per Statista, the global mobile users count is increasing exponentially.

Number of smartphone users worldwide from 2016 to 2021 (in billions)

Thus, audiences in 2020 will embrace voice search with open arms. This means that copywriters will have to keep a watch on their copy and optimize it for voice search.

#Trend 4: Understanding User Intent

Before writing a copy, one needs to understand the purpose behind curating it. This is where understanding user intent becomes even more important. User intent plays a key role if one wants to make the copy rank on top of the SERPs. 

Typically there are four forms of user intent:

Navigational

These are specific queries when the user wants to visit a specific site or page.

(eg., “makewebbetter.com”, “facebook.com”)

Informational

These are broad or general queries when the user is looking for some sort of information. 

( eg., “why is Sahara so hot”). The informational queries end up returning thousands of results on the search engine result pages.

Transactional

Transactional intent focusses on action-based queries where the user is ready to perform any sort of activity. (eg., “buy Adidas sneakers” or “book tickets for Paris”). 

Investigational

Queries that intend to research about any piece of information are known as investigational intent.

(eg., “best headphones for gaming”, “bose headphones customer reviews”).

The importance of understanding user intent has become even more important after Google made the announcement of their new BERT update

With the vision of giving its searchers freedom from keywords and paving a way that makes searching natural in 2020, the search engines will focus more on understanding the intent behind the query instead of the query itself.

#Trend 5: Aim for the Featured Snippet

What is a featured snippet?

Featured Snippets are some selected search results that appear on top of the search result pages. The main motive of featured snippets is to answer user queries right away upon searching.

Why are featured snippets important?

If we look from the searcher’s perspective, featured snippets are quick results or answers to queries being searched. Featured snippets help a copy to get good click-through rates and are a perfect opportunity to drive organic traffic to a site. 

Featured snippets are important for a copywriter to increase the awareness of a brand, increase traffic, and consequently increase conversion rates.

As per Ahrefs, if a copy ranks first for a search term and owes a featured snippet in the SERPs, then there is a chance of getting 31% more traffic on the page. This is compared to a result that only has the first position on SERPs.

How are featured snippets important in 2020?

As we are stepping our foot into the future, the nature of searchers is also changing. 2020 will be all about what Alice Corner refers to as “no-click users”. Thus, copywriters need to focus on the long-form copy that answers the audiences’ urging questions. In addition to that, the copy should be backed by a short yet highly descriptive headline.

Copywriting Strategies for 2020

Soon we will be witnessing a whole new era of copywriting. Thus, content curators need to get ready for the upcoming year. Here, I’ll be discussing three copywriting strategies for creating a compelling copy.

#1 Joseph Sugerman’s Slippery Slide Concept

Joseph Sugerman, a legendary copywriter and the author of The Adweek Copywriting Handbook started his business with JS&A and laid the foundation of the Slippery Slide concept.

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook is a perfect tool for copywriters to understand the mentality and philosophy which is required to excel as a successful copywriter. 

As per the handbook,

“our readers should be so compelled to read your copy that they cannot stop reading until they read all of it as if sliding down a slippery slide.” 

The job of every copywriter is to make a copy that arouses readers to engage with the copy. The reader should be compelled to read until the end. 

This is where the Slippery Slide concept comes into play. As depicted in the image below:

  • It all starts with a perfect headline.
  • Moving ahead is the magic of the words that should be woven in a manner to entangle the reader till the end.
  • The ending should be all about leaving an impression that leads to action.

Thus, as a copywriting strategy for 2020, it’s important to engage your readers and compel them to read until the end.

#2 AIDA Formula

AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action

It is a conventional formula used by copywriters and marketers to develop continuity in a copy. Also, the AIDA formula is an effective way of implementing the Slippery Slide concept in your copy. 

Let’s understand each and every element of the formula in detail:

Attention

The first thing that a copy needs is your reader’s attention. A visitor must be compelled to read the complete copy. Once the job of garnering attention is done, it’s time to develop an interest in your readers to read more.

Here are some tips to capture your readers’ attention:

  • Create an effective yet unique headline.
  • Add graphics that can beautify your content.
  • Use a hero image for the copy.

Example for hero image:

Interest

Most visitors have a short attention span, thus it’s very necessary to develop an interest in your readers. There are two ways to achieve this:

  1. Preparing for scanners and scrollers

Many have the tendency of scrolling and scanning a page upon landing on the page. Considering such readers, the copy has to be curated in a way that develops an interest in their minds. To achieve this, the copy has to have elements such as images, videos, CSS, etc. that can beautify it.

  1. Opening paragraph

After a catchy headline, the next thing that needs attention is the opening paragraph. An opening paragraph can turn the tables for your copy and its performance. 

If upon reading the opening paragraph, the readers don’t get curious enough, then there is a possibility that they might lose interest in reading the copy further.

Desire

Interest ultimately leads to desire and makes readers search for more information.

Here are some strategies that are helpful in creating that desire:

  • Show the product benefits in your copy.
  • Explain to your readers how the product can bring a positive change in your life.
  • Try to convince your readers with real examples such as case studies, client testimonials, etc.

Action

Once the reader has read your copy, all you want is your reader taking some action. That action can be a purchase, a file download, a subscription, a like or share on the content piece.

The user action can be achieved with the help of the following methodologies:

Using Clear CTAs

One of the conventional methods is using clear Call to Actions (CTAs). CTAs are distinct buttons that have some text which is action-oriented and allows the users to call for action.

Creating Urgency

Creating urgency is an old technique of playing with the psychological mindset of the reader. With the help of urgency, a marketer compels a user to make a quick decision.

Countdown timers on product pages are the best examples of creating urgency.

Incentives and Offers

This is another technique of making the reader take action. Adding a small offer for your readers not only helps in getting quick actions but also in winning the trust and loyalty of the readers.

#3 Social Proof

As per Nielsen Norman Group:

“People are guided by other people’s behavior, so we can represent the actions, beliefs, and advice of the crowd in a design to influence users.”

This means when people are confused about what to do next, then they look up to what others have done. In brief, social proof plays an important role in influencing the actions of an individual.

Thus, for 2020 it becomes even more important to back your copy with good social proof.

Check the SEMRush homepage:

But the challenge is:

To show social proof, one needs to have enough social proof.

Many copywriters find it difficult in backing up their copy with enough social proof but the following two techniques can make it easier for you:

  • Feature the strongest form of social proof available with you. This could be the total number of subscriptions for your product or service. Or maybe feature the best client testimonial available.
  • Giving a crystal clear unique selling proposition (USP). In short, tell people why one should come to you to buy a product or service.

Thus, these are two best approaches for backing up the copy with social proof.

Over To You

If you have reached the end, this means I’ve been successful in keeping up your interest with my copy. 

We have covered all about copywriting including the types of copywriting, its importance in business, trends for 2020, and some strategies that will step up your copywriting game in 2020 and coming years.

To sum it up, I perceive copywriting in 2020 to be revolutionized with the latest technologies like voice search and copywriters would have to work upon various other opportunities like visual content to stay ahead of the curve. 

Irrespective of which year it is, the basics of copywriting(just like any other concept) will always remain the same such as keeping your readers interest, using engaging headlines, and maintaining flow in your content. Copywriting in 2020 will be all about implementing new technologies while keeping up the conventional strategies.

Also please ensure to measure the performance of your content to understand what’s working for you and what’s not.

I hope I was able to cover all there is about copywriting and its best practices, and you all gained some useful insights from my copy.

Which of these copywriting strategies and trends would rule the year 2020? Do you plan to use any of these in your marketing plan? Did I miss out on something?

Please have your say. I am listening.

Himanshu Rauthan

Himanshu Rauthan is an entrepreneur, Director at MakeWebBetter, BotMyWork, and the Co-Founder of CEDCOSS Technologies. He has worn many hats in his career - programmer, researcher, writer, and strategist. As a result, he has a unique ability to manage multi-disciplinary projects and to navigate complex challenges.

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