Overview of Marketing Copy
Ian Lurie’s course titled “Learning to Write a Marketing Copy” contains many key points that you can use to market your brand or product. Lurie is the CEO of Portent, a digital marketing agency. His course is extremely helpful if you are looking for tips on marketing.
For Lurie, good copywriting delivers value to people when they need it and is persuasive mostly to those that respond (Lurie, 2014). It involves having a well thought out strategy and is about selling a product or idea. A marketing copy must contain a call to action, and acts as a handshake for the relationship you will create with your client. It must be visually creative, deliver significance, and appeal to the right niche audience by providing value.
There are three classifications of copywriting (Lurie, 2014). The first is collateral which is mostly known in the form of a brochure. It delivers significance and value form the very first sentence to the last. Other forms of collateral include direct marketing, one-liners, and product descriptions. They communicate your brand and reinforce a message that leads people to a destination. The second classification is medium which is the “pipe” over which the message is relayed, such as online, print, or radio. The third classification is style. This is unique to each writer and product. It can include teaching the audience about something, straight shot at selling, laughter, or a scare tactic.
When writing, there will be potential distractions that you should eliminate. Interruptions from coworkers, family members, or pets can hinder your thought process. Technical problems can also arise. To be prepared, Lurie encourages you to communicate your availability to your family members and find a private space to work. Turn off any notifications such as emails or messaging and plug in your device. Put your pets in another room and use a timer to work in chunks of time.
Once the distractions are limited, prepare the tools you will need to write a copy. Have a timer on hand, a storage device for the content you create, a glass of water, a backup service, and writing tools. Google drive is a great tool to use because it backs up all your work, even if you don’t.
Next, you will need to create a plan. Think about your audience, collateral, and style by creating a list of each. Know which audiences you will have, a list of the collateral, and styles that will and won’t work. Lurie says that plans may change five or more times before you begin your actual work.
The next step is to make use of the timer and begin freewriting. Use 5-10 minute increments to just write and not focus on spelling, punctuation, or grammar. This is for you to write down any thoughts that come to your head so you can build on them later or remove them if they are irrelevant.
When writing the first draft of your marketing copy, Lurie suggests considering your collateral and style, eliminating distractions, and setting the timer for 45-90 minutes (Lurie, 2014). Do not stop writing until the timer goes off! Keep your goal in mind and do not worry about editing. General rules to follow include addressing the reader, being direct in what you’re saying, and explaining the “why.” Your audience needs to know why they are reading whatever it is you have written. Lurie says having quality in your work is much more important than quantity.
When it comes to the proofreading stage, Lurie encourages having someone else to edit and then proofread (Lurie, 2014). A tip for proofreading is to look for places where two or three words can be shortened to one. This can help keep the attention of your audience longer.
The first thing a reader will see is the headline. It is what drives the marketing copy but it should not hold up your writing. A headline should not be mysterious but to the point and should avoid fearmongering. A tip from Lurie is to write many headlines and select the strongest ones. A headline is the first pitch to your audience (Lurie, 2014).
To test your headline, Lurie suggest picking two or three strong ones and running a test (Lurie, 2014). The test could be asking in a poll, running an ad, or sending emails to an email list and judging the response. Another way to gain feedback is to create a landing page for the headlines. When selling a marketing page, make sure to entice the reader with a fun summary in order to keep them engaged or straight as the reader to continue to your site.
If you are writing for print, Lurie suggests remembering the context of whatever you’re writing (Lurie, 2014). You should also keep in mind the permanence of your work because it cannot be edited once published. In print, images should dominate and there should be a clear, immediate call to action. Just like the structure used here, there should be 5-6 lines per paragraph and 15-20 words per line.
Online marketing copy is very similar in the structuring but differs in some respects. It is editable, testable, and can be sent over multiple channels. Using the golden ratio of 1.6 to 1 for paragraph spacing makes it easier for your editor and designers. Lurie says to use bullets or numbering when making lists, links where useful, and not writing for search engines (Lurie, 2014).
Rewriting Existing Copy
According to Lurie, when rewriting yours or someone else’s copy, try to improve it without restructuring. If it is for someone else, ask them the context and their goal. Look for unnecessary words and, like this paper, edit it to be in an active voice rather than passive. If you’re rewriting for a webpage, ensure that the call to action is clear. If you’re rewriting a product design, make it scannable. When rewriting for social media, Lurie suggests being sincere in the words you choose. Tell the truth to your audience and keep your message brief (Lurie, 2014). Social media allows word to spread fast so use an active voice, use images, and don’t be offensive.
Managing your copywriting team can be daunting. Lurie encourages organizing your team, mentoring them, and being their advocate to achieve the best results. As manager, you must respect the craft and schedule, and hire freelancers where necessary to assist your team (Lurie, 2014). To keep mental health in check, have a day set aside every month to work on a favourite project. A manager should also require their employees to take vacations and avoid binge writing sessions to keep creativity high. Don’t have too many meetings and recognize that each writer has their own voice.
According to Lurie, setting an editorial calendar is vital in keeping things in check. It must be flexible and structured in an understandable manner (Lurie, 2014). It should list the titles of what you want to write, who will write them, the content type, and should show the status of a project. Some guiding principles when creating a calendar include thinking big, planning as far ahead as possible, designating reviewers carefully, and maintaining a separate list of writers and researchers. Lurie reiterates to be flexible because there will be times when the schedule will not be met.
Finally, as manager, have an established lexicon in how you refer to things. It will help create a brand voice for your team or company (Lurie, 2014). Have personas based on the audience that you are targeting and monitor your performance regularly to see where improvements can be made.
In my opinion, Lurie’s class and advice is extremely helpful in creating the right content to market towards certain audiences. He does a good job of communicating how to prepare to write a marketing copy, how to plan, how to write, and how to proofread. Lurie also gives great advice to managers on how to create an environment that fosters creativity and forms a team dynamic tailored towards timeliness and preparedness.
I can heed Lurie’s advice when I am writing a paper, creating a website, or just writing for leisure. His method can be used universally to make content that engages an audience. I have taken his advice in this column by limiting myself to 3-6 lines per paragraph, a picture after three paragraphs, and the golden rule. The most important thing I took away was how to shorten sentences while keeping an active voice! An active voice changes the entire tone of a piece of writing to be more engaging and keep the reader wanting more.
Lurie, I. (2014, May 30). Learning to Write Marketing Copy. Retrieved from LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/learning-to-write-marketing-copy/welcome?u=2109516