This one is for all my engineering friends who dread writing copy.*
I personally do not enjoy writing copy. The thought of slapping CTA (call to actions), rhetorical questions, and sprinkling fun facts next to an awesome looking product is never a fun exercise.
In case you don’t know, “copy” is the all-encompassing word used in tech companies for consumer-facing messaging. It’s the text you find on product tutorials, reengagement emails, and other “seemingly” trivial pieces of collateral.
The realization that one soon discovers, is that writing good copy is hard. Effective copy should not only instruct, it should persuade. There are also professional copywriters for this sort of thing. Given the resources, leaving it to them is probably the best option. Alas, in an early-stage company, you need to do it all sometimes. I’ve included just one simple trick that I’ve found helpful. (Shout out to an old friend Zach for this one.)
Ready for the tip?
Yes, you read that correctly. Any time you want to write a piece of copy, I am suggesting that you check out Cosmo as your source of inspiration. Let’s take a look at why it works:
Brevity: If you check scroll down their site, no title or subtitle is more than six words.
Emotional Appeal: Their magazine titles are a bit much but rationality is not what they are striving for here. Most of your members, users, subscribers make daily decisions in a similar manner.
Attention-grabbing: Pretty self-explanatory. There’s a reason why you can’t look away at an issue of Cosmo near the checkout aisle of the grocery store.
Knowing their audience: Remind yourself who your intended audience is and find words that resonate with them.
Granted, sites like Upworthy, Buzzfeed, etc are taking the viral web by storm due to their use of mysteriousness and hyberbole in their headlines. Effective as they may be, checking Cosmo is still a preferred source. The I-ching of copywriting, if you will. I’m exaggerating just a bit here, but if nothing more, this tip is a way to remind yourself that copy works best when it is conversational.