3 Secrets of Great Copywriting

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  • Date:

    July 30, 2019

3 Secrets of Great Copywriting


At Wray Ward, we spend the better part of our days getting to know our targets — their challenges, their interests and what matters to them. Before we can ever speak to these complex individuals, we have to understand what makes them tick. And striking the right chord is harder than it looks, no matter how simple the language.

That’s what separates great copywriting from all the rest. Great copywriting isn’t just beautiful art — it gets results. And effective copywriters are skilled wordsmiths and brand voice keepers whose language speaks to disparate audiences in an authentic way.

Mastering these fundamentals won’t turn you into the next Ed McCabe, but it can go a long way toward elevating your brand, whether or not you’re the one coming up with the words.

Great copywriting is:

1. Relevant.

    Think about where your target is on their journey. What problem do you want to solve for them? How can you get their attention? For example, the guy building a high-end home doesn’t want to hear why your building material is easy to use. He wants the best, even if it takes twice as long to install. But hey — if it’s also easy to use, that’s great!

    Good copywriters understand how to frame the benefits that matter most to the audience. They also understand how to craft calls to action built to inspire action. If your target is yearning for an unforgettable vacation, don’t tell them to learn more. Invite them to book their stay.

    Remember, copywriting isn’t art for art’s sake. People hire us to get results.

    2. Distinctive.

      1988 marked the birth of an iconic slogan: Nike’s “Just Do It,” which was originally rejected by Nike co-founder Phil Knight. But more than two decades later, the line lives on. How many times have you thought, “I can’t do yoga today because the traffic is terrible,” or “I can’t play golf because it’s raining,” or “I can’t go for a run because I’m tired?” Just Do It isn’t catchy. It’s honest. It’s relatable. It’s memorable. And to this day, it’s different from everything else on the market.

      “Different” is key. That’s why, when we looked at the competitive work for incomparably beautiful, one-of-a-kind Palmetto Bluff, we started by plotting everyone else’s messaging. In doing so, we landed on our client's sweet spot, squarely at the intersection of interesting people and interesting place.

      It isn’t just any old coastal destination — it's Palmetto Bluff.

      Our Creative team had to keep that in mind as they crafted the language and the look. Most of us visit places. We experience those places. And then, we leave them.

      But Palmetto Bluff is different. It isn’t a 2018 Boston Whaler — it’s a 1957 Hinkley yacht. It isn’t standard-issue flip-flops — it’s Le Chameau leather boots covered in mud. It’s gas lamp-lit streets, secret forest trails and calling wild turkeys.

      So in the end, while you may visit Palmetto Bluff and leave …

      … it never leaves you.

      3. On key.

        If you’re a musician, you understand how an entire song can fall apart if you play a D flat note instead of a D. Similarly, a brand’s voice falls flat if it’s not authentic. That’s why we create a consistent voice — the copy — and a visual language for each of our clients.

        We craft the language first, because it provides the basic framework. Then, we create mood boards to further set the voice and tone. Should you try to be funny? Tug heartstrings?

        Audiences don’t experience marketing copy in a vacuum, so copywriters shouldn’t work in a vacuum. Effective marketing is the harmonizing of relevant, distinctive words and pictures to set the tone. And effective copywriters know their work isn’t done after they craft the perfect headline or body copy or call to action. They’re speaking for the client, so they have a seat at the table every step of the way. Otherwise, even the most crystal-clear copy can give the wrong idea when paired with the wrong visual. The result may be something funny when you need to be serious — and that’s a surefire way to turn off your target. Or worse.

        Remember, having a mastery of language and grammar isn’t enough, because those things are just tools. And even high-end tools are worthless in the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to use them. Remember Just Do It? Your grandmother could have written that line — but she didn’t. The people who wrote it picked the exact human need to tap into and the right time to strip down the language. Those three little words aren’t fancy, but they’re the right three words. They’re ordered correctly.

        They work.

        If you want a creative partner with a contagious passion for creating smart solutions, shoot me a note. And if you’re a smart, talented, problem-solving, believes-in-the-big-picture copywriter, show us your stuff.

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