Imparare a scrivere testi convincenti dai maestri del copywriting

Masterclass sul marketing dei contenuti: Sesta parte

So the content creation part of this Masterclass has made you hungry for more copywriting tips and tricks, huh? Good call – learning how to write compelling copy is one of the most powerful things you can do for your marketing and your business.

While I have certainly written my fair share of converting sales pages, email sequences and blog posts, when I’m teaching copywriting I always go back to the wisdom of the original masters of the (direct response) copywriting art.

While we do live in a different world than they did – they weren’t exactly concerned with bounce rate or SEO – they were absolute experts at influencing something that has hardly changed since the early days of advertising: the human psyche.

So come along for copywriting 101 and swipe some ideas from the folks Don Draper’s character was based on. ‘Cause there’s no school like the old school.

This post is Part Six in a brand spanking new Masterclass Series on Content Marketing. We believe it’s an incredibly important topic – and according to a little survey we did, you do too. Trouble is: there is so much content on content marketing out there (talk about meta) and a lot of the intel is conflicting.

Vi proponiamo questa Masterclass in collaborazione con Anouck Meier, Chief Storytelling Officer di Ampersand. Anouck è un conversion copywriter e un content marketing strategist che ha lavorato con numerosi marchi, grandi e piccoli, per aiutarli a raggiungere i loro obiettivi di business attraverso contenuti strategici. Facciamo chiarezza sui contenuti una volta per tutte in una guida completa. Pronti a tuffarvi?

- Jeroen Corthout, cofondatore di Salesflare, un CRM di vendita di facile utilizzo per piccole aziende B2B

Copia vs. Contenuto

Before we get started, I just want to touch on the difference between copy and content. This is a Content Marketing Masterclass after all – why are we bothering writing a whopping 2300+ words on copy?

  • Copiatradizionalmente, sono le parole che usiamo per concludere la vendita. Per usare John E. Kennedy’s definition, it’s salesmanship in print (or pixels, as the case may be). Its very aim is to persuade. The result of effective copywriting is your reader taking a specific action.
  • Contenutosignifica invece creare e condividere contenuti di valore per attrarre e coinvolgere un pubblico, dimostrare la vostra capacità di risolvere i loro problemi e creare quel tipo di fiducia che potrebbe portare a un acquisto.

Il copy esiste da tempo, il contenuto è il nuovo arrivato.

However, if you’re a smart cookie, you know to steal an idea or two from the old techniques of direct response copywriting. Believe me, the classic elements of persuasion will make everything in your content work better.

Take a cue from the characters Mad Men was based on: the original direct response copywriters – Picture: Lionsgate and AMC

Se il vostro blog presenta ottimi contenuti senza che i lettori li accompagnino, un pizzico di copywriting classico potrebbe essere tutto ciò di cui avete bisogno.

Maybe your headlines are too cute and clever – without showing any reader benefits. Maybe you haven’t focused on those reader benefits enough throughout your content. Or could it be that your calls to action aren’t specific enough?

Work some copywriting techniques into your blog and you’ll get your audience to subscribe, opt in and share your content with their peers. That, my friend, is how you build a large, loyal audience.

Without further ado – here are 7 strategies you’ll want to swipe from the rich tradition of direct response copywriting.

1. Scrivere con le orecchie

If you can’t turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn’t be in the ad writing business at all.
– Leo Burnett

One of the most common misconceptions about copywriting is that it’s some form of creative wordsmithing.

I cannot tell you how many emails I get from aspiring copywriters, telling me they want to make a living writing copy because they have a way with words. Because they’re creative writers and their friends love their witty wordplay and puns. Or – heaven forbid – their poetry.

It doesn’t matter how creative your 3rd grade teacher thought you were.
It doesn’t matter that you wrote a haiku a day all through college.
Even your rich vocabulary and eloquence will not do much for you as a copywriter.

Il segreto di un ottimo copywriting non è essere intelligenti o sexy con le parole.

It’s good old research. 

La citazione Leo Burnett ci ricorda che il copy converte meglio quando si lascia che siano i clienti a parlare. Quando, come copywriter, ascoltate i vostri clienti.

Sembra abbastanza semplice, ma come si fa a far parlare i clienti?

Tutto si riduce alla ricerca dei clienti (che è un termine simpatico per indicare l'intercettazione dei vostri lettori). Scoprite come parlano dei loro problemi, delle loro speranze e dei loro sogni.

Then you’re going to use those exact same words your audience would use to sell your product. It’s putting the words together on a page. Pretty different from coming up with clever lines for your latest sonnet, right?

You’ll find plenty of tips and tricks for customer research in the post about content strategy as well as the one on generating ideas for your content. Use your research to inspire your sales copy as well as your blog posts.

Great listeners make excellent copywriters – Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

2. Scrivere titoli irresistibili

On the 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

There is one reason and one reason only your reader will read a single word of the blog post you’ve written: your headline.

If your headline is weak or vague, your content won’t get read – even if it’s the best piece of content the world has ever seen. This is true even if you have a loyal, decent-sized audience. You need to persuade them to give you their attention, every single time you publish a piece of content.

I titoli di grande qualità aiutano sicuramente in questo senso. Dedicare un po' di tempo a creare un titolo avvincente è un ottimo investimento di tempo, perché può fare la fortuna di un articolo.

When writing your headline, start with the 4 U’s:

  • Utile: answer the “what’s in it for me” immediately
  • Urgente: dite loro perché dovrebbero leggere il vostro post adesso
  • Unico: make clear your article isn’t just a rework or recycle of all the other pieces on the subject
  • Ultra-specifico: dire loro esattamente cosa possono aspettarsi

Now if your blog post sucks, your headline obviously won’t save the piece. But it will do a lot to increase engagement from quality leads. And you’ll get more shares, likes and links.

3. Mettere al primo posto le informazioni più importanti

The web is not a murder mystery. Tell them who did it in the first sentence.
– Gerry McGovern

It’s easily one of the trickiest habits I had to ditch when I said goodbye to the nice folks at Sidley Austin’s Brussels office to become a copywriter.

You see, a legal memo usually goes like this. First, explain what you’re going to discuss. Then, present a detailed overview of the case law and literature. Next, discuss and draw your conclusion. The most important point – the conclusion – always goes right at the very end.

If this structure seems familiar – and you’re not a lawyer – it’s because it’s how we’re taught to write essays as well.

Strutturare le informazioni in questo modo sul web, tuttavia, è un no.

Anzi, dovete fare l'esatto contrario. I giornalisti si riferiscono a questo modo di scrivere come alla piramide rovesciata.

Il modello a piramide rovesciata mette al primo posto le informazioni più importanti. Fonte: Wikipedia

Just open up a newspaper and you’ll recognize it straight away: the most newsworthy information comes first, details and background information come second. Even if you only read the headline and the introductory paragraph, you’ll get the main takeaways from the article.

It’s the same on your website or blog: your readers want to know the big picture first. If they’re really interested, they’ll read on to get the juicy details.

4. Rendetelo scansionabile

“What I am doing here is taking the reader by the hand and leading him exactly where I want him to go. It seems like a small point and, maybe it is, but is the little touches like this that keeps the letter flowing and the reader moving along.”
– Gary Halbert

As I’m writing this blog post, I’m already thinking about the people reading it. Will people actually read it? In this digital day and age, the reality is: only few people will.

Ricerca suggerisce che solo 16% delle persone leggono le pagine web parola per parola. Invece, la maggior parte delle persone esegue la scansione.

They glance at each new page they stumble upon. They’ll scan some of the text, and click on the first thing that catches their attention or vaguely resembles the thing they’re looking for.

Here’s a checklist for using copywriting techniques in your content to meet scanners’ needs:

  • Communicate in your headline what you’re going to talk about
  • Utilizzate le capitolazioni delle immagini per sostenere il messaggio principale.
  • Inserite i vostri punti chiave in sottotitoli
  • Utilizzare una scansione facile punti elenco
  • Usate il grassetto per evidenziare le parole importanti.

Il visitatore del web è a caccia di informazioni. Assicuratevi che possa capire le informazioni più importanti anche solo dando un'occhiata alla pagina.

5. Don’t go off on any tangents

I lettori devono essere così spinti a leggere il vostro testo che non possono smettere di leggerlo finché non l'hanno letto tutto, come se stessero scivolando su uno scivolo.
– Joseph Sugarman

Zio Joe sure knows what he’s talking about. Each sentence you write should make your reader want to read the next one.

Ciò significa attenersi al punto, concentrarsi e, soprattutto, concentrarsi: disordinare il testo. Trattate il testo come farebbe Marie Kondo: eliminate il disordine in eccesso, riducete il rumore e aggiungete spazi bianchi.

Non solo renderà il testo più facile da leggere, ma aumenterà anche la fiducia percepita. E, naturalmente, scatenerà la gioia.

Consider the visual appeal of your copy too – it impacts the readability of your text and whether or not your reader can find what he’s looking for quickly or not.

Declutter your text Marie Kondo-style and spark joy with your readers. – Picture: Seth Wenig/AP; Carlos Ciudad Photography/Getty; Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

6. Rendetelo chiaro e limpido

Bisogna sapersi esprimere in modo breve, chiaro e convincente.
-Claude Hopkins

If you can’t reduce your argument to a few crisp words and phrases, there’s something wrong with your argument.
– Maurice Saatchi

If I’m quoting not one but two godfathers of advertising, it’s because I’m really trying to make a point here.

Hopkins si riferisce alla triade del copywriting: chiarezza, brevità e utilità. 

  • We’ve talked about making your content relevant and useful for your reader extensively in part 3 of this Masterclass on content ideas. If it’s not relevant for your ideal customer, don’t even bother writing it. But even if you pick a useful topic to write about, no-one will actually read it unless you can make your points clearly and succinctly.
  • Brevità non significa necessariamente scrivere testi brevi – it’s about trimming the fat and using as little words as possible without rendering your message ineffective. Delete the words that are just window dressing (see, this is where your experience with haiku’s may come in handy after all).
  • Clarity is about writing words your ideal reader can actually understand. Whenever I work with clients in the legal or professional services industry, they always give me this “you gotta be kidding me” look when I tell them to get rid of jargon and gobbledygook. What is hidden behind this look is the fear that they’ll share too much of their knowledge and that clients will no longer need their advice (why yes, I see right through you, guys and gals).

This is absolute nonsense, of course. I think the opposite is true. I believe it’s Einstein who said: ‘if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’. The guy was no marketing expert by any measure, but not exactly an idiot either…

Don’t leave your reader puzzled or confused: make your point clear without overly complex explanations or jargon. – Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

7. Rendetelo perseguibile

Writing direct response copy always serves a specific purpose. If you’re doing it right, your content should also serve a strategic goal and stimulate a specific behavior: subscribing to your email newsletter, reading the next blogpost in a series, downloading a white paper, getting in touch,…

To get action, you’ve got to ask for it. 

(Sembra appropriato solo nell'era post-#metoo, giusto?).

O come direbbe il buon vecchio Gary Halbert:

“Relieve (the reader) of the burden of trying to figure out what he is supposed to do when he finishes reading a particular page.”

Get rid of any friction and make the next step easy. Clicking a button. Sharing a link. Typing an email address (but not necessarily full account information—even that amount of effort can scare people away).

Più l'azione è semplice, più è probabile che il pubblico si senta sufficientemente motivato a compierla.

And that’s it! Seven solid copywriting strategies to inject your content with and get better ROI.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken, and I am as guilty as anyone. And putting the wisdom of these old gents (the original Mad Men) in practice can be a daunting task – but it’s worth the extra effort.

Trusty old Gary (Halbert) knew what he was saying when he said that “the written word is the strongest source of power in the entire universe.” Use it wisely.

Are you using copywriting techniques in your blog posts?  Any particular copywriting challenges you’re wrestling with? Let us know in the comments!

And don’t forget to check back next week for Part Seven of our Content Marketing Masterclass about distributing your content!

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Anouck Meier