Leer boeiende teksten schrijven van de meesters in copywriting

Contentmarketing Masterclass: Deel zes

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.

We brengen deze Masterclass in samenwerking met Anouck Meier, Chief Storytelling Officer bij Ampersand. Anouck is een conversietekstschrijver en een contentmarketingstrateeg die met talloze grote en kleine merken heeft gewerkt om hen te helpen hun bedrijfsdoelen te bereiken door middel van strategische content. Laten we het verhaal over content eens en voor altijd op een rijtje zetten in een uitgebreide gids. Klaar om erin te duiken?

- Jeroen Corthout, medeoprichter Salesflare, een gebruiksvriendelijk verkoop-CRM voor kleine B2B-bedrijven.

Kopiƫren versus inhoud

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?

  • Kopiezijn traditioneel de woorden die we gebruiken om de verkoop te doen. Om 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.
  • InhoudAan de andere kant betekent het creĆ«ren en delen van waardevolle inhoud om een publiek aan te trekken en te betrekken, om aan te tonen dat je hun problemen kunt oplossen en om het soort vertrouwen te creĆ«ren dat uiteindelijk tot een aankoop kan leiden.

Kopiƫren bestaat al een tijdje.
Content is de nieuwe speler op de markt.

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

Als je blog echt goede inhoud heeft, maar niet de lezers die erbij horen, is een vleugje klassieke copywriting misschien alles wat je nodig hebt.

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. Schrijf met je oren

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.

Het geheim van goede copywriting is niet slim of sexy zijn met woorden.

It’s good old research. 

De quote Leo Burnett herinnert ons eraan dat copy beter converteert als je je klanten het woord laat doen. Als je als copywriter luistert naar je klanten.

Het klinkt eenvoudig, maar hoe laat u uw klanten aan het woord?

Het komt allemaal neer op klantenonderzoek (wat eigenlijk een mooie term is voor het afluisteren van je lezers). Zoek uit hoe ze praten over hun problemen, hun hoop en dromen.

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. Schrijf onweerstaanbare koppen

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.

Goede koppen helpen daar zeker bij. Het besteden van wat tijd aan het maken van een overtuigende kop is een goede investering van je tijd omdat het je artikel kan maken of breken.

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

  • Handig: answer the “what’s in it for me” immediately
  • Dringendvertel ze waarom ze je bericht nu moeten lezen
  • Uniek: make clear your article isn’t just a rework or recycle of all the other pieces on the subject
  • Ultraspecifiek: vertel ze precies wat ze kunnen verwachten

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. Zet de belangrijkste informatie op de eerste plaats

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.

Je informatie op deze manier structureren op het web is echter een no-no.

In feite moet je precies het tegenovergestelde doen. Journalisten noemen deze manier van schrijven de omgekeerde piramide.

Het omgekeerde piramidemodel zet de belangrijkste informatie bovenaan. Bron: 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. Maak het scanbaar

“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.

Onderzoek suggereert dat slechts 16% van de mensen leest webpagina's woord-voor-woord. In plaats daarvan scannen de meeste mensen.

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
  • Gebruik bijschriften van je afbeeldingen om je hoofdboodschap te ondersteunen
  • Zet je belangrijkste punten in ondertiteling
  • Gebruik eenvoudig te scannen opsommingstekens
  • Gebruik vet om belangrijke woorden te benadrukken

Je webbezoeker is op informatiejacht. Zorg ervoor dat hij je belangrijkste informatie kan begrijpen door slechts een blik op de pagina te werpen.

5. Don’t go off on any tangents

Je lezers moeten je tekst zo graag lezen dat ze niet kunnen stoppen totdat ze alles gelezen hebben, alsof ze van een glibberige glijbaan afglijden.
– Joseph Sugarman

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

Dit betekent bij je punt blijven, je concentreren en het belangrijkste: je tekst opruimen. Behandel je tekst zoals Marie Kondo zou doen: verwijder overtollige rommel, verminder ruis en voeg witruimte toe.

Het maakt je tekst niet alleen beter leesbaar, maar verhoogt ook het vertrouwen. En het geeft vreugde, natuurlijk.

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. Maak het kristalhelder

Je moet je kort, duidelijk en overtuigend kunnen uitdrukken.
-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 verwijst naar de trifecta van copywriting: duidelijkheid, beknoptheid en bruikbaarheid. 

  • 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.
  • Beknoptheid gaat niet noodzakelijk over het schrijven van korte teksten – 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. Maak het uitvoerbaar

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. 

(Het lijkt alleen maar gepast in het post-#metoo-tijdperk, toch?).

Of zoals Gary Halbert zou zeggen:

“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).

Hoe eenvoudiger de actie, hoe groter de kans dat je publiek zich gemotiveerd genoeg voelt om de actie uit te voeren.

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!

We hopen dat je deze post leuk vond. Als je het leuk vond, vertel het dan verder!

👉 Je kunt @salesflare volgen op TwitterFacebook en LinkedIn.

Anouck Meier