A copywriting checklist (don’t start writing without it!)

in Top copywriting tips

So you’ve got some marketing copy to write. An article, a newsletter, a blog, a flyer. Whatever it is, here’s a copywriting checklist that will help you make it as effective as possible.

Who is your audience?

This is probably the most important thing to think about. If you’ve got a clear picture of the type of person who will be reading your copy, you’re halfway there. This is because you’ll be able to imagine yourself having a conversation with them and write something that will be interesting and appealing to them.

So, who is your audience?

Here are some ideas to guide you…

  • if you’re writing a piece of direct mail, what is the job title of the people you’re writing to?
  • if you’re writing an article for a magazine, ask for a profile of the readership from the publisher so you can understand the sort of person that reads the magazine
  • if you’re writing a newsletter, think about the type of people on your mailing list
  • and so on.

What do you want to say?

This is the first step to keeping your writing focused and on track. Doing a little bit of preparation before you start has at least two advantages: you’ll have something down on paper so you’ll have conquered the blank page. You’ll also save yourself time later on because you’ll no longer realise you’ve missed some crucial information you’ll have to crowbar in somewhere.

Jot down all of the things you need to cover in your copy. No need to filter it at this stage – just get everything down you think you might need to cover. No need to add detail or put together any copy either, just make a note of the points you need to cover.

Now start to think about how you might structure this information – how would you group it together so it will make interesting and valuable reading for your audience?

What will your reader want to read?

Take a look at the information you’ve just compiled. Now this is the brutal bit. Thinking about your audience, ask yourself if there are any of the points you’d like to cover that just won’t be interesting or relevant to them. Now is the time to delete them. Next, make sure you’re planning to cover the benefits of everything you want to talk about. (If you’re unclear what I mean by benefits, this blog might help. And so might this one.)

Once you’ve done this, you’re almost ready to start writing. But first…

What is your call to action?

What do you want people to do as a result of having read your copy? Call you? Download a white paper? Subscribe to your newsletter? Email you? Buy something? Arrange a review meeting? Once you decide what action you want people to take, make sure you include it clearly in the copy so people know exactly what you want them to do (even if they choose not to do it).

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’ll be ready to start writing. Enjoy yourself! (Although if writing copy and enjoyment are always going to be mutually exclusive in your world, give me a call and see how I could help.)

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