Copywriting: What You Need to Know

Do you want to sell more? Then this is a critical skill to learn. In this episode of the Rialto Marketing Podcast, we've got Magin Mills of Magin Elizabeth Creative with us today to chat about copywriting. Check it out.

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Copywriting - What You Need To Know


Tim Fitzpatrick:
Do you want to sell more? If you do, this is a critical skill that you need to learn. I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing and I am super happy to have with me, Magin Mills, with Magin Elizabeth Creative. Thanks so much for joining me.

Magin Mills:
Hey Tim. Thanks for having me.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate you taking the time, we're done with another week here, which is kind of crazy. They go by so fast.

Magin Mills:
Where's the time going, where's May going?

Tim Fitzpatrick:
I know, we're coming into June. So we're going to talk about copywriting today, which is a critical skill. But before we get into that, just tell us a little bit about you and what you're doing.

Magin Mills:
Definitely. Yeah. So I'm Magin and I'm a copywriter and brand strategist. So what do I do? I help entrepreneurs and business owners increase their brand awareness, engagement and sales through targeted copywriting and brand strategy. So after spending many years in the events and marketing world, an opportunity presented itself for me to take the leap of going on my own and doing what I'm really passionate about, what I love to do.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Magin Mills:
I took it. I took that leap and no regrets whatsoever. So, I have discovered a passion of just helping other business owners get unstuck and take all of their chaos in their head, what they're wanting to do with their business and help them communicate that. The ones that really have a hard time doing so, that got great ideas in their head. They've got a great brand, but they need help communicating it. So, I listen between the lines and help bring calm to all that chaos, which results in a clear brand voice and messaging that gets them results, the results that they want. So, yeah, that's kind of what I do on a day to day.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Hey, that's awesome, as we're going to get into it, you and I both know messaging and copywriting is so, so important. You can have a lot of other great things going on, but if you don't have good copy that's engaging, you're going to have a hard time getting traction.

Magin Mills:
Exactly.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
So, I am super excited to get into this today. So first thing that we're going to talk about it, just what is copywriting? Because I think a lot of people think they know, but I think they mix up copywriting with just writing in general and they're different. So let's get into that.

Magin Mills:
Yeah. I think it's important to lay the groundwork of what the heck is copywriting. You might've heard of copywriting. Sometimes, I think in the business world, it can be a bit of a buzzword, so let's just lay it out, what is copywriting. So, basically copywriting is a word that obviously gets thrown around, but it's any type of messaging with the intent to persuade or sell something, whether it be an idea, a product or a service to get someone to take some sort of action. So, and that's different from content. So content is, again, it's all writing, but there's a different purpose behind it. So content on the other hand is really meant to educate, inspire, encourage, motivate, so like your eBooks, your blog posts, are content, you're white papers or anything that's really meant to just provide ... like this is kind of who we are, what we do.

Magin Mills:
Just an idea behind a project that you're doing, just providing more background or again, encouraging someone to take a leap of faith on something. It could be anything. Copy really is ... not that content is not strategic, because it's very strategic, but copy is a little bit more strategic if you will. So, everywhere you look, you were encountering copy, some form of copy. For example, that banner ad that you see, at the top of the blog post that you're reading, that's copy, that one liner to get you to click on it, to go to some other webpage. That's copy because they're trying to really, when to click on it and clicking on the ad is that action. And so the writing on the back of that box of cereal that your kids love, that's all copy. Probably didn't think about it that way, but someone sat in a room and came up with, "How can we get people to buy more of our cereal, while they're eating our cereal?"

Magin Mills:
Again, same for your email newsletter that you signed up for 15% off that next order of whey protein, that's copy. The Facebook ad landing page that you clicked on promised to help you get into shape in four weeks by using XYD program, that's copy. So everywhere you look, you are encountering some form of copy with the intent to get you to do something. So, those are the two differences between content and copy as well. And a long time ago, I didn't think there was any difference either. So if you didn't realize that there was a difference, you're not alone, because as a writer, I didn't know there was a difference until someone taught me, but it's a good distinction.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Okay. So content, educational/informative copy is sales and persuasion.

Magin Mills:
Yes, 100%.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Simple enough. Cool, so now that we understand what copywriting actually is, how does copy fit into a business's overall brand strategy? There's a lot of people that spend plenty of time and money creating this brand strategy. This is how we want to be viewed, perceived. These are the guidelines that we follow. How does copy play into that?

Magin Mills:
Yeah, absolutely. It is so important. I can't stress enough how important good copy is to any brand strategy and just business strategy in general. Without good copy your brand's not going to get off the ground. Think of it like going ... you're packing your car for an incredible vacation, your beach vacation down in Destin, Florida, and you got your snacks, you got your playlist, you are packed and ready to go. You got your friends and your family, and you're all piled into the car, getting ready to go and there's no fuel in the tank. Without any gas, you're not going anywhere. So, you can have the best intentions, have the coolest looking car, have the best snacks, whatever. But if you don't have a vehicle and a way to communicate that, your brand's going to fall flat and you will have just spent a whole lot of money making it look pretty or sound cool on the back end.

Magin Mills:
But there's not a way to communicate that to your audience, which is the whole point. The whole point of it for any brand is to serve somebody else and to solve their problem. So, if you can't figure that out, then they can't figure that out. So that's why copy comes into play. A lot of it is a little bit of psychology mixed in there. It's really taking someone's pain point and coming alongside them and saying, "I get it. And I have a solution for you. And here it is." But you've got to get so clear on how to communicate that and articulate it very clearly. And with copy, you don't need a lot of words to do that. The shorter, less the better, because everyone's attention span is like that of a goldfish.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Yes.

Magin Mills:
You don't have a whole lot of time to grab someone's attention. And so it's really, really important that you state your message very quickly and very clearly. So, that is one of the reasons why copy is so important to your brand strategy. It has to clearly communicate that you, as a business and a brand, like why you exist and exactly how you solve your customer's problem. Because if you can't communicate your core message in a way that is clear and resonates with them, you might as well just keep your car parked in the garage.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. I love how you talk about our attention spans and goldfish. Because I use that all the time and I wish I could remember where I saw this statistic, but the average attention span of humans at this point is eight seconds, which is less than a goldfish.

Magin Mills:
All right.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
And I know you and I have talked about this a few times, it's just, if people, wherever they see your message, whether it's on your website or your social media, or wherever it may be, if they don't understand it quickly, they're gone. We are so used to instant gratification with mobile devices and the internet, it's so easy to get information. If we can't get it quickly, we're like, "Done, I'm moving somewhere else." So yeah, I totally get it. So, let's talk about, I'm sure as we talked about one secret, we're going to get into a few more, but just what ways the people can really improve any piece of copy or messaging, what kind of tips do we have?

Magin Mills:
Yeah. And so I'll lead into the tip, but I want to say first, as a little experiment for someone to do, go visit somebody else's website, it doesn't have to be in your industry, or it could be something completely different. It could just be a website of a brand that you personally like. Go to their website and when you land on their website, just observe what grabs your attention. What did you notice first? So do that first. And the reason why I say that is because you're going to gravitate to what makes you feel good. Like, even if you're not looking for a specific product, you're going to gravitate towards something that is being communicated to you to help you with something. So the reason why I lead up to that, is you want to lead with the benefit.

Magin Mills:
So, don't lead with features. So it's like, all right, let's take Nike for instance. They just knocked branding out of the park. Their copy is on point and always will be, but they do a fantastic job of leading with the benefit. So, let's say they come out with a brand new model of tennis shoe or walking shoe. Do you ever see Nike list out things like superior arch support, or brand new colors, neon pink, ready for summer, or shoelaces that won't tear.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Agree.

Magin Mills:
No, they don't do that.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Nope.

Magin Mills:
What they do is they'll say something like, "You get to walk around the block with your family without pain." And health, something that is like, "Oh, if I'm feeling pain in my knees or my lower back as I'm walking, I'm like sold." You've basically just sold me pain-free walkings, not a shoe. You see the difference?

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Oh yeah, when I was a kid, every time I got new shoes, they always made me run faster, that was the benefit.

Magin Mills:
Oh wow.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
I didn't care about the features, right?

Magin Mills:
Oh no, no. You feel amazing. It helps elevate the physical benefit of not having pain anymore, but you want to lead with what is going to benefit your customer and not the feature. You might love all the features, but this isn't about you.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. People don't buy based on features.

Magin Mills:
So, it's not about you. So always lead with the benefit and not the features. You can list the features if you really want to, for those that like to read the fine print. I'm one of those people, but after I read the benefit to me. But focus on what that end benefits going to be to your customer. If you do that, if you go look at your website, or any piece of copy, and it's all about, "This is a really cool service." Or, "I'm an expert in X, Y, and Z." If it's not getting to the point of what are you going to do for me?

Magin Mills:
And again, remember the attention span thing. We've got eight seconds. So essentially you have eight seconds to convince somebody with your copy, that you can solve their problem. So if you can start with the benefit of instantly, I'm going to think, "Oh, done sold. You can help me solve my problem, where do I pay you?" I can't be fast enough. So, that's really one key piece. That again, I always work with my clients on, let's put the features to the side. Let's talk about the benefit. Because that's the whole point anyway, you're communicating a benefit with your copy.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, I think, and you touched on something that I want to bring out to make sure people don't miss it. Our customers don't care about us. They care about what we can do for them. Right. And so it's all about, what's in it for me as a customer. I need to know enough about your company, where I've got trust and that you're credible, but outside of that, customers only care about what you can do for them. How can you help them solve a specific problem and get from where they currently are to where they want to be? That's it.

Magin Mills:
Right.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
And that's one thing you touched on that I want to make sure people don't miss, because it is super, super important.

Magin Mills:
Yeah, for sure.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
The other thing that you talked about too and you touched on is, copy needs to be clear, if we get clever with our marketing copy, inevitably it fails. So don't get clever, be clear.

Magin Mills:
Exactly.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
If you do that, you'll be in pretty good shape.

Magin Mills:
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And I see this a lot too, where it's like, people will think, "Oh, we need to come up with a catch, right." And not a catch phrase, but a tagline for a company. And they'll try to get super catchy or clever. And that's kind of, if you can, great, if it can be clear at the same time, but not clever for clever sake. Because again, if you are not clear, they're not going to be clear and ...

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Exactly.

Magin Mills:
They have less than eight seconds to figure it out. So don't make them work for it. You want it to be like, "Here, I'm handing this to you on a silver platter. I can't make it any more clear." And if they still don't buy it, then that's on them. You did your part and you did the best, but you're so right, being clever is really not going to make you do sales and it's not going to engender any type of trust, either. Make it super easy and be super clear.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Love it. Awesome. Well, I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me.

Magin Mills:
Absolutely.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
I know that there's some bombs in here that people can take away and immediately use to improve their copy. Where can people learn more about you, Magin?

Magin Mills:
Yeah, absolutely. So I'm on LinkedIn. I have a Facebook page, but I'm not that active on it. Maybe I should be, but Instagram, definitely more active on Instagram and LinkedIn. And of course my website, maginelizabeth.com and yeah. So, if you've got questions and want to chat more about copy, I am offering a complimentary 15 minutes, copy audit of one website ...

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Cool.

Magin Mills:
... Which if people are like, "I don't know what to do, and I just need a fresh set of eyes." Happy to do that, so I am offering that for a limited time for those that hung up with us today.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Cool.

Magin Mills:
So that's where you can find me.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
That's awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time and yes, I really appreciate it. To all those watching, listening, thank you so much for tuning in. I am Tim with Rialto Marketing. Just remember marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. All you need is a plan. So till next time, take care. We'll chat soon.

Magin Mills:
Bye.

Tim Fitzpatrick:
Bye.


Connect With Magin Mills



About the Author Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help small businesses & entrepreneurs eliminate the confusion of marketing by focusing on the fundamentals. As a marketing partner, we help clients put in place and manage a simple marketing plan so they can grow. Marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. All you need is a plan.

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