While copywriting is very different from journalism, the research behind the process is very similar. Before you begin writing copy, you need to understand your goals and the benefits of your products in order to create a compelling, actionable message.
For example, don’t just use your own opinion to identify the best features and benefits of your product. Those features and benefits might not be the most important ones to your customers depending on where, when and what you’re advertising.
To ensure the benefits you communicate in your marketing messages are the most effective, take some time to research key investigative journalistic questions as follows.
Who will your product help? Break your customer list into segments of customers with unique characteristics. Before you write your copy, you need to define who will see or hear that copy.
What will your product do for your customers? Each customer segment is likely to want to gain different things from your products, and therefore, each segment will respond to different benefits language in your copy.
Where will your product help customers? Most products have some element of location inherent to the product’s use. For example, a high-speed blender might help customers spend less time in the kitchen and more time with loved ones. Alternately, a cell phone with an extended battery life might help consumers who drive long distances feel safe in their cars late at night.
Benefits copy can be written to appeal to a time factor. For example, a cell phone might provide peace of mind to parents by allowing them to stay continually connected to their teenage children.
Perhaps the most important part of your journalistic research is to define why your message matters to consumers. Why should they care about you or your product? You need to make them care in your copy.
Ensure your audience understands how each point in your marketing messages directly affects their lives.
Before you write your marketing messages, do your market research and ask your current customers why they buy your product or service. What features do they like and how do those features benefit them? Just as an investigative journalist has to do research before he or she writes an article, so should you before you write a marketing message.
This article was adapted from Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps.