Copywriting can be your most cost-effective marketing initiative or a complete and utter waste of time. Hours of scouring the Internet for SEO writing tips, how to generate backlinks and how to manage leads when they inevitably start flowing in, leads to what the majority of aspiring writers experience –

1. Publication
2. Wait
3. Keep waiting
4. …what’s wrong with people???

All that time and effort; heck you even hired a graphic designer to make it pretty and then…nothing.
Here are a couple of forensic copywriting tactics that can turn a pretty good article into something that generates tangible results.

1. Define the Logical Next Step

When creating your article, don’t build it as a stream of consciousness, but fill in gaps in a predetermined format. Don’t worry, it won’t sound stilted or forced unless your writing is stilted and forced. An understandable and predictable format will allow your reader to draw logical conclusions. For example, it makes logical sense to be reading about a problem, then to have that problem explained and finally to be offered a solution that directly solves that particular issue.
Unfortunately, most articles are written as information sharing documents, not dissimilar to academic papers, and then a call to action is either randomly placed where it looks pretty, or – more likely – inserted at the end of the blog, where most readers never venture.

2. Write Based on a Single Value Proposition

When we write something there may be heaps of stuff in it, but the article, email or social media post is always based on a single idea that we are trying to get across. That idea is always attached to an action and that action has a logical next step that takes the reader on a journey that (over time) adds a significant amount of value.

Otherwise, why bother?

Make sure all your writing is based on a solitary idea that you think matters to your audience. Then create the title around that, along with the narrative and calls to action.

3. Use Imagery

Where it’s useful. As with everything in copywriting and editing, it’s best to take your time, think, and when it comes to imagery, don’t be too literal.

Your readers are not morons and even if they are, they won’t want attention drawn to it. So, if you own a coffee company, don’t use this –

coffee beans spilling out of a coffee cup

And if you sell online courses, don’t patronise your audience with something like this –

thought bubble made out of chalk

Because…duh. There are loads of awesome sites that offer free trials and free images, check out Unsplash and Pixabay for starters and if you want to find similar sites, just enter ‘unsplash vs’ into Google.

4. Link to Other Useful Stuff (on your site and externally)

Your content is not an island and while your website is incredibly useful, it is just part of the journey of discovery that your reader is on. So, make sure you’re helping your audience learn by linking to other relevant information that either fills in some gaps or expands their knowledge.

5. Have a Publishing Plan

An intentional and structured piece will outperform an ad-hoc ‘I felt I should publish something’ article every time. Planning also means accountability, more effective research and speed; it’s far easier to write about something when it’s planned.

Get your thoughts down on paper and place each article strategically on the editorial calendar. The work will get done, it’ll improve in quality and you may even increase your intellectual capital.