writing advertising copy

A how-to for writing advertising copy that sizzles

Writing advertising copy is easy. Right? On the basis of a simple definition, yes. But writing advertising copy that’s so hot it sizzles isn’t. For one thing, it needs to incorporate the psychology of sale. It follows by implication that if you want your product/service to reach the masses, you need traffic. But not the peak-hour traffic that makes you want to imitate Robert De Niro’s, you talkin’ to me from Taxi Driver.

We’re talking online traffic from writing advertising copy that sizzles louder than Uncle Tommy’s Sunday grills. Advertising copy is everywhere; in emails, homepages, blogs, your company’s landing pages, and more. So increased online traffic bridges the gap between your copy and potential consumers by drawing specific attention to products and services. 

Now, the plus side of writing advertising copy in today’s digital era is that you don’t need to invest vast amounts of money in massive ad campaigns. By writing adverting copy that sizzles with interest and customer value, you can draw users directly to your brand. Here, we’ll look at a few dos and don’ts of advertising copy. And the best examples to follow to drive conversions and cement your brand in the hearts of potential customers. 

What is advertising copy? Our definition

Writing advertising copy

Advertising copy is content that spurs a reader or viewer toward a specific action. For example, buying a product, engaging in services, completing forms/surveys, and more. 

Fantastic advertising copy mixes text with images, music, and videos to hold the reader/viewers’ attention and convince them to act. Your copy can sizzle with reliability and consumer value if you include 3 key ingredients: 

  1. Credibility – Would you buy a second-hand car from a family friend? Or the guy you’ve never met who ‘might’ live down the street? Writing advertising copy that’s transparent and detailed promotes brand credibility in the eyes of customers. 
  2. Product benefit – If you need to finish building your kid’s treehouse, you’ll buy new tools to help you get the job done. So, advertising copy must highlight what the consumer gains from using a product; if there’s no benefit, there’s no sale. 
  3. Brand awareness – Think Lay’s: Betcha can’t eat just one phrase. The words create the idea that Lays is addictive. It’s also catchy enough to make the brand appear engaging and creative. So, using keywords and catchphrases can help seize the viewer or reader’s attention, generating brand awareness. 

In the same way, a BLT is the perfect combo of ingredients; by blending credibility, product benefit, and brand awareness, your advertising copy becomes relevant and is one step closer to standing out from competitors. 

Writing advertising copy that stands out

For advertising copy to stand out to customers, it must 

a) offer a solution and 

b) spur customers to immediate action. 

So, before writing advertising copy, think about what the end user wants to accomplish and how your product/service can help fulfill that need. Consumers also need an immediate call to action. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a helpful psychological technique influencing purchases. You could use a countdown timer as a sales catalyst to accentuate a customer’s fear of missing out on limited promos, increasing sales likelihood. For example, if you run a winter or summer seasonal promo – wouldn’t you want your “still thinking about it” customers to know that the clock is ticking? And whether the time limit is two hours or two days, writing advertising copy as a limited offer nudges consumers toward a product/service. 

Consumers also want something that makes life easier in the shortest time possible. So, you can include numbers and stats in your advertising copy. For example, a pool pump that does the job in 10 minutes and has a 98% success rate. Here are some advertising copy dos and don’ts to avoid creating unrealistic product impressions to help you strike the best copy balance. 

Advertising copy dos and don’ts

Writing advertising copy: image of a young advertising executive writing advertising copy
  1. Do be honest, and don’t be generic 

Customers are way better at smelling something fishy than Garfield. So, writing genuine advertising copy portrays your brand as a straight shooter to the audience. 

An excellent example of a somewhat unusually honest advertising copy was the not-very-nice ad by British real estate agency Harvey Residential. The ad described a one-bedroom apartment as not very nice but cheap. With a well-used kitchen and a large double bedroom (can’t say more than that). The advertising copy was an effort to break the mold and be more straightforward with house buyers. 

  1. Do enhance benefits and don’t focus on characteristics  

As tempting as it might be to highlight every product characteristic, from color to button shape, the better option is writing advertising copy about the product’s benefits. This highlights how the product will enhance the quality of customers’ lives on a more personal level. 

The 2010 FedEx ad campaign, ‘USA-Brazil, London-Spain, China-Australia,’ is an excellent example of a simple campaign focused on customer benefit. The company used creative continental map images on buildings to express the simplicity and ease that customers experience when sending and receiving international packages.

  1. Do set off emotional triggers, and don’t be vague

Emotional triggers like sacrifice, kindness, and love drive more than 80 percent of our choices. By writing advertising copy that tells a touching story instead of selling a product, you can paint a familiar scene, tell the story, awaken the senses – get the audience to visualize your brand.

Thai Life Insurance is known for copy infused with emotional triggers. With 111 million views, Unsung Hero follows the theme of a world made more beautiful. The ad takes viewers on a journey of recognizing that an everyday hero doesn’t wear a cape or live in a mansion because it’s not being well-known that matters; it’s about being someone worth knowing.

Ad copy examples that nailed it 

  1. Nike just do it 

A simple three-word campaign still talked about decades later is Nike’s Just do it. Released in 1988, the ad featured running icon Walt Stack, still running 17 miles daily at 80 years old. The focus of the ad was clear. Don’t wanna cycle to work? Just do it. Don’t wanna take the stairs? Just do it. Don’t wanna run? Just do it. So shining a spotlight on issues customers care about connects you with your target market and draws them closer to your brand. 

  1. Got Milk

In 1993, the California Milk Processor Board launched its ad campaign, Got Milk, to encourage the consumption of dairy products. Within a year, milk sales in California rose by 7%, spawning hundreds of parodies and a timeless slogan. So think about the lifespan of your advertising copy. What can you say to make it evergreen?

Final thoughts 

Writing advertising copy that appeals to the audience is about combing words with techniques. In fact, the best advertising copy is credible, beneficial, raises brand awareness, and utilizes FOMO techniques like a countdown timer and statistics to build urgency. It’s also honest because it enhances the benefit of your product and not just its characteristics. And finally, be sure to set off emotional triggers that pull at customers’ heartstrings and get them talking about your advertising copy for years to come.  

So, on a final note, we wish you well in writing advertising copy that sizzles worldwide. And now that you know the vital dos and don’ts of copy, it’s time to create a masterpiece. Did you know you can find a writer on Voice123? So you get fantastic advertising copy with an emotional voice over to match.
Why not take a moment to review some of the unbelievable pros available on Voice123 or post a project for free to find highly-skilled talent to enhance your next advertising copy.


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