15-step copywriting process

StepsHave to write some copy but don’t know where to start? Here’s my tried-and-tested process to help you along.

  1. Do 360-degree research, understanding everything you can about your product/service, your competitors and your target customers.
  2. Draw a mind map, where you note all your thoughts in a random way then number them in order of priority (also known as a spider diagram or ‘brain dump’).
  3. To help beat writers’ block, take a blank page and write something, anything, to spoil the scary pure whiteness. It can be your name, the date, a squiggle…
  4. Write the main content or body text, following the order you identified on your mind map.
  5. Write the conclusion or summary. This will usually include a ‘call to action’ telling the reader what you want them to do.
  6. Write the introduction. Yes, it helps to write this after the main content so you can introduce exactly what you are going to say next.
  7. Write the heading from the reader’s point of view, answering their question: ‘What’s in it for me’.
  8. Add sub-headings to aid skim-reading and navigation.
  9. Edit the content. Cut, cut and cut again until you have deleted anything that doesn’t fit your introduction and conclusion.
  10. Ask ‘so what’ at the end of every statement and rewrite it until all the content is relevant to the reader’s needs.
  11. Read it aloud to see whether it flows easily.
  12. Delete some more of your precious word-babies until the text is perfect.
  13. Sleep on it.
  14. Read it again and make any final tweaks.
  15. Proofread it thoroughly, perhaps getting someone else to check it too.

photo credit: Man staring off via photopin (license)

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