June 10, 2021

How to write effective copy, Part 1

How to write effective copy, Part 1

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So, you have a pretty solid idea of what copywriting is and why creating compelling copy is critical to your business’ success ( or, if you don’t, you can always check out our series on what copywriting is here).

Now, you’re wondering how to create persuasive, effective digital content for your own brand. 

You’ve come to the right place.

This article outlines some of the key information you’ll need to know to create engaging content for your business. Here, we’ll focus on some of what you’ll need to do before you start writing your content, with a focus on the following three steps:

  1. Identify the type of marketing content you are writing for. 
  2. Identify your venue and audience, target demographic(s), and personas. 
  3. Set clear goals and objectives for your content.

So, let’s take a look at what you need to do in order to start writing effective copy for your own brand.

Illustration of a copywriter's notebook and pen.

1. Identify the type of marketing content you're writing for.

There are numerous types of digital marketing content in which you will find copy — everything from social media content, to billboards, newsletters, or even brochures. 

To create successful written content for your brand, you will first need to identify which types of content you will be writing for. (This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to lose sight of what you’re writing for.)

For example, if you’re writing for a billboard or Facebook Ad, you will have considerably less space for your copy and will need to drive home your message in a matter of seconds. 

On the other hand, if you’re writing for a blog or creating a LinkedIn post, you will likely need to create more thorough content that will keep your audience engaged for a longer period of time.

So, the first step is to be totally clear on what type of marketing content you are writing copy for. This should be accomplished before you even begin to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

2. Identify your venue and audience, target demographic, and personas.

Before you begin writing, you will also need to have a very clear understanding of: (a) who your audience will be; (b) who your target demographic is; and (c) what personas you’re trying to reach.

A. Understanding the venue you're writing for and who will be seeing your content.

Depending on the type of content you are creating, your copy will be presented in different venues and be seen by different audiences. 

For example, if you’re creating the copy for a billboard located on a highway known for its dense rush-hour traffic, your ad will be seen by a variety of demographics, not all of whom are necessarily your target audience. So, you will want to keep this in mind when crafting your content (e.g., you likely wouldn’t want the content of your ad to be something that is perceived as inappropriate or off-putting to most drivers while appealing to your small target niche; after all, the risk to your brand might not be worth the gain).

On the other hand, if you are creating targeted online ads geared at very specific user types, your audience is more likely to be composed of your target demographic, and you may be able to take more risks with your content.

Even if you are not attempting to target the entire audience of your content, it is still wise to ensure you understand who will be seeing your content and under what circumstances.

B. Identifying your target demographic (or "target audience").

You will also need to have a clear understanding of who, exactly, you are trying to engage with your content — who are you hoping to reach with your content? Who do you want your audience to be?

Of course, every business owner wishes that everyone would buy their product. However, this is an unrealistic expectation, and attempting to create marketing content with too wide a net is a recipe for failure. 

Instead, you’ll need to get pretty specific: what age range are you trying to reach? Are you trying to reach people from certain socio-economic brackets? Are you trying to reach people in a certain geographical area? Do you products target people with certain hobbies or interests? 

For example, your target demographic might be “men between the ages of 40 and 60 living in Ontario who earn less than $60,000/year.”

C. Creating personas.

To put it concisely, a “persona” is a more specific and fleshed out piece of your demographic that you are trying to reach. 

While establishing your target demographic has given you a slightly clearer picture of who you’re trying to reach with your copy, your personas will help you better understand your target audience’s backgrounds, desires, problems, routines, and interests.

Your target demographic specifies, roughly, the type of person you are trying to reach, while your personas identify the specific people you consider to be your ideal customers.

For example, let’s assume you run a small toy company that designs vintage toys and hobby craft sets. 

Starting with our sample demographic (“men between the ages of 40 and 60 living in Ontario who earn less than $60,000/year”), we could create the following personas: 

Persona #1: Bill

Bill is 45 years old, has two young children, works long hours at the local factory, lives in Southern Ontario, is overworked and, while he loves his family, likes to come home to peace and quiet. Bill’s wife works part-time too, but their family is still often short on cash.

Persona #2: Ted

Ted is 50 years old, has no children, never married, works as a drywall installer, lives in Northern Ontario, and enjoys spending time outdoors. On rainy days, however, he is often bored and restless. Ted has a good little nest egg saved up and has the means to indulge in a hobby.

Using these personas to represent your toy company’s ideal customers, you could then ensure your marketing content is written to appeal specifically to these individuals, appealing to their desires and interests and promising to solve their “pain points” (we’ll tell you more about “pain points” shortly).

3. Set clear goals and objectives for your written content.

To write effective copy, you will need to understand what outcome you are trying to achieve. 

Are you hoping your audience will subscribe? Do you want them to request a quote? Do you want them to purchase something on the spot? 

For example, let’s assume you have a button on your website homepage that says “see something interesting? Request a quote now.” And let’s say clicking that button takes your audience to a “contact us” page. The goal of that button is to get the audience to click through and arrive at your “contact us” page. Then, the function of the “contact us” page is to get your audience to actually follow through and submit a quote. 

Both pieces of copy (that is, the call to action on the homepage and the copy on the “contact us” page) are intended to get your audience to connect with you, bringing you closer to a sale. However, each piece of copy has an even more specific, focused objective in mind.

Additionally, whatever specific goals your copy is fulfilling, your written content should all be oriented towards helping you achieve your broader goals. 

For example, you may release content that is intended to prompt your audience to click “subscribe.” But the broader goal may be for you to increase your following by 10% before the end of the year. And, of course, increasing your followers is likely part of a broader strategy to increase your brand’s reach and annual sales.


So, before you even begin writing copy for your brand’s marketing content, you will need to be clear on what type of content you’re writing, who you are trying to reach with your content, and what your goals are. 

Once you have these items ironed out, you will be able to move on to the next stage of crafting captivating, professional content for your brand. 

To read more about creating effective copy, continue reading here: “How to Write Effective Copy, Part2.”

Steve Chambers

Steve Chambers

Steve is a copywriter and content developer with a passion for creating effective, engaging written content.

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