Copywriting evaluation for non-copywriters.
We hear it often in our line of work: Marketers tell us they’re not copywriters and feel ill-equipped to handle this part of the marketing effort. But even if you feel that way about yourself, it doesn’t mean you can’t distinguish between good and bad copy or messaging. If you find yourself in the position of reviewing someone else’s copy, ask yourself five basic questions. The answers will go a long way towards determining if your marketing materials are working as strongly as they can for you:
- Does the headline make me want to keep on reading? A good headline is short, specific, and benefits-oriented – and it compels people to want to read more. Weak headlines often suffer from being too long, too complicated, or just plain boring.
- Is the copy easy to read? Obscure words and complex sentence constructs are turnoffs that will lessen your copy’s impact. (It’s good to remember that Americans, on average, read comfortably at an 8th or 9th grade level – and that’s true in some cases even with a college degree under their belts.)
- Do the argument and the content flow logically? A strong start, smooth sailing in the middle, and a powerful close are proven positives in copy. Disorganized copy or navigation frustrates readers and rapidly causes them to lose interest.
- Does the copy “work” for its intended audience? If you can put yourself in the shoes of the prospect and feel that the message appeals to you (them) in their particular circumstances, very likely the copy is doing its job.
- Is the call-to-action the most compelling it can be? It’s human nature to respond to special pricing … a discount … a sales premium … or a stronger product guarantee. Test which offers generate the most action on the part of your prospects. Even seemingly small things can affect the success of your CTA in a significant way.
Beyond these five queries is an important “gut” question to ask yourself: Are you proud of the copy as drafted? If the answer is ‘no,’ trust your instincts and ask for an adjustment – or if necessary, a total rewrite.