Creative Copy – Make It a Curiously Compelling and Captivating Experience for Your Audience
When we use a cliché like "don't judge a book by its cover", we are moving our attention from the cover to the contents of a book, and in doing so, exemplifying the need to appreciate what's in it, rather than what's on the outside. The same goes with "beauty is skin deep". However, within the context of Creative Copy as it relates to writing articles, promotional pieces, or the content of a Web site, such clichés suddenly begin to lose their inherent meaning.
In developing Creative Copy, the body of your content has practically no value if you don't include a headline that grabs the attention of the reader. And vice versa - if the story is not compelling enough, which means it does not flow from the headline, all you have in the end is a bunch of meaningless chatter. Therefore, not only does your headline have to be attention-grabbing, but it also needs to relate to the body of your copy - not only compelling the reader to continue reading the body of the content, but making sure you continue to grab the reader's attention through the course of your copy.
Most certainly the first, and probably the only impression you make on a reader is by your compelling headline. Without a headline or a title that turns your copy into a copy worth reading, the body might as well not exist. And your creativity needs to reflect in the way your headline communicates a message to its intended audience - raising the curiosity of the audience in an enticing manner so as to urge the reader to 'discover' something new and useful by exploring the content of your copy as though looking for what's next.
Essentially, a compelling headline must promise a benefit of some sort, to compensate for the time it would take the reader to read the rest of the copy. Although there can be many more ways to construct a headline, in general, depending on the approach you take to compel your intended audience, a great headline could -
- state a benefit
- answer a question
- question a topic
- challenge a position or issue
- be a testimony to a fact or occurrence
Whatever method or approach you use to construct a compelling headline, it should simple, relevant and worth repeating - something so memorable that the reader will want read it out loud.
Once you construct a compelling headline, the body of your copy suddenly becomes dependant on your headline. The body of your copy needs to aptly reflect the message that your headline has conveyed in grabbing the attention of the reader. You must have a compelling story to tell, so you don't lose the attention of the reader. In a marketing scenario, a compelling story is probably one of the best opportunities you have to establish instant credibility in your marketplace - a surefire way to convert prospects to customers.
A compelling story must also be used to differentiate your copy from the crowd. If you are promoting your business, you may want to wrap your story around a before-and-after scenario - how you identified a need and the solution you developed to fill that need. Or you may describe what it is that you are so passionate about that makes you love what you do. The storyline could be anything, but the trick is to relate it to something unique, and in most cases, the uniqueness of any story exists within you and your own experiences. So, go ahead and use the wealth of information that you have in your back pocket, and make your story compelling and unique, so your copy creatively captivates the curiosity of your intended audience.
Your copy must compel your intended audience to take action - it must invite the reader with a compelling story that is gleefully devoured as though the reader has been starving for it. The story should not only exemplify the message in your headline, but also compel the audience to immerse in the body of your copy with excitement and emotion, to make it a worthwhile experience for the reader to actually go through your entire copy, no matter what topic you are writing about.
The headline sets the stage by presenting an issue that the reader can relate to - so as to grab the attention of the reader. This generally forms the basis of your compelling copy where you can describe a possible solution to resolve the issue. The more your audience identifies with the issue, the better your chances of enticing the reader to keep reading.
The body must provide a 'perfect' solution to the issue that you have pointed out in your headline - like a knight in shining armor saving the reader by helping resolve an issue that has already resonated with the reader. This is where you have to really shine by showcasing ways to deal with the issue, thus winning the trust of the reader, and building confidence in your audience.
Once your intended audience has been led to the body of your copy, eagerly seeking the solution you offer, you can use examples, testimonials and other ways to back up your claim to fame as a knight in shining armor. Make your story appealing in a way that it inspires in the reader a burning desire - a sense of urgency - to continue reading your copy all the way through the end. In a business environment this could mean directing your prospects to convert to customers by investing in your solution or product, by offering them a compelling proposition that creatively arouses their curiosity and captivates their fancy.