Good copy can cut through clutter and almost draw your customers into a deeper relationship with your product or brand. Fun fact: during my freshman year of collage, I was a courier for an ad agency and I thought the copywriter was a lawyer who filed copyrights on all the logos the agency created. Ah…youth! My buddy Paul Singh invited me to share a few thoughts and trips for startups who need to properly convey their message. So..a few pointers.

It doesn’t require a behavior, unless it does.

Know what goals you want your copy to accomplish. All copy and messaging can align with a key part of the consumer psychology experience: awareness, preference, engagement, referral/retention. Don’t expect awareness and preference to drive behaviors, but they do manage mindset. That mindset is generally necessary to move toward behavior.  

Match your tone with your brand values (you know your brand’s values, right?).

The target audience should have a subconscious connection to your brand through the copy. Carl Jung identified universal archetypes. Build a brand that aligns with one or two of these archetypes and that will help ensure tone is on point.

Build your MVC (Minimum Viable Copy)

What is the least you can say to clearly communicate. Jay Leno is famously known for writing a joke and then going through a rigorous exercise to get it down to two words: one of the set-up and one for the punchline. Embrace brevity or you’ll bore people. No one loves your words more than you.

Humor creates intimacy (wait, are we talking about startups or dating?).

Even with a serious topic, humor can be deployed to create a connection. Laughter is one of the key factors in determining who’s in the in-group and who’s in the out-group. Humor also gets shared a lot more. Find the funny.

Create anchors.

Without sinking to the level of puns, create copy that anchors into a person’s mind. Consider alliteration, metaphor and word sets (like a set of three) to help shape your copy.  

Back that shit up.

Your copy is essentially a contract. You better be able to backup your claims. Marketing makes promises; the team/product/service fulfills those promises.

When in doubt, hire out.

Copywriting is a skill — like graphic design, coding, prototyping, etc. Don’t try to save your way to good copy. Remember opportunity costs. What takes you four days might take a professional copywriter four hours.