Copywriting for startups: How to write the best copy

January 27, 2024
9 min read
Jair Lucena
Written by
Jair Lucena
Copywriting for startups: How to write the best copy

In the old days, the hero’s journey involved slaying dragons, rescuing princesses, or tackling perilous tasks to appease the gods. But in today’s world, the quest has transformed into growing your startup.

No, kidding around – due to a surge in startups, local regulations, and a globally uncertain economy, founders must invest sweat, blood, and tears, arming themselves with every tool available to ensure their business thrives.

The stats are staggering. Failory reports:

  • Nearly 90% of US startups fail.
  • 10% of them flop in their first year.
  • Startups stumble the most between years two and five, with a whopping 70% falling into this bracket.

So yes, the entrepreneurial journey is as challenging as myths, but like those legendary heroes, abundant opportunities await discovery – if you wield the right tools.

This article isn’t here to deter you from your startup path. Instead, it’s here to introduce you to one of the most potent tools to reshape your startup’s destiny, transforming it into a solid, adored, premium brand with a devoted following and a well-deserved market position.

That tool is called copywriting. This blog embarks on a journey where you’ll delve into the art of effective copywriting – from comprehending its immense value for your startup to sidestepping common brand messaging blunders.

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Copywriting for startups: How to write the best copy

Copywriting for startups: How to write the best copy

January 27, 2024
Copywriting for startups: How to write the best copy

Why is copywriting so important?

“Copywriting is like a silent salesperson, conveying the message and benefits of a product in a way that compels the reader to take action.” - Dan Kennedy.

Those YouTube ads, podcast endorsements, or pesky social media pop-ups? They all have one mission: grab your attention and push you into action. While they might not be prime examples of top-notch copywriting, they illustrate how countless brands leverage this potent tool to carve their niche in the market.

Copywriting is a double-edged sword. Wield it well, and you can decimate competitors and win hearts; mishandle it, and your brand could turn to stone, forgotten in a crowded industry.

So, let’s unravel the art of an effective copywriting strategy.

Understanding the importance of copywriting in startups

“The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.” - Leo Burnett.

Copywriting is a game-changer for startups, as it profoundly impacts brand establishment, customer engagement, and conversion rates. In the early stages of a startup’s journey, picking the right words carefully when building your messaging holds the potential to sculpt the brand’s identity, values, and mission and the power to communicate them effectively.

Some people might think that copywriting is merely communicating what your startup offers to your public, but it goes way beyond as it also shapes how potential customers will perceive you and your company and determine your brand's positioning in their buying choices. Innovation, wit and authenticity are primordial to reach the right people through the proper means.

Effective copywriting empowers startups to craft narratives that resonate deeply with their target demographic, forging emotional bonds and building trust from the outset.

The Role of Effective Copywriting in Branding

Imagine your brand as a person — branding embodies their personality traits while copywriting dictates how they speak and connect with the world.

In this light, a proficient copy is a conduit to articulate your brand’s values, traits, mission, vision, belief systems, and philosophy through words.

When executed masterfully, it becomes a potent tool to distinguish your brand within its industry, fostering a distinctive, authentic, and resolute perspective on life and the world. Furthermore, it plays a pivotal role in generating opportunities for meaningful engagement with the right audience, catalysing growth through these interactions.

Copywriting propels your branding into action, fostering direct conversations with paying customersHere are some indispensable guidelines that can prove invaluable as you craft copy for your startup:

  • Be truthful.

“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector.” - Ernest Hemingway.

Being forthright, transparent, and succinct in your copy is pivotal for effective communication. Your audience consists of perceptive and astute individuals who can spot insincerity from a distance—just as you do when someone isn’t being genuine with you.

Top-notch advice: Present the unvarnished truth about your product or service. However, this doesn’t equate to being dull or exhaustively detailing every facet of what you offer. There are many creative approaches to express the essence of your product, and we are confident you will find your way through them.

  • Speak your audience’s language.

Another undeniable reality of business is that success isn’t solely determined by the quality of your product or service; it hinges on how your brand enriches your audience’s lives. It’s perpetually about them, never about you.

Brands that master this selflessness in communication, forging forthright, uncomplicated, and easily digestible messages from their audience’s wants and desires, are destined to emerge as trailblazers and authorities within their respective industries. Be one of them.

  • ZERO fluff.

Simple is the key to great art and big ideas through time. Visionaries like Leonardo da Vinci and Confucius urged the power of simplicity.

In today’s hustle, we’re all racing, no time for extras. The digital age thrives on speed, and when you write copy, make sure it is straightforward, clear and memorable.

  • Research and master SEO copywriting techniques.

Author, blogger and artist Wendy Piersall summed up SEO well: “Google only loves you when everybody else loves you first.” This is really how it works.

When you smartly use keywords and have a firm plan for Search Engine Optimization, your website can climb higher on Google. This means more people see your site, more visits, and better chances to turn visitors into loyal customers. So, in today’s digital world, to write effective copy isn’t just about helping people decide; it’s also about pleasing search engines.

Finding the balance between them is a crucial formula to make your copywriting an effective tool.

Creating a Unique Voice for Your Startup Through Copywriting.

Imagine you’re at an airport, and a stranger approaches, sharing stories about their life. You might be engrossed in a book or enjoying the quiet. But if this person engages you with captivating conversation, you might lock eyes and connect. Conversely, if their words are dull, you’ll return to your book or find a polite way to end the interaction.

This scenario mirrors the essence of brand strategy. Only companies with a strong ]voice stand out, setting them apart and resonating with customers to the extent that they will want to hear more about what these brands have to say.

Through engaging storytelling, copywriting can bring this impactful connection to life.

Identifying your Brand Voice.

If your brand were a person, how would they speak? Would they be witty, funny, bold, or earnest? How would they converse with friends in their everyday life? These inquiries hold immense significance in pinpointing the right voice for your brand, as they shape how your brand communicates with its audience.

Attention to every conceivable detail is vital for creating engaging communication. In an era of noise, success belongs to those authentically speaking the truth clearly

Consistency in Tone and Style.

Consistency is a recurring favourite term in the marketing realm, and this is due to its pivotal role in effective communication. Brands that maintain a uniform message across all platforms exude stability, reliability, and a distinctive persona — traits that naturally draw people towards them.

Consider the case of Old Spice, a brand known for its humorous, irreverent take on traditional masculinity. They’ve cultivated a unique brand voice by consistently employing wit and absurdity in their memorable ad campaigns.

Evoking Emotion Through Words.

Austrian-American author Peter Drucker said: “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

Indeed, words are not as important as the emotions they convey. Copywriting offers a tangible example of this principle in action. Proficient copywriters can evoke feelings through language, prompting diverse reactions in the audience through artful combinations.

Nike is a great example of a brand that embodies such copywriting skills while harnessing the power of emotion in their communication.

The Do’s and Dont's of Startup Copywriting

In the ever-evolving landscape of startups, where competition is fierce and attention spans are fleeting, mastering the art of copywriting can mean the difference between igniting interest and fading into darkness.

Crafting compelling copy is a skilful dance that requires finesse, strategy, and an intimate understanding of your audience. Whether you’re embarking on your startup journey or looking to revitalise your messaging, here are some essential do’s and don’ts of startup copywriting to ensure your brand’s voice rises above the noise.

Avoiding Common Copywriting Mistakes.

  • Do: Be Clear and Concise

In the world of startups, clarity is king. Avoid using over-the-top language that might confuse your potential customer. Instead, opt for simple, straightforward messaging to communicate your value proposition.

  • Don’t: Neglect Proofreading

Mistakes in copy can harm your brand’s credibility and professionalism. Always proofread your content meticulously to catch typos, grammatical errors, and inconsistencies.

  • Do: Highlight Benefits

Your potential customers are more interested in how your product or service can solve their problems or enhance their lives than in excessive details about your product or service. Focus on the benefits and outcomes they care about the most.

  • Don’t: Never Overpromise

While it’s crucial to highlight benefits, avoid making exaggerated claims you can’t deliver on. Truthfulness and authenticity are essential for building engagement and trust with your audience.

Writing Copy That Resonates With Your Audience

  • Do: Research Your Audience

Understanding someone involves listening and placing yourself in their shoes. Considering your target audience’s pain points, desires, and language and conducting thorough research is the best way to create copy that speaks directly to their needs and aspirations.

  • Don’t: Use Generic Messaging

Tailor your messaging to specific audience segments for a more personalised connection. Generic messaging might appeal broadly but won’t deeply resonate with anyone.

  • Do: Respect People’s Intelligence

Craft narratives for intelligent human beings. Treat your audience with brilliance to connect with them on an intellectual, emotional and human level.

  • Don’t: Neglect Storytelling

Powerful copywriting is charged with narratives that provoke engagement and awaken genuine interest. Use storytelling to convey your startup’s journey, mission, and values.

The Power of a Strong Call to Action

  • Do: Be Direct and Action-Oriented

A call to action (CTA) should leave no room for ambiguity. Decisive action verbs and concise language will guide your audience toward the desired action.

  • Don’t: Don’t Be Pushy or Authoritative

While a CTA is essential, using too many CTAs or demanding action can come across as desperate. Use CTAs as open and appealing invitations to engage with your product or service.

Choosing the Right Copywriting Services for Your Startup.

In-House vs. Outsourced Copywriting

There are various pros and cons when deciding between handling your copywriting in-house or outsourcing it. Let’s explore some of them.

In-House Copy:

Pro’s. Nobody knows your product better than you do.

Nobody comprehends your product as profoundly as you do. The complexities of manufacturing, the confidential ingredients behind your product's success, and the extensive understanding of your competitors are just a few examples of what you’ve navigated since your company's inception. Counting on a pro team capable of translating your expertise into words becomes a pivotal game-changing factor for any startup.

Con’s. It’s expensive.

As a startup founder, you’re well aware that assembling and maintaining a team comes with challenges and costs. Establishing a team of professionals with great writing skills might seem like a luxury in today’s landscape. However, go for it if you can find the right talent and have the budget to pay for it.

Outsourced copywriting.

Pro’s. They are specialists.

You’re ace at building brands from scratch, but nailing communication might not be your forte. When your audience is complex, having a writing specialist speak their language can be smart, saving you precious time to invest in other areas of your company.

Con’s. Extended Timeline.

It’s essential to recognise that your project isn’t the sole commitment of an external agency or writer. Often, they juggle multiple projects simultaneously—three or four being the norm. Achieving results that align with your aspirations will invariably demand several weeks, contingent on your project’s scale and significance. Thus, when engaging in outsourcing, a measure of patience and comprehension of the workflow is prudent.

The Future of Copywriting for Startups: Embracing Innovation and Technology

Copywriting is undergoing a rapid transformation, keeping pace with the ever-evolving landscape of the business industry. To thrive in this dynamic environment, startups must adopt new strategies and tools that leverage emerging technologies and trends. By combining creativity, research, and technological advancements, startups can craft compelling copy that resonates with their target audience and drives growth.

Adapting Copywriting Strategies for Emerging Trends

In an era of rapidly shifting consumer behaviour and communication platforms, startups must tailor their copywriting strategies to stay relevant. This involves understanding the changing dynamics of consumer preferences and adapting messaging to suit various platforms and content formats. Social media, voice search, and interactive content are just a few channels requiring tailored messaging.

To achieve this, startups should demonstrate agility and a willingness to innovate. By crafting narratives that align with the evolving socio-cultural context of their audience, startups can create a strong brand presence that resonates deeply.

The Role of AI in Copywriting

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a game-changer in various business functions, including copywriting. AI tools offer innovative solutions that enhance efficiency and streamline tasks. From generating data-driven insights to optimising content for search engines and even creating copy itself, AI has the potential to revolutionise the copywriting process.

However, it’s important to note that AI is not meant to replace human writers. Instead, it augments their capabilities by handling repetitive tasks and generating insights. This partnership allows human copywriters to focus on the creative and strategic aspects of copywriting that require human intuition, empathy, and connection with the audience.

Integrating Copywriting and Content Marketing

Copywriting and content marketing go hand in hand. While copywriting crafts the message that captures attention and communicates value, content marketing ensures that the message reaches the right audience and aligns with strategic goals. To create a symbiotic relationship between these two functions, startups must deeply understand their audience’s journey.

By tailoring copy to different stages of the buyer’s journey, startups can address their audience’s needs at every touchpoint in the sales funnel, from awareness to conversion. This alignment between copy and content marketing strategy enhances the overall effectiveness of messaging.

Mastering the art of copywriting is a journey that requires dedication, creativity and patience. Just as iconic copywriters like Gary Halbert, David Ogilvy, and Bill Bernbach didn’t achieve mastery overnight, startups must invest time and effort to find the right messaging that resonates with their target audience.

As you embark on this compelling journey of translating your brand into powerful words, remember that the process is both challenging and highly rewarding. Openness to innovation, authenticity, determination, and, most importantly, a genuine connection with your audience is critical to success.

Jair Lucena

Jair Lucena

Jair is a traveler, writer, and yoga-meditation teacher-practitioner. Who loves to explore different lands, cultures, and ways of being. Connect with him on Linkedin

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