Here’s a guest post that shares copywriting tips that can help with writing a novel by Matt Press, an experienced copywriter. If you have a great idea and would like to contribute a guest post of your own, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Guest Post Idea for No Rules.
Just as copywriters carefully choose their words and phrases in order to appeal to a specific audience, novel writers need to structure every sentence, paragraph, and page within their book to ensure that readers keep turning, or coming back for more. This shared desire to promote engagement, interaction, and intrigue can mean that the copywriting tips the producers of content use to stay ahead of the competition, can also be the tricks the modern novel writer uses to improve their storytelling.
Following are 13 of the best copywriting tips that you can use to help you write a better novel.
#1: Give Your Audience What They Want
When a copywriter starts an article, or piece of work, they do so with a precise understanding of the audience or market they're trying to appeal to. After all, in the marketing world, you can't create a desire for a product out of nothing--you can only stoke and channel an existing flame. When you're planning your novel, the chances are you'll have an ideal audience in mind. For instance, you could be writing for young adults, science-fiction lovers, or fantasy nerds. Find out what they want to read, and write it.
#2: Research More
In copywriting, it's a serious faux pas to include statistics and facts in an article if you don't have the evidence or studies to back those numbers up. In the world of novel writing, the chances are that you'll resonate with your audience on a deeper level if you take the time to research the place you're writing about, the cultures you're addressing, and more. If your writing is realistic, and credible, your reader will find themselves becoming more drawn into the story.
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#3: Have Something to Say
Writing is always faster, and easier when you have something to actually talk about. If a copywriter has a topic in mind, then they can craft an article in almost no time that they're sure will appeal to their audience. On the other hand, writing without any true direction leads to pointless blogs full of fluff and useless information. Make sure whatever you're writing about has a purpose, and choose your subjects wisely.
#4: Create a Voice
In copywriting, a voice is what customers come to expect when reading articles from a specific writer or company. It helps to create a consistency that leads to improved brand awareness, and better marketing over time. In novel writing, your voice will be what helps your reader decide whether they want to keep reading, or not. After all, it's not just about the story--it's about how you tell it. If your voice is unique and interesting, then your reader will keep turning the pages. If not, they'll go elsewhere.
#5: Be Unique
The best blogs, articles, and press releases are those that cover new information, address different ideas, or simply cover news from a new perspective. In the same way, the best novels are the ones that offer a point of view that readers haven't seen before, allow them to explore an experience unlike anything ever put into words before, or even allow them to revisit a classic from a different angle. Be unique, and you'll succeed.
#6: Vary Sentence Length
In copywriting, short sentences are essential, because they make content easier to understand. In novel writing, short sentences can add drama or emotion to a paragraph, particularly when they're interlaced with other, longer sentences. Varying your sentence length will help to keep your audience engaged and entertained.
#7: Create Emotion
Copywriters use emotion to prompt visitors to convert into customers. Desire, greed, fear, guilt, and exclusivity can all work wonders on audience members who might be considering making a purchase. A novel writer will need to create emotion for a different purpose--to help their readers engage with the characters and scenarios on the page.
#8: Don't Use Too Much Passive Voice
In the English-speaking world, the preferred sentence structure is SVO: subject, verb, object. In other words, people like the active voice--it helps them to feel more engaged in what they're reading. Copywriters use active voice because passive sentences bore people, and novel writers should use them for the same reason. You might not be able to avoid being passive with every sentence, but most of the time you can do it more often than you think.
#9: Hunt Down the Perfect Words
One of the oldest copywriting tips in the book suggests that you should never use adverbs and adjectives to make an "okay" word better. The same concept can also have a place in novel writing. Don't be lazy with the words you choose, take the time to track down the very best words in conveying your message, emotion, or imagery.
#10: Use Imagery
Imagery in copywriting helps readers to understand a situation or benefit, for instance: "Flush away your problems" could be great imagery for a plumbing company. In novel writing, imagery is essential to create a vivid landscape for your reader. Novels without imagery are boring, lackluster--and let's face it--not worth reading.
#11: Make it Personal
Some of the best copywriting out there is made up of articles that don't follow the format of a school assignment. Don't just follow the book with your novel writing, think about what truly matters to you--use your passion, your experiences, and your emotions to create a story that is personal. You're not trying to impress your teacher or earn marks on a test here.
#12: Have a Great Title
It might not seem important, but just as a great title in copywriting compels a visitor to continue reading, the right title for your novel will convince a consumer to pick it up off the shelf and take it home with them. People really do judge a book by its cover.
#13: Edit Ruthlessly
Finally, rewrite, shorten, delete, and change anything that doesn't add to the value of your writing. Whether it's copywriting or a novel, every word should have a purpose, which means that ruthless editing is crucial.
Matt Press is an experienced copywriter who has written words for some of the UK’s top brands, such as Sky, Three and Vodafone. He now runs Splash Copywriters and is on a mission to make SEO easy for everyone.
You can take his free course here.