Don’t forget the copy

In the early days of the Internet images were few and far in between. Your typical website was just page after page of text (or worse, a single page of text about a mile long).
Now it would be hard to find a website that doesn’t have an image.

That’s not a bad thing. Images catch people’s attention, and a good image can often explain a concept better than words ever could (e.g. infographics).

And thanks to digital cameras and smartphones we have access to more photos of people, places and events than ever before.

But this doesn’t mean you can ignore your copy. Your words are still important. In fact, if you use images your words are more important than ever. Here’s why.

Good copy can make your image clearer

Remember the drawing where you can see either two faces or a wine glass? Neither one is wrong—it’s just the way you look at it.

Now the meaning behind your image probably isn’t so… well, black and white. And while you might think it couldn’t be interpreted any other way, there’s always a chance. And the last thing you want to do is confuse (or even annoy) your readers.

Complementing your image with good copy takes away the confusion. Your image still draws them in, but the copy makes it clear what you’re trying to say with it. And using the two together can make your message much more powerful.

Good copy can motivate your customers

If you want to see a great example of how words can motivate people, check out this Apple keynote presentation by the late Steve Jobs.

He certainly uses images—lots of them. And most of them don’t include any text whatsoever. So, is this an example of images making copy redundant?


The copy comes from Steve when he speaks. And while the images may be enough to pique people’s interest, it’s his words that make them want (if not need) to buy that iPad.

And his words aren’t just a bland sales pitch, either. He’s passionate about the iPad, and pretty soon his audience shares that passion. And by the end of his presentation half the audience are willing to trade a kidney to get their hands on one.

Good copy can bring your images to life

You may have a great product, and a great picture that shows it off in all its glory. But adding good copy can really make it come to life.

Got a photo showing the incredible view of the beach from the balcony of your seaside resort rooms? Great. Now tell everyone about falling asleep to the sound of waves lapping the shore, and feeling the ocean breeze on their face as they open the balcony doors.

Even the best images invoke only one of our senses. Combine them with good copy, and you can stimulate all five.

As I said, using images can be a good thing. But no matter how great they are, you still need good copy to complete the picture.

6 things you need to tell your copywriter

Copywriters are amazing people. They can take your ideas and turn them into amazing copy that will attract customers and get you sales.

But they’re not mind readers.

So before your first visit with your copywriter, make sure you can give them the answers to these questions.

What’s your budget?

As much as you’d like the guys in Accounting to give you unlimited funding for your copy, that probably won’t be the case. (Especially if you are the guy in Accounting.)

But rather than stopping your copywriter mid-project when the money runs out, let them know up front. They can work with you to come up with the best solution you can afford. You may not get all the copy you want, but you will get the copy you need.

What’s your timeframe?

Copywriters are busy people, often handling multiple projects at a time. So don’t come along expecting your copy to be finished the next day.

Even if they can start straight away, they may charge extra for having to get the work done so quickly. Remember the saying: “Cheap, fast, accurate. Choose two.” And you definitely want one of them to be “accurate”.

So make sure you give them enough time to get the work done properly. (And make sure you’re available to answer any questions that come up.)

Who’s your audience?

Good copy speaks to your audience, and convinces them to buy your product/service.

So who will your copy be talking to?

Your audience may well be the clients you already have, and you just want more of them. But maybe you want to start targeting small companies as well as individual buyers.

Whoever they are, you need to let your copywriter know.

What do you want to say?

Now, what are you going to tell them?

You can’t expect them to buy just because you tell them to. You need to convince them your product/service is worth buying. Your copywriter will do most of the work. But you need to give them some ideas.

Is it cheaper than the competition? Does it have more features? Is it more prestigious? Will it make them more successful?

This is what your buyer needs to know. So make sure your copywriter knows as well.

How do you want to say it?

If you were speaking to your customers face-to-face, how would you talk? Would it be a formal presentation about your product/service, or would it be more like a casual chat?

In most cases, the tone of your copy should match the tone you’d used when speaking face-to-face. So let your copywriter know so they can do their best to replicate it.

What do you want your customers to do?

You’ve worked out what you want to say to your customers, and how you want to say it.

Now, what do you want them to do when they’re finished reading?

Do you want them to click the ‘Buy Now’ button? Come in for a chat? Tell their friends about you? Like your Facebook page?

Whatever it is, you need to make it clear you want them to do it.

And that means your copywriter needs to know as well.

Now chances are these aren’t the only questions you’ll need to answer. Every copywriter is different, and will probably ask different questions to get the information they need.

But knowing the answers to these questions will definitely get things off to a great start.