Copywriting Research Tips, Tricks and Secrets
Did you know that readers only pay attention to about 20% of the content on a page?
If your writing is full of fluff and waffle, the amount of value readers get from your writing is going to be tiny!
With only a tiny amount actually being read, you must use every sentence wisely.
This all starts with good research. Before you've even put a word down on the page, you should have thoroughly researched everything about your content to make sure you can fill your writing with value - and avoid fluff!
Discover research tips used by professional copywriters in this guide and optimize your writing.
Why Is Research Required?
Every copywriter knows the importance of research. In fact, it often takes up more time than the writing!
You need research for several different reasons, including the following:
While you might know nothing about the new car from Toyota, with the right research, you can write a blog post looking at the specifications, how they differ from past models, and the benefits of the new model.
The information is already out there online; you just need to find what you need and adapt it into new content!
But research isn't easy. That's why we've put together our top copywriting tricks to make it simpler and help you become a researching pro.
View Multiple Windows at Once
This first tip isn't about your copywriting research directly, but it's a hack used by professional writers everywhere!
While doing research, change your computer screen so that you can see different windows at the same time. On most computers, this simply means minimizing two windows and dragging them to opposite corners of the screen.
The computer will then automatically adjust the view to fit them side by side.
This is a brilliant way to work on your copy straight from your research. You can keep relevant sites on one window to refer back to frequently and your copy on the other window so that you can see the information as you write.
It's a simple trick, but it's a lifesaver for copy that's rich in research!
Limit Your Time
When writing copy, blogs, or articles, you must keep an eye on the time. As a copywriter, time is money, and you can't spend hours and hours on a few hundred words unless you charge for that time.
Knowing how long you'll need to write a piece is essential. Estimate the research, writing, and proofreading time, and charge accordingly. Then, try and stick to that time.
It's easy to fall down the rabbit hole of research, so put a time limit on roughly when you should be done and ready to write. Know how in-depth your research needs to be and set an alarm to not lose track.
So many writers have been guilty of spending hours researching a topic that really only needed 20 minutes, so be strict about this.
Create a Research Dump
If you're writing a long, in-depth piece, one of the copywriting tips you'll need to know about is the research dump.
It can get incredibly overwhelming reading article after article on a topic. Once you've read five, it's almost impossible to remember what you read in the first one!
This is why you should always have a separate document open as you research that you can copy and paste the most important pieces of information into.
This can include the following:
Find Your USP
This is particularly important when writing web copy, but also useful when writing other formats (like blogs and social media posts) to help them stand out.
Every brand has a unique selling point (USP). Whether it's an innovative product, specific values, or an interesting start-up story, there's always something there that can help a brand stand out! But, to find the USP of the brand you're writing for, you first have to see what others are doing.
Competitor research is one of the worst-kept copywriting secrets; every writer does it! But how you do it can vary.
For quick research, use marketplaces like Etsy and Shopify to identify competitors. You can simply type in your product or niche, and your competitors will pop up!
You can then check out their copy and start to get an idea of what these brands are missing that yours has, using it to develop your branding.
Only Use Authority Sites
When searching for a topic on Google, it's not strange for Wikipedia to pop up first. But this isn't a reliable source of information! Because it can be edited by anyone, so you can't trust that it's going to be 100% accurate.
It's not just Wikipedia that you should avoid. There are tons of sites out there that aren't credible, and you should definitely avoid these if you want to write accurate copy.
Instead, look for authority sites in your niche full of relevant, fresh, and engaging content to inspire your own work.
It's also good to note here that you shouldn't source your information from any articles over a few years old. These might contain outdated information and can be less credible than newer writing.
What Is an Authority Site?
We've made it very clear that you should only use authority sites to add credibility to your writing, but what is an authority site?
Sites with the highest authority for referencing include books, studies, and journals.
Government websites and newspapers are also generally credible sources of information, but make sure you only pick reputable papers.
By using these websites, your information will be far more accurate, and your own piece will be more credible!
If someone sees you're linking to high-profile studies, they'll instantly gain trust for your writing. It also boosts SEO, which is a bonus for your client!
Check Out Facebook Ad Library
Many copywriters get into the world of advertising, and writing social media ads is a great job! But it can be tough to check out what the competition is doing. Unless you're happy scrolling through until an ad pops up, you're stuck!
That is, until now.
Facebook Ad Library is a brilliant trick for any ad copywriters, and everyone who's ever been to ad school will use it religiously! Every single profile on Facebook that runs ads has a library of those that are currently active and inactive. To view them, take the following steps:
Research Your Audience
It's impossible to write good copy without knowing your audience. Before starting, make sure you've asked the company you're working with for any information they have on their target audience.
If they have a customer profile, you've hit the jackpot! If they don't have any information on their target audience, you're going to have to do the leg work.
Start by checking out the brand's social media. Take a look through the people who are regularly liking and commenting on their posts.
Make notes of what genders are more frequent and how old the average follower seems. Check out their profiles to find out more about their interests and hobbies.
If your client doesn't have social media, use a competitor's followers to get a better idea.
To Write and Research Or Not To Write and Research?
There are two groups of copywriters:
If you're more confident with a topic and it doesn't need as much research, you can always look things up as and when you need to instead.
Learn More Research Tips With a Copywriting Certificate
There are tons of research tips out there that will improve your writing and help you create compelling copy much quicker! To learn more, take a look at our copywriting courses.
Full of expert knowledge and evidence-backed advice, they're perfect for helping you to become a professional copywriter and gain more clients.