Copywriting Research is Like Baking a Cake

Copywriting Research is Like Baking a Cake

The art of crafting engaging copy is like baking a cake! Both require research to reach your ideal audience. And, where copywriters must nail voice and tone, and bakers need to get the details just right.

Baking a cake isn’t as simple as mixing the ingredients and then throwing on whatever decorations you think people will love. Take Buddy Valastro from Cake Boss, for example. He doesn’t unilaterally decide what his customers want. Instead he meets with them and asks essential questions about what they want:

  • What’s the occasion? (Is it for a four-year-old birthday party or an extravagant wedding?)
  • Is there a look or a theme they love?
  • What flavors do they have in mind?
  • How do they want to make their guests feel?

Buddy does his research, understands all the essential details, and delivers the perfect cake fit for his customer.

(Spoiler alert: I’m a total foodie and I nerd out over all the dessert shows and competitions. You’ve been warned 😜 )

Just like Buddy, copywriters don’t sit down and instantly begin baking…err…writing copy. We also do our research so that we understand the problems our clients solve, and more importantly, the words their clients use to talk about both the problem and the solution. After all, the final product must be meaningful to the people who will be reading it, and using it to guide their decisions. Only after we’ve established that can we start writing. 

When you hire a copywriter, most will insist on a discovery or research phase so that they understand your business inside and out. This is a key phase, and is important for getting the voice, tone, and overall message juuuuust right.


Copywriting Research Helps You Know Your Target Audience

Your target audience should be the driving force behind your business decisions. So, understanding what makes these folks tick plays an essential role in your marketing.

So just exactly what do you need to know? That depends mainly on your niche and the work you do. If you work with businesses, you want to consider the decision-makers who will do the hiring and what is important to them, as well as the problems your product or services solve. If you work with consumers, you may need to get nitty-gritty with demographics. 

Thinking about cake, a baker wouldn’t create an 8-inch Minnie Mouse cake for a fancy wedding of 250 people and expect the bride and groom to react well. 

So, if you want to attract attorneys, your copy should speak directly to those attorneys in words they would use to describe their needs. It’s OK to include your own voice in the copy, as long as it also speaks to the clients you want to connect with. Similarly, if your target market is women over 40, your copy had better do an excellent job of speaking to them…instead of using language that a young 20-something would use. 


Research Helps You Understand What Problem You’re Solving

You know your services, right? Well, that’s true. You know about your services from your perspective. However, you see the nuts and the bolts in your industry jargon. When you mine reviews, recommendations, and information from client interviews, you may discover that the problem you think you solve isn’t the problem your clients think you solve. Copywriting research helps you understand how your clients see you and your services. Then you can frame your copy accordingly.

Let’s think back to the cake… If a baker keeps announcing that his cakes are the most delicious desserts in town, and his audience is wondering where they can purchase beautiful cakes, there’s a disconnect between the baker’s solution and his customers’ need.


Get clear on how your solution matches up with their needs

To get clear, ask your clients questions. Look at reviews. And you don’t just have to look at reviews for your company. Check out what people are saying about your competitors, too. You might not solve the problem in the same way, but you will get insights into how your clients talk…and what will speak to them. 

Understanding your prospects’ motivation behind purchasing your product or service is essential to writing good copy. Is your offer a need or a want? Are they looking for entertainment, wanting to save money, be more efficient, learn something new, or something altogether different? Then when crafting your copy, use the same words your audience does when they talk about their problem. 

Find out how your solution fits their problem. Then show them the transformation they will experience after working with you. (Testimonials are great to demonstrate transformation because they add social proof.)


Learn What Sets You Apart From Your Competition

How are you going to stand out against your competition, so your target audience drools over your offer and doesn’t even think twice about signing on the dotted line? 

Search out your competitors, not just at the same level as you, but also those one or two levels above. Don’t copy them outright, but look at what they’re doing to reach their clients–everything from the words they use, the problems they solve, their process, and more. 

After digging deep to understand your competitor’s angle, go back and think about your audience and the problem you are solving for them. What’s different? Then set yourself apart from your competition by crafting your copy using the right words to hook your prospects.

And of course, don’t discount what people love about you. 

My clients love my ability to see the humor in most things, but my quirks don’t take away from my work; they give me a unique perspective. So figure out your unique qualities and then find a way to leverage them.


Know Whether You’re Using the Right Words

You only have one chance to make your first impression, so you must have confidence that you’re using the right words.

When you use the same language as your audience and integrate their words into your copy, you’re already 50% closer to the end game than your competitors. You’re connecting with your prospects, and building rapport before you even speak with them. As a result, they’re already well on their way to saying yes. 


Ready, Set, Research!

Attracting and engaging your clients from the get-go is so much easier when you devote time to researching before you start writing:

  • Learn more about your audience;
  • Understand the way your services transform their lives (and solve their problems); and
  • Take a look at your competitors to find the right words to capture your audience’s attention.

So, whether you’re baking a cake for someone or crafting copy for an audience, get ready, get set, and let the research begin!

Not sure how to start? I love researching and interviewing clients and would love to help, either with a strategy session or a done-for-you service. Schedule a short call today so we can discuss it further! 

Let's Chat!


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