The art of copywriting in the 20th century [A review]



I’ve always enjoyed writing. Truth to be told, there is something about great writing that can grab your attention and make you visualize things you never thought possible. It’s it amazing how letters put together can stimulate reaction? Nothing much – just letters, put in the right sequence and right adjectives can turn around and shift your entire mood. I’ve always been a fan of copywriting, so when the chance came to read and learn about how copywriting is adapted in the digital age, I couldn’t let the change go.

This blog post will cover some key concepts and lesson I’ve learned from CXL’s copywriting course:

  1. Conventional vs data driven copywriting
  2. The equation for copywriting you absolutely must remember


So shall we begin?


  1. Conventional vs data-driven copywriting


I have a friend who works in a giant company who does Copywrite every week for events and shows. The thing I keep hearing over and over again is how every time one person reviews her article keeps changing. It’s unpredictable, it’s subjective, and most of all it doesn’t have a clear benchmark on what makes a “good piece”. That’s conventional copywriting for you – it’s subjective and relies on judgements of people. The problem with that is judgements are rarely accurate or representative of the real audience you’re trying to connect with. In other words, conventional copywriting is nothing more than politics applied to writing.


So what’s the alternative? Enter: data-driven copywriting.

Sounds fancy and intimidating? Fear not! The essence of data-driven copywriting is using metrics to inform and guide our writing process. To do that, your writing team need to agree and converge on a couple of metrics that will be used to judge the effectiveness of your writing. If it’s the number of engagements so be it! If it’s the number of likes or reshares – also so be it! In essence, whatever metric you and your team chose, it has to be agreed and used to judge your writing from now on.

Imagine a world where your writing is based on clearly defined and agreed metrics that are measurable. How can this benefit you? For starters, it can help you measure what works and what didn’t. It helps you create contents that work over and over again to help engage your audience.


  1. The big equation you must remember to ensure a kick-ass copywriting


Conversion = 4M + 3V + 2(I-F) – 2A



M = motivation

V = Value proposition

I = incentive

F= friction

A = Anxiety



Motivation – here means the reason the customer is on your website in the first place. Are they there to shop? To read? Or research? It is the single most significant determinant of how likely customers are to convert and unfortunately, it’s also the only factor we have no direct control over. You can’t induce motivation for customers to be on your website. Although it would be a cool superpower to have, it is not within your control. Still, pay attention to how much it can impact your conversion according to this equation.


Value proposition – it’s merely a fancy term for the question “what’s in it for me? Why should I care about your product?”.  A strong value proposition is something that is within our control and can carry a huge weight in increasing the probability of customers converting.

So how do you craft a strong value proposition? Well – it’s an overlap of three things: what customers want, what your product does, and what’s unique about your product. Having all three is key to crafting the perfect value proposition that will not only entice your customers to convert but also make them remember you by for future purchases.


Incentive – what can we do to make things attractive to customers? Is there a special group they belong to if they purchase your product? Do they have an additional advantage that sets them apart? Do they get a discount? Do they get a special treat for purchasing from you?


Friction – is basically anything that annoys them enough to slow them down and rethink their purchase. Long load time for pages, multiple-step checkout process, or a long-form that annoys the heck out of people. All those tiny factors can significantly drag down conversion.


Anxiety – is simply conditions that can help visitors to your website to buy and shop in peace. Examples includes: what happens if I don’t like the product? Is my credit card safe? What happens if the shipment is delayed – having answers to these questions will significantly help them overcome their purchase barrier and push them over to conversion.


In summary, a kick ass copywriting is nothing more than taking people already motivated and amplifying it to the point they can’t live without your product. It doesn’t create motivation, but merely amplifies what’s already there in a different light. The good thing is motivations rarely change and withstand the test of time. Everyone wants to appear healthy, successful and talented. So a good copywriting can play on these motivations to help the business grow. Add that to a strong value proposition and reduced friction, we have the perfect combination of conversion powerhouse.

So now that you’ve learned these basics concepts- how are you going to apply them?




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