This week on #bufferchat, we discussed the power of copywriting and how to write compelling, meaningful, action-oriented copy. We talked about the difference between content writers and copywriters, the skills needed to be a great copywriter, brands that write awesome copy, and much more!

Read on to discover all of the awesome insights that were shared during the chat, from our community and from our guest this week, Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and to meet hundreds of other smart marketers and social media enthusiasts. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

4 pm AEST (Sydney time)

9 am PT (San Francisco time)

Bufferchat on May 10, 2017 (Topic = The Power of Good Copy)

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 34 participants; 155 tweets; reach of 1,037,950
2nd Bufferchat: 130 participants; 806 tweets; reach of 1,497,263

Q1: What is the difference between a content writer and a copywriter?

From Joanna:

  • A content writer and a copywriter *should* be doing the same thing: getting the yes. but content = longer run to the yes.

From the community:

  • “Content is all the stuff that you expect to be there. Copy is the stuff that persuades them to go and see it all.” @wordmancopy
  • “I consider copywriting more short form (headlines, ads) and content writing as long form pieces (blogs, white papers).” @kelleyinphilly
  • “The objective: Copywriters produce marketing messages, content writers aim to engage.” @benhollom

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: How do you write copy that gets people to take action?

From Joanna:

  • Start by matching their stage of awareness at the top, then move them to the next stage by the end-of-page + match CTA to that stage.
  • Get inside their head by using their own words. Swipe copy from customers and prospects – don’t “write copy.”

From the community:

  • “Be unexpected! We are all accustomed to blocking out ads. Connect on the ‘Why?'” @ForresterHinds
  • “Start with the end result and paint that picture. It’s a cliche but true – ‘features tell, benefits sell.'” @pamelahughes
  • “Make your content human/emotional, make people FEEL something. Create a CTA, a question, provoke a response.” @EricSachs_SEO

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: Generally, what information do you need to have in order to write good copy?

From Joanna:

  • Above all, you need to *know* your reader. Where they’re at, where they want to be, how they think you might help.
  • Then you use your reader insights to shape the 3 other elements of killer copy: 1 big idea, 1 offer, 1 promise.
  • So many of the A3 answers apply to content writing. If we’re using the same info, why are the goals so diff for copy v content?

From the community:

  • “A deep understanding of how the problem impacts your target’s life and how your solution will impact for the better.” @WordWeaverFree
  • “I expect to see brand voice, personas, keywords and a brief on the purpose of the copy and how it will be used.” @cssndrlnn
  • “What action you want from who, what and to who you’re selling, and how it all matches brand message as whole.” @LamminenEeva

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: What skills are key to being a great copywriter?

From Joanna:

  • #1 = listening. #2 = empathy. #3 = results-focus.

From the community:

  • “I think objectiveness, openness to critique, & the ability to experience things from different perspectives is invaluable.” @ARoberts021
  • “Listening skills. Listen to your audience, know their existing problems and attempt to solve them with great content.” @KhulekaniMj
  • “Adaptability. Being able to mold and shape the tone of your writing for every kind of audience.” @howveryheather

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: How do you know when copy is working really well? How can you measure this?

From Joanna:

  • Copy works when it gets the yes. Yes could be an opt in, a sale, a share, a referral. choose 1 “yes goal” per page/email.
  • Measure copy’s success against its 1 goal. Subject line goal = get open. Tweet goal = get RT. Sales page goal = get $$.

From the community:

  • “Google Analytics when it is online. Set up conversion goals depending on the objective of the piece.” @NatalieTFG
  • “Evaluate results compared to the purpose. If it’s part of a campaign, use AB tests to refine & compare different approaches.” @Ginaie
  • “People engaging and sharing without being asked are both great indicators; past that, is your audience doing what you wanted?” @cassipolzin

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: What is the biggest mistake you see brands making with their copy?

From Joanna:

  • The #1 mistake is starting with ideas like “keep it short.” Readers don’t *care* about word count. They care about value.

From the community:

  • “Using jargon instead of simpler words and using many words when only a few are needed. (Ogilvy & Mather’s ‘How to Write’ ;)).” @CKishazy
  • “Lack of storytelling. Too much sales copy. People need to connect. Storytelling can engage & build an emotional connection.” @KymWrites
  • “Making copy “we-” or “I-centric” and not “you-centric”. Copy should focus on client first.” @brynhafemeister

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: Which brands inspire you when it comes to great, compelling, and engaging copy?

From Joanna:

  • The crew at  has always been a leader in copy + content that engages and converts.
  • And i *heart-eyes* the content like crazy.

From the community:

See all the great answers to question 7 here!


Thank you so much to Joanna and to everyone who shared their advice in this chat!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!