It’s true: Most writing requires a touch of creativity. But as a seasoned marketer or copywriter, you probably already know that creative copywriting, whether for landing pages, social media or ads can get your product or service heads and shoulders above your competitors.
So the real question is how do you do it? How do you create copy that does more than state the facts and figures — copy elevated by a dose of creativity? We’re here to show you.
What is creative copywriting?
Creative copywriting goes one (or three) steps further than basic copywriting in the sense that it requires strategic, imaginative thinking. As obvious as it sounds, creative copy is where unleashed creativity meets copywriting skills.
A creative writer goes beyond inserting the average powerful words in marketing copy. They also think about the big picture: out-of-the-box ideas, the audience’s pain point, unique perspectives, and ways to approach and present the solution in the ad copy.
How do you identify creative content marketing?
Think about the last time a landing page SOLD you on the company’s services so much that you were scrambling to put your email in their newsletter sign-up form. What about the time that TV ad — everything about it — had you buying a product you maybe didn’t even need?
That’s what creative copywriting does. It excites, persuades, and moves your audience to action in seconds.
What’s the difference between creative copywriting and SEO copywriting?
While creative copywriting focuses on the reader, SEO copywriting aims to reach the reader via search engines. This kind of copy is optimized for search engines by the skillful inclusion of keywords.
Does this mean SEO copywriting cannot or should not be creative? Not necessarily. Ideally, SEO copywriting should be optimized both for readers and search engines. This is not the easiest of tasks, but it is highly achievable if your copywriter knows their onions — and has great tools on hand.
For digital marketing, it is essential that you marry SEO and creative copywriting. This means getting down the basics of great copy and applying your knowledge of search engine optimization without stifling your copy. Sounds like a big ask? We’ll help you figure it out.
10 Tips to skillfully master creative copywriting
If you’re more accustomed to SEO copywriting and would like to know how to write creatively, you’re in the right place. We’ve gathered 10 of the best tips for mastering great copywriting.
1. Do your research
Before you can write creatively, you need to have a solid knowledge of the practicalities. Detailed research helps you understand your subject matter and enables you to render your copy as persuasively as possible. In the course of your research, you should uncover — at a minimum — answers to the following questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What does your target audience need?
- What is your product’s unique selling point?
- How does your product’s selling point intersect with your audience’s needs?
Once you have the raw materials, you can now whip them into your creative masterpiece.
2. Write a head-turning headline
Now, you may be in the camp that writes headlines as the final step of the process, and that’s fine. You can apply these tips whenever you choose to write your headline. However, do not underestimate the power of an arresting headline.
The rest of your website copy could be the most impressive piece of work, but readers will never know if they don’t get past your headline.
Email subject lines are another kind of “headline” that must captivate your reader. Your subject line must be strong enough to sway the reader into opening, instead of archiving your email — or worse, making it as spam. Try these tips for crafting an irresistible headline:
- Use numbers to grab attention
- Appeal to emotions with power words
- Spark curiosity (but skip the clickbait)
- Ask a thought-provoking question
- Inject a sense of urgency
Bottom line? Make a darn good first impression. If you’re having trouble coming up with a worthy headline, try Jarvis’s Perfect Headline template. It uses information about your article to generate impressive headline options. Jarvis also has an Email Subject Line template for generating concise, inviting subject lines.
3. Build credibility
This is another vital branch of creative copywriting. Granted, it’s daunting to build reader trust in such few words as those on an ad or landing page, but it’s doable. An easy way to accomplish this is by using cold facts and figures.
Like in the screenshot above, your figures could be anything from your current number of users to the number of five-star reviews your product has accrued. You could also show proof using a reel of popular companies you’ve provided services for in the past.
Here are a few more things to highlight if you want to build trust:
- Detailed customer testimonials
- Any industry awards you’ve won
- Case studies
Pro Tip: You can also even provide a freebie or actionable industry information in your copy so that your readers benefit just by reading your copywriting.
4. Be specific
Specificity shows readers that you’re confident and unafraid to make a claim or take a stance. Which of these two promises makes you more likely to order?
“Nutritious meals delivered in one hour” vs “Nutritious meals delivered super quickly”
Stating a specific time reassures customers that you’ve tested and can guarantee them service at that level. It makes your copy creative because you’ve put strategic thought into the process. This is particularly important when crafting Google or Facebook ads. Jarvis has several ad templates including the following:
- Google Ads Headline
- Google Ads Description
- Facebook Ads Headline
- Facebook Ads Primary Text
Here’s the Google Ads Description template in action:
There’s much to be specific about in your copy, but unfortunately, so many copywriters are vague about what their products or services accomplish. For example, while saying your service will “boost results,” highlight exactly how or by what percentage it will do this.
5. Tell a story
Isn’t storytelling the height of creative writing? You can use this same medium in your copywriting. While this style may not work for everyone, it is particularly captivating for individuals selling a personalized service. See how Ramit Sethi uses his narrative by sharing his experience with a problem and now offering to share his solutions with readers.
You may not have a heart-tugging personal anecdote to share, but perhaps your product has an impressive backstory? Share it. Show customers how the behind-the-scenes work translates to a better product for them.
Remember, the goal of storytelling in your copywriting isn’t to blow your trumpet, but to get readers to see themselves in your story — which is what makes your copy convert.
6. Be conversational
Speaking of reaching readers, our number one tip for word usage is to keep it simple. Always use a shorter, simpler word where possible. Your copy should be easily understandable for maximum impact.
For example, take Shopify’s landing page. “Sell online with Shopify” leaves no room for misunderstanding and would be understandable by most fifth-graders in America. Imagine, if instead, the brand had written: “Establish your business online with Shopify”? Still feel the punch? Not so much.
7. Use emotion
There’s a reason why the PAS (Problem-Agitate-Solution) Framework is known as an effective copywriting formula: it works. With creative copywriting, though, you need to do a bit more than following the formula. You need to empathize with your reader.
For example, the sentence, “Why do the prettiest shoes give the worst blisters?” could easily open the way to highly converting copy for blister cushions. First, you get the reader nodding — just as they would with an empathetic friend — and then you keep them nodding into checkout.
Still unsure how to use the PAS Framework to your advantage? Let Jarvis worry about that for you. Here is Jarvis’s PAS Framework template in action.
8. Don’t forget design
We have to break it to you: Design matters just as much as your copy. Even if your copy was A+ and you followed all the other copywriting tips on the internet, poor brand colors and fonts would tank your sales.
Creative copywriters see the full picture, design inclusive.
Use design that complements your copy. Don’t drown your hard-won words in overpowering design or back your words with an underwhelming design that won’t stand out.
9. Answer questions in advance
Headline, check. Trust and credibility, check. You’ve got your reader hooked now. They believe your copy and they’re ready to commit, but they have one niggling question before they take the plunge… and there’s no answer on your landing page.
If you’ve ever been a contemplating customer, you’ve likely deferred or changed a decision because of a lack of information. Sometimes the information is there, but on a page that requires the reader to put in extra work to access.
Spare potential customers the hassle and include relevant information on your landing page. These include:
- Frequently asked questions
- Pricing (+ free trial, if applicable)
- Geographic limitations
- Additional features and integrations
Don’t make potential customers work too hard to find information that can sway them in the purchasing direction.
10. Make your CTA work for you
The ultimate goal of your copywriting is to get readers to respond positively to your call to action. So, ensure that your CTA also has something for your readers. It should be all about them. After all, they’re browsing solution alternatives because they have a problem they’d like to solve.
Your CTA should be the solution. Avoid dead CTA’s like “Buy now” or “Click here.” Both of these feel to the reader like they’re giving you something, as opposed to receiving. Your CTA is your final punch. Use it to remind the reader of the core benefit you’re offering. Try one of these:
- “Start your free trial”
- “Start saving now”
- “Get $10 off”
- “Start earning now”
- “Get your free guide”
While hitting either of these buttons will be a conversion for you, your customer also receives something. We think that’s a win on both sides — and what a great way to kick off a relationship.
10 examples of creative copywriting to inspire you
Before we go, we’ll show you a few brand pages and advertisements putting our tips into practice. Maybe it’ll give you some inspiration as you write your own creative copy.
On its homepage, Lyft doesn’t leave any room for guesswork. It’s clear that they want more people to drive with the company. They highlight the benefits in simple language and include a hard-to-miss CTA. Got more questions? You can see “How driver pay works.”
The simplicity of Trello’s homepage shines through even more, thanks to the easy-to-read font. There’s no beating around the bush as they tell you what they’re about and include a CTA right off the bat.
The Bombas homepage is witty, but they’re no joke. You’ll notice that they highlight their philanthropic achievements and a discount to appeal to their target audience — all in plain English. That’s one way to employ creativity.
Another homepage with delightful copywriting, Innocent Smoothies opens with an entertaining twist on the horoscope.
Who can resist a scroll further down with that starter? It only gets better with narrative copywriting that invites you into their brand’s story.
PayPal gets straight to the point by offering you $10 if you invite a friend — something you can only do if you’re signed up. Who doesn’t want 10 bucks? Minimal text, minimal fuss.
App Sumo Emails
This App Sumo marketing email is the PAS Framework with a dash of dry humor. They seal the deal with an urgent final line and CTA to amp the FOMO. After all, no one wants to miss out.
12 words and some fine print is how Netflix wins with their sign-up page. Their offerings fill the background to remind you what you’re missing, and their creative copy reassures you that you can “cancel anytime” — even though we all know you probably won’t ever cancel.
Quip’s email sign-up form is entertaining enough to make most interested users sign up. A minty fresh inbox sounds like what the dentist ordered. And that’s the power of a great headline.
Here’s another brand that’s loading up the freebies and not hiding it at all. Just look at that CTA button.
From Our Place
If you thought Brooklinen was giving away freebies, meet Our Place. The brand currently gives away a pan a day. All they need is your email address for a chance to win. This is a great example of providing value just from having read your copy.
5 examples of best copywriting ads
We’ve seen fantastic examples of copywriting in emails and on landing pages. How about some advertisements? Here are five memorable advertisements with smart copy that will get you to look twice.
Saatchi and Saatchi
This Saatchi & Saatchi ad encourages dog lovers to think twice before adopting — and yet it never says those exact words. Powerful.
This Band-Aid ad takes “minimal” to a whole new level.
We love that this cheeky Heinz ad reminds you of what Ketchup is made from.
Three words are all this ad needs to be laugh-out-loud funny.
This Calm App Facebook ad is an excellent example of providing value in your creative ad copy. It leads readers through a super-short meditation before they even realize it.
Go the extra mile with your copywriting
Creative copywriting stands out because it’s not your average copywriting. It requires generous portions of imagination and big-picture thinking. You’ll need to do the research and write solution-centric copy that steals readers’ attention.
We believe in you, but we also believe in getting help when needed. That’s why we recommend the AI copywriting assistant, Jarvis. With scores of templates, including marketing-specific options like the PAS and AIDA Framework templates, Jarvis is up to the task of creative thinking — and unlike you, he never tires.
If you need help getting Jarvis to write even better, check out this helpful tutorial.
Ready to give it a shot? Start a free trial of Jarvis today.