But what is copywriting really?
Copywriting is a type of writing that attracts people. It has an ability to establish a connection with a certain audience, evoking emotions that lead to action. Copywriting is able to unite two seemingly completely different things – individualism and collectivism. But, not every copy is a good copy. This is a technical activity that requires practice. Copywriting is different than other forms of writing and in order to master it, we suggest reading Ernest Hemingway.
Using Ernest Hemingway’s writing as an example
Let’s be clear – Ernest Hemingway was not involved in copywriting. However, he was a very creative writer focused on short story essays. Although his style was prudent he managed to grab the attention of the audience. It didn’t take much time for the experienced critics to notice the talent of young Ernest.
Thanks to his publisher he was able to become one of the most famous writers of all time. So, even though he was not a real copywriter, his writing style was often similar to the ones we find in modern copywriters. That’s why we recommend reading Hemingway in order to understand the fundamentals of copywriting. We will use this article to highlight these fundamentals.
Numerous surveys and studies have shown that the majority of sales are not based on logic. Modern people are well-informed buyers, but they still tend to buy things based on the expected feelings. This is the reason why every copy you create must be able to trigger some kind of emotion in potential buyers. To achieve this, you must find a way to unleash their memories, make them realize their current situations and create images that correlate with the desires of buyers.
Hemingway used emotions too
All the themes that he has selected for the stories were personal, but not atypical. He was writing about things that almost every person can relate to. His characters were not extraordinary, but they were very likable. Here’s what he had to say about emotions:
“Poor Faulkner. Does he really believe that big emotions come from big words? He believes that I don’t know the 10$ words. I know them! But, there are some older and simpler and much better words and I use them in my novels.”
This is how he was able to evoke emotions in readers and help them remember his work.
It looks like the attention spans of modern people are getting shorter and shorter. In case we don’t find something amusing, we turn it off and it usually takes less than a minute to do this. In other words, the copy you are writing must be able to get straight to the point right away. There is no need for a long introduction. Don’t use more words than necessary.
Hemingway kept things short
As we already said his novels were usually short because he didn’t want to “decorate” his work with unnecessary things. In “A Farewell to Arms”, Ernest Hemingway writes”
“I’m not brave any more darling. I’m all broken. They’ve broken me”.
This is a good example of pointing out things in a simple, yet effective way. There are situations when you should leave certain things to the creativity and imagination of readers. Don’t tell your readers the whole story, let them check the product, service or whatever you are trying to sell.
Write with lucidity
If readers become confused, they will probably avoid your call to action. In fact, some of them won’t read your copy to the end. If the writing is lucid and clear, readers will keep reading. In other words, this approach is good if you want to keep their attention. This is not some sort of a philosophical thesis which means that people should not reread it to understand what you are trying to say. In order to achieve this goal, you should take a few things into account.
First of all, use simple words whenever you can. Use end instead of termination. Use recognize instead of perceive and so on. It’s also a good idea to use unique words that are easy to remember. For example, you can use dramedy instead of comedy and drama. Another good idea is to use an active voice whenever you can. People find it much simpler and easier compared to a passive voice. Finally, try to use transitions like Even though, because, instead, while etc.
Hemingway used lucidity in his work
Experienced critics can confirm that Hemingway was quite clear and concise when he was writing his novels. For example, in “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, Hemingway writes:
“There’s no one thing that’s true. It’s all true.”
Can you notice how clear these sentences are and yet they are very effective and steer emotions and make you want to picture things. These short sentences and small words are much better than metaphors. You are not trying to confuse the reader, you want them to be impressed and understand what you are trying to share a message right away.
Copywriting is effective only when you are promising realistic things. Remember that modern buyers have experience and knowledge and they can easily spot dishonest offers and promises. Always tell the truth no matter how brutal it seems. There are many examples of advertisements created for popular brands where they admit that they are not the best or the cheapest, but they have some other things that make them special and attractive. Of course, these advertisements must be part of a broader marketing strategy that will eventually help you match your final objectives. If you are like a most business, then you are probably trying to boost the sales and increase income.
Hemingway was an honest writer
Another thing that made Hemingway so popular was his straightforwardness and honesty. He has never hesitated to say and write about anything without any limitations. It’s obvious that he has used his own experience and emotions in his novels and he was not afraid what would people say about that. Let’s take a quote from his famous “The Sun Also Rises” novel where he says:
“I can’t stand it to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it.” Obviously, he was not satisfied with his life and he was desperately trying to make some changes in his life. So, don’t hide anything from the readers and be honest. People will respect that.
Use a distinctive style
Effective copywriting is focused on specific themes. However, this doesn’t mean that the copy should sound stiff and firm. In order to create something like this, you should rely on a wide range of literary devices. The best copywriters rely on sound repetition in order to get sentence smoothness.
These sound repetitions include consonance, alliteration, and assonance. For instance, the repetition of the T sound can be heard in this sentence. – his foot left a huge print on the carpet (consonance). Besides that, it is possible to use word repetition in order to make rhythm. Copywriters use polyptoton, epistrophe, and anaphora for that. An example of anaphora is “I was aware of it and he was, too (aware). In addition, a good example of a polyptoton is “If you are happy then we are happy”. Finally, epistrophe can be used in this way “a government of the people, by the people, for the people”. There are literally hundreds of examples like this that you can use. What they all have in common is that they make reading more interesting and things more memorable.
Hemingway had a specific style
As we said before, his style was downplayed and prudent and he used many literary devices too. Read his novels to find out more about his specific writing style.
There are many things that you can learn from Ernest Hemingway and copywriting is one of them although this fantastic writer was not a copywriter.