Insider secrets: Getting copywriting right with the 4Cs Model

COPYWRITING FORMULA, 4CS MODEL

Fascinating your audience isn’t as challenging as you think. It’s all in how you craft your message when copywriting. As a freelance copywriter, I apply various communication models and writing styles when I create content for my clients. They help me communicate effectively with each audience I’m writing for.

Whether they’re smokers looking to butt it out, homemakers shopping for candles or teachers looking for creative solutions, my message has to make sense so readers won’t need to call my clients to clarify what we meant when we wrote this or that.

Your story can only fascinate your reader or listener and make them take the action you want them to take if the story gets straight to the point and is relevant, interesting and worth their attention.

That’s what makes an advert, book blurb or website memorable.

It’s like that very thing that makes you look up when you overhear a stranger tell an interesting story to their friend. And the reason you’ll remember the story later when you retell it to your friends.

How I nail the copywriting magic with my audience

Today I thought I’d let you know about one communication model I use. It’s called the 4Cs of Truth in Communication Model (4Cs Model).

That’s ‘C’ for Comprehension. Connection. Credibility. Contagiousness.

It’s a clever method used to objectively evaluate the impact of marketing and communications materials — your website, manuals, brochures, posters, emails… you name it.

You use this model if you want to speak clearly to your target audience and make them sign up, send a question through or place an order.

So how does it work? Here we go.

Comprehension

clear copywriting in perth

When writing content, you want to do the best you can to make your message clear and sharp.

Keep it simple. You want your intended target to read or hear it once and understand it right away.

You can do this by using repetition to help your audience remember your message.

If your message is long, use this structure: briefly mention what you’re going to talk about. Next, keep that promise and deliver the message. At the end, repeat the message by summarising what you told them. This means they’ll remember the message at the end of 1500 words.

No matter how long or short your story, you need to be sure it’s clear. You don’t want people to remember you as a makeup artist when you wrote that you’re a hairdresser who filled in for a makeup artist.

To check whether you’re writing well, you need to confirm that your audience is going to ‘get it’.

How do you check for comprehension?

You can ask a friend or colleague to read or listen to your message first and then ask them these questions:

  • What is the message I’m trying to communicate here?
  • How many times did you have to read it to ‘get’ what I’m trying to say?
  • Would you be able to replay my message in your head?
  • Would you be able to retell this message to someone else?
  • Summarise my message in less than 10 words.

If you’re happy with each answer, then congratulations! You’ve nailed your first C.

Connection

story copywriting in perth

The best way to make a connection with your audience is to use storytelling. You’ll give meaning and significance to the message so that your readers feels like it was written just for them.

This works better when you know your audience really well. My clients provide buyer persona briefs for me to work with. These are surveys conducted with individuals who use their services or products.

When I mention what customers mentioned in the survey, they would pay more attention to my messages.

Let’s say I’m writing for a doctor and I’m writing about how to recover from migraine. I also already know that their customers said they have to take sick leave when they’re suffering from migraine.

I’ll use this information when writing my message. I’ll show them that this doctor knows exactly how they feel:

“Stop letting migraines decide your shifts for you. Book an appointment today and let’s find out why you’re always in pain.”

So I get the audience to feel something (irrational or emotional). I’ll be sure to write it so that I trigger the right feeling (excitement, joy, passion, happiness, anger, rage, frustration, sadness, and so on).

These are the triggers that would take them to the next step – the call to action – or make them feel a certain way (change their attitude) about something or someone.

To check whether your message is making that connection with your audience, ask your friend or colleague what they’re feeling right after they’ve read or heard your message.

Credibility

professional copywriting

This one is more about my client – as in the brand or the expert.

Here, their audience is paying attention to the ‘who’ behind the message.

  • Why should they listen to my client?
  • What makes my client so special?
  • Why should they believe my client and not their competition?
  • If they’ve tried and failed over and over on their own or with others, why should they bother to give my client a go?
  • What has my client done to deserve their money?
  • How can my client guarantee results?

Whatever I write will be critical. If I’ve made them understand my message but are unable to convince them, I’ll lose them – right away. Some might go and look my client up on Twitter or Google for comments from other customers and then return. But the idea of me writing for my client is to convince the potential customer on the spot.

They don’t need to buy today, but they need to know that my client is the one to go to when they need what my client is offering.

To check if your audience would believe you, it’s a good idea to modify the questions above and ask your friend or colleague to answer them after reading your content.

If they’re not convinced by your message, you’ll need to change it to include something that helps build credibility.

Contagiousness

shareable web copy

So now that I’ve made sure my message is clear, have checked that it will resonate with the audience and convince them to choose my client, the final step is to see if the message will be worth sharing or worth talking about.

How do I do this?

By making the message unique, memorable, fun and motivating.

By creating something people will tell their mates about, share on social media or print and pin to their office noticeboard.

So if you’re writing an article about how to buy shoes:

  • Don’t make it the typical how-to aka “just another one of those articles about how to buy shoes”.
  • Be unique and include tips and tricks some writers fail to add.
  • Add humour. People love funny stories.
  • Feature a famous pair of feet. Whatever – just make it good and people will share it or talk about it with others.
  • Make it stick.

To check if the message will stick, wait two days then ask your friend or colleague: “How many people did you tell about this?”

Be sure not to ask them to go talk about it. You want them to willingly share your story without you coaxing them.

So, what should my clients expect?

I’ve been using the 4Cs Model since forever and automatically apply it to everything I write and even when checking content that others write.

If you plan to use it, you’ll also eventually master it without following all this step by step. It’s just going to be there in your mind as a checklist when you read. Don’t be surprised when you catch yourself judging your competition’s content.

My clients then have clearer content with more relevance. Content that are more convincing and memorable.

They’ll see more engagement, more people talking about them and more people following their calls to action.

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Image by CollegeDegrees360, UNE PhotosIRRI Images via Compfight cc,

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