Thoughts and words from a freelance copywriter in Bristol | The TopCopy


Here you'll find some tips and advice on copywriting and marketing. Feel free to add a comment to any post.


How to write a good Case Study

20th February 2016
Case StudyPhoto by Scragz

A Case Study, or ‘success story’, is an excellent promotional tool for any business.

It describes what you have done for a particular customer, and, by default, what you can do for the reader.

A good Case Study demonstrates the benefits offered by your product or service and offers concrete evidence of those benefits.

If written well, it will create a connection between your business and the reader.

Want to know how to write a good Case Study? Read on for some tips.

1. Make sure you ask the customer for permission. Get them to tell you the ‘story’ in their own words. This should give you some good testimonials. If you want to tweak a testimonial in order to make it more effective, simply ask  – as long as you keep the customer involved, they shouldn’t mind.

2. A Case Study should be like a short story – memorable and enjoyable to read. It should have a beginning, middle and end, leading the reader on from one section to the next. There are several ways in which you could structure your Case Study, including:

  • Challenge, Solution, Results: a straightforward method, which states the problem or ‘need’ experienced by the customer, how you helped, and the benefits they enjoyed as a result. The Case Study will have a traditional, ‘story’ feel with a satisfying conclusion.
  • Results, Challenge, Solution: ‘start at the end’, by stating the results or benefits, then explaining what the ‘problem’ or ‘challenge’ was and how you helped. By putting the benefits at the beginning, you get to the point quickly.
  • Challenge, Results, Solution: By stating the problem or need, then moving straight onto the results, you will create suspense. The reader feels compelled to read on, to find out how you achieved those results.

3. The best headlines are those that announce the quantifiable benefits your customer enjoyed by using your product or service. For example, “Top retailer enjoys a 42% boost in sales with innovative marketing campaign from ABC Advertising.”

4. Place a very short quote from the customer immediately after the headline or introduction. This will set the tone and lend authority to the Case Study.

5. Consider beginning by summarising the key points in a couple of succinct bullet points. The aim is to ‘tease’ the reader and gain their interest.

6. Pack in as many benefits as you can throughout – and remember to quantify them where possible. Examples are cost savings, increased sales, increased productivity, or reduced waste.

7. Focus on the customer. The reader will be interested in the story from their point of view. Whenever you mention a feature of your product or service, make sure you relate it to the customer, and how that feature helped them.

8. Break down the copy by using headings, bullet points and lists. This makes the Case Study easier to read and remember. You can also highlight key phrases within the copy by using a bold or larger font, especially where you are talking about benefits.

9. Use plain English where possible. Try to avoid industry jargon or marketing speak.

10. Use pictures to add interest. For example, add a picture of your product being used by your customer. Or, a picture of you carrying out the service, such as installing new machinery or redecorating the customer’s house.

Does anyone have any other tips?

Top tips to keep them reading…

9th December 2011
5119491605_34e0f17d0aPhoto by s.alt

Most sales letters aren’t even opened.

Even if they are, most people stop at the headline.

Here are some tips that will help to keep your prospects reading, right to the very end.

1. Make sure the envelope looks personal, or very important. Sometimes a company logo or name on the envelope shouts “I’m a sales letter! Ignore me!”.

2. Your headline MUST be attention-grabbing. It must persuade your prospect to read more. Don’t say “We offer a great service”, or “We’re brilliant”. Try one of these…

  • state a clear offer – “half price hotel rooms if you book today”
  • state the main benefit – how will your product or service improve your customers’ lives?
  • start with “how to” – this compels us to read on
  • use a testimonial
  • pose a question – we’re subconsciously tempted to continue

3. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short: they’ll be easier to read.

4. Break up the text using bullet points, lists and subheadings. It will be more appealing to the eye. Also, if your reader is a ‘skimmer’, they’ll immediately see the key points of your offer.

5. Talk to the reader – use the word ‘you’ as often as possible. Too often, sales copy is filled with the word ‘we’. This doesn’t engage people and they’ll quickly lose interest.

6. End one or two sentences or paragraphs with … (an ellipsis). Your reader will be compelled to continue.

7. Give the reader an order. Tell them that they’re going to read every word. “As you read this letter, you’ll discover how to…”

8. Use ‘linking text’ between paragraphs. This helps them flow and encourages the reader to move from paragraph to paragraph. Here are some examples…

  • But that’s not all…
  • Better yet…
  • But first…
  • And in addition…
  • Here’s why…

P.S. Make sure you add a P.S. at the end. After the headline, it’s the second thing your prospect will read.

P.P.S. And, whatever you do, don’t forget your call to action!

Keep it simple

1st December 2011


Photo by topgold

When writing copy, one of the most important things you must remember is this: keep it simple.

I’ll show you why.

Click here to read more…

Advice for wannabe copywriters

10th January 2010

I’ve just written an article for Essential Writers, to help budding freelance copywriters take their first steps in the industry. Essential Writers is a great website for all kinds of writers, with news, advice, forums and competition info.

Finding people to follow on Twitter

22nd April 2009


Photo by starmist1

I just found a great way to find people and topics to follow on Twitter – Monitter.

There are many websites which allow you to do this, but Monitter is my favourite. You can type in up to three keywords or phrases, and within a matter of seconds you will be shown relevant posts – in real time. You don’t have to sign in with your Twitter user name and password, unlike other similar websites. You can also add a search to your RSS feed so you never miss a post. Make sure you click on the ‘help’ option to find out exactly how to use the keyword facility for the best effect.

So if you are looking for people interested in the same things you are, whether for fun or for business, give this a look.

12 essential copywriting tips

1st February 2009
QuillPhoto by Vali…

Here are some simple copywriting tips, which will help your copy become more effective.
Click here to read more…

12 top proofreading tips

1st February 2009
road signPhoto by rileyroxx

Here are some tips for top proofreading.
Click here to read more…