Sticky cinnamon buns, sourdough and fruity bread, all featured in our latest team-building experience: a Norwegian baking class. It made me realise how like baking is to writing a piece of copy. With only a few simple ingredients you can create a masterpiece.
Follow our recipe for writing success and make your copy rise.
Step 1: Gather your ingredients
First, switch your brain to optimum writing level. While the brain is warming up, gather your equipment and ingredients.
Preparation is key for results. Making sure you’ve got the right ingredients, in the exact quantities, will make the process run more smoothly. If you have everything you need and follow a recipe, they’ll be no panicking and no wasted time.
The perfect blend of ingredients includes audience insights, facts, stories and independent research. To add extra flavour you may consider talking to experts or people with specific experience. And it feels necessary, add a pinch of humour.
Step 2: Follow the recipe
Your dry ingredients are the basis of your copy. Just as you use a recipe for baking a loaf, you’ll need to get a piece of paper and whisk up a plan describing the mix of ingredients. The more thoughts and phrases you have, the better – you won’t need to use all of them. And just like a recipe, you need to stick to your plan.
Check the plan before writing. Does it need more stories, or less detail? Have you left anything out?
Step 3: Add the yeast
At this stage it’s very important you don’t forget the magic ingredient that makes your copy rise.
Your “yeast” will add oomph to your copy and bring it alive. You need to add benefits to your facts, research and insights. For example, yeast is a fungus used in bread (what), using yeast will make your bread delicious and soft (why).
The benefits will be specific to your audience. The key to good copy doesn’t just answer the question “what does my service or product do and who is it for?”, but more importantly “why do they need it?”. To make your audience read on, you need to find out why it interests them, whether it’s convenience, happiness or mouth-watering bread.
4: Knead your dough
Kneading your copy is essential. This stage will develop your copy and give it structure. Keep working at it, pulling it apart and bringing it back together again. Don’t worry about being gentle, if you don’t knead it enough your copy will be flat and boring to read. Now is the time to add some choppy sentences and give your copy the strength it needs.
As we learnt while baking our bread, the more you tear it apart and bring it back together, the stronger and stronger it gets. It’s not going to work if it can be torn apart, much like a bad piece of copy!
5: First prove
Once you’ve made your dough, leave it to rise.
At this stage you need to be patient. Use this time to reflect and leave the copy. Come back to it and see whether the yeast has done its magic and your copy has risen to perfection. If it hasn’t risen successfully you’ll need to start again.
6: Shape your masterpiece
Following the first prove, you should be able to see that your copy is pretty much there. It’s developed, but to produce a finished product, you must make sure it’s going to be the shape you want it to be. Change a word here, a verb there and question whether it’s as good as it could be.
Tweak it to suit your audience and think what they’ll enjoy, don’t think about yourself if you’re not the one eating it.
When making our bread, we finished it off by sprinkling some seeds on top. Instead we recommend following our Five-Minute Fix to make sure your copy dazzles.
7. Time to bake
Now you’ve got your copy, it’s time to put it in the oven. If you’ve done everything right, you’ll get an excellent result. People will eat up your words and come back for more. And, like a warm loaf of bread fresh out of the oven, your copy will be irresistible!
You should enjoy baking your copy but you also need to make sure it sells and brings in loyal customers. The more you practice, the better your copy gets, just like baking a loaf of bread.
This post was written by Hayley Cherrett