The 4 U’s of Copywriting: The Key to Copywriting Success?

Not the four ewes. That’s something totally different. Today we’re talking about the 4 U’s of Copywriting.

They are:

  • Useful
  • Urgent
  • Unique
  • Ultra-Specific

In most cases, I’m not a fan of alliteration (remember that from the literary devices post?) but this time all four of the U’s make perfect sense.

Let’s look at how to use each one and why they are important to the copywriting game.

4 u's of copywriting

The 4 U’s Of Copywriting

The idea of the 4 U’s of copywriting has been attributed to Michael Masterson and ideally, you want your copywriting to have all four elements.

So whether you’re writing great headlines, posts, emails, or sales pages, you need to take the 4 U’s of copywriting into account.

#1 Useful

The first U in the 4 U’s of copywriting stands for Useful.

The first question that every reader is going to consciously or subconsciously ask themselves as they read through your writing is, What’s in it for me?

Why should they spend the next 4-9 minutes of their lives reading the message you have written for them? Whether it’s an email, a post or a landing page, if you want to keep the reader’s attention they need to know that they are getting something useful in exchange for their attention.

We talked in the Types of Posts post about how one of the most valuable posts you write will be a how-to or tutorial post.

It’s simple for the reader to see that they are going to walk away transformed in some small way because you have taught them how to do something that they didn’t know how to do before.

That’s useful. You have improved their life in some way.

4 u's of copywriting

You can’t just leave that kind of usefulness to the How To post, though. Every post you write should have some element of usefulness in it, as should every email that you write.

Your nurturing emails should have a takeaway. A tip, a hack, a story that they will remember the next time they encounter a particular problem.

Something that is useful to them so that they have left the exchange feeling like there was in fact something in it for them.

Your sales emails should be the same. It’s very easy to rely strictly on some of the sales tactics that target emotions and that is definitely important, but every sales email should also have something useful.

We call this “the gift” in our funnel template and it’s something useful to help the reader with their transformation. If you’re in Health & Fitness, it might be a 10 minute at home workout. If you’re in Gardening, it might be a watering schedule (I have no idea if a watering schedule is a thing, but I hope you get the idea!).

This usefulness is of course because you want to help your reader to improve their lives. It’s why you’re dedicating your life and work to this business. To help them.

And to make money.

And providing free useful content builds trust in your readers. If you remember the Pocket Business Framework, trust is right there at number 3:

  1. Get them to notice you.
  2. Get them to pay attention to you.
  3. Get them to trust you.
  4. Convert that trust into money.

Trust is the most difficult part of the framework, but free, useful content in your posts and emails is an excellent way to build trust. Which means you are one step closer to making money.

So Useful, is probably the most important of the 4 U’s of copywriting. If you’re not offering anything that is useful, then you will have a hard time making the other 4 U’s matter much to the reader.

#2 Urgency

I am going to be honest with you. Urgency, of the 4 U’s of copywriting, is my least favorite.

Urgency is the stuff of countdown timers and once a year sales that can make you feel very uncomfortable.

It can make you feel uncomfortable as a consumer as well as a business person.

You don’t really want to make your customers feel like they should have a fear of missing out. You want to be that person who is low-pressure sales and can just say, when you’re ready, I’m here.

But, unfortunately, most humans don’t work like that. We need to have that sense of urgency to move us out of our comfortable complacency and into action.

But there are ways to do it that don’t feel too gross. For you or your customer.

Urgency Is Timing

This gets put in a pretty little box because it’s a side note on creating urgency. A lot of selling comes down to timing so for some of your customers, their own internal clock is the only urgency that is required.

They have a problem that they desperately need to solve and that’s all the urgency they need. If you can find those people and create copy around them then selling becomes a lot easier.

This is why we create Feel Good Funnels around all of our brands and it’s what we teach our students.

One of the best ways to use urgency in sales is to create an offer that is available for a limited time.

This might be a tripwire that is available for a short period of time at a lower price (but is available at full price all the time) or it might be bonuses that are available with an offer for a limited time.

There are also many times when it is appropriate to have an offer available only for a limited time. That might be once a year, twice a year, or whatever makes sense for you.

If you’re going to make your offer available for a limited time, however, you really do need to stick to that limited schedule. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing the all-important trust of your audience.

That’s where the balance always lies with urgency. Choose a method that you feel comfortable with and that doesn’t hurt the trust you have with your audience. Because without urgency, it is a lot harder to spur your audience into making a purchase.

#3 Unique

The third of the 4 U’s of copywriting is Unique. This is at once very simple and also very difficult.

What does that mean?

Well, the simple part is that just by virtue of you and your personality, your offer should have an element of uniqueness.

If you are doing things correctly and you have figured out your Hero and you understand their problems and emotions, then your audience, by the time they get to your offer, should already feel that you are the unique guide that can help them.

But, your offer should also have something in it that is unique and separates it from all of the rest of the offers that your audience will come across.

For us at Odd Noodle, the Framework that we have developed is what sets us apart. That and the community that we have built and the fact that we are hands on in the community every day.

If you can recognize a framework or method in your offer that is unique to the way you will teach your audience, then you will stand out from the noise.

#4 Ultra-Specific

Ultra-specific gives your copy two things.

First, it provides clarity. When you’re writing blog post titles, you definitely want to be ultra-specific.

You want your title to offer a very specific solution to the question your reader is looking for an answer to. “23 Blog Post Titles That Will Make Scrollers Stop and Click“.

When someone is searching for help with blog post titles, they are actually looking specifically for titles that are going to help them to get more people to READ what they have written which is going to require a very clickable title.

That’s the specific outcome they are looking for. If I had a copywriting service that catered towards women it only makes sense that it’s called Copywriting for Her.

But there’s something else that you might not think about when you think of specific.

Do you ever get an email and as you’re reading it, it just speaks to you. You think, “This person gets it. That’s exactly how I feel“.

That’s a different kind of ultra-specific. That’s sending a message that feels like it is directed just for one particular person.

When you begin to really understand your Hero, you can speak very specifically to her problems and the way they make her feel.

If you can include this type of ultra-specific copy in your emails and your landing pages.

When you can combine that with the Usefulness you’ve already delivered for free, you will have true fans who will want to buy things from you.

How Do You Feel About the 4 U’s Copywriting?

Are the 4 U’s of copywriting making you feel a little uncomfortable? Are you able to recognize when they are being used on you and you know it doesn’t feel that great and therefore you don’t know if you want to use them?

I understand that. Remember the Pocket Business Framework?

  1. Get them to notice you.
  2. Get them to pay attention to you.
  3. Get them to trust you.
  4. Convert that trust into money.

Every time I get to #4 I wince a little because I can tell that there are people that are going to feel a little put off by that. Just like urgency can do and just like ultra-specific can sometimes, too.

But here’s the deal. It’s up to you how to use each of these, first of all. Don’t use urgency tactics like made-up time constraints if you’re not comfortable with that. We’re not either and we don’t use those.

But, we do use every one of the 4 U’s of copywriting (urgent, unique, useful, and ultra-specific) and we do so without ever feeling bad about it.

Because we know that when you purchase one of our offers, you are getting what we have promised to you. You’re getting the education and support that you need in order to build a business that will earn 6 figures and more.

If we skipped urgency, for example, and someone didn’t buy because they didn’t feel the urgent need to, we’ve failed.

Our offer might have been the thing that got that person to the point of quitting their crappy job and living the lifestyle of their dreams but they didn’t because we didn’t want to use urgency.

When you are confident in the quality of the offer you bringing to your audience, you will no longer feel uncomfortable being “salesy”. You’ll sell in a way that is comfortable to you and that gives you the best chance of getting your offer into the hands of your Hero.

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