Copywriting for a Student Audience

This is a guest post by Yash Gadodia at SMUMods.com

Tl;dr - Our marketing strategy to grow 10x in 1 year.

Let's jam on the topic of copywriting for student audiences.

First. Introductions.

I'm Yash Gadodia ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿพโ€โ™‚๏ธ . College Sophomore at Singapore Management University (๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ ) studying some-degree-that'll-be-outdated-in-5-years-so-why-bring-it-up-in-the-first-place-also-why-am-wasting-valuable-word-count. I'm the Team Lead at SMUMods.com.

People know me in school as "that guy who doesn't shut up about SMUMods.com". And now, so do you.

What's SMUMods.com? We're a ๐Ÿ’ฏ % student-run initiative that's looking to redefine the college experience.

We make college life better for students by providing a platform that solves their needs. For example, we provide professor and course reviews -

Why should you care about us? We're less than 2 years old at this point, but we've seen some significant growth. At SMU, we're used by pretty much every student. That's over 40 thousand users ๐Ÿค  .

So that's us. We're growing really fast, have an excellent team, and have big plans for the future (Spoiler Alert: World domination ๐Ÿ˜ˆ).

Introduction's over. Let's talk about our journey.

College students. What do they know? Do they know things? Let's find out -

You probably already know this, but when copywriting, it's important to know your audience. Know what drives them, and develop mental models for thinking like them.

What makes college students unique?

  1. We're bombarded daily with advertisements.

    You can get a sense of the fatigue students feel by looking at this -

    This is from 5 minutes of perusing on the various chat channels available for students.

2. Short attention span / low tolerance for fluff.

I speak from firsthand experience when I say it's really difficult to focus in the age of push notifications and TikTok feeds.

To be fair, it's tough getting anyone's attention these days.

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3. Students love, and I mean love free stuff.

We go through great lengths to score free food and swag (๐Ÿ” ๐ŸŒฎ ๐Ÿ• ).

Of course, this isn't to say that all students are this way, but itโ€™s important to have some sense of what your audience looks like. It constantly changes, so do be in touch with your audience. Always.

Problem: Most copies we see aren't good.

The SMUMods team learnt very quickly that school administration and other clubs and businesses break the cardinal rules of copywriting every day -

  • Less words. Big headers. Do less.

  • Use an active voice.

  • Show not tell.

  • Have a little "oomph".

  • Take risks.

To give you just one example -

Why (we think) we do a better job.

  1. Titles are short -

2. We keep giveaways simple -

3. We keep it consistent.

All of our banners and copy's have our unique SMUMods design and tone to them.

4. We aren't afraid to make mistakes โŒ -

We tried a colloquial message in "Singlish" as part of one of our campaigns -

Key takeaway here: You won't always score. That's okay.

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Some tools/rules that help us -

1. Grammarly and Hemmingway -

2. MOM Test FTW

Before we launch a copy, we always show our designs/copy to non-smu people to get their truly unbiased opinion.

We're also constantly getting feedback from our users to get a sense of what works and what doesnt. As mentioned earlier, know your audience.

3. Focus on the visual, never the copy.

Think of the copy as enhancing your visuals. It should always be visual first, then copy. It's a rule we stick to -

4. Keep it simple, (stupid).

Never use big, flowery language.

5. ABL - Always Be Learning

Some useful resources to learn copywriting -

  1. This.

  1. Watch the copywriting exercises video

  1. Marketingexamples.com is bae

  1. There are way too many resources out there,so JFGI

Thatโ€™s it. Good luck with your copy!

๐Ÿ“ท Follow our journey on Instagram

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