Using appropriate language and avoiding these common copywriting pitfalls will enable businesses to communicate their products and services to customers.
We regularly consume copy that is designed to persuade and motivate us through advertisements, websites, press releases, and social media posts.
This content comes from sources we trust and elicits an emotional response.
Copy refers to any written material that persuades someone to do something and is essential for every business to master if they want to succeed.
Copywriting is an art that requires creativity, attention to detail, and a good understanding of the target audience.
In copywriting, words matter. How you choose to write your copy will influence your audience’s reaction, which can make it challenging for businesses to master. However, copywriting is also a skill which means it can be honed with mindful practice.
Make Writing Part of Your Routine
Writing is a skill that improves with practice. Blocking out time in your daily or weekly schedule can help you both practice and get in the habit of writing.
Whether in the morning or at night, make sure you set aside time to write at regular intervals.
Do Your Homework
Writing is only one part of strengthening your copywriting skills; reading is just as important.
According to Stephen King, one must read a lot to be a good writer. Reading can include books, features articles, the news, or anything else you find interesting.
Whenever you read something, pay attention to its structure, themes, and word choice. How do these things add to the value of the piece? Why do you think the writer structured the article in that way or used the words he or she did?
Reading (and analyzing the content you read) will expose you to new ideas, broaden your horizon, and help you become a better storyteller.
Practice Writing Compelling Headlines
Your headline will make readers want to continue reading or stop reading, which makes the headline one of the most important aspects of your copy.
Before you begin your piece, think about what the headline might look like and write 2-3 samples.
This will not only help you practice the art of headline writing but will also help you focus on what the piece will be about as you draft the piece.
Choose Your Words Wisely
When you write copy, each word should contribute to the piece in a meaningful way what will impact your target audience.
Sometimes, this means using fewer words as Norwegian Airlines did in their minimalist ad campaign in 2016, after the separation of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Using very few words, Norwegian Airlines was able to connect with their audience through humor and communicate their services (in this case, flights to Los Angeles).
When you see advertisements, think about what message the business is trying to convey, whether they are successful, and what devices they use to elicit a specific emotion or reaction.
While buzzwords can help you get a message across to your audience, too many buzzwords can detract value from your copy.
Using words like “innovative,” “groundbreaking,” or “market-leading” too frequently may come across as inauthentic to your audience.
People are much more likely to share content that is less than 200 words than content that is more than 250 words.
Instead of stuffing your copy with corporate jargon, keep it short and sweet.
People value clear and concise copy that doesn’t contain too many buzzwords they associate with propaganda.
Don’t Be Afraid to Show Your Personality
Copy that sounds like it came from a corporation is boring. People want to know who the people are behind your brand.
Content serves multiple purposes and should reflect the company’s brand voice. When writing copy, consider:
- How you will engage your customers
- The message you want to convey
- Your brand’s voice and personality
By keeping these things in mind, you can write content that is relatable to your audience and reflects your brand’s voice.
Be Wary of Believing Every “Best Practice”
“Best Practices” mean well, but they aren’t always going to be right for you every time.
Listening to people’s advice is valuable, but it pays to be cautious and mindful about the power of context.
Some people say that people “never read below the fold,” or that using a specific word count is guaranteed to get you X number of sales. While these things may have been true for them and their company, you need to consider your own content and company. Do these things apply in your context?
There isn’t a set formula in copywriting that will guarantee your success.
Write for Your Audience, Not SEO
Being overly concerned with keywords won’t guarantee you the desired amount of traffic to your site and may make your copy sound unnatural to readers.
It’s important to create content that flows naturally and is easy to understand by readers.
You don’t have to sacrifice brevity for specificity if you are deliberate in your word choice.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of people spend 15 seconds or less reading articles, so you want to add detail where necessary and make your copy easy to scan to accommodate people’s shortening attention spans.
Your customers will most likely want to know:
- Who is the company?
- What is it selling?
- Where is it located?
- Why do I need this product or service? Why should I choose this company?
- When can I get this product or service? Is there an expiration date?
- How can I get it? How can I contact the company?
Customers will need to know these answers before deciding whether your company is right for them. Be sure to answer them deliberately, being as specific and concise as possible.
Writing Great Content Takes Practice
Writing words that have the power to motivate people to do something or that elicit emotion is not easy, however, it is worth the effort. If you're still not sure how to write content for your marketing needs, consider working with content marketing agencies to help you get started.
By making writing a daily practice, analyzing the content you consume, being deliberate about word choice, avoiding buzzword and keyword-stuffing, and writing with your company’s brand voice in mind, you can create great copy that will attract loyal customers.
About the Author
Vikash Kumar is a manager at Tatvasoft.com, a software development company. Vikash has a passion for blogging and loves sharing his insights through articles. You can find his work on Entrepreneur and Business2Community.