The term ‘copywriting’ seems curiously old fashioned in a world of social media, Emoji's and one-hundred-and-forty character micro blogging.
Despite this, copywriting remains a vital facet of marketing and is a skill people spend years perfecting. Much like the ability to work with numbers, writing comes naturally to some, while others have to work hard to express themselves in a form that will be engaging for others.
Some good news - practically anyone can be a good copywriter, and in this post, we’ve picked out twelve quick-fire tips for effective copywriting.
1. Inject Your Personality
Sentences are just collections of words, until you inject some personality into them. Don’t write like a robot; unless you’re creating a technical manual, don’t be afraid to construct paragraphs in a conversational tone.
2. Spend 80% of Your Time on the Headline
It may sound counter-intuitive, but you should spend the vast majority of your time on the headline for whatever it is you’re writing. You could write the best copy in the world, but a poor headline will ensure no one gets to read it.
3. Write in Short, Sharp Sentences
Keep your sentences short. Snappy. To the point. Don’t linger or wander down literary cul-de-sacs; it’s not big and it certainly isn’t clever.
4. Pay Attention to the Aesthetics of Your Copy
Words can look pretty, too. Combine your short sentences with equally short paragraphs, use bullet pointed lists to break up the detail and format sub headings in bold. It’ll be easier to read and will encourage people to do so.
5. Build in a Narrative
Every piece of copy, whether it be for a website’s homepage, a blog post or company profile, needs to tell a story. Develop a beginning, middle and end and treat your copy like a miniature novel.
6. Deliver on the Promise of the Headline
You’ve spent time crafting a brilliant headline, but if you fail to deliver on its promise within the first couple of paragraphs, people will soon switch off. Make sure your writing completes the headline’s cliffhanger.
7. Steer Clear of the Thesaurus
It may be tempting to bulk out your copy with large, impressive words but in doing so you’ll only end up with clumsy sentences that are a pain to read. Big words don’t make for good copy.
8. Forget What You Were Taught at School
There are some important rules for writing (starting a sentence with a capital letter, for example), but you don’t have to play by every rule. Experiment. If something feels right, but you know your English teacher would frown upon it - be a rebel.
9. Avoid Distractions
Turn everything off while you’re writing. That means the TV, email and any particularly noisy colleagues (go find a quiet room).
10. Take Regular Breaks
You can only do so much before your brain starts to fatigue. As soon as the words you're writing appear to be incomprehensible, stop and go for a walk. You’ll return refreshed and back to your literary best.
11. Treat Your First Draft Like Dirt
Start your copy by just writing, without any thought given to the structure and with zero emphasis placed on grammatical perfection. Getting some words down, no matter how untidy, is the key to creating a killer first draft you can polish up a second time around.
12. Beta Test Your Copy
Before publishing your work, hand it over to someone who’ll offer an honest appraisal of your writing. Take any negative feedback on the chin and act on suggested improvements before going to press.
That’s it - twelve simple tips to make you a better copywriter. Happy writing!
Izzy is an SEO specialist and Marketing and Advertising graduate from the UK. She likes everything about marketing, promotion, PR and advertising. As for other interests :) She also likes photography and dance.