When it comes to building a decent website, content is still king. The key to creating decent copy that not only draws readers to your site but also gets your brand message across is to make it compelling. You want to create something worth reading – not just a scrambled up splurge of information that’s there just for the sake of being there.
So how can you get the most from your copywriting? Well, I’m sorry to admit that there’s no set of magic rules that will ensure your copy hits the spot every single time. However, there are some common copywriting mistakes that, if you avoid, can set you on the right path to copywriting greatness (or something like that). Let’s get stuck in.
Not doing enough research
When writing copy, it’s essential to understand the type of person you’ll be writing for, so just going straight in without doing any sort of research is not recommended. No one is saying you have to perform hours upon hours of research for a single blog post (although, by all means, go for it), and when deadlines are looming it can be a challenge to spend more than a little time on in-depth research. However, just setting aside a bit of research time before putting pen to paper means your content will be more in touch with what the brand is trying to say – you’ll also learn something in the process so win-win!
Not using tools
Did you know that there are a variety of tools out there specifically designed to help copywriters like you and me? Here are a few of my personal favourites:
This is a great tool for checking duplicate external content. Simply copy the address of the page you want to check and it will come back with anything that duplicates on the web.
Un Suck It
If you’ve been given some words in your brief that don’t flow well with the rest of your copy (business jargon, we’re looking at you!), Un Suck It will give you the definition of the word(s), and offer some fun alternatives.
Your copy should usually be at a 7th-8th grade reading level. Read-Able accurately tests the reading level of your copy, allowing you to test the readability of your work.
Answer the Public
The holy grail of copywriting ideas. ATP takes your subject and shows you relevant questions people have been asking about it. Perfect for thinking of blog post titles!
Writing for a wide audience
This one is especially relevant if you’re writing for a small business. You want to avoid writing copy that you think will attract everyone. The key to writing for a small business is to attract a certain type of person – the sort of person that will become a good customer. Tailor your copy to them, and avoid writing wishy-washy articles or clichÃ©s that will do nothing but alienate everyone.
Avoiding the specifics
One of the major aspects of being a copywriter is writing about subjects that, quite frankly, you don’t know anything about\have any interest in whatsoever. Whilst this is challenging, don’t fall into the trap of writing long paragraphs of grammatically correct copy, and avoiding getting into the specifics of a topic. For example, look at these two sentences:
We cater to all your paper shredding needs, contact us for more information.
We offer a variety of paper shredding services, including onsite/offsite paper shredding, file management services and digital document management. Contact us for more information.
Whilst both are acceptable, the second one offers more information. Don’t skip the detail, put in a plethora of information and earn the reader’s trust.
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