I may be new to online marketing and social media, but when it comes to copywriting I kinda know my stuff.
Before I started living online, I’d been living as a copywriter and marketing communications consultant for over 15 years. I worked mainly with corporates, government, advertising agencies and small businesses, writing about everything from banking and finance, telecommunications and electricity, to social welfare, hydro-seeding, abseiling and playground matting.
You see, when you’re a copywriter you have to get excited about all sorts of things – regardless of how well you know the topic, or whether you’re even interested in it. For instance I’m currently writing about welding inspections for a client, and I’m as interested in that as I am in a bucket of poo!
So the trick here is to remember that you’re not writing for yourself, you’re writing for people who are interested in the topic. And this means getting into your readers’ mindset and feeling the excitement they feel, then putting that energy into your writing.
This leads me to my first point for writing awesome copy…
7 Simple Tips to Writing Awesome Copy
1. Get energised and feel the passion!
Nobody wants to read dull, lifeless copy – so make it exciting. Step into the shoes of your readers and feel their passion for the topic. Ask yourself:
- What excites the reader about this topic?
- What motivates them to seek what I’m offering?
- What can I offer that will benefit them?
- How can I inspire them, motivate them, interest them?
Use lots of adjectives, ramp up your tone and manner, and show your readers you’re as passionate as they are.
2.Write like you talk.
Engage your readers by writing as if you’re talking to them. Use conversational language so they feel included in the “conversation”. Think about questions they may ask you, and answer these in your copy.
If you’re writing a blog, go one step further and make it personal. The blog is coming from you so it’s okay to be yourself. Here are some extra tips for blog writing:
- Take a deep breath and relax, as you’ll write more naturally that way. Have a glass of wine if you must.
- Use informal words and phrases – yep, it’s okay because it’s coming from you.
- Inject some personality and let the world know how awesome you are.
- Add some humour to spice things up a little.
If it helps, read your copy out loud – or ask a friend to read it. You’ll soon figure out if it works or not.
3. Keep it short and simple.
People have short attention spans – especially in the online world – so the more succinct you are, the faster you’ll get your point across:
- Use short sentences and simple words to make reading easiser.
- Only include relevant info – what’s important to you may not be important to your readers.
- Don’t waffle or you’ll lose your readers in a flash.
- Don’t repeat yourself unless you’re closing with your key points.
4. Use active voice.
The active voice is punchier than the passive voice so use it to your advantage. For instance,
- “This blog is being written by me” is the passive voice.
- “I’m writing this blog” is the active voice.
See the difference? The active voice has more punch, is shorter, and gets to the point quicker.
5. Use headings, numbered lists and bullet points.
People generally skim read for information so use headings and lists to capture – and maintain – their attention. Here’s why headings and lists are so powerful:
- Helps your reader scan for information
- Breaks up copy so it’s more visually appealing
- Gets your messages across faster
- Puts your content into chunks, making it easier to digest.
6. Write attention-grabbing headlines.
On average 80% of people will read the headline and 20% will read the rest. This means your headline is one of the most important elements of your copy.
Your headline should be short (8 words max), capture the essence of your content and trigger your readers to read on. This is especially important for blogs because your headline is what generates clicks to your post through social media.
I usually start with a rough headline, finish my content, then mull over my headline for a while until I find one I’m happy with.
7. Break. Edit. Proofread.
Taking regular breaks helps to refresh your mind so when you come back to your copy, you’ll be able to easily spot mistakes, unnecessary words and any badly written copy.
I’ve taken several breaks over the course of writing this post, and I’m consistently editing and proofreading as I go.
Edit as much as you need to, take a break, then edit again, until you’re at least 90% happy with your content. Then make sure you take another break and proofread again before hitting ‘publish’.
One final word…
Just remember that copywriting is a skill that takes time to build – and only through practice will you get better at it. So take these points on board and give it a shot! I’d love to know how you get on…
See you next time!
- The Rookie