As a copywriter, you might say that my opinion on the subject is biased… and you’d be right! Arrogance dictates that copywriting is the most important aspect of any business. If it didn’t then I’d be pretty poor at my job.
Of course, there are other elements involved but, in my opinion, there’s no greater turn-off than seeing a typo on a company website, or even worse in print. How many people must have read that and not noticed the error before you paid to print it?! Fire them all and then yourself.
And it’s not just typos. Poorly structured sentences and paragraphs are just as guilty of losing potential customers. They may be grammatically correct but pleasant to read they are not.
I’ve compiled a little list below of some of the main elements that combine to make great copy (in my opinion) so take note.
Don’t be boring
Seems obvious doesn’t it? I don’t like boring things. Do you like boring things? Of course you don’t.
So why do so many companies think it’s ok to write boring copy – particularly when the purpose of the copy is to entice and usually to sell?
Write to your customer as you would talk to them. Don’t be afraid of using big words, just use them appropriately. No one’s impressed by ‘acquire’ when ‘get’ will do.
Sometime, especially when accompanying a strong image, very simple language is best, as often seen in the advertising industry.
It’s all about the headlines
Headlines have got prime position so make them work for it. They’re the difference between someone reading on or switching off.
Consider a headline, try some alternatives and then nail it. A lazy headline doesn’t deserve any further attention.
Utilise keywords but don’t be beholden to them
Yes, we all know keywords are important. SEO is no doubt an essential component of online copy but stuffing your site with keywords is not attractive.
Sure, it might grab some high rankings in the search engines but, when every third word is ‘customer’, it’s unlikely to pay off. Make sure the copy flows fluidly and then if you’re desperately short on relevant terms there are other SEO techniques you can use.
(Head of SEO’s note: Google’s latest algorithms contained things called co-citation and co-occurrence – where as long as copy is bolstered with copy associated with your main search terms and links to relevant pages it will be pretty much considered the same.)
Edit, edit and edit some more
Never say ‘that’ll do’. It won’t do. Edit and then edit some more.
If you’re not completely 100% happy with it, rewrite it. You don’t have to be a good copywriter to be a great editor.
Know what you want to say before you say it
Plans and briefs are boring. I know that. But they really can be helpful when producing copy.
A plain white Word document can strike fear in the best of us so make sure you have a vague idea of what you want to say beforehand. If not – TIW has a content team with more than enough words to go round.