Ten Copywriting Tips For Beginners
Let’s face it, people are busy. So it can be hard to engage their attention, especially on the Internet, where they’re just one click away from something much more interesting.
That’s why copywriters have to make their copywriting work extra hard on the Net. You’ve got to keep your audience interested and awake, at least long enough to get to the shopping cart. Every word must pull its weight and the whole effect must be light, bright, punchy and captivating.
With that in mind, I’ve prepared 10 top tips for aspiring copywriters. Here we go:
1. Cut a long sentence into two and use a connective to begin the second sentence. Forget those old schoolteachers who told you that you can’t start a sentence with ‘And’. They never had to sell toilet rolls for a living.
2. Keep your sentence length varied. It gives your copywriting rhythm and it keeps your audience from dozing off. Use short words – you’re writing for an average reading age of about eight and you aren’t out to impress.
3. Edit, edit, edit. You’re trying to get your message across in as few words as possible. If you can take a word out, do so. Try removing adjectives (describing words) – they’re usually fluff.
4. Give your copywriting a solid purpose. You’re not writing a certain number of words just for the sake of it. That’s waffle, and waffle doesn’t sell. Make everything head logically towards a call to action.
5. Don’t use long, impressive-sounding words. Again, this isn’t Mrs Edwards’ English class. This is sales.
6. One thought, one paragraph. Start a new thought, start a new paragraph. Try to stick to two or three sentences – and anything more than four actual lines of copy in a paragraph looks ugly. Check out the BBC news reports – they do these short copy blocks very well.
7. Signpost the reader through the copy with subheadings and bullet points. These are all tricks to add variety to your copywriting and keep your audience engaged.
8. Never, ever write in negative language. Better still – always write positive language. Writing ‘Smith’s products never break down’ associates the firm’s name with the words ‘break down’. Instead, say they’re completely reliable – and then provide the evidence.
9. Write in the language of your reader. Try to imagine them as an actual person and write as if you’re speaking to them one-to-one. You can even give them a name if you like and imagine their lifestyle. It makes copywriting more fun.
10. In direct mail, use powerful words like ‘discover’, ‘new’ and ‘proven’.
11. OK, here’s your bonus tip. Always write about ‘you’ and what the company or product can do for the reader. Practise translating ‘we’ statements into ‘you’ statements.
So, next time you get summoned to be your company’s copywriter for the day, keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a good chance of reaching your audience with some high-impact copy.