Changing algorithms, automation, and a plethora of new technologies make it difficult for even the most modern of marketers to keep up.
In the race to get ahead, it can be tempting to focus on The Next Big Thing. However, in doing so, it’s important that you don’t overlook the basics.
And that includes the quality of your copy.
12 simple copywriting tips
- Understand your audience.
Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), consider who you’re talking to, and what they want from you. The more you understand about your audience, the easier it is to write copy that appeals directly to them.
“The most important thing to remember is you must know your audience.”
Lewis Howes, author & entrepreneur
2. Establish your key messages.
What will your readers want to know about you (rather than what you want to tell them!)? Once you know what they need, make sure that everything you write is consistent with, and supportive of these messages.
3. Decide want you want to achieve.
Do you want to be seen as a thought-leader? Are you looking to raise your profile, to build your network, or to sell your services? Figure out what you want to achieve and then structure your copy to help you do this.
4. Write for humans.
No matter how good your SEO strategy is, it’s no use getting visitors to your website if your content turns them off. Poorly written, dull, and incomprehensible copy will have a negative impact on your business’s bottom line. So, forget everything you think you know about search engines and keywords (yes really!), and instead create the engaging content your readers want. You can always add any necessary keywords once you’re done.
“Google only loves you when you love everyone else first.”
Wendy Piersall, entrepreneur & professional speaker
5. Be human.
Write conversationally using everyday words. If no one understands what you’re saying, no one will buy what you’re selling. Use references to your organisation sparingly. People relate to other people, not businesses. Refer to ‘us’, ‘we’ and ‘our team’ to create a relationship with your reader. Write with a specific person in mind, and think about how you would talk to them directly.
“Your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person-a real person you know, or an imagined person-and write to that one.”
John Steinbeck, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
6. Find your own voice.
Your tone of voice is what you say and how you say it. The more consistent you are in using your tone of voice, the more likely it is that people will come to recognise, understand, and trust you.
7. Live your brand.
Use words that reflect your brand personality. There’s no point saying you’re down-to-earth if your language is anything but.
8. Make it personal.
A big dash of personality makes everything so much easier to understand, and keeps you front of mind. It changes the way you deliver key messages, and it changes the way people think about you.
“We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.”
Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
9. Talk in the language of ‘you’.
As proud as you are of your business, your readers are only interested in what you can do for them. So, rather than talking about your company and what you do, turn this on its head. Write in the language of ‘you’ and focus on their wants, their needs, and how you can meet them.
““The only way to win at content marketing is for the reader to say, ‘This was written specifically for me.”
Jamie Turner, author, speaker and CEO of SIXTY Marketing
10. Make it emotional.
It can be hard to find a human voice for a business. However, research shows that empathy builds stronger brand connections, so it’s crucial to elicit an emotional response.
11. Use plain English.
Avoid jargon and acronyms. Just because you understand the internal terminology of your business and industry doesn’t mean everyone else does. Give your readers the information they want in a straightforward and intelligent fashion.
12. And then stop.
Edit every sentence removing all but the essential, avoiding unnecessary words. A short sentence is far stronger than a long one. Don’t use two words when one will do, and don’t use a long word where a short one will do.
Oh! don’t use big words. They mean so little.
Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband, Third Act
If you’re looking to turn words into customers, I can help.
A Glasgow based freelance copywriter and content marketeer, I cut through the jargon to create engaging, intelligent, business relevant content that will resonate with your readers and appeal to those pesky search engines.