10 tips for killer copy
How to make your marketing text work harder for you.
This right here? Its copy. That text on the rest of the site? Copy.
From websites and posters through to packaging and audio scripting, good text can go a long way to making your marketing shine. Whether you’re a veteran writer or just starting out, there are many little things you can do to improve your copy. Once you hit that sweet spot, your audiences will be able to understand what you’re trying to say, why you’re saying it, and most importantly, what’s in it for them.
Here are some tips to help you craft that killer copy.
Know your audience
This one is obvious but is probably the most important thing to keep in mind when crafting your copy. Who will be reading it? What is their daily life likely to be like, and what is most important to them? If you manage to relate to your audience in your text, you’ll be more likely to engage them at the levels that matter most.
Keep it clean
Great copy gets to the point quickly. It’s snappy and delivers information in efficient and engaging ways. Include bullet points where appropriate and avoid using unnecessary words. In today’s world, readers are more likely to ‘scan’ the copy (you’re probably doing it now), so you won’t have much time to convey details.
Headlines are the first thing anyone will see and may even be the difference between them reading on, or moving on. You’re going to want to make them snappy and clever, but make sure to keep the meaning intact. If you’re being too smart, you may not even properly signpost what the following content is all about. Write variations, experiment and find that special line that sets the scene.
Cut out the weasel words
When putting together your headlines, subheadings and copy, avoiding using words that sound ‘weak’. Words such as ‘may, wish, hope, maybe’ can be replaced with ‘will’ and ‘can’ to portray and more powerful and confident image.
You should also avoid passive voice, as it will further weaken your copy. For instance:
We were chosen to receive the award’ VS ‘we received an award’.
‘Eight new pages were written’ VS ‘We wrote eight new pages’.
State the facts
Sometimes, putting data into your copy can solidify a point. Of course you shouldn’t just add facts everywhere, but if you find something relevant that can support your point, go ahead. For example, instead of saying ‘thousands of people visited our website’, it makes more impact to say ‘2000 people visited our website’.
Give it space
Nobody wants to read a wall of text. As well as having short paragraphs and crisp sentences, use subheadings and spacing to give your copy room to breathe. That way, reading it is a lot easier and the audience will be more likely to continue. The second that something feels like hard work, is the second that someone disengages.
Tell, don’t sell
People can instantly tell when they are being sold to. Instead of going in too hard, try to use storytelling and other written engagement methods to bring them towards the points you want to make. The best way to do this? Be genuine in everything you do.
Speak like a real person
Sometimes, less is more. When it comes to your language use, there’s no need to use large or complicated words to make yourself sound important. In fact, it might just make you sound pretentious or like you’re trying too hard. By all means, use appropriate, professional language (if needed) but don’t be tempted to puff out your chest too much.
Mistakes can cost you
Goes without saying, but if a client or customer sees a bunch of typos or grammatical errors, their inherent trust in what you’re saying will be reduced. Whenever you write your copy, give it a good proofread, and then read it again. And then give it to someone else to read, to make sure. No matter how many times you look through something, a pair of fresh eyes will always spot things that yours didn’t.
Go forth and write!
Of course, becoming a copywriter is another thing entirely, but if you’re writing up your own marketing copy, the above tips are a strong starting point. And, don’t worry if you don’t feel confident at first – that will come in time. Until then, practice, experiment and you just might find that you enjoy writing up killer copy. Happy writing!
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