Copywriting is the act or occupation of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. The product, called copy, is written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to take a particular action. As a leader, we often hire copywriters or do it ourselves to bring in a more personal touch.
A basic principle of good copywriting is to use simple, direct language. Although this type of copywriting may not impress novelists or English professors, it serves an important purpose. It motivates prospects to take action.
Using simple and direct language when writing marketing copy makes it easier to understand your marketing message. Prospects don’t have to stop and think about what you are trying to say. Instead, they understand at a gut level. As a result, your copy will connect with more prospects and ultimately generate more sales.
Four things to avoid when writing your copy are:
Jargon. To be effective, your marketing copy needs to connect with prospects. It must assure them that you understand their challenges and frustrations, as well as their motivations and desires. Your marketing copy needs to speak your prospects’ language.
However, you should be wary about using jargon. Although it is tempting to say “but everyone in my industry understands this terminology,” you should stop and ask whether this is true. Will people new to your field or area of expertise understand your references?
Idioms. Idioms are words, phrases and expressions that cannot be taken literally. They pose the same danger to your marketing success as jargon. Some prospects, particularly those from other countries and even different regions of the country, may not understand what you are truly trying to say.
Clichés. It may seem counterintuitive to avoid clichés. After all, clichés earn their status when they become so common that nearly everyone has heard them and understands them. The reason to avoid clichés is not that they aren’t understood, but rather that they make your writing seem flat and boring. Boring marketing copy does not connect with readers, resulting in lower response rates.
Passive language. As with clichés, passive language is dull and fails to hold prospects’ interest long enough to spur them to action. Scour your draft copy for passive language and rewrite the offending sentences. For example, rewrite “The seminar will be taught by John Smith,” write “John Smith will teach the seminar.”
If you find it difficult to incorporate these tips when writing the first draft of your marketing materials, try this tip: write your copy the way it feels most natural. Writing the first draft is the hardest part of copywriting. Once the draft is finished, review your copy with a careful eye. Circle examples of the copywriting mistakes listed above, and then rewrite your marketing copy to remove them.