Copy is everywhere. From websites to print advertising and from blog posts to newsletters, content is abundant that businesses use to reach and engage with their customers. No matter what sector a business is in, each one ultimately relies on copywriting in some form to connect with customers and generate sales.
But with so much copy out there and in so many different forms, how do you write effective copy? What can your business do to stand out from the crowd and make sure that the copy you use appeals to and engages with your target audience?
Well, whilst copywriting isn’t an exact science, there are some tricks that you can use to your advantage. We’ve put together a list of 10 copywriting tips and techniques that your business can use to help avoid writer’s block and improve your results.
- Set an appropriate tone of voice.
- Ditch the jargon and use language that makes sense to your audience.
- Keep it concise.
- Think about the length of your sentences and paragraphs.
- Create a connection with your readers.
- Come up with a strong, succinct headline.
- Always remember your goal.
- Use clear calls to action.
- Think about the flow of your writing.
- Edit, edit, edit.
Let’s talk about these in a bit more detail.
1. Set an appropriate tone of voice
It’s important to establish a clear tone of voice when writing copy for your business. To do this, think about what your business offers and the type of customers you target. Would a formal tone of voice suit your audience? Or would a more laid-back, chatty tone be more applicable? Perhaps it’s somewhere in between?
Think about your customers and set a tone of voice that works for the message you’re trying to convey and the audience who will be reading it. You could do some research into your customer base and see what types of people regularly deal with your company. Once you’ve found a tone of voice that works, stick to it to keep all your copy consistent in future. Having a consistent tone for your business sounds more professional and makes your company feel like it has a unified voice.
2. Ditch the jargon and use language that makes sense to your audience
Clear communication is the key to effective copy, so don’t overcomplicate your copy and make it difficult for your audience to follow. Using too much industry jargon is likely to turn readers off and leave them feeling like your content isn’t right for them. But equally don’t oversimplify it either, you don’t want your readers to feel patronised by you telling them things they already have some knowledge of.
Just like you thought about who your customers are and what tone of voice would work, spend some time considering how much your audience is likely to know about your subject, and then tailor your language to that. Find a balance so your copy is interesting and informative without being too complicated, that’s essential to writing copy that appeals to your audience.
3. Keep it concise
As mentioned before, content is everywhere and consumers are often inundated with it. With this in mind, we know that customers don’t spend too much of their time reading this content. Consumers want their information quickly and you, therefore, have much less time to get your message across. Research shows that you have just a matter of seconds to convince someone to continue reading.
That’s not to say that everything you write must be as short as possible, especially not when you’re writing an article or a guide for example, but instead, focus on keeping your copy concise. Get straight to the point of what your copy is about, make sure you’re offering quality over quantity and don’t add extra words for the sake of it if they don’t offer anything valuable to the reader.
4. Think about the length of your sentences and paragraphs
Your audience shouldn’t have to spend their time deciphering sentences that go on for too long. And let’s be honest, no one is going to stick around to read an entire piece of work if there isn’t any punctuation. Be mindful of how long your sentences are. Is it necessary for them to be very long, or could they be broken up into shorter, more digestible sentences? And make sure you use punctuation effectively throughout your copy so all of your sentences make sense and have a rhythm to them.
5. Create a connection with your readers
Consider what you can do to make your copy more relevant and engaging to your readers. By doing this, you’re more likely to connect with them and leave an impression. There are a few different ways that you can achieve this. Start by making sure to use words like ‘you’ and ‘your’ in your copy so you’re speaking directly to the reader. This will make them feel like they’re a part of what you’re writing and that it’s more personal to them. Aside from that, think about what else is likely to make a reader feel more involved in what you’re saying.
Can you ask questions? Is there any way that you can tell a story or narrative they might relate to? Don’t be afraid of adding a little personality or humour into your copywriting if it’s appropriate for your business’s tone of voice. Another important way of connecting to your readers is by highlighting the benefits or reasons why they should be interested. Make sure to specifically mention the ways that your business, product or service can solve people’s problems. If your audience believes that your business can help them personally, your copy will have more of an impact and will be more likely to sell.
6. Come up with a strong, succinct headline
Draw readers in immediately with a strong and clear headline. The headline itself will of course depend on what you’re writing and the subject matter, but try to make it catchy and attention-grabbing. Headlines generally work best when they’re succinct, eye-catching and offer something to the reader.
For example, for an advert try and make your headline short and snappy, perhaps with a creative twist to it. If it’s a long piece of work or perhaps a piece of copy for your website, a longer headline can work well too, but make sure that it succinctly summarises the content and the benefits that readers will gain from it if they continue reading. Tell readers what to expect if they read on and how they will benefit from it.
7. Always remember your goal
It’s worth spending some time figuring out what goal you want to achieve with your copywriting. Is the aim to build awareness for your business? Do you want to encourage readers to purchase? Is the goal to increase signups to your newsletter? It’s easy to get distracted when writing and drift away from your initial purpose, but remember to focus on your aims. Every single word and sentence doesn’t need to relate only to that goal, but once you have a defined goal in mind keep checking as you go so your copy doesn’t go too far off course and remains focused on what you want to achieve.
8. Use clear calls to action
With a clear goal set up in your mind, your copy is sure to contain an instruction that you want your readers to take away at the end of the document. Therefore, make sure you include clear calls to action so your readers know exactly what you want them to do next and how they can do it. For example, it wouldn’t be beneficial to your business to write a wonderful advert about how your product will benefit the reader but then not direct them to where to go next to get that product. If you want your reader to go to your website and use a code for 20% off, make sure your copy directs them there with all the information they need to proceed to the next step.
9. Think about the flow of your writing
Great copy should sound natural and should read seamlessly, but the writer will have often dedicated a lot of time and effort to make it appear that way. To make your writing as seamless as possible, think about the order of the points you are making. Do they make sense to a reader and are they as clear as they can be? Does each paragraph flow logically together or is it an abrupt change? Dedicate some time to the structure of your copy to ensure that it feels like a natural journey for the reader. For long-form pieces of copy, consider breaking the text up into sections with sub-headings to make it more manageable and reader-friendly.
10. Edit, edit, edit
Your copy is never going to be perfect the first time around. When you’ve written the first draft, look back through it to edit any mistakes or anything that doesn’t sound as good as it needs to. There’s nothing wrong with jotting everything down and then condensing and refining it later. Leave a bit of time between writing your copy and editing it so you can go back with fresh eyes, or maybe try printing out a hard copy rather than just looking at it on the screen to help you notice spelling and punctuation errors more easily.
You could even ask a colleague to read through what you’ve written. Whatever technique you find works best for you, always make sure you edit your first draft to make the final version as polished as possible.
These are just a few of the things that might help when trying to write better copy for your business. As you get into the habit of writing more, you’ll discover what is most effective for you and what your audience engages with, and it will then start to feel much more natural. There can never be a complete guide to copywriting, but by thinking about the tone of voice and language that works best for your audience as well as the key goals you want to achieve, you can make sure that your copy is focused and effective from the start.
Combine that with strong headlines and calls to action and a solid structure, and you’ll be able to produce polished copy that is engaging for your customers.