Clarity, Enthusiasm, Persuasion — 5 Copywriting Tips From The Pros

January 28th, 2013 by Jason Grodsky

Being a copywriter can often times be stressful. If you’re developing content for your own business, you often have to consider the impact of what you’re saying and tweak your wording to sell your product in the best light possible. Developing the art of copywriting takes times and involves developing compelling content that get people to take action. Whether you’re updating your company’s blog or creating an array of new product pages for your sales endeavors, you have to take the time to craft something that is informative, original and authoritative. The following are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re copywriting.

Write With Clarity

Each piece of content you write should to be absolutely unique and absolutely clear. When a person visits a website to get information on a business or product, they want as much information as possible without filler or hype. All of the copy should pack as many details about the product or service into the smallest amount of space possible.

Your copy should tell the reader why they are here, emphasizing a main idea and purpose that supports why they should take advantage of your business. Don’t bog it down with adjectives like “fantastic” or “great” — superlative words are cheap, but they’re not what your reader is there for. Keep it simple, concise, and to the point so your product’s message is front and center. For example, don’t just say “My spa’s fantastic services are the best in the area” — your reader has nothing to go on but your word for that. Instead, say “Our Shiatsu-trained masseuse can address each and every pressure point in your back to relieve the aches and pains of sports injuries.”

Be Enthusiastic, Not Gimmicky

While brevity is the soul of effective copy, genuine enthusiasm about the product is the force that drives it. We’ve all seen infomercials: the promoters on don’t simply stand behind a product and rattle off a list of features in a bland, monotone voice. They are passionate and exited, driving consumers to take action.

While enthusiasm is good, gimmicks are not. At some point, everyone hits the “wall” where they feel like they’ve used up all their ideas. Rather than throwing up your hands and pulling a “Wait, that’s not all!”, take some time to come up with something original and professional. Keeping a variety of interesting words in your mental toolbox can really help with this — a strong verb or interesting metaphor will always be better than a bland list of product features. Also, don’t veer too far in the other direction and use language that just sounds impressive without conveying meaning. Fancy specialized jargon will obscure your message and even leave your readers cold. If they’re wondering why you had to resort to obscure wording instead of explaining your point in plain language, your credibility has just taken a hit. Online purveyor of all things nerdy Think Geek is especially good about this, selling their high-tech gadgets with a style that’s accessible to the common reader.

Don’t Push, Persuade

Using general statements that are unsupported typically cause a reader to question authority. Build your credibility and authority by offering insight and referencing statistics or facts. Don’t simply push your statements on a reader: back them up with the research you’ve taken time to perform. Integrating facts and figures into your work is surprisingly easy (hint: everybody loves a list), and your customers will be wowed by objective data that supports your claims.

However, it’s a fine line between being persuasive and pushy, so do your best to let the service or product sell itself. Often the best way to engage a reader to take action is not by telling a reader what to do, but rather telling them what a service could do for them. Always remember WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?): you’re speaking to potential clients, trying to convince them of the company’s worth. As Bing Crosby said, you have to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. The reader knows their situation: what they want is to be assured that the problem will be fixed, and that they will be treated well in the process. Rhetoric on subjects other than that main crucial one is unnecessary.

If You Don’t Have Something Nice to Say, Don’t Say It At All

Negative language will turn readers off quickly. Using negative language can cause issues in communication and readers base their perceptions of you or the businesses you’re writing for on the way we say things to them.

Focusing your writing on positive language. Rather than constantly writing what competitors can’t do or don’t offer, focus instead on what can be done and the services provided. By eliminating words like “don’t” and “won’t,” you can avoid negative expressions and focus your copy on the positive, therefore projecting a more positive image and communicating more clearly. For example, if you’re an attorney that’s writing a blog post about local DUI policies, you don’t want to elaborate on all the negative consequences that come with a conviction: chances are your readers are already depressingly aware of these facts. Instead, talk about the concrete methods and techniques you can apply to make the process as smooth as possible, and the positive results you’ve gotten in the past.

Give It a Final Polish

Last but not least, read over your copy before it goes live. It seems simple enough, but most writers often overlook this quick and easy final task, and nothing destroys your credibility faster than an obvious typo on the page.. Don’t just rely on spell-checker to find your mistakes: take the time to give your copy a quick read through to discover any errors you might have overlooked. Often times reading your work out loud will allow yourself to catch awkward sounding sentences and help you hear if everything flows smoothly and coherently.

It takes time to develop quality content. After all the English language isn’t exactly easy to understand sometimes. However, by keeping these simple tips and tricks in mind, you can craft highly effective social media updates, product pages, press releases, advertising copy and more!