Sure, there’s a lot that goes into writing professional-grade advertising copy, but keeping these five basic copywriting tips in mind is a great start to shedding an amateurish writing style.
#1: Establish a Clear Call-to-Action
Marketing and advertising is about persuasion. If you’re talking to a consumer, you should be trying to move them to action. Know what that action is and tell consumers how they can accomplish it. That call-to-action doesn’t have to be “buy.” But if you don’t give your consumers an idea for continuing their interaction with your product or brand, guess what their next step will be? Disengagement. They may have just read the most heart-warming story on your testimonial page. But since you gave them no call-to-action, they’ve moved on.
#2: Make Your Point Early
If you don’t tell your reader why they should be reading in the first two thought beats, forget it, they’re already gone (at least most of them). Maybe you’re trying to create suspense? That’s okay, as long as the reader knows why they’re reading. Maybe you’ve promised them the secret of youth, but before your big reveal, you want to establish the history and science of your solution. That’s fine, because you’ve already told them about the miracle they should expect. (Bonus Tip: Deliver on your promises. Nobody wants your snake oil.)
#3: Trim the Fat
Write succinctly. When editing, watch out for those longer sentences that seem to drag on as they make their points. Think of smarter, more forceful ways to write those thoughts. If you’re still having trouble paring down meandering lines of copy, try this. Push your copy to the side and tell yourself conversationally what you’re trying to say. Write that down. There’s a strong chance that what you just wrote is closer to the persuasive copy your message requires. Sometimes it’s easier to convey an idea verbally than through writing, as the two processes use different parts of our brain (it’s true).
#4: Break it Up
If you’re facing a long page of copy, make sure you break it up into sections, each with a subheader. Add bulleted or numbered lists where appropriate. This makes the copy easier to read and less intimidating. Plus, if readers are in a hurry they can scan the subheaders to find the copy they need or that most interests them.
#5: Say No to Exclamation Points
The only time I want to see an exclamation point is in a friendly text message or the dramatic dialogue of a novel – and even then sparingly. Using exclamation points in professional copy almost always shows amateurism and desperation. Don’t do it. If your reader doesn’t get the emphasis in your words, don’t try to cheat it by adding an exclamation point; rewrite.
Do the copywriters at your company need a leg up? Why not engage us for a training session on “How to Write Engaging Copy?” We have a wealth of successful experience, and would love to pass it on.