Top Ten Copywriting Tips That Anyone Can Use

No sentence can be effective if it contains facts alone. It must also contain emotion, image, logic and promise – Eugene Schwartz

TOP TEN COPYWRITING TIPS ANYONE CAN USE for ybkbs magazine by jess Amy Dixon
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By Jess Dixon

I always advise business owners to hire a professional copywriter for any words they might need. Of course I would say that, right? I am a copywriter! But I say it because I firmly believe that outsourcing tasks to the pros is the way to go when you can.

However, I know that new and small businesses might not be able to afford to hire a professional writer for all their copy, or they might just prefer to keep things in-house.

To that end, I wanted to share my top ten basic copywriting tips that will make you a better writer in no time:

Use plain English.

You’re not writing a PhD thesis or crafting the next great work of literature. You’re trying to get your point across in the most effective way possible. And 99 times out of 100, that means using as few words as possible and writing in straightforward language. Ditch the jargon, the flowery language, and the long words that serve no purpose other than to show off how clever you are. Seriously.

Start with an outline.

What information do you need to convey and what points do you need to cover? Create an outline before you do anything else. It doesn’t need to be detailed – a few bullet points will do for a shorter piece. For a longer piece, like an article or essay, break it down into section headings.

Line your resources up before you start.

Nothing breaks your flow like having to spend 20 minutes searching for that awesome statistic you saw somewhere and forgot to save. Check any facts and figures you’ll need before you start writing. Having them to hand saves time and keeps you focused.

Know your central point.

What is the argument you’re trying to make, the wisdom you’re trying to impart, or the action you want the reader to take? If you can’t sum this up in one sentence, it’s not clear enough. Copy without a clear goal ends up waffly and unfocused.

Avoid cliches like the plague.

(See what I did there!?) Cliches are phrases, imagery, or metaphors that have been overused to the point of becoming meaningless. What are you really trying to say? Find a better, more original way to say it (or skip the metaphor altogether and refer back to point #1.)

Back up your arguments.

If you’re quoting a specific number or statistic, link to the original study or cite your source. In the case of marketing copy where you’re trying to sell your product or service, you might use social proof in the form of client testimonials or quantifiable results from a finished project.

Let your voice shine through.

Though there are some universal rules to writing good copy, every writer has a unique voice and you shouldn’t be afraid to write in yours! Take inspiration from other writers and learn from their successes, but don’t try to copy anyone. Authenticity wins every time, and your words should be your own.

Mercilessly delete pointless buzzwords.

Don’t tell me your product is “world-changing.” That’s so vague that it pretty much doesn’t mean anything. Instead, tell me how many satisfied clients you’ve supported in the last year. And if you’re tempted to use this week’s most popular buzz-phrase, whether it’s growth hacking or synergy or advertainment or snackable content1… well, don’t. Find a non-buzzwordy way to say what you mean.

Scrutinise your adjectives.

The worst thing I was ever taught in secondary school English was that tonnes of adjectives make your writing better. They don’t! Too many adjectives make your copy sound self-indulgent and insincere. Worse, half the time they don’t really mean anything. You might say your product is beautiful or your software solution is innovative, but that doesn’t actually tell the reader anything. Be specific, or cut it out.

Check your spelling and grammar.

Your final copy needs to be error-free and grammatically correct. Content with typos or glaring grammar fails looks sloppy and unprofessional. The spelling and grammar tool on your word processing software probably isn’t going to cut it, either. If you possibly can, invest in a subscription to Grammarly or a similar tool.

Great copy is essential for a successful business. I hope these tips help you get started!

1Unless you’re referencing actual snacks, in which case keep talking.

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