Copy is necessary, but it’s not something that gets the amount of attention it deserves. You’re reading copy right now. If you continue to click around this very site, you’re only going to find more copy. With the prevalence and importance of all of this copy, one might assume that it’s easy enough to write. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and it’s surprising what an impact bad copy can have. It’s time to stop taking copy for granted and be sure you aren’t making some major copywriting mistakes.
1. Failing to Find a Voice
What you write is equally as important as who you are writing it for. If you’ve worked so hard at branding and all of your copy reads as cold and impersonal, you’re sending a conflicting message. Most of your content should be written in your brand’s voice. Consistency in your messaging is important. You want to make a lasting impression that will meet the expectations of your audience. When you don’t write in the correct voice, you’re creating a disconnect between your image and your audience. Review all of your copy before you publish it and make sure it contains those warm touches that your followers expect.
2. Asking the Wrong Questions
Copy often contains questions designed to engage the reader. This is particularly important with marketing copy. If your readers can answer those questions in one word, this isn’t a good sign. You want to get the gears in their brains turning. “Would you like to work with us?” is a question that can be answered in one word. Opt for questions like “what would you like us to do for you?”, as they require more thought to answer.
3. Opting for the Wrong Length
Some content providers prefer longer articles simply for the fact that they create more ways to implement important SEO keywords. This isn’t always the best choice. These long pieces can sometimes turn into keyword salad, and readers won’t be able to take them seriously. When people are looking for answers to simple questions, they don’t want to dig through the equivalent of the Iliad to find it. If you only have a few points you want to touch on, don’t set an unrealistically high word count. Conversely, things that genuinely require explanation to a greater depth shouldn’t be condensed to a minimal word count.
4. Cutting Corners with Costs
Despite what you may think, copywriting isn’t one of those jobs that anyone can do. If it were, you might not be hiring copywriters in the first place. The next time you go to Gumtree and post a wanted ad for a copywriter, think carefully before you list your budget. Copywriters who work for astoundingly low rates don’t do so because they have a wealth of experience. Trying to save a few bucks might cost you quite a few more when you wind up with ineffective copy. Instead, leave the budget blank and review samples. Negotiate with quality copywriters rather than setting a harsh limit and alienating the pros.
5. Not Incorporating a Useful Message
Some pieces of copy require a call of action in order to be effective. If you want your reader to do something after they’ve finished reading, they need to know that. It’s best not to assume that the reader will take the initiative without being directly motivated to do so. Close these pieces with a specific call to action. Without that call to action, your copy is little more than native advertising.
Copywriting is massively undervalued for what it is. Without great copy, many powerful enterprises (and even personal ventures) would not have succeeded. The next time you need some copy written, view it and appreciate it as an art form.
Zoe Anderson is a tech-savvy blogger with a great passion for teaching. Zoe is a part of the team behind StudySelect where she often shares her stories pertaining to technology, marketing and social media.