Friday, 30 August 2013

10 Tips for Writing More Effective Copy

Hello everyone,

When it comes to writing compelling, informative and original copy, it can often become tough to figure out where to start first. As freelance copywriters, we are expected to deliver 110% each and every time we write up new content. So when it comes to improving our game, what are some tips that we can apply to write more effective copy?

I have prepared a modest list of 10 tips for your viewing consideration to make you (as well myself) more proficient in writing copy - whether it be for marketing, informational, academic or any other purpose.

Below are 10 tips for writing more effective copy:

10. Grammar - as a prerequisite, you should know where semicolons belong, where to place exclamation marks and the best times to use contractions. Basic English is a must to advance to better copywriting.

9. Avoid cliches - you should at all times expect your audience to be seeking only relevant information and content that's entirely original and genuine. So try to not quote Shakespeare or Hemingway the next time you write up a professional copy and instead make up your own quotes or at least use something more relevant and up to date!

8. Use action words - whether your writing a sales letter, PR email or padding your personal resume, you should include a few power words like "challenge," "succeed," "delight," or "love" - among others. Be sure to check specialty websites that provide loads of lists relating to actionable words and verbs used for copy.

7. Be wary of jargon - try to avoid using technical language and jargon as best as you can. You don't want to alienate readers. However if the situation warrants, then use it moderately so as to not sound too pretentious or full of yourself.

6. State the facts - avoid inserting value judgments and personal opinions into the copy as doing so will undermine any credibility that you seek to attain. Instead, use concrete, reliable sources for supporting your argument and validating your conclusions.

5. Be flexible - any decent writer can write on a wide variety of topics with ease. However, it takes a good writer to write topics using different angles and styles. Good writers can write an article humorously, tragically or in a totally stone-cold no-nonsense manner with no emotion whatsoever. What's important is that the angle must be the most appropriate for your audience.

4. Generate feeling - you wan't your audience to relate to you and express sympathy, affection or support. Whether it's to urge them to a call-to-action or sign them up to a newsletter, you need to captivate readers and make them some desired emotion(s).

3. Know your audience - even before putting pen to paper (excuse me for the outdated cliche), you need to first figure out who you are writing to. This helps you tailor your writing more to the interests of your target audience better by making the content more relevant and worthwhile for their viewing.

2. Mind the formatting - if your content looks sloppy and unprofessional, then the chances of the audience reading on will drop significantly. You'll have to familiarize yourself with the basics of copy formatting whether it's: optimum sentences per paragraph, where to place bullet points and lists and how many, choice of titles and subtitles and use of summaries before the main article. Basically, you want your copy to look as amazingly eye-catching as possible to entice your audience to read it and take action.

1. Have a goal in mind - what's the purpose of your copy anyway? Is it to provide information? Is it to generate goodwill? Or is to sell your company's products? Having a clear goal in mind before writing your copy will help to ensure that your final draft will have the correct call to action and will maximize you and your company's targets and objectives seamlessly.

So there you have it. A humble list that you can reference to hone your article writing and copywriting skills. Frankly speaking, I myself am still learning a great deal about the fine art of copywriting and am acquiring something new everyday. There are practically HUNDREDS of tips out there that promise to improve your copywriting so in no way is my list comprehensive. What's important is that it should serve as a foundation for improving your writing and copywriting abilities.

For my next article, I will dabble on the mystical nature of inbound marketing and it's important for online (and offline) businesses.

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