When it comes to writing copy, you need to get it right. Whether you’re writing a press release, sales pitch, blog post or an e-mail campaign, your copy needs to engage. This is your chance to have your message heard – and you only get one shot. Lose your audience’s interest and your message will fall on deaf ears.
With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to write better copy.
Know your audience
Knowing your audience is critical to how you communicate with them. The purpose of copy (generally) is to influence someone’s course of action. In order to do this you need to know who that person is and how that person thinks.
Research your audience. Find out what those in the industry value and what challenges they face:
- What do they like? Dislike?
- What else do they read?
- What language do they use?
- In what tone are they used to being addressed? Is it authoritative? Conversational? Humorous?
Establish an appropriate identity before you attempt to engage your reader – or else they’ll disengage with you.
Composition and content
Be clear on the story that you are trying to tell and what it is that you want to achieve. Do you want your audience to purchase something? Join something? Go somewhere? Read more? Your call to action should be very specific and impossible to miss.
Use the fewest words possible to get your message across.
- Think: simple and elegant – and boil everything down to its basic element.
- Be descriptive but avoid adjectives.
- Use active verbs – buy, join, visit, read – and where possible back up your persuasive language up with fact.
- If you’re giving a technical description bullet points work well to directly relay information.
- Vary your sentence lengths. Shorter sentences have higher impact. But too many short sentences can be exhausting. Lots of long sentences will get boring – so strike the balance right.
- Read your copy out loud to get a sense of how it sounds.
Proof read – and then proof read again
Make sure your copy is completely clean.
- Take out repetitive words or sentences.
- Check spelling and grammar twice.
- Even better, have a colleague check your work.
- If that’s not possible, read your copy backwards (your brain will think that you are reading something new).
Remember, your copy reflects you – and you want to put your best foot forward. If you present well, readers will assume that you do your work well too.