Often the most difficult things in life appear the easiest at first glance. This is true of copywriting as well. Many assume if you just toss out a clever line or two, mix in a few grand sentences and fancy words and shake it all up a bit, your brilliant copy will be ready. But in reality, copywriting requires a deep understanding of not just content but also marketing, advertising and reader psychology, not to mention a flair for writing.
Compelling content that is aligned to marketing objectives is a must in any marketing strategy today. This is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future and hence it becomes important for marketers to understand what exactly copywriting involves and avoid making mistakes.
What is copywriting?
Unlike what many people think, copywriting is not fancy writing. Copywriting deals with ideas; a copy writer writes to cajole, persuade and encourage a reader -- to try something new or better still, buy something new! Good copywriters need to be efficient, creative, curious and reflective -- they need to know themselves as well as their reader and have the ability to put that knowledge down in words that appeal.
Copywriting mistakes can really hurt credibility and embarrass the company. On the other hand, done well, copywriting can drive traffic, engage customers in droves, help accomplish marketing goals and boost organic search. Here are some tips to avoid major copywriting mistakes.
Mind your language
Spelling mistakes, clunky paragraphs, punctuation errors and grammatical slips continue to be some of the most common copywriting mistakes. A good editor and a proof-reader can catch most of these. Surveys have often found that readers do pay a lot of attention to the quality of spelling and grammar in your text and more than half of respondents in many surveys said they would avoid doing business with companies that make obvious grammatical mistakes. So look and look again before posting online.
Don't say too much
There is no perfect copywriting recipe out there and many marketers in their effort to top the search rankings and get more traffic end up overdoing it. Many try to manipulate search engines by stuffing their copy with unnecessary keywords or writing lengthy, flowery descriptions of the product or the company. Others try to use more sophisticated black hat SEO strategies. These will eventually end up hurting search rankings, or worse, create a huge credibility deficit.
Know your reader
It is common knowledge that a copywriter must write with a practical purpose and his focus must be on the benefit of the product to the user and its features. This means understanding the standpoint of the consumer, how the product will benefit him and make his life better. However well the copy is written, it will not have the desired impact if it does not cater to the reader’s needs.
Know your goals and focus
When people visit your website, their basic questions ought to be answered right away. What are they getting out of it? How will it improve their life? What is the product about? If these are not answered, then the customer is lost instantly. Customers don't really care about your website or your products or services. They only care about how it will make things better for them.
Secondly, many copies are weak in tone. It is astonishing how many webpages are lost because there is no strong call for action. Nobody has the time to search for your phone number or other contacts. Simply writing brilliant copy on the website is not enough; you have to lead them to the next step. Phone numbers, contact forms, newsletter sign-ups etc., must be clearly seen. The text you use for action calls should be specific (not a vague Sign Up Here) but make sure you are not putting off a potential customer by being too aggressive.
These are just a few of the many pitfalls on the road to better copywriting. Steer clear of them for a smoother ride.