Look, I get it. In this heat, in this economy, paying someone to specifically ‘’only’’ produce your copy seems RIDICULOUS. You sell kitchens, so how important can the text in your newsletter be? I MEAN LOOK AT THESE CABINETS!
Your new intern is a millennial and knows the words of the web. Your online marketer should know how to speak to your customers, right? Heck, your customer service writes emails every day, so why not use their typing skills for the greater good?
Whether you’re a small business, just getting started or simply stubborn, hiring a copywriter isn’t always possible nor cheap. Fair enough. But, if you want or simply have to write your own copy, it’s good to set some ground rules. You know, have some respect for what we do.
This advice will not guarantee you to write great copy. I’m not trying to go bankrupt, you know. But if you decide to take faith into your own hands, make sure you are not wasting time and therefore money on writing shitty stuff. You’re trying to be a cheapskate after all. Kidding, kidding…
I’ve summed up some copywriting quotes, commandments, if you will. Because if you’re not willing to take my word for it, at least listen to these experts.
“Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.”
– Howard Gossage
Before you start ranting about you’re ‘’creative approach’’ and ‘’innovative solutions’’, stop and think — what do these empty phrases even say? Even if you’re writing for a commercial purpose, that doesn’t mean you have to use terms and cliches that are ‘’common’’ in advertising.
People read what interests them, and in this case, it is what you can do for them. Don’t shy back and be vague about it, and don’t generalize. How do you add value to your customer’s lives or work? Bonus points if you can throw some storytelling in there. Remember: A good ad doesn’t necessarily look (or read) like an ad.
“People aren’t interested in you. They’re interested in themselves.”
— Dale Carnegie
Sure, it is important that in your copy your voice and message is heard. But newsflash: This should not be centered around you. What does it have to do with your customers? Want to convince with copy? Tell your readers what they will get out of choosing you. You are not writing for yourself, you’re writing for them. What are their problems, and how do you tackle them? Don’t just list your services. Please.
“Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer.”
– Shirley Polykoff
You want your copy to trigger a reaction in your reader’s mind. To make them curious, ask more questions, or convince them to choose YOU. Copy is therefore much like a conversation. Don’t just dump a pile of information on your readers and then go sit in your office waiting for them to call you.
We all know what good conversation feels like. It’s flowing, funny, deep, emotional maybe, it shows you have listened to your audience and that you can respond accordingly. Be yourself in these conversations. Speak and write, naturally, from the heart. Maybe even read my post on writing as you speak, while you’re at it.
‘’Would you go to a dinner party and just repeat what the person to the right of you is saying all night long, would that be interesting to anybody? So why are so many businesses saying the same things at the biggest party on the planet — the marketplace? ‘’
– Jason Fried
The internet is full of cliches already. Too many blogs, social media posts, homepages and begin and end in the exact same way. They read the same, just with some tweaks where the company name is inserted. Dare to be different, right?
Yes, it’s easy to look at what your competition is doing and go from there, but is that how you’re gonna stand out? Is that who you are, a watered-down version of someone else? Come on, you’re better than that! Put some fun in your copy, spice it up and make it your own. Don’t be afraid that this will scare people off: if anything it will be refreshing, caption their attention. Do you know how much writing is out there that is basically the same? Have you been on the internet lately? Give your audience a break, will ya.
Ready to write? If not, please, reach out if you’re struggling. There are so many talented copywriters out there, ready to serve up some juicy web copy. Don’t hurt your brand with a bad choice of words. We all know how easily that happens.
Note: This post can also be freely used to passively-aggressively send to clients who are unwilling to accept your beautiful copy for what it is.
This blog was originally posted on my Medium page.