Copywriting tips are a minefield of do this, don’t do that, try this, avoid that. Especially when you’re just looking for some general tips on how to improve your copywriting skills, it can be difficult to determine what to do for the best.
To make things a little easier, we thought it might be an idea to take some of the most popular copywriting tips out there and unpack them so you can understand what they really mean when applied to your writing.
Whether you’re looking for tips on what to focus your copy on or want to get into the nitty-gritty of the actual words you’re using, check out our unpacked and explained copywriting tips below.
1. Pinpoint Benefits, Not Features
This is a well-known and respected tip in the copywriting industry, but for beginners, the blurred lines between benefits and features can feel confusing.
First, let’s look at the difference between the two.
Features are the bits and bobs that make up your product or service. For example, if you’re running a dog walking business, the features may include a one-hour walk in the woods and thirty minutes of playtime.
That’s great. That’s what your potential customer will be looking for. But lots of dog walkers offer those features – focusing on the benefits is where you can make yourself stand out from the crowd. What’s in it for the customer?
The benefits of your dog walking service, therefore, will be a happy, well-exercised and well-looked-after dog, and an owner who doesn’t have to rush home during lunch to let their pooch out for a toilet break. They’ll know their beloved pet is in safe hands.
Showcasing these benefits instead of the features you provide will make your business appear much more human and relatable. Customers will be able to connect to the person behind the business (that’s you!) and fall in love with the benefits they know you can provide.
2. Write How you Speak
We hear this a lot amongst our fellow copywriters, and it’s something we try to implement in everything we write – but how literally should we be taking it?
Writing how you speak doesn’t mean squeezing a hundred words into a sentence if you’re a fast talker or using ‘like’ as a filler when you’re trying to figure out how best to explain something.
What it does mean is stripping away the stuffy, overly professional formality that has become a bit of a copywriting stereotype. Often, businesses think that in order to be taken seriously, their copy needs to be serious and void of personality when, in actual fact, the opposite is true.
Copywriting is about connecting with human beings and compelling them to take a chance on your business. You can’t do that if you’ve adopted a robotic tone in your copy.
Instead, writing how you speak gives your copy a softer, more personal edge. Don’t be afraid to include conversational techniques like contractions and colloquialisms. Don’t stress over synonyms and don’t tear your hair out over technical grammar rules – no one will kill you if you start a sentence with ‘because’ – we promise!
3. Tell a Story
The first stories ever told were scrawled onto the walls of caves millions of years ago – it’s our oldest and most natural form of communication.
And we don’t tell them just for the fun of it. We tell them to evoke emotion, to convey a message or form a connection with someone. The same thing should be happening in your copy.
Telling a story with your audience in mind allows you to create that initial bond with them. You’re able to intrigue them with a relatable tale that speaks to their pain points and keep them engaged as you detail your quest for a resolution or make them hold out to discover whether or not this story has a happy ending.
It’s your most effective tool in capturing, keeping and retaining the attention of your audience – so don’t be afraid to use it!
There’s a story in everything, no matter how mundane it may seem. Take this, for example. Perhaps you want to write a social media post about how much more beneficial it is to employ the skills of a professional than DIY. But you don’t want to sound overly pushy or sales-y.
Look for inspiration in your day-to-day life to bring the post back down to earth. Just had your house renovated? Explain that actually, you could’ve done it yourself and saved some money, but the end result wouldn’t have been half as good because you’re not a professional.
You’ve utilised a personal anecdote to simultaneously get your point across and engage readers without sending them running for the hills away from yet another sales pitch.
Storytelling in your copywriting doesn’t have to be elaborate. There’s no need for once upon a time or happily ever afters. Just a simple, relatable anecdote will do the trick.
4. Avoid Stuffy Jargon
If you’ve Googled how to write good copy recently, you may have noticed that the world and its mother is telling you to avoid the stuffy/professional/business/industry jargon that can often be tempting to use if you’re trying to convey your expertise.
Of course, sometimes, industry jargon is necessary. Especially if you’re in the medical field or something similar, you’ll want to be using the correct terminology to convey a certain level of knowledge.
What we’re talking about with this tip is cutting out all the big, long words in between that aren’t relevant to your piece, nor add anything valuable. Let’s look at this as an example. You’re a company that looks after people’s accounts. Therefore, you’ll need to use industry jargon like ‘inflation rate’ or ‘expenditure’. Not because you’re tyring to be clever. But because they’re the right words for what you’re trying to explain.
What you don’t need to say, however, is that having someone to manage your accounts for you can ‘cultivate’ more revenue, or give your business more ‘leverage’. That stuffy, professional jargon has started to creep in here. People haven’t always got time to read between the lines. Instead, tell them that having their accounts managed could make them more money in the long run and put their business in a better position.
The message is the same, but the phrasing is relatable, accessible and, most importantly, clear.
When it comes to using jargon in your copywriting, you don’t have to dumb your piece down entirely. Just be aware of your usage of words and phrases that are necessary, and those that are just there to make you sound smarter.
Simple trumps smart, always.
Copywriting with The Edwards Company
There’s plenty more where they came from. You’ll never be short of copywriting tips if you give them a quick google, but hopefully explaining these most popular ones in more detail has given you the tools you need to hone your copywriting skills.