Three? Is that all it takes? Yep. Granted, there are many other things that will boost your efforts to ensure your copywriting is read. Strong keywords, up-to-the-minute SEO, actionable analytics… they’re integral to your content marketing strategy. But the tips I’m sharing here are simpler and less sophisticated. Because that’s the kind of guy I am.
Tip 1: Be brief
What I really mean is be as brief as possible. “TLDR” exists for a reason, but that doesn’t mean your copywriting is best when it’s reduced to the barest facts, instructions, or statistics. Lengthier copy isn’t a turnoff if it has personality that keeps it relatable and interesting — which leads us to Tip 2.
Tip 2: Be human
Chances are you started reading this because something in its title made you think. Maybe it was “three tips” because three is a manageable number and tips might make your life a little easier. Maybe it was “ensure your copy gets read” because you care about your work and you want your audience to notice it.
Since thinking and caring (and so many other –ings) are uniquely human pursuits, make sure you write in a way that speaks to humans. Tell a story. Appeal to your audience’s emotions. Know the challenges they face, and try to help solve them. Yes, your copy has to include your keywords and it has to support your overall strategy, but you can do all that and still come across as someone your audience might like to converse with over a cup of coffee. (I prefer tea, but if you’d like to meet I’m sure we can make it work.)
Copy that eschews emotion in favor of fact, addresses problems but not people, or is filled with keywords instead of key points will fall flat, be judged as unappealing and irrelevant (by readers and by search engines), and will not be read.
Tip 3: Be yourself.
Obviously, this means writing in your own voice and style, and drawing on your personal/professional experience and expertise. But many who do this for a living (you, perhaps?) most often have to write for employers and clients. So how can you be yourself when you’re writing on behalf of someone else? Keep in mind that they hired you because you’re a talented professional and they like your work. As long as you communicate openly, learn their quirks, incorporate what is unique to them, and use your skills and talent to make them look their best, you’ll be yourself while masquerading as someone else. It can be a challenge, but one that is most often quite rewarding.
If what you write strays from the voice your audience has grown accustomed and attached to, readers will wonder “What’s going on here? This isn’t the person/company/organization/partner I know and love.” Worse, you could lose them.
Be brief, be human, be yourself… and be successful.
Each of the three simple tenets discussed here are pretty easy to let slide. But don’t let that happen. The more you stick to them, the easier your copywriting will become, and the more your audience will look forward to reading what you offer next.
John Beaupré, senior copywriter, has been writing advertising and marketing copy for more than 20 years and he’s still not done.