Copywriting, whether it is on your website, email or social media update is at the very heart of your online marketing. Without good copy, you are going to struggle to attract visitors to your website and convert them into leads or customers.
The biggest trouble with copywriting is that the written English language is just an approximation of speech and it is constantly evolving. Also, when we are taught it, because of the differences in how our educators learned their art, grammar laws are not always the same. Regional differences make it even more challenging for writers, the most obvious being American versus British English.
Despite these difficulties, there has come to a forefront an acceptable standard. The trouble is that most people do not realise what these rules and styles are. So here are five ways you can improve your copywriting skills and get more energy, excitement and emphasis that will help to attract more visitors and convert them into customers.
Copywriting Tip 1 – Remove ‘That’ Word
While it is not entirely redundant, ‘that’ is a word that can often be removed to shorten sentences and make them punchier. Consider these two sentences.
It was good that the bouncy castle would arrive on time for her birthday.
It was good the bouncy castle would arrive on time for her birthday.
The second sentence reads much better than the first. It is shorter and gets to the main point faster.
Quick Tip: Run the ‘find’ function on your Word Processor to find all the ‘thats’, then read the sentence with and without the word to see if it is necessary.
Copywriting Tip 2 – Use Active Voice
Numerous people do not know the difference between the active and passive voice. Using the active voice will lead to stronger and more convincing writing. Active voice is when the sentence’s subject is taking action (i.e. being active). A passive voice is when the subject of the phrase is not doing anything (i.e. being passive).
Consider these two sentences:
Claire moved the chair into position – active voice.
The chair was moved into position by Claire – passive voice.
The subject of the sentence should mostly come before the action. Active voices often lead to shorter sentences that are easier to read.
Copywriting Tip 3 – Use Less Commas
Go back twenty or thirty years and the style, known as the Oxford or Harvard comma, was for longer sentences with lots of commas. English is evolving, however, and the trend is now for shorter sentences and fewer commas. Current readers highlight the difficulty in reading texts constructed with the Oxford comma as being too cumbersome and over-punctuated.
At the same time, the Oxford / Harvard comma can create some ambiguity. Therefore, it is better to write with fewer commas. Changing to this style will make reading quicker as we are taught to take a breath whenever we see a comma in a piece of text.
Consider these two sentences:
We invited the clowns, Ronald and Greer, to the party.
We invited the clowns, Ronald and Greer to the party.
The second sentence is much faster to read as the omitted comma does not force the reader to take an unnecessary breath. The faster the text is read, the more emphasis there is on the subject and greater power the text will have.
Quick Tip: Look for ways to cut out commas in your sentences.
Copywriting Tip 4 – Shorter Sentences
The previous tips have led to one outcome, shorter sentences leading to compelling copy. Long sentences slow down the reader. Speed is an essence of excitement and the faster the audience can read your text, the more excited they will be about your offer.
Quick Tip: Look at where your commas and joining words are. See if they can be removed to shorten sentences.
Copywriting Tip 5 – Get A Proofreader
The most frequent mistake is having copy written and proofread by the same person. We all have the tendency to overlook our mistakes because our brains know what should be there. So find a person you trust to spot your mistakes and highlight where you are not making sense.
Quick Tip: Grammar checkers are not 100% accurate. There is no substitute for the human eye.
Sharpen your writing with good copywriting skills. The better your writing, the more convincing your text will be to your audience and the more response you will get from your marketing activities.
How do you proof your copy? Do you overuse the Oxford Comma?
Let us know in the comments.