Copywriting is both an art and a science. The art part lies in writing copy that is compelling, clear and easy to read; this involves style and sensitivity to readers. The science part lies in carefully putting thoughts and topics in order; this requires an objective evaluation of how your copy progresses from beginning to end. To achieve copy that has both the art and the science aspects merged in one powerful piece, try applying these ten copywriting tips.
1. Know your readers. The key to writing successful copy (especially when this is in the form of direct mail) is to know your audience. Your copy will be well received if you are writing something about a topic they are interested in, something that offers a solution to a problem confronting them or a product or service that will make life better for them.
2. Use a writing style that your readers can relate to. Get a feel of the language that appeals to them by doing some research. Read the newspapers and magazines that cater to your target audience and analyze the style in use.
3. Make sure that what you write is clear. Regardless of the style you will be using your message must be easy to understand. Keep clear of ambiguous antecedents and if you are providing instructions, test them on someone else first just to be sure that these make sense. If you have ever tried to follow manufacturer’s instructions on how to put a piece of furniture together, you will understand just how frustrating it is when you are not quite sure what the manual is trying to make you do.
4. Use short paragraphs. One of the best copywriting tips you will ever receive is this: Keep your paragraphs within five sentences or less. Readers will usually skip over huge blocks of text because they do not want to have to work hard just to get your message. Therefore it is important that each word and sentence you write mean something to the reader, enhancing the arguments you are making for you case.
5. Avoid long sentences but be sure your piece does not lack cohesiveness. Try to limit your sentence length to 15 words and intersperse long sentences with short statements to avoid a droning, boring rhythm. If a sentence is too long, divide it into two then use the necessary connecting words to show the relationship between one thought and the next.
6. Use subheads and bullets. Make sure you page does not look like a monotonous sea of text. Using subheads and bullets also makes it easy for your readers to go through your text by skimming. Remember, the easier your copy is for your audience to read, the easier it will be for your message to come across.
7. Read and reread what you have written. See if you can simplify and strengthen your piece by removing unnecessary words. Remove anything that is showy or sounds like jargon. You are not writing a novel and neither are you writing to impress anyone.
8. Be consistent. As long as you are writing for a specific audience, keep the same tone and style from the beginning to the end of your message. Don’t be informal and chummy when you begin then shift to highly technical language after a paragraph or two.
9. State your offer in a compelling way. Make your offer part of your subject line. This is the first thing that your reader will see in the flyer, brochure or e-mail that he or she will receive from you. The promise that you make in this subject line will determine whether or not they will continue to read the copy. Polish up on how to construct effective subject lines.
10. Only promise what you know can be delivered. Empty promises are sure to backfire on the company you are making copy for. If the false promise was their idea, they will be getting the complaints they deserve but that is not going to do you any good either.
Copywriting is sometimes very challenging because its effectiveness is measured by the response of potential buyers. In addition, copywriting does not allow you the flight of fancy that creative writing does. However, if you put these ten copywriting tips to work, you will surely find yourself making successful copy – the kind that gets your message across, brings sales up and builds your reputation as a good copywriter.