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Our copywriting tips for beginners

Nov 15, 2020 | Content Marketing

Why is copywriting so important? Grab a cup of tea and a pen, as we’re here to share a few good tips. Recently we were in a client meeting discussing our ‘Plain English’ approach and how we hate using unnecessary jargon and acronyms with our clients. In our experience, meetings sometimes feels like a game of ‘jargon bingo’. On the contrary, we want to be approachable, accessible and most of all, inclusive. However, we were surprised when our client said they’d never heard the term ‘copywriting’ before and they needed us to explain. We had wrongfully assumed that this was an everyday word and not one of those detested marketing words. Therefore, we promptly apologised and then carefully explained how copywriting is basically writing for the purpose of marketing or sales in a creative and persuasive way.  

We know that copywriting can be intimidating for both marketers and non-marketers. It’s not just about being creative and knowing your audience – there’s lots to think about! There are a ton of great resources and tips out there and we encourage you to do lots of research if you want to improve. We also encourage you to practice lots and not be afraid to redraft and redraft and redraft! 

As a good starting point though, we are here to share some simple ideas to get you going and to get you thinking about your approach to copywriting.

Firstly, get into the right frame of mind

Out of all the copywriting tips we can give, this is certainly the most important. We would recommend you think about the following 3 points when creating copy for your digital channels and when communicating with your customers…

Text on plain red background. text reads: consistency, clarity, semplicity

Consistency

Consistency will mean your customers trust you and know what to expect (so they will come back again!).

Clarity

Try to ensure your copy is not only consistent, but clean and easy to understand.

  • You are an expert and you are here to help make your client’s life easier. 
  • Only use technical language when you absolutely need to, so as to not overwhelm the reader. 
  • Avoid using vague language. Don’t use unexplained acronyms and abbreviations. 
  • Consider your audience and the best format in which to present your message to them. 
  • Be concise where possible. Use short words and sentences. Always prioritise clarity over ‘sounding good’. 

Simplicity

Always try to make your content easy for the customer to read. Remember they will often scan your content or read it quickly. Some of the information you deal with may be complex but the way you communicate doesn’t have to be. Can you put your content into a top 5 list or break it down into simple steps? Can you show visuals to help aid the reader?

When you’re ready – remind yourself of these 7 copywriting tips

We know that writing copy isn’t always easy and sometimes it feels like a chore. We recommend quickly reading the following copywriting tips before you start creating any new content.

Always plan your content.

  • Have you thought about structure? We recommend you plan the structure of your copy with a clear beginning, middle and end. 
  • What medium are you writing for? – Depending on where your copy sits you may have a different approach. Is it an external advert or your own website? Is it a long advertorial or a short social media post? 
  • Who’s the audience? – We take it for granted as we assume we know our customers inside and out. But –let’s consider all angles…what sub-section of our customers are we reaching with this bit of content? Will we appeal to new people? 
  • What’s the objective of your piece? Are we persuading our customers or simply entertaining them? In what way are we educating them or empowering them? Are we doing a soft or hard sell? What do we want them to do as a result of engaging with this content? 
  • If in doubt – remember these 3 things – What value are you bringing to the customer? Are you saying something relevant or new? What do you want the customer to do as a result of reading this? (I.e. what’s your call-to-action?)

What is your benefit?

Remember that you are trying to solve a problem for the customer and you’re trying to make their life easier. Make this prominent in your copy and make sure you’re benefit-led with your language choice. What value can you bring to them? Are you the best in the market? Have you got a special offer? Make your message compelling and impossible to refuse! Always remember to have a clear, compelling and concise ‘call-to-action’ too.

Black text on plain blue background. Text reads: make your message compelling and impossible to refuse

Remember to check your sentence structure.

  • It’s easy to just type everything down when you have a good idea. One of the copywriting tips we give more frequently is to be careful not to just ‘brain dump’ and then press ‘go live’. 
  • Remember each sentence counts and should hold its own meaning. Otherwise, it’s not required. 
  • Focus on one idea; avoid too many things going on in one sentence. Open conversations with a shorter sentence.
  • Remember each sentence shouldn’t be too long – a max 20 words (15-20 is ideal). Shorter sentences work best in marketing copy though. Don’t write like you talk. Read it out loud and check if you can breathe and you’ll realise where you need to cut back with sentences!

Ensure you are being open and engaging:

  • Remember to use personal pronouns such as ‘we’ and ‘our’ to make your language feel open and personal. 
  • Ask interesting and provocative questions to intrigue the reader and inspire curiosity. A fun conversational style is good, but be careful not to be too relaxed. You’re the expert here, not their best friend. 
  • Use positive words over negative ones and avoid stereotypes. Always use positive language. E.g. When asking for feedback, don’t say, ‘What do you not like about Saltoria Marketing?.. Ask, ‘How can we make your experience with Saltoria Marketing even better?’. 
  • Focus on your work now and use client testimonials to bring it to life where possible.
Black text on plain green background. text reads: You are the expert here, not their best friend

Draft/Edit/Edit/Edit/Finalise.

Even the greatest copywriters out there don’t get things right the first time (Sally read this sentence over at least 10 times and is still not happy). We always recommend dedicating a set time to writing your piece and then just getting everything down in one go. You’d be surprised at how easy it is and how good it actually is. The art is in the editing and the replenishing and refining. It’s much easier to edit than write from scratch. You’ll see! 

Check how it LOOKS too!

With written content always think about how it looks too. Is there too much text? Do you need to break it down with headings & bullets? Are the paragraphs short and easy to read? Have you summarised the most important points? What is the call-to-action? Does it look overwhelming to read?

Always remember to proofread your work.

Even the most experienced copywriters get a colleague to check their work or wait a few hours to go back and review their own content. We find reading out loud helps too and helps remove unnecessary ‘filler’ sentences. Grammarly is a great app to help you streamline your spelling/punctuation – especially when you’re in a rush.

Black text on plain red background. Text reads: Even the greatest copywriters out there don't get things right the first time.

Our recommended resources

We’ve neraly got to the end of our list of copywriting tips. However, before you go, we’d liek to share a few top resources with you.

What next?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our copywriting tips! We love supporting small businesses and we love learning from our clients too. Do you need to refresh the copy across your website? Would you like to learn more about copywriting? Does your blog need a revamp? We’re here to chat whenever you are! Remember – you can book a free 45 mins consultation with Saltoria anytime.

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