Three Basic Copywriting Principles

If you are in business for yourself you spend a great deal of your time communicating. You communicate with employees, suppliers and customers. There is a lot of attention paid to verbal communication but written communication often gets left behind. However, basic copywriting should be something you really pay attention to.

One of the greatest ways to undermine your credibility is through poor writing. A website filled with poor grammar or spelling mistakes makes you look like an amateur. It sends the message that you do shoddy work and aren’t concerned about the little details.

Writing Platforms

Website content, emails, internal documents and advertising each play an important role in communicating your message. Each method uses a different style to convey your message, but there are basic principles that apply to all forms of copywriting.

This article will focus primarily on developing great content for your website. Whether you are a plumbing company or an engineering firm, well-written material will set you apart from the crowd. To separate yourself from your competition your website needs to have high-quality information that goes beyond the surface.

Many web pundits say that 700-800 words are a good length for a typical post. However, if your information isn’t well written it won’t get read regardless of your search engine ranking. According to blogger Copypress, longer articles perform better with search engines and customers. The reasoning is that longer articles tend to have better research and share deeper information about the topic.

The minimum length of the content of your web page should be 300 words. Anything less than that and the search engines tends to ignore it. Also, an article under 300 words typically doesn’t contain enough information to be valuable. The point is that you need to write enough for your information to be valuable.

Basic Elements of Copywriting

The first element of good copywriting is to remember the three C’s. Be clear, concise and compelling. When I first started writing an editor told me that I needed to tighten up my writing. When I asked for an explanation they said, “don’t write like you talk. Take out all of the filler words.” It was great advice.

When we speak conversationally, we constantly add filler words. In writing, filler words clutter the page and don’t add value. One of the best tips I ever received to simplify my writing was to eliminate my usage of the word “that”. It is one of those filler words leading to adding extra words to your writing.

The next principle of basic copywriting is knowing your audience. Good writing targets the individual, not the masses. It isn’t about you, it is about the person seeking answers. Think about the customers that call you with questions regarding your product or service. This is the person you are writing to.

Keeping your writing free of industry jargon is one of the best things you can do for your customers. Dazzling them with your industry lingo is a sure-fire way to get them to leave your site quickly. One of the best ways to get to know your audience is to listen to the questions your customers are asking.

By listening to your customer’s questions you gain an understanding of what they know and how you can talk to them. Figuring out what their questions are then answering them in language a child can understand is the key.

The final and most important principle of basic copywriting is to create great headlines. With so much information surrounding us each day, great headlines are a must. The right headline will cause the searcher to stop and look further. Bad headlines just give the reader a reason to pass over your content.

Great headlines are short and sexy. According to internet marketing giant Hubspot, headlines between 8-14 words were shared the most. Using language that resonates with your buyers is what is considered sexy. Using alliteration, strong language and focusing on value are examples of sexy things you can do to your titles.

An example of a good headline for a plumber may be 3 Ways to Unclog A Clogged Drain. What makes this headline work is it matching a common search term. People love lists, so a do-it-yourself plumber may look at this to see what they haven’t tried. Once they are on your site you can provide your expertise through your answer then offer them your professional services if they need additional help.

Using these basic copywriting principles will set your content apart and help you gain the trust of your readers. The last piece of content writing advice is to read and re-read your material then read it again aloud. Reading it aloud will help you catch any grammatical errors that often get missed by reading silently. Remember, when writing great content the key is to keep it simple.

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