Every single day, copywriters are surrounded by copywriting tips, advice and many others claiming to help them become the best there is. All these coming from everywhere it’s spinning around more constantly than the Earth itself. Where to begin? What to follow? How to tell if this trick will work? But even if these are followed to the letter, copywriters will make mistakes. For this reason, it is necessary to make a first (even second and third) draft because nothing becomes perfect the first time. Take note of these very common mistakes and hopefully, the mistakes will come few and far between.
#1 Not taking care of headlines
We think of a headline and go straight to writing it thinking the first one will be the final one. But more often than not, that initial headline is rubbish. Remember, your headline is the worm at the end of your line and if they won’t bite, you won’t get an audience. A good headline can grab a reader’s first and second glance. A so-so headline will be overlooked after reading it. And a poor one won’t be read at all.
A few copywriter tips on headlines:
Avoid link-bait headlines – These are the ones that want you to read on but offer very little solutions, or entertainment, and even value. If you keep using this type and don’t back it up with real content you are offering, you will have a disenchanted audience.
Avoid too much originality – While originality is fine, sometimes trying too hard to be original will backfire. Why? Headline forms have been tried and tested; most of them have worked over the years.
Avoid trying to be witty or funny – If you’re a comedian, this might work but if you’re trying to be funny first, you won’t get your message through and people won’t click at all – and that’s not funny anymore.
#2 Misunderstanding the features and the benefits
Even seasoned copywriters still get mixed up with the two.
“So, what comes with your product?”
Here, you write the FEATURES of your product. For example: AAA Batteries included; Comes with a leather case; It has its own Anti-Virus software.
It’s not describing the product, it’s listing the add-ons and the stuff users will get.
“So how will this thing help me?”
Here, you write what good things buyers will get. For example: No need to buy batteries; Product is protected because of the leather case; There is no need to download an anti-virus software.
See the difference? Write the features in bullet form and in shorter words. Focus more on the benefits because those will address the buyers’ needs, pains, and problems – that’s what buyers are looking for.
#3 Not focusing on layout
Think about the overall visual impact of your content. Think bullets, paragraph lengths, headers, sub headers, lists, etc. Remember that the average reader scans content first and if yours is too daunting, he’s not going to reader it. Some layout tips include:
- Use headlines, sub headers, bullets and lists, bolded or italic words so that a reader will keep scrolling.
- Use paragraph-summarizing headers so that a reader will get the picture.
- Use bullets with only important words.
- Avoid complex sentences that run too long.
- Paragraphs should be around 4 to 5 sentences only.
#4 Not focusing on the buyer
Finally, if you get mixed up with the features and benefits, chances are you are not focusing on your buyer, too.
When a prospective buyer comes to your site, he wants to know, “What’s in it for me?” And if the answers aren’t there, he’s gone. He’s looking for a better life: things that can save him time and money, make him happier, healthier, etc.
A business owner understands what keeps their buyers busy, what they’d like to do with your product or how will the product improve their lives. And that’s what copywriters should focus on, not how good the company is and how awesome the product is.
It’s not easy
Alas, copywriting is not for everybody. It’s not for the faint-hearted writers even. Anyone can write anything on a website. But those words won’t guarantee sales. Whatever content you are creating, whether fresh or updating an existing one, copywriting cannot be just a footnote. These are only a few common mistakes. There are plenty out there but avoid these ones first. Don’t rush the normal process, be thorough in your writing, take the copywriter tips and advice of the seasoned ones and steal their techniques. Finally, get input from others in the industry and not just fellow writers and copywriters. You will always pick up rare gems of advice that you should consider using. You’ll see the results very soon.