5 Copywriting Tips To Sound Like A Pro Even If You Aren't One

Joe Nafziger // Oct 9 // Insights



Today's advertising is heavy on visuals. It's pretty pictures and fewer words.

That's why it's never been more important to ensure your copy is as strong, smart and succinct as possible.

Copywriting can be frustrating. The right words sell. The wrong words aren't even read.

A lot of people don't know where to start.

Luckily for you, I am sharing some insider secret copywriting tips that I've discovered after reading lots of articles written by copywriters who are WAY better at this stuff than I am.

1. Ask Questions First
You don't want to waste your energy writing the wrong thing. Avoid that fiasco by asking questions ahead of time. Learn about your audience. Find out where your words will be going (ex: on the Web, in a print ad, etc). Determine the one main idea you are trying to convey. What does the copy need to get the reader/listener to do, or think?

2. Use Short Sentences
People more easily read and understand short sentences. There isn't much more explanation needed. You know how people get into arguments over comma usage? Avoid it all together by attempting to only write sentences that need no comma(s).

3. Write Like People Talk
You are a smart person. However, if you are creating advertising, don't try to sound like it. Think of the horsecrap enjoyed by the general populace: Us Weekly, TMZ, Termite Hunterz, etc. We aren't exactly a nation of intellects. You cannot change that. But you can change what words you use so that you avoid being misunderstood. Write in a vernacular that appeals to a sixth-grade reading level. I'm not saying try to sound dumb. I'm saying write how normal people would talk standing around at a BBQ. NOTE: Some brands will have a voice that is smart and fancy. That's cool. First and foremost, stay true to the brand and use words appropriate to its audience.

4. Read It Aloud
Copywriters spend 15% of their day talking to themselves. That's because they read their writing out loud to make sure it doesn't sound awkward. If you're embarrassed to read your stuff out loud at your desk, you're going to be way more embarrassed when thousands of people hear your radio ad with that awkward verb, adjective or phrase that you didn't notice just reading it on paper. Edit according to how it sounds out loud. When your audience reads it, it sounds "out loud" in their own heads.

5. Edit Like You Hate Yourself
If you write 100 taglines and cut it down to eight that you like, you are doing it right. If you pen a dozen scripts but only share two with your creative director, that's par for the course. Get used to taking a third and fourth pass through your work. Every blog post, piece of body copy and headline can be shortened, reworked and edited to near perfection. After you've completed a chunk of writing, walk away. When you come back the next day, you'll see where words can be moved around or deleted all together. The more you can say with fewer words, the better.

Keep Writing
These are just a few of the copywriting tips that I share during classes and workshops. There are plenty more to explore in your quest to write effective copy. Check out Copyblogger for a lot of good advice.
If you are a copywriter or want to be one, please let me know. We're always looking for good writers as they seem to be few and far between. Email me at joen[at]theideabrand[dot]com.


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