Copywriting Secrets You Should Know


If you’ve been copywriting for a while you should already be well aware of these secrets.

Every industry has best practices within it that everyone should know and abide by. Of course, if that were true there would be no cowboys out there.

The following 10 secrets are things that every copywriter – whether freelance, in-house or just a dabbler should know and live by.

1. Keep it simple

This is one I have to remind clients of constantly. Once I had a client who insisted my job was to make them sound “more intelligent”. I had to put them right.

The job of a copywriter is to convey a client’s sales message clearly, persuasively and above all, simply.

Yes your readers will be educated but they are also time limited. If you keep your language and structure simple, they will be able to quickly and easily read and absorb your sales message.

Make it complex and full of big words – they won’t bother to read it.

2. Be personal

Whilst we’re on the subject of your audience, make sure your copy is always personal. You are writing and selling to a person. They have feelings so use emotive language to drive your message home.

Some people writing for the B2B market will claim their audience are businesses therefore writing in a personal style won’t work. So how many businesses have you seen wandering down the street or picking up the phone to order something? None – companies can’t buy, people can.

3. Don’t lie

Whatever you do, don’t lie – your copy must be factual if you and your client are to retain your credibility.

4. Selling

When you are copywriting, selling is the name of the game. It doesn’t matter how great and creative your English language skills are – if you can’t sell you’re going to be out of a job pretty quickly.

5. Don’t cause confusion

When you have got people to your order page, don’t confuse them. Keep the process of parting with their cash as simple as possible.

If they are faced with a complex order form they won’t bother and you’d have lost a sale.

6. Don’t be bullied

Bearing in mind that as a copywriter you understand what sells – not only words but also their appearance and that of a web page or brochure – don’t be railroaded by designers.

If you know a font or text size they’ve picked will damage the impact of your sales message, tell them. If their graphics and images don’t gel with the sales message, tell them. It is the whole package that needs to work.

7. Be the headline act

Did you know that four times more people will read your headline than the body of your text?

If your headline doesn’t grab them nothing will. Therefore it makes sense to spend a lot of time crafting your headline.

8. Length really doesn’t matter

There are a lot of debates raging about whether long copy or short copy is better.

Stick your fingers in your ears and don’t listen. Your copy should be as long as it needs to be. So long as its relevant and interesting it will keep your reader interested.

9. Customers only care about themselves

Harsh but true. Customers couldn’t give a toss about the company you are writing for, their product or, for that matter, you.

If a customers reads your copy and thinks “wow, what a great writer this person is”, you’ve failed miserably.

Great sales copy should go unnoticed. There is only one thing your reader wants to know about – what’s in it for them?

Write benefits driven copy. Not sure if you’ve hit it right? Test your benefits by asking “so what?”

10. Read

The only way to improve your copy is to read. Look to your industry experts and read their work. Look at letters than land on your desk or on your doormat – the ones that appear consistently are the ones that work and generate huge amounts of money.

So, there you go. Ten things every copywriter should know. Life by them, work by them and you shall succeed.

Sally Ormond – freelance copywriter

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