18 Apr 101 copywriting tips
As the digital world grows, it’s more important than ever to stand out from the competitive crowd.
Producing high-quality content is the deciding factor whether audiences stay on your site. You’ve only got 15 seconds to grab a user’s attention, so great copy is vital to drive traffic, convert leads and gain all-important sales.
At WooContent we offer copywriting services across most sectors, but if you want to write your website copy yourself, we’ve put together 101 copywriting tips to get you started.
1. Know your audience
It’s vital to know your target demographic so that you can create content that interests them.
2. Make headlines count
Your content might be incredible but if your headline doesn’t capture audiences, it’s unlikely to be read.
3. Did someone say strategy?
Make a plan of action before you start writing. Who are you reaching? Why? How?
4. Paragraphs and page breaks are your friends
No one wants to read great big chunks of content. Make it visually appealing by spacing out your copy.
5. What’s hot?
When brainstorming ideas, always look at the latest news in your industry – you need to be as relevant as possible.
6. The power of a listicle
Make your copy simple and clear. Can those 2,000 words be turned into a 10-point listicle?
7. Stop! It’s the grammar police
Article writing is not easy, check through your copy. Then recheck it. Error-strewn copy is incredibly unprofessional.
Separate your copy into sections for an easier read. Make sure when your headline and subheads are read together, they tell the story of your copy.
Yes, it takes a bit of time, but always run a spellcheck.
10. The oversell
Copy should always be informative, even when you’re trying to generate leads for your business. Overly ‘salesy’ copy is off-putting.
11. Keep fonts clean and clear
Always use a clear and easy-to-read font for your copy. You want audiences to spend time reading your words not deciphering what they are.
12. Tone is crucial
Discover the tone of voice that’s ideal for your audience and always use it.
Always guide users through your website by using words such as ‘click for more’ or ‘buy now’. Once they’ve read your content, you’re giving them a clear path on where to head to next.
14. Sloppy copy
Always make sure that your copy has a clear topic or theme.
15. What’s the point?
Always think about the outcome. Do you want your copy just to inform audiences or to direct them to a specific product etc?
16. And they all lived happily ever after
Storytelling is a great way to keep audience’s attention. We all love hearing tales of success.
17. Punctuation rules, OK?
Great copy has a natural flow. Don’t unsettle, the reader, with too, many, commas. See?
18. Authenticity counts
Always be true to your brand. People are much more likely to invest in your brand if they think you’re genuine.
19. The hierarchy of messaging
Put the most important facts early in the copy – only about 20% of a web page will be read by the user.
20. What’s the look?
When writing your content, think how your page will look for a great user experience. Avoid chunky blocks of text with no images.
21. Can I trust you?
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to copywriting. Never overpromise.
22. Plagiarism is a sin
Take inspiration from your competitors but never copy ideas. Users will spot it and turn to the real deal rather than a fake.
23. I like your style
A style guide will ensure your brand will have a consistent style and tone.
24. The buyer journey
Always plan the journey of a user from potential lead to customer. Make sure your copy supports the stage they’re at.
25. It’s not what you’re selling – it’s how
Be interesting and relevant. The goal is to convince audiences that they can’t do without your product or service.
26. Pretty picture
Posts with images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts.
27. Secret stash
Coming up with new ideas can be difficult. To help, keep a record of your best performing content to turn to for inspiration.
28. Get creative
Sometimes we have to take risks to succeed. Creativity is what separates you from competitors, so don’t be afraid to stand out.
29. The art of the buyer persona
Always have the perfect customer in mind when creating copy. Create buyer personas so it’s clear who the target audience is.
30. Can I get your opinion on that?
A second opinion is a great way to get a fresh perspective on copy, and may reveal some ideas you hadn’t considered.
31. Set a word count – and stick to it
Decide on the ideal word count before you start writing, and make sure you stick to it. Overlong copy is a chore to read (and probably won’t be read anyway).
32. Move with the times
Position yourself as a market leader by keeping up to date with what’s relevant to your audience.
Always present the problem and then your brand as the solution. Readers need help and guidance – not a list of their challenges.
34. Keep content fresh
We often see the same headlines over and over again. Think about new catchier titles that will resonate with your audience.
35. Are you sure about that?
Always strengthen statements by using words like ‘can’ and ‘will’ and avoid confusing terms such as ‘should’ or ‘maybe’.
36. Use positive words, not questions
Instead of saying ‘why not get in touch today?’, opt for ‘get in touch today’. Don’t allow readers to think of a reason not to contact you.
37. Writer’s block
Certain types of copy are tricky to write. If you get stuck, either come back to it later or take a break.
38. Mastering the power
Words don’t need to be dull and boring. Use power words to bring excitement and emotion to your content.
39. Don’t forget search engines
When thinking about titles, always consider which terms people you want to reach will type into search engines.
40. Over here!
Don’t be afraid to use arrows, bold up or emphasise words you want readers to focus on. Fun elements like these – used sparingly – add character to otherwise plain content.
41. Use symbols
Not every word has to be written out letter by letter. Make your content more concise with symbols such as £/$/%.
42. Peace and quiet
It can be easy to look to distractions when writing. To avoid temptation, turn off your phone and don’t check emails.
43. Can we talk?
Make your content more engaging by imagining the reader sat in front of you – talk to them, not at them.
Avoid sending potential customers to competitors by using over-complicated terms or words. The simpler, the better.
45. Play to your strengths
Concentrate on what you do best and make sure your key services and products can be easily seen by readers.
46. What’s your USP?
Convince consumers to choose you by telling them what makes you stand out.
47. Sorry, what is that?
Images aren’t just something you throw on a page. Always caption your photos as they help to tell the story of your page.
Let your customers sell your products and services by writing a good review. They’ll be genuine and authentic and are great PR.
49. Ellipses add intrigue…
The ellipsis is a handy punctuation tool that adds a touch of surprise and intrigue to your copy. Like this…
50. Copy comes first, then design
Always write your copy then plan the page design. Once you have the information, it’s easier to plan where it will be placed rather than writing to a fixed template.
51. Sounds like exaggeration
You want to impress, of course, but avoid saying ‘hundreds’ or ‘thousands’ of people unless you actually know. Always opt for exact figures for authenticity.
Make sure your content focuses on what the reader can benefit from rather than what you offer. Make it about them.
53. Use the second person
Strengthen the position of your brand as a solution by using the term ‘you’. This lets customers see that your focus is on them and makes your copy more personal.
54. Don’t be afraid to repeat
If you have key messages, make sure you emphasise them whenever possible. Repeat them across your website.
When prompting readers to take a particular action, encourage this by adding more incentives such as ‘free postage’ and ‘20% off’.
56. The easier, the better
Copywriting should be simple, clear and easy to remember. Avoid getting carried away with complicated content.
57. Embrace change
The advancement of technology means the world of copywriting is always developing. Be prepared to try new methods – don’t write to the same formula each time.
58. A clear path
If a shop was a mess with its stock jumbled across its displays, would you buy from it? Apply this same method to your copywriting. Does it clearly lead the reader to the product or service?
59. Keep it short
Sentences that are too long are hard to follow. Keep your points short and simple.
When laying out your copy, make sure it fits the page. Text that looks cramped or too spaced out is off-putting.
61. I second that emotion
Emotive writing is a great way to gain audience attention. By causing a reaction, you guarantee your copy is memorable.
We understand you want your copy to rank in first place but keywords should be incorporated into great copy – not the other way around.
63. Too much, too soon
Avoid cramming important information at the top of your homepage. By spacing out your messaging, you can ensure your entire page is seen.
64. Sealing the deal
Give a final push by using messaging on your checkout or registration pages. Think about reasons why visitors may look elsewhere and make points to prevent them clicking away, such as free shipping or discounts.
65. Be respectful
Although you want to position yourself as an industry expert, avoid patronising your readers. Write how your target demographic would to one another.
66. Too good to be true
Writing great copy is difficult. When writing is too easy, it is definitely worth reviewing whether you’re writing at your best.
67. It’s a dead end
Always plan where your copy is leading the reader. The key is to always guide them to the next stage of the buying process – think of the journey.
68. Test it out
Although consistency is key, don’t do it for the sake of it. Make sure you use SEO tools to see what works and what doesn’t.
69. The numbers game
Apart from listicles (which are a great way to simplify complicated content), limit bullet points to five or fewer. Too many can distract the reader.
We know that your brand is exciting, but less is more. Use exclamation marks sparingly. And never use two!!
71. Shape matters
When using bullet points, think about the kind of shape you’re using. A checklist is great for showing what’s included, whereas numbers are great to outline a step-by-step process.
Keep your copy as exciting as possible through clever words and sentence structure. If you don’t care, neither will the reader.
73. DON’T SHOUT
Use capitals very sparingly. It makes it look like you’re shouting and is best avoided.
74. The here and now
Write like you talk. No one says ‘whilst’ and ‘amongst’ anymore; say ‘while’ and ‘among’.
75. One goal
When planning your website, each page should work towards a specific outcome. Clearly outline what you want the page to achieve before writing it.
76. Please sir, can I have some more?
Never assume the reader knows something. Explain points in a way that your audience clearly understands.
77. Taglines are important
Taglines are another way to capture audience attention. Pay as much attention to these as you do your headline.
78. Sale overload
Though your brand has plenty of great services or products to offer, don’t push them all at once. Put a strategy in place so you can focus.
79. Down to earth
Now that you have a great website with good traffic, don’t become lazy. Make sure the same high-quality effort is put in when creating copy.
Don’t set word counts without researching other, similar content. Some content needs to be 500 words whereas others need to be longer. Make sure yours is just right.
81. We’re the best!
Stay away from cheesy phrases. If making bold claims, always provide evidence.
82. The readout
Once you’ve finished writing your copy, imagine you’re on the phone, reading it out to a customer. Any parts you’re not completely happy with, amend immediately.
83. Risky living
Hard-hitting, punchy content can have a huge impact and be shared widely. Don’t let fear of failure stop you writing content that takes a few risks.
84. Minimising wasted opportunities
If you’re showing slideshows or videos, make sure you use messaging to explain what readers will see. It’s not only useful to the user, it’s great for SEO, too.
85. A splash of colour
Avoid distracting the reader by using bright and colourful fonts. It’s easier to read darker fonts rather than grey or white.
86. Never fear the paragraph
Make sure that your paragraphs aren’t too short or too long. No one wants to read chunky text or broken information.
87. Testimonies are in
If you’re looking to include testimonies on your website, make it easier for the reader to get key messages by including pullquotes, attributed to the reviewer.
88. Say no to txtspk
Your target demographic may consist of a younger audience but always avoid alienating others with abbreviations that may not be understood #lol #yolo
89. Be the answer
Always consider the questions that your audiences want to know the answer to. Google is always on the lookout for the most useful answer to a query – make sure that’s you.
90. Check, check then check again
Check everything you write, even things you think may be obvious. That person you’re quoting, is their surname Smith? Smithe? Smyth? Never assume and always double-check to eliminate the risk of sloppy errors.
91. Show me the numbers
Headlines with numbers get more clicks than those without.
92. Less is more
If your content comes with a hefty word count, make it easier for the reader by releasing the content as a series. They’ll have more impact and be more likely to be read.
Don’t be fearful of injecting personal touches to your copy. As long as it fits with brand guidelines, they’ll add authenticity.
94. The unexpected
Every now and again, shake things up and surprise your readers with a new approach. This can be the difference between your copy being unseen and going viral.
95. Intros are key
Intros are almost as important as headlines. If your readers can’t get past your intros, they won’t bother with the rest of the content.
Always back up your points with proof. If you’re promoting a product or service, include reviews or videos that back up what you’ve said about it.
97. The time is now
Make sure that your copy evokes a sense of urgency when it comes to the user taking action. A great way to do this is by including time-restricted deals or offers.
98. The full experience
When writing out testimonials, don’t just focus on the highlights. Readers will connect with story-based accounts of the full experience.
Don’t become too emotionally attached to your copy. If it’s too long or some parts are unnecessary, always cut it down – it’s nothing personal.
100. Remember the rule of three
The best concepts or ideas are written in threes. More interesting to the reader, it is a great rule to make sure your points are memorable.
101. Open loops
Ask your reader questions throughout your copy. This is a great way to increase engagement – the human mind doesn’t like to leave things unanswered, which means they will read more.
By following these tips above, you’re ready to create perfect copy.
From writer’s block to lack of inspiration, we understand that creating the perfect copy can be challenging. If you’re struggling to put your ideas on paper, get in touch with WooContent – as a copywriting agency we can ensure your content is set for digital success.