Guest post by Kate Galambos
People have access to information today more than ever before. It is no longer enough to have consistent content across multiple channels. Instead, professionals need to stand out amongst the endless sea of information.
The first step toward writing copy that breaks through the information overload is to write well. Even in this abbreviated online world, well-written copy cannot be over-valued. Take a disciplined approach to each writing opportunity to develop consistent, clear messages and avoid these major writing errors:
- The overuse of adjectives: Just get to the point. Readers don’t need to know you took a few English Lit classes in college. In all seriousness, adjectives, which are words that modify nouns, result in long, inefficient writing. As a general rule avoid using words with “ly” and instead reach for strong verbs rather than weak nouns that need to be “fluffed.” Not only will your writing be more powerful, but you can keep your copy short and avoid losing your audience’s attention.
- Leaving out the call-to-action: After you’ve made your case for your product or service, it is essential to tell your audience what is next. Without the appropriate call to action, any marketing copy falls short of its goal. Effective marketing copy creates a sense of urgency and then directs the reader to either the product or contact information for the appropriate person.
- Telling rather than showing: Think of your marketing copy as an abbreviated novel (without all those adjectives) when you are crafting your message. Like a novel, your language should show your readers, rather than tell them, why they should be interested. Using statistics and testimonials show your audience the results of your product and give your brand legitimacy.
- Lacking a headline: Never underestimate the power of a well-written headline. Today more than ever, readers rely on headlines to tell them key information. Like your body copy, your headline should include a call-to-action of some kind for those readers who never make it beyond the title text. From a marketing standpoint, professionals should consider the length of their headline, in addition to content. Depending on what sort of channels you plan to use, your headline could vary from 40 to 80 characters in length across social media platforms.
- An overly formal tone: Marketing copy of any kind, whether in a blog, email blast, or social media post, should speak to the audience. A common mistake is creating too formal a tone and coming across as if you are speaking down to your readers. A simple trick to help avoid this is to read your copy aloud to yourself; does it sound like something you would say? If the answer is a hard “no,” consider rephrasing.
Stick to the basics when it comes to crafting any message, regardless of length or platform. A simple strategy is the best strategy. Following a few guidelines will keep readers focused on what matters, your content. Ready to take it to the next step? Check out this post on the balance between content and SEO.