There’s content that gets less engagement than a stale slice of bread. And then there’s content that attracts prospects as effectively as a field of puppies.
Let’s take a closer look at the copywriting mistakes that can negatively impact your business. Keep reading to learn how to write words that aren’t just shiny, they’re luminous.
Sometimes we write content that’s indulgent.
We use fancy and complex phrases that parade our knowledge without explaining it. You wrote what you wanted to write, not what your readers wanted to read.
They aren’t looking to discover the next Oscar Wilde. They’re hungry for knowledge.
As tempting as it can be, writing for ourselves is alienating and leaves readers with nothing to take away.
Writing for the reader starts with understanding them. You need to build your buyer personas using audience research to create highly-targeted content. A persona could look like this:
Job title: Managing Director
Main personality traits: Brenda is very logical and likes to see solid facts
Main problems encountered: She has a lot of big responsibilities but time is being wasted on small tasks
Goals: She wants to free up more time for family events
With buyer personas in hand, you can learn which tone is right for your audience.
For example, Brenda appreciates content that cuts to the chase and is driven by powerful statistics. A matter-of-fact tone that leads with authority will put a smile on Brenda’s face and get her interested in your business.
Sometimes we use too much jargon.
“Climb the stairway to success with our innovative solutions” – Said someone, somewhere
Great! But what does that mean?
We leave the reader guessing. They don’t get the information they’re looking for.
They think: So what? The result is a dissatisfied reader who won’t come back for more.
Jargon is a complex beast. Understanding what’s jargon and what isn’t can be tricky. Stick to this rule to make things simpler:
- Avoid using words that end in -ise, -ism and -istic
Phrases like ‘pain points’ and ‘content is king’ are also overused and can make for a boring read.
Instead, show how your business works using real examples. Tell your readers exactly what your product or service does rather than just saying ‘solution’.
And think about your perspective. How can you make your content fresh with your unique way of seeing the world? By putting your own spin on things, you can present old information in new and exciting ways.
Sometimes we use complicated words and difficult to understand phrases.
Everything. Takes. A. Long. Time. To. Read.
And when we don’t simplify terminology nor do we explain what we mean, the reader is left thinking: This is too smart for me.
We create negative reader experiences that fail to teach anything. When a competitor is writing clearer and more educational articles, we lose customers to them.
Ann Handley is a treasure to the copywriting world. Her book Everybody Writes (which no writer has ever regretted purchasing) preaches that “good writing is simple, but not simplistic.”
It’s less puzzling than it sounds.
“Assume the reader knows nothing. But don’t assume the reader is stupid.”
Break down complex concepts so they’re easy to understand:
- Use subheadings
- Explain terminology
- Shorten your sentences
- Shed word bloat: “It’s important that…” or “In other words”
Spot overly complicated sentences by reading them aloud. You could also use the Hemingway app which scores your content for readability.
Finally, ask yourself: Are you making sense? Would a reader who knows little about the subject understand? Your explanations should be easily digestible saving the reader’s time and energy.
Sometimes we write content that’s patronising.
We repeat shallow topics because it’s easier than diving deeper. In the process, we belittle readers by reciting what they already know, underestimating their intelligence.
Content that undermines is:
- Too simplistic – it states the obvious
- Too repetitive – readers never learn anything new
We’re at risk of writing ‘been there done that’ content when the idea bank is lacking.
The good news: there are plenty of ways to curate original content.
First off, look at your buyer personas. Is there a problem regularly experienced by buyers that you haven’t addressed? Write about it.
Or maybe you’ve recently read an article and you didn’t agree with. Create an opinion piece from your unique point of view.
Buzzsumo is a great paid tool that highlights trending topics. Obviously, copying topics defeats the point. But there’s no rule stopping you from putting your own spin on relevant subjects.
Can’t be bothered to read the above? Let me summarise in 49 words:
Do you want to be a ludicrously good writer? To create content that builds your influence and turns prospects into customers you need to:
- Write for your audience, not for yourself
- Kiss jargon goodbye
- Simplify explanations focusing on word choice and sentence structure
- Discuss original topics, not second-hand thoughts
The Next Step …
… is getting more eyes on your content. Learn how by reading my guide on making the most of your content.