How to Create Compelling Copy
Anyone who has used the internet knows that most website copywriting is as vague and bland as a politician. “Durable, high-quality products abound! And don’t forget to sign up today!” It’s easy to fall back on door-to-door salesman catchphrases and cringy jargon when you don’t know what else to say. Simple communication is, ironically, a struggle to pull off. But that’s what makes effective copywriting—the ability to convey a memorable message. Here are a few insights on how to write copy your audience will want to read.
Find the Right Voice and Stick To It
Voice relates to the tone with which a message is delivered. The tone could be playful, professional, funny, confident, or any other human emotion. Once this voice is discovered, it builds a framework to create copy that drives the message home.
Cards Against Humanity is a popular game known for its raunchy, politically incorrect inappropriateness. That same personality, though toned down, is what you’ll see on the game’s website. Jokes are made throughout the homepage, even at often-overlooked opportunities, like the contact section. The brand does an excellent job of hitting the right notes to maintain a consistent voice that accurately represents its morally degenerate product.
Be Informational and Interesting
It’s always a pleasure to come across copywriting that’s helpful and engaging. Typically, brands direct their focus on one or the other. Hitting both targets differentiates your business.
The online editor Grammarly catches typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors to enhance writing. The company’s blog is full of how-tos, tips, and trends. Grammar talk doesn’t usually cause one to shriek in excitement, but Grammarly’s blog posts keep your attention. Topics include How to Navigate Difficult Conversations in Writing, and digestible articles on punctuation, mechanics, and technique offer guides on improving your writing, which are also enjoyable to read. The writing is clear and concise, the examples are scannable, and you feel like you’ve learned something at the end of each post.
Get To the Point
Brand messaging should be quickly understood. There are endless options online, so your business only has a few fleeting seconds to state its case before a visitor decides to leave your web page. Copy should be clear to hook potential customers in a small window of time. Using active voice, eliminating unnecessary words, and avoiding $10 words are a few ways to get to the rub. Remembering your audience allows you to stay on track. Also, consider bullet points and summaries for easy-to-read formats.
You are the host and your website visitors are the dinner guests. It’s your job to entertain them and hold their focus. Molly Young is a literary critic for New York magazine. She writes a monthly newsletter, Read Like the Wind, on book suggestions. Below is an example of one of her recent emails.
Young doesn’t necessarily follow the get-to-the-point rule of copywriting, but she makes up for it in style. Her whimsical, rambling introductions are out of left field and often irrelevant to books. Young wraps up her point at the end, which only vaguely relates to the purpose of the newsletter. But the desire to see where this strange and random monologue will land keeps you reading. She shows her personality, so it works. Her reviews are just as delightful.
Keep in mind that professional industries, like healthcare, should possess a level of seriousness. But that doesn’t mean foregoing style. Most law firm websites are less interesting that a piece of cardboard or a Terms and Agreements form. Colorless content won’t keep people on your homepage. Professionals are people, too, and want to be entertained just like the rest of us.
The Cleveland Clinic’s Healthy Brains project does a great job highlighting their scientific research by creating an interactive experience with well-written copy. Visitors can register to take a Brain Checkup to quiz their brain health and read about clinical trials and other informative articles. The website gives information on how to maintain a high-functioning brain with punchy blurbs that keep the viewer engaged with the site enough to find out more.
Following these tips is a helpful way to spice up your copywriting and improve content marketing. Above all, put yourself in the audience’s shoes. Write what you’d like to read yourself to keep focused on creating an enjoyable experience for the reader (and you).