The ultimate goal of good copywriting is to get the first sentence read.
And then the second, and so on, until the reader hits your offer.
Is your copywriting accomplishing this goal, or are your words getting in the way?
“Amazing” was the most nominated word in Lake Superior State University’s 2012 List of Banished Words.
“Banish it for blatant overuse and incorrect use…to stop my head from exploding,” said Paul Crutchfield.
The last thing a marketer wants is his customer’s head to explode. But how many describe their products as “amazing”? How many promise “amazing” results? The Grand Canyon is amazing. Giving birth is amazing. Weight loss—not so amazing.
Your marketing copy probably won’t be amazing either. But it should be persuasive—captivating readers from the first sentence to the last, and ultimately, inciting them to take action.
Are you selling your products or services with words worthy of banishment? How many of these words do your competitors use as well?
Your copy will be more readable and persuasive if you eliminate the flowery language and hackneyed words that trip people up, turn them off or generally activate their BS radar.
Improve your copywriting with these not-so-amazing tips.
1) Strive for brevity.
William Strunk, Jr. said, “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words…This requires not that the writer make all the sentences short or avoid detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”
2) Strike adjectives and adverbs.
Write with strong verbs and nouns, and eliminate gratuitous adjectives and adverbs. These parts of speech can be powerful when used correctly but stumbling blocks when not. Stephen King believes, “the road to hell is paved with adverbs,” and the prose that comes before an adverb usually makes it unnecessary. Mark Twain advised, “As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out.”
3) Be fierce.
Use adjectives sparingly to inspire an emotional reaction or create a vivid image. I recently read a postcard for a clothing store for “full-figured and fierce women.” I’m not full-figured, but the word “fierce” conjured images of bold, independent women, and I was intrigued.
The right adjective can also evoke a powerful sensory response. Studies indicate even textural metaphors cause sensory areas of the brain to be activated, and sensory adjectives result in higher sales.
4) Write short sentences.
Like Hemingway. As Brian Clark of Copyblogger says, “Hemingway was famous for a terse minimalist style of writing that dispensed with flowery adjectives and got straight to the point.” The shorter the sentence, the higher reader comprehension.
5) Bust yourself.
Tune in to jargon and buzzwords—both general and those specific to your industry. Make it a goal to cut these overused, meaningless words from your copy.