Do you find the prospect of writing your own copy scary? Do you still have nightmares about that prim and proper English teacher who was only too happy to scribble across your homework in red ink?
Forget about her!
If you’re one of those business owners who thinks that your English language skills are not good enough to write content and blogs for your business, I have good news for you:
You don’t have to swallow a thesaurus to write good copy.
Think about your reasons for writing in the first place.
You probably want to sell, yes. But more importantly, you want to communicate your business message clearly to your target audience.
Before anyone is going to buy from you, you need to gain their trust and your content strategy (relax, I just mean your blog) goes a long way in helping your achieve that.
Clear, concise copy in plain English is more likely to resonate with your audience (any audience) than stiff, formal language stuffed full of pretentious words.
The easiest way to achieve this is to use a copywriting technique called WAYS:
So what do I mean by Write As You Speak?
When writing, imagine you are having a conversation with your reader.
Think of it as talking to them, rather than writing for them.
If you suffer from writer’s block, you can record your message rather than writing it down with pen and paper (or finger and keyboard).
This is a great way to identify your natural, conversational tone and then you transcribe it into written words (and you can edit out all the ‘umms’ and ‘ahs’ if you speak like me!)
Here are some further tips to help you achieve this less formal style of writing:
- Don’t use long words and jargon that nobody understands.
- Write in short, simple sentences.
- Keep paragraphs short – lots of white space is visually appealing to readers.
- Don’t be afraid to start sentences with “And” and “But” (Shakespeare did it, and so can you).
- Describe your product or service in a factual, honest manner. Explain to the reader what it is and how it will benefit them.
- Don’t tell the reader your offer is “fantastic” or “amazing” – if it is, they can tell you when they come to review it.
- Use simple punctuation and break up your copy with bullet-points.
- Keep in mind the saying “Humour doesn’t translate”. Tread carefully with the funny talk and consider your audience.
- Similarly, think twice about being controversial. Not everyone will agree with me on this one.There’s a train of thought that it’s good to be controversial – it’s a quick way to attract attention. It’s your call, but personally I think life’s too short for trolls and hassle. There are better ways to get attention than being deliberately provocative.
Finally, remember the importance of focussing on the reader – don’t constantly talk about yourself (trust me, I know how difficult this is).
Think about your reader’s problems and needs, and what you can do to help.
Instead of: “With 10 years experience, I can write content and copy to a high standard.”
Try: “Boost your site with engaging copy, optimised to increase your chances of being found on search engines”
Instead of: “I pride myself on taking amazing photographs.”
Try: “Breathtaking imagery to bring your site to life.”
A good rule of thumb is one “I” for every three “yous” but don’t take this too literally! Just make sure the focus is on the reader and/or their business.
You are there to provide value to them, not tell them how great you are (hopefully they will do this for you soon enough).
Feel free to give feedback and add further suggestions.
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About me: I’m a Freelance Copywriter based in Milton Keynes. If you’re struggling to find the time, or inclination, to write engaging blog posts for your website, I’d love to help.
There’s a simple form on my contacts page or you can call me on 07809 599055 (if it goes to voicemail leave a message and I’ll get back asap).