Writing great copy is easy, right? Well, for some.
Of course, there’s a difference between beautiful prose, and copy that achieves the required objectives.
As the Director of brand communication consultancy, KIS Communications, I work with businesses both in Australia and internationally to define, refine and articulate their brand. We offer a range of communications services, but the requests I most often receive are from brands seeking support with their copywriting.
In a world where companies are reliant ever more heavily on digital and visual content, the power of words shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s amazing how frequently brands can run themselves into trouble simply by choosing the wrong ones!
As Robin Sharma says, “Words can inspire and words can destroy. Choose yours well.”
So without further ado, here are my top five simple tips for writing better copy.
1. Consider the 2 'A's
For me there are 2 'A's you should always consider when starting any piece of writing: the Aims of the piece and the Audience. Keep these front of mind and, whether you’re writing a sales blog targeting fashion consumers, or a United Nations report promoting stakeholder engagement, you’ll be able to define the right tone of voice for your audience. When it comes to your aims, ask yourself why you're writing this copy and what calls to action are needed.
2. Mix Up Your Sentences
It might sound simple, but mixing up your sentence length is an important copywriting technique. This is particularly useful when it comes to sales and campaign copy. When I worked as a journalist, we limited sentences to no more than 25 words, with a reading age of 12 years old in mind. This may be a useful guide for you depending on your audience.
3. Limit Your Ideas
Following on from point two, you should limit the number of ideas each sentence contains. Of course, to an extent this depends on your readership. However, the more ideas you cover in a sentence, the more likely it is that your reader will get lost mid-way through.
4. Use Intuitive Headlines
Most copy, from reports to blog posts and website copy, is suited to headlines and sub-headings throughout. This is a great way to break up your copy into key points and make it easier for your reader to quickly find and identify key points that are relevant to him/ her. Avoid overcomplicating your headlines and sub-headings, and ensure that you opt for intuitive options that will assist your audience.
5. Proofread aplenty
Every so often I have a little rant about why you shouldn't proofread your own work - it’s absolutely true! Even as an experienced sub editor, when I go back and re-read something I've written, I’ll sometimes find errors in my own copy. If it’s an option, have a sub editor or experienced proofreader look over your work, particularly where the copy is for an external audience. They’ll undoubtedly pick up errors that you haven’t spotted. After all, no one’s perfect!
I hope these super simple copy tips help you to write better, more meaningful copy.
Need help with any aspects of your copywriting? I’m here to help. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s create copy that achieves outstanding outcomes for your brand!