Ten top tips for writing effective and engaging copy

Posted on: August 24th, 2013

When you need to write a promotional email or a mailshot about yourself, do you get writer’s block and have no idea where to start? Here my ten top tips on how to write convincing and persuasive copy.

Tip 1. Understand exactly who you are writing for
A common mistake is to forget the reader. Find out as much as you can about your target audience and start to build up a picture of them. Because you can’t expect to win them over unless you understand what makes them tick.

Tip 2. Be clear on why you are writing the piece
For example, is it to persuade, to inform, to gather leads or to build an image? This will affect what you write. Without knowing the aim of the piece you can’t choose the right content or the right words to convey your message.

Tip 3. Determine your usp
Work out what your unique selling proposition is and state this clearly up front. Ask yourself what makes your service so special? How does it differ from the competition? Is there something new about it?

Tip 4. Write benefits, not features
The reader wants to know “what’s in it for me” not what you want to tell them. Focus on the ‘sizzle’ not on the ‘sausage’.

Tip 5. Write as you would say it
Keep the style conversational and friendly. Make sure your words are short and simple. Avoid jargon (they won’t understand it) and hype (they won’t believe it).

Tip 6. Spend a lot of time on the headlines
80% of people never read beyond the headline because the words don’t interest them. If your headline doesn’t grab the reader, they won’t read the rest of your copy.

Tip 7. Never use a single word more than you need to
Identify exactly what it is you need to tell them, get straight to the point and don’t obscure your message in long-winded waffle. That doesn’t necessarily mean your copy has to be short. If you have a lot to say, say it. But every word needs to count.

Tip 8. Make it clear what action you want the reader to take
For example, is it to:

  • phone/email for more information
  • register for an event
  • sign up for your newsletter
  • request a brochure
  • enter a competition
  • follow you on social media

Tip 9. Write for the medium
Are you writing an advert, a website, a brochure, a blog post or a promotional email?

Tip 10. Edit and re-edit
Effective copy is never written in the first draft. Print it out and read it aloud – this will help you see any bits that don’t flow right or that sound awkward. Then keep on improving it until it’s as good as you can possibly make it.

If you want more tips, you can download 20 free tips from my copywriting website or from the tab on my Facebook page.


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