Five Brilliant Bits of Copywriting Advice (That Bloggers Keep Ignoring)
Bloggers have a huge problem. For some reason, they view blogging as an entirely different field to copywriting. A field with different rules, different goals and different skillsets.
Their problem is that they’re completely and utterly wrong.
Whether you’re writing a restaurant review, ranting about the quality of political comment in this country or trying to sell your services, the rules, goals and skillsets are the same. You need to communicate clearly and effectively. You need to influence your audience and provoke a certain action or reaction. And you need to be able to write in a way that speaks to the reader.
So if you’re a blogger who sneers at those who sell, swallow your pride and take the following advice.
It’ll make sure that people read your posts, listen to your ideas and act upon them in the desired way.
Five Brilliant Bits of Copywriting Advice You Can’t Afford to Ignore
Whether you’re an experienced copywriter, an outspoken blogger or a part-time writing enthusiast, if you want to be a better writer there are five things you need to do when you write for the web. Because if you don’t, your work will go unread, unremarked-upon and unloved. Which is the opposite of what you want.
1) Be Brief
This point cannot be understated. In the UK, 45% of people use their mobile phone to access the web. A mobile phone screen isn’t built for rambling screeds. If you’re posting thousands of words, a combination of eye strain and thumb fatigue is going to stop mobile users reading to the end.
But if you’re brief and to-the-point, you’ll get your whole message across.
2) Be Clear
Here’s something every copywriter knows. Long words don’t make you sound cleverer.
Let that sink in for a moment, because too many bloggers espouse obfuscation in their musings, displaying naught but a knack for apt application of a Thesaurus’ primary operative function. (Or, they like to show people that they can use a Thesaurus.)
All this does is confuse readers with smaller vocabularies while causing more verbose visitors to think you pretentious. So unless you’re writing a blog about riding your Penny Farthing around Chorlton, use clear, simple words. They’ll keep your readers hooked.
Come on bloggers. You’ve got to know this by now. By my reckoning, about 1/8th of the non-pornographic internet is taken up by Copyblogger articles explaining why you need to come up with a great headline. And yet you still keep ignoring that advice!
People find your blog on Twitter, Facebook, and through increasingly-crammed RSS feeds. If you don’t have an attention grabbing headline, how do you expect to stand out from the crowd?
So stop dropping your headline in as an afterthought, and start crafting the sort of headlines that would have a newspaper sub-editor punching the air. It’ll increase your readership overnight.
4) Offer a Benefit
You know why you’re reading this post. Because if you follow the brilliant copywriting advice given on this page, you’ll become a better blogger. That benefit has been clear from the outset.
So why am I reading your blog? What possible benefit do I get from reading your Prometheus review? From listening to your ramble on Spain’s refusal to pick a centre-forward at Euro 2012? From your guide to local restaurants? Because if my benefit is just that I’m treated to the opinion of a stranger, I’ll stop reading fairly quickly.
But if you tell me I’m going to save £7 in cinema tickets by avoiding a horrible film, fall in love with football again through my new appreciation of tiki-taki, or get in the Mrs’ good books by taking her to a brilliant restaurant, I’m adding you to my RSS feed.
5) End On a Strong Call to Action
Finally, you need to tell your reader what to do. Because if you’ve followed the four steps above and not this one, you’ll have a gaggle of fans who’d eat out of the palm of your hands if you’d just ask them to.
So ask your readers to comment in the aptly-named comment section below. Tell them to share this post with their friends on Twitter and Facebook. Instruct them to subscribe to the site’s RSS feed for even more great posts.
Because if you do, you’ll soon grow an engaged, impressed userbase. And from there, the blogging world is your oyster.
If you’re a professional copywriter, you should take a look at the Professional Copywriters’ Network – brainchild of Tom Albrighton and Ben Locker. You’ll find some great posts, and a spotlight article featuring me.
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