OMG. ROFL. LOL. LMK Wanna hang later? CMON YOLO! K BYE.

Are we losing the art of writing? There’s a whole new generation that actually communicates in this way. Regularly. And whilst we are well aware this is just a form of shorthand commonly used by teenagers texting their mates, it has got us thinking about the use of language and what good writing is all about.

In a marketing sense, copywriting must be highly valued. The words you use in your advertisements and publicity material really need to count. They need to be creative, eye catching, succinct and above all, avoid any of the aforementioned acronyms.

If you were a fan of drinking gin, always seeking out the latest and greatest, keen to know the ingredients and flavour profiles, which gin would you buy based on the label descriptions below?

Exhibit A:

Our gin’s pink hues are telling of the fresh raspberries within, whilst the aromas will invoke thoughts of an uplifting spring day with a little native finger lime zing.

Exhibit B:

Our gin will take you on a real botanical journey.

The second example leaves you wondering what’s this all about? Yes, there are words, but they don’t actually say anything. Intriguing? Yes. Unclear and ambiguous? Also, yes.

We concede we did in fact write the copy for Exhibit A for our client Underground Spirits, but surely you agree the second example, a brand we shall not name, leaves you scratching your head as to what the flavours may be, and no closer to knowing what’s actually in the bottle. A lost sale perhaps?

The words are important.

Here’s some of our best tips for effective copywriting:

  • Create a copywriting style guide – whilst you may have a brand style guide which looks at the way you visually represent your brand, few brands have one for copywriting. The words you use are just as important as the visuals. Should your copy be casual and approachable in tone? Should it be more formal? Will you be using medical jargon that requires explanation in some instances? Will your copy be short and sharp or wordy and colourful? Your copywriting style guide should answer these questions.
  • Head in with a header – headers/headlines and the intro copy needs to grab attention. But don’t try to be too clever – ambiguous header copy, header copy that includes puns, acronyms or inside jokes or that is misleading is ineffective. Just be clear and concise, and keep headers simple.
  • Don’t eat Grandma – pay attention to your Grammar – grammar is the difference between Let’s eat, Grandma! And Let’s eat Grandma! We’re pretty sure Grandma wouldn’t like the second option. Grammar really needs to be at the forefront of all your copywriting. Grammar is one area that you shouldn’t skimp on. If you’re not particularly great at it, get some help from a grammar expert. At the very least, a second set of eyes reviewing your copy is always important.
  • Write for your audience – always write with your audience in mind and steer your copy in that direction. Are you writing for school aged children, or for accountants? Your copy needs to target these people.
  • Set the tone of the product/service/campaign – your copy needs to match what you’re pitching. If you’re selling tech to the IT industry, tech terms and jargon will be ok. If you’re selling the same tech to the general public, don’t use that jargon as most wont understand. Is the tone friendly and informal? Can you have a bit of fun, or is the topic so serious that it cannot be anything other than formal language? If you’re promoting an expensive experience, use copy that conveys luxury and a premium feel. If it’s an experience for a budget conscious family, use words that sell it as affordable.
  • Make it pretty – think about how your copy LOOKS. What font suits best and what size should it be? Short form copy or longer form? Is the copy better presented as bullet points? Text under separate headings, or straight narrative?
  • Stick to key messages – get to the point with your copy. The best copy is engaging copy that clearly conveys your core messages.
  • Call to action – what do you want your audience to DO after they read your copy? Do you want them to make a purchase? Do you want them to find out more about your service? Are you trying to educate them or raise awareness for your cause? Ensure your copy conveys your needs clearly.
  • Make every word count –don’t fill your copy with fluff. Every word has a purpose and can make a real difference. Be succinct and to the point, with just the right amount of copy for purpose.
  • Avoid those acronyms! SNM!

And for the record, it was:

Oh my God. Rolling on the floor laughing. Laugh out loud. Would you like to see each other later? Come on, you only live once! Ok, Goodbye.

Writing is a real skill and we know not everyone has the knack. If you need a hand with copywriting that will get results for your business, get in touch with us as we’re always here to help.

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