The first thing you learn when you start writing copy is that writing for the web shouldn’t be like writing for a newspaper.
For me, it was a hard lesson to take as I studied journalism. That shift from using the skills I learned for so many years to totally ignore them was difficult to assimilate.
Yet, everything is easier with a checklist. You can always look at what you missed or what you did wrong.
So, today is your lucky day. I want to share with you this checklist that will make you an extraordinary copywriter. Yay!
If you follow these rules before publishing, you will move from being another blogger on the internet to that successful blogger you want to be.
I promise they are easy-to-apply rules.
Is your text readable?
The first thing to pay attention to is the readability of what you’re writing. This means the degree of easiness or difficulty for your audience to read a text.
Here, there are elements of both design, grammar, style, and use of language.
1. Short and concise headline
The headlines are important for many reasons, but also because they break the text into more digestible sections. For that, you will need to make them short.
But at the same time the need to be straight to the point and represent what the following text will speak about.
Make sure your headlines aren’t longer than one sentence and a line. Otherwise, they’re more difficult to read.
2. Use of active language.
You should avoid the passive voice. This means that you should opt for constructions like “the expert wrote the article” instead of “the article was written by the expert”.
Language is more dynamic when it is in active voice. It’s less difficult to write.
On top of that, try to use action verbs, those they need an object. Avoid the verb to be in favor of words such as represent or symbolize.
Some words put people into action. That is why you will most likely see sentences such “follow us on Facebook” or “amaze your customers with this new product” when you surf the internet.
3. Little use of jargon… to a certain extent
And I make emphasis on the “to a certain extent”. It is important to make your content accessible for everybody: those who know the jargon and those who don’t.
But at the same time, it is also important to adapt your text to your audience. Find the sweet spot between condescendence and accommodation.
And that is an example of the next rule.
4. Opt for a more common vocabulary
It is fine to have to a pair or two of your favorite, fancy words but not everyone is as literate as you are. Also, your main goal is to reach a broader audience: do it.
Extravagant words don’t inspire trust. The instinct is to believe that the writer is hiding something behind all the fluff.
Are you offering quality?
The next aspect to include in a copywriter’s checklist is quality. Remember to pay attention to it when you write a blog post.
This is tricky. Quality has more to do with the content and the previous research rather than with the technique or the way the author wrote it.
However, there are certain aspects you should take into consideration to avoid spoiling a good piece of content.
5. Keep the consistency
It’s not unusual to see bulleted lists where the verbs are in different tenses. The language should be streamlined but congruent.
It is important to keep the consistency to show that the quality is not only in the essence of the content but in its grammar and word choice.
A good copywriter must be a good writer, too. Another tip: review if you use the third or second person.
6. Stop relying on those crutches
Those words that sometimes we tend to use repeatedly are called crutches. It is a bad habit since they rest credibility to a text.
On top of that, they hinder the reading flow. People might have the feeling of having seen that word and stop.
7. The value of proposition always in mind
First and foremost, you are writing with a primordial purpose: tell something to someone. You must wonder whether you’re offering value to your readers.
Your ideal prospect will decide whether to continue reading if you are offering them something else. That something is rarely physical.
Why your prospect should purchase your product or hire your services should be present in your copy.
Make them continue reading but relate the text to your value proposition and your CTA (or call to actions) will never fail.
Do your CTAs tell something more than “buy now”?
We all have seen the typical box at the beginning of a blog post that tells us to click and subscribe. They are fine but as an extraordinary copywriter, you should use them carefully.
Otherwise, you risk losing the reader from the first minute. And trust once lost is difficult to regain.
8. Keep CTA clear but subtle
Remember that some content can be counterproductive. The same happens with CTAs.
Sometimes they are too prominent and they distract people’s attention from the text making them not to read. Then, they will miss the value of the content and, therefore, not clicking on the CTA as they are not delighted.
9. One and clear CTA
You don’t want to overload your readers. They need easy instructions on what to do and where to click.
At the same time, it should be clear why the need to click. What do they gain by clicking?
Also, try to avoid the fear of paying and committing. If you’re offering to subscribe on a trial version of your product, remember to write “free” or “try now” or “take a trial”.
10. The CTA relates to the text
There is nothing than to start reading an article and being stopped by a box of text that tells you to click on a link or button but doesn’t explain why.
Yet, they’re very common. Copywriters work together with SEO specialists to understand why they are writing what they write.
If the article is not totally related to your product, send the reader to another article that could be related, but don’t ask them to click.
They most likely won’t do it. If they do, you will have a bunch of people who will never buy your product and probably never click again on your CTAs.
Sometimes, you can’t make them subscribe, purchase or convert from that article because the content isn’t exactly about your product. Then, make sure they go to other articles where they can find more information.
Are your visuals in line with the text?
The value of a picture sometimes will determine the audience’s choice: to read or not to read. Check this in your copywriter’s checklist.
Some pictures are totally irrelevant, some other make readers cringe, and few delight them. Try to go for the last ones.
11. Graphics must match the content
Pictures that are not related to the text make people wonder “what that picture is doing here?”. After that, they leave.
The ideal result is that text and visuals, either photos or infographics, are aligned. As opposed to pictures that make noise.
They aren’t text-breakers or to make the page prettier. They need to give support to the copy and add value.
12. Visuals need to represent the same quality
Images can work as mood-setters for good and bad. If you add a screenshot, make sure it’s not blurry or you will scare away your prospects.
Look at your pictures twice and wonder if they represent the quality you want to give to your text.
Are you using all its SEO potential?
Eventually, most of copywriting or any other content activity come with big plans for SEO. So, you will more easily found by your audience.
As a good copywriter, you might want to make sure your article helps your SEO strategy but you need to follow some steps for that.
With its new update, Google is awarding quality over SEO, but the latter still plays a big role in driving organic traffic.
13. The most important keyword should be present.
When you make an article, it is important to have clear and concise headlines. Yet, for SEO you also need to include the keyword you want to rank for in it.
Besides, the keyword should be present in the body of text. Remember to include it repeatedly.
It is not only relevant for your SEO efforts but also because it is the word you’ll be talking about. So, it makes sense to keep it present.
14. Don’t forget to write a good page title and meta description
When you search for a website you’ll see a title that normally tells you what that page is about. Below, there is a text that should explain further what the content page is.
And I say should, because it’s common to see that many people forget. That is how search engines will show your results and rank them.
Try to write a good title that reflects what the reader will find when they open the page. Preferably, make sure the keyword is there.
As well, do something similar for the meta text. Make sure you don’t write more than 160 characters or search engines like Google won’t show the whole description.
Now you have 14 things to focus. Could you have more? Definitely. But, I believe it’s more efficient if you narrow down.
Some of the rules are very easy to follow, some others need examples and training to get them done. That is why you can hire the services of a professional with experience.
Are you interested? Don’t hesitate to contact me for help. I can make sure that your copywriting is complete and you and your team learn these skills, too.