Great copy can be a huge marketing asset. It can engage an audience, call customers to action and improve a brand's awareness and reputation. However, most marketers have had to deal with copywriters who make mistakes from time to time.
Often these are easily fixable and not serious. However, there are some copywriting faux pas that are difficult to catch and can seriously harm the performance of your website. Here are five of the most egregious that you should always watch out for.
The headline is the first thing users will see before reading any copy or content, so it needs to be strong.
It's easy to miss a weak headline in your copy. You should try to make sure that the ones you write are fewer than 60 characters long and contain attention-grabbing keywords. Think of how an audience would be captivated by the headline and want to read on, and phrase it accordingly.
Overselling your product/service
Often, the purpose of copy is to sell something or to convince an audience that your product or service is worth paying for. However, doing this too obviously can immediately turn an audience off. The very last thing you want to do is start off any piece of copy with anything that comes across as a sales pitch.
Ryan Healy - the most referred direct response copywriter on the internet - says you should "talk about anything that will capture your prospect’s attention" and draw them into your work. People don't read copy to be sold something, they read it in order to answer a question or solve a problem, or merely to add value to their day. This is what your copy should reflect.
Setting unrealistic expectations
Phrases such as "you won't believe…" and "...will change your life" have made their way into a lot of headlines recently. However, while promising certain results from your content is a good way to get people to look at an article, it is a terrible way to get people to engage with your content and your brand.
Copywriting firm Stratton Craig recommends that you:
keep in mind that your target audience is a group of intelligent people who are not easily fooled with ridiculous promises.
If you claim you will answer a question with your content but don't, it will frustrate your audience and they will dismiss your brand.
Writing articles that are too short or too long
Different audiences respond well to different types of content. You might have more success with short, fun pieces than you would with long form articles. However, you might be surprised at which your audience responds best to.
This is why Kissmetrics recommends testing your copy; try distributing two different versions of an article (one long, one short) and see which one performs better. This will give you proof of what your audience responds best to, enabling you to tailor your copy to fit their sensibilities.