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Effective Copywriting: 5 Traits that Separate the Good from the Great

Good copywriting is easy to recognize when you see it. However, there are actually a series of characteristics that truly separate outstanding copywriting from the rest of the crowd. Want to know how to produce effective copywriting? Well, read on to find out!

What is effective copywriting?

Effective copywriting is arguably one of the most essential elements of marketing and advertising. Copywriting consists of the words, either written or spoken, marketers employ to try to get people to take action after reading or hearing them.

Copywriting is similar to a call-to-action but on a far larger scale. Copywriters aim to get people to feel, think, or respond…or, ideally, to Google the slogan or brand to learn more about the campaign, product, or service. While a blog post such as this one has the comfort of hundreds of words to make a point, copywriters only have a few words to make their case. However, brevity isn’t the only characteristic of effective copywriting. Keep reading to learn more about 6 core characteristics of effective copy.

6 Traits of Effective Copywriting

Effective Copywriting
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1) It changes your perspective

In many cases, all a message needs to break through the noise is a slight shift in its delivery. We, as a culture, have become numb to most marketing messages, such that we don’t even notice them anymore. One of the most powerful goals a copywriter can accomplish is to break down a reader’s guard with a fresh, unexpected approach. Every story has a plethora of angles – your job as a copywriter is to find one that both captivates and resonates – this is the core of effective copywriting.

2) Effective copywriting finds connections

Simon Sinek explains that “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”. This is arguably the ultimate way for companies to forge connections with their target audience.

Let’s say you are tasked with writing an ad for the new version of Apple’s AirPods. You could take the assignment head-on and touch on all the great features the wireless earphones boast…or you could put all the specifications aside and draw from the connection between the product and the experience it evokes – the later makes for far more effective copywriting!

This is by no means your standard cut and dry written copy by any means. However, Apple does a phenomenal job of digging down deep into the souls of their audience and forms a superb connection with them with their AirPods “Bounce” ad. The short film ad turns an ordinary day into an impossible journey. The connection here is that one can overcome accepted rules and redefine them as they see fit with the aid of Apple’s wireless charging AirPods.

3) Effective copywriting opens with a shock

As with any style of writing, it is vital that you capture the attention of your audience as quickly as possible. Failing to do so is a recipe for disaster.

Many credit copywriter Joe Sugarman for a timeless copywriting adage. The essence is that the purpose of a headline is to get you to read the first line; the purpose of the first line is to get you to read the second line; and so on. In short, all is lost if your first line isn’t a home run.

4) Avoid jargon and hyperbole

Revolutionary. Business solutions. Ideation. Industry-wide best practices. Groundbreaking.

Have I lost you yet?

Whenever copywriters have a hard time conveying what is genuinely special about their company, product, or service, they typically fall back upon jargon or hyperbole to highlight their point. In reality, good copywriting doesn’t require dressing up. Effective copywriting should speak to the reader in basic, friendly terms.

This doesn’t mean that you should never celebrate awards or achievements. Just be direct in the way in which you explain an achievement.

Effective Copywriting
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5) Effective copywriting trims the fat

Effective copywriting gets to the point fast. That means cutting out excessive phrases and rewording your sentences to be as direct as possible.

How do you rid your writing of excess? Well, it’s half practice and half knowing where to cut. An article from Daily Writing Tips is one of the most effective summaries when it comes to writing that is both concise and precise. Here are a few of the tips that the article highlights:

  • Reduce ver phrases: For instance, turn “the results are suggestive of the fact that…” to “the results suggest.”
  • Reduce wordy phrases to single words: You can change “in order to” into “to.” Another example: turn “due to the fact that…” into “because.”
  • Avoid vague nouns: Phrases formed around general nouns like “in the area of” or “on the topic of” simply clutter sentences.

If you can cut words without losing the meaning of the sentence – do it. Push yourself to reduce your word count. Turn 50-word homepage copy into 25, then push yourself again to make that 25-word sentence into 15 words. It’s not about brevity so much as it is about making sure every word counts in your writing. I’m a big fan of the 3-C’s of effective writing: clear, concise, cohesive. You will likely thrive if you abide by this trinity of effective writing.

Closing Thought

Seeing how my previous point was about getting to the point, I’ll keep this brief – words matter. Every time you sit down to write an ad, web page, video script, or other content for your company, you have the chance to break through to people. Find these opportunities in your marketing strategy and make sure that you make the most of them.

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