This is where the article preamble usually goes but as you’ll find out, flummery isn’t always required if you want to deliver your point more effectively with copywriting.

Brick wall

Photo by Joriel Jimenez

Mistake 1: Planning while you write

This mistake is easy to spot. Usually the first paragraph or two rambles and eventually the writer gets to the point in the third or fourth paragraph. It continues with abrupt changes in tone and direction indicating that the writer took several breaks to bang their head against a wall in search of direction.

Good copywriters don’t get writers block because we plan our structure before we write. You do that by gathering everything you need to say, choosing a rough order for it to unfold and putting your reader at the centre of it all.

Then you rest before writing separately because the two processes don’t play nicely together.

Mistake 2: Depersonalising your copy

Some people are afraid to let their personality creep into their copy. Others fear saying “I” because they think talking collectively (“we”) makes them sound more impressive. The same goes for using queer diction that might be taken the wrong way or upset one person in several hundred thousand.

Instead, let some character leak into your copy. It happens naturally anyway but nervous writers go back and sanitise their copy, so it’s no longer one person’s perspective any more and becomes yet more homogeneous bilge from the corporate drone army.

Try not to hide behind jargon or passive voice too. Be bold and decisive if you want to stand out (then deal with the consequences later). Jargon and passive voice obfuscates meaning and says you’re afraid of being accountable or getting something wrong. Mistakes seems to happen frequently enough anyway so clearly copywriting isn’t the sole cause.

Mistake 3: Writing like it’s your diary

Sometimes I wonder if schools taught that everything you write should begin with:

“I was [insert doing some menial activity] the other day when I [insert banal observation] which made me think [insert point of copy]”

You don’t have to justify or explain the genesis of some idea or opinion you’re about to posit. This applies especially with blog copywriting or any other type of thought-piece. Readers don’t care. And it’s more engaging when you simply get on with saying what you mean to say rather than rambling on and boring your reader (see point 1).