In a previous post I wrote about ‘safe yet same’ copywriting. What is it?
Well, you’re about to find out.
Here are ten frequent mistakes you’ll find on 99% of websites written without the assistance of a diligent copywriter. You’ll also find some copywriting tips to help write around these lazy cliches.
Avoid each and you’ll not only stand out as having put some thought into your copy. You’ll endear yourself to customers and cultivate more of the right kind of clients.
Ten frequent mistakes in safe yet same copywriting
1. Customers come first
This tritely dirge been in mainstream business lexicon for decades. Even people who don’t run a business know customers are always right. The needs of important people being top priority should go without saying.
If you must do this, show but don’t tell. Talk about the experience of working together and where they fit into the big picture. Demonstrate you know them by talking about shared values, echo their priorities which are yours too (genuinely).
2. You claim you’re a leader
So are all your rivals. It’s a bold claim to substantiate too, without proof.
Lead by example, not self-proclaimed accolades. Ask why is being leader so important? What are you trying to say? What’s wrong with being good at what you do, rather than the (unprovable) best at what you do? Suppose you are, how did you get that way? Why did you bother? Talk about that instead.
3. You say you’re creative
Sorry to break it to you, but so is every other human who has ever existed. It’s safe to assume you can make/build things and come up with ideas.
Again, show don’t tell, if you can. Talk with passion about the time you did something creative, but why you were compelled to do it that way. How did your values feed into that? Why was it important you did it in that way? Share ideas, rather than simple claim to have them.
4. You say you’re passionate
You’d hope so, given that YOU DO THIS FOR A LIVING.
Let the passion come out in the way your copywriting sounds – your tone-of-voice. Diction, rhythm and pace of your copy can all demonstrate passion for you. Also, the things you decide to talk about help too, and how they overlap with what excites your readers.
5. Quality is at the heart of everything
Similar to 1. At the very least, people expect a product or service to work and not be rubbish. Assume you’ll deliver on that.
What does quality really mean? Chances are it comes about more because of how you do what you do, and why – everything intangible that you invest in your art. What do you invest in the end result that says so much about you? Think about those hard-to-replicate things that really make you unique.
6. It reads like a history lesson
Writing is a scary prospect for many; it’s hard to know what to write about on your website. Best stick to what you know and write a dusty treatise on the genesis of your company – who, what and when.
By all means talk about where you come from. But share a story, don’t dictate a history. Think about which parts of your true backstory will ring true with the reader – which experiences will resonate with them, and forge stronger bonds.
7. It’s all about you
Good copywriting is thinking about things from the reader’s (customer’s) perspective. It requires a certain amount of modesty and empathy beyond the grasp of many a would-be copywriter.
You are not the centre of this person’s world, yet. Get out of your business and instead look in from the outside. What have your ideal clients got in common, with each other and you. How does that fit into your story.
8. You talk about what not why
Like 6. The temptation is to write a glorified catalogue of products and services, because it’s easy. But you’re missing an opportunity.
People connect with why you do what you do, not what you do. Write about what you stand for, what you believe and how you hope to create a legacy. Think in terms of outcomes, not features and benefits. What is real-life like once someone chooses you?
9. Passive voice
A bugbear of old. It is has been decided that copywriting in passive, formal voice without allusion to responsiblity is erroneous.
See what I did there. The tone changed. We weren’t addressing the reader (you) directly, actively, so they feel like part of the narrative.
10. Everyone’s your audience
The entire world and everyone in it is not the subset of people you’re best placed to serve, and enjoy serving.
For your copywriting to truly resonate with the right people, you have to connect on terms they understand – copywriting common ground, if you will.
One of the blessings of seven billion human beings is just how diverse we are, so make life easier for yourself when you write. Zone in on your ideal customer, and talk about what you share in common, why you do what you do best for them. Because chances are they do what they do for similar reasons. Always be honest and clear.
Get writing then…
I now expect a fully copyedited website which explicitly avoids each and every copywriting pitfall listed above.
Or you could hire a freelance copywriter to do all that hard work for you.