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Displaying items by tag: Copywriting Tips
Are There "Worthless" Words in Your Advertising Copy?
As you browse online content, read ads, and listen to TV and radio commercials, you’ll see or hear lots of worthless words - advertising phrases and clichés that add no value, provide no clarity and, sometimes, don’t even make sense.
It’s fluff that steals the audience’s time and weakens the brand’s message.
Those worthless words are there for at least one of three reasons:
1) An inexperienced copywriter
2) The company’s lack of vision for their advertising, and/or
Your audience’s perception of your brand is too important to squander any opportunities to promote it. So, if you write or contribute ideas to your company’s advertising content, keep these basic ideas in mind.
Your audience’s time is valuable. When you waste it, they’ll be less likely to give it to you in the future. Say as much as you can in as few words as possible.
Use advertising content to guide your audience. People want help with making good buying decisions. Ideally, your ad copy will show them a logical, legitimate path from their need or problem to your solution.
Give your audience something in return for their attention. It might be useful facts or a serious question to ponder. Or maybe it’s just a good laugh. The bottom line: leave them glad they invested their time in your message.
Examples of Content to Avoid
I once heard a used car dealer wrap up his on-camera pitch by saying, “We accept cash.” Are there businesses that refuse cash? In other words, that line isn’t necessary. The following phrases aren’t either.
“We’re conveniently located.” Convenience is relative. A store that’s convenient for one audience member may be completely out of the way for others.
The takeaway: Don’t make blanket statements.
“Your call is important to us.” That’s a set-up to a now-common joke. The punchline: “If my call is so important, pick up the damn phone.”
The takeaway: Delete clichés and other “expected” phrases that only serve as filler. Replace them with information your audience can apply.
“Summer’s here, so it’s time to…” I promise that everyone who reads or hears your copy knows which season it is, or that Christmas is near, or that it’s back-to-school time.
The takeaway: Don’t waste time stating the obvious. It can be insulting to your audience and it draws focus away from your main points.
“We’re dedicated to your satisfaction.” At best, baseless platitudes do nothing to separate you from other brands that rely on the same tactic. At worst, you’ll be perceived as a company that exaggerates or even lies.
The takeaway: Unless you can prove your dedication or somehow guarantee you offer the best service, avoid those types of lofty claims.
Those are just a few examples of specific phrases that weaken advertising copy, but there are others. So, be diligent in your copy editing, filtering your content through these questions:
- Is this copy honest and accurate?
- Which words can I delete without watering down the message?
- Does this copy address a need my potential customers have or is it all self-serving?
- Is this writing clear enough to convey the unique value our company provides?
It takes time and effort to write and re-write impactful advertising copy that’s also a pleasure to read or hear, but the trust and interest that quality content creates is worth the work; it will serve as the foundation of a powerful voice for your brand.
3 Writing Tips for Marketers
Our Creative Consultants write a lot of copy: On Hold Marketing, blog posts, website and social content, emails, video scripts, radio and TV commercials.
And we talk often about how to improve what we do.
So, we compiled a few thoughts on creating marketing content. If you write for your company, you might find these suggestions valuable. (Let us know if we can help.)
1) Your title is your promise to your reader. If someone starts reading your article or blog post, it's likely that your title drew him in. If he stops reading, it's probably because you didn't deliver on that title.
No one wants to feel like they've been suckered. And you don't want to earn a reputation for misleading your audience or wasting their time. So, a) don't use click bait-style headlines to hook readers, and b) make sure your content stays focused on the idea, information or solution promised in your title.
2) No one cares. When writing and editing, start with that assumption: “No one cares about what I have to say with this copy.” That helps you avoid the “if-I-write-it-they'll-read-it” fallacy.
Then, get to work on making your audience care! Deliver value to your readers. Surprise them with new information, original thought, or unique insight. Challenge them. Give them take-aways they can apply in their life or work. In other words, write to encourage your readers to come back for more.
3) Respect your readers' time. Long blocks of text can seem overwhelming, and for busy or slower readers, they represent more of a commitment. You owe it to your audience to do the work of honing and tightening your copy.
Especially in today's time-crunched world, effective writing is about communicating efficiently. Every word you leave on the page should count. So get to the point!
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