Hot diggity dog! I’m unleashing my inner linguistics nerd in this blog post and dishing some of my personal copywriting secrets.
Our theme right now is writing website copy and as such I thought this would be a good chance to share with you 6 rules that I have for writing copy on the web.
You can (and should) follow these rules when you write any kind of copy for your business whether it’s your about page, services page, email sequence, opt-in copy, Facebook ads, etc…
Honestly – these 6 tricks I’m about to teach you will REVOLUTIONIZE all of your writing. If you’ve ever wondered, “How does Courtney consistently come up with great language?” THIS blog is the answer to your question. It’s not magic! It just takes a little practice.
Psst! It might have to go without saying that seeing as this is the Rule Breaker’s Club every once in awhile it’s AOK to break each and every one of these “rules” 😛
Click “play” to learn my 6 favorite copywriting rules!
You should use this checklist every time you write something. Don’t be afraid to print it out and pin it to your bulletin board (or tape it on the wall next to your desk).
RULE #1 – Write to one person
If you’ve been through The Rainbow of Sales training, you can think of one of your muses! trying to talk to too many people at once means you’re not talking to anyone in particular.
RULE #2 – Use the “girlfriend” filter
Feel like your writing is bland, boring, and academic?
Picture that you’re sitting down for a glass of wine with one of your best friends (or maybe your muse) and ask yourself would you say it this way when you were talking to them!?
RULE #3 – Get rid of weak verbs
Go to one of your past blog posts, emails or something of that nature and circle every time that you have any of the following:
- A word ending in -ing
- The words “is”, “am”, “are”, “being”, “was”, “were” or any other form of the verb “to be”.
- For you grammar nerds out there, I realize that these aren’t all instances of passive voice, but I think the best rule of thumb is to (a) find more specific verbs and (b) put them in the active voice so that the subject of the sentence is doing the action (i.e. “He hit me” is active but “I was hit by him” is passive)
RULE #4 – Stick to short paragraphs
People have a short attention span online and you will be hard pressed to find me write a paragraph that has more than 3 sentences.
RULE #5 – Format for scannability
- Headlines + subheadlines
- Bullet points
- Bold key words
- Use all of these things sparingly or they lose their effect – when you do too much of it then it loses the effect altogether.
Psst! I’m using all of these elements in this blog post as well. Have you noticed?!
RULE #6 – Spend words like your own money
It’s great to braindump or freewrite, but if you tend to be wordy and repetitive you probably need to reduce your writing by 50%. Don’t fight with me on this one.
Over-wordiness is a sign that you haven’t (a) edited properly or (b) put yourself in your reader’s shoes.