4 Common Copywriting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The world of marketing is ever-changing. It can be hard to keep up with the dos and don’ts of it all–especially when it comes to copywriting. 

Everyone makes mistakes, but when it comes to copywriting, avoiding these common ones can help you better connect with your core audience, get your message across in an engaging way, and create more conversions for increased revenue. 

Focusing too much on your product instead of what it can do for your customer

One of the most common mistakes when it comes to copywriting is focusing too much on the product. You’re probably thinking, “But Alexa, isn’t that the whole point of marketing and advertising copy?” Yes and no. 

We write copy to sell products and build brand and consumer relationships. But we sell products and services to solve problems and meet user needs. Your copy should be focused less on the product and more on the actual needs it addresses and problems it solves.

Try this: Before writing copy, spend time thinking about user needs. Like, really thinking about them. Talk to your customers or the UX Designers on your team to get a better understanding of who your user is and how your product is helpful in their lives. Then, write your copy around those needs and the solutions you have to offer. 

Using vague language 

Have you ever ended up on a website and clicked out after a few seconds because you couldn’t figure out what the company actually does? We’ve all been there, and oftentimes, this happens due to vague website copy.

A lack of clarity can make or break your marketing copy. Your customers should be able to check out your website and know right away what it is you do and how it’s relevant to their lives. Vague language can leave readers frustrated and encourage them to hit the “X” and look to competitors. 

Try this: After you write a piece of copy, read it out loud. Or, have someone else read it. Use these questions to guide you towards clear copy: 

  • Would the meaning be clear to someone outside of your organization? 
  • Is there any industry jargon? 
  • Am I relying too much on buzzwords?
  • Are there any areas that need clarity? 

Offering too many calls to action

Each piece of content you put out into the world should have a purpose. Usually, you can boil that purpose down to an action you want your reader to take after they finish reading your copy. Maybe you want them to subscribe to your newsletter, apply for a program or buy something from your new product line. 

Whatever the case may be, you risk losing your reader when you offer too many calls to action (CTAs). Bogging down your copy by offering several CTAs can be confusing to your reader and they may leave your content feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what action they should actually take. 

Try this: Choose one or two of the most necessary actions you want them to take and focus on those. By doing this, your reader can be certain of what they should do next. You’ll also avoid giving your customers decision fatigue (of which we’d all benefit from having less). 

Using flowery or pretentious word choice 

Listen, we love the sounds of the romantic sonnets found in Shakespeare or the complex and funny prose of authors like Tricia Lockwood. But when it comes to writing marketing copy, it’s much better to err on the side of brevity than beauty. Why? Because good copywriting gets to the point. And using complex word choice can reduce your readability. 

It’s been reported that the average American adult reads at between a seventh and ninth grade level. Your copywriting should be understandable and appealing to the widest range of people. It’s important that readers can find all of the necessary information upon first read or skim. Writing in plain language can also help you raise your SEO score and meet accessibility standards. 

Try this: Instead, use brief, clear language that easily conveys your points. Avoid jargon and stick to simple words people use everyday. When you’re editing copy, try cutting out any buzzwords or sentences that lack clarity or meaning. Write in short sentences and check out The Center for Plain Language’s writing guide if you need a few more pointers.

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