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The top 10 do’s and don’ts for clever copy

The top 10 do’s and don’ts for clever copy

The secrets to stealing attention with words 

Us humans have pretty short attention spans. Whether we’re scrolling our Facebook feeds, scanning news sites or perusing a magazine, our content-hungry brains are up for grabs for a mere eight seconds before we move on to the next tidbit of text. 

That’s why now – in this fast-paced digital age – it’s more important than ever to carefully consider creating content that people actually want to read.  

Here are our top 10 do’s and disastrous don’ts to entice your audience to read your writing. 

Do 

  • The number one trick is … know your brand voice. Are you authoritative, serious and smart? Or are you fun, friendly and outgoing? Perhaps your brand is a mix of both. Whatever it is, follow this personality, language and tone in your written communication. Always. 
  • While writing styles vary from medium to medium (a magazine story is crafted in a completely different style to an EDM), the most important part of the piece is your intro – this is where your focus shall go. 
  • Make your intro clear, concise and to-the-point. Don’t waste anyone’s time trying to figure out the purpose of your post/EDM/story/website.  
  • Savvy up your sentences with a few old-school grammar tricks; a little alliteration, rhyming and carefully chosen adjectives – perhaps even a metaphor – adds intrigue to your yarn. 
  • Set the scene. Share and describe in detail what you are talking about – what can you see? How does it feel? Find the beauty and the emotion in your statements. “Buy a new computer” can easily be scaled up to “Experience the efficiency of a personalised Apple MacBook Air”. 

Don’t  

  • Waffle. While a creative license in words is a good thing, don’t forget to stay on track with your topic and don’t assume everyone understands your industry lingo.  
  • Make it too long. This is especially applicable when crafting online content – people are prepared to commit to a 2000-word story when reading a magazine, but not when they’re browsing a blog or EDM on-screen during their lunchbreak. 
  • Forget to check your spelling and grammar. While it may not be a big deal to you, it could be a deal breaker for your clients or customers. 
  • Write just for the sake of writing. Have a reason to connect with your audience and always think, “Why would this be interesting to them?”. You want your readers to learn from, obtain something from or simply enjoy reading your copy – make it worth their time investment.  
  • Use sensationalised clickbait when writing blogs or social media posts. It’s fantastic to have a sharp, snazzy headline and intro, but don’t over-promise and under-deliver with your content – it will only leave your audience disappointed (impressed is what we’re aiming for here).  

Confused now? We get it – copywriting isn’t everyone’s jam. But it is ours, and we’d love to help you kick those content goals. Get in touch to find out about our content creation services, from website copywriting and content hubs to brand stories and special publications.  

Rebecca Williamson
Written by Rebecca Williamson
An accomplished writer and editor, Rebecca has worked for NZ’s top-selling magazines and publications, and honed her PR communications skills in Melbourne. She brings extensive insider knowledge of NZ and international media, knows how to craft compelling copy, and can get your story or organisation noticed.