Going with the flow – copywriting that gets your reader from start to finish
28th August 2014 | Posted in Web content
A quick five tips for you to help you write words that ease your readers through your content right through from the introduction to moving to the next step in the customer journey.
1. Tell a story. Story-telling for brands is high profile right now. But everything we write about our company and our products and services should tell a story.
That’s obvious in a case study. Start by setting the scene, explain the challenge, describe the solution, and make it a happy ever after tale.
A mailshot is the same. Start strongly, tell the tale convincingly and clearly, and end strongly with a call to action.
2. Get into the rhythm. As copywriters we’re all about getting readers as easily as possible from the start to the finish. Great copy has a rhythm that helps with that. The way the sentences are constructed make it easy for the reader to just flow through it. Think about varying the length of sentences. Keep paragraphs short so the writing isn’t too dense.
If I’m writing a really short piece of copy like an email campaign, I read and re-write until that rhythm is working. It often means taking out words in one place and adding more in another. Sometimes it’s the matter of just a single syllable that’s getting in the way, so swapping synonymous words in and out helps.
3. Take out the blocks. As a freelance editor I discovered many years ago that publishers all agreed on many things. And one of those is that the way we use fonts and styles can help or hinder reading. Capital letters, for example have specific purposes, and if you use them too often they get in the way of the flow. Our brains think we have to stop and start again because it is likely to be the beginning of a new sentence. That’s why it’s a good policy to stay with lower case for job titles if you possibly can.
4. Consider semi-colons. My personal view is that semi-colons belong in learned papers and literature but not in marketing copy. Our sentences need to be crisp, smart and focused. Commas, on the other hand, are a good thing. It’s about writing in the way that the audience needs to read. Commas can bring clarity, and help people know when to mentally take a breath.
5. Go back and cut your sentences in half when you’ve finished. Not all of them. Just the ones that have got too convoluted. One idea to a sentence is a useful rule.
Are you struggling with writing or editing copy? Why not get in touch with me to talk about how I could help. Just drop me a line at [email protected] and we’ll take it from there.