Copywriting is the art and science of persuasion. It’s about grabbing your readers attention and keeping it.
So that they can learn what you want them to know,
see what you want them to do,
and buy the products you want them to purchase.
It’s about influencing readers’ decisions. (Find out more about copywriting here)
Below are 32 common copywriting mistakes, in no particular order. I know because I’ve made them all ! [LOL]
#1: It’s not just about writing a few paragraphs
Some copywriters think that as long as their copy is grammatically correct, it should be fine. But this isn’t enough! People won’t read your copy if they don’t find it interesting. Copy that is not attention grabbing and emotionally moving will not be read, never mind acted upon.
You need to work harder in order to create quality copy. For example, I often spend hours researching topics before I start writing anything just so that I can produce content that’s both informative and entertaining for my readers. Read this article to find out why every website needs good content.
The best copywriters aren’t born – they work hard at becoming good at what they do!
#2: Your paragraphs are too long, or else they don’t have enough detail.
It’s all too easy to write one long paragraph that covers a topic from A-Z, but your reader may not have time to read it. They just want you to get to the point and give them the information they are looking for quickly and simply.
Going into detail makes you appear knowledgeable and authoritative, but your paragraphs need to be short and snappy in order to keep the attention of busy readers.
You should also make sure that you include specifics – not just vague statements. Saying ‘a lot of people’ or ‘some people’ is weak copy. Instead, write names, facts and figures etc., so that you can prove your credibility.
#3: You don’t use the right kind of language
The tone of voice you use is just as important as the words you write. If you sound like an expert and authority in your niche, then people will be more likely to trust you (Discover more about your tone of voice and 6 other tips here)
Be an expert, but don’t be arrogant. A common problem with newbie copywriters. If you sound like you think you know it all then readers won’t trust anything else you have to say.
If they read something that sounds too ‘sales-y’ or that makes them feel uncomfortable, they won’t want to continue reading your copy. It’s important to offer value and give advice
#4: Your grammar and spelling is poor.
Correct spelling will not keep your readers reading. On the other hand if your copy does intrest people, but it is filled with poor grammar and spelling, people will stop reading it.
Avoid making too many spelling or grammar mistakes. Poor grammar will make you look unprofessional and will decrease your credibility in the eyes of readers. People trust people who write correctly – whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, a blog post or a sales page.
If you don’t have time to proofread your sales copy before you send it off, then at least get someone else to do it.
#5: Your headlines don’t entice people in.
Your headline is one of the most important parts of your sales letter or advertisement. It’s what draws readers in and gets them interested in your copy. If you have a boring headline, then people will not read on.
- Tip 1: Get peoples’ attention with an intriguing question or statement.
For example, asking “Do you want to know the secrets of the wealthy?” will make readers click on your article.
- Tip 2: Give them a sneak preview of what they will learn from reading your content. Imply that it contains plenty of useful tips, tricks and facts.
- Tip 3: Make your headline stand out by using a creative title and adding symbols, letters or numbers in it.
Some copywriters have the attitude that as long as their writing is interesting and informative, the headline doesn’t matter much. However, a good headline that’s backed up by well-written copy can increase your clickthrough rates by as much as 1,000%.
#6: Your opening sentence is weak
Your first few sentences are important because you have to capture your readers’ attention straight away if you want them to keep reading. They will decide whether or not to read on within a few seconds of reading your first sentence.
If you don’t capture your reader’s attention with the first sentence, they’re not going to read on! Your first lines of text should be compelling to your reader – they should make him want to read on.
Read everything about the importance of your first paragraph in this article.
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#7: Your sales copy makes statements that are too emotional, or not emotional enough
There is a fine line between using emotions in your sales copy and making it too sentimental. If you use certain kinds of words and phrases (like ‘rare opportunity’ or ‘unlimited potential’), your copy may seem insincere.
The secret is to use phrases that do the job of making people feel a certain way, but don’t sound overly dramatic or salesy.
For example: “Simplify your life” sounds more natural than ‘You’ll have more free time than ever before.’
#8: You start out like a salesperson, not a human being.
Your leads are going to be turned off immediately and stop reading (unless they’re in the market for what you have). So if you want them to keep reading, turn the tables and write like a human being who likes other people.
#9: You’re only listing the facts
If your ads are filled with nothing but facts and ‘features’, your sales copy will probably not inspire a personal response from readers. They’ll simply see it as a list of features, and they won’t be able to connect with the product, because they won’t feel anything for it.
Instead your copy needs to move readers’ emotions in order to persuade them. Basically, you need to get readers thinking and feeling things like:
- I couldn’t live without this
- This is amazing! I have to have it.
- I’ll be so much cooler than my friends if I own this.
If you can make people feel those emotions towards your product or service, they’ll want to buy from you no matter what. Learn more about copy that sells here.
#10: You’re writing to everyone, not just your ideal customer .
If you try and appeal to everyone, then you will end up appealing to no one in particular. Your copy has to speak directly to the people who need what you’re selling.
It doesn’t make sense for a computer programmer trying to sell story books to target career women in their 30s. They want to read something that is relevant to their situation, not someone else’s.
Targeting your ideal customer is the only way you can get them to see themselves as part of the story and be reminded of how much they need what you’re selling.
The more specific you are when it comes to your customer profile (i.e. age, sex, marital status, occupation), the better your sales copy will be able to speak directly to them.
#11: You’re overselling your product or service
It’s a bad idea to try and convince people that your product or service can cure all their problems and make their lives perfect, because this turns off most prospects.
People are aware that no product or service can make their lives perfect. So be honest and say something like ‘This will help you solve (insert your problem here), and it applies to the following people…’
#12: You keep going back and changing things
If you’re not sure about certain parts of your sales page or ad, just leave them out until you have a chance to perfect them. If there’s something important that needs fixing right away, put it in a P.S. or make another version of your ad/sales letter to keep testing what you’ve already created.
#13: You’re using vanilla-flavored words.
If you’re using vanilla-flavored words, try adding some spice to your writing by using different descriptors and more vivid language. Your leads expect to be wowed by your copy…which means you have to use some spunky, exciting words.
If you keep it simple and use the same words everyone else does, your ad will end up blending into the rest of the copy out there. But if you add in some specific words and phrases from your industry (things like ‘hot’, ‘brand new’ or ‘instant access’), they’ll immediately know that what you’re offering is something they want.
#14: You think there is only one way to write copy, but there are many
There is no one way to write copy. Copywriting is a very diverse field and there are many different copywriters who have their own style. To find your own voice as a copywriter, you’ll need to experiment with different styles before finding the one that suits you best.
So, for example, Agatha Christie used a lot of short sentences in her novels. This makes it easier on the reader as they can easily follow what is happening and understand the characters. Other writers use a lot of long sentences and are very creative with the way they structure their words.
You must find your own style as a copywriter if you wish to be successful in this career, so experiment! Read about that copy that never gets old here.
#15: You don’t take care over how you format your copy
Formatting is important if you want to make sure that your readers understand your copy. If you have a long sentence and decide to break it with no punctuation in the middle of the thought, readers will lose track of what they were reading.
You need to make sure that you format your copy correctly so that it doesn’t look jumbled on the page or difficult to read. You can learn more about the most important parts of your copy here.
#16: You think great writers don’t use any past experiences or skills
The best copywriters are also great storytellers. To be a good copywriter, you need to have an ability to convey a message in a way that people cannot help but listen. This means having the ability to tell stories and use different techniques to keep your readers engaged so they don’t get bored and leave!
If you’ve ever written fiction or non-fiction, you can use your writing skills to be a better copywriter.
#17: You think all of your content needs to be new and original
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never read a book in which the author rips off someone else’s ideas. Instead, they reference other works so that their readers know where inspiration has come from.
If you want to create original content, then it’s important that you know your audience and what they like. This will help you decide which ideas to borrow from others and which to use on your own!
#18: You think a few examples will make up for everything else
It is worth using examples when you write if you want to persuade people. But if your examples are weak, then you won’t be able to hold anyone’s attention!
You need quality in order for your work to keep people reading. Using examples isn’t just about quantity, it’s about quality.
#19: You think an extensive vocabulary will make people flock to your work
Even if you can use really big words and write something that sounds great on paper, this doesn’t mean anyone is going to read it!
The best copywriters know how to write in a way that people can understand and relate to. They don’t need big words to do this.
#20: You think it’s just about telling people what you sell/do
A lot of writers think that they only have to tell their audience what they’re selling or offer them something in order for them to want it! This isn’t the case with the best copywriters.
Think about the way you market something – what do you say to people in order for them to take an interest? You have to give people a reason to care and this isn’t as easy as it seems!
For starters you need to find out what your audience cares about. Write down a list of all the things you think people might be interested in and then, from that list, work out which ones would really mean something to them . The key thing is to focus on what they want !!!
#21: You think content writing is all there is
This could not be further from the truth. Content writing is a stepping stone to other types of copywriting such as sales copy, website content and so on. If you do not know how to write catchy headlines or compelling paragraphs, then your content will suffer.
#22: You think quantity is better than quality when it comes to content creation
Quantity can help with exposure and traffic, but it will not help with conversions . You should be focusing on writing a small number of amazing pieces of content and not so many that you run out of time!
The best copywriters focus on the quality over quantity. They know what works to keep people engaged, reading and ready to buy!
#23: Copywriting is more than applying a formula
If you want to write truly persuasive copy, then it’s important that you don’t just follow a formula. You need to get inside your audience’s heads in order for them to be completely engrossed in what you have written and not notice the techniques used behind the scenes!
#24: You’re writing about a mundane topic.
The best copywriters write about things that people can relate to. Nowadays a lot of copywriting is sold based on their experience and expertise in the field, but you still need something new to say for people to listen!
Think outside the box !!! When you write, think of things that are different and not boring. You don’t need to talk about mundane topics when there are so many amazing things out there to write about!
#25: You’re trying to sound amazing all the time.
Mixing and matching different techniques can help you produce something great, but overdoing it will just make things worse for you. If you try too hard to sound amazing, then chances are people aren’t going to notice when you’ve achieved that!
#26: You think you can get away with writing anything.
In order to write well you need to know your audience and market inside out. This won’t happen overnight!
The best copywriters know their audience and the market they’re writing for like the back of their hand. They have a lot of experience in this field and they’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.
#27: You’re not consistent with your work
If you want to become a decent copywriter, then the only way this will happen is if you get into a routine – a regular writing routine . Don’t stop! Stick at it!
In order for something to be really worth having , you have to be ready to work hard. If you don’t know what sacrifices need to be made in order to get where you want, then it’s something that will need to be thought about. You have to know what you’re willing to give up !!!
The best writers can sit for hours on end working hard on their content and when you have a goal in mind, this is something that can help you reach it. Be consistent!
#28: Your writing is not targeted correctly.
As a writer, your job is not just to write. It’s also important that you find out who exactly you are writing for. The best copywriters know their target audience and whose opinions they want to influence. They have written everything that will appeal to them!
Before you can write great content, you need to find out who your audience is and what they think about the subject matter ! This will help give a direction for your work. Create an outline
#29: You’re writing copy about what everyone else is writing.
You should always aim to stand out from the crowd, not try and blend in with it. Always be different and if you’re writing about a topic that has been talked about already then you need to find your own angle – something else new to say! Some people like using cliches… but it is not always a good idea. In this blogpost: “Cliches can help but not if you are using them wrong” to find out why.
#30: You are not being specific enough with your word choice
If people aren’t sure what it is that they can expect to gain from a certain product or service, then chances are they won’t want to take any action . You need to be clear with what your readers will obtain if they use your wares.
Using colorful words will make your work more interesting to read, but you need to ensure that they are relevant as well as effective. That’s why good copywriters know how to use their W’s (who, what, why, when and where) effectively. They make sure that they are specific!
#31: You are not thinking about SEO enough – or you are thinking about SEO to much!
You can’t write great content and not think about SEO. When it comes to writing, you have to make sure that you are using keywords and phrases that people will be searching for online.
Too much of this can destroy the integrity of your work though, so it’s important to get it just right!
Here’s the deal – you should always be thinking about what your readers want. But at the same time if searchengines don’t pick up your content, changes are you it’s difficult for you to get any traffic to your website.
The best writers know how to find the balance between what searchengines reward and what readers want. Mostly both require the same thing: A great piece of content.
#32: You don’t include a call to action–so how will they know what to do?
If people are reading your content then they want to know what the next step is. They need to be taken by the hand and led through each phase of your sales message so that they can make an informed decision.
The best writers include a call to action at the end of their piece of work. This lets readers know exactly what’s expected of them next. Without this they’ll likely leave your site without ever taking action!
You need to include a call to action that is clearly visible and won’t be missed. Your audience want results, so give it to them! The best copywriters know the importance of this and don’t hold anything back.
So now you know…
Avoid these 32 mistakes and become the best writer ever.
- The best writers know how to use their W’s (who, what, why, when and where) effectively.
- They make sure that they are specific!
- If you’re writing about a topic that has been talked about already then you need to find your own angle
- You should always aim to stand out from the crowd, not try and blend in with it.
- Using colorful words will make your work more interesting but only if they are relevant as well as effective.
- Good copywriters include a call-to-action at the end of their piece.
Do you need a copywriter to help you out? We’re here to help!