More Copywriting Tips - Words to Love and Words to Leave

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  • Tuesday, April 04, 2017
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More Copywriting Tips - Words to Love and Words to Leave

Whenever you're writing copy, you want to resonate with your readers. We've all heard about how short our attention spans are these days, so choosing your words carefully is critical - flabby writing isn't going to catch the attention of your visitors, let alone hold it. And there are some words that simply don't work, no matter if you're a B2B or a B2C business (though there are plenty of differences in writing style that you should consider - but that's a post for another time). 

So, which words should you include in your marketing and which should be banished? 

Love these words

"You/Your"

Write your content for your reader - make sure you bring them in. If your content contains "we/I" more than "you", chances are you're focusing too much on talking about yourself and your business, and not enough on what your potential customer actually wants or needs. 

"Because"

"Because" is a very powerful word. Years ago, psychologists studying behaviour found that using the word because meant people were more likely to do what they were asked, even if the reason wasn't very good.  You'll give your visitors a reason to take action and your points look like they have been well thought out. 

"Discover"

Rather than "learn more", invite your customers to "discover" instead. It suggests that there is something unknown and exciting for them to find out, while "learn" suggests they have to make more of an effort to get that same information. 

"Now"

Immediacy is the marketer's best friend - we've already established the people have short attention spans. Direct, action-orientated words tell the reader that you're not wasting their time. Whether it's "what to do now", directing them to your CTA or a next step, or "get your ebook now", using the word "now" offers instant gratification. 

 

Leave these words out

"Really"

If you've ever written that your product is "really good" or "really gets the job done", it's time to edit. Really doesn't mean all that much, it leaves a slightly juvenile impression (particularly in B2B writing), and it gives your reader no context. If you want to emphasise, use descriptive language and skip "really". 

If something is really good, tell me why it's good. Think from your reader's perspective - what are they interested in. "Really" often focuses on feature rather than benefit, whereas good copy should be benefit-led. 

"Literally"

If your copy contains the word "literally", start pressing the delete key now! Aside from the fact that the word now conjures up images of High School girls texting and chewing gum, it's simply not good for marketing. 

Literally means exactly, but is often misused to mean figuratively. Yes, ok the Merriam-Webster dictionary has now included this meaning, but as far as we're concerned, it's still wrong. To be fair to the dictionary, they did include the disclaimer "Since some people take sense 2 to be the opposite of sense 1, it has been frequently criticized as a misuse. Instead, the use is pure hyperbole intended to gain emphasis, but it often appears in contexts where no additional emphasis is necessary."

Whether you agree with the alternative meaning or not, literally has no place in professional copy. Replace it with something precise or descriptive instead. 

"Unbelievable"

When you use words, be careful that they don't start to have negative connotations. If your product offers "unbelievable features", you're priming your reader to not believe you; mention "unbelievable prices" and perhaps they won't believe that those prices are genuine, or that they won't be supplemented by some hidden costs. 

The other issue with "unbelievable" is the fact that it's overblown, overused, and spammy. How often do spam email subject lines contain that word? How many clickbait article titles end with "you won't believe what happens next"? Any time a word starts being used by spammers is the time to stop using it. 

"110%"

Ok, so it's a number and not a word, but it should still be banished. You can't "give 110%" - it's mathematically impossible. The only outcome of using this is that you reduce your credibility. Readers won't believe you (because, as we mentioned, it's impossible), so how can they believe anything else you say? You diminish the impact of everything when you use an expression that is demonstrably false. Plus it's a horrible cliche, and cliches have no place in marketing content. 

"Best/Most/Biggest"

Says who? If your business, product, or service is the best, who said that? Can you prove that you're the best? 

Everyone wants to think they're the best, every company wants to be the best. But unless you can quantify it, it becomes meaningless. Why do you think your product is the best? Describe it, tell your readers about how it's the only one available with this specific feature, or the only one developed by rocket scientists. Let them decide that it's the best, on the basis of the evidence you provide. 

If your marketing copy needs some work, why not get in touch with us. We can help. 


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